From the 15th century on the era of chronicles, epics, saints' lives, and pathetic stories of terrible misfortunes and glorious victories had gradually gave way to new trends. Of course, it had not disappeared for good; attempts to continue and even to revive it had lasted sometimes for a long time, even up to the 18th century. Some literary forms had even amalgamated with the folk art so closely that even in the 19th century they were expressed quite clearly enough (e.g. byliny). Nevertheless, it was the 16th century that brought the first elements of a breakthrough in the historical literature. Expanded thinking horizons of writers, and growing interest in world history, fostered development of publicism, and coverage of domestic and international relations became more complete. Reuniting the north-eastern Russia, the third decade of the 16th century, and the emergence of a single, centralized Russian state with its capital in Moscow, played there the crucial role.

Among the
old, but amenable to new ideas literary forms there is noticeable the Tale of the Princes of Vladimir, dated about 1520, that is, written during the intense struggle of the Muscovite grand duke Basil III with the Polish-Lithuanian state. That document, in which the history is inseparably intertwined with the legends, had been created with the clear political purpose: to prove the grand duke's right to the highest monarchic title - the czar - as well as to his rule over Smolensk; the right contested by Poland and Lithuania. The Tale presents the grand duke as the heir to the patrimony of the grand dukes of Vladimir, whose ancestry the author traces to the Roman emperor Augustus. As for the title of the czar, the lineage is being drawn back to Vladimir Monomachos, who in turn inherited it from the Byzantine Empire.

There is rarely any common ground between
legends and history, and not everything has to converge with mathematical precision, but one must not take uncritically such assertions as that Vladimir Monomachos was reportedly crowned to reign by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Monomachos. It is unlikely that the author confused there Vladimir Monomachos (born 1053) with Constantine Monomachos (died 1055). Most likely the source of the legend is completely different: the emperor's daughter was the mother of Vladimir Monomachos, who inherited the nickname in the maternal line. Anyway, this monument of literature served to the Muscovite rulers as a convincing political argument, even if questionable from today's point of view.