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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Memorial of Vytautas

Nicholas Zharkikh

Shortened text of the section. Full text in ukrainian version

In the case of "Tale of Vytautas" we caught a very rare case – we have diplomatic document, which was the prototype of the chronicle text.

Note, titled "Memorial" or "complaint Vytautas" (MemV), preserved in the copy book of contracts of the Teutonic Order. Now this book is kept in Berlin [Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz. The signature XX. HA, OF, Nr. 1b, L. 22b – 24b]. It was discovered by German scientist T. Hirsch and published in 1863 [Scriptores rerum Prussicarum. Bd. 2. Leipzig, 1863. S. 711 – 714].

This work, written in very difficult for us middle High German, has become more accessible thanks to the new translation of the Belarusian by Aleh Litskevich [Litskevich A. V. "Memorial of Vytautas" – first Chronicle GDL. – Belaruskaya Dumka, 2009, № 2, p. 92 – 96].

While still Stanislaw Smolka [Smolka S. . – Pamiętnik Akademii umiejętności, 1889, t. 8, s. 44 – 49] examined it and pointed to the proximity to the TOV, this work did not have luck in the historiography chronicles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, therefore, I think it will not hurt to consider the text again.

[Here omitted comparative table – 61 rows, and following analysis is given in briefing. Completely – in Ukrainian].

The comparison shows that MemV text is much shorter (36 episodes, which were not in MemV – appear in TOV) and more focused on the main theme – offenses that suffered Vytautas from Jagiello. It is perhaps appropriate for the memorial goal – to explain the management of the Teutonic Order, why Vytautas raises war against Lithuania.

"Memorial" was written before "Tale of Vytautas". It served as source for the "Tale". Time the "Memorial" creation can be defined as the end of 1389 – 1 half of 1390, and more probable – the end of 1389, closer to the time of arrival Vytautas in Marienburg and meeting with its master, during which MemV was used.

It is the creation of the "Memorial" is a decisive argument in favor of his primacy in relation to the "Tale".