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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Acts of Vytautas

Nicholas Zharkikh

Was "Tale of Vytautas" exist as a separate product, more precisely, as a separate manuscript notebook? In all copies, which kept the final phrase of the TOV ("land rejoice"), it is not separated from the following text, and only in the Novgorod Chronicle Dubrovsky (see below), we have a copy of its own.

In the vast majority of the copies after the TOV, we have a continuation of the story acts of Vytautas (AV) already recognized as the Grand Duke of Lithuania. I see no reason to doubt that the text was written by the author of the TOV as a continuation of the story.


1. The oldest and best text "Acts" can be obtained by combining text Vit1L and Vit3L. It should use in historical studies. In later copies these texts quickly and significantly deteriorate.

2. The preserved texts of "Acts" have only one edition, but it is possible to think that it is not original (it is possible to assume inclusion about death Skirgaila and one fragment transferred to the "Tale of Podillja land").

3. "Acts" should be evaluated highly in respect its source value. No traces of the use of written sources are visible, "Acts" were written almost simultaneously with the events, and almost certainly – by the same author that wrote TOV (who certainly was not small in the year of death Skirgaila!). The level of competence of the author – the same as with TOV, high enough. That is, these records can be considered as the primary source.

4. In the manuscript tradition AV constitute an indispensable addition to the TOV. Therefore, we can assume that it could be a separate manuscript consist of TOV + AV.

5. In ideological terms "Acts" follow in the direction specified by TOV: they glorify Vytautas as a diligent and successful ruler. Termination of "Acts" at the events of 1397, I guess – a consequence of writer’s death, which replacement could not be found.

6. The place of writing a work should be considered as Vilna.

7. The previous researchers joined AV to the previous or the following text, so it was not determined the time of writing the work and did not properly marked its value.