The Racovian Academy (Latin: Gymnasium Bonarum Artium) was a Socinian school operated from 1602 to 1638 by the Polish Brethren in Raków, Sandomierz Voivodeship of Lesser Poland. The communitarian Arian settlement of Raków was founded in 1569 by Jan Sienie?ski. The academy was founded in 1602 by his son, Jakub Sienie?ski. The zenith of the academy was 1616-1630. It was contemporaneous with the Calvinist Pi?czów Academy, which was known "as the Sarmatian Athens". It numbered more than 1,000 students, including many foreigners. At this point it is estimated that ten to twenty percent of Polish intellectuals were Arians.
The end of the Academy in 1638 was occasioned by the pretext of the alleged destruction of a roadside cross, by several students of the Academy, while on tour accompanied by a teacher Paludiusa Solomon. Jakub Zadzik, bishop of Kraków, Jerzy Ossoli?ski, voivode of Sandomierz, and Honorato Visconti, papal nuncio, forced the closure of the Academy and the destruction of all buildings by sentence of the Sejm in April 1638. Most of the teaching staff and students went into exile in Transylvania or the Netherlands.
Teaching staff, in alphabetical order:
Notable students at the academy, who became writers in the exile:
The Racovian Academy served as a centre for the propagation of Socinian belief in both western and eastern Europe, in particular the Arian mission to the University of Altdorf near Nuremberg (1615), Dutch Remonstrants, Unitarians in Transylvania, even Muscovite sympathizers with Judaism.
The publications of the Academy till 1639, and of those of the teachers of the Academy in exile after 1640, are known to have influenced many English Unitarians such as Bartholomew Legatt (1575?-1612), Edward Wightman (1566-1612) and Gilbert Clerke (1626-c.1697) as well as Isaac Newton (1643-1727), and Voltaire (1694-1778),
Lubieniecki uses the term 'Sarmatia' only three times in the Historia: he writes of Pi?czów 'as the Sarmatian Athens'.