English Translation of Novgorod Chronicles

Cornelia Soldat's picture

Dear Colleagues,

happy new year to all of you.

I wondered whether there exists an English translation of the Novgorod Chronicles. I have access via internet to the 1879 edition of the Chronicles in Russian but did not yet find a newer edition, less a translation.

I am especially interested in a translation of pp. 336-345, the Tale of the Conquest of Novgorod by Ivan the Terrible. If anybody of you knows a translation, please, tell me. If you could provide me even with a copy of it, I would be even more grateful. As this is for a publication, I would give you full credit for this, as in any other case I would have to do the translation myself which, being neither a native speaker of Russian or English, is always a problem.

Thank you.

Cornelia Soldat

Dear Cornelia,

A portion of the Novgorod 1st Chronicle was translated about a hundred years ago by Nevill Forbes and Robert Michell. It has been reprinted as "The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016-1471" and should be available on Amazon and other sellers. You can find it online as well.

The Forbes/Michell translation is awkward, to say the least, and badly outdated. I am producing a new annotated translation which should be available online in a few months. Happily for you, the end of the Forbes/Michell book contains an account of the Conquest of Novgorod by Ivan the Terrible, taken from the Novgorod 4th Chronicle, I believe.

Best wishes, stay healthy.

David Savignac
Independent scholar
Crofton, Maryland

Hello, Cornelia,
Perhaps I can be of help.
There are quite a few "Novgorod" chronicles, but few extend into the XVI century. An exception is the Novgorod 3rd Chronicle, which has entries into the XVIII Century. The text of the 1570-1571 Novgorod massacre appears in the 1879 edition of that chronicle.

I know of only one translation into English of what appears to be that text, and that is in Medieval Russia. A Source Book, 850-1700. 3rd ed. by Basil Dmytryshyn, 1990, pp. 305-308. I took a quick look at his translation, and it does appear to run in parallel with the 1879 edition. However, a portion of the text at the end of the entry for 1570-1571 is missing.

I am currently finishing up a complete translation of the Novgorod 1st Chronicle, which I hope to have ready for publication in a few months. I am quite busy. However, please contact me directly at dsavignac@aol.com a with more specific details of your needs regarding this text. I might be able to provide more help. I can send you a copy of the Dmytryshyn article, if you wish.

David Savignac
Independent scholar
Crofton, Maryland

Dear David,

Thank you for your reply. I also want to add that if you happen to know any online-publication of the said translations or if you plan to make your current translation of the Novgorod 1st Chronicle available online, please do feel free to share it here on H-EarlySlavic. On our Resources Tab under "Electronic Libraries" I have already listed your translation of Pskov 3rd Chronicle, the Novgorod Chronicles would be a nice addition to the list too.

Best,
Gleb Kazakov, editor H-EarlySlavic