This year marks the 420th anniversary of the publication of "Peregrynacya, or Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" by Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwil Sirotka. The book was first published in 1601. Later it was translated into different languages and became a true bestseller.
A pilgrimage from Niasvizh to Jerusalem in the 16th century was a very big and challenging journey. Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill Sirotka traveled for two years before he reached the Holy Sepulchre. As a result, in the 90s of the 16th century, he described his journey full of excitement and adventure. Unfortunately, the original manuscript is considered lost. Libraries around the world keep handwritten lists.
The list from the manuscript "Peregrinacia abo Pielgrzymowanie do Ziemie Świętey" of the 17th century from the Kornik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences (code BK01658)
The Kornik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences contains the manuscript "Podróż do Ziemi Świętej, Syrii i Egiptu 1582-1584", dating the late 16th – 17th centuries. Interestingly, it has an entry in Polish "This manuscript comes from Niasvizh. There is reason to believe that this is the original description of Radziwill Sirotka's pilgrimage in Jerusalem" ("Ten rękopism pochodzi z Nieświerza. Są powody mniemania, że to oryginylny opis peregrynacyi do Jerozolimy Sierotki Radziwiłła").
The record from the manuscript "Podróż do Ziemi Świętej, Syrii i Egiptu 1582–1584" (16th–17th centuries) from the Kornik Library of the Polish Academy of Sciences (code BK00299)
Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwil Sirotka created the manuscript in Polish and handed it over to Tomasz Treter for translation into Latin. In 1601, the first edition was published in Braunsberg under the title "Hierosolymitana peregrinatio illvstrissimi domini Nicolai Christophori Radzivili" with a preface to the reader and a eulogy to the prince-traveller.
The title page of the early printed edition "Hierosolymitana peregrinatio illvstrissimi domini Nicolai Christophori Radzivili" (Braunsberg, 1601) from the collection of the National Library of Poland (code SD XVII.4.2429)
The translator of the work Tomasz Treter (1547–1610) is known not only as a philologist and poet, but also as an excellent engraver. Tomasz Treter published the book "Regum Poloniae Icones" ("Images of Polish kings") in Rome in 1588. Treter's "Icones" was copied and repeated many times during the author's lifetime; the book became the basis for a large number of editions that appeared in the 17th–18th centuries. It is believed that it was Tomasz Treter who suggested that Sirotka publish his pilgrimage diary. For the book, Treter drew a portrait of the prince; it was a three-quarter image in an oval inscribed in a rectangle. In the 17th century, a similar composition became widespread in the art of the graphic portrait. In the 18th century this form was taken as the basis for the images of the Radziwil princely family when creating the "Icones familiae ducalis Radivilianae". It follows both European norms of representation and the ancient iconography of princes.
The portrait of Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill of the early printed edition "Hierosolymitana peregrinatio illvstrissimi domini Nicolai Christophori Radzivili" (Braunsberg, 1601) from the collection of the National Library of Poland (code SD XVII.4.2429)
Later, "Peregrynacya, or Pilgrimage to the Holy Land" was reprinted in Latin in 1614, 1753, 1756. Translated into Polish, the editions were published in Krakow in 1607, 1611, 1617, 1628, 1683, 1745. and Wroclaw in 1847. Andrzej Vargotski's Polish translation was made from Treter's Latin version. A translation into German was made from the Latin text, published in 1603 and 1609. In the first half of the 17th century, there was a translation into Russian. In Russia, the book circulated in manuscript for a long time. The book was printed in St. Petersburg in 1787 and 1879.
It is known that about 200 copies of the "Peregrynacya" published in the 16th – 18th centuries are kept in Polish institutions. For example, the Warsaw University Library has 20 copies (13 in Polish and 7 in Latin).
The portrait of Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill from the book "Peregrynacya..." (Krakow, 1628) from the collections of the National Library of Poland (code BN XVII. 3. 12273
The collection of the National Library of Belarus keeps copies of "Peregrynacya" in Polish, Latin and Russian languages 1607, 1614, 1745, 1787, 1847, 1879 years of publication:
- The first Polish-language edition "Peregrinacia abo Pielgrzymowánie do Ziemie Swiętey jáśnie oświeconego páná J. M. P. Mikołaia Krzysztofa Radziwiła..." printed in Krakow in 1607. Code 094/12548
- Second Latin-language edition of "Ierosolymitana peregrinatio Nicolai Christophori Radzivili", printed in 1614 by Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. The copy contains the engraved title page, five mederites and Plantin's publishing mark. It comes from the Niasvizh library of the Radziwills, as evidenced by the red seal “Ordynacja Nieświeska Biblioteka”. Code 096 / 2655К
- Polish-language edition "Peregrynacya Albo Pielgrzymowanie do Jeruzalem Ziemie Swiętey" 1745, including a portrait of Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill (ancient). Code 094/3077
- The Polish-language edition "Mikołaja Krzysztofa Radziwiła pielgrzymka do Ziemi Świętéj", published in Wroclaw in 1847. Code P2346+2011
- The first Russian-language edition "A Journey to the Holy Places and to Egypt" (St. Petersburg, 1787). Code 096/6539
- The second Russian-language edition "Adventure to the Holy Land of Prince Radziwill Sirotka" (St. Petersburg, 1879). Codes B35665, B4536, B7496
The page from the old print edition "Peregrinacia ..." (Krakow, 1607). The pages are arranged in double line frames and the text is printed in gothic script.
The title page of the early printed edition "Ierosolymitana peregrinatio..." (Antwerp, 1614)
The portrait of Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill Sirotka from the book "Peregrynacya..." (Krakow, 1745)
In Belarusian, the piece, translated by Siarhiej Shupa, was published in 1994 under the title "Peregrynacya, or Pilgrimage of the Enlightened Prince Mikalaj Kryshtaf Radziwill to the Holy Land"). The translation was made from the Polish-language edition of 1847.
Electronic copies of "Peregrynacya" from the collections of the National Library of Belarus are presented in the electronic catalogue, the State Register of Book Artefacts of Belarus, as well as in the electronic resource "A book collection of the Radziwll family Niasvizh ordination".
Author: Ms Tatsiana Sapeha, Head of the Research and Design Work Section of the Bibliology Research Department