Second, uniquely among battles in medieval Rus'/Russia, (2) it was the subject of a trilogy of literary works: the epic Zadonshchina, notorious for its crucial role in determining the authenticity of Slovo o polku Igoreve (The Tale of the Host of Igor'); the so-called Letopis 'naia povest' (Chronicle Tale) found within the corpus of Russian chronicles; and Skazanie o Mamaevom poboishche (The Narration of the Battle with Mamai, hereafter the "Narration").
They conclude that the Zadonshchina dates to the brief interval between the battle of Kulikovo and the sack of Moscow by Tokhtamysh, the "Chronicle Tale" (in its primary Long Redaction, to which I will return) to no later than the first third of the 15th century, and the "Narration" to the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century.
(9) I believe the allusion to lost tribute by the fleeing Tatars in the Zadonshchina does not mean that tribute-payment had been terminated to all Tatars but rather that these Tatars, who are also never again going to kiss their wives, expected to die imminently.
Fennell, a distinguished Oxford historian and philologist, long ago provided one of the most cogent treatments of the "textological triangle" embracing the IT, the Zadonshchina
, and the Hypatian Chronicle, concluding (pace Likhachev and Jakobson) that both of the latter influenced the IT.
Zimin's monograph consists of eight long and fact-filled chapters and five complex appendices, in which he proposes a reconstruction of the texts of two versions of Zadonshchina, reproduces the Hypatian Chronicle's account of Igor"s campaign of 1185 and the Tale (Skazanie) of Mamai's Campaign, and offers his own reconstruction of the original text of the Slovo.
The first two chapters (14-180) deal, respectively, with the so-called "Short" and "Extended" versions of Zadonshchina, which Zimin calls "one of the basic sources of the poetical inspiration of the author of the Slovo" (102), and with the textual relationship between the Slovo and the major versions of Zadonshchina.
While the textual dependency of the Slovo upon Zadonshchina seems clear, it is hard to agree with Zimin's conclusion in the same section that "This (i.e., the fact that Zadonshchina became one of the basic inspirations of the author of the Slovo) could happen not only because of the similarity of the subject matter, but also because Zadonshchina ...
Somewhat unexpectedly, given the title of the book, the opening chapter deals with the supposed Short and Extended Redactions of Zadonshchina [The Battle beyond the Don], and their relationships to chronicles and to the Skazanie o Mamaevom poboishche [Story of the Battle with Mamai].
He accuses one scholar of making the blunder of not realizing K-B represents the First or Short Redaction of Zadonshchina. I say, on the contrary, it was Zimin's own main blunder, at this stage of his work, to turn the fragmentary K-B into a redaction, and the first redaction at that.
At the other extreme, it could possibly be, as Zimin supposes, a first attempt to compose a Zadonshchina that we otherwise know only from the much elaborated Extended or Expanded Redaction that survives in several copies.