Kievan Chronicle

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The Kievan Chronicle or Kyivan Chronicle[a] is an Old East Slavic chronicle of Kievan Rus'. It was written around 1200 in Vydubychi monastery as a continuation of the Primary Chronicle. It is known from a single copy in the 15th-century Hypatian Codex, where it is sandwiched between the Primary Chronicle and the Galician–Volhynian Chronicle.[1] It covers the period from 1118, where the Primary Chronicle ends, until 1200, although its final entry is misdated to 1199. A final short notice mentions the start of the reign of Roman the Great as "autocrat of all Russia" in 1201.[2]

Among the sources used by the anonymous chronicler were a chronicle of the city of Pereyaslavl, house chronicles of the Rurikid dynasty (specifically of Rurik Rostislavich, Igor and Oleg Svyatoslavich, and Vladimir Glebovich) and a chronicle of Pechersk monastery. There is evidence that a redactor added material from the Galician–Volhynian Chronicle in the 13th century. Because its sources, save for the monastic chronicle, are secular and were probably not written by monks, the Kievan Chronicle is a politico-military history of the disintegration of Kievan Rus'.[2] It contains a historiographical account of the events celebrated in the epic Tale of Igor’s Campaign, in which the basic sequence of events is the same.[3] It also contains a passion narrative of the martyrdom of the prince Igor Olgovich in 1147.[4]

The Kievan Chronicle contains references to the fall of Jerusalem in 1187 and the death of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa on the Third Crusade in 1190, considering the former—and the failure of the crusade—divine punishment for sin and the latter a martyrdom.[5]

Based on the 1661 Paterik of the Kyivan Caves Monastery, 17th-century writers started to assert that Nestor "the Chronicler" wrote many of the surviving Old East Slavic chronicles,[6] including the Primary Chronicle, the Kyivan Chronicle and the Galician–Volhynian Chronicle,[7] even though many of the events described therein were situated in the entire 12th and 13th century (long after Nestor's death c. 1114).[7] From the 1830s to around 1900, there was fierce academic debate about Nestor's authorship, but the question remained unresolved, and belief in Nestorian authorship had persisted.[8]


  1. ^ Russian: Киевская летопись, romanizedKievskaya letopis; Ukrainian: Київський літопис, romanizedKyivskyi litopys


  1. ^ Tolochko 2007, p. 47–48.
  2. ^ a b Heinrich 1977, pp. ii–viii.
  3. ^ Børtnes 1989, p. 17.
  4. ^ Børtnes 1989, p. 21.
  5. ^ Isoaho 2017.
  6. ^ Tolochko 2007, p. 31.
  7. ^ a b Tolochko 2007, p. 47.
  8. ^ Tolochko 2007, p. 32–33.


  • Børtnes, Jostein (1989). "The Literature of Old Russia, 988–1730". In Charles Arthur Moser (ed.). The Cambridge History of Russian Literature. Cambridge University Press.
  • Heinrich, Lisa Lynn (1977). The Kievan Chronicle: A Translation and Commentary (PhD diss.). Vanderbilt University. ProQuest 7812419
  • Isoaho, Mari H. (2017). "Battle for Jerusalem in Kievan Rus': Igor's Campaign (1185) and the Battle of Hattin (1187)" (PDF). Palaeoslavica. 25 (2): 38–62.
  • Tolochko, Oleksiy (2007). "On "Nestor the Chronicler"". Harvard Ukrainian Studies. Harvard University. 29 (1): 31–59. Retrieved 30 September 2022.