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This webpage reproduces a section of

Survey of Ukrainian Historiography
By Dmytro Doroshenko

published by
The Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences
in the U. S., Inc.,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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 p31  Ukrainian Chronicles:
"Lithuanian" or West Rus′ Chronicles

Very few historical literary monuments belonging to the fourteenth and fifteenth century have been preserved. This can be explained by the turmoil and ravages which the wars left in their wake throughout the land, destroying almost all the literature of that epoch. However, from extracts and traces which have been preserved in later works, we know that the writing of chronicles went on uninterruptedly during these centuries.

The writing of chronicles which began almost simultaneously in Kiev and Novgorod made some advances in Byelorussia, which during the Grand Principality of Lithuania had common political and cultural bonds with the Ukrainian lands, also a part of that Principality. Therefore, the entire cycle of so‑called Lithuanian or West‑Rus′ Chronicles written in Byelorussia is common to both Ukrainian and Byelorussian historiography.

So far, fourteen texts of the "Lithuanian" Chronicles have been discovered. They can be divided into three groups: 1) Shorter or Earlier Redaction which is characterized by abundant news from Smolensk lands; 2) Composite or Second Redaction which contains the history of Old Lithuania and devotes less space to Smolensk; 3) Complete or Third Redaction which gives a detailed history of Old Lithuania and its later period (after Gedymin).

 p32  The first redaction dates from the 1440's, the second from the 1550's, the third from the 1560's.

Lithuanian chronicles were based on local Smolensk and Ukrainian (Kiev, Volynia, Podolia) chronicles. Their authors were also familiar with Polish chronicles, official documents, and court circulars. The oldest of them are characterized by their intense love for detail, their pragmatism, and their poetic style.

The following are the more important texts of the Lithuanian chronicles:

Suprasl'sky spisok (Suprasl text) which is preserved in the form of a symposium, compiled in 1520 by Grigorii Ivanovich who served at the court of Prince Semen Odyntsevych. In addition to the "Kiev" Chronicle, which extends from 862 to 1514 and ends with the victory of Prince Ostrozhsky over the Muscovites in 1515, it also comprises the Smolensk and West‑Rus′ chronicles.

Litopys Avraamky (Avraamka's Chronicle) written in Smolensk in 1495, by or of Bishop Joseph, "by the hand of the sinful bondsman of God, Avraamka."

Barkulabovsky Litopys (Barkulabovo Chronicle) was compiled by the priest Fedir Pylypovych of Smolensk in the village of Barkulabovo near Orsha and Mohyliv at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It contains valuable information about the activities of the Brotherhoods and the beginnings of the Church Union, and is written in beauti­ful Byelorussian.

Litopys Bykhovtsya (The Chronicle of Bykhovets') from the end of the sixteenth century. It is the most complete of all the Lithuanian chronicles and is based on a great many sources, some of them from the Galician-Volynian Chronicle.11

The Lithuanian Chronicles had considerable influence on Polish chroniclers — Długosz, Stryjkowski, Bielski — and through them, also, on later Ukrainian historiography of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The Lithuanian Chronicles were published in the XVIth volume of the Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei, St. Petersburg,  p33 1889, and in the XVIIth volume of the same work under the editor­ship of S. L. Ptaszycki and A. A. Shakhmatov, St. Petersburg, 1907. Altogether thirteen texts were printed. The fourteenth text "Kronika Vel. knyazstva litovskago i zhmoitskago," 1636, was published by S. Rozanov in Ukrayins'kyi naukovyi zbirnyk (Ukrainian Symposium of Science), Moscow, 1915.


N. Kostomarov, Lektsii po russkoi istorii. Istochniki russkoi istorii, St. Petersburg, 1861 (section on Byelorussian Chronicles); I. Szaraniewicz, "O latopisach i kronikach ruskich XV i XVI wieku," Rozprawy i sprawozdania z posiedzeń Wydziału historyczno-filozoficznego Akademii Umiejętności, Tom XV, Kraków, 1882; N. Dashkevich, Zametki po istorii litovsko-russkago gosudarstva, Kiev, 1885 (reprint from Kievskaya Universitetskiya Izvestiya); A. Barbashev, Vitovt i ego politika do Gryunwal'denskoi bitvy, St. Petersburg, 1885; A. Barbashev, Vitovt; poslednie dvadsat' let knyazheniya 1410‑1430, St. Petersburg, 1891; A. Barbashev, "Letopisnye istochniki dlya istorii Litvy v srednie veka," Bibliograf, 1888, St. Petersburg; Antoni Prochazka, Letopis litewski. Rozbiór krytyczny, Lviv, 1890; S. Smolka, Najdawniejsze pomniki dziejopisania rusko-litewskiego, Rozbiór krytyczny, Kraków, 1889, also Pamiętniki Akademii Umiejętności, wydział filologiczny i historyczno-filozoficzny, vol. VIII, 1890; M. Hrushevsky, "Pokhvala velykomu knyazyu Vytovtu, Kil'ka UVAH pro sklad naydavnishoyi lytovs'ko-rus'koyi litopysi," ZNTSH, VIII, 1895; E. Karsky, "O yazyke tak nazyvaemykh litovskikh letopisei," Varshavskiya Universitetskiya Izvestiya, 1894, No. 11; A. Prochazka, "Z powodu Wydawnictwa latopisów litewskich," Przegląd Historyczny, XII (1911), pp115‑125; I. Tikhomirov, "O sostave zapadno-russkikh t. n. litovskikh letopisei," Zhurnal ministerstva narodnago prosveshcheniya, 1901, Nos. 3, 5; A. Shakhmatov, "Zapiska o zapadno-russkikh letopisyakh," Letopis' zanyatii arkheografi­cheskoi komissii za 1900 god, vypusk 13, St. Petersburg, 1901; F. Sushitsky, Iz lektsii po literature yuzhnoi i zapadnoi Rusi XV‑XVIII vv. Ocherk I, O zapadno-russkikh letopisyakh,  p34 Kiev, 1915; T. Sushytksy, "Zakhidno‑rus'ki litopysy yak pamyatky literatury," Part I, Kiev, 1921, Part II, Kiev, 1929; V. Ikonnikov, Opyt russkoi istoriografii, Vol. II, Kiev, 1908.

The Author's or the Editor's Notes:

11 This chronicle is known for its literary and dramatic values.

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