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Francysk Skaryna

Francysk Skaryna (or Skoryna; the first name also spelled as Francis, Franciszak, Frantsiszak, Francisk, Frantzisk) is a Belarusian famous as the first book printer in East Slavic languages. He was born in the historical Belarusian city of Polatsk. The exact dates of birth and death are unknown; the two most probable estimates are 1485-1540 and 1490-1551.

He printed his first book, the Psalter, in Belarusian language, on 6 August 1517 in Prague, and then 23 more books. After that he continued his printing in Wilno (Vilnius today). His life's work was printing the Bible in Belarusian. It is difficult to determine precisely what exactly language it was. Some researchers maintain that Skaryna's books were in Church Slavonic heavily saturated with Belarusian. But nevertheless there is no doubt that Skaryna laid the foundations of Belarusian literary language.

See also: Johann Gutenberg.

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