Pskov Chronicles

Pskov Chronicles


chronicles compiled in Pskov between the 14th and 17th centuries. The chronicles contain a wealth of material on the history of Russian towns, class struggle in the towns, the peoples inhabiting the Baltic coast, and the struggle against the Teutonic Knights. The extant Pskov Chronicles are based on a codex dating from the 1450’s and 1460’s, which in turn incorporated chronicles written in Pskov’s Trinity Cathedral from the 14th century, official documents, material taken from Novgorod chronicle codices, writings from Lithuania and Smolensk, local sources, and literary works. The 25 copies of the Pskov Chronicles that have been found are divided into the First, Second, and Third Pskov chronicles.

The First Pskov Chronicle exists in two redactions—the Tikhonov and First Archive copies. It is derived from codices compiled in 1469 and 1481. The Pogodin copy covers events down to 1547, and the Obolenskii and Third Archive copies contain entries down to the early 17th century. Complex in structure, the First Pskov Chronicle contains information about harvest failures, epidemics, the Pskov suburbs, the posadniki (governors), the courts, and relations with Moscow and Novgorod. The chronicle is sympathetic to the growing power of the Moscow princes but denounces the excesses of their vicegerents.

The Second Pskov Chronicle is represented only by the Synodal copy, which is a copy of a codex made in 1486 that condenses the texts of other chronicles and includes material not found elsewhere, such as eyewitness accounts of the construction of buildings (citing expenditures), wars, and epidemics. The Second Chronicle reflects the class struggle in Pskov to a greater extent than the other two chronicles.

The Third Pskov Chronicle is represented by the Stroev copy of a 1567 codex, which is probably the original version of the Third Chronicle, as well as by a later redaction, the Second Archive copy. The Third Pskov Chronicle contains a wealth of material on the struggle against the Teutonic Knights and the Lithuanian feudal lords. It differs from the First Chronicle chiefly in its interpretation of events from an anti-Muscovite point of view. It was composed in the Pskov-Pechory Monastery when it was headed by Abbot Kornilii, who was executed by Ivan the Terrible for his close ties with A. M. Kurbskii.

The Pskov Chronicle compiled in the 17th century contains information on the Pskov Uprising of 1608–11.


Pskovskie letopisi, fasc. 1–2. Moscow, 1941–55.


Nasonov, A. N. “Iz istorii pskovskogo letopisaniia.” Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 18. Moscow, 1946. Maslennikova, N. N. Prisoedinenie Pskova k russkomu tsentralizovannomu gosudarstvu. Leningrad, 1955.