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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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"Belarusian" chronicle

Nicholas Zharkikh

Annals "of the Belarusian" tradition begins the history of the Vikings call. While "Vytautas" chronicles minimally used written sources, and for them it was necessary to determine the degree of reliability, there is the opposite of our task. Because of their apparent dependence on Great-Russian chronicle of 14 – 15 centuries the following sections provide a detailed comparison of the text to clarify the sources of "Belarus" chronicles. This work is very troublesome and perhaps of little interest to those who is not a specialist.

Therefore, you can read the final section at once, which contains findings of the study, and then at least curious to see how these conclusions are justified.


1. All four preserved copies of "Belarusian" chronicles derived from the same protograph (Bil0L). All of them are abbreviated and corrupted copies of protograph. The best is a Bil1L copy, its gaps can be filled from other copies. It should be remembered that the most comprehensive Bil2L copy contains the largest number of bad spelling.

2. At the beginning of Bil0L (up to 1427 inclusive) placed] "Epitome of Metropolitan Photius" – abbreviated chronicle, composed by the author from Moscow Metropolitan Photios environment. For its preparation have been used, "Legend of the Russian princes" (short), Novgorod Karamzin Chronicle (up to 1309), Simeon and Rogozhsky chronicles (for period of 1310 – 1385), Sophia 1st Chronicle older recension (1385 – 1418).

3. "Epitome" in the literature are often, but it is mistakenly called "all-Russian" or even "West Russian" chronicle. It drastically reduced Novgorod news abundantly represented in all the source annals, and focuses on the Moscow principality.

4. Starting with the 1410 to the borrowed records are added unique records, in terms of 1419 – 1427 they form the entire contents. These unique records should be considered as "Chronicle of Metropolitan Photius."

5. "Epitome of Metropolitan Photius" leave no trace in the future Moscow chronicles; once in Smolensk, it became the basis for the further work of the chronicle, which consisted in borrowing parts "Vytautas" chronicles (story about the congress rulers, Praise of Vytautas, Tale of Švitrigaila).

6. The last part is the original Smolensk chronicle 1432 – 1446 period.

7. Content "Vytautas" chronicles were replenished with abbreviated excerpts from the "Epitome" (events 1395 – 1418) and of the Smolensk chronicle (1438 – 1445).

8. With a high probability Bil0L was formed in Smolensk in the middle of the 15th century. But there is no reason to link it to any specific individuals or even media.

9. Previous researchers (Shakhmatov, Priselkov) did not isolated "Epitome" as a separate product and could not fully reveal the sources (not specified Novgorod Karamzin and Rogozhsky chronicles), and therefore wrongly imagined its origin.

10. In the 16th century in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was written at least another 2 chronicles, based on the Great-Russian chronicles (Bil5L, Bil6L). They are not connected with each other and Bil0L and therefore do not constitute a separate tradition.