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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Nicholas Zharkikh

Since the study has the character of source study, we must always remember that a source studies is an auxiliary historical discipline. And now, when a final conclusions are made, it is time to ask – to whom what help may be on the job.

1. The greatest benefit may have historians, dealing with the reconstruction of historical events. They should guide by the following table the most authoritative texts:

Period Article Best text The degree of reliability, informativeness
1340 – 1392 Tale of Vytautas Vit1L high
1392 – 1397 Acts of Vytautas Vit1L + Vit3L high
4 qtr. 14 cent. – 1430-ies Tale of Podillja land Vit3L + Vit4L + Vit6L Fantasy and recalls in the initial part, the significant value from the time of Vytautas
1430 The story about the congress rulers Vit4L low
Praise of Vytautas (2 ed.) Vit4L low
1432 – 1436 Tale of Švitrigaila Vit4L high
1410 – 1427 Chronicle Metropolitan Photius Bil1L + Bil2L + Bil3L + Bil4L high
1432 – 1446 Smolensk chronicle Bil2L + Bil4L high
Praise of Vytautas (3 ed.) Vit6L no
Fabulous emergence of Lithuania Lit2L, Lit4L no
Tale of Algirdas march on Moscow Lit6L no
Remaking "Lithuanian" chronicle Lit1L no
1514 Annals of King Sigismund (1 ed.) Lit7L high
1482 – 1548 Annals of King Sigismund (2 ed.) Lit5L + Lit6L No up to early 16 cent., high for the 1st half 16 cent.
1307 – 1536 Short chronicle Lithuania Lit4L + Lit7L No up to early 16 cent., high for the 1st half 16 cent.

Using these texts, one should remember that in any case we does not have autographs, but only later copies. These copies, as our experience shows, quickly deteriorate as we move from the stemma apex to its final copies. Therefore, we can be sure that the texts that are at the top, have gaps and other defects too, but they are difficult to notice for us.

We did not meet any case, that later copy was systematically better than early one; therefore one should not use more recent copies, to avoid their individual errors be historical facts.

2. For the literary historian, historian of public opinion and historiograph help from this work is in establishment stemma of each article. Once again – any copy the examined chronicles was not derived from the other, each has an individual layout, retaining only a general scheme. Therefore it is impossible to make general stemma preserved copies, but only stemma individual articles.

3. A significant help to anyone who is interested in these chronicles, have establishment the origin of each of the episodes, as well as each of their words (where there is an individual errors). This makes it possible to separate the original recordings in annals and the borrowing from other sources, that it contains a lot. These loans do not have a source value for the historian (he must apply to the original sources), but they are of interest to determine the range of expertise chroniclers.

4. The general recommendation for historians – not to use such works filled with fantasies as "Short chronicle Lithuania", Lit1L ("Bychowiec chronicle") and Chronicle M. Stryjkowski.

5. The task of historical science is to write a relevant part of the history of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine from scratch, based on the sources of contemporary events, and without the use of inventions of 16 cent.