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The Most High-Profile Space Book: an Online Exhibition for the International Museum Day

The Most High-Profile Space Book: an Online Exhibition for the International Museum Day
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This book is a real bright star of the Book Museum exhibition. The most high-profile, as it is very popular with the media. Numerous videos and even a film have been made about it! The most cosmic, as it was ahead of time by several centuries and many of the author's discoveries are relevant today. But enough with fueling hype...

You may have already guessed that this is the famous treatise "The Great Art of Artillery." The author is our fellow countryman, rocket pioneer, artillery theorist, humanist thinker Kazimierz Siemienowicz, and we celebrate the 420th anniversary of his birth this year.

For centuries, the unique monograph has been one of the most important and top requested scientific works in Europe, one of the fundamental sources for those who laid a foundation for modern rocket science and brought humanity into space. No wonder the study was translated into many European languages (French, German, English, Polish, etc.).

The online exhibition presents a complete collection of old-print editions by Kazimierz Siemienowicz's "The Great Art of Artillery," which is kept in the library's collections.

The first book was published in 1650 in Amsterdam, in the printing house of the famous publisher Jan Jansson. The study was published in Latin, which was the language of science in Europe at the time. It consists of five parts and includes engravings with 206 drawings made according to the author's sketches.

A year later, in 1651, the treatise was published in French by the same publisher in Amsterdam. The translation was prepared under the supervision of Kazimierz Siemienowicz himself.

In 1676, the book was published in German in a translation by Thomas Behren. The edition, in addition to the work of Kazimierz Siemienowicz, contains a foreword and the second part, written by the captain of artillery D. Ehrlich, as well as a large number of new beautifully executed prints.

In 1729, Kazimierz Siemienowicz,'s monograph was published in London in English.

The National Library of Belarus has acquired the valuable old-print books, including thanks to the support of patrons (BPS-Sberbank, OJSC, BelAVM, CJSC). Digital copies of the famous treatise in Latin, French, German and English are available through the library's electronic catalogue.

The visual image of the author, his inventions and individual pages of monographs can be found on the stamps, coins, in sculpture. Some of them are presented on the online tape of our exhibition.

In 2016, the historical mystery "Kazimierz Siemienowicz" was created by the studio of historical films "Vladimir Bokun's Workshop" as part of the television project "100 Names of Belarus". The Great Art of Artillery." The film is based on archival materials from the 17th century and unique fragments of the world-famous book. A rocket, recreated according to the original drawings of the Belarusian scientist was even launched for filming.

Join us and find out about the most high-profile space book!

Bibliology Research Department

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