Foretype of the European Constitution is an exhibition of rarities from Belarus and Latvia, dedicated to Constitution Day. The exhibition starts on March 16 in the Book Museum of the National Library of Belarus.
The Belarusians were the first in the world to gain constitutional legislation. The 1588 Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had all the features of a true Constitution, it was drawn up in the Belarusian language and enacted in 1588. The Statute appearance put our people on the podium of the founders of constitutional legislation in Europe and the world.
It is very significant that the ancient Belarusian-Lithuanian Constitution was adopted by many other peoples and became the basis of the legal system of different countries. The 1588 Statute of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was used for the codification of the Prussian law at the end of the 16th century, in the compilation of the Cathedral Code in 1649 in the Moscow Kingdom, was a written code of the existing law and applied in the courts of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia.
The Statute was translated into foreign languages and it was widely implemented. So, in the 17th – 19th centuries, it was translated into Russian, Ukrainian, German, French, Latin. In fact, it became the foretype of the European Constitution. The Statute was built on the principles of democracy, equality, justice, the rule of law.
Almost unknown list of the Statute translated into German in the beginning of the 18th century from the collection of one of the oldest libraries in Europe, the Academic Library of the University of Latvia will be presented at the exhibition for the first time. It is the evidence of the official application of the Belarusian-Lithuanian proto-constitution on the lands of Latvia and confirms the ancient cultural, economic and political ties of our peoples. Also it will be possible to see printed copies of the Statute of the 17th – 19th centuries at the exhibition. The copies from the collection of the National Library of Belarus in other European languages, testifying to the wide influence of the Belarusian legal culture on the formation of international constitutional legislation.
The exhibition is organized with the participation of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Latvian Republic and the Academic Library of the Latvian University.
The opening ceremony takes place on 16 March, 2020, at 16:00 in the Book Museum (room 347).
The exhibition is on show in the Book Museum till April 19, 2020 daily, except Mondays and public holidays. The end date is subject to change.
The opening hours of the exhibition correspond to the working hours of the Book Museum.
Admission is by library card or by the ticket of the library's social and cultural center.
Contacts for references and excursions: (+375 17) 293 27 22.
Bibliology Research Department