Start page

Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

Personal site


12. The princes of Chernigov

Nicholas Zharkikh

The list of princes, at the beginning of which placed the Chernigov princes, is now known in two lists – in the Vvedensky synodikon (VS, 1654) and in the Lyubech synodikon (LS, 1753). Since the title in the manuscripts does not fully reflect its content, and worse – misleads the researchers, we will use the objective title – "List of Prince Constantine" (PKK), which only indicates a certain text, but does not contain any assumptions about its content and purpose.

The text of the PKK in the LS is an abbreviated and heavily corrupted copy of the text in the VS; but since this late and bad text was introduced into the scientific circulation as early as the 2nd half 19th century. and "information" from it managed to crawl into historiography, I dedicated special article a detailed review of its content.

Here I will not repeat. I will compare the texts of both lists and then make the necessary corrections and additions to the comments on specific names. Then it will be possible to deal with, finally, source study, that is, the origin of this list and the evaluation of its significance.

Conclusions and recommendations

From our research on the text of the "List of Prince Constantine" you can make the following conclusions:

1. The "List" is now published in two copies – in the composition of the Vvedensky synodikon (1654) and the Lyubech synodikon (1753). The list of LS, which until now was the basis of all studies, is a shortened and sometimes significantly worsened copy of the List of VS.

2. Hints have been revealed for the existence of other copies of the "List", which allows us to hope for the expansion of the source base.

3. The original "List" was compiled in Moscow, tentatively in the 1550s, using private genealogical notes, but without the use of the today-known chronicles.

4. The next stage of editing occurred during the rewriting of the "List" in the Vvedensky synodikon in 1654.

5. The drafting of the "List", perhaps, should be linked with the plans for restoring the Chernigov diocese into the Moscow state. It was not meant for commemoration and can not be used for reading in the church. Entering it into synodikons should be considered a result of an accidental coincidence of circumstances.

6. When compiling the List, neither the chronological order nor the genealogical order is observed. From the entry position in the "List" we can only derive the fact that this entry concerns a period of time from the 2nd quarter 11th to 2 quarter 17th century, but no detailed chronological analysis is possible. It is also impossible to determine the genealogical position of most princes, since they do not have the names of their parents.

7. Out of a total of 184 entries, only 32 (17%) can be considered undoubtedly the corresponding historical princes. 67% of the princes – fictitious or such, which can not be convincingly associated with the historical princes. 4% of records are duplicates of other records, 7% belong to "literary princes", which existed only on genealogy pages, and not in reality.

8. All the names of princesses in the "List" should be considered fictions.

9. All records of the tonsure of princes in the "List" should be considered fictions.

10. All the baptismal names of princes listed in the "List" next to the princes should be considered fictions (with the exception of those few cases when these Christian names are known from independent sources).

11. All cases of the title "Grand Duke" in the "List" should be considered a tribute to the Moscow political tradition of the 16th century – apply the title of "Grand Duke" to all the ancient rulers indiscriminately.

12. A significant part of the princes, titled in the "List" as "Chernigov", is the result of the "transfer" of princes from Chernigov from other principalities.

13. "List" can not be used for historical or genealogical research. It can be a source only for historiography – for the reconstruction of historical representations of the time of writing the "List" and methods of writing historical texts used at that time.

And now – recommendations for the future:

1. We should not use the "List" for historical and genealogical research; it is necessary to stop attempts to identify princes from this list as hopeless.

2. It is necessary to clear all historical reference books and encyclopedias from references to "Lyubech synodikon" (in fact, to the "List of Prince Constantine"). In those very many cases when the entry in the List is the only basis for the existence of the prince, it must be clearly indicated that this person is a historiographical myth.

3. In reference books, encyclopedias, historiographical reviews should be made a clear assessment of R. V. Zotov’s book (1892) as fantastic and a refusal to use it.

4. It is necessary to continue searching for and publishing other texts of the "List".

5. The history of the Chernigov region in the Tatar time should be rewritten from scratch on the basis of authoritative (contemporaty to events) sources, without using the "List".