Skazanie o Kniaziakh Vladimirskikh

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Skazanie o Kniaz’iakh Vladimirskikh


(Tale of the Princes of Vladimir), a 16th-century literary and publicist monument that was utilized in the political struggle to reinforce the authority of the grand princes and later of tsarist power. The Skazanie is based on a legend about the descent of the Russian grand princes from the Roman emperor Augustus through the legendary Prus, who was allegedly related both to Augustus and to Riurik. The second legend that forms part of the Skazanie tells how Vladimir Monomakh obtained the imperial regalia from the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachos. The dates when these legends appeared have not been established.

Early in the 16th century (not later than 1523), the two legends constituting the Skazanie o kniaz’iakh vladimirskikh were united in the Epistle of the Tver’ ecclesiastical writer and publicist Spiridon-Savva, who aspired to be metropolitan of all Rus’. The first redaction of the Skazanie was based on the Epistle. The ideas in the Skazanie were used in diplomatic disputes during the reigns of Vasilii III and Ivan IV. The legend about the descent of the Russian grand princes from Augustus was utilized as an introductory article to the Genealogical Directory of 1555 and was included in the Stepennaia kniga (Book of Degrees). The second redaction of the Skazanie was written as an introductory article for the Coronation Ceremony on the occasion of Ivan IV’s coronation as tsar in 1547.


Dmitrieva, R. P. Skazanie o kniaz’iakh vladimirskikh. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.
Zimin, A. A. “Antichnye motivy ν russkoi publitsistike konsta XV v.” In Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istorich. protsesse. Moscow, 1972. Pages 128-38.


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