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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Congress rulers and Praise of Vytautas

Nicholas Zharkikh

After a march to Ryazan (1397) chronicles "Lithuanian" group does not serve no information until the end of Vytautas reign in 1430. This lacuna in some copies filled with information from the annals of the "Belarusian" group, about which we have more discussed below.

This break in the description of Vytautas rule, I think, can not be explained except by the death of the first writer in 1397 and the fact that one managed to find a successor only in 1430 (and possibly after the death of Vytautas).

As a short story about the congress rulers (SCR) is closely related in the annals with "Praise of Vytautas" (PV), we will consider these items together.


1. Literary history "Praise of Vytautas" begins with a short recording (PV-1), which preserved to us in the copy of "Words of Isaac Nineveh" rewritten in Smolensk in 1428.

2. A bit later, probably in 1430 in Vilna, was composed story story about the congress rulers and the expanded edition of "Praise" (PV-2). These works were included in the "Vytautas" chronicle and from it were taken in the "Belarusian" chronicle.

3. The purpose of the edition PV-2 – the glorification of the Vytautas power, for which the author resorted to hyperbole, do not care about history, or the political realities, and the recording of the "subjects Vytautas" all the lands that he only knew.

4. Much later (in the late 15th cent.?) the story of the congress rulers and PV-2 have been combined in order to create a story about the last years of the Vytautas reign (PV-3), which with a minor processing (PV-4) became a part of "Lithuanian" chronicle.

5. It follows from all the foregoing that the PV-3 is not a historical source (only historiographical, material for the illumination of historical thought); source value of SCR and PV-2 is small, despite the fact that both works were written by a contemporary (perhaps even a party) of events. They are more interested in the department of public opinion and fiction than in the department of historical facts. One way or another, one should use the text of Vit4L (with the completion of gaps in episode 64 from Bil2L and Bil4L).