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Encyclopedia > Primary Chronicle

The Russian Primary Chronicle (Old-Slavonic: Повѣсть времяньныхъ лѣтъ; Russian: Повесть временных лет, Povest' vremennykh let; Ukrainian: Повість времмених літ, Povist' vremennykh lit; often translated into English as Tale of Bygone Years), is a history of the Kievan Rus' from around 850 to 1110 originally compiled in Kiev about 1113. Trydent of Yaroslav I Map of the Kievan Rus′, 11th century Capital Kiev Religion Orthodox Christianity Government Monarchy Historical era Middle Ages  - Established 9th century  - Disestablished 12th century Currency Hryvnia Kievan Rus′ was the early, predominantly East Slavic[1] medieval state of Rurikid dynasty dominated by the city of Kiev... Events April 20 - Guntherus becomes Bishop of Cologne. ... Events December 4 - First Crusade: The Crusaders conquer Sidon. ... Map of Ukraine with Kiev highlighted Coordinates: , Country Ukraine Oblast Kiev City Municipality Raion Municipality Government  - Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi Elevation 179 m (587 ft) Population (2006)  - City 4,450,968  - Density 3,299/km² (8,544. ... Events Pierre Abélard opens his school in Paris End of Kyanzitthas reign in Myanmar Alaungsithus reign begins in Myanmar Suryavarman Is reign begins in the Khmer Empire Bridlington Priory founded Births August 24 - Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou (died 1151) Stefan Nemanja, Serbian Grand Zupan Deaths...


Three editions

For a long time the original compilation was attributed to a monk named Nestor, and hence it was formerly referred to as Nestor's Chronicle, or Nestor's manuscript. Among many sources he used were earlier (now lost) Slavonic chronicles, Byzantine annals of John Malalas and George Hamartolus, native legends and Norse sagas, several Greek religious texts, Russo-Byzantine treaties, oral accounts of Yan Vyshatich and other military leaders. Nestor worked at the court of Sviatopolk II of Kiev and probably shared his pro-Scandinavian policies. Mark Antokolski Nestor the Chronicler Monument to Nestor the Chronicler near the Kiev Pechersk Lavra Nestor (c. ... John Malalas (or Malelas) (Syriac for orator ) (c. ... George Hamartolus (Greek ) was a monk at Constantinople under Michael III (842-867) and the author of a chronicle of some importance. ... Bylina (Russian: были́на, also Byliny and Stariny) is a traditional epic, heroic narrative poetry of early East Slavs of Kievan Rus, the tradition continued in Russia and Ukraine. ... Excerpt NjÃ¥ls saga in the Möðruvallabók (AM 132 folio 13r) circia 1350. ... Yan Vyshatich (Ян Вышатич in Russian) (c. ... Mosaic of St. ...

The early part is rich in anecdotal stories, among which are the arrival of the three Varangian brothers, the founding of Kiev, the murder of Askold and Dir, the death of Oleg, who was killed by a serpent concealed in the skeleton of his horse, and the vengeance taken by Olga, the wife of Igor, on the Drevlians, who had murdered her husband. The account of the labors of Saints Cyril and Methodius among the Slavic peoples is also very interesting, and to Nestor we owe the tale of the summary way in which Vladimir the Great suppressed the worship of Perun and other idols at Kiev. The Varangians (Russian: Variags, Варяги) were Scandinavians who travelled eastwards, mainly from Jutland and Sweden. ... Askold (Höskuldr) and Dir (Dyri) were according to the Primary Chronicle, two of Ruriks men. ... Prince Oleg ( Norse name Helgu) was the East Slavic ruler who moved the capital of Rus from Novgorod the Great to Kiev. ... Baptism of Princess Olga. ... Burial of Igor the Old, by Heinrich Semiradski (1845-1902). ... The Drevlians (Древляне, Drevlyane in Russian; Деревляни, Derevliany in Ukrainian) were a tribe of Early East Slavs between the 6th and the 10th century, which inhabited the territories of Polesie, Right-bank Ukraine west of Polans, down the stream of the rivers Teteriv, Uzh, Ubort, and Stviga. ... Monument to Sts. ... Distribution of Slavic people by language The Slavic peoples are a linguistic and ethnic branch of Indo-European peoples, living mainly in Europe, where they constitute roughly a third of the population. ... Detail of the Millenium of Russia monument in Novgorod (1862) representing St Vladimir and his family. ... In Slavic mythology, Perun (with many spelling and pronunciation variants among modern Slavic languages) is the highest god of the pantheon and the god of thunder and lightning. ...

In the year 1116, Nestor's text was extensively edited by hegumen Sylvester who appended his name at the end of the chronicle. As Vladimir Monomakh was the patron of the village of Vydubychi where his monastery is situated, the new edition glorified that prince and made him the central figure of later narrative. This second version of Nestor's work is preserved in the Laurentian codex (see below). Events Baldwin I of Jerusalem undertakes an invasion of Egypt The modern book of separate pages stitched together is invented in China Construction starts on the Chennkesava temple The Aztecs leave Aztlán searching for the site of what will eventually become Tenochtitlán and later Mexico City Births Deaths... Hegumen, hegumenos, or ihumen (Greek: ἡγούμενος , Russian: игумен) is the title for the head of a monastery of the Eastern Orthodox Church, similar to the one of abbot. ... Sylvestr (Сильвестр in Russian) (c. ... Volodymyr Monomakh (Ukrainian: Володимир Мономах; Russian: Владимир Мономах; Christian name Vasiliy, or Basil) (1053 -- May 19, 1125) was the ruler of Kievan Rus. ... The view of the Vydubychi Monastery with the park ovelooking the Dnieper River and the Left-bank city neighborhoods. ...

A third edition followed two years later and centered on the person of Vladimir's son and heir, Mstislav the Great. The author of this revision could have been Greek, for he corrected and updated much data on Byzantine affairs. This latest revision of Nestor's work is preserved in the Hypatian codex (see below). Mstislav I Vladimirovich the Great (Мстислав Владимирович Великий in Russian) (June 1, 1076 — April 14, 1132), Grand Prince of Kiev (1125-1132), the eldest son...

Two manuscripts

Because the original of the chronicle as well as the earliest known copies (the Laurentian codex and the Hypatian codex) are lost, it is difficult to establish the original content of the chronicle, word by word.

The Laurentian codex was copied by the Nizhegorod monk Laurentius for the Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich in 1377. The original text he used was a lost codex compiled for the Grand Duke Mikhail of Tver in 1305. The account continues until 1305, but the years 898-922, 1263-83 and 1288-94 are missing for unknown reason. The manuscript was acquired by the famous Count Musin-Pushkin in 1792 and subsequently presented to the Russian National Library in St Petersburg. Laurentian Codex (Russian: ) is a collection of chronicles that includes the oldest extant version of the Primary Chronicle and its continuations, mostly relating the events in the Northern Russia (Vladimir-Suzdal). ... Nizhny Novgorod (Russian: ), colloquially shortened as Nizhny, is the fourth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. ... Dmitry Konstantinovich of Suzdal (Russian: Дмитрий Константинович Суздальский) (1324 – June 5, 1383), was a powerful Prince of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod who dominated Russian politics during minority of his son-in-law, Dmitri Donskoi. ... // Events January 17 – Pope Gregory XI enters Rome. ... Tvers coat of arms depicts grand ducal crown placed on a throne. ... Events August 5 - English troops capture William Wallace Wenceslas III becomes king of Bohemia Archbishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Got, was elected as Pope Clement V. Philip IV of France accused the Knights Templar of heresy. ... Aleksei Ivanovich Musin-Pushkin (1744 — 1817), count since 1797, statesman, historian and art colector. ... 1792 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Visit of Alexander I to the library in 1812. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and...

The Hypatian codex was discovered at the Ipatiev Monastery of Kostroma by the Russian historian Nikolay Karamzin. The Hypatian manuscript dates by 15th century, but it incorporates much information from the lost 12th-century Kievan and 13th-century Halychian chronicles. The language of this work is East Slavic version of Church Slavonic language with many additional irregular east-slavisms (like other east-slavic codexes of the time). The Hypatian Codex (Hypatian Chronicle, Ipatiev Chronicle, Russian: ) is a compendium of three chronicles: Primary Chronicle, Kiev Chronicle, and Halych-Volhynian Chronicle. ... The Ipatiev Monastery (Ипатьевский монастырь in Russian) is a male monastery in Kostroma. ... Fire-observation watchtower in Kostroma (1825-28). ... Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin (December 1, 1766--1826) a Russian author credited with reforming the Russian literary language. ... Jackdaw on the coat-of-arms of Galicia alludes to the name of Halych Halych (Russian and Ukrainian: ) is a historic town in Western Ukraine on the Dniester River. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Numerous monographs and published versions of the chronicle have been made, the earliest known being in 1767. Aleksey Shakhmatov published a pioneering textological analysis of the narrative in 1908. Dmitry Likhachev and other Soviet scholars partly revisited his findings. Their versions attempted to reconstruct the pre-Nestorian chronicle, compiled at the court of Yaroslav the Wise in the mid-11th century. 1767 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Aleksey Aleksandrovich Shakhmatov (5 June 1864 - 16 August 1920) was an outstanding Russian philologist credited with laying foundations for the science of textology. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Dmitry Sergeyevich Likhachev (Russian: ; November 15 (28), 1906, St. ... Yaroslav I the Wise (978?-1054) (Christian name: Yury, or George) was thrice prince of Novgorod and Kiev, uniting the two principalities for a time under his rule. ...


Unlike many other medieval chronicles written by European monks, the Tale of Bygone Years is unique as the only written testimony on the earliest history of East Slavic peoples. Its comprehensive account of the history of Kievan Rus is unmatched in other sources, although important correctives are provided by the Novgorod First Chronicle. It is also valuable as a prime example of the Old East Slavonic literature. Kievan Rus′ (Ки́евская Ру́сь, Kievskaya Rus in Russian; Київська Русь, Kyivs’ka Rus’ in Ukrainian) was the early, mostly East Slavic¹ state dominated by the... The Novgorod First Chronicle (Russian: ) is the most ancient extant chronicle of the Novgorod Republic. ... Old East Slavic language is one name for a language spoken between the 10th and 14th centuries in Kievan Rus and its successor states, the ancestor of the modern East Slavic languages. ...


  • A collation of the chronicle by Donald Ostrowski in Cyrillic is available at http://hudce7.harvard.edu/~ostrowski/pvl/ together with an erudite and lengthy introduction in English. This is an interlinear collation including the five main manuscript witnesses, as well as a new paradosis, or reconstruction of the original.
  • There is an English translation and commentary by Samuel Hazzard Cross and Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor, The Russian Primary Chronicle. Medieval Academy of America Publication No. 60 (Cambridge: Mediaeval Academy, 1953).
  • The main codices (Laurentian, Hypatian, Novgorodian) are available in Cyrillic on http://litopys.org.ua/
  • http://www.uoregon.edu/~kimball/chronicle.htm Excerpts of primary chronicle, including founding of Novgorod by Rus, Attacks on Byzantines, and Conversion of Vladimir. Also mentions several slavic tribes by name.

The Cyrillic alphabet (or azbuka, from the old name of the first two letters) is an alphabet used for several East and South Slavic languages; (Belarusian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian, and Ukrainian) and many other languages of the former Soviet Union, Asia and Eastern Europe. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Primary Chronicle - definition of Primary Chronicle in Encyclopedia (813 words)
The chronicle is a very important source of information on the history of the period and is of prime importance to the early history of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland.
The original of the chronicle was lost, and the earliest known copies are the Laurentian codex (which dates from 267 years after 1110) and the Hypatian codex, so it is difficult to establish the exact content of the chronicle, how it was written and who wrote it.
The work is of primary importance for early Ruthenian history, and, although devoid of literary merit, is not without its amusing episodes of an Herodotean character.
  More results at FactBites »



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