Iunosti Chestnoe Zertsalo

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iunosti Chestnoe Zertsalo


(full title, Iunosli chestnoe zertsalo, Hi pokazanie k zhiteiskomu obkhozhdeniiu: Sobrannoe ot raznykh avtorov [An Honest Mirror for Youth, or a Guide to Behavior, Culled from Various Authors]), a Russian literary and pedagogical work of the early 18th century. The book was written by associates of Peter I, among them J. Bruce, and was printed in St. Petersburg (1717; 5th ed., 1767).

The first part of the book contained the alphabet; tables of syllables, numerals, and dates; and religious precepts. This section, which constituted a kind of primer, was one of the first handbooks for teaching the new Civil typeface and the Arabic system for writing numerals, which previously had been designated by Old Church Slavonic symbols.

The second part of the book contained rules of conduct for “young lads” and girls of noble estate. The rules, which reflected the spirit of the Petrine reforms, inculcated the concept of tsarist autocracy. They demanded of the young noble that he take pride not in his aristocratic birth but in specific deeds performed for the benefit of the fatherland. He was obliged to obey unquestioningly his elders, to be well-read, and to know foreign languages; in addition, he was expected to know how to fence, dance, ride a horse, and conduct himself in society. At the same time, the young noble was to be strict with inferiors (his “slaves”), whom he was to keep in a state of awe and resolutely to “subdue and humble.”


Pekarskii, P. Nauka i literatura v Rossiipri Petre Velikom, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1862.
Alferov, A., and A. Gruzinskii. Russkaia literatura XVIII v., 8th ed. Moscow, 1918.
Khrestomatiia po istorii shkoly i pedagogiki v Rossii (do Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii). Compiled by S. F. Egorov. Moscow, 1974. Pages 49–51.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.