Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Russian chronicles gifted to Edinburgh University

Ivan book Image copyright Russian Consulate General
Image caption The book includes 17,000 illustrations and has been hailed as a great resource for history staff and students

A detailed reproduction of an ancient chronicle of Ivan the Terrible has been gifted to the University of Edinburgh.

The newly-created copy of The Illustrated Chronicles of Ivan the Terrible was given to the university by the Russian Consul General.

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

The text, which includes 17,000 illustrations, will be a key resources for history staff and students.

The entire book has only recently been recovered, compiled in order and reproduced by a charity called the Society of Ancient Literature Lovers.

Also known as the Tsar Book, the text deals with biblical history along with the histories of Rome, Byzantium and Russia.

Ivan the Terrible ruled at a time when Russia grew in size and international importance, but his reign was a turbulent time. When he died in 1584 without a legitimate successor, the country was plunged into a chaotic period known as the Time of Troubles.

Image copyright Russian Consulate General
Image caption The text covers topics ranging from biblical studies to the histories of Rome, Byzantium and Russia

Edinburgh University is home to the Princess Dashkova Russian Centre, which was founded in 2010 to build on a history of academic contacts and exchange of ideas between Scotland and Russia.

Russian Consul General to Edinburgh Andrey Pritsepov said it was a "great privilege" to present the text to the university's principal Prof Sir Timothy O'Shea.

He said: "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."

Prof O'Shea added: "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 led to this fascinating period of Russia's past."

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