POLYVYANNYY D.I. “Bulgarian Anonymous Chronicle”: Essay on Analytical Decomposition

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.14 

Dmitry I. Polyvyannyy

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor, Head of the Scientific and Educational Center for the Integration of Science and Education,

Ivanovo State University,

Ermaka St., 39, 153025 Ivanovo, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org//0000-0003-3680-5508 


Abstract. Introduction. The article analyzes а chronicle in the Slavo-Vallachian miscellany manuscript (mid 16th c.) (currently in the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine in Kiev, Pochaev Lavra Collection, 116, l. 440a–447b). This text is known in scholarly literature as “Bulgarian anonymous chronicle”. Usually it is considered as a wholesome work created in the early 15th c. by an unknown scribe, who followed the traditions of the Tyrnovo literary school and possessed Bulgarian ethnopolitical identity. There were hypotheses that the work was based upon Slavonic translation of a lost work by Byzantine writer John Chortasmenos or upon an early Slavo-Moldavian chronicle. Concentrating their attention on the contents of the chronicle as a historical source or trying to identify its author as one of the contemporary scribes known by name, scholars used to divide the text of the chronicle into parts due to their contents or main persons. The article aims to precisely attribute the chronicle’s origin and composition, to separate its components and to connect them with the military and political events, as well as with the sociocultural environment of the orthodox Balkans in the early 15th c.

Method. Applying the method of multi-level analytical decomposition of the text, the author reveals the chronicle’s structure and considers the revealed parts in three contexts: the military and political situation in the Balkans during the first five decades of the Ottoman conquest (1352–1402); the social and cultural environment of the Southern Slavic and Greek polities and their literary heritage.

Analysis. The chronicle is based on three extensive historical narratives concerning the first stage of the Ottoman invasion before the establishment of the Turks’ control on crossing of the Gallipoli strait, the battle at Nicopolis in 1396 and the siege of Constantinople by Bayezid I in 1396–1402. They are connected with smaller stories on important episodes of the Ottoman conquest accompanied with historical notes integrated into the main text or left as marginal glosses. Three layers of the text differ with their composition and contents as well as with their language and style features, which allow to suppose that they had been created separately and became parts of the chronicle at its completion.

Results. The chronicle was composed in the early 15th c. from several kinds of historical records. Extensive historical narratives reveal their Byzantine origin, while short records lead to Bulgarian and Serbian samples of history writing, and the whole work could be completed in a Slavonic scriptorium of a Vallachian or Moldоvian monastery, where its manuscript was copied for the Pochaev miscellanea in the mid 16th c., and in the early 17th c. used by Michail Moxa to compose his “General history” in Vlacho-Moldovian.

Key words: Bulgarian Anonymous Chronicle, Ottoman conquest of Balkans, Bulgaria, Serbia, Byzantium, Balkan history writing in the 15th – 16th cc.

Citation. Polyvyannyy D.I. “Bulgarian Anonymous Chronicle”: Essay on Analytical Decomposition. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 173-183. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.14.

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“Bulgarian Anonymous Chronicle”: Essay on Analytical Decomposition by Polyvyannyy D.I. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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