Laurentian Codex. 1377

Laurentian Codex. 1377

The Laurentian Codex, one of the most valuable landmarks of world's culture, is preserved in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg (shelfmark: F.p.IV.2).

This unique manuscript is one of the most interesting and informative Old Russian historical books, and the circumstances of its creation and the history of this famous chronicle have earned it the status of a truly national treasure of Russia.

The Laurentian Codex is the oldest extant "dated" Russian chronicle, that means their folios bear the manuscript's date of creation signed by the hand of the scribe.

The name of the book is derived from monk Laurentius, the scribe who copied the main portion of the text. On the last folios of the manuscript, Laurentius left a note stating that he transcribed the chronicle with the blessing of Bishop Dionysius of Suzdal for the Grand Prince Dmitry Konstantinovich of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod, began his work on 14 January and completed it on 20 March 1377.

The account of the Laurentian Codex continues until 1305. As part of the Laurentian Codex, the oldest surviving version of the Primary Chronicle or "Tale of Bygone Years" - the ancient chronicle on the history of East Slavic people - has come down to us. Compiling South Russian, Vladimir, Rostov and Tver Chronicles in its different parts, the Laurentian Codex is considered to be a fundamental testimony on the history of the Northeastern Russia. The landmark has laid the basis of Russian historiography as a whole.

The leaves of the ancient manuscript sing hymns of Russian military glory. The profoundly humanistic theme of patriotism and spirited care for the destiny of the native land runs all through the story.