Herberstein  Sigismund
(23.08.1486–28.03.1566)


German diplomat, Baron.
Born in the castle of Vippah (now Vipava) in Styria. Here, in the mountains of the Slavic Krajina, he spent his childhood, which gave grounds for one of the researchers to call him "the border German". Communication with the indigenous population, the Slavs, left a certain imprint on the formation of the offspring of an impoverished, but very ancient German Styrian. Unlike most of their peers, Herberstein already in adolescence, along with Latin, taught Slovenian, which caused his peers to ridicule. The future diplomat got acquainted with the customs, beliefs and life of the Slavic community. In 1499 he entered the University of Vienna, which was in its heyday. Here, in particular, Konrad Zeltis taught, introducing a humanistic trend in geography. Herberstein received a bachelor's degree, almost shameful for young people of noble birth. In 20 years, the future diplomat left the university to provide for the family remaining in his care. In 1506 he entered the service of the Habsburgs.
Herberstein participated in a campaign against Hungary, where he distinguished himself in several battles. For the successful delivery of provisions to the besieged fortress of Maran and the defeat of the enemy detachment during the regular raids against the Venetians, Herberstein received knighthood by King Maximilian himself, who discerned not only a brave warrior, but also a reasonable and cautious politician. Thus, the knight, by the will of the Roman king, became a diplomat.
From 1515, Herberstein became a member of the Imperial Council. In 1516 he parted forever with military affairs. From now on, word, pen and memory became his weapon.
As part of the imperial embassies, he visited Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Spain, the Italian states, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1549, Herberstein published the book Notes on Moscovite Affairs. His work was published several times and certainly contained information about Russia, which was interesting not only for European readers, but also for Russians. Herberstein was a worthy son of his age. Retaining traditional loyalty to Catholicism, he nevertheless found himself at the height of the tasks assigned to him in describing Russia and its neighbors. He was aware of all the interests of contemporaries, of course, first of all compatriots, and was able to satisfy their curiosity in the field of history, religion, geography, ethnography and spiritual culture of Eastern Europe. The Notes on Muscovy provided a comprehensive picture of the past and present of the peoples of Eastern and Central Europe at the beginning of the 16th century.

 

Herberstein Castle. Styria, Austria


For half a century, Sigismund Herberstein faithfully served the four kings (these are the four Hapsburg - Maximilian I, Charles V, Ferdinand I and Maximilian II), and the inscription carved on his gravestone informs.
An island in the strait of Mathisen in the Nordensheld archipelago in the Kara Sea. Named in 1901 RPE.
Cape on Herberstein Island.

 

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