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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Where Gilbert de Lannoy was
and what did see in 1421

Mykola Zharkikh

Shortened text of the article.
Full text in ukrainian version.

1. Danzig

2. Mysterious Sadowa

3. Ozymyna

4. Belz

5. Kamenets was found

6. Satellites of Vytautas

7. False record of embassies

8. Pskov Kingdom

9. Vytautas and Turkey

10. Vytautas and Husites

11. Podillya and Moldova

12. Voivode Alexander and Turkey

13. The hand of St. George

14. Bilgorod-Dnistrovsky

15. Hedigold’s castle

16. Tatarstan

17. Caffa

18. Constantinople

19. The structure of the work

20. Conclusions

1. The description of Gilbert da Lannoy’s trip in 1421 from Danzig to Constantinople was not compiled on the basis of daily travel notes, but recorded as memoirs during the composition of the book "Travels and Embassies", ie after 1450.

2. The description contains many anachronisms, for example, details of the Novgorod embassy to Vytautas in 1414 are included in the story of 1421.

3. Three times G. L. touched on the death of the Turkish emperor and the war in Turkey. He could not learn the above details from Jagiello, Vytautas, or even from the Moldavian voivode Alexander – he learned about them in full only in Constantinople and even later; earlier mentions indicate that the text was written later, when the picture of the war became clear.

4. G. L. did not give almost any details of the political life of the countries through which he passed, in particular, did not write anything about the purpose of his trip and the nature of the instructions to those rulers whom he visited. The details he cited are very different from other sources. Therefore, for "history" in the narrowest sense – the presentation of political events – his work gives very little.

5. While G. L. wrote little and reluctantly about politics and religion, then about lunches and gifts – a lot and with knowledge of the case. He provided many household details, which I did not touch.

6. A distinctive feature of G. L.’s text is the avoidance of people’s proper names, even where he undoubtedly knew these names. Regardless of the reason for this way of presentation, it significantly reduces the source value of the text.

7. G. L.’s meeting with Vytautas took place in the town Kamyanets, Brest Region, Belarus, and not in Kremenets, Ternopil Region, Ukraine, as is often written.

8. G. L’s mention of the castle built by Hedigold cannot be localized in time and space; it contains incredible exaggerations. This mention cannot be tied to well-known place names.

I am grateful to Dmitry Vortman, Vladislav Gulevich and Sergei Lunin for the valuable advices used in writing the article.

Kyiv, August 28 – September 12, 2020.