Byelorussian-Lithuanian Chronicles

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Byelorussian-Lithuanian Chronicles


historical and literary writings that originated in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. There are three chronicle codices in all.

The first codex, or chronicle of 1446, consists of the all-Russian codex in a Byelorussian redaction and of the Chronicle of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, originating approximately between 1428 and 1430, The latter work expounds the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the death of Gedymin to the death of the grand duke Vitovt and throughout defends the state and political interests of the Grand Duchy and justifies the policies of the Lithuanian grand dukes, primarily Vitovt.

The second codex of the Byelorussian-Lithuanian Chronicles, known as the Chronicle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Samogitia, was compiled in the first half of the 16th century. Its basic source was the first Byelorussian-Lithuanian codex, supplemented with legendary and unreliable information about the earliest history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (before Gedymin), and extended to cover events through the first half of the 16th century. This redaction emphasized the grand duchy’s wealth, power, and authority from time immemorial and attempted to show the descent of the Lithuanian grand dukes and some of the Lithuanian feudal lords from the Roman aristocracy in order to emphasize the Lithuanian lords’ preeminence over their Polish counterparts.

The third codex, known as the Bykhovets Chronicle, originated in western or southwestern Byelorussia between the 1550’s and 1570’s; entries break off at the year 1507. The last part, from 1453 onward, is a completely independent account, making it a valuable source for the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in this period. The Byelorussian-Lithuanian chronicles give reliable data for the period from the end of the 14th through the mid-16th century.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.