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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Vytautas’ marches to south (1397 – 1398)

Nicholas Zharkikh

In 1397 – 1399 years Vytautas made three trips to the land lying south of the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Only the last one, which ended in defeat Vytautas at Vorskla had been described in several contemporary sources. Instead, the campaigns of 1397 and 1398 mentioned only the German chroniclers.

The article give translation of relevant passages, analysis of their sources value and reconstruct the course of events.

Chronicle of Johann von Posilge. Successor Dietmar von Lubeck. Chronicle pseudo Rufus von Lubeck.

Thus, in the records of German chronicles in 1397 and 1398, we have some information about the south direction Vytautas policy. Their advantage – that the recording was made shortly after the events themselves; lack – little competence informants. In terms of the total absence of other sources these records represent a significant value.

The scale of described Vytautas measures was small; they were directed to the Dnieper region; they are not accompanied by battles with the Tatars; also one can not see that Vytautas took a large number of Tatars in captivity and moved them to Lithuania.

In later chroniclers and even in modern historians these events were greatly exaggerated. How it happened – we will discuss in the next article.

Kyiv 2 – February 9, 2017

Full text of article – in the Ukrainian version.