Skaryna’s Way. Prague

Francysk Skaryna (1490–before 29 January 1552) was a Belarusian humanist, physician, translator and one of the first book printers in Eastern Europe, laying the groundwork for the development of the Belarusian language.

Skaryna was born into the family of a wealthy merchant in Polatsk, then a major trade and manufacturing center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. His older brother, Ivan, was also a merchant. The brothers had a property, possibly ancestral, in Polatsk.

The exact date of Skaryna's birth is unknown. The year 1490 is often proposed based on the assumption that he was 14 when he came to study in Krakow in 1504. The date is an upper boundary; while new students younger than 14 were rare, older ones were not unusual, and Skaryna could have started his studies at the age of 18 or even older. N. Shchakacihin suggested that the overlapping sun and moon on Skaryna's personal emblem indicates he was born around the time of the 1486 solar eclipse, which was observed in Polatsk.

It is conjectured that he received his primary education in Polatsk and possibly partly in Vilnius.

In 1504, Skaryna is recorded as a student of Jagiellonian University. In 1506, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1512, after passing all required tests, he received a doctorate in medicine at the University of Padua in Italy. He was "a Longigquissimis partibus forsan per quattuor milia miliaria et ultra ab hac praeclara civitate, pro augmentando famam et honorem ad illam (Universitatem) se contulit." The records suggest that he requested to take his examination in Padua but had not studied in the city. Earlier, he obtained an "artium doctor" degree, but the exact date and place are unknown.

Belarus 2017 Skaryna’s Way. Prague
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Catalog ID: 
BY352CM1
Value: 
€13
Mintage: 
3000
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Weight: 
19.5g
Diameter: 
37mm
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