Translation Officials of the Posolsky Prikaz in the Second Half of the 16th Century: Responsibilities, Personnel and Diplomatic Directions

 
PIIS207987840022599-7-1
DOI10.18254/S207987840022599-7
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Affiliation: Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameISTORIYA
Edition
Abstract

The expansion of the Russian state and the increase of the foreign contacts led to growth in the number of language specialists. As a rule, interpreters performed simultaneously a number of functions and worked in more than one diplomatic direction, which makes it difficult to reconstruct a personal staffs of translation officials. The functions of the officials in the Eastern and Western directions differed. The Tatar direction assumed the constant participation of interpreters in various missions from secret embassy and messenger missions to meeting, appeasing and escorting foreigners to the market places. In contradiction to a full-fledged agent of the Posolsky Prikaz in relations with the Nogai Horde and the Crimea, a connoisseur of the European languages focuses on translation. At the same time, in each European direction, separately, at any given period of the 16th century there were rarely more interpreters and translators than 2—3 persons, in contrast to the Crimean-Nogai areas, where from ca. 1560s at least 5 people are registered at the same time. The exception are the German agents of Ivan IV in the 1560s and early 1570s (in some years there are up to 10 persons). Teaching European languages was in demand for the reason that there were no Latin, Swedish, German, Polish, English translators in the nearest access in Moscow. In this regard, the Greek-Turkish staff from the 1550s resembles European directions than Eastern ones. Ivan the Terrible covers the costs for the growing number of Greek interpreters and translators and goes into conflict with Sweden in order to train its experts in the Swedish language. In all major directions, it is possible to establish pleiades and clans of interpreters and translators, and in the Polish-Lithuanian direction it seems more likely that the experts in the Russian (Ruthenian) language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Crown of Poland were drawn from the ranks of the local and Moscow nobility.

Keywordsposolsky prikaz, interpreters, translators, Muscovite tsardom, language competencies, diplomatic service
Received08.07.2022
Publication date17.10.2022
Number of characters122506
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