Laurentian Codex. 1377

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About the Manuscript

This section includes an introductory entry about the Laurentian Codex and its historical and cultural significance, the circumstances of the creation of the landmark manuscript, features of the handwritten book, sources of the chronicle, as well as about acceptance of the manuscript for the collections of the first Public Library of Russia.

See the Manuscript

Here you can find a digital copy of the Laurentian Codex along with the tools necessary to view the manuscript on this website.

The text of the chronicle is written in Old Russian and may cause difficulty comprehending during reading. Therefore, each virtual page of the manuscript is accompanied by the necessary reference information. This includes transliteration of the text and translation of it into modern Russian.

About the Manuscript - Description

This section includes a detailed description of the Laurentian Codex as a landmark in the history of the hand-written book. Given are archeographic, paleographic, and codicological features of the manuscript such as the material of the leaves, script, handwriting, design, composition of the codex, the structure of quires, binding, physical condition, notes and inscriptions left on the sheets of the manuscript.

All data are recovered from the Depositary system in direct connection with a digital copy of the landmark, so the basic information of this section of the site can be readily illustrated by the corresponding virtual pages of the manuscript.

This section is intended primarily for source researchers and contains, in particular, the information that can not be obtained from viewing a digital copy of the manuscript (eg, the composition of the codex, the structure of quires, details of the binding structure).

About the Manuscript - Content

The digital copy of the Laurentian Codex is linked with an analytical description of its content in the Depositary system. With the digital technology we present here, not only continuous reading is allowed. The text is easy to search. Users can easily find what they are looking for on the pages and jump right there.

The text is devided into entries using weather records. As a rule, an entry describes events of a certain year. Dates are based on the Laurentian Codex, in which the years are counted from "the Creation of the World". The corresponding dates in modern reckoning of time "from the Birth of Christ" are given in parentheses.

Each entry bears a conventional title that is usually omitted in the text of the chronicle. Such titles are descriptive of the contents and are designed to simplify the search for the piece of text you require. Some entries have just conventional titles without any prior indication of the year. This is a series of entries at the beginning of the Laurentian Codex, as the narrative starts from biblical times, and the weather-period system of counting years was accepted only after 852. Moreover, some entries were needed to be additionally arranged by subject within their weather periods, for example, in the case of apparent interpolations (such as the Instruction of Vladimir Monomakh as part of the record for 1096), or a combination of clearly identified episodes of different topics (such as reports of unusual natural phenomena, etc ..) appeared within one weather record.

Each entry has a finding aid in the form of a inventory that lists the names of the persons mentioned in it. The list of names is connected with the respective directories of the Depositary system, in which you can find basic information about a particular person. Academician Dmitry Likhachev's commentary to the Tale of Bygone Years, published in the Literary Monuments series (see Bibliography), served as the main source for making finding aids. Now, the portion of the Laurentian Chronicle, following the Tale of Bygone Years (from 1111), has not scientific commentary developed to a sufficient degree, so the project is ready to proceed to the next stage to create finding aids for this part of the landmark.

The text is not accompanied with commentary, helping the modern reader understand its content, because interpreting meaning in text had inevitably to deal with one or another ideological concept and to be intended for a specific group of users. The primary aim of the project is to represent the landmark manuscript in a single entity of all its component elements. Therefore, the finding aids, allowing you to search throught the text, are not designed to explain it.


With the Depositary system you can search and view a particular piece of text in the Laurentian Codex. You can perform a search by name or by date. The search query returns a list of entries which are linked to the correspoding virtual pages of the manuscript.

Because the search is based on the IRS "Depository" (as the e-database that are continually developing and enhancing), biographical and historical records that the reader will find, vary in size and character of information. Currently, you can search only throughout the Tale of Bygone Years. Updating the name index is directly connected with the development of scientific commentary to the Laurentian Chronicle, and will be carried out subsequently.


This section contains a list of publications of the Laurentian Codex, and a list of the basic literature on it.


  • The text of the Laurentian Chronicle is transcribed into a modern alphabet. Obsolete letters of the Old Church Slavonic alphabet are replaced by modern ones
  • Titla (abbreviations) are deciphered to the modern spelling.
  • Punctuation is given according to the current rules.
  • Cyrillic numerals are replaced by Arabic numerals.
  • Transliterated text is divided into lines according to the arrangement of lines in the manuscript.
  • Minor editorial insertions, correcting obvious omissions of the scribe, are given in square brackets.
  • Mark [...] indicates large text gaps
  • Minor corrections of misprints are marked in italic.
  • Text fragments, written in cinnabar red in the manuscript, are highlighted in bold.


Translation of the Tale of Bygone Years, which opens the Laurentian Codex, was done with use of Academician Dmitry Likhachev's work, published in the Literary Monuments series (see Bibliography ).

The National Library of Russia expresses its sincere gratitude to Mrs. B. S. Zilitinkevich, gratuitously granted the permission to use the work by Dmitry Likhachev in this project.

Tthe portion of the Laurentian Chronicle, following the Tale of Bygone Years (from 1111), has not translated, so the project is ready to proceed to the next stage to do translation of this part of the landmark.