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written records of the most important events by year, an early form of historical narrative source. Yearly records existed in antiquity among many peoples, but the term “annals” is of ancient Roman derivation. Such records originally developed in ancient Rome as official yearly records of the most important events (they were managed by a priestly pontifical college); they were set down on boards covered with gypsum and exhibited for all to become familiar with. Apparently, these most ancient annals perished when Rome burned in 387 B.C. and were subsequently reconstructed by memory, reworked, and continued. About 130 B.C. the annals were collected in 80 books (the collection Great Annals). Between 123 and 114 B.C. the keeping of the annals ceased; however, they served as a source for the works of the annalists. (These works, as well as some other works of ancient authors such as Tacitus, are called annals.)
The first medieval annals appeared in the sixth century. As a rule, they were composed in monasteries (in the Frankish state, also at the royal court; the most important Frankish annals were the Annals of the Frankish Kingdom). The annals generally consisted of short yearly records of events, but sometimes the name is also applied to more detailed historical works that actually approach chronicles—for example, the annals of Lambert Von Hersfeld of the 11th century and certain urban annals like the Great Milanese Annals of the 12th century. In Rus’ the letopisi corresponded to annals and chronicles.
REFERENCESMartynov, G. “O nachale rimskoi letopisi.” Uch. zap. MGU, otdel istoriko-filologicheskii, 1904, no. 32.
Radtsig, N. “Nachalo rimskoi letopisi.” Uch. zap. MGU, otdel istoriko-filologicheskii, 1904, no. 32.
Liublinskaia, A. D. Istochnikovedenie istorii srednikh vekov. Leningrad, 1955.