Vasil Varonin. Studies of Germans in Belarus in the first half of XVI century

Belarusian historiography disposes quite a lot of publications on studying abroad of people coming from Belarusian lands under Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the end of XV–XVI centuries.

The situation in a historical science of the neighboring countries of Eastern and Central Europe is quite similar. Indeed, many na-tives of these lands studied at the universities of Central Europe and Italy. However, we reserve the right to ask a different, an op-posite question: what do we know about teaching foreigners in Belarus? It should be kept in mind that cultural influences are rarely lop-sided; usually they are mutual. This article, resting upon a number of facts, handles an issue of studying of young Germans in the Belarusian lands in the 1st half of the XVI century. The 1538 letter of Polack town authorities to Riga reveals that young Germans from Riga were frequent visitors to Polack “for academic training”.

Apparently, they belonged to the artisan-merchant community and were trained crafts, trade and Old Belarusian (“Ruthenian”) language in Polack. However, the message of Polack was rather about the crimes which the young people of Riga committed than a success they achieved academically.

Another source informs us about a young man from Riga being at the court of Duke Andrey Adzincevič studying Ruthenian language there. As a result, we have evidences that the Germans were trained to be craftsmen and tradesmen in Belarusian towns, and in the courts of the local nobility they studied Ruthenian. In addition to the article there is above-mentioned message of Polack people to Riga in 1538 from the collections of the State Historical Ar-chive of Latvia.