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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Reconstruction of "Vytautas" chronicle

Nicholas Zharkikh

Shortened text of the section. Full text in ukrainian version

We see that "Vytautas" chronicle preserved in 13 copies: the seven relatively autonomous (Vit1L – Vit7L), five in the "Lithuanian" chronicles (Lit2L, Lit4L – Lit7L) and in rearranged form as part of Lit1L. The remaining parts of this hypothetical chronicle can be represented as follows:

Composition «Vitovt» chronicle in…

Composition "Vytautas" chronicle in different copies

I assumed this chronicle formed in three stages.

On first stage there was written "Tale of Vytautas" (1392) and its direct sequel – "Acts of Vytautas" (1392 – 1397). Presumably, the work was cut short due to the death of chronicler.

On second stage, separated from his first big break 1398 – 1429, there was written "Tale of Podillja land", the story of the congress in 1430, "Praise of Vytautas" and "Tale of Švitrigaila". One had started the writing of these works after the death of Vytautas, in 1430-ies.

On third stage (after 1446, possibly in 1450) a chronological break was partially filled with information taken from Bil0L, and at the end added the reduction of Smolensk chronicle, also from Bil0L.

After that came a new break in the chronicles – up to the end of the 15th century.

"Vytautas" chronicle had been written at the court of the Grand Duke, almost certainly – in Vilnius. Both parts of it, even though they were written by different people, characterized by unity of style:

1, a coherent narrative, focusing on one line of events, without the distraction of other events that took place at the same time;

2, the complete absence of references to the years (a few years notation I think the result of editing processing in later copies);

3, the pragmatism of the story, the almost complete absence of religious painting;

4, grouping events around the person of Vytautas (later – Švitrigaila).

Inserts from Bil0L sharply distinguished by the presence of the grid per annum articles, but chosen from Bil0L only what concerns Vytautas.

At the end of 15 – 1 half 16 cent. "Vytautas" chronicle became the basis for the "Lithuanian" chronicles – it was annexed by the fabulous initial part and the description of events since 4 qtr. 15 cent. At this time the insert at the beginning of TOV was made, concerning acts of Keistut – marrying Biruta and founding New Troki.