Sigmund Herberstein

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Herberstein, Sigmund


Born 1486; died 1566. German diplomat and traveler.

Herberstein, as an ambassador of Emperor Maximilian I, visited Moscow in 1517 to persuade Grand Prince Vasilii III Ivanovich to make peace with Poland for the joint struggle against Turkey and to transfer Smolensk to the Polish king. Herberstein visited Moscow a second time in 1526. Neither of his missions met with success. In 1549, Herberstein published the book Notes on Muscovite Affairs, in which he attempted to give an account of Russian history since ancient times, including a description of economics, ways of life, and religion in the country; a large part of the work is devoted to a description of the territory of Russia, its cities, trade routes, villages, and rivers. He also have a biased account of life in Russian society during the early 16th century.

The geographic material on 16th-century Russia collected by Herberstein was widely used in the cartographic literature of that time and served as the basis for numerous European maps of Russia. The best Russian translation of his Notes with commentaries is by A. I. Malein (1908).


Zamyslovskii, E. Gerbershtein i ego istoriko-geograficheskie izvestiia o Rossi. St. Petersburg, 1884.


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