Russian chronicles gifted to University of Edinburgh

A LAVISH reproduction of an epic medieval text has been gifted to the University of Edinburgh.

Picture: An illustration of the Trojan Horse within one of the volumes.

A newly-created copy of The Illustrated Chronicles of Ivan the Terrible has been presented by the Russian Consul General in Edinburgh, Andrey Pritsepov, to the institution.

Experts believe the text, which has 17,000 illustrations, will prove a key resource for staff and students seeking to understand more about one of the most turbulent periods in Russian history.

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The original 10-volume work was created between 1568 and 1576, but was separated and lost for more than 400 years.

The entire text was recently recovered, compiled in order and reproduced by the Society of Ancient Literature Lovers charity.

Also known as the Tsar Book, the text deals with four major themes: Biblical history, and the histories of Rome, Byzantium and Russia.

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Created by decree of Ivan the Terrible, the chronicles were intended to provide education for the successors of the Tsar.

Ivan ruled at a time when Russia grew in size and international importance, but as he aged his reign became increasingly erratic.

When he died in 1584 without a legitimate successor, Russia was plunged into the Time of Troubles, when the empire was without a ruler and suffered famine, war and unrest.

Mr Pritsepov said: “It is a great privilege to present this text to the university. For hundreds of years, the chronicles were scattered in the remote places of Russia and only a few people were able to study these invaluable pieces.

“Only now has the text been recovered, providing a glimpse through the eyes of a medieval man of the turbulent currents of our distant history.”

The university is home to the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre, which was founded in 2010.

University principal Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea said: “I am very pleased to accept this great text on behalf of the university.

“It will provide an excellent opportunity for scholars who seek to gain more detailed knowledge of the circumstances that had led to this fascinating period of Russia’s past.”