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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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"Vytautas" chronicle

Nicholas Zharkikh

"Vytautas" chronicle begins with the words: "The Duke Gediminas had 7 sons." It remained in the 13 copies. The following sections deals with structural parts and relation between copied. This material may not be interesting for all, and you can go directly to the conclusions of the study.


"Vytautas" chronicle formed in three stages.

On first stage was written "Tale of Vytautas" and "Acts of Vytautas", statement brought to 1397. This phase is represented by copies Vit1L and Vit2L.

On second stage was written "Tale of Podillja land," the story of the Congress rulers in 1430, "Praise of Vytautas" (2nd edition) and "Tale of Švitrigaila". In this composition the chronicle was preserved only partially (Vit3L).

On third step 33-year gap between the works of the first and second stages was partially filled with borrowings from the "Belarusian" chronicles; at the end was added shortened Smolensk Chronicle, brought to 1445. In this format we have Vit4L copy.

Next "Vytautas" chronicle had not been replenished, but only processed. Somewhere in the late 15th or early 16th century was written Vit6L with the third edition of "Praise Vytautas". This copy formed the basis of "Lithuanian" chronicles of the 1 half – mid. 16 c.

The sources value of more stories VitL is quite high; these novels are close in time to the events described and show the undoubted expertise of the author. The value story of the Congress rulers and "Praise of Vytautas" is medium. Value the beginning of "Tale of Podillja land" is low, because it was written by the recall.

Although the story of the first and second stages were written by different people, VitL maintains unity of style: it consists of separate stories, each of which focuses on a particular topic and is not distracted by other events that took place at the same time; there is completely no absolute dates; authors were indifferent or very wary attitude to religion; almost no trace of the use of written sources.

"Vytautas" chronicle was assigend for the first time in this work. Previous researchers have always mixed it with the "Belarusian" chronicle and therefore could not come to a convincing conclusion.