Bykhovets Chronicle

Bychowiec Chronicle

The Bychowiec Chronicle (also spelled Bykhovets, Bykovets or Bychovec) named the Letopis of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is an anonymous 16th century chronicle of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Although one of the least reliable sources of the epoch, it is considered the most complete redaction of the Lithuanian Chronicles. The name comes from the discoverer of the manuscript, a 19th century Polish historian Aleksander Bychowiec. It was discovered in 1830; it was popularized by Teodor Narbutt, who published it in full in 1846. An apology of various magnate families of the Grand Duchy, it was most probably authored between 1519 and 1542, under the guidance of Grand Chancellor of Lithuania Albertas Goštautas, though some parts continued to be added until 1574.

The chronicle describes events in the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the 13th to the early 16th century. It can be logically divided into depiction of the wars between Lithuania and Poland, and the wars between Lithuania and Ruthenia, against East Slav principalities of present-day Belarus, Russia and Ukraine; it also deals with the struggle against the Mongol invasion and the Teutonic Knights.

The chronicle was published in 1907 in the Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles, vol 17 (Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei) among 25 most important East Slavic manuscripts.

Although one of the least reliable Slavonic chronicles, the Bykhovets chronicle is generally believed to have used many medieval documents as its source. The research by the comparative text analysis, however, attempted to prove that the ultimate source of the Bychowiec manuscript was, in fact, the Halych-Volhynian Chronicle only, possibly in a copy or in excerpts that differed slightly from the versions we know now.

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