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Home page > Collections > Rare Books > Publications in the Civil Orthography

Publications in the Civil Orthography from the Time of Peter the Great

Worthly of note is the the world's largest collection of books in the civil orthography from the time of Peter the Great. Peter I modernized the ancient cyrillic alphabet into a simplified civil script on 1 January 1708. Since 1708, textbooks and works on mathematics, geography, artillery, and military science were produced in the simplified civil alphabet. The Library holds 436 titles of 598 publications printed in the civil script during the reign of Peter the Great, 222 of which are the sole surviving copy of a work. The collection extends to the death of Tsar Peter on 28 January 1725. Among the Library's treasures is the translation of Burckhard von Piirkenstein's Geometry (by Count Jakob Bruce) which was the first publication to appear in the new civil orthography. This is the only complete copy of the work, with all illustrations, that have survived intact from March 1708.
The collection is also rich in publications of imperial decrees.

The National Library of Russia is fortunate to hold an almost complete set of the first Russian newspaper Vedomosti which was established by Peter the Great on 16 December 1702. All issuses of the newspaper from 1703 to 1727 were brought together in a single collection. They include copies printed in the civil script or Old Church Slavonic.

 
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