Russian Primary Chronicle

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[[Image:14 2 List of Radzivill Chron.jpg|thumb|right|250px|''Tale of Bygone Years'' in [[Radzivill Chronicle]]]]
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The '''''Primary Chronicle''''' (Old [[Church Slavonic]]: Повѣсть времяньныхъ лѣтъ; Russian: Пóвесть временны́х лет, ''Povest' vremennykh let''; Ukrainian: Пóвість врéм'яних літ, ''Povist' vremjanykh lit''), also known as the '''''Russian Primary Chronicle''''' or by its opening words, '''''Tale of Bygone Years''''', is a compilation of writings that are the principal source of the history of the eastern Slavs up to the early twelfth century. The ''Chronicle'' was compiled in the [[Monastery of the Kiev Caves|Monastery of the Caves]] in Kiev. Traditionally, the [[monk]] Nestor has been attributed as the author of the ''Chronicle'', written during the time of Vladimir II Monomakh.
  
The '''''Primary Chronicle''''' ({{lang-cu|Пов{{Unicode|ѣ}}сть времяньныхъ л{{Unicode|ѣ}}тъ}}; {{lang-ru|Пóвесть временны́х лет}}, ''Povest' vremennykh let''; {{lang-uk|Пóвість врéм'яних літ}}, ''Povist' vrem'anykh lit''; {{lang-be|Апóвесць мíнулых часóў}} ''Apovests' minulikh chasoũ'' often translated into English as '''''Tale of Bygone Years'''''), or '''Russian Primary Chronicle''',<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9064486/The-Russian-Primary-Chronicle|title=The Russian Primary Chronicle|accessdate=2008-06-25|publisher=Encyclopedia Britannica}} see also; http://www.google.fi/books?q=%22kievan+russia%22&btnG=Search+Books&hl=en</ref> is a history of [[Kievan Rus']] from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in [[Kiev]] about 1113.
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The ''Chronicle'' describes events from the mid-eighth century, that is the time of the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Michael III, in the domains of the grand princes of Kiev and [[Novgorod]] and includes the introduction of Orthodox Christianity into Kievan Rus'. The ''Chronicle'' is the oldest source of history concerning the [[Baptism of Rus'|conversion of the Rus']] under Prince [[Vladimir of Kiev|Vladimir]], and others involved in the Christianization of the eastern Slavs, including Princess [[Olga of Kiev|Olga]], and the Princes [[Boris and Gleb]].
  
== Three editions ==
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The original version of the ''Chronicle'' has been attributed to the [[monk]] Nestor, although now it appears he may have acted as an editor of earlier works. The "Nestorian" version was followed by two later versions, the first edited by Sylvester, [[hegumen]] of St. Michael's Monastery in the village of Vydobichi near Kiev, and the second by an unknown person who may have been Greek, as he corrected and updated information about the Eastern Roman affairs. No copies of these original chronicles exist. The earliest known version extant, dating from 1377, is the Laurentian codex that was complied by the monk Laurentius for Prince Dmitiri Donskoy. Other versions exist with slight variations in the text.
The original compilation was long considered to be the work of a monk named [[Nestor the Chronicler|Nestor]] and hence was formerly referred to as ''Nestor's Chronicle'' or ''Nestor's manuscript''. His many sources included earlier (now-lost) Slavonic chronicles, the Byzantine annals of [[John Malalas]] and [[George Hamartolus]], [[bylina|native legends]] and [[Norse saga]]s, several Greek religious texts, Rus-Byzantine treaties, and 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.
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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 of Kiev|Oleg]], who was killed by a serpent concealed in the skeleton of his horse, and the vengeance taken by [[Olga of Kiev|Olga]], the wife of [[Igor of Kiev|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 traditional gods at Kiev.
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Later in the Kievan period of Russia other sources were written, such as the ''Novgorod Chronicles'', that enriched knowledge about this early history and either confirmed the ''Primary Chronicle'' or corrected its biases.
  
In the year 1116, Nestor's text was extensively edited by [[hegumen]] [[Sylvestr of Kiev|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).
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Despite being most commonly known in English as the ''"Russian" Primary Chronicle'', the modern state known as ''Russia'' did not exist in the period in question. Some scholarly sources have suggested that ''Rus''' instead of ''Russian'' may be more correct.  In any event, the document itself is most often known in Slavic sources simply as the ''Primary Chronicle''.
  
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).
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==Sources==
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*Ed. Tessa Clark, ''The Russian Chronicles'', Thunder Bay Press, 2001. ISBN 1-57145-577-9
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*[http://novaonline.nv.cc.va.us/eli/evans/HIS241/Notes/PrimaryChronicle.html Notes on the Russian Primary Chronicle]
  
== Two manuscripts ==
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==External links==
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*[[w:Primary Chronicle|Wikipedia: Primary Chronicle]]
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*[http://www.answers.com/topic/primary-chronicle Primary Chronicle]
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*[http://web.ku.edu/~russcult/culture/handouts/chronicle_all.html Opening selections from the Primary Chronicle (English translations)]
  
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.
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[[Category:Church History]]
 
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[[Category:Texts]]
The '''[[Laurentian codex]]''' was copied by the [[Nizhny Novgorod|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 reasons unknown. The manuscript was acquired by the famous [[Aleksei Musin-Pushkin|Count Musin-Pushkin]] in 1792 and subsequently presented to the [[National Library of Russia]] in [[St Petersburg]].
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The '''[[Hypatian codex]]''' was discovered at the [[Ipatiev Monastery]] of [[Kostroma]] by the Russian historian [[Nikolay Karamzin]]. The Hypatian manuscript dates to the 15th century, and incorporates much information from the lost 12th-century Kievan and 13th-century [[Halych]]ian chronicles. The language of this work is the East Slavic version of [[Church Slavonic language]] with many additional irregular east-slavisms (like other east-slavic codices of the time).
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Numerous monographs and published versions of the chronicle have been made, the earliest known being in 1767. [[Aleksey Shakhmatov]] published a pioneering [[textology|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.
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== Assessment ==
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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 Slavic language#Old East Slavic Literature|Old East Slavonic literature]].
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== References ==
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* 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.
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<!--* Extracts from the chronicle translated into English are available at http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dml0www/kimohist.html. Note that this page also contains documents not from the chronicle. Chronicle extracts have the source noted at the end of the extract page.-->
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* 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).
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* The main codices (Laurentian, Hypatian, Novgorodian) are available in Cyrillic on http://litopys.org.ua/
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*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.
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==Further reading==
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*[[Nora Kershaw Chadwick|N.K.Chadwick]], ''The Beginnings of Russian History: an Enquiry into Sources'', [[Cambridge University Press]], 1946; ISBN 0-404-14651-1 
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==Source==
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*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Primary_Chronicle Wikipedia - Primary Chornicle]
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
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== See also ==
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*[[Nestor the Chronicler]]
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*[[Ioachim Chronicle]]
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*[[Freising manuscripts]]
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*[[Russkaya Pravda]]
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[[Category:12th-century books]]
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[[Category:Kievan Rus]]
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[[Category:East Slavic chronicles]]
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[[Category:Chronicles regarding Lithuania]]
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Latest revision as of 06:55, May 4, 2009

The Primary Chronicle (Old Church Slavonic: Повѣсть времяньныхъ лѣтъ; Russian: Пóвесть временны́х лет, Povest' vremennykh let; Ukrainian: Пóвість врéм'яних літ, Povist' vremjanykh lit), also known as the Russian Primary Chronicle or by its opening words, Tale of Bygone Years, is a compilation of writings that are the principal source of the history of the eastern Slavs up to the early twelfth century. The Chronicle was compiled in the Monastery of the Caves in Kiev. Traditionally, the monk Nestor has been attributed as the author of the Chronicle, written during the time of Vladimir II Monomakh.

The Chronicle describes events from the mid-eighth century, that is the time of the reign of the Eastern Roman Emperor Michael III, in the domains of the grand princes of Kiev and Novgorod and includes the introduction of Orthodox Christianity into Kievan Rus'. The Chronicle is the oldest source of history concerning the conversion of the Rus' under Prince Vladimir, and others involved in the Christianization of the eastern Slavs, including Princess Olga, and the Princes Boris and Gleb.

The original version of the Chronicle has been attributed to the monk Nestor, although now it appears he may have acted as an editor of earlier works. The "Nestorian" version was followed by two later versions, the first edited by Sylvester, hegumen of St. Michael's Monastery in the village of Vydobichi near Kiev, and the second by an unknown person who may have been Greek, as he corrected and updated information about the Eastern Roman affairs. No copies of these original chronicles exist. The earliest known version extant, dating from 1377, is the Laurentian codex that was complied by the monk Laurentius for Prince Dmitiri Donskoy. Other versions exist with slight variations in the text.

Later in the Kievan period of Russia other sources were written, such as the Novgorod Chronicles, that enriched knowledge about this early history and either confirmed the Primary Chronicle or corrected its biases.

Despite being most commonly known in English as the "Russian" Primary Chronicle, the modern state known as Russia did not exist in the period in question. Some scholarly sources have suggested that Rus' instead of Russian may be more correct. In any event, the document itself is most often known in Slavic sources simply as the Primary Chronicle.

Sources

External links

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