Stereotypes of Lithuania and information about it in the most ancient East Slavic chronicles Cover Image
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Стереотипы Литвы и сведения о ней в древнейших восточнославянских летописях
Stereotypes of Lithuania and information about it in the most ancient East Slavic chronicles

Author(s): Michael Moser
Subject(s): Cultural history, Theoretical Linguistics, Middle Ages, Historical Linguistics, Eastern Slavic Languages, Philology
Published by: Akadémiai Kiadó
Keywords: Lithuanians; Lithuanian; Lithuania; Middle Ages; stereotypes; Mindaugas; Old East Slavic; Old Russian; Old Ukrainian; Novgorodian I Chronicle; Laurentian Chronicle; Hypatian Chronicle;

Summary/Abstract: The article is devoted to the question in which way Lithuanians and Lithuanian phenomena are represented in the oldest East Slavic chronicles (Novgorodian I, Laurentian [Suzdal’] and Hypatian [Kievan, Galician, and Volhynian] codices) in the entries up to the end of the 13th century. The analysis shows that the Hypatian codex, in particular its Galician-Volhynian part, contains most substantial entries on Lithuanians and Lithuania, whereas the bulk of entries in the Novgorodian and in the Laurentian (Suzdal’) codices tend to be elementary and stereotypical. The epitheta used with regard to Lithuanians (“godless”, “damned”) are not to be viewed only in the context of Lithuanian heathenism. When the East Slavs had Lithuanians as allies in their war campaigns, no epitheta were used at all. Only Daumantas and Vaišalgas, who fought along with the East Slavs against the Lithuanians, are treated as “good Lithuanians”, whereas Mindaugas and Traidenas come off as personifications of all “Lithuanian evil”. Mindaugas is the Lithuanian grand duke (king), who remains in the focus of the chronicles, in particular the Galician-Volhynian codex. He is also the first Lithuanian who appears in the chronicles as an acting person whose motives and goals are interpreted consecutively in the chronicles. His baptism in the Latin rite is described as a fraud. The appendix contains a synopsis of all entries on Lithuanian matters mentioned in the three oldest East Slavic chronicles.

  • Issue Year: 49/2004
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 229-280
  • Page Count: 52
  • Language: Russian