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Mykola Zharkikh (Kyiv)

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Clarifcation some dates

Nicholas Zharkikh

Although the exact date of our narrow topic – custom rulers vows – of little importance, I still take advantage of the accumulated material to establish the most probable date of death of princes in those cases where there are discrepancies in the annals. This – work on margin of study, or, as is now fashionable to say, a free bonus.


Having examined 69 cases, relatively uniformly distributed in the space of five centuries (13th – 17th), we obtain the following conclusions.

1. "Exact dates" (year – month – day) in the annals are extremely diverse element. The general rule is a discrepancy in the exact dates in various chronicles, who write about the same event; cases of complete coincidence of these dates in all texts should be considered atypical exceptions.

2. The principle of "voting" (preference for the date, which is fixed in most chronicles) can not have any significance for the establishment of a credible date, because of the many examples above can be seen – false dating copied in the later chronicles without any changes as well willingly, as the correct dating.

3. An authorized (fully justified, irrefutable) can be considered as only such a precise date, which has an additional reference to the day of the week and / or moveable feast – in case: 1, if all these elements dating consistent with each other; 2, if this date is derived from a reputable source.

4. In cases of inconsistency or lack of dating elements indicate the day of the week to determine the most likely (but not authoritative) the date it is necessary to study the record of all chronicles which contain it, in order to determine the source of dating.

5. Often dating from first source still requires further study in the context of adjacent entries of the same year an article or several annual articles. Prominent examples of such studies provide N. G. Berezhkov in the above-cited book – but only for the ancient chronicles.

6. Notes on the feast day of saint or permanent (not moving) holiday are not essential to clarify dating for two reasons:

A) having a day + month and calendar, one can specify the name of the saint / holiday, and vice versa. You can never determine whether this information is the first source or effect of chronological calculations editors chronicles.

B) at every day of the year has some of the saints, we have seen above examples mismatch authoritative dates with these names for a few days. It is difficult to abandon the assumption that the chronicler referring to the most famous saint / holiday, considering this approximate, but easily understandable guidance more useful than a formally exact.

7. In many cases, night events they could be dated as the previous light day or the next. So the entry "10th, on the night from Saturday to Sunday" with equal probability could mean either "10th, Saturday" and " 10th, Sunday."