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Law in Medieval Russia

Law in Eastern Europe
A series published in cooperation with the
Institute of East European Law and Russian Studies
of Leiden University, the Universities of Trento and
Graz and the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano

General Editor

William Simons


Law in Medieval Russia

Ferdinand Feldbrugge


This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Feldbrugge, F. J. M. (Ferdinand Joseph Maria), 1933- Law in Medieval Russia /
By Ferdinand Feldbrugge.
p. cm. — (Law in Eastern Europe)
Includes index.
ISBN 978-90-04-16985-2 (hardback : alk. paper)
1. Law—Russia—History. I. Title.
KLA122.F45 2009

ISSN 0075-823X
ISBN 978 90 04 16985 2
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A Note on Sources
1. Primary Sources: Chronicles and Other Collections
The Primary Chronicle
The First Novgorod Chronicle
Other Collections
2. Primary Sources: Individual Documents (Charters); Archives
3. Secondary Sources
Textbooks on Legal History
General History Classics


List of Abbreviations


1. The Question of Definition
2. The Indo-European Aspect
Indo-European Patriarchy
Chieftaincy and Kingship
The Professionalization of Law
The Penalty Catalogue
Collective Liability
Some Preliminary Conclusions
3. Looking beyond the Indo-Europeans
The Code of Hammurabi
The Law of Bagrat Kuropalates
The Great Statute of the Oirat Mongols of 1640
4. Law and State
5. The Origins of Legislation


1. Introduction
2. General Remarks
3. The Short Pravda
4. The Chronological Framework of the Short Pravda
5. The Short Pravda: Composition and Status



Law in Medieval Russia

6. The Expanded Pravda
7. Other Contemporary Sources
The Treaties of 912 and 945
The Treaty of 1229 between Smolensk and Riga
8. The Contents of the Short Pravda: Wergeld and Composition
9. Procedure
10. The Origins of the Russkaia Pravda
11. The Sources of the Oldest Pravda
12. The “Russian Custom” (Zakon Russkii)
13. Other Contemporary Slavic Legislation
14. Germanic Contacts
15. What does the Oldest Pravda represent?
1. Introduction to the Problem
2. How the Views Developed over Time
3. The Legislation Involved: Roman and Byzantine Law—
The ‘Lenders’
Roman Law
Secular Byzantine Law
a. The Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law
b. Ecloga
c. Basilika
d. Epanagoge (Eisagoge)
e. Procheiron
f. Epitome
Byzantine Canonical (Ecclesiastical) Law
The Early Collections up to the
Nomocanon XIV titulorum
Subsequent Developments in Byzantine Canon Law
Summary of Byzantine Canon Law
4. The Legislation Involved: Russian Law—The ‘Borrowers’
The Court Law for the People
The Russian-Byzantine Treaties
The Russian Law (Russkaia Pravda)
The Church Statutes of the Princes
5. Roman/Byzantine Influences: Where and When
6. The Kormchaia as the Main Vehicle of Byzantine
Legal Influence and Other Collections
The Penetration of the Kormchaia into Medieval Russia
The Merilo Pravednoe or ‘Just Measure’
The Knigi Zakonnye or ‘Law Books’


Contents vii 7. Veche and Prince 6. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Trade or Agriculture? 4. The Kievan ‘Empire’ 5. Sources 2. Conclusion 129 130 132 134 136 139 140 145 Chapter 5: POPULAR ASSEMBLIES IN EARLY MEDIEVAL RUSSIA: THE VECHE IN LEGAL HISTORY 1. The Russian Veche and Legislation 14. THE DRUZHINA AND THE NATURE OF KIEVAN RUS’ 1. Veche Procedure 8. The Veche and the Nature of the Kievan Polity 12. Land Tenure: The Legal Perspective 2. The Situation in Novgorod and Pskov 10. The Veche in Early Kievan Russia 4. The Veche in a Comparative European Context 13. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Continued 6. Interlude: Feudalism 5. Composition of the Veche 7. Renewed Interest in the Veche 147 148 149 150 152 152 154 156 157 159 160 161 162 163 164 . Later Developments 9. Five Centuries of Veche History 3. The Druzhina 7. Weighing the Evidence Roman Law Byzantine Law Nomos Georgikos Ecloga The Court Law for the People Procheiron Chapter on Witnesses Church Statutes Treaties with Byzantium 8. Conclusions 94 94 108 109 111 116 118 119 120 122 122 125 Chapter 4: LAND TENURE. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Soviet Approaches 3. The Veche after 1240 9. Kievan Rus’ as a Period of Transition 11.

Postscript: The ‘Elder Brother’ in Soviet Rhetoric 167 167 170 174 178 179 Chapter 7: THE TREATIES OF MEDIEVAL RUSSIA 1. The Treaties between Princes Starshinstvo The Treaties and Testaments of the Princes of Moscow: Close Relatives Excursion concerning the Title of Grand Prince The Treaties of the Princes of Moscow: Distant Relatives The Treaties between Moscow and Lithuania 5. Periodization and Sources 4. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans 8. The Table of Ranks 5. The Treaties of the Russian Cities The Treaties of Novgorod the Great Novgorod-Tver’ Treaties Novgorod-Moscow Treaties Novgorod Treaties with Foreign Rulers Novgorod Treaties with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants Pskov Treaties 7. From Genealogical to Contractual Seniority 3. Defining the Topic 2. Polotsk Treaties 4. The House of Rurik 2. Moscow Treaties with Other Russian Princes with Foreign Princes 181 181 183 186 188 189 189 192 195 196 197 197 198 200 200 202 204 205 206 210 211 214 220 220 220 222 222 224 224 224 224 229 . Concluding Thoughts Appendix 1. Pskov Treaties 3. Princely Treaties not involving Moscow Smolensk Treaties Other Princely Treaties 6. Novgorod Treaties with Moscow and Tver’ Grand Princes with Foreign Rulers with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants 2. The Earliest Times 3. Muscovy Russia: Mestnichestvo 4.viii Law in Medieval Russia Chapter 6: THE ELDER BROTHER IN RUSSIA 1.

Popular Rule and Democracy in Russia 8.Contents 5. Introduction 2. Novgorod’s System of Government 4. Due Process 11. Novgorod the Great 3. Novgorod’s Legal System 5. The Position in Russia 6. Novgorod’s Trade with the Hanseatic League 6. Church and State in Russia The First Centuries Church and State under the Mongols The Church in Muscovy The Special Status of Novgorod The Church in the Russian Empire 7. Other Princely Treaties among themselves and with Foreign Princes 6. Feudalism 9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 3. Urban Freedom 10. Introduction 2. Concluding Observations Chapter 9: THE SKRA OF NOVGOROD: LEGAL CONTACTS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND WESTERN EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES 1. Equality 4.Peter in Novgorod ix 229 229 230 233 233 233 235 236 236 237 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 243 243 245 247 249 250 250 252 253 256 257 258 261 261 262 264 266 267 270 . Taming the State: Dispersal of Power The Separation of Powers Due Process Separation of Church and State Christian Anthropology and the Freedom of Conscience Sharing Power: Original Democracy Sharing Power: The Feudal System Sharing Power: Urban Freedom Rationalism and Enlightenment 5. The German Court of St. Equality 12. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans Chapter 8: HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIAN LEGAL HISTORY 1.

Adjudication of German-Russian Disputes 8. The Law of Bagrat Kuropalates 11. The Code of Smbat Sparapet 8. The Internal Organization of the Court of St. Introduction 2. The Law of Giorgi V the Brilliant 14. General Historical Background: Georgia 5. The Law of the Armenian Kingdoms 6. Conclusions 293 293 294 295 297 298 299 300 303 304 305 306 307 307 308 309 310 311 312 Index of Personal Names 315 Subject Index 325 Glossary of Russian and Foreign Terms 329 About the Author 335 . The Canonical Laws 12. The Laws of Beka and Aghbuga 13.Peter 9. The Non-Georgian Parts of the Collection 10. Sources and Contents of the Different Versions of the Skra 11.x Law in Medieval Russia 7. General Historical Background: Armenia 4. The Legal History of Georgia 9. The Order of the King’s Court 15. The Literature 3. Concluding Remarks 271 274 278 281 290 Chapter 10: MEDIEVAL LAW IN TRANSCAUCASIA— ON THE PERIPHERY OF EUROPEAN LEGAL HISTORY 1. The Law of the Catholicos 16. Dasturlamali 18. The Law Code of Vakhtang VI 17. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh 7. The Skra of Novgorod and its Different Versions 10.

For that reason. legal history may have a more important didactic purpose: if properly presented. Additionally. Medieval legal history has its peculiar charm. as I believe. for accepting my work for his series. such as Festschrifte in honour of a respected colleague. but its weight should not be overrated. a legal universe if you wish. I became more aware of the fact that these seemingly incidental studies were actually strongly interconnected. I am grateful to the General Editor of Law in Eastern Europe. and over a period of more than thirty years. This is a valid argument. having appeared in different countries. for this pragmatic purpose. In the end. I have made use of these. These few thoughts may perhaps explain why for many years already I have engaged in the study of the law of medieval Russia and related topics. I decided to bring them together in a single volume. or conferences devoted to historical subjects. We would only need comparatively small sections of legal history. When I looked back at the results of these activities. One of the reasons is that a large part of medieval sources consists of legal documents. particularly by legal historians. and then mostly from more recent times. from the start of my career. I have entertained a lively interest in legal history. When opportunities arose to write about it.Foreword Soviet law. and not very often. scattered about in different publications. the problems they have to solve and the lessons they learn are often the same. because in it the lines between legal and general history become blurred. which may be much easier to survey and comprehend than the vast and complex systems of today. especially in that particular form where the field is studied for its own sake and not as a handmaiden for legal practice. without ulterior motives. and then Russian law. have been the central themes in my work for most of my professional life. Simons. the systems of codified law and the Anglo-American systems. the desire to know and to understand. is what drives the most worthwhile scholarly work. European legal history provides an easy link between the two main legal families of the modern world. . This was nearly always in connection with collective efforts. however. nevertheless. interpret and apply present-day legal rules. Professor William B. But. that legal history is useful because without it we cannot properly understand. It has often been argued. it may acquaint the student with a legal system. They were. The legal and the general historian do not approach this material with exactly the same aim. In a legal curriculum.

because then the narrative of an individual chapter would have to be interrupted too often by references to other chapters. as a result of which a rather different paper emerged. Gedachten naar aanleiding van de Russkaia Pravda. Some Concluding Observations”. In a few cases. Het oudste Russische recht. certain basic information had to be included about such topics as the Russian-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century. the internal organization of Novgorod. 1977. a “List of Abbreviations” has been appended to this Note. the princely succession system of Kievan Russia. the literature on this topic had grown substantially and this alone justified a very thorough reworking. I had felt for a long time that it would be desirable to treat this subject more in depth.3 the problem raised in the latter paper was indeed fundamental for a proper understanding of early Russian law. F. 2003. First of all. Anyway. 1 2 3 “Law’s Beginnings. Leiden. “The Earliest Law of Russia and Its Sources”. Then there was the aspect of duplication. this resulted in very drastic revision. Leiden.). the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’”) is based in part on a paper that was published in 1977.1 The following chapter on “The Russkaia Pravda” is an adapted version of a paper I also contributed to this volume. I have attempted to reduce redundancy and treat such subjects at what seemed to be the most appropriate place. When the papers were originally published. especially in respect of the older pieces. The Law’s Beginnings. Russian Law: Historical and Political Perspectives. Leiden. To eliminate duplication altogether would have been counterproductive. separately. An additional advantage is that the chapter discusses the most important monuments of early Russian law. Feldbrugge (ed. Leiden.). . everything had to be brought up-to-date by the insertion of new materials and the corresponding adjustment of my original texts. 1-28. F. A different version of this paper (in Dutch) was delivered as my farewell lecture at the University of Leiden. 2003. The information on sources which had been included in almost all the original papers has now been brought together in a preliminary “Note on Sources”. but the conclusions reached at that time may have been somewhat premature. Butler (ed. the Russkaia Pravda. The first chapter “Law’s Beginnings and Early Law” constitutes an extensive reworking of a concluding chapter which I contributed to a volume which was published several years ago. etc. 93-113.).xii Law in Medieval Russia The execution of this plan turned out to be less simple than it seemed in the beginning. W. On this point. Chapter 4 (“Land Tenure. 1998.2 The massive Chapter 3 (“Roman Law and Early Russian Law”) has not been published before. Feldbrugge (ed. “The Law of Land Tenure in Kievan Russia”. 255-280. The Law’s Beginnings.

). and the few relevant publications which have appeared since have been taken into account. 65-90. 1985. the original paper7 was written in 1981.51. F.Foreword xiii The paper on the medieval Russian popular assembly. The interconnection between the different papers is a point which I already made above. The Hague/Boston/London. G. a longish section on the composition of the highest echelons of the Soviet nomenklatura has been reworked drastically. Bruxelles. 1982. On the Periphery of European Legal History”) concerns a topic which both in content and in geographical terms is marginal to the central theme of the collection.4 In Chapter 6 (“The Elder Brother in Russia”) an older paper has been used. I decided to include it. No. 2001. I have restricted myself mainly to editorial adjustments. 7 8 Originally published under the same title in A. No. . 2004. Simons (eds. among other things. Russland im Kontext der internationalen Entwicklung [Boguslavskii Festschrift]. International and National Law in Russia and Eastern Europe [Ginsburgs Festschrift]. Berlin. R. The Russkaia Pravda as the main piece of legislation from the Kievan era is the central topic of Chapter 2.5 but in substantially amended form. 519-533. the veche (Chapter 5: “Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History”). 765-784. mainly to take into account new literature. Hofmann & H. was reviewed more lightly. 211-225.6 The same applies to Chapter 9 (“The Skra of Novgorod: Legal Contacts Between Russia and Western Europe in the Middle Ages”). Baden-Baden. In the Chapters 7 (“The Treaties of Medieval Russia”) and 8 (“Human Rights in Russian Legal History”). The last Chapter 10 (“Medieval Law in Transcaucasia.). “Human Rights in Russian Legal History”. the reason why the problem of a considerable amount of duplication had to be addressed. 165-179. both chapters being based on fairly recent original papers. Brunner (ed. Trunk (ed. Law in Eastern Europe. The Hague/London/Boston.8 Certain parts of the paper do also connect with Chapter 1. Clark.). 157-205. 2001.49. Feldbrugge & S. Pomorski (eds. Nevertheless. F. of course. Human Rights in Russia and Eastern Europe [van den Berg Festschrift]. Kontinuität und Neuanfang [Brunner Festschrift]. This was. Küpper (eds.). 2002.). 5 6 “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. “The Elder Brother in Russia: Seniority in Russian Politico-Legal Discourse”. Berlin. Sowjetsystem und Ostrecht [Meissner Festschrift]. but is also prominent in the discussion of the influence 4 Based on a paper with the same title in M. because during the last two centuries Armenia and Georgia have been closely associated with Russia and Russian (Soviet) law. A paper with an identical title was published in Hommage à–Hulde aan–Tribute to René Dekkers. Feldbrugge & W. Law in Eastern Europe.

I have regularly referred. 9 See A. it coverage concerns predominantly what is known as external legal history. respectable as they may be. as is commonly done in Russian literature.). Poppe.7 (treaties). generally speaking. the main topic of Ch. Princely succession. the criminal law of Kievan Russia like? I intend to return to that at a later time. “S. is in an unfavourable position in comparison to a Russian colleague who has large and ancient collections at his disposal in Moscow or St. on the veche (Ch. One observation that can at least be made is that early law is very much a question of external history. in our modern terminology: what was the family law. on the treaties (Ch. it also occurs in other chapters.W. which constitutes the conceptual background of the other papers. but also part of its attraction for the scholar. about the actual contents of medieval Russian law. they have been used as synonyms. The so-called Normanist problem.Peterburg” instead of “Saint Petersburg”)). where suitable.8). editors of collective works (where mentioned) have been treated as authors of the works concerned (with the addition of “(ed.7). A non-Russian scholar who has to rely mainly on his own library and that of his university.9). Sakharov (ed. that is its limitation.6) and. Two defects should be mentioned too. There is much less. the latter’s name has been added in square brackets. . to the Kievan grand prince who introduced Christianity into Russia as “St.4 (about the druzhina and the nature of Kievan Rus’) and Ch. A few small technical and editorial points to conclude. The second reservation concerns my own sources. of identifying the sources. concerning the origins of the Rurikid dynasty and the Kievan state. and at that more incidentally. The opening chapter on “Law’s Beginnings” offers a comprehensive and more theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of early law. the commercial law. The Novgorod theme connects the chapters on the Skra (Ch. Although I believe that the collection of these papers represents a reasonably balanced survey of the rich tapestry of the law of medieval Russia. Moskva. Ot Drevnei Rusi k novoi Rossii [Shchapov Festschrift]. explained in footnotes. if the work is dedicated (as a Festschrift or memorial volume) to a particular person.N. is also of great importance in Ch. for practical reasons.Petersburg. 2005. 44-61. to a lesser extent. turns up in most chapters and the same can be said about the impact of Mongol-Tatar rule.)” after their names). The use of the ethnonyms “Mongol” and “Tatar” is occasionally.6 (on the “Elder Brother”). on human rights (Ch. A.9 In bibliographical references. “Kogda i kak kniaz’ Vladimir byl priznan sviatym”. whatever doubts one may have about the prince’s saintliness.xiv Law in Medieval Russia of Byzantine law (Chapter 4) and in the question of land tenure (Chapter 4). Place names in bibliographical references have been given as they were in the books concerned (“Moskva” instead of “Moscow”.Vladimir”.

in the end. Even where common sense would suggest the recognition of certain texts as legislation. our knowledge of medieval Russian law rests. at least in principle. if this meaning is not immediately clear. more on this in the next chapter. the human psyche. The way law ‘is’ is different from the way a language. This gives rise to the additional problem of trying to establish the most likely version of the original text. These problems also occur in the history of medieval Russian law and in order to avoid the need to repeat the same basic information on sources in each of the following chapters this introductory chapter will attempt to survey the most important primary and secondary sources of the law of medieval Russia. or at least some of them. a standard legislative process.A Note on Sources A lawyer needs sources to tell him what the law ‘is’. In the case of another very important document. ultimately. identification of the sources is unproblematic. the Court Charter of Pskov. (I use the quotation marks in order to introduce a caveat. In ancient and medieval law. This literature itself is based on text editions which have been published during the last two centuries.) In modern states. must have used a manuscript text. A vast number of manuscript versions of the Russkaia Pravda have survived and very considerable differences among them can be observed. there were no official gazettes. the situation is different in at least two respects. But. or the material reality ‘is’. The law is found in statutes and subordinate regulations. The body of documents constituting the primary sources for the study of medieval Russian law can generally be divided into two main . and beyond that also in the decisions of courts and other authorized bodies who articulate the actual meaning of these statutes and regulations. To take the most important monument of early Russian law as an example: a student of the Russkaia Pravda may derive much knowledge and insight from the vast literature that is available on this topic in Russian and Western languages. the authors of these text editions. and our knowledge of these texts is based on often diverging manuscript traditions. only a single manuscript copy has survived and this could therefore certainly be regarded as the primary source. 1. was usually absent. I understand those documents on which. A regular procedure for creating law. Primary Sources: Chronicles and Other Collections Under primary sources. There is much less clarity about what the sources are and once this problem is solved the sources turn out to be scarce.

1 2 There had been several private publications of chronicle texts previously. For chronicle texts. published also in St. in 1843. It is the oldest of them all and itself the source for many later chronicles. The Laurentian manuscript derives it name from the monk Lavrentii who made the copy in Suzdal’ in 1377.1 The first volume of the “Full Collection of Russian Chronicles” (Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei – PSRL) appeared in 1841. as many leading medievalists and philologists have concerned themselves with them. Still.2 of the PSRL. Chronicles were usually written by monks (initially the only literate persons). The Hypatian manuscript constituted Vol. To realize the systematic publication of chronicle texts the Archeographical Commission was founded in 1834. Precise historical documentation was obviously not the exclusive or even dominant purpose of a chronicler. A. They were then copied and recopied and could undergo all kinds of changes in the process. according to the colophon of the copy. The literature on Russian chronicles is rich. Shakhmatov (1864-1920). being erroneously ascribed to a monk Nestor. they are occasionally the direct source for certain legal texts.Petersburg. The oldest and most important redactions of the Primary Chronicle are represented by the Laurentian and Hypatian manuscripts. the PSRL is considered the basic publication. The Hypatian manuscript was found in the Hypatian monastery in Kostroma and dates from the middle of the 15th century.1 of the PSRL in 1846 in St. with a second edition in 1908 and a third edition in 1923 in Leningrad. the chronicles form the most numerous group. with a second revised edition in 1926 in Leningrad. Within the first category. book-like volumes and separate (single) documents or charters (gramoty). . More specifically. the chronicles are an invaluable source because our knowledge and understanding of medieval Russian society depends largely on them.xvi Law in Medieval Russia categories. The Laurentian manuscript was published as the first part of Vol.2 The Primary Chronicle (Nachal’naia letopis’) also used to be known as the Nestor Chronicle. The Primary Chronicle Of the numerous chronicles.Petersburg. Some of the original texts of the Russkaia Pravda have been included in copies of the First Novgorod Chronicle. The Archeographical Commission and its publications survive until the present day. often at the behest of secular rulers. pride of place belongs to the Primary Chronicle. The foundation for all more recent work on the chronicles has been laid by A. All these factors have to be taken into account when evaluating the reliability of a chronicle. The 10th century treaties between Russia and Byzantium are known only from the Primary Chronicle.

Moskva. the ancestor of the future ruling dynasty is reported. The Russian Primary Chronicle–Laurentian text. The main body of the Chronicle covers the ‘classical’ period of Kievan Rus’: baptism under Vladimir in 988. taken from the opening words of the text. the Russians attacked Constantinople. S. and by A. the Synodal manuscript. 1875-1888. Most commentators. Cross and O. . it steps onto firm historical ground with the year 852. 1950.Peterburg. Novgorodskaia kharateinaia letopis’. München. London. 2 vols.H.A. Forbes. There is much information on the still pagan successors of Rurik and how they achieved a dominant position as rulers in Kiev. Tikhomirov (ed. 1953.N. and the gradual fragmentation of the Kievan realm under his successors.A Note on Sources xvii Another frequently employed title is the “Tale of Bygone Years” (Povest’ vremennykh let). The real narrative starts in 862. the First is the only one that is of eminent importance for the early history of Russian law. Of the First Novgorod Chronicle two versions exist. This makes it impossible to speak unambiguously about the time it was written. this edition also includes the Russian text and a complete facsimile of the Synodal manuscript. it mentions Noah and the Flood. Novgorodskaia letopis’ po Sinodal’nomu Kharateinomu spisku. Shakhmatov and W. The First Novgorod Chronicle Of the different redactions of the Novgorod Chronicle. New entries were added later on.P. but then moves quickly to an account of how the Slavs settled in Eastern Europe.N.). this edition includes introductory texts by the translators. MA. Leningrad. 1971. The Older and Younger Versions were published together by A. 1914 (reprint 1970). the Older (Starshii izvod) and the Younger (Mladshii izvod). Novgorodskaia pervaia letopis’ starshego i mladshego izvodov. following Shakhmatov. German translation by J. In its beginning. Cambridge. Also: M. and particularly where Novgorod itself is concerned. The final text is supposed to have emerged in or shortly after 1116.. when according to Greek sources.3 The Primary Chronicle takes us up to the year 1116. Die Erste Novgoroder Chronik nach ihrer ältesten Redaktion (Synodalhandschrift) 1016-1333/1352. Hanak. discern various chronological layers in the Primary Chronicle. After reviewing the more or less legendary events concerning the early Slavic tribes in Russia. Sherbowitz-Wetzor. 1964. Dietze. Nasonov.4 The actual text of the Synodal manuscript ends in the year 1333 and was probably written about that time. The Chronicle of Novgorod. English translation of the Synodal manuscript by R. which took 3 4 English translation of the Laurentian text by S. The Older Version of the First Novgorod Chronicle is available in one copy only. when the arrival of Rurik. with a temporary revival of the old Kievan glory under Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125). the rule of his son Iaroslav the Wise as the apogee of Kievan Rus’. Mitchell and N.

They were less involved in dynastic strife and armed conflict.V. Of these the kormchie or ‘guide-books’ are the most important and numerous. also containing ecclesiastical and secular legal materials. Other Collections Along with chronicles.xviii Law in Medieval Russia the narrative up to the year 1472 when Novgorod lost the last remnants of its independence. Monasteries were outstanding in this respect. the rulers of Muscovy and later on the Russian empire. Documentary collections belonging to secular authorities. other manuscript collections containing legal materials have survived. a vast number of other shorter documents have survived from the Russian middle ages. Moskva. Because such documents embodied. It is in the nature of things that such documents usually concern legally relevant matters.Peterburg. A third collection worth mentioning is the ‘Law Books’ (Knigi zakonnye). as it were. . containing only materials of Byzantine origin. They are the Russian version of the Byzantine Nomocanon: collections of various content. Archives Along with the more modest number of manuscript ‘books’. Another important collection was the ‘Just Measure’ of Merilo Pravednoe. Their preservation depended before all on a suitable place for permanent safe-keeping. Part I. their peaceful existence often continued for many centuries. 1773-1775. 2. Cherepnin. containing materials which were needed by churchmen.5 A small number of rich and powerful noble families maintained their own archives. Moskva/Leningrad. a particular right or claim. They will be discussed at greater length in the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”. such as chronicles and kormchie. 1948. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIVXV vekov. would eventually end up with the ultimately remaining power. Part II. Some of the materials are of a theological nature.6 an official publication of state charters was begun in 5 6 The basic study on these archives is L. Primary Sources: Individual Documents (Charters). but others concern canon law and also secular law. Many copies of the Russkaia Pravda have been found as additions to kormchie. such as governments or judicial bodies. they have been preserved with more than the usual care. Drevniaia Rossiiskaia Vivliofika ili sobranie raznykh drevnikh sochinenii. 1951. After the first publication of medieval Russian charters in the last part of the 18th century. S.

Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. Severnye gramoty. Vol. Moskva. 5 vols.Peterburg.12 7 Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogovorov.N. Moskva. a thematic rather than an archival criterion was decisive. Veselovskii & A.9 The Central State Archive for Ancient Documents (TsGADA) became the repository for many formerly private archives.1. otnosiashchiesia do istorii Zapadnoi Rossii. 5 vols.). S.).. ili sobranie form starinnogo deloproizvodstva. Moskva. Moskva. covering especially the archival materials of major ecclesiastical land owners. 1841-1842.S. otnosiashchiesia do istorii Iuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rossii.I. 8 Akty iuridicheskie.V. 1846-1853.N. A. S.A. khraniashchikhsia v Gosudarstvennoi Kollegii inostrannykh del. and twelve volumes of supplements. Zimin & M.B. 1950. 1820 (Vol. Kniga kliuchei. Pamiatniki sotsialno-ekonomicheskoi istorii moskovskogo gosudarstva XIV-XVII vv.V. 1894 (Vol. sobrannye i izdannye Arkheograficheskoiu komissieiu. sobrannym i izdannym Arkheograficheskoiu Komissieiu. N. Cherepnin (ed. was responsible for a whole range of serial publications containing documents collected from all over the empire.).Peterburg. 1949.Peterburg. who were among the wealthiest landwoners in the past. Cherepnin (ed. Vol. 1813 (Vol. Moskva/Leningrad. Cherepnin published a collection of testaments and treaties of the grand princes and provincial princes. Several collections were devoted to the documents connected with some of the great monasteries. Chaev (ed. covering the period of their independence from Moscow.10 A year later L. S. Dukhovnye i dogovornye gramoty velikikh i udel’nykh kniazei XIVXVI vv. 1956 (monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk). S. Dopolneniia k Aktam istoricheskim. Akty feodal’nogo zemlevladeniia i khoziaistva. Tikhomirov (eds. 1951 (documents from the Moscow metropolitanate).). Moskva. 18631892.8 After the October Revolution.Peterburg.N. Valk edited a collection of charters concerning the history of Novgorod and Pskov. 9 10 S.3). 1929 (the Solovetskii monastery). S. S.2).2.). 1828 (Vol.). Akty istoricheskie. Moskva.A Note on Sources xix 1813. 1961 (Moscow metropolitanate and monastery of the Annunciation in Nizhnii-Novgorod). i. Akty. 1838.. Akty. Iakovlev (eds.. . 15 vols. 11 12 L.5). Valk (ed.11 Cherepnin was also the principal editor of the three-volume “Acts of feudal land ownership and management”.. L.3. until 1478 for Novgorod and until 1510 for Pskov.4). 1929 (the Troitse-Sergiev monastery). S. In other collections.7 The Archeographical Commission. Moskva/Leningrad. Vol. 1949 (the monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk).V. Peterburg.1). mentioned above.e. 1819 (Vol. 1846-1872. Moskva. the publication of important archival material continued..

Moskva.V. Considerable numbers of such documents have been preserved on account of the special soil conditions. The PRP bring together the most important Russian laws and government decrees. A. Pamiatniki prava Kievskogo gosudarstva. 7). the 13 14 Cf. Moskva.13 One category that should be specially mentioned are the birchbark documents. and they go back much further than parchment or paper documents. Moskva.A.1 (B. Zakonodatel’nye akty Petra I. 1952 Vol. 1969. Pamiatniki prava perioda sozdaniia absoliutnoi monarkhii.1.14 3. Moskva.V. one could place collections of texts. Pamiatniki prava perioda ukrepleniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva.15 The last of the eight-volume series to appear was Volume 7 in 1963.). Grekov. Moskva. Vol. 1956 Vol. ed. Cherepnin. Secondary Sources In the first echelon of secondary legal sources. Pamiatniki prava perioda soslovno-predstavitel’noi monarkhii. L.xx Law in Medieval Russia The publication plan of the core fund of medieval Russian documents was completed by the Institute of History with another three-volume work.5. 1959 Vol. having survived by chance. 1963 Vol.7. Cherepnin. Moskva.A.).). 1961.3.V.A.3-5.2. Moskva. Zimin (comp. Pamiatniki russkogo prava. 1964. Two collections are of outstanding importance.3 (L. Sobornoe Ulozhenie Alekseia Mikhailovicha 1649 goda. Cherepnin and then K. general editor S.).D. Cherepnin. . A. Sofronenko.V. Pamiatniki prava perioda obrazovaniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva. 1958. Cherepnin (Vols. 1957 Vol. up to the year 1724. Zimin (comp. had all kinds of other purposes. 1952. Vol. Sofronenko (Vols. specifically devoted to the Russian North-East. mostly from Novgorod. Moskva. But. K. ed. 15 Akty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii Severo-Vostochnoi Rusi. While the latter were mostly drawn up and kept safe in order to record some legally relevant matter. Moskva. Pamiatniki prava feodal’no-razdroblennoi Rusi. taken from the primary sources mentioned above.2 (L. 1 and 2). Vol. the series continued under the editorship of L.A. but also from other places.V. they offer an insight into “the law in action” in a period where all other written records fail. Moskva. Iushkov (Vols. Moskva. starting with the Russo-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century. ed.). the birchbark documents. Novgorodskie berestianye gramoty kak istoricheskii istochnik. 1953 Vol.8. occasionally. Iushkov.4.V. After his death in 1952. 1955 Vol. L.V.6. The “Monuments of Russian Law” (Pamiatniki russkogo prava) were started in 1952 under the editorship of S. Moskva.4 and 8): Vol.

Gorskii (ed.2. Vol. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda obrazovaniia i ukrepleniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva. the vast literature from before 1947 has been collected and is quoted extensively. 16 Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov.A Note on Sources xxi eighth volume is devoted to the legislation of Peter the Great. with the variant readings of other copies.6. All texts have been provided with a commentary. Grekov is still the fundamental work.). For the Middle Ages. the important variant readings have been given.7.2.17 The first volume contains the texts of the oldest and most important copies of the different manuscript families. Man’kov (ed. Vilenskii (ed. based on manuscripts.D. Zakonodatel’stvo epokhi burzhuazno-demokraticheskikh revoliutsii. although the RZ series does occasionally offer information not to be found in the PRP. 1994. 1947.3. A.3. Moskva. Vol.).).D.1.I. 1984 Vol. Man’kov (ed.8. Vols. the PRP is therefore still the most useful source. 1987 Vol.). The series has been edited most carefully by the leading scholars for the different periods. 1991 Vol. Moskva. Teksty.9.G. For the most important legislative document of early medieval Russia. 1940. 1963. Ianin (ed. ed. 17 .16 The first four volumes of this series cover the same period as the entire PRP. For the older texts. Moskva. B. O. Zakonodatel’stvo Drevnei Rusi. Chistiakov (ed.). A.I. the Russkaia Pravda. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda stanovleniia absoliutizma. Moskva. Moskva. Zakonodatel’stvo pervoi poloviny XIX veka. Moskva.1. Moskva/Leningrad.D. Akty Zemskikh soborov. A. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda rastsveta absoliutizma. V. E. O. Pravda Russkaia.): Vol. the Academy of Sciences publication edited by B. Faksimil’noe vosproizvedenie tekstov.).). Chistiakov (ed. In the second volume. Sudebnaia reforma.5.). B. Moskva. Chistiakov (gen.G. O. O.I. Chistiakov (ed. 1985 Vol.4. Dokumenty krest’ianskoi reformy. Kommentarii. Grekov (ed. Moskva. The third volume contains full facsimile copies of the two leading manuscripts of the Short Pravda and the thirteen leading manuscripts of the Expanded Pravda. The most difficult texts are accompanied by a modern Russian translation. Moskva.).).V. Twenty years later.I.L. a new and similar series was started: “Russian Legislation from the 10th to the 20th century” (Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov). Indova (ed. Moskva/Leningrad. 1985 Vol.5-9 cover the period of 1726-1917. Moskva. 1988 Vol. 1989 Vol.I. Vol. in the shape of a commentary to the individual provisions of the RP. 1986 Vol.

the “Metropolitan’s Justice” and quite a few other sources. and a number of princely church statutes. The selection has been very generous. Hellie served as general editor) consists of three volumes. Eck. but also the treaties with Byzantium. 1992). eight church charters of various princes. the Charter of Pskov.19 Although German scholars had been more involved than other scholars from the Western world in the study of Russian legal history. which included the RP. but his views were occasionally controversial and this did also affect the quality of his translations. with the Russian text on the left-hand page and the English translation on the other. Jr. Also. a volume containing the Law Codes (Sudebniki) of 1497. plus more than fifty pages of introduction. Like the other volumes of the series. four treaties between Novgorod and the prince of Tver’. 1988). it offers a bilingual text. 1963.xxii Law in Medieval Russia Translations The fullest and most recent collection of translations of medieval Russian laws into English is the first series (”Medieval Russia”) of the ambitious collection “The Laws of Russia”.18 and “The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649” (Irvine. Vernadsky was undoubtedly one of the few outstanding Western scholars in this field. For the purposes of this book. makes this volume a most useful addition to the literature on medieval Russian law. translated and edited by R. 1589. 1947) was the best-known source for English translations of medieval Russian laws.H. Eck published a collection of translations (with comments) in 1963. and 1606/1607. Schlacks. the second volume has not yet appeared. Kaiser. of which apparently only the first part (text and translation) has been published. In French. All this. translated and edited by D. Szeftel & A. M. . Vernadsky (“Medieval Russian Laws”. 1550. there is no recent German translation of the most important relevant texts. with 18 19 At the moment of writing this chapter. New York. the third part (the Ulozhenie of 1649) is to consist of two parts. published under the general editorship of C. Bruxelles. his collection included only the RP and the charters of Dvina Land and the cities of Novgorod and Pskov. Szeftel and A. M. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. California. Before this publication. Moreover. Hellie. The series on medieval law (R. the much smaller volume of translations and comments by G. the first volume by Kaiser is the most relevant. “The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries” (Salt Lake City. offering not only the basic texts of the RP and the Novgorod and Pskov Charters.

medieval legal history became a branch of general medievistics. this part treats the entire legal history of all the territories of the USSR up to 1917. Iushkov could be regarded as a legal historian first of all.22 For the more traditional and comprehensive surveys of legal history. Vladimirskii-Budanov. especially because in early medieval studies legal documents occupy an important place. taxation). princely councillors. 1890.24 Vladimirskii-Budanov was the author of the most popular textbook on Russian legal history before the October Revolution. I have used the modern edition (Obzor istorii russkogo prava). But only S. it was first published in 1886 in Kiev and the last and seventh edition appeared in 1915.. 1883. criminal law.A. Part 3. procedure) and covers the entire period up to the 20 G. Sergeevich.21 Textbooks on Legal History During the Soviet era.20 L. Sergeevich.I.23 Another threevolume work by the same author makes greater use of original sources and is structured around major themes (territory. veche. Most of the scholars in that field wrote about medieval Russian law. Part 2. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva.. V. Goetz.1-4. I have used the 3rd ed. D’iakonov.)1915. population.Peterburg. published in Rostov-naDonu.Peterburg. of Parts 1 and 2 of 1909 and 1908.I. based on the 7th ed.V. “state law”. Vladimirskii-Budanov and M.F. In his major work: L. id. 1910. 1950. prince. 21 22 23 24 V.F. armed forces. Vols. 25 .K. The “Lectures and Studies on the Ancient History of Russian Law” by Sergeevich cover the Kievan period fairly extensively and the Muscovy period more briefly under the traditional headings of “sources”. S. 1949. Iushkov. S. the pre-revolutionary handbooks are still of great value. M. 1903. Obzor istorii russkago prava. land use.V.K. I have used the 4th ed. Lektsii i izsledovaniia po drevnei istorii russkago prava. S. 1910-1914. 1890. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava SSSR. civil law. Baranowski. The leading authors were V. M. S.25 It is organized along the same lines as Sergeevich’s “Lectures” (state law. Moskva (3rd ed.I.. a lengthy appendix is devoted to the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. “civil law” and “court proceedings”. Moskva. “criminal law”. some of his major works are about the only general works on early Russian legal history from the Soviet period. Part 1. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal.Peterburg. Kiev. Das Russische Recht. Stuttgart. 1886. Frankfurt a/M.). Part 1. Goetz’ translation of the RP is now a century old. 1995. Sergeevich.A Note on Sources xxiii the exception of Baranowski’s translation in his monumental study on the RP. (7th ed. Drevnosti russkago prava. 2005.

and much more recently. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii.) 2006. The work by D’iakonov. 1908.N. I. More accessible perhaps is a modern edition in three volumes. L. H. Moskva. Küpper’s introduction to the legal history of Eastern Europe. the value of Tatishchev’s work is unique. although the work appears to exclude civil and criminal law. His eight-volume “Russian History” has been republished many times. could be called the founder of Russian historiography. Istoriia rossiiskaia. Russische Rechtsgeschichte von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart einschliesslich des Rechts der Sowjetunion.27 This volume also covers the Soviet era.). Schultz’ concise overview of Russian legal history. In Western languages. Küpper. The first edition appeared in a very small number of copies and is very rare. In the post-Soviet era.xxiv Law in Medieval Russia 19th century Svod Zakonov. 1951. 2005. Inevitably.A. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi. although the emphasis is on the Kievan and Muscovy periods. Schultz.A. (3rd ed. Frankfurt a/M. Lahr. 1964 (scholarly edition prepared by a team of leading historians). V. 1998. because some of the sources used by him have subsequently been lost. Tatishchev. is devoted in principle to the organization of the state. I. Moskva. 27 28 29 H. D’iakonov. Einführung in die Rechtsgeschichte Osteuropas.. It 26 M. 30 . Isaev. its overall coverage is not too different from that of the textbooks of the other two authors. Soviet and post-Soviet) on the Russian Middle Ages is very rich and we shall only refer to a few of the patriarchs here. S.29 Both works are in German. Tatishchev (1686-1750). as the title suggests. General History Classics The Russian literature (pre-Soviet.N. V.30 In some respects. there is L.28 which also includes the Soviet period.Peterburg (2nd ed.26 Therefore. published in Moscow in 2003. but in discussing the legal status of the various sections of the population numerous other topics are treated. the treatment of most subjects is rather perfunctory and not based on an in-depth analysis of the sources or a comparative evaluation of the most notable viewpoints.A. scion of one of the Rurikid families and highly gifted in many fields. Isaev published a university textbook on Russian legal history. which devotes some 140 pages to the legal history of Russia before 1917.

Karamzin.O. Moskva.A. The next great work is N. in 1677. Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle.31 It leads up to 1612. id. 1988. Zimin.Peterburg (4th ed. concerning especially the sensitive subject of their Germanic connections.. Vol. Zimin offered detailed information on a number of Rurikid branches which had been absorbed into the boyar class in the era of the Muscovy grand princes. Genealogy The fragmentation of the Rurikid house and the resulting abundance of princes occasionally require a guide in the genealogical labyrinth.IX-1. Orientalia Christiana. is the subject of a more recent study by E..A Note on Sources xxv covers the period up to the death of tsar Aleksei Fedorovich. as well as on a number of other boyar families. For many years.. published first in 1811 in twelve parts. 1925. published in the series of the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome. the beginning of the Romanov dynasty after the Time of Troubles. a posthumously published work of A. I have used the edition in the Sochineniia. 33 34 35 A.. Moskva. E.34 The earliest genealogy of the Rurikids.32 It takes the story up to the land reforms of Alexander II in the 1860’s.A. the standard texts were two companion volumes by N. XXXV-1.35 31 32 N. 8 vols. Karamzin’s “History of the Russian State”. . No. de Baumgarten. Pchelov. and republished many times afterwards.). N.V. No. collected his university lectures on Russian history in a five-volume work Kurs russkoi istorii.M. de Baumgarten.35. Peter the Great’s father. Roma. V. Kliuchevskii (1841-1911). Stroev. 1842-1844. Généalogies des branches régnantes des Rurikides du XIIIe au XVI siècle. the Kurs takes up vols. Moskva. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei IX–nachala XI v. 2001. 1956-1958. Orientalia Christiana. also during recent times. S.M.V.1-5 of these.94. Pchelov. This is the edition which has been reprinted many times. Formirovanie boiarskoi aristokratii v Rossi vo vtoroi polovine XV–pervoi treti XVI v. Vol. Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskago. one of the most prominent Russian historians from the end of the pre-revolutionary era.33 In 1988. 1934. The final (fourth) edition is provided with a special volume with indices by P. this was first published during the years 1904-1910. Roma.

Peterburg. 1950 Cherepnin. 4 vols.M.V. 1949 Kaiser. 1908 GVNP Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova (S. Moskva.). Kn. see note 2) . Moskva. (S.Peterburg. Chr. Moskva/Leningrad. 1988) Kliuchevskii. S.). Laws D.).). 1938. Cherepnin.O. Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Kievskoi Rusi. 1909 Presniakov. 1956 Novg. Part II. Salt Lake City. Moskva.N. Part I. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi Kievskogo gosudarstva.V. Primary Chronicle (also Nestor Chronicle. Part II. S. Zapiski istoriko-filologicheskago fakul’teta imp. see note 4) Presniakov. S. Arkhivy L.List of Abbreviations DDG Dukhovnye i dogovornye gramoty velikikh i udel’nykh kniazei XIV-XVI vv... Stroi S. Moskva/Leningrad.1-5 of Sochineniia. pr. Istoriia Gosudarstva Rossiiskago.. Presniakov. Lektsii A. 1992 Karamzin N. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. 1904-1910. vols. Chr. Lektsii po russkoi istorii. Kaiser (ed.V. Karamzin. or Tale of Bygone Years) (for full reference. ed. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. man..Peterburg (2nd ed. Presniakov. ed. Kurs V. D’iakonov.H. 1951 D’iakonov M. Iushkov. Part 90.E. Moskva/Leningrad. S. & transl. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi. A.V. S. First Novgorod Chronicle (for full reference. ed. 1939 Prim. “Kniazhoe pravo v drevnei Rusi.Peterburgskago universiteta. Kurs russkoi istorii. Cherepnin. L. Ocherki S. Moskva. Valk. Iushkov. 1939 Iushkov.Peterburg.V. Ocherki po istorii X-XII stoletii”. Moskva/Leningrad. Part I.E. Kliuchevskii. 1948. 1949 Iushkov. Moskva. 1842-1844 (reprint Moscow 5th ed. Bakhrushin. 8 vols.

Obzor istorii russkogo prava. I. III.Peterburg (3rd ed.I. see note 15) PSRL Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei RP Russkaia Pravda RZ Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov (for full reference. Kiev.).PRP Pamiatniki russkogo prava (for full reference.I. 1910 SGGD Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogovorov (for full reference. 1915) . S. S. Lektsii i izsledovaniia po drevnei istorii russkago prava. Drevnosti russkago prava. Obzor M.Peterburg (4th ed.F.Peterburg.). 1995 (republication of 7th ed.. Drevnosti V. see note 7) Vlad. II. Lektsii V. S. 1909.-Bud.). 1903 Sergeevich.. S. Sergeevich. Sergeevich. Rostov-na-Donu. 1908. see note 16) Sergeevich.Peterburg (3rd ed. Vladimirskii-Budanov.


in the family or in similar small groups.1 The origin of law is a problem that is usually approached from a more philosophical or theoretical point of view. in 1 As explained in the Foreword. But to regard such things as law in the commonly accepted sense would not serve a useful purpose. sociology.J. as long as mankind had walked the planet. The most comprehensive of these problems is what might be encapsulated in a simple question: When does law begin? The question of course implies that a more or less generally agreed upon concept is available of what we understand by “law”. The contributors to this volume were linguists. were connected by a network of social relations. a definition of law. are indeed reminiscent of certain legal institutions. When small bands of prehistoric hunters-gatherers roamed the virgin earth.M. anthropologists. and especially its earliest phases. legal historians and legal philosophers. I intend to investigate this process of the birth of law in a more general and comparative framework. encounters specific problems which are absent or at least less significant in later phases. Certain types of human social behaviour. Feldbrugge (ed. Law therefore is something that came into being at a specific moment in history. in other words. and the contributions ranged from more theoretical studies to investigations of the oldest laws of a number of Indo-European and non-Indo-European peoples. Law’s Beginnings). . For the students of historical linguistics. or precedent. or rather at specific and different moments in the histories of specific human groups. 2003 (hereafter quoted as Feldbrugge. Leiden/Boston. anthropology and psychology therefore the objects of their studies had existed as long as the human race itself. the point was made that the study of medieval law. the original version of this chapter constituted the concluding chapter in the publication of a collective study of numerous aspects of ‘early law’: F. But it also implies that—provided we can agree on such a definition—we accept the idea that law did begin at a certain moment and that it had not been present before. The great exception is Maine’s famous work “Ancient Law”. and individuals had different minds and psyches. they had language. may guide future action is even observable in the animal kingdom.). I consider this idea as self-evident. drawing largely on the work of specialists in other fields. The Law’s Beginnings. may engage in setting rules for others. In this introductory chapter. Persons who are in a position of authority. for instance. It would make little sense to say the same about law. The phenomenon that previous behaviour.Chapter 1 Law’s Beginnings and Early Law At the beginning of the previous chapter (on sources).

Ancient Law. They then move on to other matters and this suggests that if a problem would exist in this respect. “force”) are considered to have a sufficiently clear and generally understood meaning. The Question of Definition A discussion of. the origins.H. contrasting Maine’s method. . with an Introduction by J. revolutionary at the time. Köhler (eds. one of the current definitions (“a social norm is legal if its neglect or infraction is regularly met. by the application of physical force. 1980. It should also be tackled in concrete historical terms. Everyman’s Library edition. In legal anthropology. Entstehung und Wandel rechtlicher Traditionen. Maine [Sir Henry Sumner Maine]. in threat or in fact. Freiburg/München. Some of the questions that require an answer in this connection are: What are the conditions for the earliest phase of juridification of human relations? To what extent can one identify general lines or laws of development? 1.v-xiii.H.g. 1917. but we can agree with him that the origins of law constitute a problem that should not be left to them alone. Is a definition of law therefore required? Significantly.). and investigation into the beginnings. H. it is not considered particularly urgent or relevant.2 Law in Medieval Russia his Introduction to this work. most authors dealing with the question of “early law” in specific cultures briefly touch upon this question. such as Hobbes and Locke. without offering an elaborate answer.S. Morgan. such as Bentham and Austin. Fikentscher. with the efforts of jurists. One might look for help to other disciplines. Franke & O.2 Morgan may have been unkind to legal philosophers and theorists. “authorities”. J. Morgan’s Introduction on pp. “state”. wrote that the latter “had approached the study of law and political society entirely from an unhistoric point of view and had substituted dogmatism for historical investigation”. in the same way as other terms used (e. Terminology considered to be understood in more or less the same way by the audience is usually not explained. Morgan. and political philosophers. The only remotely comparable work known to me is W. Most authors explaining the beginning of law in a specific culture apparently expect their readers to share a more or less identical concept of law. London/New York. while “he [Maine] demonstrated that our legal conceptions […] are as much the product of historical development as biological organisms are the outcome of evolution”. of law presupposes an understanding of what it is that is beginning. The question of definition is more difficult to avoid when the problem of the beginning of law is considered from a more general point of view. ostracism or shame by an individual or group possessing a socially recog2 H.

RI. a man-made construction. 1-9. Morse & G. 181-220. Cliteur. Dordrecht/Providence. so that an actual definition is regarded as superfluous. People apparently feel that there is a sufficiently general consensus about what is meant by “law”. The sum of all such choices would produce a complete catalogue of the contents of a legal system and by the same token a certain kind of definition of law.R.3 Hoekema then refers to an approach adopted by several authors in the Fikentscher volume (mentioned above in the footnotes). etc. This could be a suitable approach when dealing with present-day law. But such a definition of law would be difficult to apply in a different cultural setting. Law’s Beginnings. “A New Beginning of Law Among Indigenous Peoples. Feldbrugge. in any cultural setting or historical phase. more authoritarian structure of law and its administration. Grant.R.). Hoekema derives the quotation from P. Indigenous Law and the State. Cliteur notes correctly that law is not something that exists in reality (“outside and independently from ourselves”. 183. 3 4 Quoted by A. 9. who define the beginning of law as the rise of a more formal. at 260. 6 P.J. Aspects of Legal Philosophy”.) a certain idea of what law should be and begin to construct law.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 3 nized privilege of so acting”) is so broad that it would even embrace social norms operating among primates. “Recognition of Traditional Laws in State Courts and the Formulation of State Legislation”. practices and procedures. . Goodman (eds.4 The formula is too vague to be of much help. We could. Legal philosophy may offer further elucidation. but it is of no assistance in studying “early law” and “law’s beginnings”. and this consensus would also allow us to deal with the law of civilizations very different from our own.W. for instance. while others should remain outside the law’s reach. first in our minds and then in the reality of social life. Feldbrugge. 5 As quoted by Hoekema. Hoekema. I would say). 259268. Cliteur. Observations by a Legal Anthropologist”. The formula is logically defective (defining idem per idem). ideology. at 7. B. is characterized by the occurrence of peculiar institutions. at 182. This consensus need not be based on a shared underlying philosophy. “Incipient Law. but that it is a matter of what we wish to regard as law. 1988. while it is precisely that kind of definition that would be needed. agree that certain family matters should be brought within the sphere of law. but something may possibly have been lost in translation.5 This leads him to the conclusion “that the question is not so much where does law start but rather where do we think that law should start”6 [Cliteur’s italics]. Nobody would for instance deny that law. We derive from elsewhere (religion. Law’s Beginnings. The problem is turned into a normative one in this way.

By themselves they do not yet constitute such a system. in that 7 This view is. The definition of law which gradually takes shape in this way could be called enumerative. in sufficient intensity. . in that it is constructed through the enumeration of various elements considered to be generally accepted as constituent parts of a legal system. In this third phase. lawyers arguing precedents. monopolization of rule enunciation by specific persons or agencies.7 The enumeration should also not be regarded as exhaustive—other elements could be added. To put it in concrete terms: law is courts deciding disputes. In a third phase the legal system reaches its maturity when at least: — — — a central authority acquires the power to enunciate rules. all kinds of regulations. we recognize the existence of law. recognition of the validity of precedents in dispute settlement. but once a certain number of them are present. such a layer would involve: — — — specialization and then professionalization of dispute settlement: courts. etc. The following institutions could be mentioned: — — — — dispute settlement by a third party. and of course also the rules they apply—laws. or at least only an embryonic one. verbal fixation. and in particular constellations. close to those of the American realist school. bailiffs executing judgments. and then creates new rules. These may be considered as part of the bedrock upon which a legal system may eventually be built. orally or in writing. we can more confidently speak of emerging or early law. and some of them may also occur outside the legal system. and increasingly monopolizes enforcement of rules. Once a second layer develops. It attempts to formulate the common denominator of a great variety of views on law and is. acceptance and enforcement of third party dispute settlement. in many ways. of procedural and substantive rules concerning dispute settlement. law becomes an essential element of the power structure of the society concerned and co-defines the emerging state. fixed procedures for dispute settlement. government decrees.4 Law in Medieval Russia They need not all be there.

in Ranke’s famous words. the volume of law has grown almost explosively during the last half-century. It emerges gradually. surviving today. but it is still occurring in the present in various parts of the globe. Even in the present. more important than the elements included in the enumeration. by stages. Finally. legal developments in our modern Western society. pragmatic. although few would doubt its existence. or in very different cultures. then every bit of the past is fair game. Moreover.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 5 sense. and it certainly has been done. many authors have used the term “juridification”. The Indo-European Aspect Background If. 2. at least. But an understanding of any situation in the past is enhanced by knowing what preceded it. it is often difficult to establish the contents of unwritten law. as a rule. when written sources are getting ever scarcer. juridification of particular corners of our Western society is something that we can observe ourselves and in which we are often ourselves involved. This will always lead us further back. It is implicit in this approach that law is not regarded as something that is either there or not. to the border area between history and prehistory. the study of which requires great effort. thereby indicating that certain practices and institutions may acquire a legal character incrementally. the emergence of law in the sense explained above is not only a phenomenon from the distant past. Proponents of more specific definitions of law may well miss elements which they consider essential or. can also be observed in our own societies. social devices evolved which provided the . until in the end only mute objects allow some kind of reconstruction of the distant past. to an abstract conceptualization of the origins of law: at some time and place in the distant past. But this would only lead. but usually at a lower organizational level. It is possible to construct theories about the emergence of law. because knowledge of law depends heavily on what has been written down. Legal history is particularly vulnerable in this respect. in primitive communities. Phenomena from prehistory and proto-history. such theories can be tested to some extent by looking at phenomena that can be observed in the present. In modern Western civilization. the basic task of the historian is to find out how it actually has been (wie es eigentlich gewesen ist). many sectors of life which were left to informal social procedures and custom before World War II are now covered by a dense network of officially enacted laws and regulations.

which might come close to genuine codification. The preferred approach in this chapter is to work backwards.g. predominantly populated by Germanic tribes. I believe that the value of the distinction between the two legal worlds is not so much in the antithesis codification/judge-made law. is widely practiced in common law systems. although not exclusively.8 When we go back in history. in the course of time. rejection or disregard of the Roman model stopped being an option. but nowadays needs many corrections. were established in the early middle ages (e. and in some areas dominant. The resulting legal variety became even richer when the European cultural space came to include the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. in legal systems which were often sharply different among themselves. Western law has become completely dominant and its impact is inescapable. legal discourse across the borders of different legal regimes has been greatly facilitated. in the traditional way of the historian. the paths of development of the various Western legal systems converge. while on the other hand systematic legislation. But Roman law did not influence its neighbouring systems all in the same way. various Germanic tribes in France. albeit with different intensity. but also in several Latin countries. guaranteed a degree of intellectual unity of legal thought. it will be sufficient to point out that Western law itself consists of a vast compact of very different legal systems. but in the importance assigned to the concept of “legal system”. themselves highly complicated. The Romans constructed a legal system of much greater sophistication than those of the nations with which they came into contact. and this may be connected with different views of the role of the state. bringing their own laws. in many codified systems.. first in unwritten form. and ultimately fixed in writing. It was digested (the “reception” of Roman law) over a long period. This was not only the case in the countries of North-Western Europe. in this way. by asking the question: What was there before it? In today’s globalized world. connected with the preponderance of Roman law. such as contract. where kingdoms of Germanic invaders. The study or definition of “Western law” is outside the scope of this study. was a system of Germanic origin. Its traditional division into codified systems and common law systems has some convenience value. obligation. the Langobards in Northern Italy and the Visigoths in Spain). property. This is to a large extent. The main other component. Modern thinking about basic concepts. The continuing presence of Roman law. etc. is fundamentally indebted to Roman law.6 Law in Medieval Russia fertile soil for the genesis of law. 8 Judge-made law is important. in most European countries. The latter concept is more central in legal thinking and discourse in the civil law countries. . however.

Moskva. Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes. Sirks. Indo-Europeans? The basic and most obvious parallels are of a linguistic nature. and a set of societal institutions (the 9 This aspect of Roman law studies may not have received much attention through the ages. “Glimpses of Indo-European Law”. Roman. The texts of the earliest laws of many European peoples have often been written in the vernacular. D. Law’s Beginnings) is based contains studies on ancient Indian. Irish. Law’s Beginnings. in Feldbrugge. 1995. E. 77-92. implies the assumption that at a certain moment in the past there existed an ethno-linguistic community of people possessing a common language (or. Frankfurt a/M. the numerous parallels and similarities suggest a search for certain common origins. van der Vliet. Feldbrugge. other Germanic laws. Zimmer in a study specifically devoted to “Indo-European law”. “Early Law in India”. Law’s Beginnings. “Justice and Written Laws in the Formation of the Polis”. “The Lex Frisionum. 1973. and Russian law: D. Edel. Benveniste in his vocabulary of Indo-European institutions. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. Zimmer. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. 11-22. Algra. German translation. 10 11 The Germanic leges barbarorum. Benveniste. are in the vernacular. London. 115136. F.13 This approach. being the main exception. the same goes for the impressive body of Old-Irish law and for most early Slavic codifications. B. N. For a recent study in this area. The Genesis of a Legalized Life”. in Feldbrugge. Greek. 93-113. at least. 59-76.11 Would it be possible to trace the common roots of certain legal institutions in the Indo-European past? A well-known attempt in this direction was undertaken by É. 13 É. Russian translation. 1969. 45-58. S. such as those of the Anglo-Saxons and various Scandinavian peoples.9 When the obvious question is then asked: “What preceded this stage?”.10 and these languages all belong to the linguistic family known as Indo-European. Sirks. 1993. Frisian. Kolff. 12 The volume on which this chapter (Feldbrugge.. “An Emerging Legal System in an Embryonic State. . a series of related languages or dialects) which may be regarded as the ancestor of the subsequently evolving Indo-European languages.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 7 The ineffaceable preponderance of Roman law in European legal history tends to obscure the fact that there has also been a time when the archaic law of the Romans was in many ways comparable to the legal systems of other European cultures at a similar level of development. “The Earliest Law of Russia and its Sources”. English translation. Paris. 45-58. 23-43. of course.12 Considerable detail was added by S. Chapter 2 of Part 2 is devoted to law. written in a corrupt Latin and often containing Germanic expressions. The Case of Early Medieval Ireland”. see B.

who were the carriers of this development is characterized as a colluvies gentium by the proponents of this theory. and that 3000 or even 2500 would be a more likely date. Although the time and place of this existence have been the subject of intense debate for several centuries. The hypothesis presented in the latter work is that the emergence of Proto-IndoEuropean (and of the people speaking it) was the result of amalgamation processes of ethnic elements (individuals and small groups) of different origins. As the theory would also involve the occurrence of several of such amalgamation processes. 1989. it would be perfectly possible that an ethnolinguistic entity speaking the—theoretically reconstructible—Proto-Indo-European language never existed as such. are quite clear by now.8 Law in Medieval Russia question whether such institutions should already be termed “legal” may be left aside for the moment) which were at the source of legal institutions encountered later on among various Indo-European peoples and displaying a sufficient degree of similarity. If Proto-IndoEuropean was such a recent phenomenon. Language. In his paper. Mallory. It would also allow the denial of an Urvolk and an Ursprache for the Indo-Europeans. The latter date is more amply adstructed in the author’s Ursprache. robbers. it also evokes numerous questions to which it does not provide answers. if there would be any. Archaeology and Myth. in the Pontic-Caspian area. In Search of the Indo-Europeans. 186. Zimmer takes the position that Proto-Indo-European (the reconstructed language of the as yet “undivided” Indo-Europeans) cannot be dated earlier than 3500 B. 1990.C. Such processes. J. adventurers. in other words. Innsbruck. Zur Methode der Indogermanischen Altertumskunde.C. although this theory may be able to explain certain phenomena. Starting with the earliest and most primitive Pit-Grave culture in the North Caspian area this development and its gradual differentiation can be traced in considerable detail until the first historical ethnic entities of undoubtedly Indo-European origin appear. who had been ejected or had migrated from their own homelands. resulting in the comparatively rapid and sudden formation of new cultures and ethnic entities. The congeries of migrants. The main lines of the scenario of cultural development in the Pontic-Caspian area since the 5th millennium B. and neither an ethnos that could be identified as “Indo-European”.P. Urvolk und Indogermanisierung. etc. . the dominant view nowadays is that one should look at the period from the 5th to the 3rd millennium B.C.C. what were its constitutive elements? The history and archaeology of the Near East and the western part of Eurasia around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.. On the other hand. it could explain the considerable differences between various Indo-European language groups at a very early stage. and can be accompanied by very fast language change by means of so-called creolisation.14 14 Cf. are known from history and anthropology. London. The first part of the assumption (the existence of an Indo-European ethno-linguistic community at some time in the past) is not seriously doubted by modern linguistic and archaeological scholarship. vagrants. How can the Indo-European acquis be explained by the languages and cultures of these civilizations? Can the theory be supported by evidence or at least indications from non-linguistic sources? The archaeological evidence certainly points in a different direction. are sufficiently well-known to suggest a number of candidates. This can no longer be countered by the nostrum that pots have no language.

. or even all. of which marriage law and sick-maintenance15 are discussed in greater detail. For Old-Irish law. historical cultures of peoples of Indo-European stock does not constitute absolute proof of the existence of similar institutions in the prehistoric ProtoIndo-European phase and. see D. that it would be very hard to produce another explanatory model of comparable persuasive power. The occurrence of similar institutions in the legal systems of several. A general caveat should precede such an investigation. See.2) grants the doctor’s fee (lettsiu m’zda). property law. of a genetic link between earlier and later phenomena. 17-4). or to be more precise. In his paper. Although definitive proof is difficult to present in such matters. op. Indo-European Patriarchy Patriarchy is not so much a legal institution as a fundamental principle underlying the organization of Indo-European society and. But the progress of science requires a combination of common sense. then marriage law. patriarchy ap This area.cit. “Sick Maintenance in Irish Law”. imagination and intuition (and good luck). although not universally accepted. which would take us back to these times and places. Leiden. 1964). and also ‘public’ law. The subsequent accumulation of archaeological data has made it possible to draw up a more detailed map in time and space of the expansion and transformations of the South-Russian kurgan grave cultures. Additional parallels have been suggested in other studies.A. the steppe area to the north of the Caspian Sea and westwards to the river Dniepr had often been singled out in the past as the most likely staging area from where the Indo-Europeans spread out in several directions. 19-6. Vol. the thesis about the South-Russian kurgan cultures and their link with the diffusion of Indo-European languages is now widely. also on top of the composition for injuries.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 9 The examination of the earliest known law of various Indo-European peoples easily leads to the hypothesis of a common core of legal institutions. 78-134. It affects first of all the legal status of individuals.cit. art. 127-128) points to the occurrence of the institution of sick-maintenance in Old Irish and in Hittite law (separated by thousands of kilometers and years). also its law. even if we could assume such an existence. where the subject is of considerable importance. therefore. This map fits so well what is known about the spreading and variegation of Indo-European languages. Pactus legis salicae. together with a survey of terms having significant legal connotations and a common Indo-European origin. Eriu. generally.. Mallory. Binchy. In a general sense.12 (1938). the Russkaia Pravda (Short Version. Older fundamental Russian (Soviet) archaeological literature is quoted in my The South-Russian Pit-Grave Culture and the Problem of the Homeland of the Indo-Europeans (published as a manuscript. 15 Zimmer (op. Zimmer has identified a number of such institutions. One might add very brief references to something similar in Germanic and Slavic law: the Salic Law allows the costs of medicatura on top of the composition for injuries (Lex Salica.

The death of a prominent ruling prince would occasion a kind of game of musical chairs. but the idea of the unity of the gens and its genius. Sirks has argued that it was not male dominance as such which determined Roman patriarchy. to share in the family ‘estate’—the government of Kievan Rus’. whose original studies have been influential in expounding these views: H. the status of his sons and grandsons remained very considerably reduced while he was alive. rather. In his study of archaic Roman law. The idea of power belonging. Maine. quoted above. The underlying idea was very clearly that every adult male member of the house had a right. The peculiarities of Indo-European patriarchy come to the fore most prominently in archaic Roman law. English edition: Roman Dynamism. all lower ranking princes moving one step up. manifesting itself in the vis genitalis of the sexually mature male members of the gens. Primogeniture and substitution (of predeceased fathers by their sons) appeared only later 16 17 See the paper by Sirks. Studiën over het ‘Mana’-begrip in zede en taal der Romeinen. according to his position in the family hierarchy. Similar arrangements occur among other Indo-European peoples. . each becoming a paterfamilias in his own right. not to individuals. Once the father died.The dynastic histories of Germanic and Slavic peoples indicate that it was not so much the ruler but. 1947. his sons would move into his place as fully empowered representatives of the genius. the sexes. Amsterdam. although the power of the paterfamilias is generally not as exclusive as it is in Rome (a point already made by Maine18). first on generation. 85. then on age. but to the ruling house was particularly strong among the Russian Rurikids. Among the Merovingian and Carolingian kings of the Franks. because its elaboration in the form of patria potestas was of enormous influence in the development of European and Western law and thereby on the legal status of. The most senior prince would rule in the nominal capital Kiev. 18 Sirks refers to H.cit. Oxford. 1941.10 Law in Medieval Russia pears to be a dominant aspect of social organization at a certain level of development and as such occurs in a great variety of cultures. Wagenvoort. the realm was usually divided among the surviving sons of the deceased ruler. and the relationships between..16 Roman patriarchy was of exceptional historical importance. the other princes in the provincial capital (also ranged in order of importance).17 As the mana of the father or grandfather would obviously be superior to that of his offspring. Imperium. op. An informal hierarchy among the male members of the house was based. Wagenvoort. the ruling house which was regarded as the decisive factor.

Some [nations] consider this blood relationship as more sacred and closer.cit. Kolff.” Matriarchal survivals among Germanic peoples may of course also be the result of pre-Indo-European substrata.19 The ideological background of Indo-European patriarchy is unquestionably of a religious nature. where the four generations descended from one great-grandfather. brother. A similar institution seems to have existed among the Celts. sons of brothers).20 The religious foundation of patriarchy faded among other Indo-European peoples. In Marxist and neo-Marxist historiography this perspective is reversed. Cf. .. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda). The performance of certain rituals was essential in this respect and this explained the need to secure the continuation of male offspring. this has been argued convincingly by Wagenvoort in his seminal works. N. along with male relatives on the paternal side (son. among the relatives entitled to the blood feud.. because the vis genitalis was transmitted by them only. In its schematic approach to historical development. Much has been written about matriarchal survivals in the cultures and attitudes of different Indo-European peoples.21 19 20 21 Cf. father. The male half of the population is then seen as a kind of exploiting class. 1970.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 11 on in medieval Germanic and Slavic legal systems (this topic is discussed in more detail in the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”). Marxism also assigns a special place to a matriarchal ordering of society. The Celts. Celtic and Germanic rulers of pagan times regularly traced their descent back to tribal deities. but obvious indications remained. the sons of sisters are included (see. For ancient Rome. Particularly among the Germanic peoples there are a few indications. because religious views are regarded as part of the superstructure. A very similar view seems to have been taken in Old Indian society. Edel. Chadwick. 62. The ancestors lived on in the following generations and continued to be part of the gens. op. London. and demand preferably [sons of sisters] as hostages. 113-114.cit. this is especially well documented for Scandinavian rulers of the earliest historical periods. because [in this way] they would have a better control of the minds and a broader grip on the family. In the oldest version of the Russkaia Pravda. the derbfine. also. 11-12. One need not deny the relevance of material and economic factors to reject this approach as too simplistic. op. controlling the means of production and inventing an ideology to legitimate its dominance. Some of these may obviously be connected with cultures which flourished before the arrival of the Indo-Europeans. Whether Proto-Indo-European culture also contained matriarchal elements is a question which cannot be answered here. were all entitled to a certain share. One of the best known is Tacitus’ communication in Germania (20): “Sons of sisters enjoy the same honour with their maternal uncle as with their father.

then a living paterfamilias could evolve into the leader of a large family group and. existed. as related in the Primary Chronicle. a life-giving force. at the threshold of history. is an important aspect of the processes around the origins of law. Law becomes “lawyers’ business”. the king as healer. translated with an Introduction by Lewis Thorpe. were already amalgamating into larger. among the different early Indo-European legal systems. quoted above. If we accept that there was an original idea of vis genitalis. in the sense of the emergence of a class of persons who are more or less exclusively engaged in legal business. where a socially prominent class of lawyers. “Exclusively”. nationlike units. in ancient Irish law.12 Law in Medieval Russia Chieftaincy and Kingship It is not overly speculative to assume that the Indo-European patriarchal principle was also at the basis of the development of social leadership forms such as chieftaincy and later on kingship. in this context. Gregory of Tours. The History of the Franks. the elaborate religious ceremony around the assumption of kingship (anointing. After the baptism of Europe. as argued at the beginning of this chapter. 1974.23 The same thing happened in Russia. Professionalization of the law was most pronounced. achieve the chieftaincy of a tribe. were engaged in the elimination of petty kings among the Salic Franks. Ancient Irish society appears to represent a comparatively early stage where the numerous kings of various rank were in fact not much more than tribal chiefs. as to the fact that others have little concern with legal matters (except as occasional parties in legal disputes). who had split 22 23 See the Edel paper. the brithemain. but present in females as well. The elimination of non-Rurikid Slavic princes was completed under St. . such as Clovis and his ancestors. by which the life of the ancestors perpetuated itself in posterity. coronation). etc. many elements of divine kingship were retained in a christianized form: the divine right of kings.Vladimir. London.22 The Germanic tribes. transmitted by males. refers both to the fact that such persons do little else but law. This could be accompanied by the elaboration of the religious/ideological dimension connecting the welfare of the community with the recognition of the divine framework in which the social relationships were anchored. A series of small steps would then lead to the transition from tribal chieftain to tribal king and then to king of the entire people. The Professionalization of Law Professionalization of law. but Gregory of Tours relates in his Historia Francorum how the early Frankish kings. then.

The provision about the appointment of rachineburgi by the judge refers to a very specific situation during the execution of a claim. op. 1898. It does not at all exclude that.). the exposition of the case and the applicable law would be referred to an ‘expert’. 255. iuridicus) as an innovation. where he states that at the trial first the king or a chief would express his opinion (possessing authority but no decisive force) and propose a judgment.). 1962.. Lex Ribuaria 55. 1903. 43-44. Leipzig (2nd ed. auctoritate suadendi magis quam iubendi potestate.). 64-65. sin placuit. the filid. Among the Germanic peoples legal professionalization was not as well developed but still well attested. Pactus legis salicae 57. 17.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 13 off from the general class of learned men. also. Karlsruhe (2nd ed.]. some adstruction for the more recent character of the ‘law-sayer’ in Germanic procedure could be derived from provisions in the Frankish laws which speak about the appointment of rachineburgi by the grafio (roughly: the presiding judge). Strassburg (3rd ed.28 This might suggest that more or less anybody could serve as ‘law-sayer’.” Pactus legis salicae 60. Si displicuit sententia. Grundriss des germanischen Rechts. Schröder. while also the administration of justice in the royal courts must have produced its own specialized personnel. Tacitus’ statement is brief and refers to all kinds of decisions made by the assembly (including political ones).24 In India. H. Lex Salica 60.26 The main foundation for this view seems to be Tacitus’ brief description of Germanic procedure in his Germania. Germania 12: “mox rex vel princeps […] audiuntur. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. a profession of legal councillors had gradually detached itself from the learned brahmin class.).25 Both the Frisians and the Franks left the actual judgment to the popular assembly (the “thing”). which then would be either rejected by public grumbling or accepted by the bystanders’ beating their spears together.27 In a more circumstantial way. Leipzig (3rd ed.. R. it appears that the judge did not. in specifically legal disputes. 28. The weakness of these arguments is obvious. frameas concutiunt [. he was in fact the mouthpiece of an oral code of law.cit. Grundzüge der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Lex Salica 52. appoint a few chance citizens as 24 Edel.. Conrad. von Amira. Brunner. assuming that originally the statement of the applicable law and the judgment based on it belonged to the competence of the assembly. fremitu aspernantur. 25 26 . The old Frisian asega was expected to know the law by heart. in fact. Band I: Frühzeit und Mittelalter. K. The laws of the Salic and Ribuarian Franks describe the task of the rachineburgi as the enunciation of the law. 27 H. 28 Tacitus. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. German legal historians generally regard the institution of the ‘law-sayer’ (asega. 1913.

but still display the same pattern (see the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda). particularly the Salic Law. sheriff. 29 30 Ibidem: “Then the count [judge] will collect 7 suitable rachineburgi and go with them to the house of the debtor […]. somewhat less the laws of the Visigoths.32 consist almost entirely or at least for the greater part of such catalogues.). sheriff?). The oldest laws of other Slavic peoples are mostly of a somewhat later era. but collected seven suitable officials from an available pool of rachineburgi. ritual. Professional administrative expertise. The same goes for the oldest layer of the Russkaia Pravda. mentioned by name in the prologue of the version of the Salic Law known as the Pactus legis salicae. ethics. but there is no evidence of the presence of legal professionals in the sense outlined above. developed in the later middle ages among the clerical servants in the chanceries of the princes. Bodogast (Arogast). etc. the Russkaia Pravda. sergeant?). tiun (steward). the fine replacing the wergeld). Salegast and Vidogast. and about its genetic connection with the more general class of learned men in these cultures. social mores and law (if it is possible to speak of law as a separate entity at this stage). Ripuarian and Chamavian Franks (the Ewa ad Amorem. Indian and Germanic cultures. 32 The iabetnik (agent.29 The size and level of complication of some of the Germanic leges. On the basis of what is known about the existence of a legal profession in the early Irish. the rise of a professional class of lawyers was a late phenomenon in Russia. in fact.14 Law in Medieval Russia rachineburgi. Busskatalog) or fixed compensations.30 In the oldest Russian law. bailiff ?). but compared to the situation in Western Europe. rather. which would include knowledge of the law. would be hard to explain if there were no persons possessing extensive specialized legal knowledge. the hypothesis could be advanced that—at an early stage of the evolution of Indo-European peoples—there existed a class of people who served as a repository of knowledge about what was right and proper in the fields of religion. “sword-man”. . domesticus. steward. at least those in which not Roman but Germanic law is dominant. private fines (Germ. Burgundians. The Germanic leges barbarorum. Most clearly the laws of the Salic. virnik (collector of the vira. ognishchanin (lit. “hearth-person”. mechnik (lit. various princely officials are mentioned31 and some of them may have served as judges or court officials (bailiff. The Penalty Catalogue One of the most striking features of the earliest legislative layers is the prominence of catalogues of penalties or.” 31 Visogast. Frisians and Thuringians. Some of them are. of the Saxons. Alamans and Bavarians. for the latter). and of the Langobards.

men or women [slaves]. Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. F. Otherwise. Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament.34 The Hittite laws. offering many parallels with the Russkaia Pravda and the leges barbarorum. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. however. Assirii i Khettskogo tsarstva”.A.42. also consisted to a considerable extent of catalogues of fixed compensations for personal injuries. Winckler.. to be dated roughly about 1500 B. Binchy) in Eriu.M. Band. Section C. 41-115. Vol. Vol. H. McLeod.33 While in most other systems the emphasis is on the fine itself. 126ff. 205-321. For the honour-price topic.M. No.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 15 In Old-Irish law. 1902. An annotated edition of the Crith Gablach by D. Binchy’s study on “Sick-Maintenance in Irish Law”. 199-303. D’iakonov. 1959.A. Leiden. as in the Russkaia Pravda. mainly on account of the wealth of sources. 33 34 Edel. Kelly.A. treating the killing of a man or a woman as different torts. Old-Irish law was before all concerned with the determination of status. 35 36 Based on the German translation of J. “Interpreting Early Irish Law: Status and Currency”. there are also numerous parallels with the laws of non-Indo-European peoples of the Ancient Near East. In the parallel text of the Hittite Law. Old Testament legal prescriptions are primarily to be found in Deuteronomium 21-26 and Exodus 21-23. I. 1987.3.cit.20 (1966). Vol. 1923.36 One of the striking differences remains the treatment of manslaughter and physical injuries. . E.XI (Dublin. Vestnik drevnei istorii. that Old-Irish law also knew an elaborate scale of fines (usually called “honour-price”. Cf. which contains the apposite statement: “Students of comparative law have long realized that the rules governing compensation for personal injuries offer perhaps the most fruitful field for the drawing of parallels between ancient legal systems” (at 78). N. as Vol.C. A Guide to Early Irish Law.4. Die Gesetze Hammurabis. “Zakony Vavilonii. Dublin. Russian translation by I. which should not surprise in view of the chronological and geographical surroundings of the Hittite laws. 1988. the most important texts are Bretha Crólige en Bretha Déin Checht. the first article is split into two parts.36. is devoted to homicide: “If anybody kills a man or a woman in a fight. as compensation. MacNeill. Its first article. 1-77 (Bretha Crólige) and Eriu. No. This paper contains the English translations of the two most important texts on this subject. the situation is more complex. “The Law of Status or Franchise”. quoted above.12 (1938).B.. 1952. No. the Crith Gablach (“Branched Purchase”) and the Uraicht Becc (“Little Grammar”). Pritchard. op. 265-316. English translation by A. The first text is followed by D. he shall give four persons. English translations (by D. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. Goetze in J. Binchy. 1941) of the Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series. There can be no doubt. Friedrich. 1-66 (Bretha Déin Checht).”35 The following articles deal with the killing of slaves and various forms of injuries. Cf. 1950. lóg n-enech or díre) for offences against persons. 259-308. antedating comparable European sources by about two millennia. Princeton.4. 32. 1952.. Leipzig. related to the status of the victim and the seriousness of the injury or offence. D’iakonov in Vestnik drevnei istorii.

the famous description of the court scene on Achilles’ shield. light bodily harm. In the oldest layer of the Russkaia Pravda (see the chapter on this subject).37 According to all these sources the fine was to be paid to the injured person. Case law would then produce further refinements. Collective Liability The connection with the penalty catalogues is obvious. diminished by the offence. or his close kin in the case of homicide. The Germanic laws are the most clear in this respect. the catalogue was quite short and listed only the most basic offences (homicide. in other words. if one taken into account that reparation of the offence by paying a sum of money was itself a substitute for revenge (this is clearly illustrated by the first provision of the Russkaia Pravda). one-third of the wergeld 37 I 632-636. In some of the Germanic laws. Conversely. This may have been close to the original situation. grievous bodily harm. but in some instances (such as in Russian law) subsequent legislation diverted the payment to the coffers of the ruler. the offence would be regarded as an insult of the family or clan to which the actual victim belonged. Revenge was a matter for the family or the clan. The Lex Saxonum (XIX) provided that. payment of ποινή for the murder of a brother or a son. the offender’s family or clan could be held responsible for the misdeeds of one of their members. insults). while the oldest layers of the laws of Indo-European peoples prefer some form of material compensation of the victim or his relatives. This suggests the hypothesis that. along the lines of those mentioned above. reflecting increased assertion of public power. . where two men submit a dispute about the ποινή for a murdered man to the city court. Ο 497ff. There are also indications that the catalogues of injuries and the appropriate fines contained a considerable element of case law. physical violence.. A close comparison of the rates set for various injuries often suggests that the personal fine did not primarily aim at repairing the material damage caused by the injury. Originally. such as listing fines for separate parts of individual fingers. although there are indications in Homer’s Iliad that the relatives of the murdered man had to be placated by the payment of a fixed amount (ποινή). if there was a common Indo-European core in all these systems. much of it was based on precedent. In archaic Greece no catalogue. Several systems have retained traces of such collective responsibility or liability.16 Law in Medieval Russia the laws of the Semitic peoples regularly prescribe capital punishment or at least a reaction based on the principle of “an eye-for-an-eye”. it was probably not very extensive. the catalogues go into ludicrous detail. one would presume. is known. in cases of homicide. but at restoring the victim’s status.

1959.g. As soon as kings appear. “Bol’shaia sem’ia i verv’ Russkoi Pravdy i politskogo statuta”. but it is uncertain whether it would embrace everybody or consist of a voluntary association. the verv’ bears collective responsibility for the payment of the wergeld of a person killed within its territory. with the victim and his family as a collective creditor. where a penalty entailing material consequences inevitably affects not only the offender himself but. The collective liability which we have in mind here is a much more specific institution. his house shall become a ruin. the wergeld then disappears. 1947.D. there is a single provision which could point to collective responsibility: “If anyone opposes the judgment of the king.173). A similar thought process may make the entire clan or family group of the attacker responsible for the attack. and also B. ed. The evidence suggests that this stage did not last long in most cultures. Gurney. The Hittites. See O.e. 93. then an attack against a single member may be regarded as an attack against all. Vol.). Moreover. it covers a group of people inhabiting a particular territory.R.D. Pravda Russkaia II (Kommentarii). an element of consanguinity was also included. if the murderer remained unknown. his close relatives. The exact meaning of verv’ has been the subject of endless debates. Lex Salica 65 (Pactus legis salicae 62).”40 But this rule could very well refer to the situation which may occur in any legal system. II. The other side of the coin was that. they tend to forbid feuds and monopolize the punishment of offenders. Moskva/Leningrad. the question has been asked whether. connected with a particular type of patriarchal social system. also. would then be due by the entire group. which emerged at a certain stage as a substitute for the original revenge. The wergeld or composition. because the consolidation of a central authority soon brought about the elimination of private individuals and groups from the process of reaction against breaches of the peace. 38 39 40 E.38 In the Expanded Version of the Russkaia Pravda. i. 564575. see B. Moskva. Izbrannye Trudy. If the unity of the patriarchal clan is considered to be based on a common origin and a common vital force.). it has obvious territorial connotations. beyond its territorial aspect. the wergeld had to be divided and several Germanic laws contain pertinent rules.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 17 was to be paid by the close relatives (proximi) of the perpetrator and two thirds by himself. For an extensive overview of the various viewpoints advanced since the 19th century on the meaning of the verv’.39 In the Hittite Law Code (art. London (rev. Grekov. on the side of the injured party. Grekov (ed. . 1961. 99. 261-274.

There are indications. two should at least be mentioned briefly.41 The emergence of law is nearly always closely connected with the solidification of procedures.15 of the Short Russkaia Pravda.42 The earliest documented phases of the legal systems of several Indo-European peoples show already the existence of fixed procedural institutions.g.18 Law in Medieval Russia Some Preliminary Conclusions Indo-European scholarship is a vast field. Cf. right. cited above. ethical. In the preceding sections. or. king of the Phaeacians. which is the focal point of this chapter. One example (surviving to this day in the jury of Anglo-American law) is the occurrence of a group of twelve men to whom certain duties are entrusted. Alkinoos. and who transmitted their knowledge to new generations of experts. see art. in order to pose the question whether the similarities established may perhaps be based on a common origin. proper. η 390.43 The second aspect is the religious one. the paper by Zimmer quoted above. however. 41 42 43 This point is also noted in the papers of van der Vliet and Algra. e. an exercise which is worthwhile on its own merits. that in the prehistoric phase of law (before we have any written sources) the links between law and religion. socially beneficial. As this complex became more elaborate and the knowledge of it more fixed and formalized. see the paper by Algra. and legally binding. One is the importance of procedure. the Lex Saxonum XVI. . common practice. between the entire complex of what was considered divinely ordained. as well as for the light it might shed on the processes surrounding the origins of law. Several terms suggesting articulate procedural institutions at an early stage of Indo-European developments have been identified by Zimmer in his review of a possible Indo-European legal terminology. were much narrower. in Homer’s Odyssee. ruled his country as the leader of twelve chieftains. the religious dimension of the law has already faded in most of the systems under consideration. people who knew how things should be and how they should be done. For Russian law. In the ‘early law’ phase. Of the many aspects that have not been discussed above. we have tried to identify a few common strands in early legal systems of Indo-European peoples. The painstaking reconstruction of what one might call the proto-legal system of the proto-Indo-European could be somewhat advanced in this way. a class of experts arose. The “twelve” occur in nearly all Germanic laws. A famous saying of American legal realism is: Procedure is the heart of the law.

. The Code of Hammurabi44 If we restrict our attention to the contents of the Code. no matter how different their cultures and world-views might have been. of societies which were roughly at the same level of socio-cultural development. in particular such early codifications as may help in identifying the peculiarities of the Indo-European systems.e. ruler of Southern Georgia in the middle of the 9th century A.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 19 3. the courts possessed records of earlier decisions. Winckler.). Its first hundred or so articles offer a broad view of the commercial relations in a developed agricultural society with a clear and strong central authority residing in its urban centre. they also belong to Indo-European peoples. These may produce a general image. to a great extent. . Veenhof. Paris. and the Great Statute (Ikh Tsaaz) of the Oirat Mongols of 1640. Vol. published in the same year as the editio princeps by V. Mémoires de la Délégation en Perse. Looking beyond the Indo-Europeans A simple logical consideration leads us to the next step.45 the first thing that will be noticed is that the overall picture produced by the Code is of a society considerably more complex and sophisticated than those of the tribal societies and incipient principalities of early medieval Europe. or on case law in other words. The choice of suitable candidates is wide and a selection is inevitable. The history leading up to the Code of Hammurabi. If such institutions do not occur anywhere else.R. written contracts concerning land. The legal culture in particular is much more advanced: the Code is preceded by centuries of legislation on specific topics and even a few earlier attempts at codification. Although the Code is based. then there would be good reason to assume an Indo-European origin. in Textes élamites-sémitiques.D. Law’s Beginnings. socio-economic context and general tenor have been discussed in K. Certain legal systems possess common or at least similar institutions. deuxième série. Feldbrugge. 137159. 1902. limited of course and possibly one-sided. the law code of Bagrat Kuropalates. 1760 B. which includes personnel 44 45 As mentioned above. It would therefore be appropriate now to have a brief look at certain other legal systems. houses and slaves were a long-established practice. “Before Hammurabi of Babylon.C. etc. The next (about) hundred provisions are mainly devoted to relationships within the family. its level of systematization is respectable. 4. its genesis. I have used the German translation by H. Scheil. from Ireland to Russia. Law and Laws in Early Mesopotamia”. Practical considerations (i. on earlier precedents. the materials must be available and accessible to the author) lead to a choice embracing the Code of Hammurabi (ca.

In Babylon the first seller. common in Babylonian law and encountered in many early Indo-European systems (Greece. while capital punishment was absent or rare in early European law. It deals mostly with homicide and all kinds of personal injuries. however. and to repeat this procedure until we can finally confront the person who sold it to us (without delivering it) or who came to possess something we owned without our intention of making him the owner (e. these provisions will also be discussed in the chapter on Roman law and early Russian law). was to be killed as a thief. curious parallels appear. When a person had been robbed and the identity of the robbers could not be established. in the list of interesting parallels. The last third of the Code displays more similarity.16 Short Pravda. not by any kind of genetic connection. as to the contents. Occasionally. with the early European laws.g. but by the simple fact that the underlying situations are similar.20 Law in Medieval Russia and slaves. he has to produce his predecessor(s) in order to prove that the property was acquired in the correct manner. . Another example is article 9. The latter case suggests a marginal remark which may be relevant in comparing legal institutions from very different legal systems. it stands to reason that we demand that person to disclose to us the identity of the person who had sold or given it to him. as known from the Old Testament. Many legal systems. through a loan. This is very much like the situation discussed before in connection with the Old-Russian verv’. and among the Slavs). or by theft). A large number of offences are punishable by death. except that the latter concerned the composition in a case of homicide. fines to be paid to the victim. A major difference with the European laws. as already noted above. if he had pocketed the price twice. or because it had been bought but not yet delivered to us) in the hands of a third person. 46 For this reason I would not include debt slavery. Only less significant offences entail monetary sanctions. art. the community inhabiting the locality where the robbery took place must make good the losses (art. will work out a solution like the one described.46 A similar legal solution may then be dictated by the situations themselves. the standard case for first-year law examinations: acquisition by and revindication from a third owner (possessor). The similarity between legal institutions may actually be caused. Rome. once they proceed to regulate such matters. lies in the dominance of the retributive principle of “an eye for an eye”.23). A quite similar procedure is described in the Russkaia Pravda (art. The general conclusion has to be that the Babylonian legal system was very different from the early European systems mentioned above. a consequence not foreseen by Old-Russian law. If we find something belonging to us (either originally.38 Expanded Pravda. If the latter’s ownership is in dispute.

In the later middle ages. which again is very much like the Germanic and Slavic systems.48 Full sisxli was due in case of homicide.). not too different from medieval Europe. This numerical similarity is even more striking in the case of certain oaths. The system even applied to the desecration of icons: the double amount for desecration of the icon of Christ (art. Lordkipanidze & D. to be sworn 47 48 A title usually reserved for members of the Byzantine imperial family. who could all fall back on their own family or clan.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 21 The Law of Bagrat Kuropalates The medieval law of Georgia is of special interest in the context of our investigation for two reasons: it reflects the legal system of a non-IndoEuropean people which retained its own character in a cultural and geographical context. compiled between 1703 and 1709 (see the chapter on “Medieval Law in Transcaucasia”). in providing a catalogue of fines (fixed compensations) to be paid to the victims of offences (or their kin). Tbilisi. . who ruled Southern Georgia from 826-876. The compensation to be paid (called sisxli = blood) was dependent on the rank of the victim and on the seriousness of the offence. See M. The reason for this is presumably that the church and all clerical personnel would lack the protection which lay people enjoyed. 1988. Mushkhelishvili (eds. and Georgian law has been extraordinarily conservative through the ages (see the chapter on “Medieval Law in Transcaucasia”). and who had been given the title of Kuropalates by the Byzantine emperor. then the grandees (didebuli).23). The prevailing opinion about the author of the Law is that it was Bagrat I. the ordinary noblemen (aznauri). Ocherki istorii Gruzii. The sisxli is usually in amounts of 12 or multiples of 12. Social stratification was also comparable to that prevailing among early European peoples: the ruler or king at the summit and the bishops at more or less the same level. and was used by Bagrat’s successors as a secondary title once they had assumed the title of king (mepe. a fraction thereof (usually half) in cases of injuries or insults. the founder of the dynasty. It had first been given to Bagrat’s father.47 His descendants later on became rulers and kings of Georgia. The remaining part of the law is generally similar to the Germanic and Slavic laws of the same period. Tom II: Gruziia v IV-X vekakh. 314-315. tsar’) of Kartlia.D.L. the system became more complicated. and the common peasants (glexi). The Law of Bagrat has survived in later medieval collections and was ultimately included in the law collection of king Vakhtang (Vaxtang in the official Georgian transliteration) VI. of which the first third part is devoted to rules protecting the church and its dignitaries. Russ. Ashot Bagrationi. It consists of 62 provisions. where the Bagratid dynasty lasted until the Georgian kingdoms were incorporated into the Russian empire at the beginning of the 19th century.

“The Early State Among the Eurasian Nomads”. known as the Iasa of Chingis-Khan. The Law of Bagrat does not refer to courts or professional judges. or a good family chief in the country. and then a mono- . a procedure well known in Germanic law (something similar also in the Short Pravda. 1933. The Hague. It exhorts those who will sit in justice to act justly and fairly. The first author published a long study in Russian (“Velikaia Iasa Chingiz-Khana”) in the émigré journal Izvestiia iuridicheskogo fakul’teta v Kharbine. H.1) sheds some light on the way justice was to be administered. Another possibility would be to look for common roots in a more distant past.A. and will not say anything that is unjudicious”. Vol. With regard to the similarities with Germanic and Slavic models. should act as a judge. different legal systems could develop along similar paths.M. art. Borrowing from neighbouring Indo-European peoples (or the other way around) in an earlier period is a matter of speculation.50 It contained legal norms. Claessen & P. It simply states the fixed compensations to be paid for various types of behaviour injurious or harmful to others. As next to nothing is known about the ethnic origins of the Georgians. For a while. Skalník (eds.15). The Study of the State. The use of the number ‘twelve’ is wide-spread. The Great Statute of the Oirat Mongols of 1640 Mongol law is not as exotic as one might think in the framework of comparative legal history. and Russia and the whole of Europe in the West. or a well-to-do merchant. Without direct connections or genetic links. “he will be sensible and will well understand the work of a judge. the Mongols have succeeded in maintaining their independence while surrounded by powerful cultures and empires: China and Japan in the East. A. and thus reach stages of development which at a given moment were quite similar. 1981. they even achieved political and military superiority in the entire Eurasian area in the 12th and 13th century under Chingis-Khan and his successors.49 During the reign of Chingis-Khan. Vernadsky (Vernadskii).10.22 Law in Medieval Russia with the aid of twelve or twenty-four helpers.J. although by no means universal among different cultures. direct borrowing one way or the other is practically excluded in view of the geopolitical circumstances of the period. along with moral 49 50 Cf. The two main commentators are V. This at least is the prevailing view nowadays. this road leads nowhere for the time being. and then adds that a person who knows the law or whom the king considers to be educated and experienced. The phenomenon known as convergence could also offer an explanation for certain similarities. most likely on account of similar socio-economic conditions. Favoured by harsh geographical conditions. The short preamble (art.).V.M. 155-175. a short code was compiled. Riasanovsky (Riazanovskii) and G. Khazanov.

. 106-115 (chapter on the Iasa) and the same in English in The Mongols and Russia (Vol. Russian.). Ikh Tsaaz (“Velikoe Ulozhenie”). the Mongols had adopted a Tibetan form of Buddhism. 1965. and Western scholarship on Mongolian law. 1997.e. the Mongol empire broke up in many parts and the central Mongolian part of it reverted more or less to the old order. Karpovich & G.51 The legal part of the Iasa consisted mainly of what we would consider as criminal law provisions. under the sway of the Manchurian emperors. Mongoly i Rus’.3. which caused a complete transformation of Mongolian culture.. The Great Statute of the Oirat Mongols was agreed upon in 1640 at a conference of all the important leaders of the Oirat and Khalkha Mongols (the Mongol population from Eastern and Southern Mongolia. and was in part based on previous legislation of which significant parts have survived. intended to maintain discipline in the vast and militarized empire. 337-360. 53 S. lower princes. Moskva. In later centuries.D. 2002. Moskva/Tver’. the chapter on treaties). e.g. Smaller excerpts in other sources confirm the reliability of Makrizi’s communications.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 23 adhortations and ritual prescriptions. on account of which only very few people were allowed access to the actual text. This work also offers an overview of Mongolian. 1937. Vernadsky. however. Vernadsky also published in Russian and English: “The Scope and Content of Chingis-Khan’s Yasa”. but an extensive summary has been given by the Egyptian historian Makrizi. freemen of various levels. Vol.Peterburg. Vosemnadtsat’ stepnykh zakonov.53 From the point of view of legislative technique.). 1953. PRP III. serfs and slaves. Cf. i. and ordaining the death penalty in most cases.). it is basically a long list of offences and misdemeanours and the penalties entailed.3 of M. Social stratification was quite outspoken: higher princes. they were paid to the injured party. 1981 (Mongolian text and Russian translation and commentary). 467-468 (see. was not represented). Bloomington/ The Hague (2nd ed. The text has not survived. A peculiar feature of the Statute is. 51 52 Vernadsky suggests that the unavailability of the Iasa may perhaps be explained by the sacred and magical character attributed to it. graph Fundamental Principles of Mongol Law.D. A History of Russia). writing in the 15th century. nobles. The Great Statute was preceded by. In the meantime. Medieval Mongol sources from Russia refer to the Iasa.52 The fairly extensive text (almost 200 articles) offers a detailed picture of the nomadic Mongol society of the period. Tientsin (1st ed. Istoriia Rossii. Pamiatnik mongol’skogo prava XVI-XVII vv. also. or rather disorder. S. the Great Statute is comparable to the early European codes. Dylykov (ed. New Haven. As in the early European codes. . the charter (iarlyk) of khan Mengu-Timur of 1279 to the Russian metropolitan. Nasilov. A. of strife and warfare between nomadic tribes of herdsmen. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 99-110. the penalties are usually not of a public nature. Pamiatnik mongol’skogo feodal’nogo prava XVII v. 1938.

but the provision adds: “if he does not want to miss his finger. Many provisions set awards for saving persons and animals. the fixation of the previously unwritten law of modern minority peoples). Law’s Beginnings. An obvious. homicide. “Aspects of Law and Order in Early State Societies”. effort has been made to present the material in a systematized manner. but not entirely successful. It would agree with the general character of the Statute if there were no regular courts and the administration of justice would be one of the tasks of the appropriate leaders. Feldbrugge. or at least of political independence (the ancient Frisians and Saxons. the opposite may occur (certain early African states54). a leading prince who failed to defend his territory against an invader. The existence of courts is mentioned only twice and in passing. 4. etc. from princes to village elders. one hundred camels and one thousand horses (e. This may perhaps reflect the harshness of conditions in the steppe. insults. where it was common to be in great danger and dependent on the help of a passer-by. in this case the penalty would obviously come close to a genuine public fine. 161-179. A reasonably sophisticated legal system may function in a still embryonic state (Ancient Ireland). then he pays [so much]. the emergence of the two may be more or less synchronous (early Germanic and Slavic states). Claessen. behaviour in battle. where it then sets a fixed award. and. The semi-military character of Mongol society is still very noticeable in the many provisions devoted to military discipline. H. are regulated in two or more places. dealing with stray cattle. absorbed by the Frankish empire.g. . in a different setting. 54 Cf.” The basic unit of compensation was the “nine”: four cows and five sheep. the statute consists of blocks of provisions on specific topics. extinguishing fires. both in an early form. the articulation of early law in the form of codification may actually be connected with the loss of statehood. but in special cases the compensation could rise to one hundred cuirasses. but many items such as theft. The former severity of Mongol law has been replaced completely by a system of material compensation. In only one case (petty theft) is the cutting off of the thief ’s finger ordained. is inevitably a central issue in all studies of early law. Law and State The relationship between law and state. etc.24 Law in Medieval Russia that it also deals with entirely lawful behaviour. salvaging booty. treatment of equipment. etc. because the entire population had been victimized).

how they function. the problem of how the state comes into being. Skalník (eds. it should be remembered that in most early states a king appears as the personification of the state. The Hague. R. a state cannot exist without law and outside law. 1978. not according to a system of rules and through the imposition of rules of behaviour. Such states did not rest on legitimizing rules. Although the USSR in the heyday of Stalinist terror still displayed some legal attributes of statehood (a constitution. with obvious connections with the subject of the early state. mentioned above (The Study of the State). at 504-406. but also with connections with ideology and religion.). acted as states and were treated as states by others.M. A very sizeable literature exists on the subject of early kingship. Claessen & J. “The State as a Problem of Jurisprudence”.” In this view. Claessen-Skalník. but on the acquisition and retention of paramount power. Some reference has been made to these questions in preceding sections on Indo-European patriarchy.). H.G. the concept of emerging statehood may be considered to require some sort of definition. generally. On the other hand. turns into the problem of how legal rules come into being. One of the authors in the Claessen-Skalník volume on “The Study of the State”. reaches the conclusion:56 “We have considerable evidence that shows that the state is nothing other than a complex of legal acts. .M.55 In the present context. Leiden.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 25 If we use the term “state” in this section. 1996. if the state is only a specific legal system. courts). 387-407. As with early law. this power was exercised. codes of law. a set of legal rules sufficiently centralized and having the monopoly of the use of force. A first observation could be that law and state are often used to define each other. Now. The Study of the State. 55 56 Cf. satisfactorily) defined by reference to the state: law are those rules of behaviour which are issued by the state and backed and enforced by the power monopoly of the state. Claessen & P. This is itself a debatable proposition. and the work by the same authors. Tamayo y Salmorán. it functioned predominantly through centrally issued and mostly secret bureaucratic instructions. kingship and chieftaincy. Oosten (eds. Both in the past and in modern times there have been ‘lawless’ states. and how they change. Ideology and the Formation of Early States. Much work on the “early state” has been done by Claessen and his colleagues. the central question should be the clarification of the relationship between early law and the early state. but through administrative commands.J. how it functions. Tamayo y Salmorán. modern law is usually (and.J. The Early State. H. how it changes. or at least organizations which pretended to be states.

It implies that the authors. the fines..26 Law in Medieval Russia This approach is. one has to know exactly who is included in the category concerned and who is not. the more it consolidated itself. If the law grants certain rights or imposes certain duties on e. it is often not enforced by a state or a state-like agency. of course. 640. had a preconceived idea of what constituted an “early state”. in the sense that it was based on the study of a large number of early states and then attempted to summarize what these states had in common. I am afraid. the applicability of rules. whose relations are characterized by political dominance of the former and tributary obligations of the latter. The full definition is: “the centralized socio-political organization for the regulation of social relations in a complex. stratified society divided into at least two basic strata. and the Early State”. But they are also prescriptive. parents. An interesting aspect was added by R. edited by the same authors. . The Study of the State. to delimit. 87-115. Cohen. to demarcate. parents. or. legitimized by a common ideology of which reciprocity is the basic principle. buyers). in that they usually refer to and attempt to describe collections of entities that are known in a general fashion (such as policemen. Laws are full of definitions—instruments. Such definitions are partly descriptive. an early society that lacked coherence would most likely not transform itself into an early state. in 57 58 The Early State. Claessen and Skalník employ a definition of the early state of which the central core is: “the centralized socio-political organization for the regulation of social relations. if we assume the presence of law. Much of the actual work of lawyers concerns the precise establishment of the limits. the rulers and the ruled—. who argued that the existence and effectiveness of anti-fission devices provided the decisive criterion for distinguishing between early states and early centralized societies. to define. and an early state. in selecting their sample. What one might discern behind this complicated definitional debate is a difference in approach to the question of definition in the social sciences and in jurisprudence. It is often unclear whether we can speak of a state at this stage. policemen. of such definitions. and we can establish a posteriori that it had or did not have the potential to maintain itself as a state. tools.58 Surely. buyers.” This definition then played an important role in the following volume on “The Study of the State”. unsuitable to deal with early law.”57 This definition is descriptive.g. showed that it possessed the instruments to sustain itself as an organization. once a society has transformed itself into a state. “Evolution. Fission. R. as the case may be. Claessen & Skalník. Cohen. etc. A definition which provides maximum precision is required. or emergent social classes—viz. But does the criterion do what it is supposed to do: help us to distinguish between states and non-states? Only afterwards. or not.

by a process of consolidation. The definition may be regarded as politically undesirable. we do have a general idea of what is meant.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 27 other words. but there can be no question of it being wrong. of coalescence. monopolization of rule creation. In the beginning of this chapter. Such a judgment could always be overridden. We know in fact that they each emerge gradually. because they contain explicit or implicit choices about including or excluding specific sub-collections. of incremental change. dispute settlement. Do policemen include military policemen. the question of the definition of law has been discussed and three phases in the genesis of law were proposed: — — — the emergence of dispute settlement by a third party. or the early state. does purchase/sale include the contract of barter? The prescriptive character of the definition derives from the authority of the agency which produced the definition (in a modern legal system: the legislator or the court). do parents include adoptive and/or foster parents. or socially ineffective by the community to whom it is addressed. also by ourselves. i. But it is not prescriptive in the sense that it can decide for ourselves and a fortiori for others whether a legal system or a state is or is not ‘early’. Since no authoritative definitions of early law or the early state can be given. the moment all the elements of the definition were present. we would have to admit that that our definition was inadequate or ineffective. The description may be more or less successful.e. We may then attempt to describe more precisely what we have in mind. The fact that law and state (both with regard to their early manifestations and with regard to the present) usually participate in each other’s definition is not a logical handicap. and enforcement. then they would appear suddenly. “this is what constitutes an early state”). In such a case. Then the problem becomes manageable. or rather an early legal system. faulty or invalid (provided it has been expressed in the proper manner). If early law and the early state would be tied to prescriptive definitions (“this is what constitutes early law”. that point being irrelevant. legally unfortunate. . it may succeed in expressing completely or adequately what we had in mind. further elaboration of this function. they reflect political choices. When we speak of early law. all we can do is look for a more or less general consensus on various aspects of them. but a pointer to the solution.

will occur. law and the state may still be separate. there have been well-organized. on the basis of persuasion. Ch. violence will in the end turn out to be an expensive solution. At a certain stage. including clear relations of power and authority. fixation of rules. the most basic institutions on which any legal system rests are formed. a well-organized state will be in a better position to maintain an effective legal system. stable and lasting (non-fissile in Cohen’s terminology) societies where law-like structures were almost absent or seriously underdeveloped. Where human beings live together. a three-stage development of law was suggested. a third party begins to participate in dispute settlement. in more developed situations they will always be found together (barring exceptional circumstances). the more successful the state.) will produce a law-like phenomenon. The emergence of the state occurs in similar fashion. where the mediator uses not only persuasion but also his status and the authority and power deriving from it. Claessen describes how agricultural societies first attempt to settle disputes between their members through negotiation and mediation. precedents. but it can occur also in the absence of clear state-like formations. parents interfering when children are fighting. The enlargement of the scale of social organization requires more formal arrangements. 5. For the group at large.4). as in the story of Cain and Abel (Genesis. . The Origins of Legislation At the beginning of this chapter. etc. differences of opinion. Other members of the group may. the more effective the legal system. resorting to violence will appear as the first option. which might be called pre. clashes of interests. they contribute to each other’s definition. On the other hand. the patterns of relationships will acquire a degree of rigidity that produces reliable rights and duties. may in fact be called law. Law and the state arise in tandem. Professionalization of dispute settlement with all it entails (judges. or in a more authoritative form. and then how adjudication by a third party develops in stages. but often also for the person who prevails. At the earliest stages of their development. All this is simple everyday stuff: schoolboys sorting out their differences among themselves. This may be in the form of independent mediation.or proto-legal. If these cannot be settled by mutual agreement. therefore.28 Law in Medieval Russia The third phase obviously requires the presence of something like a state. At the first stage. involve themselves in trying to avoid violence. And conversely. however.

values and attitudes developed at this stage.61 Unwritten law is. Llewellyn and Hoebel’s The Cheyenne Way. because on the one hand it concerns situations and relationships which could only be regarded as legal by stretching the concept beyond its accepted usage. could acquire the power of precedent. There are many and various manifestations of this phenomenon in early law. they sat together on the polished seats of honour. This entire phase can be called pre. to a degree. inevitably. Conflict and Case Law in Primitive Jurisprudence. arrived at in this way.or proto-legal. “Justice and Written Laws in the Formation of the Polis”. to be given to the one who would give the best judgment. both by the utilization of precedent and the creation of new precedents. the city elders had to decide. quoted above. Law’s Beginnings. K. Certain individuals are habitually involved and thereby build up professional skills. who was expected to 59 60 A classical example is referred to by E. Hoebel. a more precise term. Llewellyn & A. if it would be accepted. in the shape of “early law”. everybody involved in the dispute will refer to similar disputes in the past and to the way they were handled (the power of precedent). Several authors have observed that the modern era of legislation (centrally issued written law) is not simply preceded by an era of custom and then customary law (based on precedent). it may occur in the form of customary law or of “created”. The capping-stone of this development is the acceptance of the solution of the dispute. 23-43. 61 See. as nowadays. can be observed at the next stage. wearing judge’s staffs. and is described in Homer’s Iliad Σ 497-509: In a difficult dispute. Law’s Beginnings. Feldbrugge. judge-made law. OK. . parties will be inclined to stick to the same mediators or arbitrators. its fixation in formulas. The Frisian asega.60 This is also one of the central ideas of that classic description of early law. at 29.59 At the stage of early law. van der Vliet. involves the articulation of law. although that is not the whole story. Norman. anybody exercising a judicial function would occasionally be called upon to propose or impose such a solution which then. the papers by Algra and Hoekema. 1941. The professionalization of dispute settlement. Third party dispute settlement is then becoming professionalized. in Feldbrugge. therefore. When certain disputes occur more frequently and are solved more or less satisfactorily.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 29 In this process. Precedents develop into rules. The Cheyenne Way. The actual emergence of law. but on the other hand the emergence of law would not be possible without the institutions. Inevitably therefore. and the latter will adhere to a certain manner of operation (a procedure). some kind of regularity will assert itself. new situations and problems arose which required new solutions. and in their midst lay two talents of gold. for instance.

for a longer period led to the invention of writing. the enunciation. the second stage of the development of early law attained its conclusion and the stage was set for the last phase. the more abundant the information about it. to dictate new legal rules. who had experience in the legal profession. Once such a power has asserted itself. The older judicial monopoly. it became accessible to anyone who could read. indications that legislation was not unknown in oral cultures. alongside the prevalence of custom and . Once law was written down. then the second stage can be called pre-legislative. where certain sentences must be spoken in exactly the right words. which claims the exclusive power. is therefore the most important corollary of writing in the sphere of law. Irish brithemain or Frisian asegas. is over once this point has been reached. and control over the law passed from those who ‘possessed’ the knowledge of it to those who wrote it down or had the power to have it written down. is then transferred to the state. The availability of writing allowed a much more reliable and permanent fixation of texts. whether specialized brahmins. both old and new. then the next step is to take this power and extend it to include also the power to create new rules without waiting for disputes to arise. to be sure. the later the stage of development. also in the Russkaia Pravda there are traces of ancient fixed formulas. Homeric gerontes. including legal knowledge.30 Law in Medieval Russia know the law by heart. the purposeful creation of new rules. the extensive formulary of older Roman law. This is directly connected with the introduction of writing. Another aspect of writing is that it allowed knowledge to become de-personalized. Once this rule enunciation became a monopoly. of the legal rules. such as judges and courts. Previously. The professionalization of the law is thus intimately connected with the articulation. The period of early law. of the emergence of law. If the first stage of the development of early law can be called pre-legal. There are. when only designated persons or agencies were considered to have the power to formulate the law. the perceived need to preserve information. On the other hand. the extraordinary similarity between a number of basic provisions in the Germanic leges barbarorum. in two ways. Before the law came to be written down. the monopoly. Legislation. the existence of the state cannot be doubted any longer. As can be expected. This phase is concluded by the acquisition by the state of the monopoly to enforce the law. When the law can only be expressed authoritatively by certain persons or agencies. law was the possession of persons who were trained in it. it had already been fixed in the minds of the professionals of the law.

in its various emanations (central and subordinate local and specialized agencies). the relatively passive registration of customary law soon disappeared and was replaced by purposeful legislation as an instrument of government policy. or a private registration of what the author considered to be the law. The law. Even if we would have an authentic text. was caused to be written down by the newly emerging central power. but it could only take off once its preservation was not bound any longer to the mnemonic capacity of individuals. the catalyst which ushered in the era of genuine legislation. whether a certain text deserves to be regarded as law. hitherto the exclusive possession of knowledgeable individuals. the stele of Hammurabi). Lawyers will argue about the exact meaning of the words of the law. The decisive factor. They have been copied again and again and in the course of time variant versions have emerged. was then the next step. Once this step had been made. The realization that writing down the law as it stood could easily be extended to writing down the law as the ruler would like it to be. and the introduction of writing came together. the emergence of central authority—the state—. The background of all this is that in the early legislative period there was still some confusion about the scope of legislation and the manner of recording it. But uncertainty about the text also occurs along another axis. or a private registration of an official act. or it could be a semi-official directive to courts. One of the fascinating aspects of early law is that it requires answers to questions which need not be asked anymore in a modern legal system. one first has to address the question: What does this text represent? The authentic texts of early legislation have rarely come down to us. In modern times. The manner of creating and recording legislation is itself regulated by law. An ostensibly legislative text (a more or less systematic enumeration of legal rules) could be (but rarely is) the official recording of a genuine act of legislation (e. or the official fixation in writing of customary law. A careful comparison of what is available should then lead to a text which would be as close as possible to the original. the Russkaia Pravda (see the chapter on this topic). comparable to the publication of a law adopted by a modern parliament in its official gazette. legislation is the monopoly of the state. as a rule. or a scholarly systematization of various pieces of legislation.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 31 judge-made law. This process is observable in some detail in the subsequent phases of the oldest Russian law.g. Discussing ancient legal texts. and so on. but not. The main lines of development appear to be that at a certain stage the judicial function—enunciation of the law—. it still would not always be clear who was the author. was usually the occurrence of social friction requiring major .

the texts inform us about the circumstances surrounding the adoption of an ancient law and then it is often that the ruler.32 Law in Medieval Russia adaptations of the traditional (mainly oral and customary) order. Zimmer has noted the emergence of law as connected with the mixing of socio-ethnic groups. Ancient Greek legislation first appeared in the new colonies. Several phases of the Russkaia Pravda can be connected with major social and political upheavals in Kievan Russia. op. Van der Vliet. One of the two main versions of the Law of the Salic Franks bears the name of Pactus Legis Salicae. Occasionally.62 The Frisian law. together with members of the elite and (representatives) of the populace had reached agreement about it beforehand. he summarizes his findings as “from Status to Contract”.cit. at the end of his central chapter V (“Primitive Society and Ancient Law”) of his Ancient Law. with whom we started this chapter. Cf. This thought returns us to Maine. Many of the important monuments of early law were also the result of negotiated settlements. 62 63 Cf.63 This illustrates an aspect of early law which has been left underexposed until now: its contractual character. op.cit. For a much earlier era. and some of the other of the Germanic leges barbarorum were issued soon after the imposition of Frankish overlordship. . Zimmer.

something preceded them.Chapter 2 The Russkaia Pravda 1. involving such aspects as legal theory. hereafter RP). are closely connected with the appearance of writing. The latter may be hard to identify. even if it has to involve a certain amount of speculation. because it allows us to witness the birth of a number of institutions. “steering-books”. copied and kept in Russian monasteries (see the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval . legal history and anthropology. as we know it. in view of the ample availability of documentation about oral cultures. however. Subsequently many more copies were found. they were invented or rather cobbled together on the basis of existing institutions. The underlying idea. has not existed since time immemorial. known as kormchie (lit. most of them in manuscript collections of ecclesiastical and secular laws and prescriptions. like those of history. That there could not have been history or law before there was writing is an untenable proposition. The study of the earliest written legal sources of any society is therefore of particular interest from the legal point of view. is that law. Tatishchev. V. practices and techniques. the new elements were not created ex nihilo. it fell into oblivion and remained unknown for centuries until in 1738 the grandfather of Russian historiography. on account of the paucity of available information. 2.N. General Remarks After the RP lost its practical importance. but the effort is worth its while. Introduction By far the most important monument of early Russian law is the Russkaia Pravda (the “Russian Law”. practices and techniques which together constitute the world of modern law. More than two centuries of scholarship have resulted in a vast body of studies and commentaries. But although the process of writing inaugurated a new phase in the development of the law. but emerged at a certain stage of societal development. did improve and alter the possibilities of communication between human beings from different times and places to such an extent that the world became a different place from that moment on. as to look at the RP from a specifically legal perspective. Its origins. as elaborated in the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings and Early Law”. The purpose of this chapter is not so much to add to this. The invention of writing. Greek Nomocanon). discovered a copy of it in the First Novgorod Chronicle.

). Medieval Russian Laws). respectively. Shorter accounts in G.A. 70-72. Frankfurt a/M. 25-56. Szeftel & A. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov. Band 1. No. but we shall have to return to this question at greater length below. more importantly. ch. D. Tikhomirov. Laws).2. III). “Russkaia Pravda v novykh spiskakh kormchikh knig XVI-XVII vv. not only because in most manuscripts they go under the name of Russkaia Pravda. Kaiser. id. Part I: Teksty. 1947 (hereafter: Vernadsky.D. . 14-40. “Novoe o spiskakh Russkoi Pravdy”. this work was published on the basis of a manuscript completed shortly before the author’s death in 1980). Shchapov. Vernadsky. PR I. Kaiser (transl. The new additions to the already large collection of manuscripts have not given rise to fundamentally new insights. 1947. Rechtshistorische Reihe. numbering about 1100 words. Tobien. Moskva. 11-30. Vernadsky. 1940. Growth). 1999 (hereafter: Zimin. especially. id. Istoriia SSSR. Das älteste Recht der Russen in seiner geschichtlichen Entwickelung. but. 12-14. 44-157. Grekov (ed. Posobie). 1964. G. Eck.G.N. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. These versions are known. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1969 god.4 The two versions are intimately related. but at that time more than 100 copies were already extant. Bruxelles. Moskva/Leningrad. M. A. Dorpat.2 A considerable number of new copies has emerged afterwards. 100-103.. It is generally regarded as a later abridgment of the Expanded Pravda and of no direct interest for the present topic.N. a shorter one. Tikhomirov. 1 2 Extensive accounts of the historiography of the RP in M. it became obvious that there were at least two basic versions. as the Short and the Expanded Pravda. 3 B. Issledovanie). Pravda Russkaia.1 The standard edition by the USSR Academy of Sciences from the middle of the last century made use of 88 different copies. Part III: Faksimil’noe vosproizvedenie tekstov. Istoricheskii Arkhiv. 209-211. Part II: Kommentarii. Ewers. Princeton. 1844). because virtually all provisions from the Short Pravda reappear. and E.N. See. English translation in D.4. Moskva/Leningrad. & ed. Medieval Russian Laws. Ia. 1959. 21-116. 1953 (hereafter: Tikhomirov. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. although in sometimes slightly different wording. 1963 (hereafter: Szeftel & Eck). Baranowski. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. Moskva. II. Pravda Russkaia.H.”. “Novye spiski kormchikh knig. Medieval Russian Laws. 1941 (hereafter: Tikhomirov. The general consensus is that the Short Pravda is older than the Expanded Pravda. French translation in M. Band 321. No. Salt Lake City.). Moskva. 4 There is also a third version. Moskva/Leningrad. known as the Abridged (Sokrashchennaia) Pravda. Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde.2.34 Law in Medieval Russia Russia”). 1826. 1992 (hereafter: Kaiser.H. 1980 (hereafter: Kaiser. German translation in Baranowski. Zimin.. Dorpat/ Hamburg. 9-15. Moskva.. and a longer one about four times as long.3 As soon as more copies of the RP had become available. New Haven. in the Expanded Pravda. soderzhashchie Russkuiu Pravdu”. 29-37. Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy. Sammlung kritisch bearbeiteten Quellen der Geschichte des russischen Rechts. numbering about 850 words. PR. 13-43 (there are also 19th century German translations by I.Ph.S. Die Prawda Russkaja und die ältesten Tractate Russlands. 2005 (hereafter: Baranowski). 1971. 1963 (hereafter: Grekov. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal.

11 does not deal with personal injuries but with the runaway slave. The system introduced by the Academy of Sciences edition is generally followed nowadays.6 Articles 12-18 deal with a greater variety of cases concerning property claims—runaway slaves and loss of possession by the owner being the two central themes. Issledovanie. and Nikifor came together again [and decided certain things] and as to everything else. which appear to be unconnected with the immediately preceding text of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons: the law on the payment of bloodwite (vira): the pokon virnyi (art.42). The Short Pravda After article 185 of the Short Pravda there is a line which reads as a preamble: “The law established for the Russian land. Mikyfor the Kievan. Pereneg. regarded as a law connected with the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav the Wise. they are all concerned with the payment of wergeld for homicide and other personal injuries.16 is devoted to the same topic.The Russkaia Pravda 35 3. These parts are usually referred to as Iaroslav’s Pravda or the Oldest Pravda (Drevneishaia Pravda) and the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons (Pravda Iaroslavichei). Also. 5 6 The manuscript texts of the RP do not use article numbers. there are two provisions with their own headings.” Most copies of the Expanded Pravda carry the heading: “The Law of Iaroslav Vladimirovich. and a following section. Sviatoslav.” The first three persons were the sons and successors of the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav the Wise (Iaroslav Vladimirovich. article 11 seems to belong to the same layer. connected with his sons.43. who ruled in Kiev from 1019 to 1054). The reference to Varangians and Kolbiags. the Pravda of Iaroslav. Kosniachko. however. Pereneg. Sviatoslav.1. one may discern different chronological layers in the Oldest Pravda. More speculatively. . The first ten articles are very similar in scope and terminology. Moreover. at the end of the Short Pravda. identified as “a law of Iaroslav” (to ti urok iaroslavl’). art. 61. The division in numbered articles is something introduced by editors for easy reference. and their men: Kosniachko. which would argue in favour of the viewpoint that the two provisions originally belonged to separate complexes.” It is primarily on the basis of these texts that it is generally recognized that the Short Pravda consists of two main parts: the first 18 articles. See Tikhomirov. This preamble is repeated in article 2 of the Expanded Pravda in a different and more precise wording: “After Iaroslav [had died]. his sons established the same. It may be obvious that an unfortunate placing of numbers may distort the context. his sons Iziaslav. Chudin [and] Mikula met together. but older studies (such as those by Kalachov or Sergeevich) often use different systems. when Iziaslav. connects it with art. and the bridgebuilders’ statute (urok mostnikov). in some manuscripts new provisions are started on a new line and/or with a capital letter in red ink. Vsevolod. art. Vsevolod. Art. decided by Iaroslav.

“Spornye voprosy nachal’noi istorii russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia”. had been appointed by his father St.e. probably around 1013 or 1014. Article 41 concerns the distribution of the money collected in fines and articles 42 and 43 have been mentioned above. south-west of the present St. also. the first block of provisions (arts. An extensive and recent explanation of the Old-Russian monetary system by A. the Primary Chronicle and the First Novgorod Chronicle. i. especially by 7 8 In substance. S. 1997.2 of the Short Pravda. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. See. Kisterev (ed. These chronicles relate how Iaroslav. 4. his father summoned his troops and began to prepare an attack on Novgorod. most likely at the insistence of the Novgorod population. Nazarenko. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. M. to rule in Novgorod (Novgorod the Great. Novoe v numizmatike.). Tom IX. an older provision. 1996. Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii.19-29) may very well be viewed as an addition or amendment to the wergeld provisions of the first part. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. 5-79. Iaroslav thereupon reinforced his army.7 but the next series of provisions (arts. 1978. S. 1. 3-16. 197-220. The first step in achieving a more detailed understanding of this process is a more precise determination of the emergence of the oldest part of the document.31-40) continues the focus on the prince’s interests.). with the accent now on his property interests.”. articles 19-29 deal with special and increased fines for killing or injuring the prince’s officials.N. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons has therefore repeatedly been compared with Charlemagne’s Capitulare de Villis (dating from shortly after 800). decided to cease the payment of this sum. Moskva.V. “Istochniki dlia izucheniia russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia v XII-XIII vv.N. Novosel’tsev (ed. it concerns evidence: open wounds and bruises need no further corroboration by witnesses. A. As what appears to represent a short law code of princely domanial law. “Proiskhozhdenie drevnerusskogo denezhno-vesovogo scheta”. from Iaroslav’s Pravda. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1994 god. Two medieval chronicles are of decisive importance in this respect. .P. Leningrad.Vladimir. Kisterev. One of Iaroslav’s duties was the payment of an annual tribute of 2000 pounds (grivny) to Kiev.8 When Iaroslav. in accordance with the prevailing practice (see the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”) among the descendants of Rurik.36 Law in Medieval Russia In the second part.B. Moskva. Sverdlov. the legendary founder of the dynasty. The Chronological Framework of the Short Pravda It is abundantly clear from the above that the Short Pravda consists of different chronological layers which have been combined into a single document at a certain moment.Petersburg). Article 30 stands somewhat isolated. grand prince of Kiev. but at the same time this rule repeats the first part of art.

See. as I have written it for you. Up to this point the two chronicles run closely parallel. In the face of this threat. At that moment. Iaroslav was forced to make peace with his Novgorod subjects. Iaroslav’s Pravda). The debate around this question has been going on for a long time. who lost no time in eliminating two other brothers.6 and also by Zimin. Iaroslav reacted by having a number of prominent Novgorod citizens treacherously murdered. most pre-revolutionary and Soviet. also.e. the discussions reviewed in PRP I. at least in the general sense that the origin of the Oldest Pravda was connected with the events in Novgorod as related in the Novgorod Chronicle.9 The fact that the RP text was at some later moment appended to the Novgorod Chronicle for some local political reason does not really undermine the essential truthfulness of the story. and observe it. and this culminated in riots in which many Varangians were killed. in 1016. The so-called Younger version (Mladshii Izvod) of the Novgorod Chronicle then continues by relating how Iaroslav rewarded his troops: “[…] and he began to distribute pay to his troops. xvii. Boris and Gleb (subsequently to become two of the most popular Russian saints). Issledovanie. The older phase of the debate is related by Tikhomirov. 148. These Varangians (Vikings). created much unrest among the Novgorod population. Moskva. but instead goes into greater detail about the following campaign against Sviatopolk. 97-112.Ia. and he gave them a code [pravda] and wrote down a law [ustav]. 89-98. and ascended the throne of Kiev. PR. Drevniaia Rus’. . and indeed also modern scholars are inclined to give credence to the story of the Novgorod Chronicle. Kaiser. If the story from the Novgorod Chronicle is to be believed. ch. Locating the emergence of the Oldest Pravda in 1016 and connecting 9 Among more recent authors connecting the origin of the Oldest Pravda with events in Novgorod in 1016 are: Zimin. PR. he received news of the death of his father Vladimir in Kiev and the usurpation of the Kievan throne by his brother Sviatopolk. and to all the men of Novgorod ten grivny each. 74-75 and RZ I. although the text given by the Chronicle also includes the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons (who were not even born at that time). He then marched with an army of Varangians and Novgorodians against Sviatopolk. in keeping with their reputation for violence and unruliness. and to the [common] soldiers one grivna each.” These words are followed immediately by the text of the Short Pravda. 1995. Froianov. to the captains ten grivny each. saying to them: Live according to this charter [gramota]. it can of course refer only to the first part of the Short Pravda (i. The Primary Chronicle makes no mention of a law code granted by Iaroslav. overcame the latter on the banks of the Dniepr near Liubech. The proposition is rejected by I. 35. Baranowski. Laws.The Russkaia Pravda 37 recruiting Varangian forces from Scandinavia. and he dismissed them all to their homes. 98.

74-78. consists of two main parts. PR. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. More speculatively. or in some intermediate position.12-18) seem to represent another legislative fragment. Cf.12 Whether they were acting under instructions from the prince’s administration. Cf. I refer to Tikhomirov. 12 The proposed subdivisions of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons are of little relevance in this chapter.38 Law in Medieval Russia it with Iaroslav’s political difficulties in his relationship with Novgorod and his own followers (his druzhina) are not only consistent with the text of the RP.11 Eventually this entire legislative mass was united into a single document. 133-150. and has no particular connection with Novgorod. Issledovanie. is unclear. various solutions have been proposed. is not an actual piece of legislation and that the legislative portions it contains have not necessarily been transmitted in their original form. but are also helpful in explaining a number of peculiarities of it. both parts may be broken up in two parts each.13 The principal conclusions to be drawn are that the Short Pravda as a whole. Tikhomirov. Issledovanie. but rather with Kiev) lack these advantages of what must be considered the predominant view. and the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. or independently. I follow Tikhomirov in this respect. plus a few minor enactments. 5. 133-150. the Oldest Pravda would have emerged at some other date. PR. Very little is known about the actual process of compilation. The Short Pravda: Composition and Status The Short Pravda. as early as 1054 and as late as 1136. Alternative interpretations (e. PR. There are definite traces of editorial interference in the production of the final compilation known as the Short Pravda. As to the date of this compilation. 61. as argued above. 10 11 Tikhomirov. Issledovanie. Zimin. 99-123. all of them representing specific items of princely legislation. All this applies only to the first ten or eleven articles of the Oldest Pravda in my view.10 We must return to this question in more detail when the origins of the RP are examined. which has come down to us through monastic manuscripts as the Short Pravda. the following provisions (arts. Zimin. 62-70 and Zimin.g. unlike its constituent parts. 13 . Most authors agree that it was the work of monastic scribes.

edited but still recognizable. The oldest copy. entitled in the text “The Law of Iaroslav Vladimirovich” and “The Statute of Vladimir Vsevolodovich”. PR. The Expanded Pravda appears to consist of two main parts. under the years 907. Tikhomirov. chapters 10-20 and Zimin. are found scattered through the entire text of the Expanded Pravda. all of these having been subject to considerable editorial reworking.15 7. what purport to be the texts of treaties between the Kievan grand prince and the Byzantine emperor. Issledovanie. also in the Statute of Monomakh. the first one is Iaroslav the Wise whom we met before as the legislator of the first part of the Short Pravda. . Moreover. most commentators agree that only a small portion of the latter part of the Expanded Pravda represents a specific law promulgated by Vladimir Monomakh at the beginning of his reign. 912. and other Kievan princely legislation. who ruled as grand prince of Kiev from 1113 to 1125. 945 and 971. but that it was not enacted as a separate piece of legislation. As to its status. A closer examination of the text shows that the Expanded Pravda is by no means a simple conjunction of the Short Pravda and a later law by another Kievan prince. is from 1282. There is no doubt about the identity of these two princes. Issledovanie. the original statute of Vladimir Monomakh of 1113. the safest course may be to follow Tikhomirov who suggested that its compilation was officially inspired in order to be used as a practical work of reference in the courts.14 A great many copies are extant and this has made the problem of their classification prominent. To cut the story short. who was a Byzantine princess of the Monomachus family). 153278. 225. Its provisions. the Expanded Pravda was probably compiled at some time in the 12th century (after the death of Vladimir Monomakh in 1125) on the basis of the Short Pravda. but not in a single block. Other Contemporary Sources The Treaties of 912 and 945 The Primary Chronicle contains.The Russkaia Pravda 39 6. dated by the copyist himself. The Short Pravda has been incorporated almost entirely into the Expanded Pravda. The Expanded Pravda The Expanded Pravda is of less interest to the specific focus of this chapter and a brief overview will be sufficient. and the second one is his grandson Vladimir Monomakh (so named after his mother. These treaties have given rise to a very ex14 15 I refer generally to Tikhomirov.

Constantine and Stephen18 and the Russian grand prince Igor “and his princes and boyars and the whole people of Russia”. commentary). Diplomatiia. Sorlin. implicitly accepting the correctness of the formula from the Laurentian ms. 1980. and all the serene and grand princes and great boyars under his sway” on the other. 1-13 (English translation). Romanus Lecapenus and sons as co-emperors. pay five pounds of silver. The list also indicates the persons represented by the 25 16 17 See. grand prince of Russia. The latter reading seems to be correct from the point of view of legal history. the parties mentioned are the emperors Romanus. 313-360 and 447-475. in the Laurentian manuscript). In arts. Moskva.16 The treaty of 912.6 has the formula “according to Greek custom and Russian law and custom” (po zakonu Grech’skomu. etc. A. in the 945 treaty a large number of names is given as “the envoys and merchants of the Russian nation”. 3-70 (text. Laws. regard the reference as an indication of very early Russian legislation. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi–pervaia polovina X v. Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. in PRP I. Alexander and Constantine17 on the one hand and “Oleg. but in the context of this chapter only the treaties of 912 and 945 are of interest.N. (Radziwill and Academy) have “according to Greek custom and Greek law. Vol. with extensive bibliography. commercial and criminal law. in the 912 treaty all the envoys bear Scandinavian names.. inheritance and succession. and Zimin. assault and theft. the other places mentioned all refer to Russian custom (zakon russkii) only. 6. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. II (1961). Some of the legal arrangements obviously reflect Russian usages and in one case (assault) this is stated explicitly: “he shall. his brother Alexander and his son Constantine Porphyrogenitus. two other mss. The topics covered are similar to those mentioned in the 912 treaty. I. 45-46.” The treaty of 945 follows the general format of the treaty 912 (the latter clearly not being the first of its kind either). redemption of prisoners. according to Russian custom [po zakonu russkomu]. Also. Also PRP I. Cf. but generally less favourable to the Russians. 245. Sakharov. 19 . po usta[v]ou i po zakonu Ruskomu. according to its preamble was concluded between the emperors Leo. because it would be far-fetched to assume that the matter was regulated by (statute) law among the still largely illiterate Russians. in which both Russians and Greeks were involved: homicide. while the sophisticated Byzantine empire would have left it to custom. There are several explicit references to Russian custom (po zakonu russkomu). Kaiser. runaway slaves. especially.19 Both treaties give the names of the envoys of the Kievan prince.. Sakharov. modern Russian translation. 18 The iconoclast emperor Leo the Wise and his co-emperors. 9 and 14 (according to the accepted numeration).3. art. PSRL. It contained fairly detailed rules about a number of subjects which we would regard as belonging to civil. damages for torts.1. and Russian custom” (po zakonu gretskomu i po ustavu gretskomu i po zakonu russkomu). 49-50.40 Law in Medieval Russia tensive literature.

in later times.A. where the Russian side swears by its gods Volos and Perun. especially the important Court Charter of Pskov of the second half of the 15th century. Zimin. as opposed to zakon or pokon. The “Russian custom” of these two treaties may therefore very well have been the custom of the Viking warriors who constituted the immediate entourage (the druzhina) of the Kievan princes. travelled through the land of the Derevlians in 946. The Primary Chronicle relates how the ruling grand princess of Kiev. The Treaty of 1229 between Smolensk and Riga The date of this treaty can be established exactly because the text indicates that it was concluded between prince Mstislav Davidovich (of Smolensk) and the city of Riga. The Smolensk-Riga treaty provides a short law code for disputes arising between Smolensk citizens and the Hanseatic merchants living in Riga and Visby (see. 57-71.The Russkaia Pravda 41 envoys. One cannot exclude that certain written ordinances preceded the Oldest Pravda. the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod). which were briefly discussed above. including its most ancient parts. . refers to what has been ordered from above. Igor’s widow Olga. The overwhelming majority of these 50 persons bear Scandinavian names again. There is. Ustav. continued to exercise its influence over the development of the entire Russian legal 20 Text in PRP II. the first bishop of Riga) died. and 1229 is therefore the certain terminus ante quem of the latter. the RP. also in RZ 331-243. establishing laws (ustavy) and tribute (uroki).20 8. would always be in writing and would then have the meaning which it still has: a statute or charter. in the language of Kievan Russia. Moreover. referring to tradition and custom. It is. more likely that at that early date Olga’s ustavy were simply oral directives. apart from an apparent scribe’s mistake (as explained above). The Contents of the Short Pravda: Wergeld and Composition The oldest layer of the Short Pravda (the first eleven provisions in the view put forward above) is about the most ancient legislative enactment in Russia that we know of. 75-87. An ustav. no indication of any written Russian law in these treaties. also. The contents of the treaty are in many ways close to the Expanded Pravda. The existence of Russian customary law is well documented in the treaties with Byzantium of 912 and 945. nor in the text of the last-known Russian-Byzantine treaty of 971. It offers the earliest link between the RP and later Russian legislation. commentary by A. in the year bishop Albrecht (Albert of Adalbert. however. and then the names of the 25 merchants follow.

. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. The significance of the legislation of 1016 may best be illustrated by examining its first provision. “If a man kills a[nother] man. but it is at least clear that he is a man who belongs to the prince’s household. and the izgoi. his druzhina. or the son the father. if there is no one to avenge [the murdered man]. 2004. Vyp. was itself not an innovation. Srednevekovaia Rus’. The gridin is a junior member. the prince’s retinue. without any visible competition from older or contemporary Russian legislation. about the iabetnik there is much uncertainty.A. who were.42 Law in Medieval Russia system during the next few centuries. A. The first category is called “Russians” and this is often taken to mean “Kievan Russians” as opposed to people from Novgorod. a steward [iabetnik]. regardless of the origin or ethnicity of the victim. the mechnik (lit. This aspect is elaborated in a recent study by S. a bodyguard. members of the prince’s druzhina. In the treaties with Byzantium. or [rather] an izgoi or a [Novgorodian] Slav. Varangians. ethnic Scandinavians.”21 All translations make clear that one of the central points of the provision is the distinction made between two categories of homicide victims and the explicit indication that they are to be treated equally where the payment of wergeld is concerned. the term “Russians” is also used and there it unquestionably refers to the persons accompanying the prince. Moskva. the brother avenges the brother. according to most scholars. sword-man) is generally taken to be a person connected with the administration of justice. Nikol’skii. originally his comrades-in-arms and drinking companions. The equal treatment principle.L. a merchant. however. is not yet his court or his government. but one thing that is certain is that the term refers to persons who for one reason or another had ended up outside the traditional relationships of family. which deals with homicide.22 The “non-Russians” (slovenin) envisaged in article 1 are the Novgorodians. at 26-28. Gorskii (ed. 5-48. clan or class.4. [the following relatives of the murdered man avenge him]. or the son of the brother or the son of the sister [avenge their respective uncles]. the merchant can be seen as somebody who is active in representing the commercial interests of the prince.). his wergeld is 40 grivna . be [the murdered man] a Russian: a bodyguard [gridin]. Vikings. which makes perfect sense in the perspective adopted here. or the father the son. It was also included in the 912 21 22 My translation differs on minor points from those of Vernadsky and Kaiser. the exact meaning of this term is the subject of endless speculation. then 40 grivna wergeld. It must be stressed that at the time it would be too early to speak of a genuine princely administration. with rare exceptions. or a sheriff [mechnik]. The four specified sub-categories of the “Russians” in article 1 of the Short Pravda are all druzhina members.

and also from the following provisions of the Short Pravda. had regular legislative institutions and a formalized court system. twice the amount of the wergeld of a free man) for the most important 23 24 Tikhomirov. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1999. suggest that female relatives of the same degree are also included. with a minor adjustment to tip the balance in favour of wergeld at the expense of blood vengeance—an entirely understandable innovation in view of the dangers posed by inter-ethnic violence. ranging from 80 grivna (i. being a ‘feudal’ state. and slave turors and nurses (kormilitsy and kormilichitsy). “O kharaktere uchastiia zhenshchin v krovnoi mesti”. The killing of any of these persons leads to the imposition of a fine. Nikol’skii. was also the system followed in the foregoing centuries. Zimin in PRP I. The opposite view has been defended by some Russian and Soviet historians. 75 and A. as shown by the treaties of 912 and 945. Issledovanie. Iushkov. contract labourers (riadovnitsy). field overseers (ratainie). this is quite clear in the treaties. with the alternative of a substituting financial compensation. that women were not prevented from participating in blood feuds (princess Olga being a famous example).24 It would be correct to say that the Pravda of Iaroslav was by and large a confirmation of the existing legal order. 2001.The Russkaia Pravda 43 and 945 treaties with Byzantium. The innovation of the Pravda of Iaroslav was that it restricted the right of blood vengeance to male relatives up to the third degree. Notably S. who held that the sums mentioned were payable to the prince. who reached the conclusion that women as victims were equally protected by the blood feud. sheriffs (tivuny). assistant sheriffs (tivuntsy). but a special regime is introduced to deal with the killing of various officials and servants of the prince: the stewards of his domain (ognishchane). slave herdsmen (kholopy). Moskva. and that the exercise of blood feuds against women was considered as reprehensible. farm managers (sel’skie starosty). It should go without saying that the wergeld was paid to the family of the victim.L. and therefore legally imposed penalties would end up in the coffers of the prince.23 If none of these are available. 160-168. especially articles 10-27. based on custom. which mention several times explicitly that the compensation for injuries goes to the victim.A. his messengers (pod”ezdnye). The second half of the Short Pravda. The question was examined in more detail by S. 86. heralded a new and more active approach to legislation. which explicitly stipulated that in cases of homicide the same rules would apply to Greeks and Russians.e. the stable master (koniukh staryi). the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. Blood vengeance by relatives (blizhnye) as the basic sanction in the case of homicide. . who reasoned that Kievan Russia. The general system for dealing with homicide as described in article 1 is not mentioned and presumably left in place. peasants (smerdy).V. the 40 grivna wergeld becomes the only sanction.

and Nikifor came together again and abolished blood revenge but [instead ordered] composition by payment of money. The translations of the names of the various officials can also only be regarded as tentative.25 but the contrast between the two provisions catches the eye. this is obvious from the following provisions and from the entire context. or a father [his son]. or a brother’s sons [their uncle]. 336-338. . all this being the customary law arrangement of the pre-Christian era. decided by Iaroslav. then a brother avenges his brother. because it throws light on the development of the legislative process: “And for the senior stable master [who is murdered] while [he is] with the herds [pay] 80 grivna. had been deleted in the Expanded Pravda. then the wergeld is set at 40 grivna . See the extensive discussion in Baranowski.23. then the wergeld is set at 80 grivna in the case [the murdered man was] the prince’s man or the prince’s sheriff [tiun]. Kaiser’s translation). restriction of the right to blood vengeance to a circle of close relatives. as provided by the Short Pravda. The further evolution of the law of homicide is illustrated by the reworking of the basic provisions of article 1 of the Short Pravda and the preamble to the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons in articles 1 and 2 of the Expanded Pravda: “[1] If a man kills a man. or a cousin [=a son of the father’s brother][his cousin]. if there is no one to avenge [the murdered man]. Pereneg.” There are many uncertainties in translating these texts. This would mean that the inclusion of sons of sisters among the circle of possible avengers. if he was a Russian–a bodyguard [grid’]. The name of this fine is vira (bloodwite) and it is to be paid to the prince. secondly. or a merchant. but then the reference to its origin is omitted. who reached the same conclusion. and as to everything else. Vsevolod. brother’s son) as referring to a cousin in the male line (a son of one’s father’s brother) and bratniu synovi as nephews (son’s of one’s brother). The three-stage development of the law of homicide is clear: first.44 Law in Medieval Russia servants to 5 grivna for the smerdy and kholopy.” “[2] And after Iaroslav his sons: Iziaslav. I have followed those authors who regard bratochado (lit. because article 2 cancels what has been established in article 1: blood revenge by close kin. The rule concerning the stable master (koniukh staryi) is of special interest. and their men: Kosniachko. as Iziaslav [1054-78] established when the residents of Dorogobuzh killed his stablemaster” (art. The 80 grivna fine for killing the stable master returns in article 12 of the Expanded Pravda. or a boyar’s sheriff [tiun]. It is to be explained by the complicated genesis of the text. or a son [his father]. blood vengeance with the possibility of substituting payment of wergeld for revenge. or a sheriff [mechnik]–or [rather] an izgoi or a [Novgorodian] Slav. Sviatoslav. his sons established the same. li bratniu synovi. 25 One of the most contested phrases is liubo bratochado.

articles 2 and 3 are explicit on this point. it is not hard to see that the original character of wergeld was not compensa26 27 The interpretation of this rule bristles with difficulties.26 Article 5 of the Short Pravda differentiates quite clearly between the wergeld (golovnichestvo). to whom the amounts of money connected with various offences were to be paid. The wergeld. The modern extension of the law concerning damages. and from the uniform structure of the list one would conclude that the same would apply to all those mentioned there. cf. and the bloodwite (vira).27 If one takes a closer look at the oldest rules concerning wergeld. enumerated in articles 19-27. The payments for lesser injuries. regulates the way the amount collected was to be distributed between the prince himself and the officials involved. which follow in the text of the Short Pravda immediately after the provision on homicide. particularly through the emergence of the concept of fixed immaterial damages. are made to the victim. Article 41 of the Short Pravda. but eventually the state monopolized the legal reaction to homicide. The situation changes in the case of princely servants. replacing blood vengeance. thirdly. signifies to some extent a return to the ancient institution of wergeld. for which the killer’s community is jointly liable. RP II. without using the term. to be paid by the killer to the victim’s family. 318-324. abolition of blood vengeance altogether. The various texts of the RP do not indicate. payable to the ruler). beginning with the prince’s steward (ognishchanin) and ending with the unfree peasant (smerd). both versions of the RP use the term za golovu (“for the head”) and the Expanded Pravda also has golovnichestvo (“head money”) as the equivalent of wergeld. 232-234. this would be obvious in the case of the smerd.The Russkaia Pravda 45 in the earliest phase of written law. . The point to be made here is that the insertion of the list of the prince’s servants in the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons represented the transition from wergeld (in this case payable to the master of the victim) to bloodwite (a fine for killing another person. In the otherwise very extensive literature on the RP this aspect is usually given little attention. Grekov. as a rule. The composition paid to the prince is called vira (or virnoe). Baranowski. The wergeld survived for a long time. otherwise there would have to be some kind of break in the middle of the list. One has to assume that payment for their killing would go to the prince. usually translated as “bloodwite”. The appearance of princely servants in the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons also heralded the disappearance of the wergeld. was paid to the relatives of the victim. the term appears more frequently in the Expanded Pravda.

Zimin. Some authors regard the terms as synonymous. There is a procedure referred to as svod in article 14.14. A. Grundriss des Germanischen Rechts. 33. Outside the mir. 1972. Vernadsky. PRP I.). a simple taking back is allowed (art. When imposing sanctions. but reparation of honour and status. 1913. against ten times in the Short Pravda. PRP I. Procedure Procedural arrangements represent the second main cluster of rules which make up the Pravda of Iaroslav. considered both svod and izvod as a survival of a kind of judicial council of the community. Arkhivy I. most authors. 28-29. consisting of twelve men.30 Articles 13 and 14 describe two instances of the classical law school problem (the students’ despair and the professors’ delight) of the retrieval of assets which ended up in the possession of another person. regarded svod as a form of confrontation. 78-79. others stress the differences. No. does not specifically argue this point. Tikhomirov. and a procedure called izvod in article 15. and the same applied to pulling out or shaving somebody’s beard or moustache (arts. 56. The precise meaning of most of the provisions is still much contested. he is not to take it back.7). at 342-346. remaining close to the text of art. 88-89. Striking a man with the hilt or the sheath of a sword resulted in a penalty of 12 grivna. Kaiser’s translation): “If someone recognizes [his property]. 90-91. of 1189/1199. which correspond to arts.4 and 13 of the Short Pravda). but it is implicit in his entire treatment of the question. von Amira. Such a body also turns up in the earliest known treaty between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League. but certain aspects are clear. against the will of the owner or independent of his will. Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis/Revue d’histoire de droit. 245. Strassburg (3rd ed. the Short Pravda often adds the words “for the insult” (za obidu). leaving unanswered the question before whom this confrontation took place. On the other hand. see K. Levitsky.46 Law in Medieval Russia tion for material losses.13). Vernadsky points to the similarity between the svod and possessorial proceedings in Germanic law. instead he ought 28 29 Cf.28 The various tariffs give a clear indication.28. Medieval Russian Laws. Szeftel & Eck. 341-436. not the involvement of the prince’s court.29 but there is little doubt that in both cases one has to assume. If this happened within the community (mir) of the owner.23 and 34. 9. 30 Zimin. in the Expanded Pravda the expression is only used twice (in arts. and ought not to say to him [who possesses his property]: ‘This [property] is mine’.V. the svod procedure was required (art. this article also contains abundant references to older Russian literature. cutting off somebody’s finger (something a modern person would consider far more serious) came at 3 grivna (art. L. “Protection of Individual Honour and Dignity in Pre-Petrine Russian Law”. but of an older jurytype agency.L.4 and 8).14. Cherepnin. Issledovanie. however. S.A. GVNP. 210-211. . 82.

regards the former therefore as consisting originally of 12 men.” The rule implies that the chain of transactions is reversed. It makes of course good sense to devote a separate rule to this eventuality. then he is [to return] the money [to its rightful owner]. The svod.31 The izvod of twelve men (art.35). There is no reason.” The provision returns in more elaborate form in the Expanded Pravda (art. not requiring the involvement of a proper court. who tends to equate svod and izvod.The Russkaia Pravda 47 to say: ‘Come to a confrontment [to disclose] where you obtained [the property]’. and the latter does the same. .” 31 32 Zimin. so much is made clear by these provisions. with more detailed rules. The svod as mentioned in the Short Pravda may therefore be a more simple and informal procedure. but the legal consequences are fairly clearly spelled out (Kaiser’s translation): “If somewhere someone seeks from another person the balance [of money owed him]. and if he wrongfully did not give [the money] back. where it is followed by a few more detailed rules about the svod (arts. The more detailed rules of the Expanded Pravda obviously reflect a situation of greater commercial complexity and of increased prominence of market transactions. but that person begins to resist. to whom he must say: “Hand me back my slave and look for your money with [the help of] witnesses. is a procedure in which the person who is in possession of the property has to justify its origin by identifying the person from whom he acquired. see the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”). that the last master gets his money back and hands the slave over to his predecessor.36-39). By retracing the chain of legal events one should. Article 16 requires the original master of the slave to go to the predecessor of the last master and then to the next predecessor. 91. Article 16 of the Short Pravda supplements article 14 in that it deals with the recuperation of a lost slave. and [pay] 3 grivna for the offense. in the Expanded Pravda. PRP I. because the slave can speak for himself and explain how he was transferred from one master to another (the question of the lost or runaway slave also turns up in connection with possible Byzantine influences in early Russian law. the exact meaning of the first words of the provision are difficult to establish. as Kaiser does in his translation. to limit the applicability of the provision to money debts. They do not offer the opportunity anymore of not immediately coming to the svod (confrontment) and offering bail instead. if he [who is asked to appear] does not come. reach the point where the original owner was deprived of his property. then [he is to provide] a guarantor within five days. then he is to appear at an investigation before twelve men.15) deals with claims where one party demands the payment of a debt (in money or in kind32). ideally. This procedure can be repeated three times and has been retained.

judicial oath). They elucidate the legal character of the code—it may be anything ranging from the actual text of an official legislative enactment to a purely private collection of observations concerning legal matters.). Zimin. . and comparable to Latin filius) is the older term. Kholopy na Rusi (s drevneishikh vremen do kontsa XV v. Cf. and M.48 Law in Medieval Russia The corresponding provision in the Expanded Pravda is article 47. Leningrad. The last two provisions of the Oldest Pravda. also emphasize procedure. Genealogiia kak forma istoricheskoi pamiati. If the master refuses to hand him over to the offended person (for punishment). There are first of all the concrete political and historical conditions under which the law code was created. but instead of presenting the claim to the twelve men.A. also: S. We have considered this matter briefly above and tentatively accepted the version offered by the Novgorod Chronicle. “Ob obshchestvennoi kategorii «cheliad’» v Drevnei Rusi”. Moskva. is closely connected with the “Court Law for the People”. but still to be distinguished. or the Oldest Pravda.G. and why was it considered necessary to create new solutions—as provided by the code—to these problems? Finally. or taken over from others? To recall the perspective adopted in the beginning of this chapter: our attention is directed primarily at law in statu nascendi. concerning damage done to another person’s weapons.B. 53-58. 200-214. Kisterev. Sverdlov. and more particularly the first half of this text. 2004. but the dominant opinion is that the cheliadin (related to terms denoting children. offspring. Konovalova (ed. Then there is the closely related. question of the underlying causes: what were the problems the code was supposed to deal with. “Cheliadin v russko-grecheskikh dogovorakh X v. 1971. 1973. 10. and will be discussed below. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2002 god. the moment of metamorphosis when custom and traditional social arrangements are transformed in a fixed order of rules which at the same time institutionalized a central social authority. the Pravda of Iaroslav. There are several theories to explain this difference.).33 Article 18. The Origins of the Russkaia Pravda The question of the origins of the oldest nucleus of the RP may be looked at from at least three different perspectives.”. A. In this perspective.N. it is especially the oldest part of the RP. or based on the experience of the society concerned. what were the origins of these new solutions? Were they original inventions. articles 17 and 18. the creditor must produce witnesses who will swear that the claim is true (rota. cheliadin and kholop. he must pay 12 grivna and the victim retains the right to chastise the slave. that claims our attention. 33 Arts.16 and 17 use different terms to denote a slave. Article 17 deals with the slave who has struck somebody and who then hides in his master’s house. Moskva. I. Problemy istorii feodal’noi Rossii [Mavrodin Festschrift].

There is. the clear indication given by the Novgorod Chronicle. more or less as narrated in the Novgorod Chronicle? Or was the oldest part of the RP a piece of early legislation by the Kievan grand prince. as related by the Novgorod Chronicle. the theory that the origins of the oldest part of the RP are to be connected with the Novgorod events of 1016. applying to the whole of Kievan Russia. the iabetnik. can be read so that it would refer only to the inhabitants of Novgorod or to all the Russian troops being sent home. The fact remains that we only have the text which the Short Pravda offers (possibly to be corrected then by comparison with the corresponding provisions of the Expanded Pravda). however. but also perhaps by the Viking retinue of the prince. But the Short Pravda itself is the product of an editorial reworking of several texts. This. It was considered axiomatic that the common people of Novgorod (or of Kiev) were being exploited by their own aristocracy. or at least its original version. including an early text of the Pravda of Iaroslav.1 and other provisions (the gridin. is the oldest component. after all. a statute granted to Novgorod by Iaroslav. by the wealthy merchants. and only at a later date interpolated by a monastic scribe in the Novgorod Chronicle?34 Or was there a specific connection with Novgorod.35 One may also give weight to 34 35 The formula in the Novgorod Chronicle. quoted above (“and he gave them a statute”). compiled a century or so later. provisionally. Then there is the argument of internal consistency: the theory based on the Novgorod Chronicle is better able to explain the contents of the Oldest Pravda than any other theory. One could point to the references to Scandinavians (Variagi and Kolbiagi) in the text of the Oldest Pravda (arts. the mechnik) are also regarded by most commentators as belonging to the Viking population. It is obvious that the first part of the Short Pravda. is still a collateral issue (where do we find the best text of what was actually the original Pravda of Iaroslav?). During the Soviet era the debate was further complicated by the necessity to insert class struggle into every kind of historical investigation. but not with the events of 1016? These are some of the hypotheses which have been discussed among Russian and Soviet medievalists. his druzhina. some of the officials mentioned in art.10 and 11).The Russkaia Pravda 49 The debate about the origins of the RP has gone on a long time and is very complex. the Pravda of Iaroslav. . It is therefore possible that certain elements of the Pravda of Iaroslav have been retained in more pristine form in the later text of the Expanded Pravda. Was this text. If the opponents of this theory point to the defectiveness of the arguments in favour of it. one can answer that there are fewer arguments for other theories. while the same can be said of the Expanded Pravda. For lack of a better option I would be inclined to accept. where the law takes account of their limited possibilities in presenting evidence.

PRP I. Froianov. vengeance and its substitute—composition—were the main instruments. 94. 97-112. The presence of a considerable number of foreigners in Novgorod. 37 If the leading opinion is followed and the connection recognized between the events in Novgorod in 1016 and the promulgation of the RP. however. The essential element of the kind of violence the Short Pravda dealt with was not the suffering of the victim. Iaroslav’s brother Sviatopolk. 36 37 Among modern Russian historians. . On the contrary. as mentioned above. The question of the underlying causes—What was the political and socio-economic context of this legislation?—is not too hard to answer.36 This theory. the Novgorodians and the Vikings. this legislation was a pact between the three parties. Where homicide and personal violence were concerned. Allowing for the possibility or rather likelihood of some later editorial reworking. under the command of the prince of Novgorod. The vital threat to all concerned. was the catalyst for articulating this adaptation in the form of new legislation. both Novgorodians and Vikings had their own traditional systems of dealing with behaviour as described in the Pravda of Iaroslav. but the violation of his family’s honour. the entire subsequent history of the RP suggests that it applied to the whole of the Kievan empire. it should be remembered. posed by the imminent war with the Kievan prince. the extant text may therefore be regarded as the oldest Russian legislation. does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that the Oldest Pravda should be regarded as an enactment specifically meant for Novgorod and applicable only there. he does not deny that the events of 1016 were probably closely connected with the origin of the Pravda of Iaroslav. that his criticism is in fact directed against the position that the Oldest Pravda was a law for Novgorod. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons undoubtedly did. Enforcement was embedded in the still dominant system of the large patriarchal family or clan. At the same time. Cf. Obviously.50 Law in Medieval Russia the authority of the majority of scholarly opinion. favouring the Novgorod theory. it seems. rejects the Novgorod theory. as the second part of the Short Pravda. in order to deal effectively with inter-ethnic violence. as is often the case with incipient legislation. nor the economic loss caused by his death or injuries. then the enactment resulting from the hostilities between the Novgorodians and Iaroslav’s Vikings must be reflected in the first ten provisions of Iaroslav’s Pravda and possibly also in the remaining provisions of Iaroslav’s Pravda. required an adaptation of the traditional system of both ethnic groups involved. as pointed out before. Iaroslav himself. Drevniaia Rus’.

(hitting someone with a stick. The “Russian Custom” (Zakon russkii) The Zakon russkii. Russian custom or customary law. but does indeed not get beyond paraphrasing some of the provisions of the Oldest Pravda. 12. M. The Sources of the Oldest Pravda When explicit legislation appears for the first time one can usually distinguish between three kinds of sources. primarily the RP itself. the flat of a sword. a very rough picture can be constructed of what Russian customary law may have looked like in the 9th and 10th centuries. 4 (hitting someone with an 38 Zimin devotes a section to the Zakon russkii in his posthumous work on the Pravda Russkaia (Moskva. etc.38 The only other sources left are the treaties of 912 and 945. The corresponding provisions in the Short Pravda are articles 1 (homicide). Sverdlov is quite explicit on the Zakon russkii in his study on the Short Pravda “K istorii teksta Kratkoi redaktsii Russkoi Pravdy”. Domestic unwritten law is generally the most important contributing factor. Such a picture does not contribute much to a better understanding of the RP. the invention of entirely new solutions. by extrapolating backwards in time. It concerns articles 4. Looking at the chronological layers of the RP. .). 13 and 14 of the 945 treaty (in the numeration of PRP I). 3. supplemented by borrowings from other systems and by pure innovation. that they were still being practised at the time of the Oldest Pravda. This leaves us with the need to examine the question of Russian law before the RP and the search for possible external (non-Russian) sources. Leningrad.The Russkaia Pravda 51 11. a cup. has been referred to above in connection with the Russo-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century. and that they had disappeared in the 12th century. it was probably invented then and there. It is generally assumed that such unwritten law would have been the most important component of the Oldest Pravda. 5 and 6 of the 912 treaty and 3. one may easily observe that at an early stage blood feuds were a legally accepted means of solving disputes. By a process of deduction. then abolished under Iaroslav’s sons. 135-158. In this way.B. 1999. because all information comes from the RP itself. What is known about such law has to be derived almost entirely from later written law. His views are generally close to those developed in this chapter. 1978. 65-69). one may merely express the presumption that if something was apparently not present in the past and has also not been taken over from elsewhere. Tom X. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. 4. because of the modest amount of information at our disposal. This last approach is difficult to demonstrate in the case of legal documents of great antiquity. Both of them contain provisions which are reasonably close to provisions in the RP.

There has never been any mention of other legislation which could in any way be regarded as a competitor in this respect. she established ustavy i uroki. After defeating and punishing the latter.cit. but a specific body of unwritten rules. is generally assumed to be the legislator of the so-called Church Statute of Vladimir Sviatoslavich (or at least of its oldest nucleus).52 Law in Medieval Russia unsheathed sword or a sword handle). This would agree with the situation encountered with other Indo-European peoples at a comparable stage of development.. where the unwritten law constituted a definite entity. the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”). The series of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League offers a useful parallel. . It is certainly conceivable that the text of the Oldest Pravda as it has come down as a part of the Short Pravda was based on earlier legislation of grand prince Iaroslav or even his father St. Zimin. On the other hand. One (already noted above) is the reference under the year 946 in the Primary Chronicle to Olga. Elsewhere (ibidem. the RP appears without any doubt as the basic legislative document from the earliest times and subsequent medieval Russian legislation continued to build on its foundation. explicitly confirmed “the old treaty” (of which nothing is known. a short statute regulating church-state relationships of the recently baptized Kievan Rus’ (see. after all.40 The existence of genuine princely legislation preceding the RP cannot be excluded on the other hand. had been killed by the Derevlians. Zimin. There are a few vague indications in this direction. the grand prince Igor. 39 40 Cf. This means that the Zakon russkii was more than a general and abstract item: “Russian custom”. 11 (hiding someone else’s slave) and 38 (killing a thief caught in the act). except what can be derived from the text of 1189/1199 treaty). 81-85. op. The oldest known treaty. who ruled in Kiev after her husband. In most of these cases the treaties use the formula “according to Russian custom [or law]” (po zakonu ruskomu). op.. usually translated as “laws and tribute”. 71-80.39 Other pointers are even vaguer.Vladimir. Zimin advances the intriguing hypothesis that the ‘domanial’ law contained in arts.cit. given a little more than a century earlier. Whether there was any genuine legislation preceding the RP is mostly a matter of speculation. All this strongly suggests that customary law was to a great extent fixed in an oral tradition. The latter. the Frisian asega). 94).19-27 of the Short Pravda could perhaps have been based on Olga’s directives for the management of her estates. of 1189/1199. the “law-sayer” (iuri-dicus. to be enunciated by certain experts. also.

1957. B. S. Iagich. with the exception of the Short ZSL. The Short ZSL originated outside Russia (Bulgaria. B.Peterburg.D. These feelings apart. 1957. . only the Short Version will have to be considered. B. “Vinodol’skii Statut ob obshchestvennom i politicheskom stroie Vinodola”. but the latter’s system of sanctions was fundamentally changed. Its relationships with the various versions of the RP have been examined in the chapter on Roman law in medieval Russia. Of the three existing versions of the ZSL. I. probably during the first half of the 14th century. Closest to the RP. particularly Scandinavian influence on the development of early Russian law. 41 42 Cf. historical conditions would suggest at least a certain amount of Germanic.42 14. written in the 13th century in German. is the nameless Polish law book. The parallels between the ZSL and the Short Pravda all concern suggested borrowings from the Expanded ZSL. in time. “Pol’skaia Pravda. 267-442 (includes German text and Russian translation). Moskva. Germanic Contacts The relationship between early Slavic (Russian) and early Germanic law has long been a politically sensitive subject. I.V. Moravia or Macedonia) sometime during the 9th century and reached Russia before the 13th century. Zakon Vinodol’skii. hereafter ZSL). two major considerations remain: there is a considerable amount of similarity between the RP and the early Germanic laws of the type of the leges barbarorum.41 Another comparable source is the Statute of Vinodol of 1288. Grekov.The Russkaia Pravda 53 13. and only the most important points relevant to the present chapter will be repeated here. Other Contemporary Slavic Legislation The only early Slavic legislation relevant in considering the origins of the RP is the “Court Law for the People” (Zakon Sudnyi Liudem. and not the other way around. an early medieval law code from the Dalmatian coast. place and general tenor. po Pol’skoi Pravde (‘Kniga Prava’)”. The RP antedates the earliest codifications of other Slavic peoples. As the Expanded ZSL was compiled in Russia. Russian translation by V. any borrowing must have been from the Short Pravda. the other two (the Expanded and the Concordance Versions) being of a later date than the Short Pravda.D. Opyt izucheniia obshchestvennogo i politicheskogo stroia Pol’shi XIII v.D. Grekov. Grekov. Cf. B. especially during the Soviet era in the period following the Second World War. Izbrannye trudy. and. Grekov. secondly. there are no parallel provisions between the Short ZSL and the Short Pravda. Izbrannye trudy.D. 33-110. 1880. Moskva. It was almost entirely based on the Greek Ecloga.

in North-West Germany. or accident. and the RP in Old-Russian). “«Livonskie Pravdy» kak istoricheskii istochnik”. was the direct neighbour of Jutland. An intriguing footnote to the debate concerning the relations between early Germanic and Slavic legislations is provided by the medieval laws of several Baltic nations. Leipzig (3rd ed. von Bunge in several volumes.54 Law in Medieval Russia The similarity is most obvious if one looks at the batch of Germanic laws adopted or approved at the imperial diet of 802/803 in Aachen: the laws of the Saxons. originated. and unfree persons) is dominant in the Germanic laws and less so in the RP. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. The idea of borrowing takes us to the second point mentioned above: the presumed legislator of the Oldest Pravda. Nazarova. There is undeniably an important and perhaps dominant German influence to be observed in these laws. R. beginning with the Law of Aethelberht of around 600. The Law of the Saxons. but the few authors who have concerned themselves with this topic have also noted an indigenous element. Moskva. Lex Frisionum. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR 1979 god. the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav Vladimirovich. 243-248. . 5-218.44 Similarity can always be explained in three ways: common origin.). This is the more intriguing since the Saxon territory. In the first part of the Lex Saxonum. 131-134. I. the similarity with the Oldest Pravda is the most striking. bears the traces of the recent war with the Franks and the forceful establishment of Frankish rule.L.43 Disregarding linguistic differences (the old English laws were written in Anglo-Saxon. the laws of the Kentish kings. Pashuto (ed. Schröder. the boyar appears in chronologically younger layers of the Expanded Pravda. 1962. V. 1980. during the first half of the 19th century. and the Ewa ad Amorem or Lex Francorum Chamavorum). A new bi-lingual publication (Low Middle German and Russian) by E. Lex Thuringorum or Lex Angliorum et Werinorum. borrowing. The latter becomes more unlikely as similarity becomes more striking. belong to the same general type. was still surrounded by many Scandinavian ele43 44 Cf. 1898. the Old-German laws in corrupt Latin. Conrad.). In the Oldest Pravda the focus is on the freeman. at least according to some of the current theories. The main publication of these Baltic laws was the work of F.T. The earliest Anglo-Saxon laws. the region from which Rurik. A tripartite class structure (nobles. The actual format of the laws of the Germanic tribal nations belonging to the Frankish empire also owed a lot to the particular circumstances of their fixation in a written document. Thuringians and Chamavian Franks (Lex Saxonum. H. Karlsruhe. the RP would fit effortlessly into the otherwise purely Germanic collection. The oldest layers of these laws resemble both the RP and sections from the early Germanic laws. freemen. for instance.G. Frisians.

DGVE 1992-1993. 1978. Mel’nikova (ed. Istoricheskaia pamiat’ i formy ee voploshcheniia. Iaroslav (‘Jaritsleif ’) and his father Vladimir (‘Waldamar’) figure prominently as rulers of Novgorod (‘Holmgard’) in several Scandinavian sagas. as we know it from two centuries later. falling back on Scandinavian customary law. all of whom bore Scandinavian names. must have been an easily available option.A. Several modern Russian authors have stressed the importance of the druzhina aspect in the political and legal culture of early Kievan Russia. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2001 god. Mel’nikova on the connections between the (earlier sections of the) Primary Chronicle and the Ynglingasaga: “Istoricheskaia pamiat’ v ustnoi i pis’mennoi traditsiiakh (Povest’ vremennykh let i «Saga ob Inglingakh»”. His great-grandparents Igor and Olga. E. Rydzevskaia..45 and his wife Ingigerd was the daughter of the king of Sweden. Moskva. Orientalia Christiana. Drevnerusskaia gosudarstvennost’.46 When political and military problems arose for Iaroslav as ruling prince of Novgorod in 1015-1016. Materialy i issledovaniia 1978 g. E. As to her Scandinavian background. Vol.A. with which Iaroslav must have been familiar. 16-32. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. there was a need to negotiate a settlement between the population of Novgorod and his Viking soldiery. 48-92. Kotliar. Moskva. Moskva.A. 63-70. see E. 47 Cf. “K tipologii predgosudarstvennykh i rannegosudarstvennykh obrazovanii v Severnoi i Vostochnoi Evrope”. 1995.V. as related by the Chronicle. No. He was himself the descendant of Viking chiefs. Of particular interest in this respect is the study by E. were accompanied by a large number of magnates and merchants.Peterburg. 165. Drevniaia Rus’ i Skandinaviia v IX-XIV vv. especially the one about Olaf Tryggvason and Eymund. Mel’nikova. This by itself could explain the strong similarity with Germanic law from NorthWestern Europe. his mother was also of Viking descent. See e. N. erroneously regards an “unknown pagan spouse” as the mother of Iaroslav. Moskva. 7-8.A. the daughter of prince Rogvolod or Rognvald of Polotsk as his mother.The Russkaia Pravda 55 ments.).F. E. The old Western standard work on Rurikid genealogy. Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle. S.A. according to the preamble of the treaty of 945. would have been an equally obvious option. de Baumgarten. 1998. And when. Especially the group of younger scholars around the yearbook Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy (DGVE). founded in 1978.35. 1927. Moskva. 2003. N. calling in help from his allies and relatives in Scandinavia. Drevnerusskaia druzhina. If these considerations are combined with the 45 46 In the entry for 980. 1989 (not available to me). A. 2001. IX-1. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR.g. the Primary Chronicle mentions Rogneda. Roma. somewhat later. and contacts with Viking leaders from Scandinavia were obviously close and frequent.47 In this view. the successor of Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. during their raid on Byzantium. Gorskii. the “Russes” of the treaties with Byzantium are the druzhina members and the “Russian custom” (Zakon russkii) is actually the customary law of the druzhina. . Pchelov.

but by Perun. who would have come from Scandinavia in 860/862 according to the Primary Chronicle. In a recent study. where there is no reason for assuming any significant Germanic influence. indicating that the Varangian retinue of the Kievan prince had already adopted the religion of their Slavic surroundings. The Russian signatories of the 945 treaty..V. advocates a North German origin of the dynasty of Rurik. Secondly. Merkulov. the evidence from the Chronicles shows that other ethnic elements were also present in Early Kievan times: Slavic. Old-Russian customary law may have been quite similar to Germanic customary law and then there would be no way of telling what would be Slavic or Germanic in the oldest Russian legislation. Rurik. did not swear by Thor. Finnish. 2005. although the Old-Russian druzhina may originally have consisted of Vikings. and Turkic (Pecheneg). who was active in Jutland and Northern Germany on the fringes of the Carolingian empire.48 A number of caveats have to be inserted however. although very visible.I. then the conclusion that the Oldest Pravda reflects predominantly Viking customary law presents itself more urgently. appears to be quite similar to Old-Russian law. This suggests that the Viking content of the Oldest Pravda was either not very significant. which unquestionably was the general law for the entire Kievan empire. In this connection. the Viking element. an old argument in favour of the presence of vigorous Scandinavian traditions at the court of the early Russian rulers has recently re-emerged. there are nevertheless strong arguments in favour of it.V. E. Otkuda rodom variazhskie gosti? Genealogicheskaia rekonstruktsiia po nemetskim istochnikam. judging by their names. although clearly Vikings. Also. . Merkulov. 68-98. 2001. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei IX-XI vv. Moskva. is identified by some 19th century authors and several émigré Russian historians as being the same as a Rurik. the ancestor of the Kievan ruling house. V. must have been small in quantitative terms and was quickly absorbed into the Russian population and Russian culture. Another recent study by V. although the identity of the two Ruriks cannot be considered proven. he appeared as a liegeman of the emperors Louis the Pious and Lotharius in the period between 830 and 850. Moskva. Pchelov. or was sufficiently 48 49 E.56 Law in Medieval Russia acceptance of the theory of the origin of the Oldest Pravda in connection with the events in Novgorod in 1016. the Slavic god of thunder. The earliest law of other Slavic peoples. based primarily on obscure German sources.49 Thirdly. the Oldest Pravda served as an important ingredient of the Expanded Pravda. Pchelov has reviewed the evidence in detail and reached the conclusion that. a member of the Viking dynasty of the Ynglinger.I.

and learned opinion would generally agree that most of the provisions of the Oldest Pravda reproduced. The question then is: Why was the transition made. but together they were presumably unable to cope fully with the new problems arising from the forced symbiosis of the two groups. The customary laws of the Russians and the Vikings were probably not too divergent. Very likely. was a broker rather than a legislator. from customary to written law? The answer suggested by modern experience. The Oldest Pravda (or an older document which formed the basis of it) fulfilled this func- . as argued before. The simple fact already that the Varangian warriors were away from home meant that they lacked the protective shell of the extended family. and also by what is known about the conditions surrounding the genesis of the Oldest Pravda is that a change of circumstances. but some kind of pacificatory instrument was needed. was forced to raise quickly an army of suitable size. This also explains why the coverage of the Oldest Pravda is quite limited. customary law ruled.The Russkaia Pravda 57 similar to what already constituted Russian custom and could therefore easily be absorbed. law came to be written down in a document which can more or less be identified as the Oldest Pravda (the first half of the Short Pravda). and he needed both the military prowess of his Viking mercenaries and the numbers of the Novgorod militia. Those customary arrangements that were inadequate (concerning mostly inter-ethnic violence and trade disputes) had to be replaced. or rather amended. which was so important in defending the legal interests of the individual. the old customary law remained in force in areas not mentioned. What does the Oldest Pravda Represent? At a certain moment in the history of the Eastern Slavs. almost inevitably. either directly or in some amended form. Iaroslav. 15. The new situation should be advantageous to both sides. faced with an immediate military threat from the side of his brother Sviatopolk. early laws are often both legislation and pact or treaty. So much can safely be assumed. The prince. to restore peace and order. the occurring of a new situation. The recent enmity between these two groups could be overcome by the common danger which they all faced. Before this. initially. As the new arrangements aimed at restoring peace and order between antagonistic groups. produced a conviction that some of the old arrangements had become inadequate and that new ones were required. the old customary law. or which at least formed the basis for the Oldest Pravda. they should preferably be based on an agreement between those groups. grand prince of Kiev. by similar events in the history of other legal systems.

When this system turned out to be inadequate to deal with new challenges during a crisis. In the beginning. new arrangements were created. probably of considerable size and fixed through mnemonic devices.58 Law in Medieval Russia tion. Iaroslav’s sons already appear as genuine legislators. Those who caused the new arrangements to be written down. as witnessed by the stability of the formulas appearing later on in written texts. where the Expanded Pravda names them in article 2 as the princes who abolished the blood feud. The Oldest Pravda is regarded by most as genuine legislation albeit embryonic—a pact brokered by prince Iaroslav between Novgorod and his Varangian soldiery. In the first centuries of Russian law. there was a system of unwritten law. for whom an amount of 80 grivna was established. The genesis of the Expanded Pravda was even more complicated. as Russian tradition calls it. But the availability of writing after the baptism of Russia changed the nature of this procedure. but does not belong to the phase of early law anymore. and who already enjoyed the power to command. the episode discussed above about the stable master of Iziaslav. . This had probably happened many times in the past—the creation of new customary law. The combination of the two texts (plus a few smaller fragments) into the document known as the Short Pravda was probably the work of monastic scribes. In the second half of the Short Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons). although of decisive importance with a view towards the future. The Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons also has the appearance of legislation or rather a collection of acts of legislation of these princes. The independent legislative input of the prince was probably small. killed by the men of Dorogobuzh.g. there are also other indications of the legislative activities of the princes. soon discovered that simple recording could easily be expanded into the issuing of written orders. 50 E. and that such orders were generally more effective than oral ones. there still was considerable confusion about who did the writing.50 The entire history of the RP in its subsequent chronological layers illustrates the complexity which the process of emerging law may display. the Zakon russkii.

Introduction to the Problem Whether Roman law exercised any influence on the development of Russian law. the Russkaia Pravda that has been taken over from Roman law or is at least so similar in its wording to a Roman counterpart that common sense and probability calculus would tell us that the Roman rule is its ancestor. Koschaker. Paul Koschaker confessed that he had been unable to come up with clear answers. Cf. and with renewed vigour in post-Soviet times. 1947. the small but very informative study by M. Usually. Roman law did not influence the early phases of Russian law. 2004.15. In the course of the 19th century. Avenarius. Nobody. Such a conclusion is not definitive (that is why atheists can never win). 1966). say. Three more editions followed. Europa und das römische Recht. This policy resulted in a powerful injection of Roman law thinking into the study of law in Russia. Rezeption des römischen Rechts in Russland–Dmitrij Mejer. I have used the 3rd edition of the Dutch translation. 2000). and if so. without a change in page numbers (1953. Koschaker’s views on Russia and the Roman law are to be found on pp. Göttingen. München (1st ed. the Russian government regularly sent promising young academic lawyers to the great German universities of that time (mainly Berlin and Heidelberg) where the study of the Pandectae constituted the backbone of the curriculum. The absence of something may occasionally be proven by arguing irrefutably that it cannot be present (a matchbox cannot contain an elephant.2 One reason why the problem indicated above refuses to go away is that one side of the discussants seeks to find a negative answer: viz. which in one way or another was maintained in later years. In one of the great overviews of the impact of Roman law through the ages on Western culture.1 To eliminate one issue already at the start: the following discussion only concerns the earlier phases of Russian legal history. In the present case. one could simply ask those who claim that Roman law influenced early Russian law to mention one provision of. to the 1 2 P.).Chapter 3 Roman Law in Medieval Russia 1. Veen (Deventer. . which maintains the pagination of the original German publication. presents a complex of questions which have continued to intrigue Russian and foreign legal historians for almost two centuries. when. Nikolaj Djuvernua und Josif Pokrovskij (Quellen und Forschungen zum Recht und seiner Geschichte XI). therefore there is no elephant in this matchbox). 130-134. one has to be satisfied by conducting a very thorough search and concluding that what one has been looking for has not been found and is therefore most likely not there. 1958. edited by Th. how and to what extent. however. even under Soviet rule.

Russian legal scholars began to study and explain the connections which Russian law had had with other European legal systems through the ages. The question concerning the influence of Roman law on early Russian law was not completely disregarded during the Soviet era. 1980. The new Russia was in need of new legislation in many major fields.60 Law in Medieval Russia present author’s knowledge. “In summary. In Western scholarship. particularly that of civil law. but such accidental borrowing does not amount to a ‘reception’ of Roman law. the Corpus iuris civilis. would have settled the matter once and for all. Certain elements of Justinian law did find their way to the Russians through Greek and Slavonic translations. The common ancestry under Roman law was one factor which would easily attract attention in this regard. Vol. other scholars did not return to the question and either concurred with Hammer’s view5 or continued to regard the matter as unsolved. the topic was moved to another plane.3 Hammer’s conclusion is worth quoting in full.”4 Although this conclusion was based on only a very brief (but competent) survey of the available evidence. “Russia and the Roman Law”.6 Nevertheless. M. . 6. 6 Most outspoken is D. 173-174. as Koschaker had done. Hammer. then. but it often became caught up in wider-ranging and politically sensitive issues. but of course it could still happen.16 (1957). Bruxelles. The Roman law. 23: “la problème reste encore à étudier”. Eck. The American Slavic and East European Review. In the post-Soviet era. one could have expected that Darrell P. This inevitably impeded a sober and objective approach. but these were rare and had been merged with later Byzantine legislation. But more important is a complex of factors connected with the new politico-legal situation in Russia. Szeftel & A. 1963. as the mother of all Western legal systems. the fifty-odd years elapsed since Hammer’s study have produced a certain volume of materials which are at least relevant to the problem and this alone would warrant a second look at it. appeared therefore in a new light in Russia and came to enjoy renewed interest.g. 1-13. published half a century ago. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. E. has yet come up with a wholly convincing example. There was less incentive to adopt an exclusivist and often hostile attitude towards foreign law and influences from abroad. 5 Ibidem. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Princeton. Hammer’s short study on “Russia and the Roman Law”. The Russians knew only a few of the novellae and some other scattered fragments.H. the final epitome of the law of Rome and the basis of the Roman-law tradition in the West. Kaiser. was wholly unknown in Russia until the end of the Muscovite period.P. One author even went so far as to claim that Roman law had 3 4 D.

Roman Law in Medieval Russia


deeply influenced Russian law from its very beginnings (E.V. Salogubova,
to whose writings we shall return below).7
The question concerning external influences on a country’s law becomes more clear once the concept of “influence” has been defined more
precisely in this context. One could speak of the influence of legal ideas or
institutions on other legal ideas and institutions when an awareness of the
existence of the former has had an effect on the shaping of the latter. This
effect is maximal when (the idea or) the institution is taken over lock, stock
and barrel. Often, however, in the case of legal borrowing, the borrower
adapts the institution to his own existing law. In other cases, a legislator
or court may consider the foreign solution, reject it as unsuitable, and opt
for a different course. Although one might still regard this as an example
of (negative) influence, its occurrence will usually be difficult to establish
if the events took place long ago.8 In any case, influence ranges from a
complete and considered take-over to a barely perceptible effect.
Our study is structured as follows:
The following (second) section continues and expands the brief survey
of this introduction, by having a closer look at the various views which have
been advanced through the years on the question of Roman law influence
on early Russian law. The attention will focus on pre-revolutionary, Soviet
and post-Soviet scholarship in Russia (the USSR) itself.
The actual investigation could be compared to a (continental) criminal trial, where a charge is brought, the evidence is collected, and then
investigated, whereupon a decision is reached.
Before the investigation gets underway the parties must be identified:
who are the ‘lenders’, who the ‘borrowers’? In other words, which laws,
in the context of this investigation, are to be considered as influencing,
and as being influenced? These will be the subject of the third and fourth


E.V. Salogubova, “Vliianie rimskogo prava na rossiiskoe grazhdanskoe
zakonodatel’stvo”, Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta, seriia II. Pravo, 1997, No.2, 29-37;
id., “Elementy rimskogo prava v rossiiskom proizvodstve X-XVII vv.”, Ius Antiquum–
Drevnee Pravo, 1999, No.4, 173-179. (The second article is a slightly expanded version of the first one, but lacks the last two pages of the first paper, which deal with
developments in the last three centuries.)

There is a famous example in early Russian legal history, discussed by several Russian
legal historians, in the entry for the years 994-996 in the Russian Primary Chronicle.
Shortly after Russia’s conversion to Christianity, the bishops (Greeks at that time)
exhorted prince Vladimir to execute robbers and brigands (which would have been
according to Byzantine law), but Vladimir refused, pleading that he was “afraid to sin”
(it would be contrary to Russian customary law). The verb kazniti is often translated
as “punish”, but the arguments for having it refer specifically to capital punishment
in this case are convincing in my view.


Law in Medieval Russia

The short fifth section will consider in a general way what is to be
understood by influences of one legal system on another. This would also
be the logical place to present the ‘charge’, in other words to present the
various arguments, from the very general to the very specific, for Roman
law influences in early Russian law, as they have been put forward in the
scholarly literature. It is, however, more practical to do so in combination
with their evaluation, in the seventh section, in order to avoid unnecessary repetition.
The sixth section will look more closely at the ‘evidence’. There is
general agreement that Roman law can have affected early Russian law
only through the intermediary of Byzantine law. We shall have to consider
therefore which Byzantine legal sources would be relevant in this respect.
Byzantine texts would reach Russia mainly in the form of ecclesiastical
collections of the Nomocanon type, known as kormchie in Russian history.
The seventh section will be devoted to a critical examination of the
arguments in favour of Roman and Byzantine legal influences on medieval
Russian law, in light of the evidence presented in the sixth section.
The eighth section will consider subsequent developments in Russian
law in less detail, in the manner of an obiter dictum, to be followed by a
few general conclusions.

2. How the Views Developed over Time
The question concerning the influence of Roman law on early Russian law
has a history of its own. It could only be posed after something became
known about the earliest law of Russia itself. Such early law has been transmitted in the form of fragments, individual legal texts, and not as a more
or less complete legal system. It is possible to argue in a general manner
that Roman law has influenced early Russian law and some authors have
indeed done precisely that. But once such an argument is investigated more
deeply, it will always be necessary to turn to the few individual legal texts
which embody this law. Foremost among these are the various versions of
the Russkaia Pravda (hereafter: RP), then the so-called church statutes of
the princes Vladimir and Iaroslav, a small group of other princely statutes
and a few local or regional charters. As these sources were rediscovered,
mainly in the course of the late 18th and the 19th century, some scholars
asked themselves how these texts had originated and in that context the
question of Roman law influence could arise.9

A short overview of the historiography in this matter is given by Hammer, op.cit.,
2-5, and a more elaborate overview, referring especially to the Russkaia Pravda, may
be found in S.V. Iushkov’s monograph Russkaia pravda. Proiskhozhdenie, istochniki, ee
znachenie, Moskva, 1950, 360-371. The question of Roman/Byzantine influences in
the Russkaia Pravda is also discussed in G. Baranowski’s recent study of this text: G.
Baranowski, Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. Rechtshistorische
Reihe 321, Frankfurt a/M., 2005, 723-726.

Roman Law in Medieval Russia


In the first major Russian study of the RP, by N.V. Kalachov, the question of possible Roman-Byzantine influence was extensively discussed in a
special chapter,10 but later 19th century (legal) historians in Russia limited
themselves mostly to general statements, usually in connection with their
discussions of the RP. On the basis of his overall view of the Kievan Russian state and its law, an author would conclude that Byzantine (or even
Roman) law would have been a significant or less significant source in the
formation of early Russian law, or perhaps of no relevance at all. A typical
example of this approach is Kliuchevskii:
“These private manuals [various versions of the Ecloga and the Epanagoge, FF] were
used by the Greeks in the same 11th and 12th centuries when similar codification
efforts according to Byzantine examples were under way with us. The requirements
of local church jurisdiction led to this work, and the synoptic Byzantine codification
provided it with a ready form and methodology.”11

Vladimirskii-Budanov, the author of the most important pre-revolutionary legal history textbook, devoted a short paragraph to the reception
of Byzantine law in Russia and stated simply that the RP undoubtedly
contained close borrowings from the secular legal texts included in the
Russian versions of the Byzantine Nomocanon (the kormchie). The principal
Byzantine legal texts involved in the reception in Russia, according to him,
were the Ecloga and the Procheiron.12 S.M. Solov’ev, in the first book of his
famous four-volume “History of Russia From the Most Ancient Times”,
simply stated that “Greek legislation had […] a strong influence on the
legal life of Russia” after the adoption of Christianity. He rejected any
Germanic influence, particularly of the Vikings, on the earliest Russian
law, because the Vikings did not find themselves on a higher social level
than the contemporary Russians.13

N.V. Kalachov, Predvaritel’nyia iuridicheskiia svedeniia dlia polnago ob”iasneniia Russkoi
Pravdy, S.Peterburg, 1846. I have used the 2nd (unamended) edition of 1880; the
chapter concerned is on pp.231-263. Most of the examples mentioned by later authors
had already been indicated in Kalachov’s remarkable study.



V.O. Kliuchevskii, Kurs russkoi istorii, Lecture 13; I have used the Collected Works
(Sochineniia) in the 8-volume edition of 1956-1959 (Moscow), where the quotation
is found on pp.214-215. It was first published in 1904, but written some time during
the 1880s. Kliuchevskii occupied a somewhat dissident position in respect of the
nature of the RP. He regarded it primarily as a manual for ecclesiastical courts and
this quotation has to be read in this light.


M.F. Vladimirskii-Budanov, Obzor istorii russkogo prava, Kiev, 1886. The last (seventh)
pre-revolutionary edition was published in Kiev in 1915, and republished in 1995 in
Rostov-na-Donu. It is the latter republication which I have used. The section on
the reception of Byzantine law is on pp.114-115.

S.M. Solov’ev, Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen, Book 1, S.Peterburg, 1851, 231-238.


Law in Medieval Russia

Other authors were somewhat more specific and adduced one or more
examples of what they considered as indications of Byzantine influence.
One of them is D’iakonov who mentioned Byzantine law as the fourth
source of early Russian law, along with customary law, princely legislation,
and court practice.14 In support of this, he pointed to the rules of RP on
the unauthorized use of another person’s horse and on the killing of a thief
caught in flagranti during the night, which he suggested had been borrowed
from the so-called Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi Liudem, to
be discussed below), itself based almost completely on the Ecloga. There
were probably many more of such borrowings in the Expanded Version of
the RP, he added. A quite similar position was occupied by Sergeevich.15
Both authors made the point that the Byzantine provisions were not just
simply taken over, but were reworked in order to make them agree with
existing Russian legal tradition. Inheritance law is discussed in particular
detail by Sergeevich, who regarded the Ecloga as the principal source of
the Expanded Pravda on this point.16
The most outspoken of all pre-revolutionary scholars was N.A.
Maksimeiko. He published a special study on the so-called Short Version
of the RP, in which he identified a number of borrowings, not only from
Byzantine law, but also directly from the Corpus Iuris.17


M. D’iakonov, Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi,
S.Peterburg (2nd ed.), 1908, 48-50.
V. Sergeevich, Lektsii i izsledovaniia po drevnei istorii russkago prava, S.Peterburg (4th
ed.), 1910, 43 and 94.
Ibidem, 548-572.

N.A. Maksimeiko, Opyt kriticheskago izsledovaniia Russkoi Pravdy, Vyp.1, Khar’kov, 1914.
This work has not been available to me, but extensive excerpts have been included
in the three-volume edition of the RP by the USSR Academy of Sciences, published
under the general editorship of B.D. Grekov. Vol.1 (Moscow/Leningrad, 1940) contains
the texts of the available manuscripts, Vol.2 (Moscow/Leningrad, 1947) a survey of
the scholarly literature, mostly in the form of direct quotations, arranged according
to the provisions of the RP, and Vol.3 (Moscow, 1963) a facsimile reproduction of the
major manuscripts. References to Maksimeiko’s work in this chapter have been made
as follows: “RP II” (referring to the second volume of Grekov’s edition of the RP),
followed by the page number and a number in brackets (referring to the page number
of Maksimeiko’s work, as mentioned by Grekov). Large parts of Maksimeiko’s work,
including the chapter on the influence of Roman law on the Short Pravda, have also
been included in Iu.S. Shemshuchenko (ed.), Antolohiia ukrains’koi iurydychnoi dumki,
II, Kiev, 2002, 280-326.
Maksimeiko continued to work as a legal historian in Khar’kov after the October
Revolution. His views on Roman-Byzantine influences in early Russian law were the
subject of a special refutation by E. Chernousov, “K voprosu o vliianii vizantiiskago
prava na drevneishee russkoe”, Vizantiiskoe obozrenie (published by the University
of Iur’ev faculty of history and philology), Vol. II, part 2, Iur’ev, 1916. Although the

Roman Law in Medieval Russia


The most important two points emerging from the pre-revolutionary
discussion are: (1) that the question of foreign influences on early Russian
law concerned above all the RP, as the outstanding monument of early
Russian law, and (2) that the influence of Roman/Byzantine law was often
discussed in connection with the possibility of Germanic influences.
This pattern was carried over into the Soviet era. Just before the
USSR became involved in the Second World War, M.N. Tikhomirov
published a new study on the RP which was generally positive towards
Maksimeiko’s views.18 Tikhomirov agreed with those pre-revolutionary
authors who had detected borrowings from the Court Law for the People
(the ZSL) in the RP.19
The leading medievalist of the first half of the Soviet era, B.D. Grekov
(1882-1953), who published widely on the Kievan period and on the RP,
hardly mentioned any Byzantine connections, but went out of his way to
reject Germanic influences.20 The most prominent Soviet legal historian
of the same period, S.V. Iushkov, who had been writing about the RP since
the 1920s, published a major monograph on the subject in 1950. His antiGermanic feelings echoed those of Grekov and may be explained by the
circumstances of the time, just after World War II and while Stalin was
still alive. But unlike Grekov, he devoted much attention to the question
of Byzantine influences and offered an extensive and devastating critique
of the views of Maksimeiko.21 He concluded that the RP had its sources
exclusively in Eastern Slav law and that any similarities with Germanic or
Byzantine law should be explained as the result of parallel developments
based on similar socio-economic circumstances.22
seriousness of Maksimeiko’s scholarship is beyond doubt, he also displayed his predilection for unusual points of views in other studies on the RP, for instance “Mnimye
arkhaizmy ugolovnago prava Russkoi Pravdy”, XXXV Vestnik Prava, (S.Peterburg),
1905, No.3 (124-152) and No.4 (135-161), presenting a picture of Kievan Russia which
appears utterly unrealistic after a century of RP scholarship.



N.[recte M.]N. Tikhomirov, Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov,
Moskva/Leningrad, 1941.

Ibidem, 59.


Esp. in “Russkaia Pravda i ee slavianskoe okruzhenie”, an address to the annual assembly of the USSR Academy of Sciences, published in B.D. Grekov, Kievskaia Rus’,
Moskva, 1953, 534-546, and in Izvestiia AN SSSR, Seriia istorii i filosofii, Vol. IX, No.2,


S.V. Iushkov, Russkaia Pravda. Proiskhozhdenie, istochniki, ee znachenie, Moskva, 1950,
360-368. Iushkov had already made the same point briefly in his more general work
Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva, Moskva, 1949, 189.

Ibidem, 370-371.



Law in Medieval Russia

In a new study on the RP, published in 1953, Tikhomirov changed
course and associated himself with the position of Grekov and Iushkov,
declaring that
“All efforts to prove some kind of influence on the Russkaia Pravda by Byzantine,
Southern Slav, Scandinavian or any other legislation have turned out to be altogether
fruitless. The Russkaia Pravda arose completely on Russian soil and was the result of
Russian legal thought of the 10th to the 12th century.”23

After Iushkov’s spirited refutation of Maksimeiko’s theory concerning
Roman-Byzantine influences in early Russian law, no Soviet author returned
to the question for a long time. A.A. Zimin, one of the most brilliant
representatives of the next generation of Soviet medievalists, completed
work on a monograph on the RP shortly before his death in 1980, but this
work was published only in 1999.24 Zimin’s opinion as to the origins of the
RP did not differ significantly from the views of the foregoing generation.
He had already briefly expressed himself in similar vein in 1952, but that
was at a political juncture (late Stalinism) and at an early moment in his
career, when he could only be expected to support his ‘elders and betters’
such as Grekov, Iushkov and Tikhomirov.25
The appearance of Ia.N. Shchapov’s study on the Byzantine and
Southern Slav legal heritage in Russia in the 11th-13th century in 1978
must be regarded as the next major event in the history of the question
which concerns us here.26 This work, as suggested by its title, presented
an in-depth analysis of the actual process through which Byzantine legal
materials reached Russia during the period indicated. Shchapov’s earlier
studies on the so-called church statutes (primarily the Church Statutes
of Vladimir and his son Iaroslav) had already provided a solid basis for a
further inquiry into the complex relationships between Byzantine ecclesiastical legislation, the legal position of the Russian church and Russian

M.N. Tikhomirov, Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy, Moskva, 1953, 7.


A.A. Zimin, Pravda Russkaia, Moskva, 1999.


Zimin was the author of the commentary to the two versions of the RP as published
in the 8-volume series of Pamiatniki russkogo prava; the first volume Pamiatniki kievskogo
gosudarstva, X-XII vv. (Moskva, 1952) contained a.o. the RP; the relevant text is on
p.74. The last volume of these Pamiatniki (Vol.7) appeared in 1963 (after Vol.8). A new
series (Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov) was planned of which the first volume
(Zakonodatel’stvo Drevnei Rusi) appeared in 1984. In his introduction to this volume,
O.I. Chistiakov, who was also the general editor of the entire series, still repeated
most of the standard opinions of the preceding generations of Soviet scholars, but
in a more moderate form, making allowances for hitherto divergent opinions. See
esp. pp.22-26.

Ia.N. Shchapov, Vizantiiskoe i iuzhnoslavianskoe pravovoe nasledie na Rusi v XI-XIII vv.,
Moskva, 1978.


Roman Law in Medieval Russia


secular legislation.27 The central role in this matter was played by the several and interrelated Byzantine collections known variously as Nomocanon
or Syntagma canonum.
The outcome of Shchapov’s investigation agreed with the position
of his predecessors, insofar as he concluded that the main monument of
secular law in Kievan Russia, the RP in its two main versions, hardly reflected any traces of Byzantine influence. However, Shchapov was of the
opinion that the RP did not only show significant similarity with other
early sources of Slav law (as had been argued forcefully by Grekov), but
also with West European sources such as the Germanic leges barbarorum
(a view vehemently rejected by Grekov and Iushkov). The Russian church
statutes on the other hand, although a much less important source of
secular law, were undoubtedly connected with Byzantine law, although
Shchapov did not really sketch a clear picture on this point.28
To some extent this defect was corrected in a paper Shchapov published in 1987, which was entitled “Roman law in Russia until the 16th
century”. The title of this paper was misleading in so far as the paper dealt
predominantly with the impact of later Byzantine law, such as the Ecloga
and the Procheiron, on Russian law.29
In the present post-Soviet period the most prominent and prolific
author on the Kievan era, I.Ia. Froianov, has not expressed himself explicitly on this topic.30
I.A. Isaev, the author of a prominent university textbook on Russian legal history, in his section on “Church statutes and Byzantine law”,
considered Byzantine law (esp. the Ecloga and the Procheiron) as important
sources, while at the same time agreeing with the view put forward by
earlier authors, that Byzantine law was generally subject to considerable
reworking in the process of being integrated into Russian law.31 With regard


Ia.N. Shchapov, Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv., Moskva, 1972;
id., Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv., Moskva, 1976.

Shchapov, Vizantiiskoe …, 251-254.

Ia.N. Shchapov, “Rimskoe pravo na Rusi do XVI v.”, V.L. Ianin (ed.), Feodalizm v
Rossii [Cherepnin memorial collection], Moskva, 1987, 211-219.



Froianov published three books on Kievan Russia, all of them titled Kievskaia Rus’,
which were later on collected in a single volume, together with other papers.

Kievskaia Rus’. Ocherki sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii, Leningrad, 1974;

Kievskaia Rus’. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii, Leningrad, 1980;

Kievskaia Rus’. Ocherki otechestvennoi istoriografii, Leningrad, 1990; published together
in Nachala russkoi istorii. Izbrannoe, Moskva, 2001.
Another volume, covering some of the same terrain is I.Ia. Froianov, Drevniaia
Rus’. Ocherki i issledovaniia istorii sotsial’noi i politicheskoi bor’by, S.Peterburg, 1995.
I.A. Isaev, Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii, Moskva (3rd edition; first edition in 1998),
2006, 36-39.

2. who. Also. A.31 (1972). Salogubova.”. Band 54. acknowledges Byzantine influences in early Russian law.V. H. Isaev. esp. E.36 The very few authors who looked more closely at the sources themselves were usually more circumspect in their judgment. 66. 1997.S. 1962. This appears to have been the view of S. 114-116. the question of Roman or Byzantine influences in early Russian law occurs as a secondary issue in a number of works which provide an overview of the history of Russian law or of a similar broad topic. Vol.o. In an overview “The Romanist Substratum in the Civil Law of the Socialist Countries” (Review of Socialist Law. but also the direct influence of the Ecloga and the Procheiron.. observed that renewed interest among Russian legal historians in Byzantine influences in Russian law is certainly to be welcomed. No. would have reached Russia in this early period. Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. and through its prism also Roman law. the Ecloga. 37. op. in his recent magnum opus on the RP. 34 35 36 .V. seriia II. he followed the lead of Kliuchevskii.34 In this connection Baranowski.68 Law in Medieval Russia to the RP. Baranowski. perceived the presence of Roman law in many instances in early Russian law. and the Nomos Georgikos. H. Cambridge. Slavic Review. Pravo.4). 1956-1959 (the edition which I have used). op. 280. but characterizes them as superficial. 2005. His views on the ecclesiastical origins of the RP in Vol. 29-37. Berman acknowledged a significant influence of Byzantine law on the RP in his well-known work Justice in the U. “Vliianie rimskogo prava na rossiiskoe grazhdanskoe zakonodatel’stvo”.33 A different. 1999 (No. “Elementy rimskogo prava v rossiiskom sudoproizvodstve X-XVII vv. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii takes up the first five volumes of the 8-volume collected works (Sochineniia).. An Interpretation of Soviet Law. Ius Antiquum–Drevnee Pravo. MA (Revised and Enlarged edition). Soloviev. Salogubova.O.. 192. therefore Byzantine law. Christianity came to Russia through Byzantium. The two papers are largely identical. Sacco recognized the predominantly native Russian character of the RP. like Maksimeiko many years ago. who saw the RP as a legal manual for the use of ecclesiastical courts. but equally adventurous position was taken by another recent author. 65-86. Studien des Instituts für Ostrecht München. the Procheiron. at 71).R. published in Moscow. 726. he appears to conclude that the RP was based a. in a wide-ranging overview of the influence of Roman law in the Balkans and 32 33 V. The answer to the question is then often not sought in a precise examination of the available materials but in a deduction from more general conceptions. Kucherov in “Indigenous and Foreign Influences on the Early Russian Legal Heritage”. Küpper.35 In Western scholarship.I. R.cit.S. 1988. 208-209. Frankfurt a/M. and in the person of Greek bishops and priests steeped in the ecclesiastical law of Byzantium. on the Kormchaia.32 From this.cit. E. 257-282. 41. in his Einführung in die Rechtsgeschichte Osteuropas. the Court Law for the People (ZSL). and id.

Baranowski. neither of them true to Roman roots. an extensive chapter on the sources of medieval Russian law has been included. Princeton. as indicated by the title. 724-726. Hammer have been referred to above. “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”.40 Baranowski.37 D. 39 40 41 A. 173-174. at 460. in his recent work on the RP. and particularly. and mainly in the form of the Ecloga and the Procheiron. additionally. The Byzantine Commonwealth.. in its Short Version) is a realistic candidate for having had a significant influence on the RP. the most notable of which are the ‘charters’ of Pskov and Novgorod. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung. and that. Kaiser’s The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Kaiser. shows little evidence of being based on a Byzantine model” and that “Nor has any Byzantine influence been detected in the late medieval Russian codes. 1980. This chapter takes account of the important Soviet literature which had appeared after Hammer’s article. Romanische Abteilung. One of the most thorough Western studies of early Russian law has been D. In accordance with the general format of his work he refrains from expressing an outspoken position.41 37 38 D.cit. in its section on the Kormchaia. . the Ecloga and the Procheiron may have affected individual provisions of the so-called Expanded Pravda (the later and longer version of the RP).”38 The views of D. is legal change.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 69 in Eastern Europe.V. op. Soloviev. 432-479. in The Byzantine Commonwealth.39Although the main subject of this book.. concluded that the RP “taken as a whole. although his overall judgment seems to be that only the Court Law for the People (the ZSL. limited himself to presenting a convenient survey of modern views on the question being discussed here. Obolensky. op.cit. Obolensky. of Shchapov’s pioneering work. considered Maksimeiko’s argument “a failed attempt” and concluded that the earliest Russian law showed no signs of Byzantine or Roman influence. 1971. but “the Roman inheritance that filtered into Russian judicial texts was significantly altered from the Justinianic texts that played an important role in the revival of Roman law in the West”. There were some traces of clerical influence in secular law (testimony and inheritance). 319. mentioned above. Kaiser’s views on Roman and Byzantine influences could be summarized as follows: Roman law reached medieval Russia through the intermediary of churchmen. Band 76 (1959). Oxford.

op. If Roman law came to Russia in this period. socio-economic circumstances differed radically and although this would not per se prevent borrowing. Roman law therefore embraces the legislation of Justinian itself and the Roman law that preceded it. In the context of this paper. Groningen.43 they would have to be brought from Byzantium.70 Law in Medieval Russia 3. but consider it very uncertain whether the experts concerned would be able to read them. copying an obscure legal text. to assist in deciding a case. The utter improbability of such a scenario is almost universally recognized.. as they would not have been available in Western Europe at the time and cultural contacts with Western Europe were very modest anyway. Ibidem. van der Wal & J. 42 43 Hammer. As we shall see. .42 The great edifice of Roman law.44 Moreover. it could only have been through the vehicle of Byzantine law. culminating in Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis (529-535). The Corpus Iuris (and any other direct sources of Roman law) existed only in a limited number of manuscript copies. hardly affected Russian law and may therefore be put aside here. a monk. 717-842). Roman Law An occasional author has contemplated the possibility of somebody involved with law and legislation (a judicial official. it is hard to think of any serious advantage early medieval Russian law could reap from the study of Roman law. the development of the law of Justinian in the West and particularly in the Middle Ages.A. 5-6. accept the probable availability of copies of the Institutes.cit. a scribe) in medieval Russia having the Corpus Iuris on his table. the Digest and the Code of Justinian in Constantinople in the middle of the 11th century. 44 N. provided the foundation for the law of the Byzantine empire and practically the only way Roman law could have reached Russia would have been through the intermediary of Byzantine law. the subsequent legislation of the Byzantine empire may be regarded as Byzantine law. 1985. and 63 (as regards the 7th century) and 72 (concerning the period of the iconoclast emperors. or drafting new laws. a sufficient knowledge of Latin to read legal texts had become a scarce commodity. this would also include ecclesiastical law. of such decisive importance for modern Western law. 99. Les sources du droit byzantin de 300 à 1453. Lokin in their Historiae iuris graeco-romani delineatio. Even in Byzantium.H. The Legislation Involved: Roman and Byzantine Law–The ‘Lenders’ What is meant by Roman law or Byzantine law influences? As Hammer has observed.

Included with comments by Lipshits in Medvedev. The Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law In connection with medieval Russian law. and the “Chapters on witnesses” (Glavy o poslusekh). Pravovaia kul’tura vizantiiskoi imperii.P. all dating from the same era.). The so-called Slavic-Russian version of the Farmer’s Law constitutes the greater part of a manuscript collection known as the Knigi Zakonnye (Law Books). the first significant secular legislative document in Byzantium after the Corpus Iuris was the Nomos Georgikos (Lex rustica) or Farmer’s Law. Briefly on the Knigi Zakonnye also Kaiser. is preferred. Nomos Georgikos. creates a vivid picture of the life of small and independent farmers and the manifold disputes and collisions that could arise among them. A considerable part of its contents seems to reflect customary law. Medvedev (ed.45 There is still much disagreement about all the external aspects of the Farmer’s Law. in the beginning of the era of the iconoclast emperors. 45 46 I. also. a law “On divorce” (O razdelenii brakom).) The Farmer’s Law is one of the three Byzantine leges speciales. This edition contains an extensive historiography (also of Western scholarship). of which the Lex Rhodia and the Lex militaris represent the other two. van der Wal & Lokin.46 (More on the Knigi Zakonnye below. Lipshits).E. Medvedev. The same goes for the Lex militaris. annotated texts of the main Greek manuscripts and a Russian translation. as well as the time and place of its origin. The Lex Rhodia. 148-150. of great importance in the development of maritime law.P. but there are also influences from Old Testament (Mosaic) law. S. 2001. Growth of the Law. that after its reception in Russia it was regarded as a genuine piece of Byzantine legislation. Leningrad. 705-711). and various additional materials. 144-145. and I. Its authorship is unclear. an extensive commentary (by E. Whether it was promulgated as an official law or represents the work of private persons is uncertain. A minor part of its contents can be traced to the law of Justinian and earlier Roman law. Zemledel’chskii zakon. was of little interest to a land-logged legal system such as that in medieval Russia (although it was included in several medieval Russian manuscript collections). The other parts of the collection are the “Law on penalties” (Zakon o kaznekh). .Peterburg. 233-259. the Slavic-Russian text of the Law with notes and comments. 1984. and a somewhat later date. See. consisting of 85 articles (in the oldest available and most reliable version). There can be no doubt. however. 73-75. 65.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 71 Secular Byzantine Law: a. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii zakon. This law. There are now few supporters of the theory that ascribes the law to Justinian II Rhinotmetes (685-695.

Lipshits. They were the first iconoclast emperors. along 47 48 Cf. Vasil’evskii.72 Law in Medieval Russia b. mainly devoted to private law. depending on the manuscript used. An older but still valuable Russian source is V. As the Ecloga was promulgated in March. 139-235 (originally written and published in the beginning of the 20th century.50 Its contents can be traced back to the Corpus Iuris and subsequent imperial legislation. the question is not of great relevance. the Ecloga is a law code of modest size. “Zakonodatel’stvo ikonobortsev”. but republished by the USSR Academy of Sciences). Medvedev. and promulgated by the emperors Leo and Constantine. who insist on the reforming character of the Ecloga. 72-73. In the 17th and longest chapter. Burgmann (ed. 50 Lipshits. Ecloga47 Taken at face value. 138-148. such as Lipshits (Ekloga. Ecloga: Das Gesetzbuch Leons III. because Leo’s iconoclast policies began to be applied later on in the same year and remained a major concern all through his reign. also. 1965. including family and inheritance law. I. 1930. 72-73. The Ecloga is therefore to be understood primarily as a paraphrasing of the practically most important legislation in simpler language. L. it was not just a change of words. Kresten (“Datierungsproblemen isaurischer Eherechtsnovellen”. who stress this point against what they consider to be the erroneous view of Zachariae von Lingenthal and his followers in the 20th century. Ekloga. an introduction and comments. refers to a study by D. Ginis (“Das Promulgationsjahr des isaurischen Ecloge”. Fontes minores IV. with a few exceptions. 1981. Byzantinische Zeitschrift. devoted respectively to matrimonial and criminal law. Trudy V. the years of 726 and 741 are mentioned. 49 Leo III. 1924) which demonstrates (according to Lipshits) clearly that 726 is the correct date. nicknamed Copronymus..G. E. Vasil’evskogo. and a useful bibliography at 132.). and extensive other explanatory and bibliographical materials. und Konstantinos’ V. The preamble points in particular to the fact that the mass of preceding legislation had become incomprehensible to judges outside the capital itself. but is silent about icon worshippers. Frankfurt a/M. Cf. His son Constantine V. was emperor from 717 to his death in 741. Most innovations are contained in the 2nd and 17th chapters. Vizantiiskii zakonodatel’nyi svod VIII veka. See. presents a Russian translation. and not so much as a major law reform. Band 24.). corporal punishment and various amputations constitute the standard penalty. Van de Wal & Lokin (132) point to a paper by O. the first 16 chapters (titles) of the Ecloga deal with various civil law topics. 16-18.E. For the purpose of our study. 1983 (not available to me). 8ff. also known as Leo the Isaurian. this would favour the 726 date.G.49 After a lengthy preamble. They are also by far the longest chapters. van de Wal & Lokin.P. Pravovaia kul’tura. Frankfurt a/M. Ekloga. IV. Moskva.. Leningrad. See. van der Wal & Lokin. also. 52) prescribes the death penalty for Manichaeans and Montanists. 37-106) which they believe settles the matter ultimately in favour of the 741 date. was born in 718 and crowned co-emperor in 720. I am inclined to occupy a middle position: if it did not constitute a major change of course. . I note the point made by Vasil’evskii (173) that the Ecloga (XVII.48 As its date. He ruled from 741 until his death in 775.

53 54 55 . Studien zu mittelbyzantinische Rechtsbüchern. The following short survey of the Basilika. Pravovaia kul’tura.53 c. H. Basil I (867-886) and Leo VI the Wise (886-912). as many authors have noted. 94. possibly based on D. One provision (XVII.1. There are various theories about their relationship. the Epanagoge and the Procheiron is based mainly on Medvedev.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 73 with double fines for minor offences. The Corpus Iuris content amounts to about two-thirds of the chapter. also known as the Eclogadion.51 otherwise. 152-167. Scheltema. 1953-1988. a huge collection divided into 60 books. Vols. a text which is closer to the latter than the former. with the aim to provide a complete and systematized Greek restatement of the law. Holwerda (eds. Groningen. 167-187. although this matter is of no great relevance for the central question in this chapter. the Epanagoge and the Procheiron are all from the same period. Vols. This need was met 51 52 On arson or cutting down trees in somebody else’s wood. for instance. Series B (Scholia). several revised versions of the Ecloga saw the light. the need was felt to have also a more concise and convenient summary of the law. the Ecloga privata and the Ecloga privata aucta. Basilika54 The Basilika. added on to manuscripts of the Ecloga in one of its forms. the end of the 9th century. Previously. This might suggest that the Farmer’s Law was already in operation at the time the Ecloga was written and that there was no need to provide regulation for typically agriculture-connected topics.7. Cf. This ultimately resulted during the reign of Basil’s son Leo the Wise in the completion of the Basilika. Basilicorum libri LX.). Groningen. van der Wal & D. there is no overlap between the two laws. There is a short final (18th) chapter on the partition of war booty. 1986.I-IX.J. Pravovaia kul’tura. Series A (Textus). Frankfurt a/M.52 Of a later date is the so-called Ecloga ad Procheiron mutata. The Appendix Eclogae consists of a considerable number of texts of various origin. the names of the emperors cited in the beginning of the Procheiron and the Epanagoge provided the main argument for dating these two texts as from the 870-879 period. van der Wal & Lokin.55 Already during the reign of Basil. 78-81. the Ecloga aucta. 1953-1988. 75-76. van der Wal & Lokin.47. The publication of the Basilika in 17 volumes has been achieved by a group of scholars from the University of Groningen. whose argument in turn is based especially on A. the reign of the first two Macedonian emperors. the Procheiron being considered the earliest of the two. Cf. N. Schminck.. Cf. 40) is almost identical with article 57 of the Farmer’s Law. Medvedev. In the course of the 8th century.. The most recent and by now dominant theory is that the most ambitious codification programme in Byzantium since the Corpus Iuris was started by Basil I.I-VIII. van der Wal & Lokin.

On account of the respective sizes of the works. d. the 40th chapter is devoted to criminal law. the proper name is actually Eisagoge (“Introduction”). but as it had come down through various Byzantine (Greek) works. in 1175. Of course it also incorporated later Byzantine legislation in the form of imperial constitutions. There are no indications that the Basilika ever came to Russia during this period and nobody has ever suggested that it did influence medieval Russian law. Epanagoge (Eisagoge) The 40 titles (chapters) of the Epanagoge (“Restoration”. The following chapters cover many areas of private law and procedure.74 Law in Medieval Russia at first by the Epanagoge. written under the direction of the energetic and learned patriarch Photius in 885-886. According to present-day definitions. but such views may not be quite adequate for understanding legal sources from other times and other cultures. Of particular interest are the chapters 2 and 3. which put forward a view on the position of the emperor and of the patriarch where these two appear as more or less equal partners.56 Because certain parts of the Epanagoge were politically unpalatable to the emperor. The Basilika was based on the law of Justinian. not the original Latin text of the Corpus Iuris. to the ‘pure’ law of Justinian) correspond to the 40 books of an earlier stage of the Basilika. . The question of its character has been debated extensively. Only much later. According to its lengthy introduction. e. but as Epanagoge is the name which has been in use in the literature for very many years. the Basilika is not to be regarded as legislation. Modern lawyers are conditioned by a strictly circumscribed concept of law. with the specific additional purpose of getting rid of Photius’ unacceptable statements on the church-state relationship. the Procheiron. it was explicitly meant to replace the Ecloga and to return to the old law of Justinian. Leo the Wise had another summary drawn up in 907-908. sc. This theoretical approach obviously reflected the ambitions of the patriarch Photius. I shall conform to this usage. Procheiron The Procheiron or Procheiros nomos (the “law at hand” or the “law handbook”) was (according to more modern theories) produced under the direction of Leo VI. but at the same time it ensured that the Epanagoge would never acquire the status of a law. but rather as a work of reference. They generally return to the old law of Justinian by offering a more literal Greek rendering of the Corpus Iuris texts. was it officially recognized as a source of law. the Basilika is of course of much less interest in connection with medieval Russian law than the more convenient and user-friendly Epanagoge and Procheiron. It was more than twice the size of the 56 As Medvedev notes (176). “Returning”.

57 Otherwise. etc. law is a clearly defined body of rules which exist because they have been created or at least officially sanctioned by the state. A Russian translation of the Procheiron was included in the collection of the Merilo Pravednoe (see below). 90. as distinct from early medieval Western Europe. as an organization functioning in the secular world. The Russian translation of the Procheiron included in several medieval Russian collections is sometimes named the “City Law” (Zakon gradskii). van der Wal & Lokin. had formulated more detailed rules about personal life and the organization of the church itself. f. known by the name of Epitome. texts from the Procheiron itself. But the blurring of the concept of legislation. The 40th chapter. unenforced prohibitions. 78-79. A very much related feature is the concurrence of more or less equivalent legislatures in a single jurisdiction as this emerged in the early Christian world. In the Eastern Christian world. Patterns of church-state relations varied widely in this world. Some of these rules concerned matters (family relationships in particular) which had previ57 58 Cf. on war booty. Moskva. Merilo Pravednoe v rukopisi XIV veka.58 Byzantine Canonical (Ecclesiastical) Law For the modern lawyer. numbering 40 chapters (titles). Epitome In the first year of the reign of the emperor Romanus Lecapenus (920-944) another collection of legal texts appeared. 231-331). mainly the Old Testament and especially the book of Exodus. see M. was identical to the last chapter of the Ecloga.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 75 Ecloga. Medvedev. as pointed out above. needed rules. Some of these were derived directly from Scripture. particularly the ecumenical councils which were held before the Eastern and Western churches drifted apart. 178-182. more complex and longer-lasting. but the dominant position of the church in certain areas of the law was a common factor. The church. van der Wal & Lokin. where we find such things as ‘soft law’. its contents parallel those of the Epanagoge. quite similar to those included in the Epanagoge and the Procheiron.N. . the symbiosis between church and state was more intimate. obsolescent rules. The 39th chapter covered criminal law and took over many of the innovations of the Ecloga. 1961. Of course. this view is nuanced nowadays by the admission that a certain grey area may occur. 463-663 (ms. is more difficult to accommodate in a modern understanding of law. Pravovaia kul’tura. Cf.). which contained texts of Corpus Iuris provenance. which a study of ancient and medieval legal sources occasionally seems to suggest. Tikhomirov (ed. But then the church councils. and a few others.

This Collectio L titulorum contained the same materials as its predecessor (with a few additions). and the canons of the Council of Sardica (343). in short. which has survived and goes by the name of Collectio XXV capitolorum. et monachis”. The Collectio LX titulorum embraced the so-called 85 canons of the apostles. taken from the Corpus Iuris. ruling by the grace of God. The author added an appendix. 51-54. consisting of fragments of Justinian’s Novellae relating to ecclesiastical subjects. 60-62. . At the same time.61 The third collection was probably compiled by John the Scholastic’s successor as patriarch of Constantinople. an appendix of secular law had been added. the Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum. The result was the Collectio LX titulorum. which did not offer a selection of actual imperial legal texts but instead a more systematic survey of legislation concerning the church. Again. the text of which has not survived. Many constitutiones (legislation of the Byzantine emperor) regulated issues which one would regard as canon law. pulled together or against each other. The Early Collections up to the Nomocanon XIV titulorum59 At the time the great codification of Justinian. who understood himself as a Christian prince.76 Law in Medieval Russia ously remained outside the scope of the state’s regulation. the year of emperor Justinian’s death). quarrelled. 66-70. one should keep in mind that the secular and spiritual rulers in Byzantium (the emperor and the patriarch). the so-called canons of the Council of Ephesus (431). was content to leave regulation to the church. inter-related intensively. was being completed (534). work was under way to collect the church canons into a single volume. Some new materials were added to this Syntagma canonum. or rather the ruler. did not operate in separate spheres but were continually involved in numerous common issues where they co-operated. The greater part of the collection is taken up by Novella 123 “De sanctissimis episcopis et Deo amabilibus et reverendissimis clericis. the Corpus Iuris. and then a full collection of texts. and dates from around 580. A new collection of canon law was put together by John the Scholastic around the year 550 (he became patriarch of Constantinople in 565. having been a matter of time-honoured custom.60 This collection was probably provided with an appendix. It contained secular law affecting the church. the 193 canons of 8 church councils forming the old corpus canonum. divided into three 59 60 61 This part of the survey is based on van der Wal & Lokin. and later on in Russia as well. In other areas the state. Eutychius. but the major innovation was that it had been divided into two parts: a systematic survey consisting of 14 chapters. but the various council decisions were systematized and distributed over 50 chapters. the Collectio tripartita.

62 He merged the canon law properly speaking. or in Trullo (the name of the hall in which it was held). the Nomocanon XIV titulorum. “somebody who appears to be opposed or contrary to something”. Vizantiiskoe. with the secular law pertaining to the church. it is known by the name of Quinisextum. A new version of the Syntagma canonum was the result of the work of an author known as the Anonymus or Enantiophanes. This list corresponded to a large extent with the contents of the Syntagma canonum. which is included in the 790 Syntagma. which had previously been located in appendices. but it also embraced later novellae. but Shchapov. and the Collectio tripartita) are found after the texts of the canons in most manuscript versions of this revised Syntagma. a council of the Byzantine church was held in the imperial palace in Constantinople. Not much later. which resulted in the Nomocanon L titulorum. but added some new materials. The three secular law collections (the Collectio XXV capitolorum. This redaction is not mentioned by van der Wal & Lokin. This revision of the Syntagma has probably been realized at some time within the period between 612 and 629. the Collectio L titulorum of John the Scholastic was revised in a similar way.63 62 63 There is also an older Anonymus. After the death of patriarch Tarasius (in 806). This Syntagma has been of particular importance in connection with the compilation of the first Slavonic translation of the Nomocanon. another redaction appeared which included the decisions of the second Council of Nicea (of 787). A revised version of the Syntagma was adopted after 787. hybrid versions of the Nomocanon appeared later on. References to the latter law were included in the systematic survey of the 14 chapters. This part of the Syntagma (together with the collection of texts which followed it) later on became known as the Nomocanon or more exactly. called the Redactio systematica sive Tarasiana. Other. 53. the Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum. is apparently not a real name. Most of the material of the Collectio tripartita goes back to the Corpus Iuris. . which had been the subject matter of the previous collections. The designation Enantiophanes. No great change in canon law occurred during the iconoclast period.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 77 parts (hence the name). a Byzantine scholar from the age of Justinian. points out that this redaction (called the Third Redaction by him) contains the Second Nicea Council decisions (which are absent in the 790 Syntagma) and lacks the letter by patriarch Tarasius to pope Adrian in 790. Subsequent Developments in Byzantine Canon Law In 692. One of the most important canons adopted contained a list of recognized sources of canon law.

consisting of three parts (the Collectio tripartita). 193 canons of 8 church councils. The material referred to in this Collectio tripartita is mostly from the Corpus Iuris. A new revision of the Syntagma in 1089/1090 by Theodore Bestes added the full text of the secular laws pertaining to church matters to the Nomocanon. but systematically arranged in 50 chapters. this was followed by the texts of the canons. but also from later novellae. The following text therefore summarizes the narrative of the foregoing pages. mentioned above. . text did not survive): 85 canons of the apostles. (c) Syntagma canonum (probable author: Eutychius. has a point. 108-112. (a) Collectio LX titulorum (around 534. Aristenes and Balsamon. References to secular law pertaining to the church were now included in the first part. An appendix.78 Law in Medieval Russia The Syntagma canonum was modernized in 883 by the inclusion of new materials. contains. not a collection of actual secular legal texts. An appendix. forming the old corpus canonum. The twelfth century is characterized by the activities of three important authors who each contributed extensive commentaries to the by then vast body of Byzantine canon law: Zonaras. (d) Revised Syntagma canonum (between 612 and 629. pertaining to ecclesiastical subjects. and the third part consisted of the three earlier collections of secular law (as 64 Cf. Anonymus or Enantiophanes): different organization of the material. the systematic survey of canon law consisting of 14 chapters. van der Wal & Lokin. an appendix containing secular law pertaining to the church: the Collectio XXV capitolorum (survived). a systematic survey consisting of 14 chapters. canons of the councils of Ephesus and Sardica. (b) Collectio L titulorum (of John the Scholastic. around 550): same materials as (a). around 580): same materials as (b). with some additions. particularly the 102 canons adopted by the Quinisextum council. followed by a full collection of texts.64 Summary of Byzantine Canon Law The reader who has now come to the conclusion that Byzantine canon law was confusingly complicated. with some additions. but subject matter divided into two parts. but a systematic survey of legislation concerning the church. consists of fragments of Justinian’s Novellae. The Syntagma of 883 has for a long time been ascribed (incorrectly) to the patriarch Photius. called the Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum.

its content is predominantly Byzantine. the Short (Kratkii).). Moskva. around or shortly after 806: added decisions of the Second Council of Nicea of 787. The ZSL has survived in three different versions or redactions. A facsimile edition of the oldest manuscript.N. Ann Arbor. Zakon Sudnyi liudem Kratkoi redaktsii. Sofia. f. but it functioned exclusively in medieval Russia.14. according to the Bulgarian theory . Zs.N. The first two parts together became known as the Nomocanon XIV titulorum. Tikhomirov (ed. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. therefore. 866-868. and a time between 830 and 840. 1961. Oroschakoff. (e) The Redactio systematica sive Tarasiana. Kleimola has been published as Zakon Sudnyj Ljudem (Court Law for the People). but it is generally accepted that the text (of the Short ZSL. 67 On the Merilo Pravednoe (“Just Measure”). the different theories mention 862. see Kaiser. 1959. the Short one is unquestionably the oldest. Of these redactions. in or shortly after 790: minor additions. 141-282. Michigan Slavic Materials. Expanded (Prostrannyi) and Concordance (Svodnyi) ZSL. 23-25. Ganev. Macedonia). (h) Secular law texts were added to the Nomocanon by Theodore Bestes in 1089/1090. most conveniently treated at this particular place.66 There are several theories about the place of origin of the ZSL (Moravia. Tikhomirov (ed. MI.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 79 mentioned in (a). “Ein Denkmal des bulgarischen Rechts”. Dewey and A. No.67 65 66 The principal editions of the Short ZSL are: M. As the date of its origin. Bulgaria. It is neither a Byzantine. 4. of the middle of the 14th century. or its predecessor) reached Russia before the 13th century.). It is. Vol. Moskva. The Legislation Involved: Russian Law– The ‘Borrowers’ The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi liudem. (f) The Third Redaction (in the terminology of Shchapov). Rechtsw. Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. (b) and (c)). An English translation with introduction and commentary by H. The Moravian theory opts for 862 or slightly later.33 (1916). vergl. nor a Russian law. The Growth of the Law. H. ZSL) occupies a middle position between ‘lenders’ and ‘borrowers’.65 Most copies of the Short ZSL have been found in various kormchie (the Russian Nomocanon) and some others in Merilo Pravednoe manuscripts. V. (g) The Syntagma canonum of 883: added the canons of the Quinisextum and some other texts to d. 1977. 1961. has been published by Tikhomirov: M.

The inclusion of the Short ZSL in collections with strong church connections has suggested to most commentators that the text must have been in use with ecclesiastical courts. secular as well as ecclesiastical (church penance).80 Law in Medieval Russia The Short ZSL is almost completely based on the Ecloga. 1992. The Russian-Byzantine Treaties In the oldest and most famous Russian chronicle. 1926 and 1923). the 830/840 date in the Macedonian theory is connected with the view that the ZSL was an adaptation of the Ecloga. Moskva. Not only is there great textual similarity. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Corporal punishment is frequently replaced by other penalties and there is also a peculiar system of two-track penalties.H.Peterburg in 1846 and 1843 (reprints Leningrad. according to Tikhomirov. Cross & O. in 866-868. 912. 1973. Other provisions have been taken from the Ecloga. Laurentian Text.P. M.69 The treaties were apparently the outcome of negotiations following Russian raids against the original ZSL was enacted by the first Christian ruler. but also the sequence of the provisions is more or less maintained. Salt Lake City. Zakon Sudnyi liudem Prostrannoi i Svodnoi redaktsii. They have been published as the first and second volumes of the Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei by the Archeographical Commission in S. the Procheiron.). and other sources. or the Nestor Chronicle. Tikhomirov (ed. the Tale of Bygone Years (Povest’ vremennykh let). Translation of the four treaties also in D. tsar Boris. The Expanded ZSL has probably been compiled in Russia during the first half of the 14th century. sometimes with amendments. Moreover. the Short ZSL borrows almost exclusively from Title 17 of the Ecloga.N. MA. Sherbowitz-Wetzor. 68 69 Cf. only for the introductory provisions (chapters 1 and 2) and the end of the last chapter 33 no close parallels can be found. The principal copies of the Primary Chronicle are the Laurentian and the Hypatian manuscripts. known variously as the Primary Chronicle (Nachal’naia letopis’). 945 and 971 contain the texts of what purport to be treaties between the earliest Kievan princes and the Byzantine emperor. the entries for the years 907. Cambridge. The Russian Primary Chronicle. intended for irregular Slav troops in the service of Byzantium. English translation of the Laurentian Copy by S. .68 The Short ZSL has been incorporated in the Expanded ZSL. 1961. the principal Soviet scholar in the study of the ZSL.H. Kaiser. It consists of an amalgamation of the texts of the Short and the Expanded ZSL. The Concordance ZSL is known from a single copy included in a manuscript from 1402. the chapter on criminal law. The principal innovation is in the system of penalties.

Vernadsky in his Medieval Russian Laws. IX–pervaia polovina X v.II (1961). also. ee znachenie.1. Moskva. Moskva. Frankfurt a/M. Tikhomirov. Moskva. 741-769. Other basic studies on the RP are: M. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. S. . 2005. Sorlin. in G. 1950. See. such as the Anglo-Saxon laws or the so-called leges barbarorum. I. etc. istochniki. inheritance. English translation. Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy. 3-72. Part I: Teksty. theft. A new English translation is offered by D. the Russkaia Pravda (RP) constitutes the principal written monument of Kievan Rus’. notes.N. Band 321. Baranowski. 73 The texts of the four treaties have been published separately in PRP I. 1992. Vol. Most surviving copies of the RP have come down to us as parts of kormchaia manuscripts. Literature on the RP goes back to the 18th century when it was rediscovered by V. Kaiser. 1940.72 They both provide a kind of miniature law code for the various legal problems that could arise in Russian-Greek contacts (homicide. others have been included in manuscripts of chronicles and of collections such as the Merilo Pravednoe (see above and below). The basic edition is still B. Vyp. 1980. M. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov. 1999. Moskva.). occasionally controversial. commentaries. Rechtshistorische Reihe.). A recent and extensive bibliography. also.N. Moskva/ Leningrad. 1947. assault.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 81 Constantinople. 1947. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi. Pravda Russkaia. 72 A. Part II: Kommentarii.70 Among the numerous questions which surround these treaties many still remain unsolved. Proiskhozhdenie.. The next thing one notices is that that are in fact two different RP texts. by G. The first volume of the PRP (see above) is mostly devoted to the RP and offers texts. Moskva/Leningrad. Iushkov.D. Tatishchev and has by now grown into a vast body. Pravda Russkaia. 1952.Peterburg (5th ed. runaway slaves. 1899. Sakharov. 313-360. 1953. A. 447-475.71 For our purpose only the treaties of 911 and 944 (the correct dates according to most experts) are of interest. shipwreck. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.). Zimin. 1-22.). 1963.. provides a good introduction to the very extensive literature. Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde. Grekov (ed. Moskva/Leningrad.A. S. Salt Lake City. Tikhomirov. Moskva. Byzantine sources do not even mention the raids (if there were in fact two) of 907 and 911. covering both Russian-language and Western scholarship. Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava. tables etc. Chapter 2) Together with the Primary Chronicle. 1947.N. New York. Vladimirskii-Budanov (ed. Part III: Faksimil’noe vosproizvodenie tekstov.V. Russkaia Pravda. also in M.73 The first impression received upon acquainting oneself with an RP text is that it is not unlike the texts of the early medieval Germanic laws. The ‘Russian Law’ (Russkaia Pravda) (See. trade regulation. Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique.N. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. a shorter and a 70 71 The texts of the treaties have only been transmitted through the Primary Chronicle. Moskva.

Vsevolod. 78 The version in art. which will be left aside in this paper. The Short Pravda is concluded by two separate provisions. but usually in an edited version and not as a single block. 77 Using the by now generally accepted system employed in the Academy of Sciences edition. a text of much later origin. The Pravda of Iaroslav itself probably also consists of at least two distinct layers. if one also counts the so-called Abridged Pravda (Sokrashchennaia Pravda). Pereneg [and] Nikifor […]. After article 18 follows a kind of preamble which precedes the second half of the Short Pravda: “Law established for the Russian land when Iziaslav. at least its older parts. .74 These are generally known as the Short and the Expanded Pravda.” Tikhomirov. and the following eight articles which form a less consistent block.82 Law in Medieval Russia longer one. known as the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons (Pravda Iaroslavichei). Mikyfor the Kievan [and] Chiudin Mikula met together. Issledovanie. The Short Pravda is generally considered the older of the two. 74 75 And even three.2 of the Expanded Pravda is much clearer to a modern reader: “After Iaroslav. Kosniachko. 76 11 of the 13 available copies of the Short Pravda are recent (18th and 19th century). but dispersed through the text of the Expanded Pravda. accordingly. the first ten articles. 74-78. For the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. the year 1072 is usually accepted. the pokon virnyi (the law on the payment of bloodwite) and the urok mostnikov (the bridgebuilders’ statute). according to the numbering system employed) return in the Expanded Pravda (with a few exceptions). Sviatoslav. the First Academic Copy and the First Archeographical Copy. Vsevolod and their men: Kosniachko. The two older copies. Its first 18 provisions76 are known as the Oldest Pravda (Drevneishaia Pravda) or the Pravda of Iaroslav.77 The second part of the Short Pravda is. prince of Novgorod.75 It quite clearly consists itself of several chronological layers. The final compilation of the Short Pravda could have taken place (according to Tikhomirov78) during the reign (1117-1136) of Vsevolod Mstislavich. Sviatoslav.” The first three persons were sons of Iaroslav who together succeeded him. his sons got together again: Iziaslav. Pereneg. Tikhomirov has argued that the full text of Iaroslav’s Pravda was enacted or at least composed in 1036. The Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons is primarily concerned with the protection of the prince’s servants and property. which are very reminiscent of similar Germanic laws. The 40-odd provisions of the Short Pravda (the number varies. date from the middle of the 15th century and form part of different manuscripts of the First Novgorod Chronicle (in the so-called Younger Version). The origin of at least the first half of Iaroslav’s Pravda is often sought in certain events in Novgorod in 1016.

Roman Law in Medieval Russia 83 The composition of the Expanded Pravda is perhaps even more complex than that of the Short Pravda. . an indisputable terminus ante quem is 1280. Various other dates have been suggested after 1125 (death of Monomakh): 1160-1168.79 The Church Statutes of the Princes According to the Primary Chronicle. devoted to a particular topic. most of them included in kormchie. is the deed referred to in the Chronicle. in the entry for the years 994-996. from the Short Pravda are indeed found in the first part of the Expanded Pravda. etc. There is no doubt about the identity of the second legislator either: the famous Kievan prince Vladimir Monomakh.” He then wrote out a donation and deposited it in the church. the oldest layer of course being the rules that can be traced to the oldest part of Iaroslav’s Pravda. Tikhomirov. may he be accursed. the first part bearing the title “The Law [Sud] of Iaroslav Volodimerich—Pravda Russkaia”. the date of the earliest manuscript copy of the Expanded Pravda. albeit in amended form. dating from the 14th to the 19th century. but some turn up in the second part. and the differences among them are sometimes considerable. the Kievan grand prince Vladimir had a church built in honour of the Mother of God and pronounced: “I bestow upon this church of the Holy Virgin a tithe of my property and of my cities. who ruled as grand prince from 1113-1125. 225. then an earlier date is indicated. there are two main parts. If one accepts the view of most commentators that the treaty between Smolensk and Riga (see the chapter on treaties) of 1229 bears traces of RP influence. Within the Expanded Pravda certain clusters of provisions can be identified. Only a section of the second part is considered the actual Law of Monomakh.” More than 200 copies of the Church Statute of Vladimir are extant. As to the time of the final compilation of the protograph of the Expanded Pravda. Superficially. Several partial codifications or consolidations may have occurred. These clusters of provisions will have arisen at different dates. or rather its oldest nucleus. Most of the provisions taken over. the second one “The Law [Ustav] of Volodimer Vsevolodich”. Through the ages 79 Cf. declaring: “If anyone violates this promise. until finally all the elements were brought together into what came to be known as the Expanded Pravda. such as interest. They have been divided into different groups and families. inheritance law. All of which makes it more difficult to make general statements about the Expanded Pravda. or 1210-1215. and it is generally assumed that it. each preceded by a title-heading in most of the manuscripts. slaves. Issledovanie. The question is also complicated by the existence of more than 100 copies of the Expanded Pravda.

and the Short Redaction. church thefts.82 The bulk of the provisions of the Statute (which is much longer than that of Vladimir) are what we would regard as criminal law: definitions of offences and the appropriate penalties. The reconstruction of the original text (archetype) starts from a comparison of the so-called Expanded Redaction. 1976 (text edition).N. 1915. the key to understanding the Statute of Iaroslav 80 81 82 Reconstruction of the original text in Shchapov. a third element may have been added: exclusive church jurisdiction in all matters over persons connected with the church. the Expanded Redaction of the Statute of Iaroslav is about one-quarter longer.N. PRP I. The works of Ia. 257 and 243). Kniazheskie ustavy. Also in PRP I. The oldest copies are from the second quarter of the 15th century. it will be sufficient to summarize some of the findings of Shchapov. Beneshevich. At a later stage. Moskva.80 The first is the bestowal of tithes upon the church in Kiev.81 The second major text in this category is known as the Church Statute of Iaroslav. 78-89. Moskva. It completes what was only indicated in a general way in Vladimir’s Statute (certain types of offences being assigned to church jurisdiction) by defining these offences and setting the penalties. This favour was soon extended to all churches. 163-208. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnago prava. which regulates the purely secular types of offences. Beneshevich. Shchapov. Most penalties consist of fines forfeited to the church. witchcraft.). Petrograd.cit. It complements the RP. 120-121. 59-77. The majority of the more than 90 copies of this text form part of kormchie. I. other copies have been included in chronicles and other collections. also. but a reconstruction of the most likely original text indicates two main points that probably constituted a very short text as the initial nucleus. The two redactions do not differ as much as the short and expanded redactions of the RP do. Reconstruction of the original text in Shchapov. RZ I. . 1972 (the basic study).N. According to Shchapov. Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv. 137-162. Shchapov (ed. which emerged in the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th century. V. See.). at this point. Shchapov provide a very full treatment of the so-called church statutes and discuss all previous literature: Ia. op. Kniazheskie ustavy. The second element which probably goes back to the time of Vladimir is the granting of exclusive jurisdiction to the church in certain matters concerning the family and morality in general (offences against sexual morality. 257-285. The textual history of the Church Statute of Iaroslav is much more complicated than that of the Church Statute of Vladimir. 235-256. Both redactions are independent modernizations of the archetype.. and Ia.. but in a smaller number of cases the formula “and the prince shall punish” is added. who carried out the most detailed study of the various church statutes.84 Law in Medieval Russia numerous additions have been made. Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. 293-296.N. etc. RZ I. which is from the middle of the 14th century (Shchapov..

innumerable varieties may occur. or only certain provisions. The original nucleus of Iaroslav’s Church Statute may tentatively be dated to the period between 1051 (the accession of Ilarion. There is uncertainty about the identity of prince Vsevolod and more generally about the authenticity of the statute itself. also of 1137.84 The three documents are along the lines of the Church Statute of Vladimir. 302-306. when an awareness of certain legal institutions or ideas has had an effect on the formation of other legal institutions or ideas.cit. Of course. Szeftel & A. 174-185. verbatim. or the law may be rephrased. Eck in Documents de droit public …. in granting privileges and sources of income to the church. 37-53. we shall recognize the presence of influence. 224-232. the more diffuse influence 83 84 Shchapov. in the context of this paper. As in ordinary parlance. without leaving any clear verbal traces in the new laws. . A point of special interest in Iaroslav’s Church Statute is its explicit reference to the Greek Nomocanon. also. retaining its essential features. in law. Iaroslav states that he consulted with metropolitan Ilarion and that he “referred to” (slozhil esm’) the Greek Nomocanon.83 Several other princely charters dealing with church matters exist. Cf. One could also speak of influence when the organization of legislation or part of a legal system is taken over. and 153-158. the first Russian metropolitan of Kiev) and 1054 (death of Iaroslav). influence may range from 100% to zero and. 147-148. One country may take over a certain part of another country’s law. of prince Sviatoslav Ol’govich of Novgorod. 249-261. 91-98. Influence would still be there. which functioned in this context virtually as a department of the state. Beneshevich. where the legislator has contemplated a foreign rule and then decided to adopt a quite different solution to the legislative dilemma. See. The prince assigned a very sizeable section of jurisdiction and the income to be derived from it to the church. 140-145. This appears to be supported by M. In its preamble. Kniazheskie ustavy. and perhaps also the Church Statute of Vsevolod. 5. or a particular style of legal reasoning. The borrowed rule may be significantly changed. The take-over may be literal. PRP II. of which the earliest and most relevant for the present study are the charters of 1137 of prince Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk. 249. As pointed out above.. Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy. but provide much local detail.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 85 is the close connection between church and state. but harder to detect. RZ I. 116-123. 102107. Shchapov. Roman/Byzantine Influences: Where and When The question of what is to be understood by “influence” is complicated. op.

1989. Moskva. The Nomocanon was translated into Old-Slavonic at an early stage. would be an obvious guide to the church court. inheritance. in its Russian form of the Kormchaia.g.86 Law in Medieval Russia is. without adducing any concrete examples.N. albeit in a different form. many areas were covered by church law. but at the same time the emperor would often legislate in matters concerning the church. Around the end of the 10th century. The Byzantine collections of ecclesiastical law (Nomocanon or Syntagma canonum) also contained sub-collections of secular law. this parallel cannot be maintained to the end. This symbiosis expressed itself also in the intricate connections between secular and ecclesiastical legislation. one could begin by asking the advocates of Roman/Byzantine influence to present proof of their allegations. the harder its presence or absence is to prove or disprove. Vladimirskii-Budanov and Solov’ev. All this is of relevance to the question of the influence of Roman and/or Byzantine law on early Russian law.. Russia received Christianity from Byzantium. Some scholars occupy an intermediate position by suggesting only certain fields or topics where they discern Roman or Byzantine influences (e. manuals at their disposal which also contained secular Byzantine law. The first one embraces those who argue from a more general position. and those collections also contained secular Byzantine law with Roman law roots. Adopting the criminal procedure approach indicated above. The general position of the first group can be summarised by reference to the known historical circumstances of the period concerned.85 The Byzantine system of a close symbiosis of state and church was maintained in Russia. The field will then quickly divide into two groups. The Greek leaders of the Russian church therefore had rule-books. Although such a line of reasoning would be insufficient in a criminal trial to prove the charge. is how the penetration of Roman law into medieval Russian law could be argued. The writing of history will always involve the identification of certain 85 According to Ia. 191-206. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X–XIII vv. of the 24 Kievan metropolitans during the period of 988-1304 only two were Russians. . the Byzantine Nomocanon. This group would count among its members important pre-revolutionary authors such as Kliuchevskii. As “church people” were subject to ecclesiastical jurisdiction in almost all matters and the remainder of the population in regard of a more limited but still ample range of topics (such as marriage and family. in a general way. Greek bishops and clerics came to Russia. In Byzantium. Shchapov. certain criminal matters). D’iakonov). Maksimeiko and nowadays Salogubova). The second group consists of those who point to specific rules or institutions in early Russian law which they claim to have been borrowed from Roman or Byzantine law (esp. This.

contracts. Accounts. its archives were transferred to Moscow. Valk (ed. Some texts (the Old and New Testaments. those who point to specific examples of the influence of Roman and/or Byzantine law on early Russian law. as the principal monument of early Russian law. When Novgorod lost its independence.) would be long enough to take up an entire volume.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 87 reasonably secure data. a bound volume would be the most appropriate solution. Such collections would also be copied when this would be required. such documents have generally survived better in originali than the longer texts which were copied over and over again. medieval Russian laws have come down to us in a great variety of ‘convoys’ (as they are called) of other texts. and the manuscript volumes in which they have been inserted have mostly 86 For this reason. where the bishop was more important than the prince and which was never occupied by the Mongols. letters. But most of the texts discussed in this chapter were not of sufficient length to justify the trouble and expense of binding them separately. and where there was therefore little incentive to preserve the original. but the copier would of course be free to leave out materials considered irrelevant for the new user and to insert new texts.86 For longer texts. Where the Russian chronicles report the fall of all the most important Central Russian towns in 1238. The best conditions prevailed in Novgorod. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. one would actually have to show that there were no significant examples of Roman-Byzantine legal influence in early Russian law. if required. and as a result some 12th century documents have survived. 6. the Corpus Iuris.). etc. They would therefore be combined with other shorter texts to make up a suitable collection. notes. as there is a credible framework for explaining how Byzantine law would have come to Russia. After that the Church Statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav come into purview. the construction of a more general view on the basis of such data. As a result of this procedure.N. so to say. The burden of proof. Moskva/Leningrad. would normally exist in one copy only and could be kept. not mentioned in the report. 1949. in order to reach a larger number of people. a chronicle. this would mean that. The Kormchaia as the Main Vehicle of Byzantine Legal Influence and Other Collections One easily forgets that before printing was invented a written text had to be copied. . in a box or chest. That takes us to the second group. is inverted in such cases. etc. In the matter examined in this chapter. especially if they were meant to be consulted time and again. The RP is central in this discussion. was also taken by the Mongols. and the assumption that other uncorroborated elements would fit into the general view. one can assume that another town in the same area. Examples in S.

the conversion of the Moravians. The great majority of Expanded Pravda copies forms part of kormchie texts. Kievan Rus’ could realistically only come into contact with the world of Roman/Byzantine law through its contacts with Byzantium. All the older copies of the Short Pravda are found inserted in the narrative of a chronicle text (the so-called Younger Recension of the First Novgorod Chronicle). the ‘Law Books’ or Knigi Zakonnye have been mentioned above in connection with the Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law. after Russia had adopted Christianity in or around 988. The Penetration of the Kormchaia into Medieval Russia In the centuries that followed the division of the Roman Empire and the subsequent collapse of the West Roman Empire. there was hardly any significant presence of Roman law in North-West Europe. from the historian’s point of view. Roman law remained alive in the Eastern. although it became gradually byzantinized. and. moreover. Among the other collections of legal texts. such as teaching the new faith. this process is well documented by the various chronicles and in other ways. the ancestor of the rulers of Kievan Rus’. with the emperor Michael acting as godfather. the baptism of the Bulgarian khan Boris in Constantinople by Photius. The receiving party. it is worth remembering that in those few years a complex of events occurred which were of the greatest consequence for Russian history too: the legendary arrival of Rurik. a major Russian (or rather Varangian) raid on Constantinople.87 For the 87 Although the format of this chapter prohibits a more detailed discussion. The Church Statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav are also found mostly in various kormchie. At that time. Christianization was effected in those days. with the Greek church. For Russia. in the same way as Cyrillus and Methodius had come to Moravia in 862. a smaller number has been included in another important collection of legal texts. contacts with Western Europe were sporadic and. more specifically. had to make up its mind that it wanted to be baptized (and no one could deny that political expediency would often be a dominant motive). and setting up a church organization.88 Law in Medieval Russia been produced many centuries after the presumed date of origin of the laws concerned. performing the liturgy. . Byzantine empire. in practical terms the ruler and his entourage. the climax of the career of Photius. the Merilo Pravednoe (the Trinity Recension copies). and then also in other collections and chronicles. in a bilateral process. Greek clergymen came from Constantinople. and also in other ad hoc collections of legal texts (the Pushkin Recension copies) and in chronicle texts (the Karamzin Recension copies). and missionaries had to be sent from a Christian country that could provide the indispensable services. one of the most brilliant and unscrupulous Byzantine patriarchs.

such collections had to be translated. Pavlov. 1964.N. The translation of church texts into Slavonic has been the subject of scholarly interest for a long time. collections of rules had been put together at a very early date already and in time these collections had solidified into fixed bodies of documents. probably in Constantinople itself. Shchapov. was based on the Third Redaction (in Shchapov’s terminology. This new collection reached Bulgaria (possibly after having gone through other hands) where it was translated by a team of translators (which may explain its sometimes inconsistent terminology).89 The first Slavonic translation. Moskva. 88-100. Kazan’. Particularly in his study of the “Byzantine and Southern Slav legal heritage in Russia in the XIth-XIIIth century”. Pervonachal’nyi slaviano-russkii nomokanon. through his painstaking analysis of the vast repertoire of kormchie..S. besides. but. to mention only two older Russian works. Shchapov. as outlined above. 1923. As a highly organized body it also needed rules. 168. 96-98. Orientalia Christiana Analecta. A.N. Shchapov.N. Kormčaja Kniga. resulting in the publication of important sources and studies. 36. . 90 91 Cf. Ia. The Syntagma version from around 806 was provided with some additions and amendments shortly before 912. Shchapov which has increased our understanding of the process through which Byzantine law penetrated into the early Slavic world. from 806 or around that date). Vizantiiskoe. of the Collectio L titulorum of John the Scholastic of 550. it will be sufficient to relate some of his conclusions which are of relevance to our present topic. Little is known about the role. esp. Shchapov. writings of church fathers. Žužek. In order to be used in newly baptized countries. The entire story of the different kormchie reaching Russia is conveniently summarized by Kaiser. as reconstructed by Shchapov. Drevneslavianskaia kormchaia XIV titulov bez tolkovanii. connected with the conversion of Bulgaria.90 Another version of the Syntagma. Vizantiiskoe. Studies on the Chief Code of Russian Canon Law.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 89 Christian religion. S. 1869. if any. The Growth of the Law. The story of its composition. it made use of many other written sources: decisions of church councils. is complicated. In the Eastern church. Beneshevich. has succeeded in drawing a consistent picture of this process. etc. known together with his younger brother Cyrillus as the apostles of the Slavs (825-885). 1906-1907. I have not been able to consult I. bearing such names as Collectio or Syntagma or Nomocanon.Peterburg. which can be divided into three stages. of this translation in the development of medieval Russian law. Holy Scripture was an essential element.91 88 89 Such as V. was made (some time around 862) by Methodius. 1978.88 But in more recent times it was especially the extensive work of Ia. Roma. Vizantiiskoe i iuzhnoslavianskoe pravovoe nasledie na Rusi v XI-XIII vv.

The (edited) Slavonic translation of these texts. (b) two theological treatises. the collection of 14 titles from the old Syntagma canonum. concerning the property of bishops and monks and the right to appoint bishops. still close to their pagan past and tribal customs. It constituted therefore a fairly complete collection of the post-Justinian novellae concerning ecclesiastical affairs and the difference with the three collections included in the Syntagma of 806 is insignificant. (c) excerpts from the Procheiron and the Ecloga. (b) the canons of the general (6) and regional (7) councils. is supposed to have consisted of the following three parts:92 (I) Introductory part: (a) Introduction. and the three collections of secular law pertaining to church matters included in the Revised Syntagma of the Enantiophanes (consisting almost entirely of novellae). which were mostly based on other Byzantine texts. This item includes titles 24 and 28 of the Procheiron.90 Law in Medieval Russia The general rationale behind this editorial process was that a nomocanon or kormchaia was not itself a sacred text. 54. which can be grouped into four categories: (a) chronological and historical survey of data and lists. 47. 92 Shchapov. Vizantiiskoe. consisting of various materials. . were very different from those in the Byzantine empire. (c) a list of council rules. Conditions among the newly baptized Slavic peoples. 93 94 This Collection of 93 chapters corresponds with the old Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum of John the Scholastic. rules of church fathers. Cf.94 It is to be noted that the main difference between this Kormchaia and its Byzantine model was in the additional materials. Vizantiiskoe. (d) rules of various origin concerning bishops.93 (III) Additional part. The main elements of the Syntagma of 806 were the so-called canons of the apostles. but rather an ad hoc collection of texts for the use of church dignitaries. to which the novellae from the old Collectio XXV capitolorum which had not been included in the latter had been added. which did not itself survive and has been reconstructed on the basis of surviving kormchaia copies based on it. the canons of the general church councils and of certain regional councils. (II) Main part: (a) the (185) canons of the apostles. concerning the calculation of degrees of consanguinity. (b) the Collectio XIV titulorum (a systematic survey of canonical texts). Shchapov. immune to editorial interference. and imperial constitutions. (c) the writings and rules of the church fathers. (d) the Collection of imperial constitutions in 93 chapters.

Roman Law in Medieval Russia 91 Shortly after the conversion of Russia. 101.38 (1977). 99 Cyril’s successor. Nomokanon pri Bol’shom Trebnike. S. Cf. the oldest (the Riazan’ Copy) from 1284. A copy of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia was sent to Kiev from Bulgaria. moved the see to Vladimir on the Kliazma in 1299. 97 Shchapov. 1989. is devoted to the Efrem Kormchaia.97 Although the original Serbian redaction did not include any specifically Slavonic materials. III (117-155). 98 The penetration of the Procheiron is the subject of a special study by Shchapov: “Prokhiron v vostochnoslavianskoi pis’mennosti”. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X-XIII vv. Vizantiiskoe. at the request of Cyril II. The second stage is represented by the emergence of the so-called Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia.o. in which the text is broken off at the end of the Collection of 93 chapters). 1897. on Cyril II: Ia. 204-206.Peterburg. the earlier version (the Efrem Kormchaia) was also utilized and many new materials 95 96 Shchapov. 172.99 Although the Serbian redaction constituted the main source for the new text. it was decided to create a new Russian kormchaia which would better satisfy the needs of the church at that time.S. the last Kievan metropolitan. The work by A. Pavlov. Vizantiiskoe. ego istoriia i teksty. . it did not have a Byzantine example or counterpart and was apparently put together in Serbia. The arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia text in Russia signified simultaneously the beginning of the third stage. quoted above. the Collectio 87 capitolorum. The loss of the rich cathedral library of Kiev. more recent imperial constitutions.96 This kormchaia was based on more up-to-date Byzantine materials. during the Mongol sack of Kiev in 1240. possibly during the reign of Iaroslav the Wise. Shchapov. Moskva. 48-58. Ch. also. connected with the name of Savva. Shchapov. The secular law section contained a. who became the first Serbian archbishop in 1219. Vol. particularly the canon law collections with comments by the great 12th century canonists Zonaras and Aristenes. See. this Slavonic Kormchaia reached Russia.95 Its oldest surviving copy is from the 12th century (the defective Efrem copy. Vizantiiskii vremennik. Cyril himself died in 1281. after almost 40 years as metropolitan of the Russian church.. Vizantiiskoe. At a Russian church council held in Kiev in 1273. and the entire Procheiron text. cf.N. which undoubtedly included several kormchaia copies. may have been a central consideration in Cyril’s efforts to bring about a new version of the Russian kormchaia. by the same author. the Greek Maxim. A considerable number of copies of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia has survived in Russia.98 shortly before 1273.

The latter is the so-called Trinity or Troitskii I Copy. Moskva. The work actually proceeded in two phases. Published in facsimile edition by M.N. as well as other amendments and additions.102 It consists of two parts. also came to include different versions of the Expanded RP. the first nucleus of the MP may have been put together by the Kievan metropolitan Nikifor in the beginning of the 100 101 102 A detailed comparison of the contents in Shchapov. the collections knows as Merilo Pravednoe must be mentioned. where as a result of the particular politicolegal situation the bishop’s jurisdiction also began to extend to certain secular cases. Among them are the complete (Russian) texts of the Procheiron and the Ecloga. the first phase (which occurred between 1273 and 1280) is represented by a family of mainly South-West Russian copies which can be traced to the Volynian protograph of 1284. The second part counts 275 sheets and represents the explicitly legal side of the work. presents a large number of short exhortative and religious texts. This occurred first in Novgorod. following immediately. Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. Vizantiiskoe. 69 sheets. . while a fifth volume offers a number of different texts. legal texts in medieval Russia are usually encountered in larger collections. at a later stage. which make up an actual book. In the second phase. Of its oldest version. including the Short Redaction of the ZSL. mostly of Greek origin. therefore. Shchapov. generally used in modern collections as being closest to the Expanded Pravda’s protograph. The Merilo Pravednoe or ‘Just Measure’ As pointed out above. 163-164. After the numerous kormchie. According to Tikhomirov. Most of them are of Byzantine origin. but containing also some texts of Russian origin. 1961. The general tenor is to admonish judges. such as might be found in the kormchie. to include the RP as a secular law code in the general ‘rule-book’ (kormchaia) at the disposal of the bishop. The Trinity Copy of the second half of the 14th century is considered the standard text. more Byzantine and non-Byzantine materials were added. therefore. It made sense. Tikhomirov. 165-171.92 Law in Medieval Russia of Russian origin were included as well. Cf.100 This new product is known. four almost identical volumes are known. Its first part.101 Some of the resulting North-West and North-East Russian families of kormchie. as the Russian redaction. The 30 texts are numbered separately. The oldest extant version of the Expanded Pravda is as the last item in the Novgorod Synod Kormchaia of 1282. But the ZSL (Short Redaction) is also included and at the end the Expanded Pravda. Vizantiiskoe.

This version is found merged with. soderzhashchie v sebe v drevnerusskom perevode vizantiiskie zakony zemledel’cheskie. I. this resulted in what is sometimes (a.o.103 Later on. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung. Soloviev in “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”. Leningrad. were added. Pavlov. which may have been available in a Russian version at an early date in Kievan Russia. Lipshits. 92-93. 1984.Peterburg. Although the MP had its origin in ecclesiastical circles.S. the Farmer’s Law constitutes the major part of the KZ.105 As has been mentioned above. ugolovnye.104 A small number of manuscripts of the KZ is extant. one can certainly not exclude that it was also used in secular courts. 1885. li) believes that the KZ may already have been in circulation in Russia in the 13th century. of which the earliest is from the first half of the 15th century. in the manner of an extensive foreword. The Rozenkampf (or Chudov) and Ferapontov groups of Expanded Pravda copies are part of these collections. The Knigi Zakonnye or ‘Law Books’ The Byzantine Farmer’s Law. Medvedev (ed. A. and the “Chapters on Witnesses”. or as part of. 190-191. Band 76 (1959). extolling the virtues of the ‘just judge’.). 432-479.V. . This work also offers the complete text of the KZ at 233-256. Issledovanie. 199.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 93 12th century for the Kievan grand prince Vladimir Monomakh. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. is only found in its Russian version in the collection known as the ‘Law Books’ or Knigi Zakonnye (KZ). The Law on Penalties has been taken almost completely from the 39th and 40th titles of the Procheiron (and thus indirectly from the same chapters of the Ecloga). A revised version of the MP emerged in the 15th century.V. the other parts are the “Law on Penalties”. The comments in this volume are from the hand of E. brachnye i sudebnye.E. Iushkov) called the Collection of 30 texts. the section “On Divorce” from title 11 of the Procheiron. by the leading Soviet legal historian S. The first substantial study of the KZ was by A. Then this Collection of 30 texts was expanded by a much shorter collection of texts of a religious-educational character. states that the KZ reached Russia in the 14th century. other legal texts. “Knigi Zakonnye”. In the end. and the Chapters on Witnesses from title 27 of the same 103 104 105 Tikhomirov. a kormchaia. “On Divorce”. Kaiser (in The Laws of Rus’.P. with some Russian editorial reworking. Romanische Abteilung. without offering any corroboration. The entire KZ is in substance Byzantine law. S. with the inclusion of a number of new texts and the omission of certain others. including the Expanded Pravda.

The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.108 Maksimeiko doubted “that Old-Russian practice could independently work out such a precise. from the most primitive to the most sophisticated.94 Law in Medieval Russia law with some additions from title 14 of the Ecloga.H.107 7. Salt Lake City. 1992. Weighing the Evidence In the fifth section. Roman Law The only authors who claim specifically that Roman law directly influenced early Russian law. English translation of the Chapters on Witnesses at 116-121. Once a space craft has returned from Mars with a specimen of such a form of life. contain similar prohibitions of marriage between close blood relatives. Maksimeiko detected Roman law influence especially in the older version of the RP. for instance. It is. The Laws of Russia. The different texts of the Chapters on Witnesses show that they go back to different translations of the original Greek text.1.). Medvedev. 1-3. Evaluation: The point seems to be extremely far-fetched. 191. specific and comprehensive list of persons entitled to pursue the murderer”.106 The Chapters on Witnesses appear also in other medieval Russian collections. had access to the necessary Roman law sources. . A general and already persuasive argument against these claims. and particularly the RP. is that it is utterly improbable that those responsible for shaping early Russian law. 27 (169). li. D. Cf. and especially the RP. a distinction was made between general and specific arguments in favour of Roman/Byzantine influences in early Russian law. the Short Pravda. also convenient to begin by examining the most ambitious claims: that early Russian law was directly influenced by Roman law itself. & ed. the debate becomes irrelevant. If such a discussion yields a positive answer it becomes unnecessary to investigate the general arguments in favour. in the following provisions. moreover. We could debate. Article 1: The enumeration of relatives entitled to exact blood vengeance for homicide has probably been borrowed from Justinian’s Institutes’ treatment of impediments to marriage in Inst. RP II. whether conditions on the planet Mars would allow the existence of some form of life. Vol. are Maksimeiko and Salogubova. Should 106 107 108 Cf. 1. Series I: Medieval Russia. 10. Kaiser (transl. Almost all legal systems. as has been mentioned before. It will be convenient to discuss the specific arguments first.

5). 1). RP II. for instance in the Hittite laws? And the Short Pravda provision does not even concern marriage impediments but a completely different subject: blood vengeance in cases of homicide. Article 11: The author of the Short Pravda has followed the Roman example that the person who hides a fugitive slave is considered a thief (Ulp. find its closest parallel in the unlawful appropriation of stray 109 110 111 Anyway. RP II. 4. Pushing or pulling another person without injuring him is about the least harmful and entails a payment of 3 grivna (40 grivna for homicide). 58ff. in legal terms. 10. is also known in Roman law (Ulp.. 1.110 Evaluation: The longish text of Ulpian referred to is devoted to a discussion of the Lex Cornelia de iniuriis (from 81 BC) which deals with remedies against unlawful violent behaviour: shoving. Concealment of runaway slaves would then. Article 10 of the Short Pravda concludes the catalogue of personal injuries which begins with homicide and then other personal injuries in descending order of seriousness. The positions of the kholop of Kievan Russia and the Roman slave were not identical. Also. Identifying pushing (shoving) or pulling another person as a not too serious personal injury in the course of a general treatment of personal injuries is not a very remarkable procedure. Baranowski leaves kholop untranslated. 84 (163). D. other German translations use Knecht. as. runaway slaves will usually be a common occurrence. . domum vi introire). 47. beating. and entering a residence by force (pulsare.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 95 they therefore be considered to have been influenced by Justinian?109 If so. the rule most likely reflects customary law and was not the product of legislative ingenuity. as most of the other provisions of the Oldest Pravda. Article 10: Maksimeiko notes that the distinction between pushing another person (as mentioned in this provision) and hitting him (as mentioned in other provisions). verberare. the distinction between pushing (shoving) and hitting (beating) is explained: hitting hurts. I have followed Vernadsky’s and Kaiser’s usage. pushing does not. 1. In this context. the text of Justinian’s Institutes repeats almost verbatim the Institutes of Gaius. how to explain similar pre-Roman rules. a point Maksimeiko apparently missed. D. The fact that the Short Pravda does so hardly suggests that it must have been inspired by the Romans having had similar thoughts (which Maksimeiko does not claim anyway).111 Evaluation: In slave-owning societies. 89 (182).

The Codex of Justinian (534) allowed the replacement of the standard fine of classical Roman law of 20 solidi (on top of the handing over of the fugitive slave) by supplying a second slave of the same value as the fugitive. The rule of the Ecloga has been taken over in the early (Short) version of the Court Law for the People (ZSL). 1) is Ulpian’s lapidary: “He who hides a fugitive is a thief. The same two laws contain provisions on theft in the same titles which treat the common thief as a criminal: he is to return the stolen goods to their owner and on top of that he has to pay him twice their value. . 1). if he is unable to do so he is to be whipped and exiled. but introduced various amendments in the major laws of the first millennium. if that is considered desirable. or to notify them. moreover.113 The Ecloga (XVII. because in both cases the ‘property’ that has been appropriated differs from ordinary property by the fact that it is able to move around by itself. FF]. 24) dropped the additional requirement again but otherwise took over the Ecloga’s rule. Lipshits points out that this approach of the Ecloga and the Procheiron demonstrates how far the Byzantine system had moved away from its Roman roots. precisely because of the fact that concealment of a runaway slave is actually rather unlike ordinary theft. the first statement in the title on fugitive slaves in the Digest (11.112 This feature was taken over in later Byzantine legislation. The Procheiron (XXXIX. 1. requires more detailed regulation. This equation.96 Law in Medieval Russia cattle. Consequently. but with considerable amendments. The sanctions against concealment of a runaway slave are mild.” The independent will of the slave and his physical possibility of moving around independently distinguish the ‘appropriation’ of a slave from ordinary theft to such an extent that it becomes necessary to equate them explicitly in legal terms. Characteristically. the rule in question is presumably of Roman origin. one finds in classical Roman law additional rules concerning periods of grace granted to those harbouring runaway slaves. In case of recidivism his hand is cut off. Byzantine law retained the principle of the unlawfulness of hiding runaway slaves. As this law is known to be heavily influenced by Roman law. allowing them to return the slave to its master or to the authorities. compared to those for the thief. 17) introduced an additional requirement by defining the offence as “luring away and hiding the slave of another person […]” [italics added. 4. A very similar formula (“alium paris meriti cum eodem servum domino dare cogatur”) is found in the 6th century Lex Visigothorum (XI. the slave had to be returned to its master together with another slave. The possibility of returning the slave voluntarily to its owner as an escape 112 113 This innovation goes back to a 4th century constitution of the emperor Constantius. or an equivalent sum of money.

1977. Dewey and Kleimola suggest that this excessively mild penalty is due to a mistake of the scribe. No. It is unlikely that the time and expertise would have been available to consult foreign laws in this process. The Russian rule only deals with a specific case: when the slave is hiding with a Viking or a Kolbiag (and presumably any other foreigner). Two points of similarity remain: that the concealment of a runaway slave is identified as an issue to be regulated by law. 115 In his new translation of the RP.115 In this view. 214-220. Kaiser (16) translates the mysterious Kolbiag simply as “another foreigner”. On the meaning of art. 29.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 97 route is not mentioned anymore. and the “luring away”) are absent in the Short Pravda. Michigan Slavic Materials. The first point means almost nothing. When in the course of the next century the text of the Short Pravda was edited into the compilation out of which the Expanded Pravda 114 H. Kleimola.36) does indeed insert the obligatory return of the slave again. the Short ZSL would be the only realistic candidate. It is to be noted that the corresponding provision of the Expanded Pravda (art. and that the person hiding the slave is granted a certain period of time to hand over the slave. the Pravda of Iaroslav was meant to solve a number of urgent problems arising from the co-habitation in Novgorod of a local Slavic population and the Scandinavian followers of the prince.114 The Expanded Version of the ZSL (art. to be replaced by the price of a new slave in the event the original owner has bought one. although it is uncertain whether its text would have been available at that early stage of formation of the RP.14. The ZSL retained the additional requirement of the Ecloga (“luring away”) and added another requirement: that the concealment is carried out clandestinely. The second point of similarity is at least quite unspecific. or an equivalent sum of money. Zakon Sudnyj Ljudem (Court Law for the People). and this fits well into the view of the Pravda of Iaroslav as an enactment to deal with a specific situation in Novgorod around the year 1016. Ann Arbor. . Dewey & A. the guilty person is to be flogged. With all this. The characteristic features of the Byzantine law on this point (the penalty in its alternate form: another similar slave. If any influence on the rule of the Short Pravda is to be assumed. MI.32) drops the restriction to foreigners and applies the rule generally to anybody who hides a runaway slave. see Baranowski. in a slave-owning society one can expect some sort of legal device for dealing with the situation described above. also. the connection between the detailed regulation in Roman law and the specificity of the Short Pravda provision has become very tenuous.11 in general. It was not required that the slave be returned to his master. only that “another such slave” was to be supplied. or an equivalent amount of money.

with the intent to derive profit (lucri faciendi animo). In the Slavonic translation of the Farmer’s Law. In fact. 3. 97-98 (177-184). in articles 1. the words “or a horse” have been inserted. . there was no need anymore to restrict the effect of the provision to foreigners. 35-40. a different but related situation is described: the use of an ox or a donkey or another farm animal for farm work. His understanding of this rule is quite implausible. 31. termed tat’ba or krazha. without permission. 116 RP II. This is precisely what some other commentators have argued and this question may most conveniently be discussed here. without getting into the theft aspect (D. in accordance with the general Roman system. a substantive part of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons is devoted to the subject. Ulpian mentions the unauthorized use of a loaned horse in his long discussion of commodatum. the context suggests that this early form of joy-riding is not regarded as theft. in his treatment of theft (furtum). 196). Article 12: Riding another person’s horse. The Short Pravda deals with various forms of theft. that it is completely improbable that the drafter of the Oldest Pravda had any knowledge whatsoever of Roman law). article 11—concealment of a fugitive slave. Gaius. Article 12 fits into this system. 6. 7).98 Law in Medieval Russia arose. XIII. In the original text of the Farmer’s Law (art. The culprit must return the owner (the animal and) twice the yield of such use. article 14—the procedure to be followed in property disputes. constitutes theft. In the Oldest Pravda (Iaroslav’s Pravda). If one accepts that the direct origins of this provision cannot be Roman. given the context of it (not to mention of course the general point made above already.36). without the owner’s permission. the accent is on personal injuries and additionally on property disputes where the aspect of theft is absent or in the background only. or ‘loan for use’.116 Evaluation: Maksimeiko fails to indicate a precise source. article 13—recognizing one’s property in his own community (mir).e. the question may still be asked whether the rule may not have Roman roots indirectly. i. mentions such use of a horse as a form of ‘theft of use’ (G. article 16—the procedure to be followed to reclaim a stolen slave. The starting-point is in classical Roman law where several authors mention the unauthorized use of a horse supplied in commodatum. This is directly inspired by the Roman concept of furtum. where intentional unlawful appropriation in any form. entails a fine (3 grivna).

if the horse perishes after the agreed place has been reached. the Germanic parallels are much more intriguing than the Roman/Byzantine ones. This provision has been taken over almost verbatim by the Short ZSL (art.7).27).26). but only envisages the situation when the horse gets injured or dies.” 118 Pace Lange. The theory was already rejected by N. but only with the risk aspect: if the horse perishes before the agreed place has been reached. the conclusion that the rule on ‘joy-riding’ was taken over from the already existing Short Pravda is obvious. references to Germanic connections of the RP were unpopular. 96 (292). the user has to pay the value of the horse. the leges barbarorum offer quite a list of close parallels to article 12. The theory was introduced early in the 19th century by Strube. When it was pointed out that this Law appeared long after the RP. RP II. It does not deal with unauthorized use anymore. Then a new provision is inserted (art. inserted after Iaroslav’s Pravda had already been drafted. . Nevertheless. otherwise. attention focused on Byzantine law as the source of the provision. the risk is the owner’s. although it does not provide for the double compensation. but simply of native origin. It talks about “taking the horse beyond the agreed point” (as Gaius and Ulpian did). During the Soviet era and especially after the Second World War. the provision returns in significantly amended form (art. But leaving that aside for a moment. beginning 117 118 In the translation of Dewey & Kleimola. In the Expanded ZSL. The Germanic parallels of article 12 have had a rather unhappy history.24). who referred to a very similar rule in the Law of the Jutes. if one bases oneself on the similarity of certain laws. to say the least. whose words are worth to be quoted here: “[…] the article on the horse is not at all of Germanic and neither of Byzantine. it could be proved that the Russkaia Pravda would have been borrowed from the Chinese Law Code. Lange in 1859. Considering that the Expanded ZSL was composed in Kievan Russia.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 99 The Ecloga contains a provision which in its wording is more reminiscent of the classical texts (Title 17. the only clear ‘Byzantine’ parallel is the above-mentioned article 27.117 It is this complex of interrelated rules which has given rise to the theory of the Byzantine roots of article 12 of the Short Pravda (further details below). art. which lacks a parallel provision in the Short ZSL: the unauthorized use of another person’s horse (“If anyone rides another’s horse without [the owner’s] bidding […]”).

Article 17: This provision deals with the liability of the master who refuses to hand over his slave who has struck a freeman. 47. The similarity between the situations described article 17 and D. esp. 121 More precisely. on the other hand. 10. Buckland. 4. […]”. . or being sued in a noxal action. A Textbook of Roman Law From Augustus to Justinian. 9. 47. this similarity is still general.12: “Si quis caballum extra consilium domini sui ascenderit […]” and “Ashche kto poedet’ na chiuzhem kone. 4-7. 4 are similar: a slave has struck a freeman and has sought refuge with his own master.121 and adds that the author of the RP was influenced by Book 9 of the Digest. 4 is undeniable. 9 ( Ad Legem Aquiliam). 10. 9. 10. in Roman law the choice was between handing over the slave to be flogged. 171-173). devoting ample attention to liability for acts of dependents. the almost uniform wording of which is obvious (how else could you describe the offence simply?). 600. D. The Digest. D. That alone would already explain the striking similarity between the different provisions.100 Law in Medieval Russia with the Salic Law (title 25 of the Pactus Legis Salicae) and the Law of the Ripuarian Franks (art. 4 (De Noxalibus Actionibus). but the situation described in article 17 of the Short Pravda is not specifically mentioned in this chapter. 17. 47. article 16 (the procedure for reclaiming a stolen slave) and the present article 17. in the chapters concerned. see W. In the Pravda of Iaroslav. the Roman rule refers more generally to an iniuria committed by a slave. RP II.W.119 Without attempting to solve this riddle here.40). 10120 and D. the formula is almost exactly the same as in the Short Pravda art. 17. The Short Pravda offered the master a choice between paying 12 grivna or handing over the slave to be punished by the aggrieved party. the most defensible provisional answer (as also suggested by several pre-revolutionary Russian authors) might be that at the cultural level of early Slavonic and Germanic peoples the unauthorized use of the most important means of transport was a frequent occurrence which could be very harmful and upsetting for the master of the horse. Among the 18 provisions of the Oldest Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav) three mention slaves: article 11 (discussed above). the 119 120 In the latter Law. ne proshav ego. The provisions differ strongly in their wording and also in context. Evaluation: The situations described in this provision and in D. Noxal actions (actions for damages caused by delicts of dependents. Cambridge. 115 (164. such as family members or slaves) were discussed at length in D. 1932. 17. offers in its usual way a vast array of casuistic material discussing all possible variations of delicts and injuries. 47. Maksimeiko points to D.

Die Gesetze Hammurabis. then [him] payment to make. as much as [the owner] gave for it.122 Nobody would claim of course that the author of article 16 had consulted the Babylonian law. 47. the wealth of available texts proves beyond doubt that correcting the economic balance was the dominant consideration.A. The following text offers the main alternatives: “And if [someone] breaks a lance. In art. 11 (art. Leiden. but to right the injury to the affected person’s status.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 101 emphasis is strongly on status and reputation and on what is to be done when these are affected. The terse formulation of this provision and especially the uncertainty of the identity of the subject of the verbs utilized have caused a number of divergent translations. The Laws of Rus’. where the master of a stealing slave is given the option of compensating the loss or rejecting the slave. The Hittite Law Code contains a provision which could equally be regarded as an example.95 of the First Tablet.” 122 123 124 125 H. but if he has broken it and will return it. Winckler. 119-120 (194-206). 81-85 (at 82). 17.124 Evaluation: Maksimeiko’s position requires some preliminary explanation. Das älteste Gesetzbuch der Welt (Der alte Orient. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. as much as [that person/the owner] would have given for it. 10. and [that person/the owner] wishes to keep it for himself. 4 can therefore not be considered as a serious argument for a genetic link between the two provisions. and wishes to keep [the damaged property] for himself. Baranowski. and if he has broken it. RP II. or shield. is encountered in other legal systems as well. 1959. Although this aspect is not wholly absent in classical Roman law. Königs von Babylon um 2250 v. then [the owner] is to take payment for it. Zimin in PRP I. 17.” All modern translations125 agree on the following reading (Kaiser’s translation): “And if someone breaks a lance. Leipzig. 244.123 Article 18: A provision devoted to property damage. then [the owner is] to take payment from him. or clothing. Jahrgang. Friedrich. or destroys clothes. or a shield. The procedure of article 16 RP. based on the Lex Aquilia. . Heft 4). and if he will return it. See J. 47.9). 1902. then [the one who broke it] is to pay [the owner] money. basically consisting of following the track back to the person who first removed the slave (or the property in general) from the master’s domination. 4. Chr. the oldest example being the Code of Hammurabi. Financial compensation does not serve to make good the material losses suffered. A. Kaiser. The mere general similarity between the situations described in article 17 of the Short Pravda and D.

126 127 RP II. The first four officials are far more prominent. he felt that this arrangement had been inspired by Roman law views. 137 (139-150). or the property that had been destroyed) illustrated very clearly that the matter was viewed exclusively from a financial point of view. equally based on the same Roman law. “senior stablemaster”. probably belong to the same category. Maksimeiko supports the generally-held view that in this part of the Short Pravda the emphasis has shifted from the immaterial interests of status and reputation (of the freeman in general) to the material interests of the prince. “collector of fines”. their bloodwite having been set at 80 grivna.126 Evaluation: The second part of the Short Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons) consists (with the exception of the last few provisions) of a coherent set of rules.102 Law in Medieval Russia Maksimeiko held that the first part of the provision envisaged the situation when the owner wished to keep the damaged property and claim damages for whatever he had lost. The most important provisions of this Law concerned the compensation for the unlawful killing of somebody else’s slave. Kaiser translates these resp.127 comparable perhaps to the court functionaries of Carolingian times in Western Europe. the koniukh staryi. while the latter are worth only 12 grivna. we need not pay any more attention to his views on this matter. as well as the damaging of his property. Article 19: Fines for killing (high-ranking) servitors of the prince. based on the system of the Lex Aquilia. “field supervisor” and “plowland supervisor”. and for other unlawful damage to his property. The character of the compensation (the highest price during the last year for the slave that had been killed. “overseer”. but the higher-ranking persons covered by articles 19-24. the sel’skii starosta and the ratainyi. obviously intended to protect the interests of the prince by providing increased penalties for offences against his servitors or affecting his property. Where it becomes more difficult to follow Maksimeiko is where he argues that the entire treatment of the killing of the prince’s (unfree) servants. The unfree status of most of the princely servitors mentioned in this part of the Short Pravda is obvious. the tivun. As Maksimeiko’s understanding of this provision does not have followers anymore and his reference to Roman influence is unworkably general. The ognishchanin. the pod”ezdnoi. There is no doubt that the fines indicated in this part of the Short Pravda are destined for the prince’s coffers (where else would they go?). at least as a general rule. is inspired by the Lex Aquilia. . as “steward”.

129 Evaluation: Maksimeiko’s cavalier statement that this provision shows the “inspiration” (veianie) of Roman law and the Lex Aquilia in particular. If the prince felt that he had suffered a loss. 153 (151ff.). If the customary compensation for killing a freeman (which replaced earlier blood feuds) was 40 grivna. 9. Maksimeiko points to Inst.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 103 The rules concerned from the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons do not suggest that they were also based on such a viewpoint. from the Short Pravda). claiming the compensation for itself. 3. The provision is otherwise one of the most cryptic of the Short Pravda and has given rise to extensive discussion. Article 21: Concerning the killing of a cattle-thief. inspired by the Lex Aquilia. warned the community that his high-ranking servitors (such as the ognishchanin). And even if they were. in edited form. there is nothing there about collective liability. The legislative innovation of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons on this matter was the transition of the private handling of personal injuries as an affair between two families to the intervention of “the state”. was still very much present in the second part of the Short Pravda. caught in the act. 4. so prominent in the Oldest Pravda. without any further argument. But the fixed nature of the compensation indicated suggests rather that the immaterial aspect. 3 and D. he would naturally like to get his money back.128 Evaluation: The indicated chapter of the Institutes is devoted to the Lex Aquilia in general and summarizes its main elements. then that would hardly indicate that they had been inspired by Roman law. The chapter from the Digest concerns the action for damages caused by (carelessly) throwing away or pouring out something (de deiectis et effusis). It has nothing to do with homicide and collective liability for it. even if they were not freemen. The further elaboration of this trend is very noticeable in the parallel provisions in the Expanded Pravda (taken over. Article 20: The rural community being liable to a fixed fine in the case of the unsolved homicide of a princely servitor. were under his special protection and that their killing would be regarded as a more serious matter than ordinary homicide. 5 and the underlying principles. 157 (147-150). RP II. does not need any refutation. who began to assert himself in those days. . 128 129 RP II. the prince.

2. Article 31: Fines for cattle theft. more abstractly worded provisions of the Short Pravda. based on the Lex Aquilia. . who felt free to impose a severe punishment on the people of Dorogobuzh (a town not far from Kiev).132 Evaluation: See comments to article 19. 196 (184-186). Maksimeiko points to Inst. 186 (121-156). whether committed by a single thief. based on the ideas of the Lex Aquilia. 169 (130-133). RP II. or from a storeroom. Maksimeiko provides examples from the Digesta. and then in particular to the definition of the principum placita: what pleases the ruler has the force of law. but RP II does not include these.” The reference to the precedent in Dorogobuzh was dropped in the parallel provision of the Expanded Pravda (art.12). 1. which distinguishes it from all other. 162-163 (119-120). Article 28: Fixed damages for killing the prince’s livestock. RP II. as a source for this provision. Maksimeiko refers to the definition of the six sources of Roman law in the first chapter of the Institutes. A sufficiently powerful prince would act as it pleased him in any similar case and did not need the authority of the Institutes for it (of which he would certainly be ignorant anyway).133 Evaluation: The provision establishes a uniform fine (1 grivna and 30 rezana) for theft of a horse or an oxen. He argues that the excessively high fine for killing the stablemaster reflected the anger of prince Iziaslav. or by a band of thieves. 5.131 Evaluation: See comments to article 19. when more 130 131 132 133 RP II.104 Law in Medieval Russia Article 23: Concerning the fine for killing the prince’s stable master.130 Evaluation: The most remarkable thing about this provision is its patently casuistic origin. In Kaiser’s translation: “And for the senior stablemaster [who is murdered] while [he is] with the herds [pay] 80 grivnas. RP II. Article 25: Concerning the fine for killing a servant of the prince. as Iziaslav [1054-78] established when the residents of Dorogobuzh killed his stablemaster.

according to Salogubova. Corporal punishment.).135 An attempt was made to distinguish between actiones in personam and actiones in rem. 10). 47. 134 135 RP II. until then widely applied in Russia. Moskva (2nd ed. was replaced by a system of fines. and op. and other provisions directly from the Ecloga. was passed during the reign of Vladimir. (1997).cit. 31. (1999).D. 1879. Lektsii po istorii russkogo zakonodatel’stva. Iaroslav and Vsevolod. Salogubova. op. The similarities are too general and the specific differences too great to attach much weight to Maksimeiko’s argument in this matter.134 Evaluation: This provision is found in a part of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons which deals with offences affecting the prince’s property. formed the basis of the church statutes of the princes Vladimir. she argued. then the fine is 3 grivna and 30 rezana each. and procedural terms. Article 33: Fines for torturing the prince’s peasant. After Russia adopted Christianity in 988. In the Russo-Byzantine treaties of 911 and 944 she discerned the inclusion of Roman rules of evidence. and came to be used as a manual in all civil cases. consisted of a collection of Byzantine rules of ecclesiastical law. 34 offers a comment by Gaius that an injury inflicted by several persons is in itself more serious: tot iniuriae sunt. The latter Law. or a higher-ranking servitor. 47. In the RP (still according to Salogubova). the Greek Nomocanon. Its numerous rules on evidence were directly borrowed from Justinian’s Code and from the Ecloga. and also of the Court Law for the People. 176. Beliaev. Maksimeiko refers generally to the long chapter on “injuries” (De iniuriis et famosis libellis) in the Digest where the understanding of the slave as an object of ownership is one of the basic ideas. There is a rule in the Codex (4. It introduced the testimony of witnesses as a basic form of evidence in Russian law. quot et personae iniuriam facientes (“there are as many injuries as there are persons inflicting them”). 201 (173-176). 120 . 1) which provides that payment of what is due by one thief does not liberate the others. 10. Unlike Maksimeiko whose observations concerned only the RP.cit. guarantee. Other provisions taken over concerned the securing of claims. a number of provisions was taken over from the Court Law for the People (itself considered as Byzantine law on account of its content). D.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 105 than one person took part. Salogubova examined the possible traces of Roman law in a number of early Russian legal sources. 8. offences already defined in Roman sources (D. refers on this point to I. Maksimeiko connects the separate liability of each individual thief with Roman law.

where the traditional Russian alternative of blood-feud or compensation (wergeld) was replaced by capital punishment or.6 and 7). Sergeevich’s general argument is that the Greeks succeeded in maintaining the prevalence of Byzantine law in most questions.137 His first example is homicide. With regard to the treaty of 911 she points to its provisions reflecting an amended Roman system of evidence. Instead of identifying those places in the treaty which might illustrate her point. Ibidem.I. 3 and 13.139 The double or threefold penalty for theft was Greek. So far Salogubova. Sergeevich appears to agree with her. 652-654. 645-646. while Salogubova quotes from an unknown 1899 Moscow edition. Evaluation: We shall deal here only with those instances where Salogubova alleges direct influence of Roman law. Unlike Maksimeiko. My references are to the fourth edition of 1910. 655. These numbers differ from the usual numeration laid down by Zimin in PRP I. who usually cites chapter and verse. Sergeevich. in some cases compensation as an alternative (art.4). The question of Byzantine legal influences on early Russian law will be discussed below. 2 and 11. In his special study on the relationship between Greek and Russian law in the 10th century treaties. according to the usual system of numeration.136 Roman inheritance law was contained in the provision which for the first time in Russian law differentiated between intestate and testate succession.138 The provision dealing with the justifiable killing of a thief (art. Salogubova notes that the differences between the law as reflected by the treaty and contemporary Old-Russian law cannot be explained if one does not accept the influence of Roman-Greek law. judicial searches and testimony by witnesses began to appear in Russian law as means of evidence. the ordeal by fire was a Byzantine innovation. . 626-666. As to the 945 treaty. I suppose that the provisions the author had in mind were. and avers that from that moment on the judicial oath.6) appears to be a compromise between Greek law and the harsher Russian custom. Ibidem.140 The same goes for the institution of 136 137 138 139 140 Only in the 1997 paper does Salogubova refer to the provisions of the 911 treaty by numbers: 8. she refers to several pre-1917 authors of whom only V.106 Law in Medieval Russia and a distinction was made between two kinds of oath (exculpatory and supplementary). 9. Salogubova confines herself to sweeping statements and only identifies the RussianByzantine treaties of 911 and 945 as actual examples of direct Roman law influence. Lektsii. Also. The Greek Nomocanon in its Slavic variety (the Kormchaia) and the RP had equal validity. not Russian (arts. Ibidem.

The difference between Sergeevich and Salogubova is that the former evaluates the treaty rules with regard to the preponderance of Greek or Russian elements. 141 142 Ibidem. Salogubova goes a step further and argues that the Greek (or Roman) elements present in the treaties became part of Russian law from that moment. Ibidem. 4) is: Si intestato moritur. and not as a manual for all civil cases. There is not a shred of evidence for the latter position. The corresponding rule from the 911 treaty (art.9 and 11). As to Salogubova’s allegations about the ZSL. when other means of evidence were lacking. To propose (as Salogubova does) that the RP also borrowed directly from the Ecloga is completely unsubstantiated.” . that a genetic connection is very probable. Some authors (such as Tikhomirov) have occasionally argued that particular RP provisions were taken over from the ZSL. Also.142 Both legal systems made use of the oath as a procedural device. as exemplified by the Oldest Pravda. 659. then let them return his property to his closest kinsmen in Rus’. The presence of Byzantine and even Roman elements in the treaties does not say anything about their subsequent survival in Russian law. according to Sergeevich. There is a wealth of literature concerning the Byzantine-Russian treaties of the 10th century which is in full agreement that the treaties (and how could it be otherwise?) represent mixed compacts of Byzantine. 664. and if there be none of his [kinsmen] with him in Greece. The ZSL functioned primarily as a guide to church courts. Russian and ad hoc legal prescriptions.141 The rule about intestate succession (art. is a continuation of those few elements in the treaties which can without doubt be identified as traditionally Russian. This would have to be demonstrated and that is what Salogubova has failed to do. adgnatus proximus familiam habeto. To state simply that it was adopted as a law by Vladimir is completely untenable. it can easily be demonstrated that Old-Russian law. but in Old-Russian law the oath was intimately connected with the ordeal and both institutions had a sacral character.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 107 redeeming prisoners (of war) (arts. but it seems that nobody defends this position any longer. cui suus heres nec escit.13) is (in Kaiser’s translation): “If someone of them die. nobody has ever held that its rules on evidence were “directly borrowed” from the law of Justinian. The Roman rule (Tabula V. the oath in Byzantine law and in the treaties were purely secular institutions. it is quite uncertain when it first came to Russia. on the contrary.13) is so close in its wording to a corresponding provision of the Twelve Tables Law. not having created a testament for his property.

because corporal punishment was common in Byzantium and unknown in Russia. but lost later on.40 (art. op. in his pioneering study on the RP. Byzantine Law Byzantine law was much closer to Kievan Russia in time and place than classical Roman law and this may easily explain why both the parallels and possible borrowings. the Court Law for the People. and Vsevolod. 233-235. published by Tatishchev. see RP II. 30. as numerous authors have pointed out. and especially the Court Law for the People. Byzantine law does not equal Roman law. And.108 Law in Medieval Russia The statement that corporal punishment was widely applied in Russia and replaced by a system of fines under the influence of the Ecloga is incomprehensible. There is. but also inheritance law and certain parts of criminal law. I shall leave it at that. most of them from various Byzantine sources. the Procheiron. Iaroslav. the Rostovskii Copy has not been included in the Academy of Sciences edition. 18-19 and ch. and 40 of the Expanded Pravda (injuries sustained in a fight. one consideration of overwhelming importance which should be expressed at this point.21. and the authors suggesting these are much greater in number. Already in 1846 Kalachov. 60. it was precisely through the vehicle of the Greek church hierarchy that Byzantine law reached the newly converted Slavic populations of Eastern Europe. . the Ecloga. These are of particular importance in those branches of law in which the Christian church took an active interest. the “Chapters on Witnesses”. 1-2) and articles 29. also mentions the case of art. and the Church Statutes of the princes Vladimir. however. The other sources mentioned by Kalachov are mostly Byzantine or closely connected with Byzantine legislation. devoted an entire chapter to possible borrowings. were usually included in the various kormchie. especially the so-called Mosaic laws.cit. because—besides its numerous and wide-spread roots in the latter—it also embraces a vast corpus of rules and institutions of non-Roman and especially Christian origin.38 of the Short Pravda) as having been taken over from the Old Testament. References to Byzantine law made by later authors all return to these sources. of the RP (the Rostovskii Copy). Additionally.143 Biblical sources. it will therefore be convenient to discuss the suggested borrowings from Byzantine legislation by surveying these sources in chronological order.22.. Lektsii. They include the “Farmer’s Law” (Nomos Georgikos). and the killing of a thief caught red-handed). Sergeevich. 94. such as marriage and family law. The first examples he mentioned were the Old Testament precursors of several provisions of the Expanded Pravda: the book of Exodus (ch. Kalachov mentions a provision which only occurs in a single ms. 143 Kalachov.

E. 44. In the Obolenskii and Museum recensions of the Karamzin group. Ibidem. Leningrad. Medvedev (ed.145 and article 45 (43) with articles 46 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda (on the master’s liability for thefts committed by his serf). She refrains from suggesting any borrowing one way or another. According to Lipshits’ detailed study of the Russian translation of the Farmer’s Law as a component of the Knigi Zakonnye. In her commentary to the Russian translation of the law she mentions articles 12.). The possibility of its having influenced the Short Pravda is therefore very remote. 236-237. the latter compilation may very tentatively be dated in the 12th century. 31. 34 and 40 of the Short Pravda and articles 33. 32.148 Whether the text of the Farmer’s Law. 43. 41-42. 223-230. . I. could have been available in Russia before that time is even more problematic. in its Old-Russian translation or in its Greek original. 71-73 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda and parallel provisions in the Farmer’s Law. Kalachov’s first examples concern a few provisions which appear only in a few copies of the Expanded Pravda belonging to the Karamzin 144 145 146 147 148 According to the numbering of the provisions in Medvedev’s Russian edition of the Nomos Georgikos. 1984. any possibility of Russian borrowing from the Farmer’s Law has to be seen in this light. 257-260.146 In more recent times. but considering the greater age of the original Greek version of the Farmer’s Law it seems reasonable to interpret her approach as viewing the Farmer’s Law’s provisions as having served as a model for the RP. the first number refers to the original Greek text as reproduced in this edition. Moreover. only E. 46. The chronological framework presents another problem. Lipshits (among Russian authors) has concerned herself extensively with the relationships between the RP (both the Short and the Expanded Pravda) and the Farmer’s Law. Kalachov. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. the second number (in brackets) to the Russian translation as offered in the Knigi Zakonnye.P. Medvedev. he notes the similarity between the preambles of certain versions of the Byzantine law and of the RP.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 109 Nomos Georgikos Kalachov points to several parallel provisions in this law and the RP: articles 10 (9) and 67 (62)144 could be connected in his view with certain provisions on interest which appear in a few copies of the Expanded Pravda.147 Evaluation: As the Roman law ancestry of the Farmer’s Law can only be assumed for part of the latter law’s provisions.

refers to an almost completely different set of parallels between the Farmer’s Law (in its Russian version) and the RP. the thief will be thrashed. Article 41 (39) of the Farmer’s Law is devoted to theft of an ox or a donkey. not in the Greek texts. She notes the general likeness between articles 12 of the Short Pravda and 33 of the Expanded Pravda (‘joy-riding’. The preamble to the Ecloga represents a similar rhetorical exercise. . the provision of the Farmer’s Law is clearly of Roman law origin. Their evidentiary value for supporting the argument of Roman law influence on the Expanded Pravda is therefore zero. which is also found in the Merilo Pravednoe. Kalachov points to articles 46 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda. 144. have been inserted some time during the 15th century. as 149 150 Cf. Tikhomirov. With regard to article 45 of the Farmer’s Law (a slave killing cattle— the owner pays up). It has now been established beyond any doubt that these provisions. but related rules can also be found in completely different legislations. Lipshits. a horse only) and article 36 (34) of the Farmer’s Law (using other people’s domestic animals without permission). such as those of the Babylonians and the Hittites. Issledovanie. which are absent in the vast majority of other (and older) copies. pays twice the value of the animal. 178-180. This subject was of course extensively regulated and commented upon in classical Roman law. The preamble which immediately precedes the Farmer’s Law is explicitly identified as the preamble to the entire Knigi Zakonnye and appears only in the Russian.149 Moreover. the similarity between the provisions concerned of the Farmer’s Law and the Expanded Pravda is far from obvious. who frequently quotes Kalachov and is very familiar with his work.150 The preambles contain exhortations on judicial ethics and are based on biblical prescriptions and especially on the writings of early Christian saints. Its source is most likely a short text entitled “The word of the great Saint Basil on judges and slander”.110 Law in Medieval Russia group. These provisions concern theft by a slave. The preamble is absent in the vast majority of Expanded Pravda copies and is the result of a comparatively late insertion in the so-called Pushkin Copy and the five copies of the Archeographic recension. The similarity between the preambles concerns only a few copies of the Expanded Pravda. and are among a considerable number of provisions defining noxal liability of the owner of the slave. This question has been discussed above already. as can be expected in a law code of a slave-owning society. Ibidem. The similarity which Kalachov perceives is very vague. but is not connected with the RP provisions (as argued above).

Ecloga Article 12 Title 17 of the Ecloga regulates theft committed by a slave. and this would naturally apply to all participants. The same conclusion has to be made about the suggested parallel between articles 1-2 of the Farmer’s Law and article 34 of the Short Pravda and articles 71-73 of the Expanded Pravda. 71-72 (69-70)).45-47 (43-45). 243. Pravda) is meant. Lipshits connects article 43 of the Expanded Pravda (theft of grain from a storage place. Lipshits points to articles 31 and 40 of the Short Pravda and the corresponding articles 41 and 42 of the Expanded Pravda. of grain from storage places). This. The Russian law only indicates a monetary sanction and therefore the legislator made sure to indicate that every individual participant would have to pay up in full. however. 61 (58) and 68 (63) of the Farmer’s Law (theft of grain from the fields. is only concerned with the question of the competent court. Parallels offered by Lipshits are article 32 of the Short Pravda and article 83 of the Expanded Pravda. plus (only in the Russian version) marking the arsonist’s hand by fire. Article 46 of the Expanded Pravda.40 of the Ecloga. is very close to the original Greek provision of the Farmer’s Law. Kalachov. both in the definitions and in the penalties to be applied. The Farmer’s Law. and the responsibility of each individual participant in the theft) with articles 60 (57). I suppose this is a printing error and 46 (=46 Exp. The similarity again is remote.151 The usual double-value penalty applies. Pravda). Again. however. The situation discussed in article 121 of the Expanded Pravda does not correspond with any provision of the Farmer’s Law (although closer parallels may be found in other Byzantine/Roman sources).Roman Law in Medieval Russia 111 well as any profits that accrued to him. something the Farmer’s Law does not envisage. The contents and the legislative context of the Russian rules are so different that the only remaining similarity is that all provisions concerned deal with theft of domestic animals. All of these provisions concern the violation of borders between fields. in accordance with its general tenor. Kalachov makes the connection with articles 63152 and 121. A number of provisions in the Farmer’s Law deal with thefts committed. of fruit from orchards. prescribes various forms of physical punishment. the similarity is remote. The Ecloga 151 152 Title 17 art. but there the similarity stops. Lipshits refers to articles 46 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda. appears to be the only close parallel between the Farmer’s Law and the Ecloga. or damage caused by a slave (arts. 47 in Kalachov’s numeration (=63 Exp. . Damaging someone else’s forest through arson or by cutting trees is the subject of article 57 (55) of the Farmer’s Law. Finally. incidentally.

not the general rule of article 46. but he need not give up the [slave’s] wife or children. . As examples he mentions the rules about using another person’s horse without the latter’s permission and about the value of testimony given by slaves or serfs. remarks that certain provisions of the Expanded Pravda on inheritance and guardianship are very similar to Ecloga provisions. Sergeevich.1. then [the slave’s] lord is to redeem him or give him up together with him with whom he stole. in Kaiser’s translation). Lektsii. “If the owner of a slave who has committed theft wants to keep his slave. Lektsii. then [the lord] may either give them all up. They were only aware of judicial practice that was based on it. 94. then [they are to pay] the prince a fine. or redeem them. let him hand him over in full ownership to him who suffered the theft. D’iakonov. Vol.112 Law in Medieval Russia also forbids slaves to testify against their masters (Title 14 art. The two provisions follow (first the one from the Ecloga.” “If a slave steals from someone. 104-105). if those who stole and hid [the stolen goods] with him be free [men]. Ocherki. but if they will have stolen and hidden what they have stolen together with the slave. then the Russian provision.90.155 Kliuchevskii’s view was similar. Sergeevich regarded the Ecloga as the principal source of Byzantine influence. Sergeevich.157 Article 121 is the last provision of the Expanded Pravda and 153 154 155 156 157 Kalachov. 49. 243. In similar vein. Kliuchevskii. 92-94. 50. 99-102. let him compensate what has been stolen. 1-5 and other sources which deal with the so-called noxal actions. Sergeevich returns more extensively to this matter. 94. If he does not want to receive his slave [back]. the general provision dealing with theft by a slave. In his chapter on inheritance law. See Inst. 210-211. Its parallel in the Expanded Pravda is article 121. D’iakonov.” The option for the slave’s master to pay up or hand over the slave in case of theft or other injuries caused by the slave is well-known in Roman law. but stressed that the Russian courts did not have direct access to it.154 He discerned Byzantine influence especially in the provisions of the Expanded Pravda which dealt with inheritance law (arts.5). Ocherki. The Ecloga provision Kalachov has in mind is Title 17 article 12. 4. the Expanded Pravda contains a general prohibition for kholopy to appear as witnesses. 8.153 As already outlined above.156 Evaluation: Presumably the reference is not to article 63 of the Expanded Pravda (slave stealing horse). inspired to some extent by the Byzantine provisions. but to article 46. he held that the author of the RP was aware of the situations regulated by the Ecloga (and the Procheiron) and then provided his own solutions.

if necessary. In the second half of the Expanded Pravda. offers a curious feature which. And in a suit [over] a small [sum] refer to [the testimony of an] indentured labourer. then. Would it have been a one-off legislative attempt by a Kievan prince. the so-called Statute of Monomakh. It is in the first part of the Expanded Pravda. in the 944 treaty this was replaced by a double-value fine. This was a typical Roman law institution and it appears as a corpus alienum in the Russian law. esp. refer to [the testimony] of a boyar’s overseer. The rule is not (as Kalachov avers): “A slave does not testify. 1 and 6) demonstrates a general aversion against the testimony of witnesses. the Ecloga. there is a clearly discernible block of provisions devoted to 158 Whether this rule has actual Roman law roots seems quite uncertain. Kalachov’s reading of the provisions concerned is imprecise. in any case after the rule of Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125). XIV. The double-value fine has disappeared in later legislation. without forbidding testimony by slaves outright. suggested by his Greek bishop. as has been demonstrated above. especially when the social position of the witness is inferior.” Three different legal systems (Justinian.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 113 probably belongs to its most recent layer. . has escaped the attention of the numerous scholars who have concerned themselves with the question of Roman law influence in early Russian law. but is absent in the second part of the Short Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav’s sons). Among the considerable number of Expanded Pravda provisions which in one way or another deal with theft.” But: “Neither against or for his master does the slave testify. Article 46 of the Expanded Pravda. especially in the Statute of Monomakh (the second main component of the Expanded Pravda). But even at such a relatively late date. so it could tentatively be dated in the last decades of the 11th century. and the Expanded Pravda) each attempt to cope in their own way with the problem of the slave’s testimony. the availability of the appropriate Byzantine texts (Ecloga or Procheiron) is unlikely. referred to above (on thefts by slaves in general). and possibly as late as the end of the 12th century. none of them exclude it outright. but if there be no free man [to testify]. and subsequently abandoned because it did not agree with Russian tradition? As mentioned earlier.” (Ecloga. to the best of my knowledge. As to the question of testimony given by slaves or unfree persons. The chapter on witnesses in Justinian’s Novellae (90. the 911 treaty between the Russians and the Greeks included the threefold fine for theft. but do not rely upon other [slaves]. 5)158 According to article 66 of the Expanded Pravda in Kaiser’s translation: “[Free men] do not rely on the testimony of a slave. article 46 is the only one which sets a double-value fine.

as reflected by the Ecloga. an authoritative scholar such as Zimin in Pravda Russkaia. The basic provision of the ‘inheritance block’ is article 90. esp. who presents plausible arguments for such a view. in Kaiser’s translation: “If a peasant dies. and that the whole estate passes to the fiscus if he also does not have a wife. Sergeevich asserts “Greek-Roman” influence. It is worth repeating that Sergeevich does not claim that the authors of the corresponding sections of the Expanded Pravda consulted the Ecloga (it is generally agreed that around the time of the compilation of the Expanded Pravda the text of the Ecloga. Lektsii.88-106). with cases of inheritance law. The question has been extensively discussed in Russian literature and nobody appears to agree with Sergeevich. 609. as a rule. Baranowski offers an extensive summary of the discussion and has added his own reasoned refutation of Sergeevich in this matter. esp. because they concern the bulk of the population.96 and 97 have no connection at all with inheritance law and must have been inserted at this place at some later moment.162 The similarity is obviously remote.161 The chief Byzantine source considered in this connection is always the Ecloga. which states that half the estate of a person who does not have relatives as heirs passes to his wife. A few other pre-1917 authors (such as Nevolin) have expressed themselves more briefly. See. Sergeevich connects it with Ecloga VI 6. art. but that a general knowledge of Byzantine inheritance law. Most authors agree on considering Vladimir Monomakh as the source of this section. and certainly not its Old-Russian translation. but in similar vein as Sergeevich.90.88 and 89 concern the general status of women and unfree persons and can be considered as connected with inheritance law. but only when they are “at home”. Sergeevich. Byzantine law would then have reached the Expanded Pravda through a kind of osmotic process. Arts. 556.114 Law in Medieval Russia inheritance law (arts. the 159 160 161 162 163 Arts. but leaves daughters. 232-234. the first one. . It consists of two separate rules. Baranowski. then his estate [escheats] to the prince. were available). and the other half to the fiscus.” Commentators agree that the rule refers only to the case that the peasant dies without sons.163 The second sentence of article 90 concerns the case when the peasant dies without sons. could have been present in the ecclesiastical courts which would deal. They then receive a certain portion.159 Sergeevich has been the chief advocate160 in arguing the Byzantine origin of at least part of the contents of this section of the Statute of Monomakh. The rules of article 90 can be regarded as basic in this section of the Expanded Pravda. for instance. 604-616. not when they are married. so I shall just refer to him here. see the summaries of their views in RP II and in Baranowski under the provisions concerned. but does not indicate a source.

This can also hardly be considered a confirmation of the Ecloga principle. Nevolin (R II. A second marriage of a widowed father was a common occurrence and any treatment of inheritance law that was more than summary would deal with the question. The only reason Sergeevich mentions art. then squanders [her late husband’s] property. then the children of the first wife take their mother’s share.6 (that the surviving spouse retains possession and management of the deceased spouse’s estate). Only article 101 is fully compatible with the argument of Sergeevich: “If a woman promises to remain a widow after her husband’s death. The fact that the Expanded Pravda which contains almost an entire ‘chapter’ on inheritance deals with the subject is by itself no indication that the rule was taken over from Byzantine law. that Nevolin obviously thought of Ecloga II 7. but does not indicate which provision. 646) notes that art. As precisely this provision is the only one to support Sergeevich’s theory. then the mother is allowed to stay and enjoy the share the husband left her.” (Kaiser’s translation.165 The text of article 102 also does not support Sergeevich’s allegation.91) discusses the inheritance of the sons and daughters of boyars. Baranowski observes (630). I fail to see any close parallel between the two provisions. the dependent peasants. but not the case covered by article 101 of the Expanded Pravda. Article 93 does not confirm this principle but only provides that the widow is entitled to what her husband has specially assigned to her.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 115 smerdy. Article 94 regulates the fate of the estate in case of a subsequent marriage of the widowed father.) However. The lengthy Ecloga provision describes various situations covered by this principle in detail. .164 Articles 93-94 and 101-102 are mentioned together by Sergeevich as reflecting the principle from the Ecloga (II 6) that after the death of one of the spouses the estate was not divided amongst the children but remained in the hands of (under the management and in the possession of) the surviving spouse. This rule is apparently not derived from older Roman law. correctly I believe. it concerns the case that (adult) children do not wish to stay with their mother in the family residence (dvor).92 of the Expanded Pravda as an example of Byzantine (Ecloga) influence is the fact that the rule of art. it only conforms to the principle underlying Ecloga II. Article 104 is devoted to the mirror image of article 94: what happens in case a widow remarries and has children from the second marriage? Sergeevich only mentions it as evidence of Byzantine influence because 164 165 Sergeevich. the argument becomes very feeble.94 is close in content and wording to a parallel provision in the Ecloga. she is to repay her children [the property she lost].92 does not distinguish between sons and daughters as beneficiaries of their father’s will. The next provision (art. which also deals with the case of the remarriage of the widower and the first wife’s estate. 554.

From the Short Pravda he mentioned articles 12 and 38 (unauthorized use of another person’s horse and the killing of a thief during the night). 1959. also in some of the Concordance copies (and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) and in some of the Karamzin group copies.168 D’iakonov’s views have already been referred to above: he considered the ZSL the most important conduit for Byzantine influence.166 the provision on bezchestie (dishonour. Article 105 is only mentioned in passing by Sergeevich as reflecting the principle of equality of sons and daughters. agrees with Kalachov and simply refers to the latter’s argumentation. 112. 58-59. mentions the same provision. The rule simply provides that the children of the first marriage inherit their father’s estate and those from the second husband the latter’s estate. The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi Liudem. Issledovanie.18) as having been borrowed from the so-called Expanded Version of the ZSL. which is almost identical in the so-called Concordance version of the ZSL (and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) and in article 18 of the Short Pravda.1. The evidentiary force of this totally obvious arrangement is zero. Tikhomirov is the one who has been most involved in comparative studies of the ZSL and the RP. Kalachov mentions the following provisions: on damaging arms. 49. he stated explicitly that the situation was actually 166 167 168 169 170 Kalachov. D’iakonov. Tikhomirov. he referred to the rules in the Short Pravda on the unauthorized use of another person’s horse (art.170 But twenty years later (in 1961) in his study on the Expanded ZSL. 211. as being connected with the ZSL. 247. Ibidem. In his main work on the RP. Pravno-istoricheski i pravno-analitichni prouchvaniia. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. V. he does not return to it in his discussion of inheritance law.167 and the provision o stoge (haystack).12) and the damaging of another’s weapons or clothing (art. Ocherki. ZSL) is the most frequently quoted foreign source for the RP. in the fundamental Bulgarian study on the ZSL.169 Among the Soviet authors. the same rule also appears in a few copies of the Pushkin group of the Expanded Pravda. Vol. Sofia. Kalachov. adding that there were probably many more borrowings in the Expanded Pravda. Kliuchevskii. Ganev. insults) in some of the Concordance copies and in some of the Karamzin group copies of the Expanded Pravda. 247. .116 Law in Medieval Russia the provision does not distinguish between sons and daughters.

26. Prostrannoi i Svodnoi redaktsii. In the Academy of Sciences edition of the RP. 175 It has briefly been discussed above in connection with Maksimeiko’s claim that the rule is inspired by the Lex Aquilia..cit. Tikhomirov.172 This version is reliably dated in the beginning of the 15th century. nor the Expanded ZSL. they are inserted at the end of the Expanded Pravda manuscript as an appendix.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 117 the other way around and that the RP was the lender and the ZSL the borrower. op. 222. In some copies. 296. 325. is that they are unquestionably of comparatively late origin.N. and that their origin in any case is not—as it is for most other provisions of the ZSL—in the Ecloga or any other Byzantine source. Zakon Sudnyi liudem. RP I. Tikhomirov. seemingly appended to some copies of the Expanded Pravda.173 The Expanded Pravda itself is of a much earlier date. it is suggested that the editor or editors of these collections have tried to streamline the regulative material of the two sources. . In these copies. In view of the far greater age of the Short Pravda. 77-78.174 What can be said here without an exhaustive enquiry into the origins of these so-called Russian articles (russkie stati) from the ZSL. 1961.171 Evaluation: Kalachov’s references are all to provisions which appear only in the Concordance version of the ZSL. Moskva. See Tikhomirov. Article 18 of the Short Pravda and the ZSL provision (found in the Concordance version and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) concerning the damaging of arms or clothing represent a special story. as compared with the Expanded and Concordance versions of the ZSL (note that the provision is lacking in 171 172 173 174 M. but significantly different in the Short Pravda. also points out this incongruity. The convoys of which these copies form part all include the ZSL. however. without offering much explanation for this conversion. is absent in most copies of the Expanded Pravda and included only in the Pushkin and Karamzin groups of copies (in the latter as part of the ‘Russian articles’).cit. Baranowski. in most copies of the Pushkin and Karamzin groups of Expanded Pravda manuscripts. the texts of the RP and the ZSL have been mixed up. Kalachov’s parallels concerning insults and the haystack are found. that they belong to the original cores of neither the Expanded Pravda. op. The provisions on the destruction of arms or clothing and on the haystack are also included in the so-called Archeographic Copy of the Expanded ZSL..175 The rule appears in the Short Pravda. 21. The wording of the provision in the various texts of the Expanded Pravda and the ZSL is almost identical.

by replacing it by topor he found an acceptable escape out of his dilemma. as referred to above. This also seems to be the view of Baranowski in his recent commentary to the RP. Tikhomirov later retracted this view.118 Law in Medieval Russia the older Short ZSL).178 Evaluation: Article 21 of the Short Pravda (concerning the killing of the prince’s steward) is obviously not connected with Procheiron 39. and that port was a scribe’s error. 244-245. Even if the chronology would allow it. 3. Articles 38 of the Short Pravda and its counterpart in the Expanded 176 177 178 A not unimportant element in the discussion concerning these provisions is the term port (clothing) in art. Kalachov. 248.cit. The speculation is indeed unwarranted and. op. before the actual text of the ZSL reached Kiev. this remains unpunished. Tikhomirov (Issledovanie. who also points to the chronological impossibility of the Short Pravda borrowing from the ZSL. As mentioned. 313. A very similar rule may already be found in Exodus XXII. he speculated that elements of the ZSL were already available in Kievan Rus’ at a very early moment. additionally the same provision from the Rostovskii Copy is mentioned. 120 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda. and not the other way around. Baranowski. it is improbable that a scribe would change a perfectly understandable word (topor) which was more or less what could be expected after lance and shield. Baranowski observes correctly that the rule is found in the most diverse legal systems. borrowing from the Expanded ZSL would therefore be less likely than from the Old Testament. by something quite different. . In his older writings. Article 38 concerns the killing of a thief during a night-time break-in.177 Procheiron Two provisions from the Procheiron are suggested by Kalachov as paralleling similar provisions of the RP: Procheiron 39. If he is captured. The Expanded ZSL has a parallel provision..18 Short Pravda against topor (axe) in the other texts. but its wording differs significantly. and Procheiron 39.176 As to the suggestions of D’iakonov. moreover. the Short Pravda must be regarded as the original source. he must be handed over to the prince’s court the next day and may not be killed. 3 (on killing a burglar during night-time) and articles 21 and 38 of the Short Pravda and article 40 of the Expanded Pravda. 1.12 Short Pravda) has been extensively discussed above in connection with the views of Maksimeiko. 55 (on the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) and articles 63. 58-59) argued that “axe” followed logically after “lance” and “shield”. It is of course much more likely that the expression port in the sense of clothing did not quite make sense to a scribe who was working on the text a few centuries later. the Short Pravda had borrowed accordingly from the ZSL. the case of riding another person’s horse without the latter’s permission (art.

40) come closer. and the identical or similar provisions of the Expanded Pravda therefore too. Article 29 of the Expanded Pravda offers a more elaborate version of the rule. 179 Kalachov. Together with the provision on the “bloodied man” the following two provisions of the Expanded Pravda (arts. 2. The distinction between nocturnal and daytime killing of a thief is also made in classical Roman law. The texts concerned may be found in RP II. the latter text is of predominantly Byzantine origin and based mainly on the Procheiron and the Ecloga. he may either reimburse the victim or hand over the slave. 262-263. Kalachov does not present any Byzantine parallels. according to Kalachov. the RP text is immediately preceded by a few provisions “On Witnesses” and “On the Bloodied man”. The wording of the Expanded Pravda provisions bears little similarity to the corresponding rules of the Procheiron. according to a statement by Gaius who quotes the Twelve Tables law (D. discussed above. 30 and 31 of the Expanded Pravda. As to the “bloodied man” (krovavyi muzh). The contents of the Russian provisions are still quite different from the short Procheiron provision.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 119 Pravda (art. . as they also concern the excusable killing of a night-time burglar. The second case (the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) has already been discussed above. they are in fact much closer to Exodus 22. Chapter on Witnesses (This text has nothing to do with the text “On Witnesses” included in the Knigi Zakonnye. which also explicitly indicates that if the thief is apprehended after sunrise.179 The text of the provisions is very similar or identical to articles 66.30). 29. he first appears in the Short Pravda (art. 248-251. The biblical rule still appears to be closest to the RP provisions and may very well be their source. With regard to article 66 Kalachov refers to the Byzantine rule “A slave cannot testify”. 9. 1.30 and 31) are presented by Kalachov in the same argument: they appear together in a separate cluster in kormchaia collections in a context which consists predominantly of Byzantine texts—so they are probably also of Byzantine origin. In such cases. This question has already been discussed above in the section on the Ecloga. he may not be killed. These provisions are based. 231. 4).) In a number of copies of Expanded Pravda manuscripts (of the Rozenkampf and Ferapontov recensions). the main point of the rule is that a man who is bloodied and bruised does not have to produce an eyewitness of the fight he had been in. on various Byzantine sources.

The latter text was frequently included in the kormchaia. but for traces of Roman or Byzantine influences. dating from the period immediately following the conversion of Russia. the original legislation on witnesses was also added. 389-411. as well as numerous other papers. Vladimir. Considering that they themselves belong to the principal sources of early Russian law. provided the church (which at that time was not yet a significant landowner) with the necessary income to carry out its work. incorporated during the final editorial process of the Expanded Pravda. This was done by granting the church tithes from all princely 180 181 The church statute of Vsevolod is only mentioned in passing in Kalachov’s text. Of course. It is based anyway on the church statute of Vladimir. Iaroslav and Vsevolod are discussed by Kalachov as possible sources of the RP. not as sources of the RP.181 Shchapov demonstrated convincingly that the original nuclear text of Vladimir’s statute.120 Law in Medieval Russia Evaluation: The argument is upside-down. 1972.. A Byzantine origin is therefore very improbable.). Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv. M. Sakharov (ed. and Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. A full bibliography of Shchapov’s works in A.. They were studied more extensively during the 20th century and this work culminated in several studies by Ia. this still leaves the problem of why a few provisions from the RP have been included almost verbatim (and superfluously) in the kormchaia collections. but. survived in numerous copies from different times. Moskva. 1976. by some editorial oversight. 2005.N. Church Statutes The three church statutes of. while incorporating it at the same time into the state’s governmental structure. Moskva.N. Shchapov. Ot Drevnei Rusi k novoi Rossii [Shchapov Festschrift]. Evaluation: The church statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav—unlike the RP which was lost for many centuries and then rediscovered—defining the fundamental relationships between the Russian church and the state. respectively. together with many others (including also the Short Pravda). they must first be investigated in the context of this paper. in almost all cases even just before the text of the RP itself..180 They are mentioned here for the sake of completeness. All provisions concerned have their roots in the Short Pravda. supposedly. A possible explanation would be that they originally constituted a separate enactment of an early Kievan prince and that this enactment was subsequently. . while on the other hand no Byzantine parallels have been produced.

the Knigi Zakonnye.. as in the Byzantine world. the ZSL. to which the church statutes added a list of new offences reflecting behaviour rejected by the new religious doctrine. theft. the Ecloga. These matters concerned primarily marriage and sexual morality. although generally similar situations are dealt with in the Procheiron.). but also sorcery and other pagan survivals and inheritance disputes. Presniakov. Kniazheskie ustavy. and dealt with. the latter in particular. Many authors have noted that the RP and the church statutes complement each other in that there is hardly any overlap. the list of offences was further elaborated in Iaroslav’s statute which (in its nuclear form) constituted a kind of penal code devoted mainly to offences against sexual morality. Moskva. differed from the more comprehensive West-European tithe. Half a century later. if necessary. the basic ideas underlying the church statutes were of Byzantine origin. although the general idea of assigning the church an important role in the administration of justice is of course of Byzantine origin. have equally been derived from Byzantine examples. and other Byzantine or Byzantineinspired sources. but the church was incorporated to a great extent into the texture of the state’s institutions. inspired by the new Christian teaching. Obviously.E. has drawn attention to the fact that the Old-Russian tithe. The system introduced by these statutes represented a fundamental reform of Russian law. a few other offences harmful or objectionable to the church were added. Lektsii po russkoi istorii.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 121 income182 and jurisdiction in certain matters violating the new Christian moral precepts. the oldest core of the RP consisted of customary law. This core dealt mainly with a traditional range of offences (violence against persons. Shchapov. payable only by the state (the prince). but they received a peculiarly Russian twist: church and state did not co-exist as two more or less equivalent powers. 115ff. but also lay people attached to the church) were removed from secular jurisdiction and placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop (metropolitan). . 250. This explains why no direct textual borrowings from Byzantine sources have been identified in the church statutes. Vol. because nothing like it had existed before.183 182 183 A. etc. Moreover. Kievskaia Rus’.I. through extra-legal procedures in pre-Christian times. 1938. people connected to the church (clerics. in exchange for its loss of independence it received important judicial powers. insults. the contents of the statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav. which then was subsequently replaced and eased out by princely legislation. Shchapov has pointed out that none of the descriptions of sexual offences in the statute of Iaroslav can be connected to a particular Byzantine example.

The treaties of 911 and 944 do refer a few times to the applicability of “Russian custom” (this is probably the best equivalent of zakon russkii).184 Sergeevich presents a credible argument for the viewpoint that in fact the Greeks were successful in securing the dominance of Greek law. The similarity between the two arson provisions is somewhat closer. major Byzantine legal texts. Sergeevich indicated a number of crucial instances where Greek law appeared to prevail: capital punishment for homicide.122 Law in Medieval Russia To return to Kalachov’s observation concerning the similarity between articles 2 and 31 of Iaroslav’s statute (concerning rape and calling a woman a whore) and the provision on sexual insults (bezchestie) in a number of copies of the Karamzin group of the Expanded Pravda. Their origin is not yet quite clear. the right to inherit of distant relatives in the absence of close relatives. in particular the Procheiron. Moreover. inasmuch as they both deal (among other things) with setting fire to a barn (gumno). Sergeevich. the similarity between the provisions is only very general. instead of the traditional Russian blood feud. 639-666. became accessible in Russia through Russian translations after the arrival of the Serbian kormchaia and the emergence of the so-called Russian redaction of the kormchaia in the last quarter of the 13th century. . and between article 49 of the same statute (arson) and article 83 of the Expanded Pravda: The provision on bezchestie is part of the so-called ‘Russian articles’. Later Developments As has been noted above. The provision in the statute of Iaroslav represents a later addition (according to Shchapov’s view on the archetype of the statute) and could therefore very well have been taken over from the older provision in the Expanded Pravda. and this has been gratefully picked up by many authors as the earliest written reference to Old-Russian law. 184 Sergeevich. They constitute a comparatively late addition to certain manuscripts of the RP. in that they deal with related subjects. the double or threefold penalty for theft. etc. 8. the Greek (Byzantine) elements in the treaties do not reappear in later Russian legal sources and apparently had no further effect on the development of Russian law. Lektsii. However. for instance. but as referred to above in the discussion of the views of Salogubova. Treaties With Byzantium These are not mentioned by Kalachov. they form part of the debate. points to several provisions which must be considered as originating in Byzantine law. which have been discussed above.

438-457. See. they could exert their influence over a very long period. Alekseev. “Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota i kompiliatsiia «Knigi Zakonnye»”. 167-172. 2002. Avtokratov.G. In this period. The most important legislative milestone between the RP and the legal code (Ulozhenie) of the Moscow grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich (Ivan III) of 1497 was the Judicial Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota).P. as were older texts from the preceding three centuries. See. Greek experts were not needed. Arkhivy II. 107-110.187 The Code of Ivan III of 1497 marks the definitive end of the Kievan period of Russian legal history.K. from the 13th to the 16th century. where it was subsequently included. Russia—broken up into separate principalities. Once they had arrived. also. it is important to stress that Byzantine influence was not a matter of continuous interaction. also. 331. The oldest part of the Pskov Charter. . Tekst. A.G. Pskov. op. by the exchange of personnel and/or texts. In surveying developments in Russian legal history in the post-Kievan period.N. 1997 (not available to me). E. as opinions on its date of origin differ widely. but the result of the availability of a very small number of translated Greek texts. 282-285 (by A. also (Russian text and English translation) in Kaiser. but still united under a single metropolitan—was slowly recovering from the devastation caused by the Mongol conquest of most of the country. Kommentarii. The Byzantine texts concerned are the Ecloga and the Farmer’s Law (and other texts from the Knigi Zakonnye). Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota. 25ff. commentary by V. Rossiiskoe gosudarstvo v XIV-XVII vv. they would have been included in kormchie and other collections of legal texts.186 Another legislative text which bears clear traces of Byzantine influence is the “Metropolitan’s Justice” (Pravosudie Metropolich’e). S. Laws. If they had.cit. Alekseev. Piotrovskaia. a Slavonic translation of the Ecloga will also have reached Russia. Alekseev). 321-331 (by Iu.185 Several commentators have noticed that there are minor. a short and somewhat enigmatic text. [Iu. but clear. Byzantium had succumbed to the onslaught of the Turks and had exited from the political stage. traces of Byzantine influence in a small number of provisions of the Pskov Charter. is probably from 1397. Zimin) and Rossiiskoe Zakonodatel’stvo I. which consists of several chronological layers. Cherepnin. Issledovanie. which implied the disappearance of the Byzantine legal system as a living entity. By this time. Alekseev Collection].Roman Law in Medieval Russia 123 At about the same time or somewhat later. together with the Procheiron translation.A. in the text of the Merilo Pravednoe. the introductions to the Pskov Charter text in PRP II. if we follow Alekseev on this point.).Peterburg.G. 185 186 187 The most recent comprehensive study of the Pskov Charter is Iu. Pavlov (ed. Text in PRP III. 429-432. No major legislative monuments from the 14th century have survived or have in fact existed.

).E. commentary (by A. which in turn was the basis for the new codification which was gradually embarked upon in the Russian Empire.191 To return to a point made in the beginning of this section. Froianov (ed. commentary (by S. The entire volume of PRP VI is devoted to text and commentary of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie. English translation by R. Ivan’s library contained manuscript copies of the Corpus Iuris and other Roman law texts according to a protestant minister from Livonia who was allowed access.190 Interestingly. the recognition. Soloviev. Sudebnik Ivana III. Irvine. S. 346-374. as it was adopted in consultation with the Church Council and with the boyars and other nobles. Stanovlenie samoderzhavnogo gosudarstva na Rusi.192 The Sobornoe Ulozhenie remained officially in force until the October Revolution and was the starting-point for the Full Collection of Laws (Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov). “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”.V. The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649. Aleksei Mikhailovich.188 The Code confines itself anyway mainly to topics concerning criminal law and procedure. in 1649. Novitskaia in RZ II. 188 189 190 On the Code of 1497 generally: I. 1988. 248. effected in the middle of the 19th century under the direction of M. The library was lost in a fire when the Poles occupied Moscow in 1612.189 Many provisions of the Stoglav are derived from different kormchie and in this way Byzantine law could penetrate. The Code of 1550 was accompanied by a comprehensive text embodying church law. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung. 62-97. 374-413. 242-500.I. Medieval Russian law ended and modern Russian law made a beginning when a new comprehensive code of law was enacted by the second Romanov tsar. the era of Ivan IV (Groznyi) was characterized (among other things) by increased contacts with Western Europe. Speranskii. Shtamm). Text of the Code in PRP III. Hellie.Ia. Also in RZ III. mentioned below. at 464. Band 76 (1959).G. 75-443 and in the volume edited by A. CA. of Byzantine law reached its climax long after Byzantium had become the capital of the Turkish empire. A. if not the impact. . Romanische Abteilung. RZ II. 191 192 Ibidem. nobody has claimed the presence of Byzantine or Roman elements.124 Law in Medieval Russia In the extensive literature on the Code of 1497.G. Part 1: Text and Translation. the Sobornoe Ulozhenie (the Council Enactment or Code).Peterburg. phrased in the form of answers to 100 questions posed by tsar Ivan IV and known accordingly as the “Hundred Chapters” or Stoglav of 1551. the Codes of 1550 and 1589 and the so-called Combined Code (Svodnyi Sudebnik) of 1606/1607. 432-479. 54-62. Man’kov. Poliak). Text with comments by T. 2004. The same goes for its successors in the following century.

193 Later authors reduced this number very considerably.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 125 In its Preamble. this included certain sections of secular law.). Tiktin. Man’kov. Odessa. According to the most recent and reliable studies. such influence is also extremely unlikely if one considers the conditions of early Christian Russia. . Small and relatively unimportant parts of the Ecloga and the Procheiron were included in 193 194 N. A. and some indeed deny or disregard the Byzantine element completely. Virtually the only contacts at a more intellectual level between Russia and the Christian world were in the presence of a small number of Greek clergy. more than 100 places were identified. Ulozhenie 1649 goda. without the Byzantine intermediary. Vizantiiskoe pravo kak istochnik Ulozheniia 1649. so whatever elements of Roman law would have been present would at least have to pass through this filter. a term which usually referred to the Procheiron and the Ecloga) of the Greek emperors were among the sources consulted and utilized. Leningrad.G. Kommentarii. Ecloga. defined in article 46 Expanded Pravda. Tekst.A. 18-19. A different picture emerges when Byzantine law from the great legislative era of the 8th and 9th centuries is considered (Nomos Georgikos. regards the Lithuanian Statute of 1588 as the principal source of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie.194 With Peter the Great. as explained above. (ed. Some of these will have had a knowledge of Byzantine canon law and.I. Moreover. Cf. K. In a special study by Tiktin. The only example we have come across in our investigation and which might possibly qualify in this respect is the double-value fine in one particular instant of theft. Leningrad. Conclusions The most convenient way to start the conclusions is by pointing out that the claims for direct Roman law influence on early Russian law cannot in any individual case be corroborated. 1980. This knowledge was based exclusively on Greek-language sources. Russia opened itself up to Western Europe and this implied that the knowledge of Roman law and of legal institutions based upon it could reach Russia directly. the presence of a Slavonic translation of the Procheiron is at least certain with the arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia in Russia in 1273. 9. This process accelerated in the 19th century and constitutes an on-going story. The double-value fine is well known in Roman law and otherwise unknown in Russian law. 1891. in his introduction to the text of the Code in PRP VI. Sofronenko regards the words in the Preamble about the “laws of the Greek emperors” as sheer window-dressing in order to enhance the status of the Code. Kodeks feodal’nogo prava Rossii. the Code of 1649 stated unequivocally that the “city laws” (gradskie zakony. 12. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. and Procheiron). Opinions differ as to the exact size of the element borrowed from Byzantine law. 1987.

not at all impossible that Slavonic translations of the Ecloga and Procheiron had already reached Russia in the course of the 12th century. this implied that the legal rules concerned usually had their roots. but which also includes a ‘Law on Penalties’. the subject matter of this influence consisted mainly of questions in which the church had a special interest because of their connection with the church’s teaching. not only the Roman. a brief penal code in which offences against sexual morality predominate. although incidental incursions may have occurred as early as the 11th century. as several Russian and Soviet legal historians have pointed out. as evidenced by the Charter of Pskov in the later middle ages. This trend continued for a long time. It is. for instance. apart from the quite considerable swathe effectively under the control of church jurisdiction. without any clearly identifiable borrowings. In the purely secular law of early Russia. appeared to be more in tune with the social needs of medieval Russian society. almost nothing is know about the fate or impact of this document. full-scale influence of Byzantine canon law through the church courts only started late in the 13th century. of course. in particular ecclesiastical jurisdiction. A third known channel is the collection known as Knigi Zakonnye. It has been noted that the Church Statute of Iaroslav. is that traditional Russian law. seems to be close in spirit to. based primarily on the criminal law parts of the Ecloga (Title 17) and the Procheiron (Title 39). Title 17 of the Ecloga. as it kept developing independently. With these considerations in mind. especially the RP in its two versions. as explained above. the following points deserve to be stressed: — — — — the church hierarchy. The composition of the earliest version of the Merilo Pravednoe (which in its known copies included the two Greek laws) is sometimes dated as far back as the 12th century. The explanation. one could expect the presence of Byzantine elements especially in the church statutes of the princes. .126 Law in Medieval Russia the early Slavonic Kormchaia which came to Kiev perhaps as early as the 11th century. but in the moral precepts of the Christian religion. not in Roman law. was the medium through which this influence was exercised. but also the Byzantine element is absent. of which the Nomos Georgikos is the main component. When we consider the possible influence of Byzantine law on early Russian law.

Then one should try to establish how well a particular legal system succeeds in doing its job. The distinction between primitive and more sophisticated legal systems may be good for the morale of lawyers. The superiority of anything indigenous is then considered so important that any sign of foreign influence is looked at suspiciously or even rejected out of hand. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger speak of a history of continuous decline. saying that he was afraid to sin (i. it does not serve a useful 195 R. the incident referred to in the beginning of this chapter is worth recalling. Some of the authors active in this field make no effort to hide their disdain.o. but most people would at least be able to reach agreement on a few points. Beyond the question which has been central in this chapter. The prince protested against the (Greek) bishops’ suggestion that he should execute robbers and brigands. Institutionen. 1931. Mitteis/L. The first one concerns the danger of value judgments in legal history or comparative law: one legal system is considered as better than another.195 The other value judgment is current among Russian and especially Soviet authors. Wenger. ending in an “unrecognizable dried-out mummy”. Then they assured him that it would be his duty as a Christian ruler and that he could use the wergild to pay for his army. Its inclusion in the Primary Chronicle has often served as an illustration of a range of factors defining early Russian conditions: the relationship between prince and church and their respective roles. invites a few comments. it occurs in two forms. Both judgments. but which was also able to adapt itself effectively to changing circumstances. There is no reason to assume that Byzantine politicians and lawyers were unusually stupid in preferring their actual legal system over Roman law. a. München/Leipzig. What is meant by it. have a job to do. the superiority of Roman law is almost axiomatic. the relationship between Russian custom and innovative Greek legislation.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 127 In this respect. presumably. It also excelled in clear definitions and had given rise to a culture of brilliant legal rhetoric. In the present discussion. which has been going on for more than a century and a half. disregard that legal systems have a purpose. the debate itself about this question. is that the Romans had developed a legal system which possessed not only great sophistication. or rather prejudices. There can of course be much disagreement about such a purpose. 137. Medieval societies in general coped much better with their legal needs without Roman law. act against the Russian custom of coping with homicide through blood-feuds and composition payments). Among Western lawyers. Geschichte und System des Römischen Privatrechts. . The idealization of Roman law is most obvious in the evaluation of Byzantine law. the emergence of the state.e. otherwise. Sohm/L.

everything depends on the definition preferred and there are no objective yardsticks to decide whether one definition is better than another. Often enough. this approach is then combined with the prejudice indicated above: the Russkaia Pravda or the early Germanic laws are called primitive because they fail to distinguish between civil and criminal law. such as public law. . family law.128 Law in Medieval Russia purpose. in the selection of their conceptual instruments. The circle of dubious concepts may also be widened to include such things as “the state”. civil law. “legislation”. or rather invented them. etc. for instance) did not exist until we thought of them. and in fact law itself. criminal law. or to debate whether the Russkaia Pravda or the Ecloga or any other medieval legal source constituted “legislation”. One should never forget that all these things (unlike language. Medieval law is generally described according to present-day categories. including legal historians. why reject a legal institution which could play a useful role for the only reason that it has been imported? The second comment concerns the rigidity of many lawyers. as Russian historians often do. It is therefore meaningless to observe. the emergence of the state at a certain moment in Russian history. The nationalist bias against foreign legal influences is even more dysfunctional. In such discussions.

For Kievan Russia. of how land was used. the literature may be vast. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ The question of land tenure. A legal approach would require an adequate set of conceptual tools. we already have the landscape in front of us in which the other details can be painted. and by whom. and in fact continues to play. The importance of the question rests on a variety of reasons.Chapter 4 Land Tenure. be said of. as one of the primary factors of production. is of particular importance for an understanding of Kievan Russia. If a sufficiently clear picture of the use of land can be assembled. Land. This has resulted in strongly diverging views on its socio-political and economic characteristics. the MarxistLeninist approach to it. but the primary sources (as explained in the chapter on sources) are scarce. The same can. and the question of the feudal character of Kievan Russia) are so intimately related that they cannot very well be discussed in isolation. the feudalism question is of course intimately bound up with the more general question of land tenure. handles the use of land would normally also embrace the rural-urban relationship and the social hierarchies. This question can also be considered from a legal point of view and such an approach would even have certain advantages by encouraging a more precise determination of the ramifications of the usage of land. The other three questions (the ‘visualization’ of Kievan Russia. the land issue has also loomed large in Western scholarship concerning Kievan Russia. The first one is that an elucidation of the system of land tenure contributes powerfully to the visualization of Kievan Russian society and culture. land ownership and related subjects lends itself to being treated separately. But the way a society. say. the study of the role of towns in Kievan Russia or of the system of social classes. is one of the most basic concepts for dialectical materialism and Soviet historians of Kievan Russia have assigned it a correspondingly central place in their studies. It has often been expressed as the question concerning the feudal character of Kievan Russia. Such a visualization is less problematic where historical periods and societies are concerned which are closer to us in time and affinity and where a multitude of sources of information is at our disposal. . In Soviet scholarship. in the study of Kievan Russia. a polity. Thirdly. of course. A second point concerns the role Marxist-Leninist ideology has played. The conceptual framework of the legal aspects of land tenure.

102106. The real question was not any longer: Who is the owner? but: Who enjoys a particular (limited) right with regard to this piece of land? In constructing the socialist law concerning real property. Shapiro. Marxism. Shapiro. Gosudarstvennaia sotsialisticheskaia sobstvennost’. pointed out in his basic work on state socialist property. as we stated above. who even went so far as to assert that the Marxist definition of ownership did not embrace “all varieties of ownership existing under feudalism”. Ann Arbor. almost physical. Land ownership had. Modern concepts might not always be suitable. that the distinction between ownership and possession in such a system was blurred. The determination of ownership then becomes the first and most fundamental question to be solved in any legal relationship. 5772. A. 1948. social. 789. No. It has made ownership the fundamental and pivotal right from which all other private law rights flow. political and ideological superstructure. although not without causing considerable strain. to be established through ‘scientific’ observation and analysis. and that as a result several types of ‘ownership’ in one and the same object might co-exist. did not offer an exception in this respect. In particular. “O prirode feodal’noi sobstvennosti”. Moreover. . quality of a material object. In the West. MI. the legal scholars of the Stalin era used the comparison with medieval law to find a way out of the dilemma.L. become almost irrelevant from a practical legal point of view. published in 1948. Land Tenure: The Legal Perspective An adequate set of conceptual tools would be required for a meaningful legal analysis.130 Law in Medieval Russia 1. this principle. V.L. Venediktov. 1948. In the Soviet Union.V. lawyers are often inclined to regard ownership as an inherent. Outside the socialist world. that there was also not a clear line of distinction between ownership and various rights in rem. the ownership concept based on Roman law and dominant in the West since Napoleon is defective in this respect. Moskva. In his discussion of the rights in rem in a feudal system. 1969. Declaring the land the inalienable heritage of the Soviet people was translated in legal terms as the single and indivisible state ownership of the land.V. ownership of the means of production was considered the basically decisive and determining factor for the entire economic. notwithstanding its ideological qualifications. true to its 19th century origins. 576. thereby.1 The same thought was expressed by the historian A. Gsovski had made a very much similar point in his work on Soviet Civil Law. I. Voprosy istorii.12.2 In a 1 2 A. this absolute ownership concept has retained its function as the central organizational principle of private law. A. Venediktov. the leading civil law scholar of that time. did not fit well into the political and economic reality.

7 Some passages of the Primary Chronicle illustrate the various levels of princely rights of land tenure. “K voprosu o zemel’noi rente v Drevnei Rusi v dofeodal’nyi period”. Then she returned with her son to Kiev. 1968. 52-65. A.). the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 131 similar vein. where she remained one year. not without justification.”3 Similar views were expressed by other Soviet historians. Her trading-posts and hunting-preserves are still there. Shapiro. her own principality of Kiev.”8 One notices the existence of rights at three or four levels: the land of the Derevlians. Voprosy Istorii. while her sleighs stand in Pskov to this day.5 Shapiro remarked. 62. She then passed through the land of Dereva.Ia. and her village 3 4 A. Her hunting-grounds. and along the Msta she established trading-posts and collected tribute. at about the same time. New Haven. She also collected imposts and tribute along the Luga. English translation of the relevant text in S. boundary-posts.M. her city.Ia.1. 1968. two parts of which went to Kiev. O. the town of Vyshgorod. 6 O. and the third to Olga in Vyshgorod. From the Cross/Sherbowitz-Wetzor translation.cit. 1972. Her fowling preserves still remain on the Dniepr and the Desna. op. 5 A description of the poliud’e is given by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959) in his De Administrando Imperio. which appears to be more of her private property.6 but he himself had emphasized that in the case of dan’ we were dealing with a princely right over the land of his own principality.4. for Vyshgorod was Olga’s city. 88-105.Land Tenure. establishing laws and tribute. where Olga established laws and tribute. No.M. 7 8 . while her village of Olzhichi is in existence even now. No. her trading-posts and hunting-grounds. Rapov wrote that the collection of tribute (dan’) by the Kievan prince during his winter circuit (poliud’e)4 was an expression of his supreme ownership (verkhovnaia sobstvennost’) of the lands of the tributary tribes. Vestnik MGU. Rapov. One of the most famous concerns the entries for the years 946 and 947. Land was the condition for his existence. that the introduction of a term like “supreme ownership” was wordplay. accompanied by her son and her retinue. Gurevich. and trading-posts still exist throughout the whole region. Istoriia. Gurevich wrote in a discussion of West European feudalism: “Man did not relate to the land as to something alien and outside himself. but there could not yet be any talk of any kind of exclusive rights to specific tracts of land […]. [947] Olga went to Novgorod. A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917. after the grand princess Olga had inflicted a crushing defeat on the Derevlians who had killed her husband Igor in 945: “She imposed on them a heavy tribute. Pushkarev (comp. Ibidem. Problema zemel’noi sobstvennosti v dofeodal’nykh i rannefeodal’nykh obshchestvakh Zapadnoi Rossii.

12 2.Peterburg. 1972. 1999. No. Blum.. in tackling the question of land tenure in pre-Kievan and Kievan Russia.B. Mavrodin & I. For the Polianians had already existed even before the time of these brothers. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Soviet Approaches The plural “approaches” is not used without a reason. in accordance with his generally dissident views. is an entry which deals with the earliest history of the Slavs in Russia. Sverdlov.V. which is clearer on this point than Cross/ Sherbowitz-Wetzor.cit.Ia. 12 V. “The Smerd in Kievan Russia”.9 Another. M. in particular by M. the individual peasant held his land from the commune. as was pointed out by Mavrodin and Froianov. which as the name indicates is very much her own property (it would hardly have been mentioned otherwise). 10 11 From the translation by Pushkarev.”10 This text indicates. “F. at 124.13 have shown that even during the most repressive periods of Stalinism Soviet historians were less monolithic in their treatment of Kievan Russia than one would perhaps expect. smaller family groups would presumably ‘own’ land within the clan territory. The most comprehensive factor is the acceptance (or rather imposition) of Marxism-Leninism as a scientifically verified 9 I. Blum. but which were de facto owned by them. who published several important papers in this field during the 1950’s and 1960’s and freely used the term “landownership”. have occasionally demonstrated an awareness of the inadequacy of the modern ownership concept.12 (1953). that there was an awareness of tribal territory (where the Polianians “lived apart”) which was divided into a number of clan territories. And there were three brothers […]. Chapter 3 (168-321). 122-130. suggesting a multi-tiered system of land tenure. 13 J. the unsuspecting Western reader will be struck by many common traits in the style and argument of Soviet historiography of the period in question.132 Law in Medieval Russia of Ol’zhichi.Ia. The American Slavic & East European Review. Still. Froianov.B. S. 14-23.Peterburg. offers another interpretation of this passage. observed that territorial peasant communes used land of which the prince was the nominal supreme proprietor. Obshchestvennyi stroi Drevnei Rusi v russkoi istoricheskoi nauke XVIII-XX vv. Sovetskaia etnografiia. in Kievskaia Rus’. belonging each to his clan. op. for instance. it reports: “The Polianians lived apart and were governed by their clans. and each one lived with his clan on his own place. Engel’s i nekotorye voprosy obshchinnogo zemlevladeniia na Rusi IX-XII vv. 1996. Sverdlov.. Glavnye cherty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo stroia. 137-139. . Froianov. even earlier passage in the Primary Chronicle. Vol.11 Western authors. More recent Russian works. S. About one of the Slavic tribes.1.”.

because a town would imply the existence of private property and a class society. including that of historians. This pattern required Soviet historians to qualify the various phases of pre-Kievan and Kievan Russian history as either clan-tribal. Grekov. gradually to be transformed into communism. Moscow. on the basis of an allegedly scientific ideology Grekov stated that there were no towns in Russia at the beginning of the 10th century and the towns which he had identified before were declared to be non-towns. in his discussion of the formation of the first towns. baffling to the uninitiated observer. or feudal. For the latter. even then authors found ways around the most awkward ideological obstacles and engaged in debates appearing esoteric and abstruse to outsiders. Moskva. Soviet scholars would still argue about the feudal character of Kievan Russia. but left the Marxist-Leninist ideology more or less intact. Then he continued that such early towns were not real towns. slaveowning.Land Tenure. Kievskaia Rus’. This doctrine postulated the phased advance of societal development through the stages of the ‘clan-tribal wayof-life’ (rodo-plemennyi byt). such as those mentioned in the 907 treaty with Byzantium. first pointed to the existence of early towns. but in fact usually concerning very real scholarly issues which however could not be discussed in plain language. without offending against the scientific laws of social development.14 So. because in the Soviet Marxist view of feudalism ownership of agricultural land by a class of feudal lords. was the mental anguish of some Soviet historians about slave-owning in early Russian history. B. The removal of the worst constraints after the death of Stalin and Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization campaign of 1956 created more space for scholarly debate. Grekov.D. as explained by Sverdlov. Another phenomenon. in the English translation (Kiev Rus. although. 127-128. and capitalism. . If Kievan Russia was declared to be a feudal society and the prehistoric Slavic population found itself obviously at the stage of the clan-tribal existence. 1953. a question of immediate relevance to the land tenure issue. constituting the foundation of all scholarly work. to pass directly from the tribal-clan phase to feudalism? The rigid schematism of the Marxist-Leninist approach was most debilitating in the Stalin era. the position taken could be used to draw further conclusions. 58-59. until these various exploitative forms of production would be overthrown by a revolution which would introduce socialism. for instance. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 133 and therefore true doctrine. making use of the labour force of a dependent 14 B.D. feudalism. Once this had been done. The leading historian from the Stalinist era. slave-owning. then how about slave-owning in Russia? Would it be possible. 1959). the tenets of historical materialism were of prime relevance.

Grekov’s work on Kievan Russia. in particular some of the leading Soviet authors.V. took essentially the same position.15 Only among the younger generation of historians. A. held that large scale landownership and ‘feudalization’ set in as early as the 7th century.17 Once the position had been taken. Even after the demise of the Soviet Union and the widespread rejection of Marxist-Leninist ideology among educated Russians. cf. 3. there was N. Moskva (3rd rev. Gorskii (ed. there is the view that agriculture had been the predominant mode of production and economic determinant from very early. more exposed to international literature and less to Soviet-style indoctrination. The situation of Kievan Russia was then considered to be generally similar to that of Carolingian Europe. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii. By the same token. for instance. Iushkov. In the 19th century. Some of the proponents of this view.16 The impact of Marxist-Leninist ideology on the study of medieval Russia can be summarized as occurring at three different levels: as an immediate source of knowledge. and as mere terminology.Peterburg. not of slaves. perhaps without always being aware of it. because feudal economies were generally self-sufficient. Isaev.A. is an example.). Srednevekovaia Rus’. Foreign trade could be neglected. Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Rossii. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti”. 2004. 1871. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Trade or Agriculture? The relative importance of trade and agriculture in Kievan Russia is an issue which has been debated for more than a century. S. Nikol’skii. prehistoric times. as a conceptual framework. because a feudal economy rested on the labour of serfs. under Grekov’s leadership. Vyp.4. Obshchestvo i gosudarstvo v domongol’skii period russkoi istorii. quoted above. At one end of the spectrum. ed.e. the leading Soviet legal historian from the era. in the most recent edition of the leading university textbook on legal history by I. Slavery did not exist or was at least very unimportant. i. . money did not play a major role in these economies. that Kievan Russia represented a feudal society (in the Marxist sense). These 15 16 This is very noticeable. 17 A notable example in the field concerned is the study by S. a number of other conclusions became more or less inevitable. 44. S.V. 5-48.A. The entire generation of Soviet medievalists working during the last three decades of the Soviet system was still imbued with such Marxist ideas.L. Moskva/Leningrad. the old ideas survive to a considerable extent through their dominance in the traditional Soviet terminology. Moskva. Khlebnikov. are the habits of the past wearing off. Iushkov.). 1939. S. was the very essence of the feudal system. 2006.134 Law in Medieval Russia peasant population.

R. “Aspects of Feudalism in Russian History”. Vol. therefore. for instance.18 The few Western authors who expressed themselves occupied a more intermediate position. 1961. . be inappropriate and misleading. I. it was clothed in traditional Soviet terminology. 1948). Princeton. 1902. Coulborn (ed. large scale landownership was present.). the position of the elite rested more on their financial strength. crafts and trades. 776-790. Istoriia Rossii. 1953. serfdom existed. as well as internal and foreign trade. The opposite view was that the Kievan elite. “The Beginnings of Large-Scale Private Landownership in Russia”. 13.1. such as those of Vernadsky. 21.20 Vernadsky pointed out that in Kievan times hunting (including beekeeping). but stressed that agriculture on communal land still would have been the basic occupation of the bulk of the population.Ia. Froianov’s was the most audible heterodox voice.19 A similar view had been put forward by M. His ultimate conclusion was that Kievan Russia was more like Byzantium than like medieval Europe. although not necessarily a correct one. derived their wealth primarily from trade. than on their ownership of land. but was in no way universal or even dominant as a source of labour. 179-189 (original English publication: G.). Szeftel. but. but the landowners did not constitute a closed class as in Europe. Vernadskii. 2004. 1956.7 (1948). Parallels with Carolingian Europe would. His actual appraisal of Kievan Russia was closer to Western views. slavery was still a factor of some importance.Peterburg (3rd ed.V. and that large scale landownership did not assume significant importance before the 12th century. augmented by hunting and the acquisition of booty. Speculum. S. An early protagonist of this view was Kliuchevskii. 3-14. Vol. Kievskaia Rus’. mainly based on their trading activities. Princeton. Szeftel. agreed with earlier writers that large scale landownership did not appear in Kiev before the 11th century. 19 20 J. The American Slavic & East European Review. I have used the modern Russian edition: G. agriculture and cattle-breeding. 21 M. lecture VII. Vernadsky. His starting-point was the rejection of the ‘classic’ view proposed by Grekov. This chapter had been published separately as “On Feudalism in Kievan Russia”. Tver’/Moskva. New Haven. 167-182. that Kievan Russia was a feudal society. Chapter V. and Lord and Peasant in Russia From the 9th to the 19th Century. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 135 considerations produced an already detailed picture of Kievan society. Blum. in a more implicit form in his Kurs.21 Among Soviet authors. Kievan Russia. were all major economic factors. the princes and boyars. Blum. esp. at least in his earlier writings.Land Tenure. and small scale landownership was still a significant phenomenon. Although Froianov did not deny the emergence of 18 Most explicitly in his Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi. Feudalism in History.

It is not a decisive issue. A full publication followed in 1999 under the title Kievskaia Rus’. 315-319. Vernadsky. and that “a classical definition of the feudal system was given by Stalin”. These three works have been republished in a single volume Nachala russkoi istorii (Iu.22 In the post-Soviet era. Sverdlov. Leningrad.24 If one follows Grekov in accepting that “the essence of feudalism was revealed only in the works of the founders of Marxism-Leninism”. but that we may cause a lot of trouble by shouting “tiger” when we see a cat crossing the road.Ia.B. he held that the ‘clan-tribal existence’ was still the dominant social form.G. ed. Vernadsky has remarked. Alekseev. 1980. but they have in no way become the dominant trend. Froianov’s views have found many followers in Russia. this work was a partial publication of the author’s doctoral thesis. Froianov has authored three volumes entitled “Kievan Rus’” and in each of them the debate with the ‘official’ Soviet theory is taken up. Leningrad. concerning the emergence of feudalism. Interlude: Feudalism First of all. crafts and trade. esp.Peterburg.). Russian medievalists have dispersed and present a much greater variety of views on developments in Kievan Russia. . that a cat may properly be called a small tiger. Ocherki otechestvennoi istoriografii. Moskva. the essays on “The economic occupations of the population of Ancient Russia in Soviet historiography” and “The genesis of feudalism in Russia in Soviet historiography”. Glavnye cherty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo stroia. then feudalism is the system in which “the basis of productive relations is the feudal lord’s ownership of the means of produc22 23 24 A short survey of recent literature (until 1996) in the work of M. but still of considerable importance. it might be helpful to look at an intermediate question first. freed from the constraints of the old ideologies. Kievskaia Rus’. as noted above. the sections on “Concerning the forms of communal land tenure in Kievan Russia” and “Princely land tenure and management”. Ocherki sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii. there is the question of definition. 1990. Communes and individual producers were the main owners and agents in agriculture. Kievskaia Rus’. quoted above.23 Before continuing our examination of the question posed at the head of this section (agriculture of trade?). in the article quoted above. Kievskaia Rus’. esp. esp. S. I. regarding the Soviet definition of feudalism. the section on “The question of supreme landownership of the prince in Kievan Russia” and the chapter “Concerning the question of the seigneurial regime in Ancient Russia”. What rather has happened is that. Leningrad. at 5-6..136 Law in Medieval Russia certain feudal elements. 2001. See. the old terminology still survives in most of the more recent works. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. 1974. These ideas have been elaborated in very extensive writings on various aspects of Kievan Russia. 4. G. 1999.

(6) the general pattern of national economy in the Kievan period. F. Kievskaia Rus’. 115 (Kiev Rus’. 1952. Ibidem. (4) the degree of manorial authority over the tenant farmer. the other two elements of feudalism in his view are political feudalism (“mediatication [sic.” Sverdlov. large estates did not predominate over peasant holdings to the same extent as in Western Europe. whom he cannot any longer kill. Vernadsky’s conclusion was that the Kievan manor was on all six counts significantly different from its West-European counterpart. “On Feudalism in Russia”. Kievskaia Rus’. it can have a serious distorting effect when applied to Kievan Russia by importing characteristics. C. La société féodale. op. Bloch. 6. the presence of which is by no means proven. whatever its merits and deficiencies. Stephenson. New York (3rd ed. vassals. First.).cit. Ganshof. (5) the social standing of the landowners. 1942. Mediaeval Feudalism. as it emerged in post-Carolingian Europe through the ritual of homage and fealty. notes that among modern Russian historians views which parallel Western conceptions have been defended and he regards this as a promising development. Ithaca. the control of land by the vassals being stipulated by the service rendered to their seignior”). Paris. cannot very well be avoided. Chapter 2. subvassals) bound by personal contract. 26 27 Cf. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 137 tion and his limited ownership of the productive worker. Book 2. M. Most scholars would agree here with Vernadsky. The Soviet/Russian definition of feudalism..Land Tenure. As pointed out in the foregoing section. (2) their types.28 With regard to economic feudalism. 1939. because it continues to be used in Russian historiography. as is customary in European history. 317-321. 149). the serf. Part 2. in a footnote (on p.27 The answers to these questions. according to Vernadsky. Feudalism. existence of a scale of greater and lesser rulers (suzerain.xv) Ganshof observed: “The way in which the word is commonly used by historians in Soviet Russia and in other countries behind the Iron Curtain seems to me to be absolutely irrelevant.L. determine the degree of economic feudalism. resp. I. 4. feudalism is regarded as the socio-political system based on the combination of fiefholding and vassalage. but whom he can sell or buy” (Stalin’s words). reciprocity of such a contract”) and the feudal nexus (“an indissoluble fusion of personal territorial rights.25 If. 28 . Vernadsky has suggested a realistic method for dealing with the problem by proposing a six-point checklist to determine the importance of the (feudal) manor in Kievan times: (1) the degree of expansion of large landed estates in Kievan Russia.. Chapters 1 and 2. for instance.26 it would be difficult to consider Kievan Russia as a feudal entity. on the other hand. although the argument does not carry 25 Grekov. FF] of supreme political authority. (3) the status of land from the juridical point of view. 183. 181.

the case for viewing Kievan Russia as more like Byzantium than like Western Europe is not as strong as it is made out by Vernadsky. Slavery admittedly still existed in Kievan Russia. The opposite could be stated with equal justification. the slaves (kholopy) and the serfs (smerdy). the occupation of all princely seats by the members of a single dynasty. in Novgorod and Pskov.138 Law in Medieval Russia much weight as the difference could in some cases be quite small. along with serfdom. the acceptance of Byzantine instead of Roman Christianity. the social position of the Russian boyar was significantly different from that of the European baron. such a system never took root in Russia. generally speaking. ideally. Sixth. bought. Soviet historians have neglected important differences in the non-economic sphere. Thirdly. in early medieval Europe a close. on account of the dominant position of the prince. Only exceptionally. for which hardly any argument is adduced. agricultural production on the manor depended rather on slave labour than on the labour of serfs. the continuing incursions of Asiatic nomads. the descendants of Rurik. it is difficult to determine their relative weight. sold. right on this point. Secondly. in treasure or in land. with the ensuing particular church-state relationship. The Russian boyar never became a European knight. one might point to such factors as the importance of trade. All in all. donated) without restriction. as compared to other private property. it could be disposed of (bequeathed. The essential contractual aspect of the feudal relationship did not develop. however. Vernadsky is. provided a balance of powers and of rights and duties between the various social classes. This is actually a petitio principii. and others. points in the opposite direction. For an explanation. Fourthly. On the other hand. however. Vernadsky argued that Kievan estates were more of a Byzantine type than of a Western European. culminating in the Mongol conquest in the 13th century. but the decisive question is rather where the main wealth of the Kievan princes and aristocracy was located. the authority of the Russian lord of the manor over his tenant farmers was more limited than that of his European counterpart. while Kievan Russia was primarily a money economy. feudalism gave birth to a political system consisting of a hierarchy of reciprocal personal relations. In Western Europe. There is no doubt. Most Soviet and Russian historians have put the emphasis on land. were merging. land in Kievan Russia was not treated differently. For a variety of reasons. The available evidence. Few would contest that the role of trade and money constituted a real difference with Western Europe. Fifth. Such factors may explain how princely power remained unchallenged and unchecked from below. did a network of reciprocal rights and . that slavery was on the way out and that already in the time of the RP the two categories juxtaposed by Vernadsky. a system which. natural economy prevailed.

also. capable de lier les pouvoirs. In a similar vein. Ganshof ’s last sentence is: “It is to the sacredness formerly attached to the ‘foi’ which bound together lord and vassal. is curiously silent on the aspect of spiritual values. This of course is where the Byzantium/Carolingian Europe dilemma presents itself. many of them have taken account of the comparative aspect. si dur aux petits qu’ait été ce régime. but with a shift in emphasis.Land Tenure. 1939. other contemporary written sources (although they are not very numerous). as quoted above. Most of them would regard the West European (Carolingian) parallels as the most promising. in the case of the ‘classics’ of Soviet history. This may be a reassuring thought when one is faced with a bewildering variety of opinions. so characteristic of European feudalism. Although Soviet and Russian authors would naturally be inclined to delve first of all into domestic materials. but quite 29 30 Bloch. mis sur l’idée d’une convention. In the words of Marc Bloch. Authors will attempt to fill the interstices in the narrative of the Chronicle with bits of information from other sources. last page of text. with ideological postulates derived from Marxism-Leninism. there is the comparative approach. il a véritablement légué à nos civilisations quelque chose dont nous souhaitons vivre encore. who refers to most of the points of difference identified above in his comparison between European and Russian feudalism. . the last two sentences of his classic work on feudalism: “Dans cet accent. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 139 duties arise. This then has resulted in a number of quite divergent views on Kievan Russia. This difference between East and West has had a decisive impact in the sphere of political attitudes and spiritual values. the chapter on human rights). later Russian sources which offer information that could be extrapolated backwards in time.” In his Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Kievskoi Rusi. Moskva/Leningrad. Some of these additional sources could themselves be termed ‘Russian’: archaeological evidence. etc. Par là. that the high importance still attached in Western Europe to the virtue of fidelity directly goes back. réside l’originalité de notre féodalité à nous. but the development of urban independence withered in the end when the power of the rulers of Muscovy had become irresistible. has been one of the main sources for the concept of the dignity and the rights of the individual vis-à-vis the state (see. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Continued The main source of our knowledge of Kievan Russia is still the Primary Chronicle.”29 Iushkov. and. 250-251. The contractual balance between lord and vassal.30 5. Apart from all these. in which Kievan Russia is placed alongside other cultures and societies about which we are better informed.

the latter approach appears to be the most popular. honour in their company. After they had been converted to Christianity and had acquired written cultures. Germanic epics like Beowulf and the Nibelungenlied (at least its most ancient layers). offer a surprisingly homogeneous picture.. and Slavic tribes among them. One of the arguments for favouring the Byzantine approach could be the undeniable cultural influence of Byzantium on Kievan Russia. and the Old-Russian “Lay of the Warfare Waged by Igor” (Slovo o polku Igoreve) all present an ‘heroic’ society of kings surrounded by their trusted comrades-in-arms. 6. Once this awareness has penetrated. including the Scandinavian. in the course of the history of Kievan Russia. and has been exaggerated by certain authors. a number of ‘barbarian’ peoples surrounded the declining Roman Empire at its northern and north-eastern borders: Celtic. it will usually become more like the latter. In the field of law this influence.140 Law in Medieval Russia a few favour the Byzantine connection. was more like Byzantium or like Western Europe is a question that has nothing to do with influence.D. and the acquisition of wealth which is to be shared generously among them. their druzhina. When one culture is influenced by another. the echoes of the heroic era are still very audible. Few would deny that this influence was in both qualitative and quantitative terms far greater than the effects produced by contacts between Kievan Russia and Central and Western Europe. reflecting their recent pagan past. the earliest literatures of these peoples. as we have argued in the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”. peoples this culture is abundantly documented. In the oldest available evidence from Russia. the West European parallel moves to the foreground. The earliest Kievan princes from the Rurikid dynasty are often shown as acting together with their retinue. in its earlier phases. But whether Kievan Russia. The Druzhina For the Germanic. During the first millennium A. are the central values. as explained above. was real but not comprehensive. etc. The origin of the oldest part of the RP is in fact . where valour in war. The fact that Byzantium influenced Kievan Russia would presumably lead to the taking over of certain Byzantine institutions. but in the much more distant Homeric past. Old-Irish literature. But influence says nothing about the degree of initial similarity. loyalty to one’s lord and friends. In the West. Germanic. attitudes. This heroic world is of course also well known in the Mediterranean region.

and any kind of foreign. Its origin is in the story of the Primary Chronicle about the invitation sent out to the Vikings (in 860-862) after the Russians had said to themselves: “Let us seek a prince who may rule over us and judge us according to the Law. Connections with Byzantium then became more intense. Srednevekovaia Rus’. however. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 141 closely related to problems concerning the druzhina of Iaroslav the Wise (see the chapter on the RP).L. 5-48. This postulate compelled students of ancient Russian law to search for—and find—the expression of the feudalization process of the Old-Russian society in the oldest written legal records. contacts with Western Europe diminished. and this fact has inexplicably been overlooked by the supporters of the ‘Byzantine parallel’. this schematism is criticised. Vyp. Moskva. Byzantium was the heir of more than thousand years of Roman history and it had very little in common with the ways of early Kievan Russia.” Rurik and two of his brothers answered the call: “Our land is great and rich. notwithstanding their overly schematic Marxist approach of a tribal-clan society making the transition to a feudal one. Gorskii (ed. some of the more sober observers noted that the cultural differences between a recently baptized Russia and early Christian or still pagan Western and Northern Europe would probably not be that great. the idea that Russia would submit to the political leadership of Germanic princes was considered almost treacherous in Stalinist times. at 5. Once Kievan Russia began to flourish. A. was that Byzantine culture and political institutions existed in a completely different setting than their counterparts in Kievan Russia.”31 31 S.A. Come to rule and reign over us. Nikol’skii notes that: “[…] for a long time in our national scholarship a formation scheme of the historical process was dominant in which the Old-Russian state was considered to be feudal from its very start. Denmark and France). In this respect. although they did not quite disappear (Iaroslav’s daughters married the kings of Hungary. The overwhelming reality of these contacts. even then. while at the same time the positive achievements of past scholarship are further developed.” Some of the vast literature concerning these events has been coloured by political bias.Land Tenure.L. Nikol’skii. since the 19th century. until the Mongol conquest after 1240 made these connections more burdensome. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. but there is no order in it.). But. 2004. Soviet historians. let alone ‘barbarian’ Viking influence on the culture of Kievan Russia was declared to be impossible. In Russia. In a recent study by S.4. Nikol’skii. the druzhina issue has been connected with the so-called problem of the Normans which has continued to agitate scholars. although not impossible. were actually on the right track. Norway. .

had characterized St.Peterburg. Gorskii had already published a special study on this subject. Vladimir’s empire as a druzhina state.A. esp. and at this point it will be sufficient to note that in this view the oldest known layer of Russian law is neither Byzantine. At the top was the leader. It is not the same as a court or a bodyguard or a private army. combined with a definite interior hierarchy. . As early as 1989.F Kotliar. there are good reasons to assume that its set-up was generally in agreement with what was customary among Slavic princes. Kotliar. Gorskii.32 and N. Drevnerusskaia gosudarstvennost’. The treaty of 912 with Byzantium was concluded on behalf of the Kievan grand prince Oleg “and all the serene and great princes and the great boyars under his sway” by fifteen envoys.A. king or prince. A. it began as follows: 32 33 A. The treaty of 945 was more detailed in its introductory provisions. Whether it is justified to characterize the oldest part of the RP as druzhina law. N. all bearing apparently Viking names. and their pagan ancestors. supply them generously with everything required by their status.33 Druzhina is usually translated as ‘retinue’ in English. The evidence from different European cultures of the heroic era is strikingly similar. the German Gefolgschaft is more specific. although these terms have occasionally been used as a translation. These different aspects of the druzhina organization are well illustrated by the Primary Chronicle for the period of St. And Nikol’skii is not the only or the first modern Russian scholar who has directed the attention to the druzhina as a central institution in Kievan Russia. They were to respect the king’s leadership. it is certainly correct to bring the druzhina as a central cultural and political factor back into the picture into which it had fitted so uncomfortably in the Soviet past. as Nikol’skii does is a question which may be left aside for the time being. The king must treat his followers with respect and. 1998. surrounded by senior and junior members who had entered into a voluntary relationship of subordination. Moskva.F. S. We have discussed this question in the chapter on the RP. 1989 (this work has not been available to me). in a study on the origins of Russian statehood in Kievan times. Drevnerusskaia druzhina. Although the druzhina of the first Kievan rulers appears to have been predominantly ethnically Scandinavian. The druzhina in its heyday was characterized by the basic equality of its members. nor feudal. Vladimir and his son Iaroslav.142 Law in Medieval Russia Nikol’skii then goes on to argue that the Scandinavian origins of the early Rurikid princes and their multinational druzhina was of decisive influence in the written fixation of the oldest part of the RP. but could unilaterally decide to leave. 63-69. in particular.

The treaty of 971 with Byzantium was concluded by “Sviatoslav. was a great magnate. Svanhild. where a number of aristocratic personalities (they are called ‘princes’). Ouleb’s [Olaf] wife. Pras’ten’ [Freystein] for Turduv [Thorth]. the envoy of Igor. Igor’s nephew. His absence among the signatories of the 945 treaty is conspicuous. the list is headed by Igor’s wife and his son. then a small detachment in the nature of a bodyguard is obviously meant. The third woman mentioned. is included on behalf of her husband Olaf (probably deceased). He obviously had a druzhina of his own and was not an immediate relative of the prince. nephew of Igor. Sludy [Slothi] for Igor. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 143 “We are the envoys and merchants of the Russian nation: Ivar. Ouleb [Olaf] for Vladislav. Go forth with us. grand prince of Rus’. Shikhbern [Sigbjorn] for Sfandr [Svanhild]. plus one single individual Sverki]. Most of the names of those represented are Scandinavian. For the same year. Igor’s druzhina addressed its lord as follows: “The servants of Sveinald are adorned with weapons and fine raiment. and the general envoys Vuefast for Sviatoslav. taking an active part in political and military decision-making and being actually around the prince most of the time. except a few who appear to be close and probably related to Igor himself. the druzhina is still in evidence. that both you and we may profit thereby.Land Tenure. 1078 and 1093).” Sveinald. and from each prince and all the people of the Russian land. All this fits perfectly into the druzhina construction. Igor’s son. In a few cases (in 996. initially. the persons represented are of a higher status than their envoys (except the separately mentioned Sverki. The members of such a force . other relatives follow and it is safe to assume that Predslava is one of them. the druzhina remains present as the prince’s retinue. each having their own military and trading interests. prince. who served as commander-in-chief after Igor’s death and during the minority of his son Sviatoslav. after tribute. and the merchants [follows a list of 25 Scandinavian names]. grand prince of Rus’. All through the period covered by the Primary Chronicle. in the same sense as in the Primary Chronicle. Grim for Sfir’kov [Sverki]. Also. Of course.e. without any indication of the latter’s status. who apparently turned up himself). Iskusevi [Isgaut] for the princess Olga [Igor’s wife]. as later entries in the Chronicle show. but we are naked. the Primary Chronicle offers an entry of particular interest for understanding the druzhina system. grand prince of Rus’. the Chronicle refers to the prince being accompanied by a “small druzhina”. and by Sveinald”. Kanitsar for Predslava. i. in the First Novgorod Chronicle.” It is hardly a coincidence that the number of envoys equals the number of merchants. combine under the leadership of a king-like figure. sent by Igor. up to 1116. This would agree with the subsequent development of the druzhina. [and thirteen more of such pairs. Libiar [Leif] for Fastov [Arfast]. but later on more and more as an ordinary detachment of moderate size. Prasten [Freystein] for Akun [Haakon].

we find Vyshata and his son Ian (1043. particularly where they concerned land. the druzhina/retinue/Gefolgschaft from the heroic age was a small band of companions of the leader. has been mentioned above. the gifts or grants made to druzhina members. Several generations later. in the times of Iaroslav’s sons. Nezdila Pekhtinich went in the year 1200 as voevoda (military commander) with a small druzhina to a place in Livonia. At about the same time and somewhat later. have been studied through the prism of a modern ownership concept. Vladimir made his trusted mentor and maternal uncle Dobrynia governor of Novgorod in 980 and even the founder of the dynasty. such as S. and their surrounding provinces. which usually refers to druzhina members). that Danislav Lazutinich went to Kiev in 1167 with a druzhina to prince Mstislav. but also older works.V. . the first Rurikid princes are shown to function within and partly through their druzhiny. One generally agrees that initially the assignment of land was for the purposes of government administration and. esp. Prominent druzhina members are mentioned as receiving important appointments. Rurik himself. Rostov and Beloozero. Moskva/ Leningrad. 1069). See not only the modern Russian works quoted in the footnotes above. became to establish at which moment in the socio-political development the grantee started to acquire ownership. Iushkov.Vladimir’s maternal uncle.34 In 1093. as one may assume) to his followers (his muzhi. for instance. 1939. the Primary Chronicle speaks directly of the ‘senior’ or first druzhina of the Kievan grand prince Vsevolod. As argued above.35 The personal character of the appointment worked two ways: it only concerned the person of the appointee and it depended on 34 35 Sveinald. well documented by the epic literature of various European peoples. There are many more or less indirect indications of this. is reported (860-862) as assigning major towns (Polotsk. St. The essential equality of the druzhina members did not prevent a difference in status among individual members. then. there are Dobrynia. 51-53 and 144-158. The druzhina from the early Kievan period still possessed most characteristics of its precursor. the frequent occurrence of one or two leading persons who seemed to act as the prince’s closest advisors. St. therefore.144 Law in Medieval Russia were just regular soldiers and not any longer the personal companions and advisors of the prince. and the generals Blud and Variazhko (in 980). Initially. for instance. Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Kievskoi Rusi. The question. in the times of Igor and Sviatoslav. In older Russian and especially Soviet literature. The Novgorod Chronicle relates. The Marxist perspective made such an approach inevitable. where he killed 40 men and captured their wives and children. The appointee obviously would need to get a certain income from his appointment and various possibilities have been proposed. personal and temporary. this approach has serious drawbacks.

7.Land Tenure. The trade-or-agriculture dilemma. It is usually connected with another question: was Kievan Russia more like Byzantium (trade) or like Carolingian Europe (agriculture)? The admission that trade was of greater importance in Kievan Russia than in Carolingian Europe does not take away from the fact that in terms of general cultural level. For a polity such as Kievan Russia. How this process evolved remains a much-debated problem. because the sources are almost silent on this point. the question of land ownership is not very suitable as an approach. the feudalism debate (was Kievan Russia feudal?) is fruitless. the grant became factually void. The origin of the boyar class of landowners of the following centuries was primarily in the druzhina of Kievan Rus’. One of the chronologically youngest layers of the Expanded Pravda is devoted to inheritance law and article 91 provides that if a boyar or a druzhinnik dies. they became more permanent and in the end also inheritable. If there are no sons. ownership in land occurred at several levels simultaneously. because a modern ‘digital’ ownership concept did not operate then. the recent emphasis on the importance of the druzhina. if the prince was deposed. as a central factor in the politico-legal structure. the princely retinue. societal and economic development. is a more realistic issue. For similar reasons. is significant. the daughters will inherit. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 145 the person of the prince as grantor. In time. . The feudalism concept which is still dominant in Russia has its roots in Marxism and in 19th century ideas about ownership. his estate does not return to the prince. the character of such grants changed. Kievan Russia was much more like Carolingian Europe than Byzantium. In this respect. in the study of Kievan Russia. Conclusion The way a society handles the land it has at its disposal tells us very much about that society itself.


In respect of the latter. Lektsiia XXIII. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2004 god. No body of popular representation in Russia can boast such a long period of operation. its massive absorption of Turkic elements soon resulted in an ethnic metamorphosis which . Also.2 (1957). Granberg. Although the empire founded by Chingis-Khan was Mongol in its origin. its composition. Recently a new study on the veche appeared. No. Veche in the Chronicles of Medieval Rus: A Study of Functions and Terminology.A. an abbreviated translation (“Veche v drevnerusskikh pis’mennostnykh istochnikakh: Funktsii i terminologiia”) appeared in T. Gross-Novgorod. Politicheskie instituty Drevnei Rusi. J. A brief survey of the main aspects of the early Russian veche may also be found in M. have been and still are a subject of lively debate in Russian historiography. “Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda”. Aufstieg unde Niedergang einer russischen Stadtrepublik.Chapter 5 Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History Among the ancestors of the Russian State Duma.Kh. and little is known about the existence or operation of a veche in Pskov in the earlier period. is still a good introduction to the institutions of medieval Novgorod. its procedures. Aleshkovskii. first of all the Novgorod Chronicle. pride of place belongs to the veche or popular assembly of Novgorod. Ianin. K. It was abolished by Ivan III in 1478 after Novgorod’s subjugation to Moscow. the chapters on Novgorod are in Vol. “La participation des assemblées populaires dans le gouvernment central de la Russie depuis l’époque kiévienne jusqu’à la fin du XVIII siècle”. Its first recorded meeting was in 1016. The prominent role of the Novgorod veche in medieval Russia has understandably overshadowed the activities of veches in other Russian cities. also. the veche of Pskov functioned until 1510.2 The primary sources are to be found in the medieval Russian chronicles. its jurisdiction. Moskva. Receuils de la Société Jean Bodin. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii. 2006. 1999. Moscow.I. 3 V. Szeftel. 2004 (not available to me).2.1 The activities of the Novgorod veche. Vol. See. but Pskov only became independent of Novgorod in 1347/1348.150-161. Mel’nikova (eds. The most prominent Novgorod expert among present-day Russian historians is V.25. Gimon & E. This work also offers a list of direct chronicle references to the term veche on pp. 1969. at 339-345.).V. Wien. see. Ianin and M. I have used the 1956-1959 edition.O. Neverthe1 2 As explained below. Onasch. there is a relative paucity of sources. 339365. for instance. This work was first published in 1904 and has been republished several times in editions of Kliuchevskii’s collected works Sochineniia. the role of the veche in other Russian cities diminished sharply after the Tataro-Mongol3 invasions in the middle of the 13th century. for a recent overview: Velikii Novgorod v istorii srednevekovoi Evropy [Ianin Festschrift]. 32-61. in Istoriia SSSR. 1971. 54-104. Göteborg.

4 The earliest reference to a veche dates from 997. 12 volumes. especially after the Tataro-Mongol invasions around 1240. S. most references.M. have to be consulted.1 part 2. Karamzin (1766-1836). although not all of them. after 1100. Vol. Although the Primary Chronicle remains the main source of information on the early period of Kievan Rus. on a different plane. . its narrative stops at 1116. For the later period. a collective name denoting the population of Asia). concern veches in Novgorod and Pskov. 4 5 The Laurentian text of the Suzdal’ Chronicle in PSRL.I Sergeevich devoted much attenmade contemporaries look upon the invaders as ‘Tatars’ (at the time. There are also other reasons. Sources The basic sources concerning the early Russian veche are the medieval Russian chronicles. the Novgorod veche can only be understood properly if it is regarded as a specific and perhaps atypical outcome of the developments of the preceding centuries. 1927.M. they get more numerous. V. apart from the importance of the veche of Novgorod. especially the Primary or Nestor Chronicle. Istoriia Gosudarstva Rossiiskago. for the Novgorod veche the Novgorod Chronicle must be added. It is.5 Among the prerevolutionary Russian legal historians. A useful secondary source is N. but still should not be altogether disregarded in this respect. 1816-1829 (hereafter: Karamzin). Karamzin’s monumental Istoriia Gosudarstva Rossiiskago. N. an essential component for constructing a comprehensive view of Kievan Russia. Leningrad. first of all. for looking more closely at the early medieval Russian veche.Peterburg. Before considering the early Russian veche briefly from these various points of view. A subsequent association with Greek tartaros (underworld) was responsible for the common European misnomer ‘Tartars’. Medieval Russian legislation provides little information on the activities of the veche. 1. whose extensive footnotes offer long quotations from the various chronicles on which the work is based. And. there are a handful of references from the 11th century. and the next generation of Russian medieval chronicles. There are also interesting parallels with similar institutions in West European legal history. a survey of the main sources and the principal characteristics is required.148 Law in Medieval Russia less. the veche has enjoyed increased interest in recent times when it is often seen as a precursor of present democratic institutions. such as the Suzdal’ Chronicle.

Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy. 8 The discussion is conveniently summarized by I. D’iakonov. along with the study by Granberg (mentioned above). Local elites (the town-elders) may act independently. i. however. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi. 1908. Sergeevich. part 2.). It appears to have the power to decide certain important questions. 132-142) has recently drawn the attention to the confusion surrounding the unstable terminology in the sources: where terms other than veche are used.B.9 The veche is. S. footnote 83. 10 Further references in Froianov. Of considerable interest is also the work of M. Divested of its legendary aspects (the execution of an elaborate deception. The decision to surrender the town was then overturned by the town-elders. I have not been able to consult this work. vols. 1909.2 are devoted to the veche (hereafter: Sergeevich. Zernack should be mentioned (Die burgstädtischen Volksversammlungen bei den Ost. 1908. pressed by starvation. one would expect this entry to refer to Vladimir’s days as a pagan. smaller. to lead the Pechenegs astray).Peterburg.122. in principle. 1980 (hereafter: Froianov. Of the Western literature on the veche. S. 2003. “insatiable in vice”.Ia.10 6 7 V. Five Centuries of Veche History The first time the Primary Chronicle mentions a veche is under the entry for the year 997. but the discussion was mostly about aspects of the veche which would assign it a place within the officially established views on Kievan Russia: How ‘democratic’ was the veche in its composition? How marginal was it within the political system? Was it really an ancient institution?7 2.A. This date does not tally with another entry (under the year 980) in the Primary Chronicle.6 Most of the leading Soviet medievalists have written about the veche. Leningrad. the first four chapters of Vol. P. 1903. 1980).Vladimir of Kiev in 9918) by the Pechenegs. 1980. the 991 entry should be interpreted as meaning that Vladimir fortified an already existing town. an assembly of the whole town population. before 988.1-3. 150-184. According to Cross and SherbowitzWetzor in their translation of the Primary Chronicle. the brief narrative already contains several of the elements of the functioning of the veche which return in later reports. Wiesbaden.The Veche in Legal History 149 tion to the veche. body.und Westslaven. at the request of an old man. 160-162. many authors have assumed the presence of another. Drevnosti russkago prava. 9 PSRL Vol. In a tale about the siege of Belgorod (a new town founded by St. who suggested a ruse. such as “council” (sovet). Lukin (“K voprosu o tak nazyvaemom sovete v domongol’skoi Rusi”.I. Drevnosti II). reminiscent of other stories of Near Eastern origin. 115-136. . where it is stated that Vladimir. Froianov in Kievskaia Rus’. Moskva 2005. an actual general assembly of the population may be meant.Peterburg (2nd ed.1. the work by K. 1967). col. the second part of his work on Russian legal antiquities is entitled “Veche and Prince”. maintained 300 concubines in Belgorod. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. the chronicler recounts how the population of the town. sometimes. assembled to decide on the best course of action.e. Studien zur verfassungsgeschichtlichen Bedeutung des Veče.

but merely a term denoting an assembly of the urban population. see.377. also Froianov. 155-160. The story of the veche during the first period is told completely adequately by Sergeevich in the first chapter of his second volume on the antiquities of Russian law. Although my analysis of the veche is generally close to that of Granberg. 3.A.L. . Pronsk. T. referring to these later on as veche meetings. Rostov. also. Polotsk. 1980. when the town finally had to submit to the Moscow grand prince. argue that only those places in the chronicles which speak explicitly about the veche as such should be taken into account in investigating the nature of the veche. The juxtaposition of chronicle places which explicitly refer to veche meetings and other places which refer to urban assemblies acting in a similar manner is artificial.11 11 PSRL . Granberg (quoted above in note 1).1. 1987. “Konstruirovanie narrativa v parallel’nykh letopisnykh soobshchenniiakh o veche”. Limonov. Vilkul. there are even passages which first mention popular assemblies. A few Russian authors. but also most other important towns of the era: Chernigov. as mentioned above. Iu. Leningrad. Cf. Vladimiro-Suzdal’skaia Rus’. Zvenigorod.150 Law in Medieval Russia From 997 to 1510. Kiev. at 212. a very significant body of evidence concerning the veche emerges. Novgorod and Kiev appear of course most often in the chronicles. in 1510. Smolensk. but more often its activity is implied in other terminology. part 2. there are occasional reports about veches in subordinate provincial towns: Moscow. in the same volume as Granberg’s study. The five centuries of veche history may neatly be divided into two equally long periods: before and after the Tataro-Mongol invasions in the middle of the 13th century. Iaroslavl’. as has also been pointed out in Russian literature. Vladimir-Volynsk. and others. Briansk. It will be sufficient to summarize his findings here and add an occasional comment. Polotsk. During the second period. Granberg held that the veche was not a political institution. If all these reports are collected. as well as J. The Veche in Early Kievan Russia The veche is frequently mentioned by name in the chronicles. 210-243. Vladimir (on the Kliazma). On this basis. “and all lands” [i vsia vlasti] would assemble for consultation at the veche “from time immemorial” (iznachala). Drevnosti II. 117-149. A famous entry in the Suzdal’ Chronicle states (under the year 1176) that the people of Novgorod. Suzdal’. cf. col. such as “the people of such-and-such a town assembled and decided that […]”. the veche was primarily a matter of the city-states of Novgorod and Pskov. 1-2.Vol. On the events in 1176. Sergeevich. Smolensk. Putivl’. The last veche of an independent population was held in Pskov. the chronicles report frequently on the holding of veches in various Russian towns. Riazan’. I believe that her position on the point indicated introduces an unnecessary semantic complication.

became princes of Chernigov and Pereiaslavl’ respectively.). 1978.1. 4344. Vseslav absconded. was more or less maintained by his son Iaroslav the Wise (†1054). and this time it was in particular the veche of Vladimir which played an active role. was being besieged by his cousin Vasil’ko Rostislavich.14 The next major crisis erupted in 1097 in the aftermath of the Liubech peace conference. The sons and grandsons of some of the participants in the previous crisis met to patch up their differences. prince of Polotsk. Sviatoslav and Vsevolod. The unity of the Kievan empire. The people of Vladimir told their prince David at a veche meeting that they would fight for him. In the course of a campaign against the nomad Polovtsians. V. who were then handed over to Vasil’ko. whom he (Vasil’ko) considered responsible for David ordering him (Vasil’ko) to be blinded. grand prince of Kiev.Vladimir. 1995. Iziaslav fled in a hurry and the Kievans proclaimed Vseslav. part 1. Froianov. Iz istorii feodal’noi Rossii [Mavrodin Festschrift]. 1068-1069. and two other sons. Primary Chronicle.13 Vseslav had been arrested treacherously by Iziaslav Iaroslavich of Kiev and incarcerated in Kiev. and a solemn pact of unity was concluded. liberated from his dungeon. prince of Terebovl’. died before his father St. Iziaslav. Later on. 38-46). along with the Kiev veche. Leningrad.12 Two examples may be recounted briefly. Traces of a similar system may be observed in pre-medieval Germanic dynastic succession.Ia. A feud already existed between these brothers and their nephew Vseslav. 173-195 (a reworking of “Veche v Kieve 1068-1069 gg. Drevniaia Rus’.171-173. Ezhov (ed. The latter demanded the extradition of three advisors of David. who called a veche and issued an ultimatum to their prince. prince of Vladimir. established by St.Vladimir. This matter is discussed at greater length in the chapters on “The Elder Brother in Russia” and “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. Iziaslav. based on the collective right to rule of the Rurikid house.Peterburg. . the latter’s eldest son. col.The Veche in Legal History 151 The majority of reports about veche meetings is connected with the dynastic crises which occurred with great regularity in Kievan Russia. PSRL Vol. the grandson of Iaroslav the Wise’s elder brother Iziaslav. his line remained forever in a disadvantaged position. 14 This Iziaslav. David Ol’govich. I. After seven months and under threat from a counterattack by Iziaslav. S. but not for his advisors. among the Merovingians and Carolingians. completely fell out with his own people.II. Soon hostilities broke out again. Karamzin. The original system of Rurikid succession did not allow for substitution in case a son predeceased his father. The following excerpt of the complicated story has to suffice. and the Kiev veche invited Iziaslav back as their prince. Vol. David was driven from the town of Vladimir 12 13 The background of these crises was the peculiar nature of the Kievan confederation (if one could call it that). who was already unpopular in Kiev.”. inherited the throne of Kiev.A. in the same year.

PSRL Vol. in principle. The Poles (Liakhi). 1980. etc. Polotsk (Polochane). the Turkic nomads such as the Pechenegs and the Polovtsians. part 1. 8-12. also.46-53. until the ruling line of the Rurikid house died out soon after the death of Ivan the Terrible (1584). quoted above. cols.1.. Moskva. 1980.Vladimir and his immediate forbears who eliminated other independent tribal princes. 30-53 (A. These terms may refer.15 Similar developments were recurrent all through the 12th century. ed. I. there are for instance clear references in the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. The text of the 945 (944) treaty is in the Primary Chronicle under the year 945.).152 Law in Medieval Russia by his cousins. the title of prince (kniaz’) and the right to rule could belong only to a member of this house. Along with the text from the annals. The Kievan ‘Empire’ The polity of Kievan Rus’ was ethnically defined. 4. Russian text and English translation in Kaiser. 313-360 and 447-475. 5. Poliane.256-273. Vol. Zimin. etc. Radimichi. son of Sviatopolk. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi–pervaia polovina X v. the emissaries stated that they had been sent by the grand prince Igor. and Mstislav. The Russians were divided into groups whose designations were derived from the major town in their territory: the Kievans. of sovereignty. The larger town areas had their roots in earlier tribal divisions among the Eastern Slavs (Dregovichi. his princes and boyars and the whole people of Rus’ (which in this instance meant Kiev). and A. . were outsiders. Laws.A. It was only St. federalism. part 1. the people from Smolensk (Smoliane). was installed as prince of Vladimir. the Hungarians (Ougry).16 The treaty of 971 was con15 16 PSRL Vol. Mstislav was killed and the Vladimir veche sent an ultimatum to his father Sviatopolk to the effect that they would surrender the town to David unless Sviatopolk would come and relieve them promptly. the Finnish tribes in the North (the Chud’ and others). To grasp the general picture one has to leave aside more modern concepts of the state.Veche and Prince The available evidence suggests that at the dawn of Russian history general popular assemblies played an important part in the political decisionmaking process. Moskva. also in PPR I. Froianov. etc. 164-167. Henceforth. In the treaty of 945. see. David returned and laid siege to the town.N. as such divisions are documented for the protohistorical period in the Primary Chronicle. II (1961). Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. depending on the context.1. Sorlin. the Novgorodians.). cols. Sakharov. 1952. to the inhabitants of the town or of the entire territory of which the town was the focal point. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. that people had been assembling in veches of old in the Russian territories.

col. the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. i. whose consent was required.N. By virtue of the seniority or starshinstvo principle. These powers might perhaps go back to arrangements in prehistoric times. usually by ejecting his predecessor. of which the first one extant dates from 1264. with their father or eldest brother residing in Kiev.). 1949 (hereafter GVNP). corresponding roughly to the old tribal principalities: Novgorod. Vladimir and others. once the riad started to be written down. the death of a more senior prince would result in a reshuffling of the princely seats. There is evidence that a riad was even concluded with a prince who had imposed himself by force.e. Drevnosti II. but a new contract could be concluded when circumstances had changed. a contract between the veche and the prince. The dynasty founded by St. but at least for the Kievan period they can be explained adequately in light of the dynastic peculiarities of Rurikid rule (see. also.73. the strategic weakening of the prince’s position led to the institutionalization of this right by means of a riad. was actually in the form of a request. .The Veche in Legal History 153 cluded by the Kievan grand prince Sviatopolk who stated that his boyars and “all Russia” agreed with him. related above. The contractual formula. there were scores of princes who had to be provided with a livelihood. also. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova.17 The two examples from the Primary Chronicle. demonstrate that the veche could act independently. As long as the size of the ruling house remained modest.19 17 18 19 PSRL Vol. part 1. This is evidenced by the later contracts (or treaties) between Novgorod and a series of princes of Tver’. The veche in many Russian towns could invite and dismiss its own prince. S. Polotsk. Valk (ed. a place to rule. in the course of the Kievan period at any rate. This contract was formally confirmed by oath by both sides kissing the Cross (krestnoe tselovanie).18 Such a contract was invariably concluded at the prince’s accession. The veche could probably claim an ancient right to approve or disapprove of its prince. it was obviously not only much more than an advisory body to the prince. 80-92. perhaps also to elect and dismiss him. The continuous coming and going of princes implied in this system allowed the towns concerned to strengthen their position vis-à-vis their prince. More extensively on the riad. the most important princes would each occupy one of the major town-territories. but also more than a co-governing body. Within a few generations. to kiss the Cross.Vladimir stood out by its prolificity. Moskva/Leningrad. to which numerous others could be added. 9-10. see. but. and a declaration of readiness.1. Rostov. Sergeevich. the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”).

These towns together with the entire province around them were the origin of the Russian principalities of later centuries. Composition of the Veche As an institution whose roots went back into prehistory. in questions of war and peace. part 1. the druzhina. Two aspects may be distinguished. that is to say in defining relationships with other Russian principalities. at this disposal.154 Law in Medieval Russia As no actual texts of riady from the earlier Kievan period have survived. while the dynasty was still small. where the cousins specifically agreed to settle each for the domains of their respective fathers (derzhit’ otchinu svoiu). The chronicles often make the point that a town (and it territory) without a prince was to be pitied and was as a defenceless orphan. With the proliferation of the Rurikids. In case of serious hostilities. and this may also contribute to the explanation of the veche’s interest in the prince’s military intentions and capabilities. Initially. In those chronically troubled times the prince. the veche would usually also claim a deciding vote in ‘foreign affairs’. col. Smolensk. of military operations often remained with the veche. The political direction. 6. Tver’.1. junior princes would usually be granted so20 This tendency was already noticeable in the results of the Liubech conference of 1097 (mentioned before). to be raised from various taxes and court-fees. its territorial and its social composition. Chernigov. in particular. who had his own armed retinue.20 Within those sub-dynasties. which resulted in sub-dynasties in places like Vladimir. In a wider sense. speculation on their contents must mainly be based on inferences from the generally laconic statements in the chronicles. The latter. the veche did not enjoy a clear-cut institutional framework. sons and younger brothers of the Kievan grand prince would take up residence in the other major towns (among which Novgorod ranked first). . It is clear that the basic duties of the prince embraced military and civil leadership in furthering the interests of his territory and its populace. with the town came a large territory. an army would have to be raised from the population. as mentioned before. if one could call it that. as indicated by a number of incidents where the prince was ordered or forbidden to engage in certain campaigns. was usually the most reliable rallying-point for military organization. For his efforts the prince received certain revenues. and of its influence on the policies to be adopted. etc. PSRL Vol. were connected with the increasing role of organized government which slowly began to assume legislative and judicial functions.257. individual branches of the family tended to hold on to the territories of their respective ancestors.

narochitye liudi). Pereiaslavl’. Whatever evidence is available . In other cases. the democratic character of the veche should not be understood in the modern sense. The inescapable conclusion from the abundant evidence in the chronicles is that the veche was actually an assembly of the people at hand. and whether people would come to such meetings fully armed is unknown. That the entire free population was in principle entitled to participate in the veche is further confirmed by several reports about the participants being armed. the boyars. In some cases. the annalists wrote mainly about dramatic events and crises. were discussed in the veche. the leading citizens (luchshie liudi. A veche might also be called in the field during a military campaign. Commentators generally agree that this formula should be understood as referring to all the free people and would therefore exclude slaves. would therefore encompass. Moscow. attendance at the veche could be much more restricted. or Novgorod. It is quite conceivable that important peaceful projects. such as the building of a cathedral or a change in the tax system. A number of reports provide more detail by mentioning the various groups of participants: the higher clergy (the metropolitan in Kiev and the bishop in other major towns). but the enumeration often ends with a formula like “and all the people of […]”. More intriguing is the effect of social stratification. one may easily understand that women could not take part and that fathers would speak for their sons. participants from other towns subordinate to the regional capital. Kievan towns like Chernigov. often had their own prince. these subordinate towns would usually send their own representatives to the veche of Kiev. was originally a minor principality within the old principality of Vladimir. whose existence in early Kievan Russia is not in doubt.The Veche in Legal History 155 called apanage principalities (udely or udel’nye kniazhestva). especially with regard to Kiev and Novgorod. or Belgorod. certain relatively important towns had the rank of a suburb (prigorod). for instance. Equally. the social side. Veches of major towns. the chern’). So did Pskov. members of the rural population of the province might be present at the veche in the capital town. and the most common disturbances were war and civil strife. and then obviously only the townspeople could attend. There are several stories of veches assembling during the siege of a town. common people (chernye liudi. Minor towns could have their own veche meeting. merchants. Still. Of all the people? This concerns the second aspect of the composition of the veche. On the other hand. Taking account of the mental and cultural setting of the medieval veche. as a rule. Pskov was subordinate to Novgorod. Inevitably. and numerous chronicle reports refer to such events.

the evidence shows that it was very well possible to hold veche meetings without him. This is already the picture presented by the ancient texts of the treaties with Byzantium. Veche Procedure Another aspect of the low degree of institutionalization of the veche concerns its convocation and procedure.156 Law in Medieval Russia from the chronicles suggests that a more stratified view of society was all-pervasive: society was looked upon as a hierarchical structure where every person or group had its proper place: princes and bishops at the top. 1995. 148 and note 320. but in most cases the people just assembled. the princely throne could be vacant. 288-289. Ringing the church bells was the accepted way of calling the people together. Drevnosti II. Rostov-na-Donu (first published 1886). burn their houses and rob their wealth. without any argument.IV. and it remains more or less unchanged until in the end the exceptionally exalted position of the Moscow grand prince overshadowed all other social distinctions. and possibly also in the minds of some annalists. In such a case. which are obviously regarded as normal and proper. occasionally one sees the prince or the bishop or another important person taking the initiative. See. Sergeevich.F. also. No simple answer can be given to the question of the presence and participation of the prince. Among later authors. lists a number of arguments against the construction. but occasionally socially motivated anger would flare up and the chern’ (the ‘black’ people) would rise and chastize the rich and powerful. then the greater nobles (boyars). There are. there should in principle be a prince in every territory. also accepts the possibility. VladimirskiiBudanov. at least in later times and in towns. Froianov. In the view of those times. . 7482. earning themselves the stern disapproval of the annalists. ordinary people. on account of the last prince having died or having been ejected. whose views are generally close to those of Sergeevich. when a veche is condemned because of its obviously unsatisfactory composition (when it was little more than a conspiracy) or when it grossly violated the deal (riad) made with its prince by the purpose of its convocation and the decisions taken. 150-158. 1980. Veche debates were undoubtedly dominated by the socially prominent. There was apparently no defined right to call a veche. 98-101. Vol. other leading citizens. But even in the normal case when there was a ruling prince. The chronicles report 21 A prominent proponent of the possibility of the ‘unlawful veche’ was M. Obzor istorii russkogo prava. far more instances of veche meetings without the prince and leading to the dismissal of the prince. there exists a concept of an unlawful veche. However. the meeting could be regarded as a form of rebellion or treason (kramola). on the other hand.21 7. dependent persons. Karamzin.

not only in Novgorod and Pskov. There are several reports of veche meetings in which the prince was deposed and the crowd then went on to pillage and plunder the prince’s palace and the houses of his supporters. of a separate executive. he argues. 62-72. Cambridge. one of the grandsons of Chingis-Khan. note 302. Vol. A minority. At times. and unanimity would ensue.24 He was 22 23 24 Karamzin. but also in Vladimir. feelings would run so high that the veche turned into a lynching mob. 8. see Ch. Therefore.22 Neither was there a regular procedure to be followed. D. the side that came out on top would carry the day in the veche.The Veche in Legal History 157 the existence of a special veche bell. Halperin. Only unanimity could justify it. the capital cities of most other Russian principalities surrendered to the Mongols or were taken by storm. Only the city-states of Novgorod and Pskov in the Northwest were spared Mongol invasion. the Tatar khan could be designated as the sovereign.23 The rightness of a decision. Ohio. . with the number of its supporters.IV. but. in the eyes of the medieval Russians. 1986. convinced of the correctness of its position. and this would be almost impossible if there was no unanimity. High clerics occasionally exercised a moderating influence and might thus have acted as a kind of chairmen. Drevnosti II. 1304-1589. but on the whole the procedure seems to have been chaotic. Columbus. The particular character of Tataro-Mongol overlordship had a profound effect on Russia. or at least weakness. would not easily give in. The fall of Kiev in December 1240 signified the end of the era of Kievan Rus’. In December 1237 Riazan’. or chased away. The operation of this mechanism was further reinforced by the absence. the weaker side could be beaten into submission. Sergeevich’s explanation is worth restating.J. the easternmost and therefore most exposed of the Russian principalities fell. To take recourse to fisticuffs was not such a bizarre procedure in a system which regularly made judicial use of duels to find out “the will of God”. This often led to violence among the participants and. In modern terms. The Tatar Yoke. from a legal point of view. appeared and defeated the Turkic Bolgars of the Middle Volga region. a break with the past was more difficult to observe. The Veche after 1240 In 1236 the armies of Baty (or Batu). had nothing to do. in such cases. The participants of the veche themselves had to execute the most important decisions. In 1238. force would often be the only way out. Ostrowski. Sergeevich. at least in the beginning. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-Cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier. On the conceptualization of Mongol rule in Russia during the Middle Ages and subsequently. 1998.

and Iaroslavl’. The latter had fled with his family to Kostroma. the same title as enjoyed by the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors) and receiving the taxes imposed by him. Suzdal’. 45 and note 91. Karamzin. when it was still ruthless and effective. who had to travel to his headquarters. when khan Tokhtamish was engaged in a full-scale campaign against the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi. which expressed itself in a veche meeting. It is doubtful whether Russians would dare to rise up against the immediate representatives of Mongol rule at that time.27 There is another sporadic report of civil unrest in Briansk in 1340. By playing the princes against one another and enlisting their support in tax-collection. in which the prince served by virtue of the khan’s indulgence. “at the sound of the bells assembled for a veche. He left the actual job of governing the Russian principalities to the Russian princes. the most important one concerned the year 1262 when veches were held in Rostov.29 25 26 27 28 PSRL Vol. 55 and note 105. 36. Vol. Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma. to be invested with their dignity (bringing suitable presents). remembering the ancient right of the Russian citizens to decide their own fate in important situations by a majority of votes”. . There are very few reports of veches from the second half of the 13th century and beyond. in the vicinity of Moscow. but the impression is given that these meetings were little else but local disturbances. Drevnosti II. also Sergeevich. significantly. Sergeevich. there was little room for veche independence. Vol.IV. 36-37. The people of Moscow. Karamzin calls this meeting—and the ones in Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma. Vol. the khan was able to control a vast territory with great profit and little effort. if one hesitates to call it a right. in Moscow. 148 and note 320.1. rebelled against the local aristocracy at veche meetings. In this scheme. even as far as Karakorum. The old practice. and Tokhtamish had already captured Serpukhov. mentioned in the preceding footnote—unlawful. col. Karamzin. in the words of Karamzin. Karamzin points out that the “Besurmene” of the Chronicles were probably not Tatars.476 (Suzdal’ Chronicle). Moscow was subsequently taken and destroyed by the Tatars.28 There is a final mention of a veche meeting in 1382. Vladimir. in which it was decided to throw out the Tatar tax collectors. Vol. Drevnosti II.158 Law in Medieval Russia generally content with being recognized as such (contemporary Russian sources often referred to him as tsar’. the local population of two towns.IV.26 In 1304. cf. but Central Asians who had bought the tax-collection from the khan. 106 and note 209.IV.IV. of appointing and dismissing princes was incompatible with the new order of things. part 2. 29 Karamzin.25 A similar uprising took place again in Rostov in 1280. Karamzin.

The Veche in Legal History


In the Northwest of the country, where the effect of Tataro-Mongol
overlordship was less acute and the Polish-Lithuanian state was the dominant power, the veche survived much longer.30

9. The Situation in Novgorod and Pskov
Although a special discussion of the role of the veche in medieval Novgorod
and Pskov is not the purpose of this chapter, the topic cannot very well be
passed over completely in a discussion of the veche in medieval Russia.
From the very beginning, Novgorod displayed more independence
vis-à-vis its princes than other Russian towns. During the first decades
of the 12th century, it gradually appropriated the right to elect its own
posadnik, who was originally an official appointed by the prince to rule the
town during the latter’s absence.31 The posadnik thus became the elected
burgomaster. The major showdown took place in 1136, when the men from
Pskov and Ladoga (Novgorod ‘suburbs’) were invited to a veche, which then
imprisoned the serving Novgorod prince Vsevolod32 and his family and
expelled him. From then on, the Novgorod veche appointed and expelled
the prince (“showed him the road”, in the standard terminology of the
Novgorod Chronicle) at will, and occasionally at the drop of a hat. The
veche even managed to secure the right to appoint its own bishops (archbishop since 1165), subject to approval by the metropolitan of Kiev.
The social and political organization of Novgorod was complicated,
but the veche remained the centre of Novgorod’s political life right to
the end in 1478, because most of the main actors depended on the favour
of the veche. It was generally dominated by clans of boyars and wealthy
merchants. The most important official after the posadnik was the tysiatskii
(chiliarch, ‘thousandman’), originally the military commander. Together
with other prominent citizens from the boyar class, in particular their
predecessors, the posadnik and the tysiatskii formed the Council of Lords
(Sovet Gospod), in charge of day-to-day business. The offices of posadnik and
tysiatskii stayed in the hands of boyar families. Nonetheless, the Novgorod
Chronicle contains numerous reports of posadniks being dismissed, banished, or even executed by order of the veche.


D’iakonov mentions instances of veche meetings in 1465/1470 in Polotsk and in 1440
in Smolensk; M.A. D’iakonov, Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei
Rusi, S.Peterburg (2nd ed.), 1908, 136.


In the course of the 13th century, the posadnik had so clearly become a Novgorod
official that the prince’s representative went by another title, the namestnik; e.g. the
entry for 1215 in the First Novgorod Chronicle.

Vsevolod Mstislavich, grandson of Vladimir Monomakh; Mstislav had become grand
prince of Kiev upon the death of his father in 1125.


Law in Medieval Russia

The Novgorod veche therefore, although it grew out of the old Russian popular assembly of early Kievan times, became a more structured
institution, functioning in a more mature medieval setting; in many ways
it could be compared to similar bodies in Italian and Flemish towns of
the Middle Ages.
In all this, one has to remember that the territory controlled by
Novgorod in its heyday, covering the entire North of European Russia,
was larger than all the other Russian principalities taken together.
The relationship between Pskov and Novgorod mirrored to some
extent the relationship between the latter and Kiev; originally a subordinate town, a ‘suburb’ (prigorod) of Novgorod, Pskov gradually worked itself
free, and in the end (in 1347/1348) saw its independence recognized even
by Novgorod itself. The territory of Pskov was quite small, compared to
the huge size of that of Novgorod. There were other differences as well;
but, in general, the character of the Pskov veche was much like that of
Novgorod.33 The crowning glory of the Pskov veche was the adoption, probably shortly after 1462, of the Court Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia sudnaia
gramota), the most comprehensive Russian legislation enacted between
the Russkaia Pravda and the first code of laws of the unified Russian state,
the Code (Sudebnik) of Ivan III of 1497.34
The development of Novgorod independence in the high Middle
Ages and the concomitant prominence of the Novgorod veche, and, in the
wake of its mother-city, of the Pskov veche, must therefore be traced to
two distinct factors. Novgorod’s independence was already well-developed
in early Kievan times, and it was saved from occupation by the TataroMongols. Both factors were of course linked by Novgorod’s favourable
location in the extreme Northwest of European Russia; this awarded it a
key position in Russia’s trade with Northern and Western Europe, and it
put maximum distance between it and invaders from Asia.

10. Kievan Rus’ as a Period of Transition
Although history is a continuous process of change and transition, one
may speak of transition in a more pregnant sense when referring to a period in which several elements or institutions appear to be in an unstable
balance, resulting in one or the other gaining the upper hand. This would
apply to the period of Kievan Russia, roughly the 11th and 12th centuries,
when veche and princely government struggled for hegemony.


On the Pskov veche, A. Nikitskii, Ocherki vnutrennoi istorii Pskova, S.Peterburg, 18173,

On the Pskov Charter, see Iu.G. Alekseev, Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota i ee vremia,
Leningrad, 1980, where older literature is cited.

The Veche in Legal History


The evidence from these times suggests that the governmental systems of Kiev and the confederative complex of semi-states of which the
grand princely capital of Kiev was the capping-stone, may be regarded as
a kind of dyarchical arrangement. There were the princes, united at least
by the dynastic ties of the Rurikid house, with their own mini-armies of
retainers, their druzhiny, striving to expand their own power, the power of
their own branch of the family, and of the territories controlled by them.
On the other side, there were the territories, dominated by their capital
cities, where the various regional groups within the territories (including
the subordinate towns) and the different social groups in the towns furthered their particular interests specifically through the veche, the main
locus available for negotiating these interests.
As long as the princes continued the practice of seeking advancement
through the starshinstvo system of assigning places according to family
seniority, the veches were able to hold their own and even reinforce their
position vis-à-vis their respective princes. In Novgorod, this resulted in
the de facto establishment of a boyar republic.
With the proliferation of the Rurikid princes and the accompanying
weakening of dynastic solidarity, a succession system based on father-son
succession asserted itself. When the next step was also taken: exclusive
succession by the eldest son, as soon became the rule in the VladimirMoscow branch, the veche proved unable to compete. Before this process
had run its course, it was cut short by the Mongol invasion, introducing
a system of Mongol overlordship which left no place at all for the veche.
Only in Novgorod and Pskov could a veche-dominated system survive for
a few more centuries.

11. The Veche and the Nature of the Kievan Polity
All the more important questions concerning Kievan Rus’ and its legal
system demand a certain concept of the socio-economic and political organization of Russia at that time. The operation of the provisions of the
Russkaia Pravda, the way they related to the function of the prince, the
legal relations concerning land, and between town and country, the legal
status of various groups; these and other questions can be answered more
adequately when such answers can be embedded, or rather visualized, in
a general understanding of Kievan Rus’.
In this respect, two competing views present themselves, based on
parallels with either contemporary Byzantium or early medieval Western
Europe: a system in which trade, concentrated in towns and with the
accompanying dominance of a money economy, prevailed, or rather a
Naturalwirtschaft, in which agriculture was the economically dominant


Law in Medieval Russia

factor, and the legal relationships concerning land were decisive. Prerevolutionary Russian and Western authors were more often inclined to
favour the former view, Soviet authors the latter. The debate was bedevilled
for some time by Marxist dogmatism: feudalism had to follow earlier and
more ‘primitive’ socio-economic arrangements, Kievan Russia was declared
to be a feudal state, and this meant that certain legal and socio-economic
relationships necessarily had to be present there.35 This may also explain
the relative lack of interest in the veche of Kievan Russia among Soviet
historians; the veche did not fit comfortably into the scheme of exploiting
feudal lords versus hard-pressed rural masses.36 Modern Russian historians, such as I.Ia. Froianov, have abandoned this approach and come to a
more balanced judgment.37 (See, also, the chapter on “Land Tenure, the
Druzhina, and the Nature of Kievan Rus’”.)
Without entering into a discussion of the role of the veche in the
above-mentioned debate, we may at least acknowledge that our general
understanding of Kievan Rus’ would be highly relevant in elucidating the
place of the veche during the period concerned, while, conversely, detailed
information about the veche may help in extending our conception of its
general legal and political context.

12. The Veche in a Comparative European Context
Sergeevich had already drawn the attention to institutions similar to the
veche among the Greeks in Homeric times and the Germanic tribes, as
recorded by Tacitus.38 Some four centuries after Tacitus, the last traces of
popular assemblies among the Franks could be observed. Gregory of Tours,
in his history of the Franks, relates how the Ripuarian Franks, after their
king Sigibert had been killed, accepted Clovis, king of the Salic Franks, as
their king by popular assent at an assembly in Cologne, around the year


This question is discussed at greater length in the chapter on “Land Tenure


This standard Soviet treatment of the veche may be encountered in the works of
B.D. Grekov, Kievskaia Rus’, Moskva, 1953, 353-370, and S.V. Iushkov, Obshchestvennopoliticheskii stroi i pravo Kievskogo gosudarstva, Moskva, 1949, 345-359. The entire
discussion is reviewed extensively by M.B. Sverdlov, Obshchestvennyi stroi Drevnei
Rusi v russkoi istoricheskoi nauke XVIII-XX vekov, S.Peterburg, 1996.


See especially the Introduction to I.Ia. Froianov, Drevniaia Rus’, Moskva/S.Peterburg, 1995, 5-21. Also, by the same author: Kievskaia Rus’: Glavnye cherty sotsial’noekonomicheskogo stroia, S.Peterburg, 1999 (basically a longer version of a work with the
same title from 1974); Kievskaia Rus’: Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii, Leningrad,
1980; Kievskaia Rus’: Ocherki otechestvennoi istoriografii, Leningrad. The three Kievskaia
Rus’ titles have been republished, together with other works by Froianov, in Nachala
Russkoi istorii, Moskva, 2001.

In the Germania, chapters 11-15; cf. Sergeevich, Drevnosti II, 119-149.

The Veche in Legal History


504.39 Charlemagne, after conquering and forcibly converting the Saxons,
forbade them to hold popular assemblies any longer in 789.40 Some of the
Germanic leges barbarorum were ostensibly adopted by popular assemblies:
e.g. the Lex Alamannorum, around 712-725, and the addition to the Lex
Baiuvariorum (the so-called decree of Duke Tassilo of 772).41

13. The Russian Veche and Legislation
The era of Kievan Russia is the period in which an organized state structure
gradually took shape. This implies that law in the traditional sense began
to be explicitly created and applied by particular institutions. Whether the
veche played a role in this process is therefore a legitimate question. On
the one hand, it is obvious that a large assembly—often called together at
the spur of the moment, enjoying neither a well-defined composition nor
clear operational procedures—could not bear the legislative responsibilities of a modern parliament. On the other hand, in view of the supreme
powers the veche appears to have exercised originally and which survived
in some places and to some extent into Kievan times and even beyond, one
would expect the veche to be at least occasionally involved in important
decision-making of a legislative nature. There are, indeed, a few indications pointing in this direction.
As related above, some of the 10th century treaties with the Greeks
were concluded on behalf of the whole Russian (i.e. Kievan) population,
and quite possibly some kind of consultation of the population (in this
case probably the field army) may have accompanied the negotiations
with the Greeks.
The Statute of 1150 of prince Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk,
which regulates certain rights of the Smolensk Church, states that it had
been decreed by the prince after consultation with his people (sdumav s
liudmi svoimi).42 Similar formulas may be encountered in Novgorod charters
which embody treaty texts. Most texts begin with a greeting on behalf
of the bishop (or sometimes the prince), the posadnik, the tysiatskii, other
important persons, and “all Novgorod” or “all Novgorodians”. But, in some


Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, where it says in XXXIV: Interdiximus, ut omnes Saxones
generaliter conventos publicos ne faciant.

Historia Francorum, ch.II, 39. Another general assembly, called by Clovis, is mentioned
by Gregory of Tours in ch.II, 42.



H. Conrad, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. Band I: Frühzeit und Mittelalter, Karlsruhe (2nd
ed.), 1962, 100, 133.

PRP II, 37-42. Of course, liudmi could also be interpreted more narrowly as referring
to the prince’s advisors, but several knowledgeable commentators have argued that
in this case the term must refer to the Smolensk veche.


Law in Medieval Russia

cases, the treaty is declared to have been concluded by the said persons
and “all Novgorod”, or the principal Novgorod spokesman (the bishop or
the prince) states that he has consulted these persons and “all Novgorod”
(sgadav […] so vsem Novgorodom).43 The Court Charter of Pskov states explicitly (as mentioned above) that it was adopted by the Pskov veche.
It would be an exaggeration to speak of the veche as an important
legislator or co-legislator in Kievan times. For one thing, the volume of
explicit legislation was quite small, and for another, most legislation was
closely connected with what we would regard as the judicial function: the
organization of prosecution, courts, and execution, ant it was precisely
this function which was one of the core elements of princely power.
The best functional parallel of the veche’s legislative impact in modern times would be the referendum: a consultation of the population on
broad issues of great interest to one and all, questions of war and peace
being foremost among them.

14. Renewed Interest in the Veche
The more recent studies by Froianov are representative of a renewed interest in the Kievan period of Russian history and of a willingness, even
eagerness, to review critically the undisputed achievements of Soviet
historians and legal historians.44 It is of course fully understandable, and
in fact quite justified, that serious scholarship felt the need to purge itself
from ideological ballast. The Marxist obsession with class struggle and
its rigid classification of historical periods constituted the centre-piece
of a mental straightjacket, which was first imposed from outside, but
subsequently internalized and freely embraced by most members of the
But the veche may also be understood as having a symbolic significance for present-day Russians: it could be argued that Russia, having lived
through the despotism of the rulers of Muscovy, the autocracy of the
tsars, and the totalitarian regime of the Soviets, has now returned to the
democratic beginnings of the Kievan era.
A sober look at the facts would add a few question-marks to such an
argument. The veche reflected a socio-political order which was already
being replaced by new relationships at the time from which the first
documentary evidence dates. There are no indications that the veche was

Cf. GVNP No.29 (pp.56-57), a treaty of 1262/1263 with the Hanseatic cities; GVNP No.31
(pp.58-61), a treaty of 1269 with the Hanseatic cities.
Cf. S.V. Bushuev, “Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskie otnosheniia i obshchestvennyi stroi
Drevnei Rusi”, in S.V. Bushuev & G.E. Mironov, Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskogo: Istorikobibliograficheskie ocherki, Book 1, Moskva, 1991, 95-100.

The Veche in Legal History


viewed by its contemporaries in terms of its democratic merits. There has
been a tendency in Russia, at least for the last 200 years, to look upon
Kievan Russia as the country’s golden age, and a democratic veche, preferably deciding matters by consensus, would make the myth even more
attractive. Myths may even be true, but one should have a clear idea at
what level.


the hierarchical order within the Kievan ruling house underwent a metamorphosis by which a quasi-contractual relationship between “elder” and “younger” brothers became the dominant idea. It is equally undeniable that Rurik was 1 B. is not entirely clear. all the rulers of Russia and its component principalities had belonged to the house of Rurik. during the last decades of Soviet power. leading Soviet historians denied the Scandinavian roots of Rurik. Kievskaia Rus’. Grekov. period feodalizma IX-XV vv. and until the death of tsar Fedor Ivanovich. and in 1722 Peter the Great introduced his Table of Ranks which assigned all military.). the ‘elder brother’ metaphor enjoyed a certain popularity in Soviet political discourse. Moskva. 1949. In the early period of Kievan Rus’. In an amended form. As the Kievan empire was gradually transformed into a loose confederation of semi-independent principalities. the political hierarchy among Soviet leaders became more and more formalized. 76-77 (the chapter in question was written by Grekov himself). 1953. to such an extent that an individual’s status could be precisely determined by considering the office occupied by him.V. Grekov (ed. The House of Rurik From the Kievan grand prince Vladimir (†1016). Ocherki istorii SSSR. Then the concept of hierarchical ranking returned within the organization of the Muscovy state through the institution of mestnichestvo.1 This politically motivated position is not supported by anybody any longer. Iushkov is quite outspoken in Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva. civilian and court personnel to one of 14 ranks. .. In Stalin’s time. This arrangement lost its relevance when the grand princes of Moscow acquired supreme power and exclusive sovereignty in the entire Russian land. 1953. the insignificant son of Ivan the Terrible. but seems to deny Rurik’s Scandinavian credentials in a collective work published in the same year: B.Chapter 6 The Elder Brother in Russia The starting-point for this chapter is the curious fact that a concept of hierarchical ranking or seniority has been prominent in most of the more than thousand years of the history of the Russian state.D. 1. For a while. S. in 1598. Moskva. the Table of Ranks survived until the October Revolution. 452-453. in his best-known work.D. 67. Moskva. This system lasted until 1682. the attribution of offices according to the social position of the prospective incumbent and his family. it manifested itself in a combination of ranking of princes belonging to the ruling house and a corresponding ranking of provincial capitals assigned to various princes. Vol.1.

Pchelov does not even discuss the opinions of Grekov and Iushkov.g. Kievskaia Rus’. Moskva. closely connected to the previous one. . self-evident within the setting of the times. During this period. included in Sochineniia. Sergeevich. 1908.Peterburg. IX-XI v. incapacitated. the principle typically belongs to patriarchal societies. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii.4 The second principle discernible. 4 This question was first asked by E. Moskva. See. 1909. The evidence from the Primary Chronicle and other sources is quite clear and reveals the operation of several interlocking principles. Also V. 1956. ch. 164-216. at least during the first centuries after Rurik. Lektsii po russkoi istorii. 248-249. Shchepkin in his paper “Poriadok prestolonaslediia u drevnenorvezhskikh konungov”.).3 In any case. Igor or Ingvar and his wife Olga or Helga. Vol. was seniority: within the ruling house seniority determined the sequence of succession. was that the house prevailed over its individual members. Moskva.O.168 Law in Medieval Russia not just a Viking adventurer but could claim royal rank on account of his ancestry. Drevnosti II. 5 The formidable Olga. 55-57. 1938. Vol. absent. Whether princely succession among the descendants of Rurik had its origin in Scandinavian or in local Russian tradition is difficult to answer. The question may also be approached differently. Kniazhoe pravo v drevnei Rusi. who assumed the reign when he reached manhood.I.. Rurik (Hrörekr) arrived in Russia in 862. and also by the same author. 232-235. also called Nestor Chronicle or Tale of Bygone Years). Presniakov. Froianov.I. that rulership belonged to the house. served as a regent for her son Sviatoslav. women may occasionally be in the supreme ruling position. the Scandinavian element in the ruling house and its attendants was slowly being absorbed by its Slavic surroundings. Kliuchevskomu. I. and Sviatoslav) waged war with and subdued other Slavic tribes populating European Russia. the two systems were probably very similar. A. 1909. 180185. Moskva (3rd ed. Kievskaia Rus’. posviashchennykh V.2 According to the annals (the Primary Chronicle. as has been done by several prominent Russian historians in the past: as a way to solve the tension between seniority within the family (starshinstvo) and the claim to receive one’s father’s heritage or patrimony (otchina).V. S. but then as mothers. in his section on the possibility of Rurik’s Slavic origins.1. in Sbornik statei. e. or more explicitly. 68-70. V. The first principle. Kurs russkoi istorii. The third principle. 1980. Generally. 2001.5 2 3 Cf. deceased). wives or widows of men who are for some reason unable to rule (being too young. Kliuchevskii. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. Pchelov. is that only male members of the house of Rurik were eligible to succeed. Moskva. who ruled from 945-964.. Leningrad. His relatives and descendants (the Kievan princes Oleg or Helgi. rather than to any individual member. E.

Family hierarchy was determined first by generation. among the less prominent towns the proper sequence is less clear.The Elder Brother in Russia 169 In its original and strict form. for obvious reasons). the sense of forming a single ruling fam6 7 This is suggested by the fact that the principle. but also among various Turkic and Mongol peoples. Smolensk. The division of Chingis-Khan’s empire among his sons and later on among his other descendants was quite similar to the older Russian system. It goes without saying that within the system fathers and grandfathers were always considered senior in respect of their sons and grandsons. In other words. even where the latter were sons of elder and predeceased brothers. and this need not be his son(s). all those with lower seniority would move up one step on the ladder. occurs in pre-medieval times not only among Indo-European peoples. Solov’ev in Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen. and within the generation usually by age. and this hierarchy corresponded with a hierarchy of cities. The hierarchy of Russian cities can be reconstructed on the basis of historical records as: Kiev. .7 As the ruling house of Rurik expanded. The point of view advanced here is by no means uncontested. as described. Ideally. if required. also. there was a clearly observable tendency in Kievan times to deplete first an entire generation of potential successors before passing on to the most senior member of the next generation. Polotsk. Rostov. breaking up of large herds of cattle. Pereiaslavl’. See. Novgorod. but on account of his position in the family. the patrimonial or substitution principle did not operate: sons did not automatically step into the shoes of their fathers. of course never operated as such. Especially with regard to succession to the throne of Kiev (the best documented case. The central importance of starshinstvo was first stressed by S. the starshinstvo principle excluded the application of substitution: sons (or grandsons) taking the places of their fathers. when a prince died. When he died. the most ‘senior’.6 The peculiar form of starshinstvo in Old Russia displayed two further features: there existed a more or less fixed hierarchy among family members. A similar system operates to the present day in Saudi-Arabia. in one form or another. the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings and Early Law”. his position was taken over by the most worthy member of the family. The historical origin of the principle is probably in patriarchal pastoral societies where it governed the process of maintaining and. Another consequence of the principle was that the right to rule could be broken up in such a way that all more or less equally worthy members of the family received a share in accordance with their individual starshinstvo. The principle. Uncles preceded nephews. The rationale for this was apparently that the ruler did not enjoy his position on the basis of an individual right.M. Chernigov. There are also clear parallels with the systems of royal succession among the Merovingians and Carolingians and with the derbfine regulating succession in the case of Old-Irish kingship.

in 1132. regarded starshinstvo as one of several principles governing succession in Kievan Russia. 1851-1879. . his Lektsii I. Even during the earlier periods. occupied an intermediate position. The Kievan realm became fragmented in ever smaller principalities. Politicheskie instituty Drevnei Rusi.)”. “S”ezd kniazei kak istoricheskii institut Drevnei Rusi”. 233-235. 195-200. 268-278. gained new strength and in fact became and stayed dominant right into the era of Muscovy Russia. due to the incessant moving around of ruling princes.V. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. was that seniority did not disappear as a factor co-determining princely succession. 2. Shchavelev. Soon. dynastic upheavals ensued. This period of ‘separate principalities’ or apanages (udel’nye kniazhestva) formally 8 Moskva.P. also. branches of the family ruled almost without interruption for several centuries in a particular province. never wholly absent in the early Kievan times. A. Gimon & E.8 After the death of Mstislav the Great. while his theories were rejected by V. the son of Vladimir Monomakh. Novosel’tsev (ed. Similar to my view is the one taken by L. rejected Solov’ev’s theory on crude Marxist grounds. Materaly i issledovaniia 1985 god. 61-68. Iushkov. a powerful prince could bypass weaker family members and take by force what according to custom belonged to others. Another consequence. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2004 god. A recent study by A. 149-157. See. the paramount position of the Kievan grand prince diminished and in the end disappeared with the onset of Mongol domination.S.). Mel’nikova (eds. Where the old seniority principle was strictly adhered to. Presniakov in Kniazhoe pravo. A. but. Shchavelev points out that formalized meetings and banquets of princes played an important role in this respect.A. Moskva. 2006. From Genealogical to Contractual Seniority The extraordinary prolificity of the house of Rurik in subsequent centuries aggravated the inherent defects of the original system of succession in more than one way. T.170 Law in Medieval Russia ily weakened and solidarity within sub-divisions of the family increased.A.S. became an object of negotiation among the princes.E. Stroi.I. Nazarenko. 339. and then an element of negotiation would inevitably be involved. A. Sergeevich in Drevnosti II. 1986. of particular interest in the perspective of this chapter. One important consequence of this development was that the patrimonial or substitution principle came to the fore. “Rodovoi suzerenitet Riurikovichei nad Rus’iu (X-XI vv. The tendency of sons succeeding in their fathers’ principalities. Moreover.). The branching out of the ruling house resulted in an obscuring of the seniority pattern based on strict genealogical principles and in a concomitant insecurity in succession procedures. Moskva. having lost its unequivocal genealogical definition. D’iakonov (144-146). seniority would often not be something that could be established with absolute certainty.

Chernigov. the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia” in this work.9 Some of the treaties were concluded between princes who regarded each other as equal. although the supreme position of the grand prince of Muscovy had already been undisputed a long time before. Dereva and Novgorod. Sviatoslav.The Elder Brother in Russia 171 ended with the annexation of the last independent principality of Riazan’ in 1520. The relationship could be expressed in unilateral or bilateral (multilateral) documents. Bakhrushin (ed. the bilateral instruments. were the most important (see.” For defining a seniority relationship. the recognition of seniority among princes remained the most comprehensive expression of the politico-legal relationship between the princes. The first reported treaty between princes of the Rurikid dynasty is from 1026. also. Oleg and Vladimir as subordinate princes in respectively Kiev.V. In this entire period. These treaties are not much different from true international treaties. most are to be found in the state archives of Muscovy and concern relationships between the grand prince of Muscovy and other princes. Vladimir and Smolensk. Vsevolod. where this topic is treated from a somewhat different perspective). In 970. The testament explicitly conferred seniority on the eldest son Iziaslav by exhorting the other sons to: “Heed him as you have heeded me. the relationship was couched in father-son terms. still in pagan times. basically princely treaties. in such cases. and occurred in two forms: the disposition inter vivos and the testament. Moskva/Leningrad. are mentioned in the Primary Chronicle and the practice continued into the 16th century. Vladimir. Igor and Viacheslav as princes in resp. Pereiaslavl’. The standard practice was to refer to one of the treaty partners as the elder brother and the other as the younger brother. the inequality is explicitly expressed in the text.). the Kievan prince Sviatoslav set up his sons Iaropolk. 1950 (hereafter: DDG). Both forms appear at an early stage in Russian history. that he may take my place among you. Dukhovnye i dogovornye gramoty velikikh i udel’nykh kniazei XIV-XVI vv. Numerous other princely treaties. The former type lent itself to a definition of a fatherson relationship. the treaties would speak of brotherhood but refrain from designating one of the parties as elder brother. Cherepnin (comp. however. Iaroslav the Wise and Mstislav. Of the surviving texts.) and L. Occasionally. between the two senior surviving sons of St. bilateral as well as multilateral. This was only a more emphatic way of spelling out the elder/younger 9 The basic publication is S. . Kiev. The first reported instance of a princely testament in which the testator divided his realm among his sons was in 1054 when Iaroslav the Wise appointed his sons Iziaslav. such as those with the Lithuanian prince. however. who divided the Kievan realm among $themselves. Usually..

in accordance with established Byzantine practice. your elder brother. the duty to rescind or revoke treaties with other powers. your younger brother. the elder brother would in a number of cases reserve for himself the right to deal with the Mongol overlords.9. The prohibition to negotiate with foreign powers (ne kanchivati) was usually bilateral in the sense that both parties would promise not to conclude treaties without informing the other (a tobe. 200-220. 25 (treaty of 1375 between the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi and the Tver’ grand prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich). Drevnosti II. by forbidding the younger brother to enter into contact with the latter (Ordy ne znati). 101 (treaty of 1439 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iur’evich. swear] to me.N.e. the younger brother was forbidden altogether to engage in foreign relations or in relations with specific powers. Drevnosti II. my elder brother. Lithuania. In some cases. “foreign powers” refers to Russia’s neighbours. The duty to render military aid to the elder brother was usually expressed through the younger brother’s promise to mount his horse (vsesti na kon’) whenever the elder brother rode to war.13 In this context.. made out in the name of both parties.N. actual fathers and sons would not conclude treaties (the father would unilaterally impose his will).g. the other copy would therefore start: “[…] you. prince N.11 The treaties were normally drawn up in two authentic but different copies. should kiss the cross [i. 12 E.. A more detailed analysis of this topic is given by the prominent pre-revolutionary legal historian V. E.N. 152. prince N. etc. by recognizing his status as elder brother.36. prince of Galich). The last two duties were typically imposed on the “younger brother”. prince N. […]”.172 Law in Medieval Russia brother relationship. the Baltic cities.g. If the latter did 10 11 Sergeevich. 13 . ne kanchivati ni s kim bez nashego vedan’ia).10 The most common treaties between Russian princes in the Middle Ages were those which established or reaffirmed seniority of one of the signatories. should kiss the cross to me.. DDG No. brate.N.12 Sergeevich points out that the most important treaty clauses were: the prohibition to negotiate with foreign powers. because. my younger brother. because the chief competitors of a powerful prince who was trying to build up a network of client princes were other princes with similar ambitions. such as the Golden Horde. Sergeevich. prince N. and the duty to go to war in support of the “elder brother”. but also to other Russian principalities. […]”. In particular. DDG No. The body of the text of the treaty would be devoted to defining the exact content of the seniority relationship. This was invariably done in the opening address of the documents with the words: “[…] you. Sergeevich.

the duty to break off relations with other powers (tselovanie slozhiti). grand prince.” E. taxes. is your friend. DDG No.14 and of accepting his friends or enemies as such. Among the bilateral ones. DDG No.The Elder Brother in Russia 173 not personally lead his army. Where this clause was included. officials. one invariably finds the rather vague duties to be united (byti zaodin) and well-disposed towards each other (dobra choteti). 70 (treaty of 1433 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iaroslavich. The significance of the third principal clause emphasized by Sergeevich. prince of Serpukhov and Borovsk). The most important duties unilaterally imposed on the younger brother were those of informing the elder brother of anything affecting the latter’s interests. and whoever is your enemy will be my enemy. courts.16 14 15 E. Apart from the clauses discussed by Sergeevich. with the usual formula: “and whoever. the traditional seniority structure of the Rurikid dynasty was set aside and. prince of Serpukhov and Borovsk).g.14. it would normally suffice for the younger brother to send a contingent of troops with a commander. but included sometimes an undertaking not to acquire land within the younger brother’s territory without the latter’s knowledge. prince of Galich). 40 (treaty of 1390 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich and his brother Iurii.13. was in the establishment of the exclusivity of the starshinstvo (seniority) relationship.g. you will inform us about it truthfully.g. it actually destroyed it in its original form. Some of these conditions are bilateral (such as the abovementioned ne kanchivati). a number of other conditions is usually to be found in the treaties establishing or reaffirming seniority. where both parties would usually declare that they would maintain each other as elder or younger brother “in honour and without offence”. etc. according to oath. others unilateral (such as tselovanie slozhiti or vsesti na kon’). . recognized in the treaties.27. because the single hierarchical system of the whole of Russia was thus replaced by a number of unconnected bilateral relationships.” 16 E. instead of going himself. and the more concrete agreements about respecting each other’s territories. with the usual formula: “and whatever you will hear to our advantage or disadvantage from Christian or heathen. will be my friend. This was a consequence of the system of mutual honour. DDG No. the younger brother had only one single elder brother. 37 (treaty of 1390 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich and Vladimir Andreevich. without trickery. In other words. without deceit. henceforth. although the starshinstvo clause in a treaty appeared to lend great weight to the institution.15 The unilateral duties assumed by the elder brother were naturally more restricted.

This was effected by inserting several related provisions. The numerous remaining subdivisions of the Rurikid dynasty all became servitors of the grand prince and tsar of Russia. E. the ruling family had increased in size. but by shifting power relations. Within this new class of noble servants.20 3. however. the seniority principle was dominant. the testament of Ivan Vasil’evich of 1504.g. Muscovy Russia: Mestnichestvo The 16th century witnessed the final triumph of the grand princes of Moscow as the sole rulers of Russia.g. DDG No. the assignment of offices in accordance 17 18 E. the substitution or patrimonial principle returned with a vengeance. but also for his son and further descendants. the seniority principle grew in strength: the strict centralizing tendency which accompanied the ascent of the substitution principle did not tolerate the division of the lands of the Moscow grand prince among his surviving sons. the principle of starshinstvo was seen to carry the seeds of its own decline. who thereby achieved absolute seniority over his younger brothers. From the moment. In one sense. mestnichestvo. the testaments of the Moscow grand princes pushed them all aside in favour of the eldest son. the hereditary element was gradually reinforced.17 Then the elder brother stipulated recognition as such. 353-364. prince of Serpukhov and Borovsk). the point was made that princely succession in medieval Russia was determined by the tension between the competing principles of seniority and of substitution. Ibidem. DDG No.174 Law in Medieval Russia In the treaty practice of the grand princes of Moscow.89. a new seniority concept emerged. Accordingly. not only for himself. princes sought domination over other princes and their descendants. it was not any longer determined by clear genealogical rules. During the earlier part of the rule of the Rurikid dynasty.45. engaged himself as well as his sons and descendants. but also for their own descendants. nevertheless. in his turn. 19 20 . Once. the seniority principle had become irrelevant as a means of determining relations between princes of the same house. it became an object for negotiation. not only for themselves.18 Finally. Continuity with the past was emphasized by recalling that the present seniority connection was identical with the connection which existed between the fathers or even grandfathers of the signatories. 129 (treaty of 1447 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iaroslavich. At that point. Ibidem.19 At the beginning of the discussion of the starshinstvo principle. By the same token. Only their princely title distinguished them from other magnates serving the tsar—the boyars. the younger brother.

civil and court appointments. Moskva. 7-15. in particular. Once more uncles and nephews got involved.V. The system owed its name to the term mesto (place). the matter became accordingly more complex. 2003. 120-140. Istoriia mestnichestva v moskovskom gosudarstve v XV–XVII vv.22 In the later Soviet period.). Iu. Moskva. 222-235. rodoslovtsy i ‘rodoslovnye paskvili’”. Chastnye Razriadnye knigi s zapisiami za posledniuiu chetvert’ XV–nachalo XVII vekov.The Elder Brother in Russia 175 with the rank held by the appointee’s family and with the position of the appointee within his own family. a more scholarly attitude prevailed. 2001. 284-294. 65-79. 2005. Russkii diplomatarii. “Mestnicheskie dela v razriadnom proizvodstve 80-kh godov XVI v.O. V. 2001 (references below are to the 2001 publication). 148. Markevich. 145-156.21 Neither was it neglected by Soviet historians. “Akty XVI–nachala XVII veka iz mestnicheskikh del”. B and C. Most of the leading pre-revolutionary historians of Muscovy Russia discussed it in their works. Ankhimiuk. 165-172. V. 1888. Vol.Peterburg. Further: N. Eskin.7. Op. Odessa. Baranov.V. 1994. Mel’nikov. ch. Ianin (ed. as Kliuchevskii suggests. The operation of mestnichestvo is known in considerable detail.M.II. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny.. 1898. the publication of sources received much attention. 1978. Kliuchevskii discusses mestnichestvo in Lecture XXVII in his Kurs russkoi istorii (Vol. then the following two brothers B and C would occupy the next two places. Moskva. derived from the idea of the unity of the family. Eskin. Ot Drevnei Rusi k Rossii novogo vremeni [KhoroshkevichFestschrift]. S.M. which referred to the rank of an individual within his family and in inter-family relationships. K. 24 E. Sergeevich.cit. The weaker position of the fourth brother (and further brothers) was an innovation of Ivan IV.23 In making important military.V.N.II. in the Sochineniia edition.. Tom IX. Pavlov-Sil’vanskii. 1957. Antonov (ed. Leningrad. Gosudarevy sluzhilye liudi. “Mestnichestvo. Moskva. 23 A convenient overview of the literature in Iu. newly published together with another work (Liudi kabal’nye) by the same author. Iu.). Khronologicheskii reestr.L. Moskva. The system was based in principle on an old tradition from Kievan times (and probably long before that). on account of the relative abundance of the surviving materials. Moskva. “Precedence” would be the closest term in English.24 it could have been based on the probability that by the time 21 22 The main prerevolutionary monograph study on mestnichestvo is A. Iu. used by me).”.P. If A was an eldest son.I.g. 35-51. The fourth place was shared by the eldest son of A and the fourth brother D of A. although they often approached the phenomenon from a one-sided Marxist point of view. Lektsii. D’iakonov. although this general designation does not do justice to the peculiarities of mestnichestvo. Mestnichestvo v Rossii XVIXVII vv. the Moscow grand prince (tsar since 1547) observed the complicated rules of the mestnichestvo system. V. M. . A.

precedents were of decisive importance. submit that the post which had been proposed to him (e. the strains it imposed on the state’s administration were beginning to show. the eldest son might already have a son himself. every nobleman belonging to a princely or boyar family would have a fixed place in the governmental hierarchy. 74. When an appointment had to be made. many leading families maintained their own registers. For this reason. and sometimes by the prince (tsar) himself. who was not averse to dealing ruthlessly with troublesome nobles.25 In theory. The claimant in a typical mestnichestvo dispute would. the Razriadnyi prikaz. and the more recent the precedent. the system was anything but static. In exceptional cases. deputy governor of a particular town) would involve him serving under a governor whose uncle had served as deputy governor of another town under the claimant’s father as governor. Even Ivan the Terrible. .26 A nobleman was expected and actually obliged to observe the system and to refuse an appointment which he considered beneath the dignity of his family and himself. the more powerful. Although the system was in its heyday in the 16th century.176 Law in Medieval Russia the fourth son was born. Any appointment which involved a deterioration in the eyes of the appointee would not only affect his own prospects. Several authors have noted that everybody. In fact. because every appointment could change the balance. This also is part of the explanation why the participants attached such great importance to holding on to and improving their position on the hierarchical ladder. took such disputes very seriously. always displayed great patience and tolerance in mestnichestvo cases. kept registers of appointments (razriadnye knigi) which allowed the solution of the frequent disputes about precedence. for instance. he could be imprisoned for his refusal to accept a position proposed to him. the ranking of the different princely and boyar families had to be combined with the first system (of internal family hierarchy). to another post. Cf. a special governmental department. Legislation by Ivan the Terrible in 1551 allowed certain military appointments to 25 26 See the special study by Ankhimiuk. in order to be able to have the necessary information at their disposal would the need arise. but also those of his family members. Additionally. without his agreement and as a punishment. or he could be appointed. Pavlov-Sil’vanskii. This would explain why the fourth son and his eldest nephew are referred to as sverstniki (coevals). including the prince himself. Mestnichestvo claims were dealt with by a panel of boyars. In such a situation.g.

1988.V. 582-586.G. New Haven/London. A. edited by G. The Russian. became too much of a burden. The views expressed more than a century ago by Pavlov-Sil’vanskii and. less explicitly. Zimin. the members of the ruling houses of the principalities absorbed by Moscow. The eagerness with which all interested parties pressed their claims would favour the emergence of a formalized procedure to evaluate such claims. in the words of S. the law stipulated that such appointments would not affect the status of the appointees.28 If the actual operation of the mestnichestvo system is well-documented and studied. there was a steady influx of Russian princes of the Rurikid house.29 In 1408. Fisher). It integrated his former contenders. Formirovanie boiarskoi aristokratii v Rossii vo vtoroi polovine XV–pervoi treti XVI v. 1970.The Elder Brother in Russia 177 be made “without places” (bez mest). It had led to endless strife among the leading families and had seriously hampered the tsar in selecting suitable servants. Vernadsky and R. Moskva. 60. “to the joy of contemporaries and to the sorrow of future historians”.G. its origins and its functionality are less clear. the solidification of a bloc of magnates which would oppose the expansion of princely power. who had lost their positions as rulers of independent principalities and had to look to Moscow for their prospects. tsar Fedor Alekseevich abolished it and the registers were burned. Appointment registers (razriady) first appear during the government of Dmitrii Donskoi (1362-1389). This probably created the need to balance the factors of family dignity and service record. into the higher level of the Moscow aristocracy. Cf.27 In the end. In his Dictionary of Russian Historical Terms From the Eleventh Century to 1917 (compiled by S. In 1682. the Lithuanian prince Patrikii Narimontovich joined the court of the Moscow grand prince and subsequently married Vasilii’s daughter. still seem to offer the best explanation. constricting the influx of new talent into the administration of the state. above all. when his son Vasilii I (1389-1425) was grand prince.. There certainly was an element of “divide and rule” in his espousal of the principle.30 In the course of the 15th century. it hindered. by Kliuchevskii. the mestnichestvo system. 29. Pushkarev. 29. Ankhimiuk.A. It was only when these factors became less 27 28 29 30 Texts in PRP IV. Pushkarev. The maintenance of a balance between the ambitions and interests of the competing aristocratic groups may also explain the importance of observing mestnichestvo for the prince. Lithuanian and a few other foreign princes had to be accommodated in a governmental hierarchy which in the past had been populated by the indigenous aristocracy of Muscovy. .

A Table of Ranks was known in the Byzantine administrative system. At the same time. the 8th class for civilians—college assessor) conferred hereditary nobility. and the court. embracing the armed services. The increasing dysfunctionality and ultimate abolition of mestnichestvo. and in RZ IV. RZ IV. princes and boyars. With the Revised Text of the Kletorology of Philotheos (British Academy. In theory.31 The idea was not altogether new. 53. Bury. made it necessary to look for another mechanism. . In 1856. the high nobility. The Imperial Administrative System in the Ninth Century. as a qualification for public service. The Table of Ranks The abolition of mestnichestvo unquestionably represented a victory of merit over birth. Supplemental Papers). that the negative effects of the arrangement led to its abolition. either as a soldier or in some civilian function. The meritocratic foundation of the system was combined with the element of hereditary nobility. The Table consisted of a hierarchy of 14 steps. had gradually been reduced to servants of the state. the civil service. London. a trend which became more dominant with subsequent amendments of the relevant legislation. to a certain extent. 1911. The background of the institution of the Table of Ranks in 1722 was the dominance of the service character of the nobility. Being noble involved serving the state. The practice in a number of West European countries had been studied. This tendency became even more pronounced with the introduction of Peter the Great’s Table of Ranks (Tabel’ o Rangakh) in 1722. Under the Moscow grand princes and tsars.B. access to the higher levels of the bureaucracy had been opened up. as a means to channel recruitment of candidates for the higher levels of the military and civil service. the Table reversed the old principle by 31 32 Text in PRP VIII. In another way. the Table of Ranks continued and strengthened this principle by stressing in its preamble that only service to the state conferred status.32 The Table of Ranks was one of the best prepared legislative innovations of the Petrine era. everybody had to start at the bottom of the ladder and work his way up. Cf. Attainment of a certain rank (the 12th class—lieutenant—for military personnel. 4. In one way.178 Law in Medieval Russia threatening and the disadvantages of mestnichestvo more manifest.179-203. as an attempt to draw up a Table of Ranks had already been made during the reign of Peter’s older half-brother. to loyal and effective members of the lower nobility and other classes. tsar Fedor Alekseevich. entrance to the hereditary nobility was restricted to attainment of the 6th class (colonel) for the military and of the 4th class (full state councillor) for civilians. the lower ranks only created personal nobility for the incumbent. 52-78. see J.

XX S”ezd Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. . delegates from the non-Slavic (oriental) republics used the ‘elder brother’ designation in referring to Russia. Virtus. when it came to be applied to the position of the Russian republic (the RSFSR) within the USSR. 35 “Russkii narod–rukovodiashchaia sila sredi narodov nashei strany”. 362.The Elder Brother in Russia 179 connecting the acquisition of nobility with the attainment of a specific rank. and not an ethnic Russian. as argued above. resulted in the emergence. Vol. the new principle was “nobility follows service”. down to the lowest officer ranks and modest civilian positions. the Russian people was designated as the elder brother (starshii brat) of the other peoples of the USSR.33 In the course of the 18th century the service duties of the nobility were gradually abolished so that only the (mitigated) automatism of conferral of nobility with the attainment of a specific rank remained.35 Intriguingly. Instead of “service follows nobility”. published in Bol’shevik. The Table of Ranks would. 325. Vol. 1945. 337. Also. because the Table was mainly responsible for the enormous size of this class: 1% of the population at the beginning of the 20th century (plus another 0.1. of a precise hierarchy between all persons occupying higher positions in the Muscovy state. go even further because it embraced a far greater section of the state’s personnel. 33. Vol. XXI S”ezd. 1956. when a spokesman from one of the ‘oriental’ republics used the term. 12.10. Vol. Stalin actually called the Russian people “the leading people”. but in the editorial comment to his speech. 33 34 The Table of Ranks was of fundamental importance for the peculiar character of the noble class in Russia. which survived as a legal phenomenon until 1917. 5. Postscript: The ‘Elder Brother’ in Soviet Rhetoric The ‘elder brother’ metaphor experienced a remarkable revival in the Soviet Union. but after Stalin alluded to it on 24 May 1945 at a toast to the Russian nation during a Kremlin reception for military commanders.1. again in theory. Stenograficheskii otchet.2. it was always someone from the indigenous nation. I have discussed the history of the Russian nobility in more detail in “De Russische adelsgeschiedenis”. Moskva. Jaarboek voor Adelsgeschiedenis. Belorussian and Baltic) republics.1. the term was not used by delegates from the European (Ukrainian.5% of persons enjoying personal nobility). Vol. XXIV S”ezd. I did not encounter it in Lenin’s works and neither did it occur in the speeches at the 18th Party Congress in 1939. 404. it soon became current at official Party meetings. but only in theory.34 At all the Party congresses from the 20th (1956) to the 26th (1981). Bol’shevik. No. 62-77 (in Dutch). 448. Mestnichestvo.13 (2006).

the most important ministers. . An individual making a career in the Party might reach a certain level. The idea of an innate hierarchy. Careful ‘Kremlinological’ analysis showed that a rather precise order of precedence prevailed at the higher levels of the political system. He would then be given a position (such as Party secretary in a province) to which his status entitled him. etc. At the top was the Politbureau. consisted entirely of ‘quality’ blocks of members: the 14 Party secretaries of the non-Russian republics. such as Mongolia and Bulgaria. justifying his entry into the Central Committee. There was also a clearly observable hierarchy among the Party positions which yielded Central Committee membership. most provincial Party secretaries. which in turn was elected (on paper) by the Party Congress (4000-5000 delegates). The SecretaryGeneral. Then came the Party Secretariat. was the undisputed leader of the USSR. The entire recruitment process was in fact managed from the top. All members of the Politbureau as well as all Central Committee Party Secretaries (the departmental heads of the Party Secretariat) were (on paper) elected by the Central Committee (several hundred members).180 Law in Medieval Russia The usage also spread to representatives from other countries within the Soviet bloc. The Central Committee. the Politbureau. a few seats for leading figures from the arts and sciences and the media. The career patterns of Soviet bureaucrats were often reminiscent of the old mestnichestvo system. which itself knew a distinct ranking of its members and candidate members. who defined their relationship with the USSR as that between a younger and an elder brother. The parallels with institutions from the past are intriguing. the military high command. at the head of both bodies. a number of important ambassadors. comparable to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire. Party secretaries were promoted from one province to another and moved around regional capitals as the princes of Kievan Russia. which partly overlapped with the Politbureau. also resurfaced at another point in the Soviet political order during the post-Stalin era. implicit in the ‘elder brother’ metaphor.

we shall focus therefore primarily on the 14th and 15th century. F.M. The latter series was continued with an amended title after the October Revolution.1-4. 1. as well as their intriguing relationships with the Golden Horde. a single centrally governed Russian state had emerged. published in S. S.Peterburg. konventsii i soglashenii zakliuchennykh Rossiei s drugimi gosudarstvami. 1 2 The treaties of the Russian Empire are to be found in official publications. specifically the plurality of an ever changing number of semi-states.M. The treaties concluded by the ruler of Muscovy. An English language register of Soviet treaties from 1917 up to 1957 was published by R. Slusser.1 The peculiar nature of the medieval Russian polity. including treaty texts. zakliuchennykh Rossiei s inostrannymi gosudarstvami. but it is only from the 14th century on that a sufficient number of texts have survived to allow more than just speculation or a few general statements. 1813-1826 (hereafter SGGD). published in S.Peterburg since 1851. Ginsburgs & R. 1958-1973. in S. the period which corresponds to the West European middle ages. nowadays sovereign states may unite in setting up international organizations and such organizations may also appear as subjects of public international law and as parties to treaties. more accessible to most scholars will be the major 19th century republication in the first two volumes of Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogovorov. A Calendar of Soviet Treaties. Treaties are agreements between sovereign states. A semi-official publication of pre-revolutionary Russian treaties was Sobranie traktatov i konventsii. 1959. Slusser & J. S. 1981.Chapter 7 The Treaties of Medieval Russia The purpose of this chapter is to present an overview of the treaties of medieval Russia. 1917-1957. . Triska. Pamiatniki diplomaticheskikh snoshenii s derzhavami inostrannymi. Martens. or at the latest by the beginning of the 16th century.F. Vols. the end of the Russian Empire.2 After a short discussion of the earliest treaties. this work was continued by G. A Calendar of Soviet Treaties.Peterburg since 1889. Alphen a/d Rijn.). The first publication of most medieval Russian charters. By the end of the 15th century.Peterburg since 1874. Defining the Topic The earliest known Russian treaties date from the 10th century. The current concept of an international treaty is closely allied to the concept of the sovereign state. was in Drevniaia Rossiiskaia Vivliofika ili sobranie raznykh drevnikh sochinenii. published by the leading Russian international law expert from the era. are part of the body of public international law which continues without a break until 1917. viz. raises unusual questions and lends the topic a special scholarly appeal. Peterburg (1st ed. the Russian tsar. 1773-1775. Stanford. and its successor Sbornik deistvuiushchikh traktatov.

the concept is extended to include situations created by more than one act. Another definitional aspect concerns the material form: strictly speaking. when for instance there is no distinction between the ‘private’ wealth of the ruler and the powers exercised by him over his territory. It has not only been eroded by the ever increasing role of international and even supranational organizations. Also. but we also observe a growing independence and assertiveness of lower range public law corporations. 1-7. an exchange of letters. F.3 or the agreement between the prime ministers of Russia and Chechnia of 23 November 1996. by which the (‘sovereign’) parties create mutual rights and duties. one might add that this approach is probably more acceptable now than it would have been a generation ago. “The Elections in Chechnia in the Framework of Russian Constitutional Law”. Review of Central and East European Law. one could define a medieval treaty as an agreement between public law parties. In this chapter. Such letters then appear as each other’s complements. . the treaty of 15 February 1994 with the Republic of Tatarstan. of princes whose legal relationships were determined by documents which they addressed to each other and in which the mutual rights and duties were spelled out. a treaty is a bilateral (or multilateral) legal act (almost always in written form). Applying another modern concept anachronistically. No. Russia herself offers a prime example (e. concerning Chechnia. We have grown accustomed to a certain dissolution of absolute sovereignty. In medieval Russia. National states are seen to conclude agreements (sometimes even called treaties) with their own provinces or even cities. A pragmatic (some would say opportunistic) approach offers the most convenient solution to the dilemma. These situations have a parallel in private law in the contract concluded 3 4 Rossiiskaia Gazeta. 1997. If it looks like a treaty. e. The difficulty then is that the public-private law dichotomy is sometimes meaningless in a medieval context.1. If modern concepts are employed. Parenthetically. 17 February 1994. There are numerous examples among the documents considered in this chapter. if then and now it was and is regarded as a treaty. it will be included in this survey. agreements in the form of treaties between ‘governments’ (generally ruling princes) and groups of foreign merchants are quite common and are clearly regarded as something very close to agreements between governments. Cf. Feldbrugge. we would not look upon a community of foreign merchants as a public law party. based on the Khasaviurt agreement of 31 August 1996 between the representative of the Russian president and the Chechen supreme commander4). at 4.g. however.g.182 Law in Medieval Russia This framework is not fully applicable in a medieval setting. one could say that sovereignty was usually fragmented in the middle ages and parcelled out among several authorities.

only one part of the set of letters has survived. 1999. M. . E. Vol. Drevniaia Rus’ v svete zarubezhnykh istochnikov. who were.5 The principal domestic source is the Primary Chronicle (see the chapter on sources). Point (c) excludes situations where one party is fully subordinate to the other. A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1017. 912.1 “Early Times to the Late Seventeenth Century”. because they may be equated to treaties on a functional level. (man.) & R. What we have in mind are the charters (iarlyki). although related to the question of the material form. almost no information has been lost and we may regard the surviving letter in a material sense as a treaty. Under its entries for the years 907. capable of being reproduced.g. To summarize. Bibikov.? This question. S. etc.e. A collection of English translations of relevant texts in S. what other aspects of the treaties were determined by a set formulary. (b) concerning matters that can be regarded as belonging to public law. 945 and 971. sufficiently independent of each other. Fisher Jr. Moskva. The Earliest Times The first information on Russia is provided by foreign authors. Pushkarev (comp.T. Finally. New Haven/London. issued by the Tatar-Mongol rulers (more below). G. 2000.V. Mel’nikova (ed.). (c) between parties enjoying a certain measure of ‘sovereign’ power. Vizantiiskie istochniki po istorii Drevnei Rusi i Kavkaza.). 1972. If. princely brothers who settle their father’s private estate).Peterburg. Vernadsky (senior ed. Point (a) implies that the presence of a unilateral document (such as a letter) may be enough. provided it reflects the contents of an agreement.).The Treaties of Medieval Russia 183 by separate acts of offer and acceptance.A. 2. the Primary Chronicle contains what purport to be the texts of treaties concluded 5 Cf. i. Borderline cases will occur. A related question concerns the external form of treaties: what formulas were used to begin and end treaties. the presence of a treaty is presumed when: (a) there appears to be a formalized agreement. although their character is indisputably unilateral. ed. Point (b) excludes situations which concern predominantly private law relationships (e. as often happened in the case of medieval documents. mainly Greek and Arab historian and chroniclers. as usual. may more suitably be discussed when looking at the different categories of treaties. a small number of documents is included in the survey. in particular.

II (1961).184 Law in Medieval Russia between Byzantium and Russia. Kaiser (transl.. Text in PRP I. Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. 47-82 (chapter 2). 2003.). On account of the Russians using the March calendar. just the only ones that survived. 1-13 (text and English translation). connected with the hostilities between Byzantium and the Russians in the beginning of the 10th century. also.V. Moskva.cit.cit. The 912 treaty mentioned fifteen persons. 1980. Sorlin. 3-70 (incl. to which almost all leading Russian medievalists have contributed. only a few specific observations concerning aspects. Most commentators are inclined to regard the two texts as fragments of a lost treaty text. See. modern Russian translation and bibliography) and in D. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika.N. relevant in connection with the subsequent Russian treaty practice. Sakharov.59-82 are devoted to a discussion of the treaty and its possible contents. The most comprehensive discussion by a Western author is I. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2000g. The parties to the 10th century treaties were the Byzantine emperors and various collectives of Russian (or Viking) chiefs. and “all the serene and grand princes 6 7 A. Among later Russian works: S. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. . The 10th century Russian-Byzantine treaties were not the first of their kind. under the command of a prince. 913-959). Stoliarova (ed. & ed. Vol.M. op. the emperor Basil I (867-886) concluded a peace treaty with the “Russes”. 8 Extensively on the raid of 860: P. The fragmentary text of the 907 treaty seemed to have only Oleg.V Kuznetsov. the raids and the conversion of Olga (around the middle of the XIth century) are completely separate events. 3-172..6 In this chapter. 4-59. contains an extensive bibliography. grand prince of Kiev. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi. claiming to represent Oleg. IX-pervaia polovina X v. 102-111.7 The relationship between the short treaty of 907 and the treaty of 9128 remains controversial. “Pokhod 860 g. grand prince of Kiev. pp. Kashtanov. Moskva. appearing on the Russian side.). 1992. Salt Lake City. all with Scandinavian names. 313-360 and 447-475. Mel’nikova. the correct date of the treaty is generally regarded as 911.. and the (first) baptism of Russia on the other. According to the chronicle written by the author known as the Continuator (actually the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. na Konstantinopol’ i pervoe kreshchenie Rusi v srednevekovykh pis’mennykh istochnikakh”. the most recent major Russian work on this subject. A large body of literature on these treaties exists. not 912. there may have been more than one) extensively. of which their acceptance of baptism was an important element. also discusses the raids and treaty (or treaties. L. Problemy istochnikovedeniia. 1996. The Primary Chronicle mentions several raids by Russians (Vikings) around the year 860. All authors stress the connection between the raid and the treaty on the one hand. Sakharov.. will be made. Byzantine sources add more detail. In the Primary Chronicle. op. Moskva. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.

“O protsedure zakliucheniia dogovorov mezhdu Vizantiei i Rus’iu v X v. each with the name of the person represented. Kashtanov.9 This suggests some kind of alliance of which the Kievan prince was the leader. Germanic. The treaties of 912 and 945. grand prince of Kiev. five were also mentioned in 907 as Oleg’s representatives. Moskva. The ensuing treaties show that the members of the prince’s druzhina were still sufficiently independent and powerful to be included as co-signatories (see. As to the contents. grand prince of Kiev. Pashuto (ed. became russified princes within a few generations. Mobile bands of Viking traders/warriors played a decisive role in the process of coagulation. regards the Russian delegation in 944 as multinational. Sverki. in a recent study (Istoriia mezhdukniazheskikh otnoshenii na Rusi v 40-e-70-e gody X veka. this is most obvious in the earliest treaty. 209215. Celtic. and by Sveinald. also numbering twentythree. The conglomerate of Slavic tribes of the preceding centuries was gradually consolidating into more solid political structures.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 185 under his sway”. accompanied by their Viking retinue.”. for himself.T. Korolev. embracing Slavic. V. .M. 30-36). It was under their command that the raids against Constantinople were organized. Iranian and Finnish envoys. the chapter on “Land Tenure. outline a legal regime for the predominantly commercial contracts. A. The rulers of Kiev acquired a 9 Of the 15 emissaries. 1999. referring to previous hostilities between the two parties.S. the treaties of 907 and 971 are short and of limited interest from the legal point of view. also. The texts of all four treaties pay considerable attention to the matter of form. the Druzhina. Moskva. where other princes appear as co-signatories and where the envoys state in the introductory sentences that they are acting “in accordance with the wishes and the commands of our grand princes”. Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istoricheskom protsesse [Cherepnin Festschrift]. Unlike most commentators.). As could be expected.10 The 971 treaty was concluded on the Russian side by Sviatoslav. the latter was Sviatoslav’s mentor and commander-in-chief. 1972. of 912. i. Scandinavian chiefs or petty kings.11 The general background of the 10th century treaties is well illuminated by the Primary Chronicle’s narrative.e. and the Nature of Kievan Rus”). each party makes clear that it binds itself in accordance with its own tradition. On the form of the Russian-Byzantine treaties: S. one emissary. and then twenty-three other names. 10 11 Nearly all principals and all representatives and merchants bear Scandinavian names. followed by a list of “merchants”. is appearing in person. This understanding is reinforced by the text of the 945 treaty which lists Ivar as the representative of Igor. The point to be noted here is that political relations in 10th century Kievan Russia had not yet coalesced into a clear-cut state structure in which the Kievan prince acted as the undisputed ruler.

in 1096.A. A great quantity of ancient documents was lost in the great fire in 1812 during the French occupation of Moscow. Novosel’tsev (ed. as opposed to Nizhnii Novgorod.15 The grandfather of Russian historiography. “Aktovo-pravovoe oformlenie vneshnepoliticheskikh otnoshenii Vladimiro-Suzdal’skoi Rusi s Volzhskoi Bolgariei (Opyt rekonstruktsii)”. to his uncle Iurii Dolgorukii. 14 15 16 PSRL II. the East Russian city on the Volga which was founded only in 1221) and Hanseatic partners. Iu.I. 153-155. but as irregular freebooters who had to be pacified and bought off. 1994. Periodization and Sources The first available treaty text after the 10th century treaties between Byzantium and the Kievans is a treaty which can be dated between 1189 and 119912 and which was concluded between Novgorod the Great (Velikii Novgorod. Ianin (ed. like his father before him. resulting in a formal agreement concerning the division of Kievan Rus’ in a number of principalities. also in PRP II. dates the treaty more precisely in 1191-1192. Tatishchev (1686-1750). The chronicles offer ample evidence of lively diplomatic traffic in the previous period. but no complete texts of treaties have survived. From Byzantine sources. in Liubech.16 12 13 E. Rybina. Iu. 43-50. prince of Chernigov. Moskva. Materialy i issledovaniia 1991 god. For instance. He became grand prince of Kiev.28. as the Byzantines were accustomed to do with ‘barbarian’ invaders. 124-132. the text of which was apparently available to Tatishchev.14 and his father’s first cousin Oleg Sviatoslavich. A. Limonov has attempted to reconstruct a treaty between Vladimir Monomakh and the Volga Bulgars from 1106. probably had access to treaty texts which have been lost since.186 Law in Medieval Russia dominant position within the entire Russian commonwealth in this era. Leningrad. grand prince of Kiev.A. Limonov. “O dvukh drevneishikh torgovykh dogovorakh Novgoroda”. 1989. the Primary Chronicle contains the texts of an exchange of letters between Mstislav.A. 3(13).P. Of even greater importance was the meeting of most of the leading princes the next year. . V.13 The text of the treaty itself refers to previous treaties between the same parties. 3. The Hypatian Chronicle includes the full text of a letter written in 1149 on behalf of Mstislav’s son Iziaslav. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy. we know that the Byzantine emperor did not regard his Russian counterparts as equal and fully respectably treaty partners. V. 259-264. text and commentary in Pashuto. the son of Vladimir Monomakh and prince of Novgorod at the time. Vneshnaia politika.L.). 387. Novgorodskii Istoricheskii Sbornik. No. in 1125. the ancestor of the ruling dynasty of Muscovy.). The contacts and treaties with Byzantium must be seen in this light. GVNP.

this would boil down to the following: (1) (2) (3) Kievan Russia. In general terms. As to periodization. new developments. with its nadir the fall of Kiev in 1240 and the imposition of the Mongol Yoke (Mongol’skoe igo): decline and disaster. In the matter of the Russian middle ages. There was not such a clear story of rise and fall. also. was and remained seniority. The formation of a centralized Russian state around the Moscow grand prince. culminating in the rule of Ivan III the Great (14621505): return of central power and greatness. The period of feudal fragmentation (feodal’naia razdroblennost’) or of the apanage principalities (udel’nye kniazhestva). there was more continuity than change. greatness. The Appendix to this chapter lists and categorizes more than 120 treaties. The central theme of the internal Russian treaties. of success and disaster.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 187 The earlier evidence from the chronicles and the small number of surviving treaties from the 12th and 13th century are nevertheless in agreement with the more abundant evidence from the 14th and 15th century. The danger of this approach is that differences and changes may receive more attention than continuity. it is usually convenient to break up a longer era into smaller segments. The list does not claim completeness.Vladimir) and his son Iaroslav the Wise. the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”). the problem is aggravated by the fact that the leading Soviet authors worked in an atmosphere which was not free from politically imposed models. agreeing with and reinforcing current Soviet values and concepts. and these are often marked by prominent historical events. the treaties between the Russian princes. The admittedly limited evidence from the treaties of the era concerned does not bear out the simplicity of this framework. and a second flowering under Iaroslav’s grandson Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125): centralized power. with its apogee during the reign of the Kievan grand princes Vladimir I (St. This is done by looking for significant differences. . the subtle hierarchy existing among the princes and among their respective territories (see. numerous nuances should be made. covering a period of three hundred years. The result was often a rigid framework.

of 1318.19 The treaties between Russian princes (mostly those of Tver’ and Moscow) and Novgorod are not discussed in this section. Moscow. derived from the Latin Caesar. had been facilitated by the fall of Constantinople in 1454 and the disappearance of the Byzantine emperor.I. of 1399). the corpus of treaties between Russian princes. therefore. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. V.V. had an interest in doing away with anything that might upset their claims. See. Sergeevich. 1949. but under the general heading of Novgorod treaties. covers only five treaties (Moscow-Tver’. the tsars. begins at a comparatively late moment. 150-162. We have referred above to several instances of treaties between 11th century Russian princes. had already used the title occasionally. There can be no doubt. of 1381. 330. This can be explained in part by the fact that. S. Part 2. available to us. Dogovornye gramoty moskovskikh kniazei XIV veka. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo Kievskogo gosudarstva. Moscow-Lithuania. notably his grandfather Ivan III. The standard work on the history of the archives of the princes of Moscow and connected archives is L. the core out of which the Russian state archives grew and understandably the conditions for document survival were more favourable in Moscow than elsewhere.18 For these reasons. and Moscow-Tver’. There is a direct and unbroken connection between the grand princes of Moscow. of 1375. Arkhivy I or II). The archives of the princes of Moscow were. This point was also made a century ago by V. An additional reason for the preponderance of Moscow documents may be the deliberate destruction of treaties between other princes.A. Vneshnepoliticheskie dogovory. the Moscow grand prince was the most important and powerful ruler. also. 2003. Part 1. Drevnosti II. The Moscow princes. Cherepnin. and the emperors.188 Law in Medieval Russia 4. Moscow-Riazan’. The Treaties between the Princes The treaties between the Russian princes constitute the most numerous group among the collection surveyed in this chapter. Moscow-Novgorod. however. Kuchkin. 1951 (hereafter: Cherepnin. Moskva. in their ultimately successful struggle for supremacy. of 1371. Moskva.V. Ivan IV (the Terrible) solemnly assumed the title of tsar in 154717 and tsar Peter transformed Russia into an empire in 1721. . for at least the latter half of the period under review. that the practice of concluding treaties among themselves was by no means new in the second half of the 14th century. Moscow/Leningrad. 1948. 17 18 19 His predecessors. detailed information about which has been provided by the chronicles. Iushkov. Assumption of the title. and within this group the vast majority is made up of treaties concluded by the grand prince of Moscow with other Russian princes.

at least not in principle. Ivan divided what he received from his father (his otchina) among his three sons. with some assets set aside for his wife and younger children. The seniority principle established (ideally) a hierarchy within the ruling family. Of even greater importance was the fact that seniority or starshinstvo became an object for negotiation. The individual right to rule was then apportioned according to rank and status of individual (male) members of the house. the ruler would also be free to appoint his own successor. Semën. The grand prince of Kiev was not automatically the ruler of Russia. Its underlying principle was that the right to rule was essentially a right of the ruling house. the private law character prevails. Precedence was determined first by generation (fathers and uncles before sons and nephews) and within the generation by age. This approach of course implied that the right to rule was not any longer viewed as dependent on the operation of a fixed principle. but he was undoubtedly the first among otherwise equals. Chernigov and others. As a consequence of this new understanding. It is explained in detail in the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”. The Treaties and Testaments of the Princes of Muscovy: Close Relatives The central legal instrument used by the grand princes of Moscow to build up their dominant position was the acceptance by other princes of the recognition of the prince of Moscow as their “elder brother”. from around 1339. .20 The Moscow grand princes usually appointed their eldest sons to succeed and their wills would then instruct their other sons and surviving brothers to accept the successor as “elder brother”. in that branches of the family became established in particular provinces.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 189 Starshinstvo The treaties between the Russian princes of the Middle Ages cannot be understood properly without consideration of the starshinstvo principle. The surviving collection of last wills of Moscow grand princes illustrates the process through which the grand prince appropriated the right to appoint his successor. Later succession principles such as substitution and primogeniture did not operate. Semën is mentioned as the eldest (bol’shoi) and 20 A principle that also seems to apply informally to the presidents of the Russian Federation. This hierarchy corresponded to a hierarchy of cities/provinces: first Kiev. Ivan and Andrei. the substitution principle gradually asserted itself. but as something that could be negotiated and freely disposed of. then Novgorod. As the house of Rurik expanded. which came to be regarded as their own. the testament of Ivan Danilovich (Kalita). In the oldest available document.

the practice solidified: the eldest son was made grand prince of Moscow and the younger brothers were told to obey and follow him. E. that they would support him in war and that they would not conclude treaties with outsiders. In his last will of 1389. and of his son grand prince Ivan III Vasil’evich in 1504.1. the other brother.26 After Vasilii the Blind. Ivan. 57-60.25 When Vasilii died in 1425. No. He became the ancestor of the princes of SerpukhovBorovsk.21 Some ten years later. but the grand princely dignity to his eldest son Vasilii. their own principalities (udely.61. as in the past. the elder son. 353-364. of a fierce family feud (see below). DDG.27 The accession of Vasilii the Blind was the occasion. 7-11. stating that he left his patrimony Moscow (otchinu svoiu Moskvu) to his sons Dmitrii and Ivan. No. the subjects of numerous treaties with their Moscow cousins. the treaty mentioned above. 13-14. No. one could say that the private law element in these treaties was strong and sometimes dominant. and he left his possessions to his widow. wrote his last will in 1358.89.190 Law in Medieval Russia is exhorted to act as protector (pechal’nik) of his mother and brothers and sisters.22 When Semën died in 1353. Dmitrii (Donskoi). There exists a modest number of treaties between the grand prince of Moscow and one or more of his brothers. also a treaty from 1472 between grand prince Ivan III and his brother Andrei. he was survived only by his youngest son Vasilii the Blind (Temnyi) on whom again the grand princely dignity was conferred. Howes. 11-13. when Semën was well installed as grand prince of Moscow.g. DDG. No. 15-19. but otherwise the sons receive equal treatment. but they did receive. DDG. prince of Uglich. where they mainly concerned the division of the 21 22 DDG. without any mention of his successor. Ivan’s younger brother Andrei had been assigned various properties. No. The Testaments of the Grand Princes of Moscow.12. he concluded a compact with his brothers Ivan and Andrei in which the latter bound themselves to honour him as their father. DDG. Dmitrii Donskoi again left “his patrimony Moscow” to his four sons. apanage principalities). . succeeded as grand prince. however. No.66. DDG. 33-37. This implied. Ithaca.3. his sons had all predeceased him without issue. DDG.C. 24 Again. died in 1364. No. English translation in R. instructing the younger sons to “honour and obey” their elder brother.28 From a modern point of view.2. DDG.4. between grand prince Semën and his brothers Ivan and Andrei.21. No. DDG. around 1350-1351. among other things. 23 24 25 26 27 28 See the testaments of Vasilii Vasil’evich Temnyi in 1461. however. 214-216.23 His brother Ivan who in fact succeeded him as grand prince of Moscow. 193-199. 1967. among which was Serpukhov. No.

such as administering justice. When Vasilii died in 1425. grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich). only his youngest son. 24 (treaty of 1428 between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Iurii Dmitrievich. The princely powers of the younger brothers were therefore strongly dependent on the agreement of the Moscow prince. the formidable Vitovt. Iurii Dmitrievich. to which we referred above. These treaties document in detail how the Moscow prince effectively prevented the fragmentation of his power by severely restricting the powers of his cousins and other relatives as rulers of split-off principalities. Cf. In view of the very restricted ‘sovereignty’ of the younger brothers. prince of Galich. Arkhivy I. Vasilii the Blind (Temnyi). also.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 191 paternal estate. Galich. and of the Lithuanian grand prince. Ulug Mekhmet. still the titular over29 30 A thorough discussion of these treaties in Cherepnin.30 Dmitrii Donskoi. 29 (testament of Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich). descendants of the younger sons of Ivan Kalita (†1341): the princes of Serpukhov-Borovsk. The public law element resided in the stipulation that the younger brothers could exercise public powers in their apanage principalities. 22 (testament of 1423 of his son. they have not been included in the Appendix. Verei. the conflict erupted again and in 1431 the dispute was submitted to the khan of the Golden Horde. and in a number of prohibitions. in his will of 1389. Cherepnin. 31-45. had appointed his eldest son Vasilii as grand prince. 27 (treaty of 1433 between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iaroslavich. Within the category of treaties between the grand princes of Moscow and other Russian princes. 30-36 (treaties from 1433-1439 with a number of princes). 63-80. in the person of the Moscow metropolitan Fotii.29 An important and very informative sub-group is formed by the treaties from the period 1422-1436 in which a major dynastic crisis occurred and the new practice introduced by the Moscow grand princes was put to the test. Belozero and Volotsk. Nos. adding that the next son would receive Vasilii’s inheritance if the latter were to die (Vasilii was eighteen years old at the time and unmarried).e. through the support of the church. Arkhivy I. their agreements with the Moscow prince can hardly be regarded as international treaties. At first. . prince of Galich and Zvenigorod). on the basis of his father’s (Dmitrii Donskoi’s) testament. was alive. and ten years old. After the death of the latter two. claimed the throne. DDG. they were especially forbidden to engage in foreign relations and specifically to have relations with the Mongol overlords. 100-128. Dmitrov. young Vasilii prevailed. His eldest uncle. i. prince of SerpukhovBorovsk).12 (testament of Dmitrii Donskoi). Mozhaisk. See. the largest group is formed by the treaties between the Moscow grand prince and his somewhat more distant relatives from the Moscow branch. his maternal grandfather. Zvenigorod.

Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his cousin Ivan Andreevich. 155-160. the latter. Cf.32 Excursion Concerning the Title of Grand Prince Originally. when Vasilii Temnyi was taken prisoner by khan Ulug Mekhmet. No. 146-148. Cherepnin. 68-71. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and prince Ivan Vasil’evich Gorbatyi of Suzdal’. who was unable to maintain himself. The story was more or less replayed ten years later. the tide was against Vasilii.g. but that his principal referred to the khan’s good favour. The descendants of Mstislav Davidovich who ruled in Smolensk until the end of the 14th century styled themselves grand princes of Smolensk. col. prince of Smolensk and grandson of Rostislav. 2. Next. Vasilii’s side grew in strength and he recaptured the Moscow throne. like his father Mstislav Harald (eldest son and successor of Vladimir Monomakh). assumed the grand princely dignity. No. who then offered the Moscow throne to Vasilii Kosoi’s younger brother. were the descendants of Sviatoslav II (†1076). 119-121. had been grand prince of Kiev. Civil war again broke out. like his father.141-156. Vasilii Temnyi returned and had Vasilii Kosoi blinded. Vasilii won the day. The princes of Riazan’. early in the next year. DDG. who was taken prisoner and blinded in revenge (hence. of 1445. One treaty survives. who held out longer than any other branch of the Rurikids against their Moscow cousins. being deserted by his own brothers. and his nephew retired as apanage prince to Kolomna. London/New York. only to lose it again. He was succeeded by his son Vasilii Kosoi. Crummey. see.48. The Formation of Muscovy 1304-1613. when his army was defeated by Iurii’s. prince of Mozhaisk. however. 31 32 The episode is recounted in detail by Karamzin. it was attached to the principality of Kiev and accordingly it moved around the various branches of the Rurikid dynasty. in which Shemiaka advertised himself as plain prince in the preamble. Vasilii’s emissary argued that Iurii’s claim rested on the tradition of the Russian princes. Iurii ruled as grand prince of Moscow until his death a few months later. In 1433 Iurii briefly overran Moscow. When support for Shemiaka’s claim to the grand princely dignity dwindled. Initially. grand prince of Kiev and son of Iaroslav the Wise.O. that between Dmitrii Shemiaka and two princes of Suzdal’. 1987. Arkhivy I. but referred later on to his grand princely dignity and also used the grand princely formula “By the grace of God”.31 Not surprisingly. prince of Galich. 128-150. Soon. Vasilii was able to reassert himself in 1446. . DDG. Several other treaties of the period are also directly linked with the Shemiaka episode. his surname Temnyi).192 Law in Medieval Russia lord of the Russian princes (more on this topic below). The first prince who apparently appropriated the title for his own branch was Mstislav Davidovich (†1230).52. R.40. and DDG. also. V. e. the khan withdrew the offer and released Vasilii Temnyi. No.

prince of Vladimir and the most powerful among the Russian princes of his day.34 33 See. such as Vladimir Monomakh (†1125). Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istoricheskom protsesse [Cherepnin Collection]. of the branch of the princes of Chernigov (descendants of the above-mentioned Sviatoslav II). Andrei. also. Later on. who was killed by the Mongols in 1246. 60 (1989). Pashuto (ed. The latter’s grandson Semën was the first to adopt the style of grand prince of Moscow and Vladimir. he died in exile in 1533 or 1534. Iaroslav and Vasilii. On the title of ‘Grand Prince’ 34 in Kievan Rus”. but. 159-184. Andrei Bogoliubskii. the descendants of Aleksandr Nevskii were successful in claiming the title exclusively for the princes of Moscow. although the throne of Kiev remained a fiercely contested prize among the various branches of the Rurikid house. Mikhail. The Vladimir title occasionally reverted to the Tver’ branch. There were only a few grand princes of Nizhnii Novgorod. the apanage of Aleksandr Nevskii’s youngest son Daniil. Kiev was sacked and destroyed by an alliance of Russian princes in the following years. The other grand princely titles were all derived in some way from the grand princely dignity of Vladimir (on the Kliazma). Ivan IV Ivanovich was the last ruling grand prince of Riazan’. who were in fact rulers of all Russia. starting from Aleksandr Nevskii. The last prince to bear the Kievan title was Mikhail Vsevolodovich. After the death of the aforementioned Rostislav.). in the end. See Kh. Lovmians’kii. Kiev had already lost much of its former glory and power in the 12th century. prince of Riazan’.T. Acta Poloniae historica. V. It had been used in a descriptive sense by the chroniclers in referring to Kievan princes. but the grand princes of Tver’ were major rivals of the Moscow princes until the end of Tver’ independence in 1485. 1972. The latter’s son Iaroslav II was succeeded as grand prince of Vladimir by five of his sons successively: Aleksandr Nevskii. grand prince of Kiev and prince of Smolensk (in 1168).33 A related. “Russko-litovskie otnosheniia v XIV–XV vv.”. The early . it became the most important title of the Moscow grand princes. Moskva. 269-275.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 193 The sons of Ingvar Igorevich (†1235). gave Kiev to his brother Gleb and styled himself grand prince of Vladimir from this time on. Suzdal’ (later on Nizhnii Novgorod) and Tver’. Aleksandr. who also refers to older literature on the subject. “Words that serve the authority. although the (less important) prince who happened to rule in Kiev would still enjoy the title of grand prince. Andrei Bogoliubskii was succeeded as grand prince of Vladimir by his brothers Mikhail and then Vsevolod III the ‘Great Nest’ (Bol’shoe Gnezdo). Andrei and Iaroslav became the ancestors of the dynasties of respectively Moscow. but separate issue is the origin of the title of grand prince of all Russia (vseia Rusi). A. were the first to use the title of grand prince of Riazan’. Poppe.

and the princes of Suzdal’.M. 1982. so that the other party would also have to recognize the grand prince’s successors as elder brothers. grand prince Vitovt of Lithuania. No. No.g. Drevnosti II. DDG.). Sergeevich. regarded starshinstvo as a matter of family etiquette and linguistic practice and rejected the notion that it had any meaning beyond that. between Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka of Galich. 2000. Extensively on this entire topic Sergeevich. DDG. DDG. E. The basic elements of the dependent relationship were the following. This system was superseded then by the new Moscow approach.36 Occasionally. . A possible exception to this implicit rule would be a treaty between a maternal grandfather and his grandson. he made sure to insert his successor. 62-63.V. 367-379. Moskva.4. 181-200.38 The general logic. The junior party bound himself to be loyal to his senior. E. There are no extant examples of such treaties. There were several variations on this theme.27.194 Law in Medieval Russia The ‘house pacts’ within the clan of Ivan Kalita’s descendants.35 or simply as father. the treaty outlined a more complex hierarchy. 63-67. A. contained a package of standard conditions. No. “K voprosu ob odnom iz drevneishikh titulov russkogo kniazia”. Ibidem. Sometimes one party recognized the other as elder brother and father. Sergeevich.37 In this connection. which included a duty to inform about anything of importance to the latter. each indicating more precisely the character of the relationship. the treaty between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his uncle Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich. cf. an uncle would then address his nephew as elder brother in certain cases.g. distinguished between fathers and sons.39 Once the Moscow grand prince had established his right to appoint his successor (usually his eldest son). The core of it was always the recognition of the status of elder brother. the latter is referred to as Boris’ grandfather. borrowed from the Khazars. and uncles and nephews. so that uncles could take the place of fathers.40. younger. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1998 g.23. 152-153. according to the old family hierarchy of the Rurikids. Drevnosti II. Novosel’tsev. No. He was obliged 35 36 37 38 39 grand princes of Kiev also used the title of kagan. was that older generations took precedence over younger ones. and equal brothers. elder. as mentioned.g. as co-signatories. where a more prominent position would overrule the family relationship. Istoriia SSSR. also in T. Cf. Kalinina (ed. but in a treaty of 1427 between Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and the brother of his paternal grandmother. when he was actually occupying the grand princely throne. DDG. where several princes were involved. No.24. [Novosel’tsev memorial volume]. E. The treaty of 1445. it is worth noting that fathers (and grandfathers) and sons did not conclude treaties among each other. As a result. or sometimes his heirs in general.

21-24. and the effects of such activities in the principality of the other party. the sequence in time shows an increasing loss of independence of the respective prince. A grand alliance of Russian princes. Crummey. Mikhail of Tver’ had petitioned the khan for granting him the grand principality of Vladimir (the major title of the Moscow grand prince) and had started hostilities against Dmitrii Donskoi. 191-205. such as the levying of various taxes and the administration of justice. of 1375. the khan of the Golden Horde. Book 2. After pillaging Moscow. Karamzin. the senior party also had to inform the junior party of foreign policy activities.42 he recognized Dmitrii Donskoi 40 41 42 Cf. but there were exceptions.e. in some cases. was concluded after the military defeat of Tver’ at a very precarious moment of Dmitrii Donskoi’s rule. he was allowed to conclude treaties. and one with the prince of Suzdal’. Cf. which might also involve military duties. In the cases of the Tver’ and Riazan’ treaties. Generally the junior partner was forbidden to engage in foreign affairs (ne kanchivati. continued raiding Russia.41 In the resulting treaty. led by the Moscow grand prince. five with the grand princes of Riazan’. was then formed which forced Mikhail of Tver’ into submission.9. Cherepnin. The collection contains six treaties with the grand princes of Tver’.57-58. Relations with the Golden Horde were nearly always the exclusive domain of the senior party. i. Part 5. but not to the Moscow branch. col.cit. In a few cases. a more equal status between the parties than the treaties concluded by the Moscow grand prince with his closer relatives.40 The circumstances surrounding the conclusion of these treaties differed from each other. No. op. Most treaties paid attention to internal administrative activities of both parties. Tokhtamysh. Another highly significant matter was the freedom allowed to the prince’s boyars: were they granted the possibility of changing their allegiance? The significance of this question lay in the importance for the prince of the support of his boyars in maintaining his position. DDG.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 195 to support his senior in his external affairs. Such duties could be more or less onerous.. but in a general way one might say that they displayed. . but not without the senior’s knowledge. 80-86. not to conclude agreements). The earliest treaty in this category. Arkhivy I. 25-28. sometimes the junior prince was only obliged to take part in campaigns if the elder brother also participated in person. as could be expected. The Treaties of the Princes of Muscovy: Distant Relatives A smaller part of the collection of Moscow treaties concerns relations with other Russian princes. between grand princes Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi of Moscow. princes belonging to the Rurikid house. 51-58.

of 1396. 49.196 Law in Medieval Russia as his elder brother and accepted the duty “to mount his horse” (sesti na kon’) together with the Moscow prince. Crummey. was forced to conclude a treaty which did not quite reduce him to the status of a Moscow apanage prince (he was. 85-86. as was customary in treaties which the Moscow prince concluded with other princes.. however. for instance. Most of the Russian principalities had been brought under Moscow’s control and Tver’ was surrounded by Moscow territory.44 A century later. Cherepnin. Arkhivy I. The Moscow prince promised to cancel his agreement with the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. it seems to me that the duty to consult in this case was also mutual. The brief Russian-Lithuanian peace treaty was. 295-301. in the same year. . but only in consultation with Moscow). Mikhail of Tver’ was forced into exile and Tver’ became part of the Muscovy state. suggests that at least a number of Russian-Lithuanian treaties from the period concerned were lost (carried off) during the Polish occupation of Moscow in 1611-1612 in the Time of Troubles. thinks otherwise. Arkhivy I. Cherepnin. cf. The grand prince of Tver’. because the treaty required consultation (duma). but effectively deprived him of all freedom of action. cf.cit. The two grand princes recognized each other simply as brothers.45 The Treaties between Moscow and Lithuania Very few foreign treaties of the grand princes of Moscow have survived. No. Cherepnin. the Tver’ prince was allowed full freedom in his relations with the Horde (k Orde put’ chist). 91. Mikhail Borisovich. the situation had changed completely.43 He did promise not to accept the Moscow principality from the hands of the khan. still allowed to negotiate with the Golden Horde.79. The treaty of 1371 between Olgerd of Lithuania and Dmitrii Donskoi was closely connected with the struggle for Russian hegemony between the grand princes of Moscow and Tver’. in 1485. of which the treaties of 1375 and 1396 between these two gentlemen.15. 45 DDG. Arkhivy I. mentioned in the preceding section. 43 44 Cherepnin. to support him in arms. but the Moscow prince promised likewise with regard to the Tver’ principality.e. Arkhivy I. i. were also an expression. Later on. 40-43. to negotiate with other powers or to have relations with the Golden Horde. No. 198-199. He was not forbidden. Most other obligations. were mutual. 46 DDG. otherwise the conditions of the treaty were symmetrical.46 All three of them are with the rulers of Lithuania. cf. The following Moscow-Tver’ treaty. 53. op. is probably most typical as an example of a treaty between equals.

being closely allied with and in fact subject to the grand prince of Lithuania (and king of Poland. and king Wladyslaw Jagiello of Poland and his brother prince Svidrigailo of Lithuania.e. All three Lithuanian treaties make clear that Smolensk and its princes were subject to the Lithuanian prince.83. Hramoty XIV st. 1974.48 It was imperative for the Moscow prince to keep the ruler of Poland and Lithuania out of the internal Russian conflict. Alekseev. M. Moskva.6. Smolensk Treaties The four Smolensk treaties constitute a special category. Peshchak (ed. associated with the Lithuanian prince.. Arkhivy I. 21-22. The background of the 1494 treaty between Aleksandr Kazimirovich of Lithuania and Ivan III Vasil’evich of Moscow was the completion of the process of gathering all the Russian principalities under Moscow’s rule. Princely Treaties. Cherepnin. DDG. certain concessions were therefore made (e. 160-161. the grand princes of Riazan’ were allowed to serve the Polish king. 1980. Cf. an attempt to neutralize the powerful Lithuanian state in the conflict with Tver’. Smolenskaia zemlia v IX-XII vv. after the Polish-Lithuanian union in 1386). grand prince of Smolensk. 205-207. The relatively modest number of available treaties in which Moscow was not involved as a party gives an indication of the contents of what must have been a much more substantial body of texts. to enter into some kind of feudal relationship with the latter). Cf. No.. not involving Moscow The survival of medieval Russian treaties has been determined above all by their inclusion in the archives of the Moscow grand prince. Cf. 49 50 51 . i.50 As mentioned. Cherepnin.53. L.M.47 The treaty of 1449 with the Lithuanian grand prince and Polish king Kazimir is to be situated in the struggle between Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow and his cousin Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka of Galich over the grand princely dignity (discussed above). 45-49. No. 69-71. 25-29. The grand prince Sviatoslav of Smolensk acted as a co-signatory.51 Although the conditions of the treaty were similar to those 47 48 DDG. Arkhivy I. No. Smolensk had stayed outside the mainstream of Russian medieval history.g. The 1494 treaty made clear that Riazan’ had moved to Moscow’s sphere of influence. and not to Moscow. At that moment only Riazan’ and the city of Pskov still maintained a measure of precarious independence. 329-332.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 197 from the Moscow point of view. Kiev.49 5. DDG.V.). The subordinate position of the Smolensk prince is evidenced by the treaty of 1386 between Iurii Sviatoslavich.

and other “old charters”. also.52 One could associate to the small group of Smolensk treaties a treaty between the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt and the city of Riga of 1399.. A trade agreement between Polotsk and Riga of 1478 renewed the provisions of an earlier (unknown) agreement. Khoroshkevich (ed. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1965 g. but are also unusual on account of their contents. iz byvshego Rizhskogo gorodskogo arkhiva”. The first two. A short treaty from between 1330 and 1359 between Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga confirmed an earlier treaty. with Riga and Visby (“Gothic Coast”). See. such as Lithuania or Poland. They provide a kind of short code of law. Hramoty. applicable to Smolensk subjects and to the German citizens of Riga and Visby in their commercial dealings. Polotskie gramoty XIII-nachala XVI vv. A.L. inevitably. 1966. “Russkie gramoty 60-70-ykh godov XV v.L. No. also. 483-383. compared with the bulk of Russian princely treaties. A treaty of around 1483 between grand prince Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ and the Polish king and Lithuanian grand prince Kazimir is connected with the 1485 treaty between Tver’ and Moscow. Moskva. Peshchak. in which the prince informed Riga that the city of Polotsk had agreed with him that the citizens of Riga would receive the usual favourable treatment.). the general style of the text is different. 325-341. 139-140. DDG [no number]. .53 Polotsk. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda.54 Other Princely Treaties The remaining princely treaties are.198 Law in Medieval Russia found in comparable Russian treaties from the same era. 1978. The other three Smolensk treaties were with Riga.171. such as the Court Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota). from the Russian point of view. A. of 1229 and of a later date sometime between 1230 and 1270. was even more marginal in the Russian middle ages than Smolensk. 69-76. a mixed bag. there is no recognition of the dominant party as elder brother. The texts are of great interest for Russian legal history. It was permanently under the control of Western powers. because they form a link between the earliest Russian code of the Russkaia Pravda and later general codifications.2 No. see.8. and was generally along the lines of other commercial treaties between Baltic cities and Russian partners. an important principality in the early period of Kievan Russia. 1011.. Khoroshkevich. Moskva.55 Prince Mikhail made a 52 53 54 55 SGGD. Vol. are not only very early texts. concluded by his grandfather.

No. and not to claim the throne of Riazan’ ahead of Ivan’s future sons (in the event a son Ivan was born in the same year. No. 199-201. No. 1449). 38-39. is perhaps the son of Andrei Iur’evich.54. No.58 The treaty of 1461 between Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk was concluded in Lithuania.84.60 The treaty was very much along the line of similar treaties within the Moscow dynasty. from different cadet branches of the Moscow ruling house. Fedor was to succeed. the last prince of Riazan’).60. 58 Peshchak.56 The two treaties of Boris of Tver’. If Ivan were to die childless. whose paternal grandmother was a sister of the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. DDG.40. Most of the other treaties in this group were also between various Russian princes and the Lithuanian grand prince and were usually an expression of the policy to create a counterweight against Moscow’s growing preponderance. in the other treaties the princes concerned requested (through a chelobitie) the Polish/ Lithuanian king to be admitted to his service. 67-68 (Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’. . not to engage independently in foreign relations. who styled himself grand prince. 1459). the Moscow grand prince. DDG. the last remaining independent prince. 163-164 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 199 last desperate attempt in 1483 to break out of Moscow’s encirclement of his principality by means of an alliance with the Polish/Lithuanian king. prince of Volynia. 68-69 (Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk. 117-118 (Fedor L’vovich of Novosil’ and Odoev. the grand prince of Riazan’ Ivan Vasil’evich. 192-193 (Ivan Iur’evich of Novosil’ and Odoev.57 A treaty of 1445 between Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka of Galich and the brothers Vasilii and Fedor Iur’evich of Suzdal’ was connected with Shemiaka’s struggle with his cousin Vasilii Vasil’evich. were based on a more or less formal equality between the parties. for the Moscow throne. grand prince of Moscow. No. 332-341. where both princes were in exile. Dmitrii. 1442). concluded a treaty with his younger brother Fedor. 56 57 DDG. 62-63 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’. In 1496. 119-121. No. No. A somewhat obscure treaty of 1366 between a Volynian prince Dmitrii and the Polish king fixed the border of Dmitrii’s territory around Vladimir-Volynsk.39. 1427). Hramoty. They agreed to close ranks in their conflict with their cousin Vasilii Vasil’evich. 1430).23. No. and had both lost their Russian possessions. 59 60 DDG. The younger brother promised to support his elder brother.59 They were distantly related.25.26. one of the sons of Iurii Danilovich.62. king of Galicia. No. 1442).

Such agreements were closely connected with the rotation system. it was the inhabitants of Novgorod who had invited Rurik to be their prince and that is where he established his capital. notably Novgorod and Pskov. Oleg. also the chapter on popular assemblies). With the waning of the importance of Kiev in the second half of the 11th century and its eventual annihilation by the Mongols in 1240. According to the half-legendary narrative of the Primary Chronicle. During the period of the early Kievan rulers.200 Law in Medieval Russia 6. It was 61 D’iakonov. St. and it will be more practical to discuss the topic first within the Novgorod context. Novgorod remained the second most important place and the ranking prince after the prince who ruled in Kiev usually acted as resident prince in Kiev. Rurik’s successor. in addition to what has been said in the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod. Askold and Dir. The two most famous grand princes from the Kievan era. managed to retain and even strengthen its former position. according to which princes would move to more important cities once a vacancy would occur (see the chapter on the “Elder Brother”). unseated and killed them as usurpers. The most common type was the agreement in which a particular city accepted a particular member of the Rurikid dynasty as its prince. because they were not of princely stock. Two of his boyars. 31-33. on this topic. although not a single text has survived. Novgorod. there was a certain bipolarity involving Kiev and Novgorod. a few general observations concerning Novgorod’s place in medieval Russia are appropriate. Novgorod’s wealth and power rested on its location in the northwestern corner of medieval Russia and its access to the Baltic Sea. The practice of inviting and dismissing princes survived in subsequent centuries only in a few cities. the only major medieval Russian city that was never occupied by the Mongols.61 The chronicles contain numerous references to formal agreements between such parties. wandered south and settled in Kiev. Oleg then set up his headquarters in Kiev. sat in Novgorod before moving to Kiev. based on seniority (starshinstvo). The Treaties of the Russian Cities The pre-revolutionary historian D’iakonov already drew attention to the existence of treaties between Russian princes and cities in Kievan times (see. to the extent that the latter city appeared as the alternative centre of power in Kievan Russia. Its flowering was also connected with changes in the flow of European trade. . The Treaties of Novgorod the Great Before looking in more detail at the treaties concluded by the city of Novgorod.Vladimir and his son Iaroslav the Wise.

The Russian chronicles offer numerous references to such assemblies in Novgorod and other places. He was after all not a permanent fixture. In the course of time. Within the individual city-states of Kievan Russia. A strong and efficient ruler in Kiev. The change in trade patterns. there certainly were ideological or religious objections against having a state without a prince. Usually. where they appeared actively involved in political affairs and negotiating with their own and other princes. the prince did not rule as an autocrat. the veche. governing by virtue of the ordinary rules of succession. Early Kievan Russia can be regarded as a confederation of principalities. in other words. it would dismiss him. When there was a vacancy. Additionally. The internal government of Novgorod is discussed in the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod. he would normally bring some troops of his own (along with Novgorod forces) and he would have to be a successful captain. The permanent element in the principality was the popular assembly. If the city did not get on with its prince. Its immediate neighbour in Russia was the principal- . and each of them centred around a principal city. themselves often based on older tribal divisions among the Eastern Slavs. he had received the principality as an apanage. A prince would have to satisfy both requirements.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 201 the principal point of export of timber. The exclusive right to rule residing in the house of Rurik would be an important part of this outlook. It would not be unreasonable to ask why Novgorod needed a prince at all. wax and furs. The practical answer was probably that maintenance of the territorially huge empire of Novgorod (its northern possessions stretched into Siberia) demanded an effective military force and somebody to command it. the balance shifted in favour of the princes. Only in Novgorod did developments run in the opposite direction: as the power of Novgorod grew. The entire complex was held together by the family ties between the princes and the hierarchy within the ruling house. honey. would be able to infuse a considerable degree of unity into the whole. he would leave his residence for a wealthier and more powerful city. the successor of his father and to be succeeded by his eldest son. the zhit’i liudi. the erosion of the seniority principle (described in the chapter on the “Elder Brother”) gradually changed the position of the prince as a kind of temporary governor and military commander into that of a permanent ruler. as they were called in Novgorod. favourable to Novgorod. Once the flow of events would offer him a better deal. the undisputed capital. the veche would be dominated by the higher strata of society. Novgorod would invite a prince and conclude an agreement with him. was accompanied by political developments which were unique to Novgorod. all of them vital goods for the societies of medieval Western Europe. the power of its prince weakened.

grand prince of Vladimir.26-30. Oesel and Kurland rarely appear as parties. 58-66. the bishoprics of Derpt (Dorpat. Tartu). grand prince of Vladimir and the most powerful Russian prince of his time. Oesel. grand prince of Vladimir. Iaroslav was the prince of Tver’ and the ancestor of the sub-dynasty of the princes of Tver’.14-15. Tallin.64 and a more disparate group of later treaties. They refer to previous treaties concluded with Iaroslav’s father Iaroslav Vsevolodovich. Novgorod was of course ever more involved with the expanding realm of the Moscow grand prince. 36-38. Moskva. Kashtanov. in 1263. This explains why the three treaties with Novgorod (of 1264. This contingent may be subdivided into an early group of three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’.e. 1996. GVNP. although the texts of the treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich make it quite clear that they only continue an old and traditional pattern. Revel (Reval.65 After the death of Aleksandr Nevskii. the citizens of Novgorod had refused to accept his son Dmitrii as their prince and had invited a younger brother of Aleksandr. Iur’ev. 1-3. Denmark. not only the major powers of Lithuania and Poland. the archbishopric of Riga. GVNP.4-13. after the death of his older brothers Aleksandr and Andrei. 64 65 . He was also. but also smaller Baltic entities: the Teutonic Order. In the treaties reviewed in this chapter. Mikhail Iaroslavich.63 a larger group of treaties with the latter’s son. the largest contingent is understandably with its immediate Eastern neighbour. Vladimir). the bishops of Riga. In later years. Tver’) and the “land of Suzdal’ (i. 32-34. Its Western neighbours were numerous. Novgorod’s treaty practice reflected its more cosmopolitan location and involved also more distant Baltic powers: Sweden. Nos. 20. in accordance with the rules of starshinstvo.62 Novgorod-Tver’ Treaties Of the Russian treaties concluded by Novgorod. pp. pp. Nos. The 1270 treaty refers in passing to the Mongol overlordship by stipulating that the merchants are free to engage in trade 62 63 Generally on Novgorod treaties: S. Kolyvan’) and Derpt.9-13. and Kurland. Nos. 17-18.e. the grand prince of Tver’. GVNP. and the Hanseatic cities of Riga.13-26. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. to be their prince. and more distant ancestors.202 Law in Medieval Russia ity of Tver’.M. and the Hanseatic League. Iaroslav. pp. 1266 and 1270) show Iaroslav accepting obligations with regard to his own volost’ (i. The treaties set the tone for the series of treaties concluded by Novgorod with later Tver’ princes.

291-293. cf. Arkhivy I.15-22. Cherepnin. 254266. the text is defective and has been tentatively reconstructed by Cherepnin. For a prince. It lasted for several years and various attempts at making peace were made. Nos. GVNP. 68 69 . PRP II. No. located somewhere on the East Russian or West Siberian steppe. Arkhivy I. No. Nos. 133-159 (text and comments). pp. Arkhivy I. cf. according to the tsar’s charter (po tsesareve gramote). GVNP.67 As was often the case.8 constitutes an addition to No. Arkhivy I. the treaty consisted of an exchange of letters in which the parties outlined their commitments and claims. also. the Hanseatic colony within Novgorod (see the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod). Arkhivy I.13-15. during the first century of Mongol suzerainty. In the northern half of the country. with final success in 1318. cf. Although Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ had officially been installed as prince of Novgorod in 1308. the tsar being the Mongol khan.22-26.7. a perpetual coming and going of princely supplicants could be observed at the mobile Mongol headquarters. Cherepnin. 282-299. see.66 The first treaties between Novgorod and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ date from 1296/1301 and were devoted to an ad hoc co-operation agreement. who suggests that the explanation must be sought in Mongol interference in the negotiations. Cherepnin. 293-296. which started with the taking of Riazan’ in 1237. The appointment was in the hands of the khan of the Golden Horde. Nos. the southern half of what used to be Kievan Russia remained for a long time in a state of chaos and stopped playing a significant role in Russian history. The general background is nearly always the same: the incessant struggle of the North Russian princes for hegemony.13 also included the Moscow grand prince Iurii Danilovich as a party. 270-282.6-10. being adopted by Novgorod was attractive on account of the city’s wealth. After the Mongol conquest of Russia.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 203 in the land of Suzdal’. which yielded the incumbent the leading position among the Russian princes. The curious political background of the three-cornered treaty is discussed by Cherepnin. because it used its unique freedom to select its own prince as an instrument to extract the best deal. the major prize was the grand princely dignity of Vladimir. Novgorod itself was a not insignificant player in this game. The two texts are accordingly quite divergent. war broke out between him and Novgorod in 1312.69 Prince Mikhail was killed the next 66 67 On the three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’. GVNP.4-5. A set of treaties from the period 1304-1308 between Novgorod and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ outlined the relationships between the parties and elaborated on the provisions of the earlier treaties between the two parties. pp. Cherepnin. 267-270. pp.11-13.68 All of them included a reference to the trading freedom of the “German Court”.

by the “Germans” (the Teutonic Order). or. GVNP. GVNP. 15. No.) and Novgorod was forced to make various financial and territorial concessions. Dmitrii Donskoi only had very young children in 1371 and his cousin would be the probable successor at that time.71 The next Moscow-Novgorod treaty dates from 1371-1372. in 1471.74 The Iazhelbitsy treaty was imposed on Novgorod under a severe military threat. No. believes 1317 is the correct date.19. 20. Obviously. on the implementation of the Iazhelbitsy treaty. 34-36. Arkhivy I. The peace treaty between Novgorod and Vasilii Temnyi of 143573 was connected with the dynastic difficulties which beset Moscow at that moment. 39-43 (Novgorod and Moscow copies). Nos. and Cherepnin. his cousin Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov was included as a party. Moscow was not in serious danger of German aggression. 293. together with the grand prince of Tver’.75 In a wording slightly less favourable to Novgorod. Cherepnin.22/23.72 It was a treaty of mutual aid. 45-51.204 Law in Medieval Russia year during his visit to the Horde. GVNP. Fifteen years later. pp. 369-373.14. a not uncommon fate for a medieval Russian prince. No. the provisions of the Iazhelbitsy treaty were 70 71 GVNP. also. The army of Novgorod was beaten on the Shelon’ river and a new peace treaty was concluded (the Korostyn’ treaty). .26/27.26-30. No. GVNP No.24. 32-34. directed against a possible attack on either party by Lithuania or Tver’. see above. 31. in the case of Novgorod. Later treaties with Tver’ were connected with the ups-and-downs in the struggle of Tver’ with Moscow. and also GVNP No.70 Novgorod-Moscow Treaties The grand prince of Moscow appeared for the first time in a treaty with Novgorod in 1318/1319.16. the Novgorod veche was deprived of its right to make independent decisions (A vechnym gramatam ne byti.13. PRP II. see. Along with the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi. when the young Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich was involved in a struggle with his first cousins Vasilii Kosoi and Dmitrii Shemiaka. The so-called Iazhelbitsy peace treaty of 1456 already reflected the growing preponderance of Moscow. 4344. 36-38. it came to actual hostilities. 17. 251-259 and commentary on 267-272. 18. 72 73 74 75 GVNP. the last Novgorod-Tver’ treaty of 1446-1447 was between Boris Aleksandrovich and the city.

77 names this prince as Manush Orikovich—Magnus V Eriksson. contained a more comprehensive treatment of mutual relations. in 1326. PRP II. born in 1316. with Kazimir IV of Poland and Lithuania. No. 105-106. Three treaties with the grand princes of Lithuania are of a later date and may be regarded as episodes in Novgorod’s ultimately unsuccessful balancing act between the territorial appetites of its western neighbours and the grand princes of Moscow. however.78-83. 129-132. this is none other than the Moscow grand prince Iurii III. Tallin.P. Sweden and the Goths in the treaty. Vyp. however. See. 332-333. elder brother of Ivan Kalita. Ch. Book VI. Arkhivy I. parallel text in Latin. 1945. of 1431. I.15. who became king of Sweden in 1319 (succeeding his uncle Birger II) and of Norway in the same year (succeeding his maternal grandfather Haakon V). 115-116. No. Karamzin.77.70. No. No.78 Although Magnus is called the king of Norway. 45-61 and “Russko-Norvezhskii dogovor”. Cherepnin.39. The second agreement. the remainder of the text refers only to the kingdom of Norway. to be dated between 1440 and 1447. No. Ivan III fully incorporated Novgorod in the Muscovy state.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 205 repeated. 245-251. with Svidrigailo of Lithuania. 78 79 GVNP.81 The treaty was apparently never signed and the draft fell into the hands of the Moscow grand prince. the Chronicle states that the treaty was concluded “on the old terms” (po staroi poshline). Vol. 67-68.3. commentary on 260-266.76 Novgorod Treaties with Foreign Rulers The Novgorod Chronicle. A second treaty with Magnus V Eriksson. In 1478. Shaskol’skii. The treaty is mainly about the regulation of borders. GVNP. GVNP. Cherepnin. Cherepnin has attempted a reconstruction. to previous similar treaties.38. also. The treaty did not contain a reference. 1976. col. 76 77 Cf.79 It appears to be primarily a trade agreement. Skandinavskii Sbornik. Arkhivy. “Dogovory Novgoroda s Norvegiei”. but not available to me. 80 81 . GVNP. The first treaty. The end of Novgorod independence was near. who was also serving as prince of Novgorod at the time. A Latin text is extant. 69-70. 63-72. The available Russian text. with the Lithuanian prince Kazimir. must be seen as a last desperate attempt of Novgorod to ward off the imminent annexation by Moscow. 323-333. of 1470/1471. has survived only in very defective form. Istoricheskie Zapiski. as was often the case. grand prince Iurii is mentioned. reports the conclusion of an “everlasting peace” with the king of Sweden. under the year 1323.14. I. GVNP.63.80 The last treaty. was of a similar nature. Along with the usual Novgorod signatories (the mayor and the tysiatskii). concluded three years later.

special discussion. On the Russian side.3) and survived right to the end of Novgorod independence. Novgorod could not be reached by ship in the winter. This formula already appeared in the treaty of 1270 with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ (GVNP. Along with the Court of 82 83 Cf. therefore. The treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic partners were mainly devoted to the definition of the status of the foreign trading colonies in Novgorod and the settlement of disputes arising between Russians and foreigners. it was still included in the 1471 treaty with Ivan III of Moscow (GVNP. were largely concerned with the position of the resident Hanseatic merchants in Novgorod. also Pskov (see below). Even in Novgorod’s numerous treaties with the princes of Tver’ and Moscow. Arkhivy I. Cherepnin. One of the most intriguing aspects of Russian foreign trade in the middle ages is the role of permanent settlements of foreign merchants. See the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod. The usual formula was: “And you. Mamas quarter of Constantinople. enjoyed a kind of territorial immunity and had its own law. the freedom of the German Court (or Compound: nemetskii dvor) was often specifically included. a number of minor powers. later on. however. this was first of all Novgorod. a dvora ti ne zatvariati. the Skra. torgovati nasheiu brateiu. is the same. prince. Novgorod’s relations with Western powers.84 The German Court. Cherepnin’s restrained treatment of the episode (published in 1948) contrasts favourably with the commentary in PRP II. was active in the North-West of medieval Russia and in the Baltic area. and then Smolensk and. shall permit our brothers to trade in the German Court and you shall not close the Court and shall not appoint your constables there” (A v Nemetskom dvore. or St.26). The general context. No. Peter’s Court. and its own jurisdiction (see the chapter on the Skra). kniazhe. 245 (published in 1953): “The draft treaty of Novgorod with Kazimir IV reflected the reactionary attempt of the Novgorod boyars to secure the support of the PolishLithuanian feudal lords in order to counteract the unification policy of the Russian state. the settlement was semi-permanent because for climatic reasons it had a semi-annual cycle.82 Novgorod Treaties with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants As mentioned above. 344-345.206 Law in Medieval Russia who used it to great effect in accusing the Novgorodians of consorting with his enemies. a pristavov ti ne pristavlivati). .83 The 945 treaty between Byzantium and the Russians already dealt extensively with the colony of Russian traders in the St. especially those connected with the Hanseatic League.” 84 In Novgorod. The number of Novgorod treaties with other regional powers exceeds by far the few texts from Smolensk and Pskov and merits. No. in a varying configuration.

GVNP. and the Goths. V. and PRP II. No. one notes that the presence of foreign trading communities often had the effect of a catalyst on the development of Russian law. The next restatement of the rules of the Russkaia Pravda was in the 1229 treaty between Smolensk and Riga (discussed above). according to the majority viewpoint.A.A. the role of the local prince is diminished until he finally disappears altogether as a participant. 86 87 GVNP.. Vol. 43-50. Moskva. 88 Commentators agree that this was the son of Vladimir Mstislavich. prince of Dorogobuzh. see E. 1975. 161-175. This assumption is supported by the next known treaty.e.L.A. Leningrad. PRP II. 252.A. the Miroshkinichi) and the tysiatskii Iakov. “Nachal’nyi tekst novgorodsko-nemetskikh dogovorov”.28. The first line of the treaty stated that it confirmed the old peace treaty (staryi mir). On the treaties with the Hanseatic League: N. No. Russko-livonskie i russko-ganzeiskie otnosheniia. . were very much connected with the appearance of Russian-Viking traders in Constantinople. the Gothic Coast (i.85 In a more general perspective and parenthetically. The earliest written sources. a raid against the men of Novgorod by “the Varangians [Vikings] in Gothland and by the Germans [Nemtsy]”. On Russian-Baltic relations: N. Kazakova. “O dvukh drevneishikh torgovykh dogovorakh Novgoroda”. Leningrad. The origins of the oldest parts of the Russkaia Pravda concerned the need to pacify inter-ethnic troubles in Novgorod in the times of Iaroslav the Wise (in the beginning of the 11th century). Visby) appeared as the principal party on the German side. Ianin (ed. Iaroslav Vladimirovich left Novgorod in 1199. The earliest known Hanseatic treaty (already referred to in the beginning of this chapter) of Novgorod is dated between 1189 and 1199. 126. The Novgorod Chronicle mentions. In later treaties. starting with the 1262/1263 treaty the 85 Generally on the foreign trading colonies in Novgorod: E. off the Swedish coast. Cf. 125-1126.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 207 St. and the whole Latin tongue”. 1989. as pointed out above.29. Moskva. prince Iaroslav Vladimirovich. Cherepnin.87 assisted by the mayor Miroshka (ancestor of the leading mayoral family of Novgorod.86 The treaty was concluded between. E.A. Arkhivy I. Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik. the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. under the year 1188. for Novgorod. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. Rybina. Kazakova. 56-57. 1986. 1974. for the merchants from the town of Visby on the island of Gotland. and on the other side the envoy Arbud “and all the German sons.VI. the treaty may therefore perhaps also be regarded as a peace treaty. Inozemnye dvory v Novgorode XII-XVII vv. 55-56. which contains similar provisions and refers four times to the staryi mir. 3 (13). and grandson of Vladimir Monomakh.Peter. of 1262-1263. Rybina. Rybina has argued convincingly that the date of the treaty can be narrowed down to 1190-1191.). so one may assume that the treaty generally conformed to a traditional pattern. there was also a so-called Gothic Court.88 In the earliest treaties.

Together with Lübeck and Visby.42. 127-129). 1466 (GVNP. Kazakova. the treaties of 1372 (GVNP. 1392 (GVNP. and of 1342. 80-83). An echo of the old provisions of the Russkaia Pravda can be heard in the rules which set fixed compensations for homicide. In 15th century treaties. Then the different ways Novgorod could be reached were regulated in detail: which routes. There were also rules about dealing with criminal offences and with people who participated in inter-ethnic brawls. The treaty mentioned the German and the Gothic Courts. Rybina.46. 1434 (GVNP. there can be no doubt that the two documents concerned give a precise account of the conditions of a treaty. These two documents begin with the formula: “Be it known to all that […]”.91 89 90 A fuller list of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic cities is to be found in the Appendix to this chapter.37 and 40 (of 1323. No. Much attention was paid to questions of jurisdiction: how disputes were to be adjudicated. etc. 58-61. however. the following could be mentioned: 1371 (GVNP. 110-112). No. Other regularly named parties are Kolyvan’ (Tallin).31. instead of the usual opening line of Novgorod treaties. in summer and winter. 1436 (GVNP. Nos. 43-50. the hiring of guides and pilots. The general treaty pattern with the Hanseatic League is perhaps best reflected by the text of a draft treaty of 1269. the text confirmed the old treaty terms. but did not contain specific rules about them. the accepted number of Hanseatic League members at that time. No. Ianin (ed. No. it concerns GVNP. “O dvukh drevneishikh …”. the treaty was only ratified in 1265. injuries.64. 1989. 1372 (GVNP. etc. “Novgorodsko-Nemetskie dogovory ili Livonskie akty?”. . rules of evidence. with German merchants). but confirmed certain details of the framework provided by the more general treaties.90 A number of peace treaties and treaties declaring a truce demonstrate that the basically commercially oriented relationships were not always smooth. However. the staryi mir. 74-76). but as unilateral declarations that a treaty had been concluded.74.43. etc. Riga is also mentioned by name at an early date already. V. make clear that the named parties appeared on behalf of “all the merchants from across the sea”. which gradually assumed leadership of the Hanseatic League in the course of the 13th century.43. No.76. 124-126). Among the more general treaties. and Iur’ev (Tartu). 76-79). identifying the officials participating in the signing of the treaty.). 76-79). Most treaties. Kazakova has argued that two texts should not be regarded as treaties proper.67. No. Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik.208 Law in Medieval Russia first place is taken by Lübeck. Many of the later treaties concerned more specific questions. No. 63-67. 106-108). 3(13). Cf. 91 GVNP. 1450 (GVNP. N. No. Leningrad.A. According to Rybina. with the Teutonic Order.89 First of all. No.L. “all the 73 [or 72] cities” are sometimes mentioned.

since 1308. 94 . 133-136 (between Novgorod and Pskov and the bishop of Dorpat). This was also the last treaty concluded by Novgorod. in fact if not in law. The Order was founded during the Third Crusade in 1190-1191 and quickly turned its attention to the evangelization of the Baltic area. restored the peace between the two sides and contained the usual conditions about the rights of merchants.48. from a bad press in Russian historiography. No. Dorpat and Reval). where it has been portrayed. No. GVNP.60. acting on behalf of the Teutonic Order). i. the socalled peace of Niebur. which marked the beginning of the decline of the Order. Novgorod also allied itself several times with the Order. and the bishop of Dorpat and the Master of Riga. The treaty contained detailed regulation of the trade between the parties and the rights and duties of merchants. in the complicated power game in the region. the Land Marshal Walram. No. This made the order. acting also on behalf of Pskov. The other treaties all date after 1410. The last significant contingent among the treaties of Novgorod with its neighbours is represented by the treaties with the Teutonic order. between the bishop of Dorpat and Novgorod and Pskov. under the international law regime prevailing in the Middle Ages. Kolyvan’ and Iur’ev. because Novgorod at that moment had already lost its independence. No. in Marienburg (the present Polish Malbork. The success of the Order in the Baltic area was to a considerable extent due to its co-operation with the Hanseatic League. 96-98 (between Novgorod.59. 85-86 (concerning an extension of the peace treaty of 1392. in respect of Dorpat). a distinct sovereign entity.e. not far from Gdansk/Danzig)). 65-67.92 The most important of these was the treaty of 1474. Most of the provisions concerned Pskov only. as a kind of precursor of the SS. especially after World War II. It transferred its lands to the Pope in 1234. GVNP. A treaty of 1421 between Novgorod and the order (represented by the Livonian Landmeister Silvester. The first “eternal alliance” (vechnyi soiuz) was concluded in 132393 and was directed against the then still pagan Lithuanians. when the Order had been beaten decisively by Poland in the battle of Tannenberg.78. 98-100. Its grand master (Hochmeister) resided. No.94 The treaty was preceded by a draft 92 93 GVNP. and the Landmeister for Livland in Riga.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 209 A smaller number of treaties concerned only local Baltic relations. receiving them in return as a fief.37. No. 86-88 (settlement of a dispute between Novgorod and the cities of Riga. with the German controlled cities of Riga. not always deservedly. The Order suffers. and others).49.

Peterburg. Several Pskov treaties have survived.335. 99 On Pskov-Novgorod relations and the internal organization of Pskov. 1873. Pskov increasingly followed its own course. the Landmeister of Livonia). Pskov Treaties Originally. often played an independent role in Novgorod’s internal politics. All of them are available in bilingual form: Russian and Middle Low German. agreeing on a truce for five years and a meeting in the summer on the banks of the Narva River. In the latter treaty. Nikitskii. Oesel and Kurland. No. others in conjunction with Novgorod. also appeared for the archbishop of Riga.97 and negotiated with other powers.99 Three other treaties are with the Teutonic Order. was basically a 95 GVNP. and for the city of Riga.98 Pskov held out longer against Moscow than Novgorod.e. No. In 1347. which settled various outstanding border disputes. 97 GVNP.210 Law in Medieval Russia peace treaty of 1420. Of all the towns on Novgorod territory. Pskov also took part on the side of Novgorod. between Novgorod. made its own laws. was part of Novgorod and enjoyed the status of a Novgorod borough (prigorod). some of them concluded by Pskov alone. In subsequent years. see A. and on the other side the Teutonic Order and the bishop of Dorpat. S. 98 The Court Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota) is the most important legislative document in the period after the Russkaia Pravda and the Law Code of Ivan III of 1497. it invited and dismissed its own princes.59. Ocherk vnutrennoi istorii Pskova. the men of Pskov. 96 . The meeting took place in July and resulted in a comprehensive treaty. the city of Pskov.95 After renewed troubles.96 The former treaty was between Novgorod and the Order and the bishop of Dorpat. the bishops of Dorpat. of 1417. also acting on behalf of Pskov. 119-124. 117-119. A treaty of 1440 with grand prince Kazimir of Lithuania was very much in the format of the usual trade agreements of Novgorod with other Baltic powers: provisions concerning mutual free trade and procedural agreements concerning the solution of arising disputes being the main topics. Already in the 12th century. the Master of Riga (i.72. GVNP. it finally had to submit in 1509. 321-322. while “prince Heidenreich Vinke”. No. The first one. together with the inhabitants of Ladoga. 96-98. No.73. as related in the Novgorod Chronicle. the representatives of Novgorod and of the Order and the bishop of Dorpat met again in February 1448 and concluded a preliminary treaty. Novgorod officially recognized Pskov’s independence. situated some 200 km south-east of Novgorod. only Pskov had the right to have its own boroughs.

the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt is identified as the potential enemy. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans So far. of 1448. only the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors and the Tatar Great Khan were adorned in Russia with the title of tsar. No.cit.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 211 peace treaty or a truce for ten years. No. between Novgorod and Pskov and. 178-183.334. of 1503. the Russian sovereign [russkii gosudar’/dem Ruschen keiser] Vasilii Dmitrievich” (the grand prince of Moscow). Pechenegs and Polovtsians in Kievan times. and Tatar (as a general term to denote various Turkic elements) in the north-western part of the empire. 318-321. the bishop of Iur’ev. 7. The central theme of the treaty is a six-years’ truce between the parties. Russia’s eastern and south-eastern neighbours. 1304-1589. This was part of Ivan’s policy of having the title of tsar (caesar). Crummey. The success of the enterprise meant that the ethnically Mongol rulers of the successor states which came into being after two generations were soon assimilated by the different ethnic majorities in those states. The archbishop of Riga is included as a party. A treaty involving a truce for thirty years. D. Ostrowski. on the other side. Cambridge. such as Chinese. Both Russian and Western authors use the terms Mongol and Tatar frequently indiscriminately.347. . 331-337. and the bishops of Riga and Dorpat (Iur’ev) appear as potential allies. some accompanying provisions concern the freedom of trade. equivalent to emperor or basileus. and finally. GVNP. our lord. Initially.100 It offers a picture of the complicated network of relations of Pskov at the time. the most redoubtable of them all. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier.103 The Primary Chronicle offers some confused evidence of treaty relations with the Khazars in the earliest Kievan times: the Khazars had 100 101 102 103 GVNP. The empire of Chingis-Khan and his successors had a Mongol core in that it was founded by a coalition of Mongol tribes under a Mongol dynasty. The second treaty. 96. internationally recognized. op. had been steppe nomads: Scythian and other Iranian peoples in proto-historic times. the Mongols-Tatars.101 The text is in the form of a solemn confirmation by “tsar” Ivan III of Russia102 of an agreement reached in Novgorod by representatives of the “respected prince of Livland. Cf. The third treaty. Walter von Plettenburg” on the one hand and of the city of Pskov on the other.. Pskov is recognized as the patrimony (otchina) of the “grand prince. Arab. 1998. then Khazars and Bulgars. was probably one of the last treaties concluded by Pskov before it completely lost its independence in 1508. was concluded in 1474 and has been discussed above. along with the Master of the Teutonic Order. was concluded together with Novgorod and has been discussed above. we have dealt with treaties shaping internal Russian relations and treaties with various western neighbours. since Kievan times.

Feodalizm v Rossii [Cherepnin memorial collection]. 1987. to the extent that they define a relationship which could be categorized as belonging to the sphere of public international law.105 The chronicles contain numerous reports of Russian princes travelling to the Tatar headquarters to obtain favours. which was then abolished by the second known Kievan prince.D. on account of the overwhelming military strength of the Mongols. V. punitive counterraids. Cf. Novosel’tsev.”. Only in the 15th century. including also evidence from legal documents. the whole embedded in a complicated network of cross-ethnic alliances. however. The most important group among the documents are the charters (iarlyki) issued by Tatar rulers to the leader of the Russian church. In all such relationships. Tatar superiority remained uncontested during the 13th and most of the 14th century (Moscow was sacked by khan Tokhtamysh in 1382). “Drevnerussko-khazarskie otnosheniia i formirovanie territorii drevnerusskogo gosudarstva”. oral agreements must have played a significant role. the rules of the game were changed fundamentally. in a sense.212 Law in Medieval Russia imposed a tribute on various Russian tribes. a continuation of the state of uneasy co-existence of Russia with eastern steppe neighbours. Moskva. did the wheel of fortune favour Russia. “Otrazhenie tataro-mongol’skogo iga v russkikh aktakh XIV-XV vv. This absence may to some extent be explained by the few documents that are available and that can functionally be equated to treaties. imposition of tribute or the buying-off of aggression (depending on the balance of power). the 104 105 Cf.). and precarious truces.).T.104 In later years. . in 884 and 885. no treaties between the Golden Horde and Russian princes. A. when the Golden Horde was definitively broken up into several smaller khanates and Moscow proved to be unstoppable in the monopolization of power in Russia.L. There are. such as recognition as prince or grand prince. V. but whether anything was ever put down to paper or parchment is unknown and in any case nothing has survived. but. Pashuto (ed. Moskva. Gorskii. 193-200. The Mongol invasions.P. A. One of the most effective ways of more powerful princes to limit the dependence of ‘younger brothers’ was to forbid them to have relations with the Golden Horde (Ordy ne znati). There is ample documentary evidence of Tatar presence in Russia in the middle ages. Ianin (ed. Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istoricheskom protsesse [Cherepnin Festschrift]. starting in 1237. The basic reason for this absence of treaties is undoubtedly that the khan saw himself as the absolute ruler who had no reason to negotiate and contract with people who were his subjects. were. 1972. Oleg. the relationship between Kiev and other Russian principalities with the Pechenegs and Polovtsians and other Turkic steppe nomads showed a cyclical pattern of raids against the sedentary Slavs. 48-58.

to metropolitan Ioann.10. and V. Moskva i Orda. See. SGGD. A laconic charter. grand prince of Vladimir. The prince is Iaroslav Iaroslavich.N.. 2004). Beneshevich.” In the following and last sentence of the charter.. which document is considered a falsification by PRP III.2. The iarlyki also stipulated that the estates of the church should remain unmolested. of Tiuliak of 1379. One of the interesting aspects of the iarlyki is that they enumerate the various taxes imposed by the Tatars. 465-466.30. Mongol controlled region of Russia. Vol. 1914. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnago prava. Grigor’ev. to metropolitan Aleksei.106 The main content of all these documents was that the Russian church was exempt from all taxes. Gorskii. 57.cit.A. also PRP III. SGGD. Petrograd. Also in A. 14-16 . Iaroslav declares that the men of Riga and all others may travel freely (put’ vash chist). 196-197. op. The earliest iarlyk. S. op.cit. also PRP III. wife of Dzhanibek Khan.2 No. SGGD. also PRP III 469.P. also Beneshevich.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 213 metropolitan of Moscow. 24-25.108 Edigei. the next five to various Moscow metropolitans. 13-14. No. SGGD.cit. Grigor’ev has presented corrected texts of the six documents.2 No. 1916. op. with more distant European rulers on a basis of equality is shown by two other documents.15. op.2 No.Peterburg. A. also PRP III. Vol. 5-6. it was recognized that the church in turn would pray for the khan and his family.. op. SGGD. In a recently published study of the Mongol iarlyki. Vol. 106 Iarlyk of Mengu-Temir of 1267. II. based on a new examination of the original Turkic texts (A. . 470. see Crummey. he reproached the Moscow prince in no uncertain terms for the latter’s failure to pay his dues and for lack of respect. 16-18. That the khans were dealing. SGGD. Priselkov.12. of 1347. of 1267 is addressed to all Tatar officials. 107 108 GVNP. 9-12. 468-469. to metropolitan Feognost. was the factual Tatar ruler.11..2 No.9.2 No. 12.cit.2 No. 18-20. 2001.P. 467-468. to metropolitan Aleksei. who became prince of Novgorod in 1266. Moskva. although not a khan. of Taidula of 1354. and Beneshevich.D. This has resulted in considerable alterations of the hitherto accepted views. on the other hand. 464. Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam. begins: “The words of Mengu-Temir to prince Iaroslav: allow the German merchants to travel freely in your lands.cit. and Beneshevich. also PRP III.Peterburg. 466-467.. but constituted a laissez-passer (proezzhaia gramota) to a bishop Ioann of Sarai. 17-18. Vol. Khanskie iarlyki russkim metropolitam. Vol. S. A small number of other documents adds to the picture sketched by the collection of iarlyki.cit. also. of Taidula of 1351. to metropolitan Aleksei. M. 13-14. PRP III. Vol. of Taidula. 62-65.. and Beneshevich. and Beneshevich. The 1347 document was apparently not addressed to the metropolitan Ioann. 11-12.107 The subordinate position of Russian princes is even more explicit in a letter from Edigei Emir of 1409 to the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich. the bishop of the Christians living in the eastern. Beneshevich (21-24) also gives the text of a iarlyk from khan Uzbek. On Edigei and the humiliations inflicted on Moscow. of Berdibek of 1357. 12. dated 1266-1272. op.

.). cf. although on the way out. already employed in the former document by Tokhtamysh.109 and a similar proposal of 1484 by khan Murtazy to grand prince Kazimir of Lithuania. at their content and form. This implies that an element of personal interest and choice is involved in the views expressed below. The same Murtazy wrote to Ivan III of Moscow in 1487 and the different address is very noticeable. 1965. grouping them in three sets mainly serves the avoidance of an otherwise chaotic discussion. the treaties may offer information about specific topics..M.. 98. federation. Rusanivs’kyi (ed. legal or otherwise. op. But. These are three different perspectives. it is inevitable to use modern concepts such as state. certain inferences may be made about the legal system they reflect. as already argued in earlier chapters. In early Kievan times. Two generations after Iaroslav the Wise (†1054) the chronicles occasionally still referred to tribal communities. a federation or a confederation. etc. sovereignty.214 Law in Medieval Russia a peace proposal by khan Tokhtamysh to the Polish king. only became current in Russian-Tatar relations by the end of the 15th century. Vladimir and 109 110 111 112 Peshchak. appropriate to speak of concluding thoughts instead of conclusions. When examining the treaty network of medieval Russia. I propose to arrange my thoughts in an order of increasing specificity. The so-called Testament of Vladimir Monomakh (†1115) referred to his expeditions among the Krivichians. Hramoty. See Ostrowski.112 Whether one could speak of tribal states in pre-Kievan Russia is a moot question here. but that does not mean that they completely exclude each other. Kiev.cit. looking at the treaties themselves. Secondly. 199 (text of the letter) and 179ff. First of all. Gorskii. it makes good sense to stay aware of the anachronistic element involved. Thirdly. op. 137-138. The people of Kievan Russia did not worry about whether they constituted a state.cit.111 8. V. Ukrains’ki hramoty XV st.110 The fraternal terminology (“elder/younger brother”). One thought leads to another. therefore. notwithstanding the fact that the formal political structure was already that of principalities arranged around capital cities. the tribal factor was unquestionably still alive. It is. quite clearly the early Kievan state as it had taken shape under St. (commentary). 112-113. Concluding Thoughts The field surveyed in this chapter is vast and no specific hypotheses to be verified or falsified have been advanced. of 1393. one could look at the treaty network of medieval Russia as a source of information about political and constitutional structure.

but the Mongols never had to face that enemy. Through guile and force. such as a common legal system. With hindsight. a regular and effective government. 113 One may speculate how Western Europe would have developed if the extinction of the Carolingian dynasty would not have allowed secondary dynasties to take over in France and Germany. the city of Vladimir replaced Kiev as the most prestigious residential city. as explained. which would automatically involve possession of the Kievan throne (although inversely possession of that throne by no means implied undisputed leadership). At the same time. the various branches of the family would probably have grown apart so far that the sense of family unity had been fatally weakened. Mongol military superiority would probably have prevailed against a united Russia too. with the ultimate aim of becoming the undisputed leader. the prime legal instrument to achieve this result. it is easy to forecast that such a system could function only for about three generations. By then (provided there would be a sufficiently large pool of descendants113). . in the curious system of switching princely residences according to a perceived family hierarchy. the restraints on central leadership implicit in the system will inhibit the system’s ability to take effective precautions against external threats. it became a quality that was negotiable. but in the ruling dynasty. This system. Tatar-Mongol overlordship. It is more difficult to categorize the politico-constitutional set-up of the subsequent period. etc. On the surface. poses new problems in defining the Russian polity of the era. flowed from the dynastic unity. but that did not alter the general idea. after 1240. among other ways. international acceptance.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 215 his sons Iaroslav the Wise was in possession of all the standard attributes of a state: a territory. This unity expressed itself. not in an ailing central government unable to impose its control in the regions (there was no such government). Once the rules concerning starshinstvo had loosened. also put a brake on the centrifugal aspirations of the individual principalities. The peculiarity of the organization of Kievan Rus’ after the death of Vladimir Monomakh was that this unity resided. The main factor which allowed the dynastic principle to operate was a specific concept of family hierarchy or seniority (starshinstvo). Other unifying factors. by the same token. it would seem that the traditional Kievan game continued among the princes: to struggle one’s way up in the family hierarchy. a sense of community or national identity. legislation. princes were able to improve their status in the dynastic hierarchy and treaties establishing contractual seniority relationships between stronger and weaker princes were. The attributes of statehood were divided between the apanage principalities (udel’nye kniazhestva) on one side and a surviving concept of over-arching Kievan unity on the other. In 1168.

216 Law in Medieval Russia In order to evaluate the nature of Mongol overlordship. or A. See.11 “The Myth of the ‘Tatar Yoke’”. The “Tatar Yoke” is then presented as a precursor of Nazi occupation. In this connection. . Halperin.A. the exaction and payment of tribute were part of a tradition going back to the earliest times. by the same author. These sources are remarkably reticent. to a lesser extent. also. 1986. For a long period. 1951).115 No treaties between the Golden Horde and Russian princes are known to exist. Zolotaia Orda. in both instances the sacrifices and bravery of the Russian people saved the civilized world. There is no explicit acknowledgment of a change in the political order. Nasonov. 1937. the political system appears to follow the pattern of ages past. The chronicles generally restrict themselves to simple narrative of two kinds: a sympathetic tale of the suffering inflicted on the Russians by the Mongols. Grekov & A. Before World War II.Peterburg. or a matterof-fact account of the dealings of Russian princes with the khan. However. Leningrad. Mongoly i Rus’. our principal sources are the Russian chronicles and.g. This explanation can only be called provisional. For medieval Russia. The Tatar Yoke. In the nomad steppe polities. op. Iakubovskii..N.cit. Russian princes ruled by the grace of the khan. originally published in Leningrad. Mongoly i Rus’. esp. As long as the Golden Horde retained its vigour. Mongol occupation (this was what it amounted to in the violent first years) and then Tatar overlordship lasting on and off for two centuries were phenomena that were hard to explain within the Eastern Christian view of the time. it did not countenance open resistance of the Russian princes. e. but do yield pertinent information if properly scrutinized. 1940 (republished.114 The evidence. because the appearance of a single treaty would vitiate it. 2002. except that it is suffering from an unpleasant attack of a strange disease. however modest. it is worth noting that of the considerable linguistic heritage from Tatar times the best known are the words for money (den’gi) and for customs (tamozhnia. legal documents. Vernadsky’s discussion of this complex of questions in Istoriia Rossii. S. OH. 352-362. The medieval Russian problem of assigning Tatar-Mongol domination of Russia a proper place in the prevailing conceptual framework finds a curious echo in post-World War II Soviet historiography. from Tatar tamga. ch. Tver’/Moskva. a more sober view is encountered. in one volume with “Russkaia Zemlia” i obrazovanie territorii drevnerusskogo gosudarstva. B. The material expression of the Tatar-Russian relationship was therefore the imposition of various taxes. a few examples of treaties between the 114 115 See for related but significantly different discussions of this problem: Ch. The provisional explanation of this has to be that the khan would not negotiate with people whom he considered as his subjects. Words of Tatar origin are especially numerous in the language of bureaucracy. such as treaties. Columbus. 1997. seal or stamp). and Ostrowski. the awe-inspiring iarlyk from the middle ages has been devalued in modern times to a simple tag or label. is still clear.J. Leningrad.

the princes of Vladimir-Moscow were able to assert their authority over one Russian principality after another. Cf. claims. treaties dealing with universal standard themes of international law. constitutional (state) law and family law overlap. first of all. and as brothers dividing up a family estate. they demonstrated that a new era had started. The process of emancipation from Tatar domination was long and arduous. to petition the latter’s recognition of his rights. Once the Golden Horde became fragmented.2. with disputes. Ch. Ostrowski. borders and other territorial questions. The treaties revolving around starshinstvo 116 117 As late as 1412. also. 99. etc.. located as they are in an area where international law. as public officials in a relationship of subordination. etc. The parties negotiated and contracted with each other as sovereign heads of states.117 Moving to the contents of the medieval Russian treaties now. others deal with specific kinds of trade. the headquarters of the Golden Horde. there is evidence of the khan giving straightforward instructions to the grand prince of Vladimir. although they were allowed considerable freedom in regulating their mutual relationships and their relationships with Western powers. col. with many ups and downs. probably. is the existence of permanent foreign (usually German) trade settlements in Novgorod (and. The contents of these commercial treaties vary: some of them are general. we may easily establish the existence of several main categories.5. outlining a general legal framework for mutual trade relations.cit. alliance and mutual support. The second main category is formed by the treaties between princes. Vol. Karamzin. in other cities as well. without waiting for Tatar approval. The form of medieval Russian treaties constitutes a specialized and technical topic that can only be indicated here. and other types of agreements. The third category is represented primarily by treaties in which the Russian party (Novgorod. expressed in solemn and traditional form.119.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 217 khan and European princes are known and have been referred to above. such as peace. but also Pskov and Smolensk) is dealing with a counterpart consisting wholly or in part of a group of merchants. There are. settlement of inter-state disputes. op. although much less is known about this). These treaties are unique for Russia. There is the obvious distinction between formal treaties. All this strengthens the main thesis: the Russian princes were subjects of the khan. regulating mutual relationships within the framework of the seniority principle. truce. the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich visited khan Kerim-Berdy in Sarai. Cf. often explicitly mentioned and otherwise always implied. . An essential element of these treaties.116 When the Moscow grand princes began using the title of gosudar’ or sovereign.

way of perceiving the world order. it adapted the formulary of its treaties. or rather the descendants of St. apart from the specific points concerning international law. Peter the Great’s favourite Menshikov. from the middle of the 15th century. and then also various Tatar princes. by Russians and others. Karnovich. One point to be mentioned in that connection is the importance of nomenclature and titles. And. First. In the discussion of the treaties of Smolensk. Within Russia. then.Peterburg. 1991). In Russia. E. 184. a few more or less random observations must suffice. Byzantine influence on the form of medieval Russian treaties is undeniable. Finally. it was noted that the early texts from 1229 and 1230/1270 form an essential link between the Russkaia Pravda and the next major legislative document of medieval Russia. Russian medieval treaties are also of great interest for the general history of Russian law. . and to have the right to rule. 118 119 I refer in this connection especially to the works of Halperin and Ostrowski. The treaties of the Moscow princes constitute one of the chief sources in the study of the political history of medieval Russia.P. The complexity of this theme has two aspects.218 Law in Medieval Russia were commonly in the form of an exchange of statements. first the descendants of the Lithuanian Gedimin dynasty. Vladimir. where the duties assumed and rights stipulated appear as mirror images. in which God had appointed Christian princes to govern his people. But only as late as 1707 the first new prince was created in Russia. S. the way this overlordship has been seen through the ages. 1886 (reprint. because they offer important information on numerous aspects of medieval Russian law. Novgorod treaties display a style of their own. has itself been subject to change. As Moscow was able to assert its supremacy. as mentioned above. the contemporary appreciation of Mongol overlordship by medieval Russians has to be examined and understood. Recognition of the khan of the Golden Horde as caesar (tsar) was crucial for the ideological evaluation of Mongol supremacy in the world of ideas of medieval Russia. the Kievan ruler who had brought Christianity to Russia. Along the same lines. the Court Charter of Pskov. mentioned above. In the later middle ages. The Novgorod treaties with its Hanseatic partners complement what West European sources tell us about East-West relations in the European middle ages. this happened to be the house of Rurik. the titles of prince and grand prince were of the utmost political significance. and especially Russian. Russia began to recognize and absorb foreign princes. medieval Russian treaties inevitably reflect the political ideologies of their times. Rodovye prozvaniia i tituly v Rossii. only the descendants of Rurik were considered to be princes.119 The background of all this was a medieval Christian. Moskva. Cf. for example.118 Without treating these questions in depth.

the chapter is entitled “Aleksandr Nevskii–Myth and Reality” and its main argument is that the reputation of this most doubtful hero has been manipulated in different periods (by Ivan the Terrible. but by “fashioning him into a basileus” (Ostrowski) it could be achieved. a military historian.121 120 121 Modern Russian authors display a more detached attitude. Moskva i Orda. Gorskii. and the Soviets) to further the ephemeral interests of the rulers of the day. Fennel. the chronicles demonstrate time and again that Tatar rule was conceptualized and in a way justified as God’s punishment for the sins of Russia and especially for the enmity and bloodshed among the Russian princes. modern views of the Russian middle ages. his celebrated victory over the German knights on Lake Peypus in 1242 did not amount to much in military terms. The Mongol system of government and administration was quite sophisticated and operated through checks and balances. . Heroic Russian resistance against Asian barbarity also requires a few critical footnotes. They were remarkably tolerant in the sphere of religion.). J. sainted by the Russian church. Moskva. 2001. Peter the Great. especially of the Mongol era. As a result. into a decisive event. A. Shirokorad. Moskva. A.A. Also. although no gentlemen by modern standards. 2004) to the question. A more critical evaluation of Aleksandr Nevskii occasionally surfaces in recent Russian works. Aleksandr Nevskii. The Crisis of Medieval Russia 1200-1304. but was elevated only a posteriori. responsible for the worst aspects of Russian government in later ages.120 Mongol rule had been depicted as cruel and despotic. 103-107. owed his success in laying the foundations for Moscow’s later supremacy to being the most effective collaborator with the Golden Horde. And. London/New York (5th ed. for propaganda reasons. Cf. but not notably more vicious occupiers than their contemporaries. were more efficient conquerors. are still predominantly constructed out of stereotypes.B. the bad habits had mainly been taken over from Byzantium. e. devoted a chapter in a popular historical study (Rus’ i Orda.g. In fact. many of them false. on a minor point.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 219 The khan of the Golden Horde did not fit easily into this scheme. Every following age put its own gloss on this view and no one more drastically that the Soviet period. the Mongols. The organization of the Muscovy state owed a considerable debt to the Tatars. 1993. not through the individual despotism of the khan.

17-18 . SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.Appendix 1. 14 1307/1308 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.11. 22-24.12.1 No. 5-6. 15-16. SGGD Vol.4/5. Kaiser. 2-3. 24. Kaiser.2.9.1 No. 137-138 commentary: PRP II. SGGD Vol. Novgorod and Tver’ copies 1316 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. 135136.6/7. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 13-15. PRP II.1 No.9/ 16-18. 15 1317 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. Laws. 11-12. 21 1318/1319 Iurii Danilovich of Moscow and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. 19-22. 69-71 (Russian text and English translation) 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.1 No.1 No. SGGD Vol.4/5.11.1 No.1 No. 13 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 67-68 (Russian text and English translation) commentary: PRP II. 134-159 1296/1301 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.1. 134-159 1270 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.8. 9-10. Novgorod Treaties with Moscow and Tver’ Grand Princes 1264 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 138141 commentary: PRP II. PRP II. 25-26. Laws.12. 10-11.2.1. PRP II.1 No.13.1 No. 3-4. 6-8.3.1 No. SGGD Vol. Tver’ and Novgorod copies 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 1.1 No.3.10. SGGD Vol.16. 11-13. 18-19. 134-159 1266 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.

17. SGGD Vol. 19-20.20. Laws. 26-30.21. 21-22 1435 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (peace treaty) GVNP No. 28-30. SGGD Vol.8. 32-33. 45-51. 38-39 1456 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (Iazhelbitsy peace treaty) GVNP No. 39-43. 23-24 1448/1461 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (temporary transfer of territory) GVNP No. 72-74 (Russian text and English translation) 1371 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 44 1471 Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (Korostyn’ peace treaty) GVNP No. Novgorod and Moscow copies 1456 Novgorod to Vasilii Vasil’evich (on implementation of Iazhelbitsy treaty) GVNP No.1 No.13. 16 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. SGGD Vol. 36-38. 34-36 1446/1447 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 9-10.15. 75-78 (Russian text and English translation) 1371/1372 Dmitrii Ivanovich of Moscow (mutual aid) GVNP No.26/27.1 No.1 No. commentary: PRP II. 26-28. SGGD Vol.1 No. Laws. SGGD Vol.1 No.16. 31 1372 Novgorod conditions for peace treaty with Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No.24. Kaiser.15. 43-44 1471 Novgorod to Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (on payment of debts) GVNP No.18. Novgorod and Moscow copies. SGGD Vol.1 No. 267-272 .The Treaties of Medieval Russia 221 1326/1327 Aleksandr Mikhailovich of Tver’ GVNP No.25. PRP II. Kaiser.22/23. 33-34. 251-259.19.

parallel text in Middle Low German 1301 Lübeck.39. Visby. Visby and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No. parallel text in Latin 1431 Svidrigailo of Lithuania GVNP No. 56-57 1269 Lübeck. Arkhivy I. No. Cherepnin. 331-332 (full reconstruction) 1440-1447 Kazimir of Lithuania (peace treaty) GVNP No. 67-68 1326 Magnus Eriksson of Norway and Sweden GVNP No. 105-106. SGGD Vol. parallel text in Middle Low German 122 Actually the Teutonic Order. commentary: PRP II. 69-70. PRP II. The Livonian Order had been founded in 1202 by Adalbert.70.77.31. 62-63. 24-25. 65-67. 129-132. 124-132 1262/1263 Lübeck.63.32. 55-56. . In 1237. commentary: PRP II.37.33. 62 1301 Lübeck (co-operation against Sweden) GVNP No. Riga (free transit) GVNP No. The old name is occasionally used in Russian sources.34. 125-126. 260-266 with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants 1189-1199 Visby [Gothic Coast. 115-116 1470-1471 Kazimir of Poland/Lithuania GVNP No.29.222 Law in Medieval Russia with Foreign Rulers 1323 Magnus Eriksson of Sweden (peace treaty) GVNP No. when referring to events after 1237. the Order joined the Teutonic Order. Gotskii Bereg] and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No. 58-61 parallel text in Middle Low German 1269 Riga and Lübeck (free transit) GVNP No. 245-251. 63-64 1323 Livonian Order122 (alliance) GVNP No. PRP II.1.38. bishop of Riga.19. Visby and German cities (draft commercial treaty) GVNP No.28.

Tartu [Iur’ev].59. 117-119 .48. 85-86. parallel text in Middle Low German 1436 Hanseatic League (renewal of previous treaties) GVNP No. Visby and German cities (draft treaty) GVNP No. 73-74. Riga. 102-104. parallel text in Middle Low German 1371 Lübeck. Tallinn [Kolyvan’] and German cities (peace treaty) GVNP No. Riga.41. 98-100 1423 Hanseatic League (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 96-98 1421 Teutonic Order (dispute settlement) GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1439 German colony in Novgorod (dispute settlement) GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1420 Riga and Teutonic Order (peace treaty) GVNP No.72.46. 79-80 1392 Lübeck.40. parallel text in Middle Low German 1373 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No.44/45. parallel text in Middle Low German 1434 Hanseatic League (two years’ truce) GVNP No. Tallinn (dispute settlement) GVNP No.49. 113-114. Tartu.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 223 1338 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No.64. Münster and other German cities (wax trade) GVNP No. 110-112.62. 86-88. 76-79. 106-108. parallel text in Middle Low German 1448 Teutonic Order (five years’ truce) GVNP No. Visby. Visby.43.67.42. parallel text in Middle Low German 1342 Lübeck. parallel text in Middle Low German 1372 Visby and German merchants (two years’ truce) GVNP No. 80-83 1405 Taru (extending 1392 peace treaty) GVNP No.68.60. 71-72. parallel text in Middle Low German 1409 Riga. 74-76. Dortmund.

318-321 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1440 Kazimir of Lithuania GVNP No.28.9. 23-24.224 Law in Medieval Russia 1448 (together with Pskov) Teutonic Order GVNP No. No.1 No.78. 49-50 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No.1 No. 1978. Moskva.L. SGGD Vol. 119-124.7. parallel text in Middle Low German 25-28. Polotskie gramoty XIII-XVI vv. parallel text in Middle Low German 1450 Hanseatic League (seven years’ truce) GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1474 (together with Pskov) Tartu (thirty years’ truce) GVNP No. 127-129. SGGD Vol.347.334. Pskov Treaties 1417 Teutonic Order (ten years’ truce) GVNP No. Moscow Treaties with Other Russian Princes 1367 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol. 44-45 1374-1375 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 46-48 . 331-337.171. 321-322 1503 Teutonic Order (six years’ truce) GVNP No. II. 19-21. Polotsk Treaties 1478 Riga (trade agreement) A. 133-136 2.5. Khoroshkevich (ed.27. 69-76 4.1 No.76.335.). 124-126 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1466 Hanseatic league (two years’ truce) GVNP No. SGGD Vol.1 No.49/50. 90-92 1434 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.1 No. 62-64 1390 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No. 69-71 1401-1402 Andrei Dmitrievich of Mozhaisk and Petr Dmitrievich of Dmitrov DDG No.32.35.43/44. 130-133 .1 No. 75-80. SGGD Vol. 94-96.47.32. 63-67. 40-43 225 1401-1402 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.14. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 55-57 1390 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 69-71.24.1 No.1 No. 39-40 1396 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 51-52. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 92-94.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 1382 Oleg Ivanovich of Riazan’ DDG No. SGGD Vol. 99-104. 65-67 1428 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich and Zvenigorod DDG No.1 No.36. 52-55. 96-99 1434 Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka and Dmitrii Krasnyi Iur’evich of Galich DDG No.1 No.1 No.46. 37-39.33. 86-89. Moscow copy 1434 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No. SGGD Vol.1 No. 83- No. 82-83. SGGD Vol.33. 30-33.1 No. 43-45.1 No.18. SGGD Vol.38.45. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.48.13. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No. 80-82.30. 68-69 1402 Fedor Ol’govich of Riazan’ DDG No.27. 53-55 1389 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.1 No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. MozhaiskVerei-Belozero copy DDG No.31. 87-89. 29-30.

65.43.52-53. SGGD Vol. 107-112.1 No.226 Law in Medieval Russia 1436 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No.1 No.64. 264-272. SGGD Vol.41.56-59. 155-156 1447 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.36. two different sets of Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (reconciliation) DDG No. 112-117.1 No.35. SGGD Vol. 142-145. 125-126. 153-154 1445 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (draft treaty) DDG No. 140-141.67. Moscow and Galich copies DDG No. two different sets of Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Vasilii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No.47.37. 105-107 1441-1442 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 149-151 1447 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No. PRP III. SGGD Vol. 126-129.66. 121-123. 142-144 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No.70. 118-124.46.38 I.54-55.45. 129-140.1 No. second version 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.1 No. Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 123-125. 100-105. 146-148. 133-135 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No.1 No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 113-118. SGGD No.1 No.69. SGGD Vol. 156-168.44. 89-100. 140-142 1447 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol. 146-149 .38 II. SGGD Vol.61.71-74.48.1 No. 107-112.1 No.42.1 No.

168-175.69 II. 153-155. SGGD Vol.67. 164-168.78-79.1 No.1 No. 186-192. 220-222 1472 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No.90-91. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 234-238. 223-227. 195-201.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 227 1448 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Belozero copies 1473 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1450-1454 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 155-160.1 No. 215-220.69 I. SGGD Vol.1 No.88-89. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 179-186. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No. 171-176.75.1 No. 209-215. 214-216.95. SGGD Vol. 92.58. 207-211.1 No. 138-139 (two versions) DDG No.76-77.68. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1451-1456 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.55.84-85. 177- 228-230 1472 Mikhail Andreevich of Belozero DDG No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.1 No. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1456 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 201-207. SGGD Vol.51a & b.51c. 229-232. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462-1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.1 No.80-81.59. 217-221. SGGD Vol.65. 225-229. 185-189. corrected text .1 No.93-94.1 No. 63. 151-152 (third version) 1448 Ivan Vasil’evich of Suzdal’ DDG No. 212-214.63. 168-170.97-98. Moscow and Suzdal’ copies 1450 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.1 No.1 No. SGGD Vol. 150-153.1 No. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. SGGD Vol.66.

241-246.79.106-107. SGGD Vol.70 III. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No.72 III. 293-299.78.125-126. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Riazan’ copies 1483 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 295-301.72 I. 265-270.1 No.1 No. 283-290. 257-263.1 No. SGGD Vol.228 Law in Medieval Russia 1473 Andrei Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.1 No.70 I.73 II.110-111. fourth version 1481 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No.113-114. 232-2327. 295-301. SGGD Vol.119-120. 293-299. 247-249.79. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No.1 No. 293-295.118.1 No. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Volotsk copies 1482 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. Moscow and Uglich copies 1481 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1483 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No.115-116. 313-320. third version.82.70 IV.73 I. 244249.108-109.1 No.1 No. SGGD Vol1 No.1 No. 268-271 DDG No. 290-292 1484-1485 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. 252-257. Moscow and Volotsk copies. SGGD Vol. second version DDG No. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No. 237-241.99-100.75.72 II. 239-243. SGGD Vol. 273-279. 277-283.1 No. 279-286. 259265. 271-275.119-120.70 II. 253-259. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No.76. 322-328. 263-268. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Uglich copies .101-102. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No.

121-123 (with wrong date: 1393) 1430 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No. PRP III. 18-62 1230-1270 (Vsevolod Mstislavich of ?) Smolensk and Riga PRP II. 1963.31. 272-277 1494 Aleksandr Kazimirovich of Lithuania DDG No. 69-71 1399 Vitovt of Lithuania and Riga (concerning Polotsk) Peshchak. Peshchak.I. Hramoty XIV st.. 75-85. 16-18 5. Avanesov (ed.83. 10-11 1366 Dmitrii of Volynia (?) and king of Poland (border settlement) Peshchak. Hramoty.25. 21-22. 38-39 1386 Iurii Sviatoslavich of Smolensk and Vladislav Jagiello of Poland-Lithuania and Svidrigailo of Lithuania Avanesov. Smolenskie gramoty XIII-XIV vv.1 No. 72-74. Moskva.M. SGGD Vol. 57-71. Hramoty. 160-161. 46-49 1449 Kazimir of Poland-Lithuania DDG No. commentary: PRP II. Peshchak. 67-68 .23.53. 85-87 1330-1359 Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga SGGD Vol.5 No.2 No.29. Hramoty.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 229 with Foreign Princes 1371 Olgerd Gediminovich of Lithuania and Sviatoslav Ivanovich of Smolensk (reconciliation) DDG No. Kiev. 139-140 1427 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No. 62-63. 1974.. 329-332.).6. 72-75. SGGD Vol. Hramoty.8. Other Princely Treaties among themselves and with Foreign Princes 1229 Mstislav Davydovich of Smolensk and Riga PRP II. 52-53. Peshchak. R. Smolenskie gramoty. M. commentary: PRP II.

Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam.26. S.P.1 No. 483-484 1496 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ and Fedor Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans 1266-1272 Mengu-Temir to Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Novgorod GVNP No. 199-201 1483 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ and Kazimir IV of Lithuania DDG [no number]. 135-137 1449 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Kazimir of PolandLithuania DDG No.2. Grigor’ev. 68-69 1442 Fedor L’vovich of Novosil-Odoev and Kazimir of Lithuania DDG No. 320-329 6. 467-468. 163-164 1459 Ivan Iur’evich of Novosil-Odoev and Kazimir of PolandLithuania DDG No. 192-193 1461 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 5-6. 466-467. PRP III. 57 1267 Mengu-Temir to metropolitan Kirill SGGD Vol. 119-121. 52-53 123 Grigor’ev’s texts are Russian translations of Turkish texts and differ very significantly from the texts in Old-Russian which scholars had been using hitherto.127-128.40. 332-341. 2004.30. SGGD Vol. .Peterburg.39. SGGD Vol. Grigor’ev.54. 44123 1347 Taidula (wife of Dzhanibek Khan) to bishop Ioann of Sarai (Grigor’ev) or to metropolitan Ioann (traditional identification of addressee) PRP III.2 No.230 Law in Medieval Russia 1442 Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No.84.1 No.62. A.60. 117-118 1445 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich and Vasili and Fedor Iur’evichi of Suzdal’ DDG No.62.

2 No. PRP III. 12.. 114-115 1379 Biulek (Grigor’ev) or Tiuliak to metropolitan Mikhail SGGD Vol. Kiev.12. 137-138 . PRP III. 65-66 1354 Taidula to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol.2 No. 11-12.9. PRP III. Grigor’ev. 12. 468-469. 201-202 1393 Tokhtamysh to king of Poland (peace proposal) Peshchak. 465-466.2 No.). 469. 112-113 1409 Edigei Emir to Vasilii Dmitrievich of Moscow SGGD Vol.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 231 1351 Taidula to metropolitan Feognost SGGD Vol.2 No. PRP III. Grigor’ev.2 No. 470.11. Rusanivs’kyi (ed.10. Ukrains’ki hramoty XV st.15. 13-14. Hramoty. 1965.M. 17-18 1484 Murtazy to Kazimir of Lithuania V. 70-71 1357 Berdibek to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol. Grigor’ev. Grigor’ev.


The Russian Constitution has become a member of a global family of constitutions. made clear that the 1991 Declaration presented a complete break with the ‘socialist’ concept of human rights. would also lead to the conclusion that the rights enumerated ought to be considered as universally applicable. It will be sufficient to highlight only the main historical outline. finding its most authoritative expression in the Universal Declaration of 1948. 2. taking its lead from the Universal Declaration of 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 The Universal Declaration was proclaimed by the General Assembly as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. united by a certain consensus on human rights. The Preamble to this document explicitly referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Russia unequivocally joined the mainstream of human rights legislation.Chapter 8 Human Rights in Russian Legal History 1. The latter Declaration found its way into the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The internal logic of other declarations. the following provisions. as embodied in the various Soviet constitutions. such as the American Bill of Rights. Thus. albeit in a general and concise manner. In the wake of the still existing USSR. the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR adopted the Declaration of the Rights and Freedoms of Man. particularly Articles 1 and 2. The ancestry of the Universal Declaration has been extensively researched and analyzed. which to a great extent coincides with the history of Western civilization. but the legal character of such documents as expressions of the sovereign will of individual states would deny them such universality. Russia adopted its own Declaration on the Rights and Freedoms of the Person and the Citizen on 22 November 1991. This chapter will address the question: Is there also in Russian legal history something that could be regarded as building material for a modern concept of human rights? But before addressing this question we ought to identify the roots of the modern human rights concept. Also. . Introduction On 5 September 1991.

summarized as the freedom from want. The Preamble also referred to the Four Freedoms (of speech and religious worship. social progress and better standards of life. and other facilities. It refrains understandably from explaining why this dignity is inherent. such as primary education and care for the indigent. also explicitly recognized the state’s duty to assume responsibility for the welfare of the individual.234 Law in Medieval Russia The paramount position of the Universal Declaration is explicitly recognized by its European counterpart. from fear and want). health care. in order to lead a life in accordance with human dignity. such as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. as mentioned above. Instead. The US Declaration of Independence of 1776 had stated that “all men […] are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”. in accordance with the Soviet Marxist theory of human rights. the state would have to take certain steps towards enabling the individual to realize his potential. by the USSR and Russian Declarations. the main difference is in the addition of the socio-economic rights. Ukraine and Belorussia were members. It is especially the Preamble to the Universal Declaration which provides more insight into the philosophical underpinnings of the following text. human rights promote friendly relations between nations. Older 19th century constitutions had already acknowledged that the state was obliged to produce certain basic provisions in this respect. work. justice and peace. modern Western constitutions. by stipulating the latter’s right to education. the US Bill of Rights. and the catalogue of rights and freedoms of the Universal Declaration may be viewed as an elaboration of the famous statement of the Four Freedoms by US President Franklin D. . and the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). Its starting-point is that recognition of the inherent dignity of every human being is the foundation of freedom. social protection. Roosevelt in 1941. one reverts to barbarism (this was just three years after the Second World War). But. the Treaty of Rome of 1950. When the human rights package of the Universal Declaration is compared with the classic enumerations of the American and French revolutions (contained in the Declaration of Independence. a more pragmatic tone was adopted: without recognition of human rights. rest. and also. but such a position would obviously not be generally acceptable in an international assembly in 1948 of which explicitly atheist states such as the USSR. These developments were obviously prompted by a growing awareness that if the individual’s right “to pursue happiness” (in the words of the US Declaration of Independence) was to be more than empty words. The latter rights were strongly emphasized in the various Soviet and other communist constitutions. so human rights are obviously a good thing and anyway everybody seemed to agree on the following catalogue.

reason. institutions and agreements which had emerged in earlier times.e. it became the most powerful agent in society. practical necessity). Plain common sense sometimes demands that people are not treated equally. the right of women and men towards equal treatment. It is undeniably self-evident that all human beings (provided they have not been cloned) are unequal. The modern practice of implementing anti-discrimination legislation shows that a complicated weighing process is often required to determine whether unequal treatment. the law has to command that they must still be treated as equals. i. one could argue that the requirement of the state’s active behaviour.g. at least in most cases. 3. Although its prominence in the 18th century debate can easily be explained historically (as a reaction against the state of affairs under the ancien régime). equality possesses a strong emotional appeal. had been implicitly recognized from the time the state started to emerge. Equality The concept of the equality of human beings occupies a special place within the system of human rights. that all men are created equal […]”). Equality generally precedes enumerations of human rights as a general precondition of these rights. is justified or not. It was already prominent in the American and French declarations of the 18th century (“We hold these truths to be self-evident. although certain rights flow from it (e. in fact a strong . and this is implicitly recognized in the various provisions defining equality of rights: because women and men are not equal. It does not seem to be a right itself. by maintaining peace among its citizens. according to one’s views. its philosophical underpinnings are not as obvious as those of the classic human rights (where one may point.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 235 To go one step further. the law of nature. to the divine will. Once the state had been equipped with the necessary means to carry out this task. and groups of citizens and individual citizens felt the need to protect themselves. and internally. by defending its citizens against dangers from outside. Undeniably. in order to allow the individual citizen to lead a life commensurate with his inherent dignity. the right of parties to be treated as equals in the administration of justice). This again posed the threat of abuse. They systematized and consolidated all kinds of practices. The classic catalogues of human rights attempted to circumscribe the state’s rights in interfering with the lives of the citizens. It had always been accepted that the primary duty of the state was the preservation of peace—externally. There is an obvious parallel and. discrimination. inequalities have to be justified.

The separation of powers does not actually limit the powers of the state. This process is also dynamic. but it breaks up the state into three distinct agencies. tamed. The vehement rejection of the separation of powers by the totalitarian ideologies of nationalsocialism (and fascism. after it had come under criticism during the first half of the 20th century. the state assumes more responsibilities. As society becomes more complex. The philosophical foundation may be shaky. restricted by rules.236 Law in Medieval Russia connection. In this process. 4. needs the proper tools—power. After the terrorist attacks known as “9-11”. in the sense that new developments call forth reactions which again feed new movement. related but different) and Soviet communism has in fact strengthened its prestige. If the state loses too much power. it stops being effective and this would also be harmful to society and the individual. The core element of the theory is that the powers of the state should be distinguished as legislative. or perhaps better: dialectic. This inevitably implies that power is taken away from the state and given to other agencies or persons. this power may also be used to harm the interests of particular social groups and individuals. executive and judicial. The problem may also be viewed from a more concrete and historical perspective. . The state. The power of the early state is usually limited to maintaining external and internal peace. the dilemma has acquired renewed urgency in searching for the right balance between protecting the citizen against terrorism and. Taming the State: The Dispersal of Power The dilemma is simple. The Separation of Powers The theory of the separation of powers as expounded by Montesquieu is perhaps the most comprehensive and widely accepted instrument for regulating and dissipating the powers of the state. Therefore. but all other alternatives are less attractive. States emerge at a particular point in history. executive and judicial powers. handing over the citizen’s private life to the scrutiny of the state. it has to be regulated. and that these three powers should be entrusted to separate and mutually independent agencies. with democracy. An acceptable balance has to be found. which are generally (and confusingly) also called legislative. in order to carry out the tasks useful to society and the individual (and these tasks include the active promotion and protection of human rights). The justification for doing so may be found in various theories and ideologies. But. countervailing powers emerge and become institutionalized. on the other side.

in criminal matters. Separation of Church and State The oldest known states. its main tenets still stand firm and cannot be disregarded by any constitution which regards itself as civilized. In the West. worship of the gods. especially. take many centuries before the separation of church and state as we know it would be realized. Long before there was any talk of human rights. of the Ancient Near East. but not exclusively. Similar struggles took place in other European kingdoms and principalities.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 237 Although many modifications have been suggested and sometimes implemented since the theory was first put forward in 1748. A clear separation between the religious and secular spheres emerged in Classical Greece. the personification of the divinely instituted order. enhancing the power and military expansion of the state—together. When the emperor Constantine converted in 312. will often appear to be the most invasive one. The religious and secular spheres were fused. rather than his proprietorial attitude towards the empire’s religion. backed up by the sacred powers of the king. in the course of the Middle Ages. on the other. a considerable portion of them was always devoted to defining and limiting the powers of the state in this respect. the economic organization of society. they constituted a single block of tasks. he changed his religious allegiance. With hindsight. Due Process The judicial power of the state. however. constitutes the basic characteristic feature of Western civilization. the pope and the emperor struggled for supremacy in the affairs of the world. because one can argue that the maintenance of a clear distinction between the world and the human social relations which are part of this world. In this sense. prosecution and punishment of crimes and with other duties in the judicial sphere. and our relations with a reality (real or imagined) outside this world. from the perspective of the individual. producing the first manifestation of a uniquely European civilization. It would. each anchoring his position in a religious world view. the ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia can be regarded as the first totalitarian states. on the one hand. were theocratic in nature. This attitude remained dominant among his Byzantine successors during the next eleven centuries. The arrival of Christianity provided a strong boost to this distinction. Once catalogues of rights began to be written down. it is not difficult . people sought guarantees against arbitrary or excessive intervention in their lives by the authorities entrusted with the investigation.

even where the whole world would condemn the action dictated by conscience. In the views of mainstream Christian denominations. large ones such as the state and small ones such as marriage and the family. The result was a pragmatic settlement by which certain matters were left to the state and others to the church. the status quo was to prove unstable in the following centuries. Christian Anthropology and the Freedom of Conscience Criticism of past and present religious intolerance. 1983.2 Christian teaching acknowledges (even if the actual behaviour of church leaders did not always conform to the principle professed) that a person is morally bound to follow his conscience. Law and Revolution. As this arrangement depended in good part on the relative strengths of the parties. respect for the individual and his conscience demands that the law is cautious and reticent where there are serious grounds for assuming that a person is following his conscience.8: “The Concept of Secular Law”. Nevertheless. in the end the conclusion was reached (in some cases very late) that any other solution than letting the individual choose his own religion would lead to more tension and strife that enforced ideological unity would be worth. On the other hand. rather than on fundamental consensus. Cambridge. A sensible and reasonable balance will have to be found. without risking legal sanctions. illius et religio (the state or the ruler determines the religion of the people). because neither side could ultimately be beaten. or the persecution of heretics and non-conformists and other excesses. Dictates of conscience are intrinsically unsuitable for legal evaluation. The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. living and dead. While all forms of human community. The state withdrew almost completely from the realm of religion. as the community of all the faithful. is also regarded as eternal. . 1 2 See H. MA/London. If the initial outcome of the religious wars was the rule of cuius regio. 273-294. such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. the Church. The interests of other individuals will always be a major factor in making such decisions. Ch. are tied to this earth and will disappear in time.J. Berman. should not obscure the fact that the overall effect of Christianity in Europe on the development of human rights has been overwhelmingly positive. the investiture struggle of the 11th century planted the seeds for the separation of powers.238 Law in Medieval Russia to understand that the battle had to end undecided. the individual is destined for eternal life.1 The Reformation added a new aspect to this relationship. It would obviously be impossible for the law to permit everybody to act according to his conscience. The reason for this is obviously that the Christian view of man implies that every individual is of infinite value and is gifted with a free will and conscience.

Freedom of conscience. at least in Europe. Justice. neither is legal approval meaningful per se. Sharing Power: Original Democracy No serious historian or social anthropologist would subscribe any longer to the simple schedule proposed by Marx and Engels. Conscience may dictate a person to express openly his opinions and feelings (freedom of speech. the idea that societal forms have generally displayed a development from simple 3 “That order did not come from God. to engage in social and political activities (freedoms of assembly and association. They are not of yesterday or to-day. The relationship between church and state is of particular importance in connection with the freedom of conscience and related rights. that dwells with the gods below. The underlying ideas of the Greeks were transmitted through Roman authors. various political freedoms). Nevertheless. especially to practice his religion (freedom of religion). The different Christian churches usually restricted themselves to defining the views and actions of particular individuals as contrary to church doctrine. because conscience operates outside the sphere where law is effective. I did not think your edicts were strong enough to overrule the unwritten unalterable laws of God and heaven. The famous words which Sophocles put in the mouth of Antigone still ring crystal-clear through the ages. or to Socrates for that matter. though where they came from. however.3 Recalling what happened to Antigone. but it is a matter of fairness to establish that it was normally the secular society and its authorities who were unwilling to tolerate certain forms of heterodoxy and who would then take the necessary steps to end the manifestation of them. into Greek antiquity. the ensuing repression. knows no such law. according to which mankind traversed a straight trajectory from primitive communism to the most advanced and complicated forms of capitalism. such as Cicero.F. The Theban Plays. none of us can tell. to medieval philosophers. Although religion is often blamed for fostering intolerance. and hence to post-Reformation thinkers. may be seen as convenient shorthand for several related freedoms which are legally relevant and at the same time connected with the freedom of conscience. The Penguin Classics. because conscience must be considered as free ab initio and does not need legal approval. freedom of the press). Thomas Aquinas. Finally. as a rule. (transl. you being only a man. such as St. but everlasting.” Sophocles. be effected by the state. Watling). one might also add here that the ideological roots of human rights go even further back. . This of course does not free the churches of all blame for intolerance. one easily sees that the tension between high ideals and grim reality is something of all times.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 239 The term “freedom of conscience” is actually unsuitable in reference to a human right. E. would.

that the chiefs would meet first. if only backstage. The feudal contract established mutual rights and duties between lord and liegeman. ‘rule by many’] is not a good thing. the idea of the “people” as an interested actor. quorum penes plebem arbitrium est. One of the oldest is Tacitus’ Germania. The only practical way to determine the will of the people is to accept majority rule. nevertheless. no matter what persons or groups or classes took control over communal affairs. apud principes praetractantur). and in this sense the democratic idea has been completely victorious. verses Β 50-54 of the Iliad which describe the convocation of a general assembly of the army. It was known in the aristocratic society of Homer. de maioribus omnes. But. a riotous crowd. This.5 The survival. however. Democracy then may also become a threat to human rights. in some form. a spontaneously formed militia. the idea has become submerged. in a remarkable parallel to Homeric usage. This means that in the beginning there must have been a considerable measure of equality and democracy. When the feudal lord would appear simultaneously as the territorial ‘sovereign’. Sharing Power: The Feudal System Most people would not immediately think of the emergence of the feudal system in Europe as an important step in the development of human rights. especially. the feudal relationship would 4 5 See. see the chapter on “Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia”).240 Law in Medieval Russia and small-scale to complex and large-scale seems eminently plausible. if the majority behaves in an autocratic manner. before the general populace assembled (De minoribus rebus principes consultant. in many different shapes: as an orderly assembly. one should be king. which relates (in ch. ita tamen. but it always resurfaced. there were just not enough people to make up an extensive hierarchy.11). Time and again. and especially in a power vacuum. 4 The oldest historical records of the Germanic and Slavic peoples also contain numerous reports of popular assemblies (for Russia. it would make a new appearance. although he was not in favour of it. one only should rule. etc. The small scale of early and primitive social formations inevitably involved the absence of great social differentiation. after king Agamemnon had first consulted his own council and verses 203-205: “In no way shall all the Greeks lord it around here! Democracy [lit. It was. to whom it was given by Zeus according to his unfathomable judgment” (words spoken by Odysseus). the people is usually regarded as the ultimate source of legitimate power. has led to a curious paradox. . of the democratic idea through the ages has meant that power had in some way to be shared with the people. ut ea quoque. never quite disappeared. In the modern era. At times. Subsequent developments were not as straightforward as suggested by Marx and Engels.

In its dilution of sovereign power. counts) and then one or more layers of lower lords. the relationship between the town and the territorial ruler meant that the town bought a measure of independence from the prince. where the power of the state is broken up between several levels. State power and sovereignty appeared to be dispersed according to a pyramidical model. feudalism can also be seen as a forerunner of federal systems. then there would be a layer of higher lords (bishops. where Hitler’s Third Reich was the only centralized interruption in a long history of feudal and federal division. Tribal chiefs and kings would operate in a much less structured and hazier constitutional environment of tribal custom. adding yet another element to the complex system of power sharing which was so typical of medieval times. dukes. At the summit one would find the emperor or king (and some popes even claimed to be above them).Human Rights in Russian Legal History 241 be of great importance in articulating the constitutional structure of the ‘state’. The words “sovereign” and “state” have been put between quotation marks. Germany is the most obvious case in point. Although they did retain their place within the feudal pyramid. . The good knight. it was especially the Middle Ages which brought the legal articulation of the special position of towns and their populations. the feudal system had an important ethical component which can also be considered to have contributed to human rights thinking. The city-state of Ancient Greece in particular must be regarded as an important milestone in the development of civic liberty. But. Sharing Power: Urban Freedom Towns have existed since prehistory. their relationship with the territorial rulers was not the same as that of an ordinary liegeman. Apart from the political effect of diluting the absolute power of the ruler. the knight already offered an ideal model of how a civil servant ought to behave. all of them connected through feudal relationships and sharing to some extent the possession of public power. Before a regular civil service as the basic interface between the citizen and public power had come into being. faithful to his lord. as the embodiment of the medieval chivalrous ideal. The freedom granted to the town and its people was the most direct forerunner of later bills of rights. and to protect and support those subordinate to him. because it is precisely the feudal system which makes these terms ambiguous. In stark economic terms. was required to be just and fair.

It would be entirely feasible. It should also be pointed out that. to look for the legitimation of this natural order in the existence of a Creator. when the rational observation and analysis of reality were taken as the starting-point for constructing mutually coherent views of various aspects of this reality. for instance.und Verwaltungsreformen in den sozialistischen Staaten. like the preceding societies which were dominated by a religiously determined world view.C.g. Meissner (eds. as a convenient name for the reality of this world. rationalism. the Founding Fathers did. “Grundrechte in zweierlei Sicht: Grundrechtsdiskussion zwischen Staatsrechtlern und Dissidenten in der Sowjetunion”. Berlin. but they agreed in putting aside religious revelation as a source of knowledge and a guide to the understanding of this world. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law. as briefly explained above. “The Soviet Human Rights Doctrine in the Crossfire between Dissidents at Home and Critics Abroad”. The Hague. The combined dynamics of these factors produced a process. the Age of Enlightenment saw a new version of this concept: certain basic concepts and institutions in the field of law were considered as evolving from reason and therefore. 101-109. F. It would be sufficient to mention Marxism. the Laws of Nature. Barry [a. the Age of Enlightenment. with regard to the ancestry of human rights. D. in this sense. Schoeder & B.D. Verfassungs.). Contemporary Soviet Law [Hazard Festschrift]. This took place in the course of the 18th century. a combination of currents. “Law and Political Dissent in the Soviet Union”. . The proponents of these views were not necessarily atheists. had to be examined to discover its inherent characteristics. while others appear as broad systems or general attitudes. Vol. as.242 Law in Medieval Russia Rationalism and Enlightenment Among the factors which have favoured the emergence of the modern system of human rights. Nature. e. but another possibility would be to consider nature and its laws as axiomatic.] (eds.o. which would lead to the recognition of some kind of God-given natural law. 1978. are certain concrete institutions. constituting a system of natural law. I refer to the vast literature on the subject of “Soviet human rights”.). which eventually united in a comprehensive vision of human rights. If previous centuries had regarded God as the source of all law and justice.6 Another case in point would be the separation of powers. including my own contributions to it. 451-466. which in its embracing of dialectical and historical materialism was an obvious offshoot of rationalism.13 (1980). which can be defended on rational grounds as an 6 It would exceed the framework of this chapter to develop this argument here. 55-68. has a mixed record. 1974. while its Soviet version developed a doctrine of human rights which actually came down to its denial or reversal.

7 5. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ na Rusi XIV-XVI vv. The Position of Russia As has been argued above. In this context. Shchapov. 1989 (hereafter: Shchapov. Tserkov’). and lower level public authorities. The primary instrument for creating such a system is the limitation of the powers of the state. but also international and supranational organizations. by the Soviet Marxists-Leninists and most of the excessively presidential regimes of the ex-Soviet republics. and the need to limit public power (and in this respect the theory of the separation of powers occupies a central place). Novosibirsk. Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo na Rusi IX-XVII vv. but for the purpose of setting up a workable system of basic rights a general consensus on what should be included is sufficient. and at a more popular level: R.G. individual human beings need and are entitled to a certain basic package of rights.. not only the national (sovereign) state. is the most powerful actor in society. because the state. Krest i korona. a fact of fundamental importance for Russian history in general and particularly for the churchstate relationship. In what form have these ideas been present and active in Russian legal history? 6. The principal modern Russian works which deal directly with this theme are Ia. Krest). and R.. S. Skrynnikov.. as the creator of the legal system. 1991. . 2000 (herafter: Skrynnikov. albeit on different ideological grounds. “state” should be understood to embrace all agencies which exercise public power. The present ideology of human rights rests therefore on two pillars: a concept of the unique value of the human individual. The church-state tensions which gave rise to the investiture conflict did not seriously affect Byzantium at the time of its greatest ecclesiastical influence on the fledgling Russian church. Church and State in Russia8 The First Centuries Christianity reached Russia through Byzantium. which endows him with certain inalienable rights. Skrynnikov. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X-XIII vv. There does not seem to be general agreement on the source or origin of these basic rights. in order to allow them to live in accordance with their innate dignity.N.Peterburg. A close 7 8 The latter view is shared. Moskva.G.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 243 effective instrument to prevent tyranny and rejected on the same grounds as promoting ineffectual government.

later known as St.. On the Old-Russian tithe. some provision had to be made for the material maintenance of the church and its personnel. Zimin). 1988. including a discussion of various Western viewpoints. 1963.L. although developments in Russia followed a course of their own.9 It would not be unreasonable to assume that political considerations played a considerable role in the decision of the Kievan grand prince Vladimir Sviatoslavich to adopt Christianity as the state religion around the end of the 10th century. The earliest and principal monument of this policy is the so-called Church Statute of Vladimir. 50-60. Omel’chenko (eds.S. In Western Europe. (transl.11 and the transfer of jurisdiction in a number of cases to the church. As a consequence of this step. Shchapov. see Shchapov. Szeftel & A. Isaev & O. 1980. 1972. Ianin). family. see Ia.Vladimir. Moskva. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries (text and English translation). On the Church Statutes of Vladimir and his son Iaroslav.A. and comments by A. PRP I. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. The Church Statute of Vladimir remained the fundamental charter regulating church-state relationships for the centuries to come. D. The two main innovations introduced by the Statute were the assignment of one-tenth of the income of the prince (the tithe) to the church. 76-87.10 The oldest part of this text does indeed go back to the time of the first Christian grand prince of Kiev. Istoriko-pravovye voprosy vaimootnoshenii gosudarstva i tserkvi v istorii Rossii. RZ I.A.H. The latter category generally involved matters where infractions of the newly introduced Christian morality were turned into criminal offences and also questions of matrimonial. “Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo v istorii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii (modeli istoricheskikh vzaimootnoshenii)”. by making grants of land to bishops and abbeys. the basic solution of this problem had been the incorporation of the church into the feudal system. It put 9 10 11 A review of the treatment of the church-state relationship in Russia. Kaiser. full jurisdiction concerning church personnel (clerical as well as lay persons) and control over the system of weights and measures were also transferred to the church. Tserkov’. 1992. Princeton. 229-266. and comments by V. the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century. .A. Moskva. I..e.N. 120-146.). The Russian approach was mainly to make income directly available to the church through the establishment of tithes and by assigning to the church the income from the execution of certain public duties. id. and inheritance law. Eck (eds. Salt Lake City. 235285 (text. Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. is Iu. 41-50. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. 134-208 (text. Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv. and id. & ed. In what was probably a somewhat later addition to the Statute. i. Moskva. M.244 Law in Medieval Russia symbiosis between church and state was the most important legacy of Byzantium to Russia..). 1976 (texts in the latter volume). Pivovarov.). Bruxelles.

the patriarch of Constantinople. but unquestionably became a factor of secondary importance. could exercise powerful influence in Russia. Control over the Russian church was a field of battle between the emperor and the grand prince. but all this at the expense of the church’s independence. 12 13 The Church Statute of prince Vsevolod (probably of Novgorod). the Church Statute of Lev Danilovich of Galicia of 1131. Further references in note 10. Tserkov’. has given a detailed list of the early Kievan metropolitans. It represents a kind of code of family and criminal law which is more detailed than its predecessor and therefore of greater interest to Russian legal history. 191-206. The second major church statute from Kievan times is the one ascribed to Vladimir’s son Iaroslav. a position the Russian church has never fully been able to escape from. Shchapov. the early Russian church maintained strong ties with Byzantium. these laws were based mainly on the Church Statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav. or at least needed the approbation of the patriarch in Constantinople. a. also known as the Wise. the sudden appearance of the Mongols in 1237 and the complete subjugation of Russia within a few years constituted a watershed.o. The largely successful attempts of Kievan rulers to turn the Russian church into a handmaiden of the state should also be viewed in that light. and through him the emperor of Byzantium. the Charter of Rostislav Mstislavich of Smolensk (probably before 1137). A completely new system of power relationships emerged and this inevitably also affected the relations between church and state. Other Russian princes issued similar statutes concerning the position of the church in later years. Byzantine involvement did not end. The church was turned into something close to a government department for religious affairs. the Church Statute of Sviatoslav Ol’govich of Novgorod of 1137. Church and State under the Mongols Although Russia had lived in a hostile and often warlike symbiosis with various steppe nomads (Khazars. Polovtsians) for centuries.13 By having his own man in Kiev. and of the twenty-three metropolitans of the Russian church before the Mongols overran Kiev in 1240 only about three were of Russian extraction. but it did not alter the overall tenor of the Statute of Vladimir. The metropolitan of Kiev was appointed by. Pechenegs.12 In other respects. . dating from the 12th or 13th century. It can be dated fairly exactly as having been enacted between 1051 and 1054.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 245 the church in a very advantageous material position and granted it an important role in the judicial system.

the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”). the caesar. to administer to the needs of all orthodox Christians in that region. addressed to the metropolitan of Moscow (the principal see of the Russian church had by that time been moved from Kiev to Moscow). For modern Western views of the Mongol-Tatar empire. Contemporary Russian sources would refer to him as the tsar. The Russian princes who in their numerous sub-dynasties continued to rule the many principalities into which the Kievan empire had dissolved. MA. mainly Turkic groups. Western and Russian writers through the ages have put great stress on the ferocity and cruelty of the Tatars. in which the khan granted the church complete freedom of taxes and other benefits (see the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”). A comparison with the similar empire of Attila the Hun. but also avoidance of hostilities with the Tatars. In language and culture. Religious tolerance among the Tatar rulers even went so far as to allow the establishment of a new bishopric in Sarai. Cambridge. the latter became dominant in later years. is instructive. Ostrowski. the khan did not rely only on military superiority.246 Law in Medieval Russia In constitutional terms. but after Attila’s death in 453 his empire evaporated within a few years for lack of internal consistency. A small number of charters. The immediate effect of an army of steppe nomads.J. numerous and well-equipped. the centre of Tatar power. the church was probably inspired by its links with the emperor in Constantinople who. The Russian church understandably used its privileged position to further its own agenda.15 To retain his eminent position. hence the relative interchangeability of “Mongol” and “Tatar”. eight centuries earlier. Columbus. called iarlyki. have survived. on the more peaceful and urbanized European world was similar. In this respect. Ohio. This included support for the efforts of the leading princes (increasingly the grand prince of Moscow) to free Russia from Tatar overlordship. The Tatar Yoke. . but it should be obvious that primitive barbarians could never have managed successfully to maintain for several centuries the largest empire (at least in terms of territory) history has known. or the sovereign in modern terminology. Halperin. mobile. depended on the khan’s confirmation and owed him military and fiscal allegiance (see. One of his favourite ploys was the extension of generous privileges to the Russian church. and D. see C. he also engaged in subtle manoeuvring to play his Russian subject princes against each other. the Mongol-Tatar14 khan was the overlord. 1998. 1986. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier. 1304-1589. also. a title which until then had only been enjoyed by the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors. already in much trouble because of the 14 15 The empire of Chingis-Khan and his descendants was Mongol in its origins but soon absorbed a multitude of other ethnic.

the Russian church leadership gave strong support to Moscow’s hegemonic buildup. as the Moscow grand prince was able to consolidate his position. The great monasteries with their vast holdings should be mentioned in the same breath. But. began to bring the church behind the grand prince from about the middle of the 14th century. the Trinity monastery had become the biggest landowner in Russia.16 The Church in Muscovy As the grand prince of Moscow succeeded in suppressing and eliminating the ruling princes of other Russian territories. but. By the middle of the 15th century. the church slipped back into a more modest place. The latter unwillingly accepted the highest post in 16 17 A thesis put forward by Skrynnikov. The tradition of compliance and submissiveness characterizing the history of church-state relations in Russia was only occasionally enlivened by the appearance of strong personalities such as Sergei of Radonezh or the metropolitan Filipp. but was also the principal advisor and supporter of prince Dmitrii Donskoi in the latter’s wars with the Tatars.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 247 activities of the Crusaders. the Moscow metropolitan. Russkaia tserkov’ v politicheskoi bor’be XIV-XV vekov. the metropolitan and other church leaders often played a decisive role. According to Borisov. Occasionally. the ties between the Russian church. The metropolitan and the bishops were the most important land owners after the prince and this enabled them to support the prince financially and through the provision of military manpower. who devoted a monograph to church-state relations in Moscow during the period in question. on the whole. it was long after the Moscow grand prince had started to use the title of tsar’ (caesar) that the metropolitan assumed the title of patriarch (1589). was anxious to maintain peaceful relations with the khan. Byzantine influence on the Russian church was ultimately reduced to zero by the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Moskva.S.17 In the not infrequent dynastic conflicts within the ruling family. 41. the metropolitan. . 1986. it was also a strong pillar of his power on account of its wealth in land. after initial lukewarm support. 50-78. and the ruler of Muscovy grew closer. north of Moscow. particularly its official leader. Borisov. becoming ever more the absolute ruler of Russia. who not only initiated major monastic reforms. N. If the Russian church was able to provide the Moscow grand prince with the required religious and ideological legitimation of his dignity. fierce conflicts between the prince and the metropolitan would flare up. It owed its prestige to the remarkable Sergei of Radonezh (1321-1391). first of all the famous Trinity monastery. Krest. But.

also in RZ III. he shared the title of “Great Sovereign” (Velikii Gosudar’) and. it acquired paramount importance during the Time of Troubles. the Zemskii Sobor convened regularly. 263-288. One of the constituent parts of the Zemskii Sobor was the Sacred Council (Osviashchennyi Sobor). Meiske. Further: A. German translation by C. had been one of the leading boyar opponents of tsar Boris Godunov. as Hermogen had died in the meantime. After three years of courageous opposition. Das Sobornoe Uloženie von 1649. Moskva. CA. in fact.). the only time in Russia when supreme power in the state and the church were united in the hands of one man. Its major legislative achievement was the adoption of the Law Code of 1649 (Sobornoe Ulozhenie). tekst. The general confusion during the Time of Troubles also extended to church-state relations and this is well illustrated by the origins of the Romanov dynasty. Filaret was finally released and. Halle-Wittenberg (2 vols. the metropolitans. Pseudo-Dmitrii II (known in Russian history as the “thief of Tushino”) made him patriarch. Russian text and English translation by R. which had occupied Moscow.19 The comprehensive compilation of the complete legislation of Russia in the 19th century. The father of the first Romanov tsar. The latter forced Fedor in 1600 to accept the tonsure and become a monk.P. could assume the patriarchate. the Oprichnina. Skrynnikov. Tikhomirov & P. Leningrad. in 1613. During the reign of the first two Romanov tsars. under the name of Filaret. they took Filaret along as a prisoner. the (arch)bishops. Sofronenko) in PRP VI. another impostor.A.248 Law in Medieval Russia the Russian church at the beginning of the reign of terror. by the Zemskii Sobor (Land Council). ruled Russia in his son’s stead until his death in 1633. 1988. With his son tsar Mikhail. After the death of Boris in 1605. although there was a legitimate patriarch.N. when it emerged as the residual source of sovereignty (more on the Zemskii Sobor below). In 1619. Filaret bounced back and was promoted to metropolitan of Rostov by ‘tsar’ Pseudo-Dmitrii I (lzhe-Dmitrii I). consisting of the patriarch. Irvine.). 1961. When the Polish army.18 The extinction of the ruling line of the Rurikid dynasty with the deaths of Ivan IV (the Terrible) in 1584 and of his incompetent son Fedor in 1598 started the Time of Troubles (Smutnoe vremia). Krest. and the abbots of the principal monasteries. of Ivan the Terrible. one of the most important milestones in Russian legal history. Although a Land Council had already been convoked by Ivan the Terrible. Mikhail Romanov. retreated in 1612. . 1987. Man’kov (ed. he was robbed of his dignity and murdered in 1569.G. M. Hellie: The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649. which was to last until the election of a new tsar. Epifanov. Text and commentary (by K. the Complete 18 19 Cf. Fedor Nikitich. Three years later. kommentarii. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. Hermogen. Part 1: Text and Translation. 1985.

he was elevated to the patriarchate by Aleksei Mikhailovich in 1652.).Human Rights in Russian Legal History 249 Collection of Laws (Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov) took the Code of 1649 as the starting-point.V. the Russian state had become the state of the Antichrist. V.”. The tsar supported the majority trend in the Russian church which had accepted Nikon’s reforms. The Code of 1649 also affected the Russian church. Kuchkin (ed. He quickly succeeded in dominating the moderately gifted tsar. All of this was backed up by a comprehensive theocratic view of the church-state relationship and the role of Russia in the world. also. Of humble origin. but also in involving himself deeply in the internal and external policy of the country. the posadnik or mayor 20 Cf. for the Old Believers. N. was Nikon. He was deposed in 1666 by a church council in which also the patriarchs of Antioch and Alexandria took part. dominated by boyar clans. 386-402. until it was finally subdued by Moscow in 1478. Rossiia v srednie veka i novoe vremia [Milov Festschrift].) The church-state relationship in medieval Novgorod could. Kozlova. Moskva. The third church leader. his functions were soon reduced to those of commander of the armed forces.20 The Special Status of Novgorod Novgorod the Great. aristocratic clans (who provided the chief officials. after Filipp and Filaret. ruled by its popular assembly. For centuries. His temporal powers and prestige were considerable. the chapter on “Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia”. The position of the bishop was to some extent comparable to that of the doge of Venice. and presided over by its bishop (archbishop since 1165). to tower over the monarch himself. His church reforms however stood and caused the great schism in the Russian church. Skrynnikov. the position of the Novgorod prince became marginalized.17 art. Krest. in that it effectively prevented further growth of land-owning by the church (Ch. in the north-western corner of the Kievan empire. In the end. (See. through the gradually settling Novgorod custom of inviting and dismissing princes at will. 1999. .A. therefore. he was popularly elected by the veche (the election also included the throwing of lots). already started to develop a special position in the times of the Kievan grand princes. Subsequently. His boundless ambition and energy found not only expression in embarking on incisive church reforms. Novgorod constituted a de facto republic. his lack of tact and blinkered fanaticism proved to be his undoing. “Zakonodatel’stvo o raskole i praktika ego realizatsii v gorodskoi srede vo vtoroi chetverti XVIII v.42). the veche. Although there was a nominal prince in Novgorod. be summarized as a complicated balance between the popular assembly. 240-255. known as Raskol. Uniquely among Russian bishops.

With the strengthening of the Kievan state and its subsequent breakup into semi-independent principalities. the Moscow grand prince emerged victorious among the competing sub-dynasties. . They were among the chief political actors. and usually also in actual fact. When patriarch Adrian died in 1700.22 7. In 1721. In this power equation. and occasionally the ruling prince or his representative (the namestnik). The khan dealt with the Russian princes who were nominally. Peter prevented the appointment of a successor. appointed by the emperor. the veche) succeeded in relegating the prince and his servants to the margin. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnogo prava. the power of the Old-Russian veche diminished in favour of the power of the prince and his increasingly structured governmental administration. When. In the following year.21 The secularization of church lands was completed under empress Catherine II in 1764. The last veche meeting was held in 1510 in Pskov. along with the princes and their retinues (see the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”). because here the local parties (boyar clans. the veche had virtually disappeared. with the waning of Tatar rule. It was more effectively subordinated to the state (the emperor) by a series of measures. Obzor. a considerable part of the church income from land holdings was shifted to the state. Beneshevich (ed.). the (arch)bishop. the veche would only be an encumbrance. in order to decide on Pskov’s submission to the grand prince. Popular Rule and Democracy in Russia Popular assemblies are well documented in the history of early Kievan Russia. the last medieval Russian state to preserve its independence. See Vladimirskii-Budanov. regulating the internal organization of the orthodox church in detail. 21 22 Text in V. The Church in the Russian Empire The drastic reforms introduced by Peter the Great extended also to the church. a Church Statute (Dukhovnyi Reglament) was issued by the emperor. Novgorod (and Pskov) was again the exception.N. the bishop. 89-250.250 Law in Medieval Russia and the tysiatskii or military commander). his subjects. 1914. Petrograd. Part 2. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod. Tatar-Mongol domination rang the death-knell of the veche. consisting mainly of the posadnik and tysiatskii and their predecessors). 553-554. The patriarchal dignity was abolished and the church government was entrusted to a Holy Synod. They had their roots in Slavic prehistory and they offered a close parallel to the popular assemblies known in Germanic history and protohistory.

Moskva. he relates how Ivan IV did something unheard of: he invited not only the usual members of the Boyar Council.O. the Russian empire was governed by the emperor. See Karamzin. The decisive moment was the issuing of the Manifesto of 17 October 1905 which promised.67. PRP VIII. 54-90. In his Statute on Accession to the Throne of 1721. 26 This is quite obvious from Karamzin’s description of the first reported Zemskii Sobor in 1566. the basic modern study is L. PRP VIII. Kliuchevskii. As related above. Mikhail Fedorovich and Aleksei Mikhailovich. 63ff. 42-44.29 the State Council since 1810. beginning with Boris Godunov in 1598. Zemskie Sobory russkogo gosudarstva v XVI-XVII vv.26 In the following Time of Troubles.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 251 An element of representative government returned. Ibidem.. IX. 362-370. 27 Cherepnin. 1892 (several later editions). 28 29 30 31 . in 1683/1684. Ivan IV organized several others until his death in 1584. but only one more Land Council was held after this.28 From Peter the Great onwards.V. his young sons Fedor and Peter were still elected by the Zemskii Sobor in 1682.23 The Land Council grew out of a combination of the church council and the Boyar Council (Boiarskaia Duma).30 the Council of Ministers since 181131). col. by the addition of representatives of the merchants and townspeople (of Moscow) and of provincial landowners. 204-205. but also the above-mentioned representatives. the Land Council met regularly under the first two Romanov tsars. along with a 23 24 The literature on the Zemskii Sobor is extensive. albeit in an entirely different form. Zemskie Sobory.. 90-156. with the convocation of the Land Council (Zemskii Sobor). Peter reserved the right to appoint a successor to the emperor himself. Moskva. After the death of the latter. there was no room for a representative body deciding on important matters of state.24 both of them institutions with a longer tradition. Zemskie Sobory.25 After the first Zemskii Sobor of 1566. Only the reforms of 1905 brought a return of a form of representative government to Russia. Cherepnin. assisted by various government agencies appointed by him (the Senate since 1711. regards the combined meeting of the Boyar Duma and the church council already as a Land Council and puts its first meeting therefore in 1549. RZ VI. with the simultaneous appointment of their sister Sophia as regent. 1978. when his son Fedor was offered the throne by a hastily convened Land Council. Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi.27 In Peter the Great’s views on the absolute monarchy. 25 On the Boyar Duma: V. the Zemskii Sobor emerged as the normal electoral agency for appointing a new tsar. Cherepnin.

. 8. all kinds of variations on this basic theme developed. In later years. the contract. RZ IX. There is first of all the terminological aspect which still hampers understanding. State Council. of the new Fundamental State Laws.33 The representative character of the Duma was quickly eroded by extensive tinkering with the electoral system. and enumerated the basic civil rights. in present-day terminology. Feudalism In Western Europe.32 This Manifesto was followed by the promulgation. unlike the Carolingians. At this place. it regulated the supreme state agencies (emperor. but this should not obscure the magnitude of the reforms of 1905-1906. Many parts of Western Europe were only marginally affected by feudalism. The distinguishing feature of classic European feudalism was the particular nature of the feudal contract. especially as it came to be imbued with a moral aspect. but beyond that they owed each other loyalty. The princes of Kievan Russia did indeed begin to make land grants to their servitors. elections for a State Duma with full-fledged rights to participate in the legislative process and in the supervision of the executive. A number of factors contributed to this. but a balanced system as had emerged in Western Europe did not arise. or not at all.252 Law in Medieval Russia basic human rights package. was of a mixed public-private character. Lord and liegeman each contributed materially: land and service. Can the same be said about Russia? This question has been discussed in more detail in the chapter on “Land Tenure. in fact a Russian constitution which elaborated the short announcements made in the Manifesto. and Council of Ministers). Moreover. support and protection. feudalism was undoubtedly one of the ancestors of modern human rights. Feudalism in this sense never got beyond the initial stage in Russia. Classic feudalism flowered mainly in parts of Western Europe. The fact that the dynasty of Rurik. a few more summary points will be sufficient. also among post-Soviet historians in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries. and the Nature of Kievan Rus’”. the legislative process. State Duma. where feudalism is concerned. Trade played a greater role in the economy of Kievan Russia than it did in Western Europe. See the Election Statute for the State Duma of 3 June 1907. survived and expanded created a different political situation in Russia. the Druzhina. 53-117. because the Marxist concept is very deeply embedded. 32 33 RZ IX. especially in the heartland of the old Carolingian empire. on 23 April 1906. which was closer to a natural economy (Naturalwirtschaft) during the early Middle Ages. 42-52.

Dvornichenko (eds. Froianov is one of the central figures in the debate. Srednevekovaia i novaia Rossiia. 1989. the balance of power and resulting mutual interdependence so typical of European feudalism never came about. Smolensk. he was considered something of a heretic. in return for the duty to perform military service. it would seem that the starting position of towns was more favourable than in Western Europe.Iu. on account of the different church-state relationship in Russia (as discussed above). etc. Riazan’.Peterburg. This was reinforced by the constant threat of invasions by steppe nomads. even up till the 18th century. in the shape of the Mongol hordes of Chingis-Khan finally overran Russia. They were all named after the principal or capital towns: Kiev. There were without question a number of legal institutions in medieval Russia which resembled West European developments. there was always the looming shadow of the supreme and absolute power of the prince. Kiev. . Problema istorii goroda. that was how the bewildering profusion of sometimes minute territories arose. Some towns grew up on the basis of older tribal centres. trading posts could develop into towns. serving the exchange of regional produce.34 On one point there seems to be agreement: there is no single explanation.Ia. Among Froianov’s opponents. Polotsk. Drevnerusskii feodal’nyi gorod. But. could not fulfil the pioneering function in the feudalization process that the Western church had taken on. In Soviet times. Land was granted. there was no room anymore for any kind of independent role for a landowning class. Novgorod. S. the younger sons were given smaller towns with the surrounding countryside. Urban Freedom At first sight. Vladimir. see.M. Leningrad. P. Vorob’ev & A. When a principality was broken up. The origin of medieval Russian towns is a much debated question among Russian historians. for instance. other towns were expressly founded by princes.P. and in the collection published in his honour in 1996: V. on account of his views on the nature of Kievan Russia. 1988. The Russian church. Tolochko. When the latter. Economically the town could be a regional centre. in other towns the accent 34 I. The views of Froianov and his sympathizers on the rise of towns in the Russian middle ages have been expressed most clearly in the volume edited by him in 1988: Genezis i razvitie feodalizma v Rossii.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 253 The ruling princes in Russia were more powerful from the start than their West European counterparts. Jurisdictional and fiscal immunities granted to church and secular landowners were commonplace in medieval Russia. His three-volume study on Kievan Russia has been republished in 2001 under the title Nachala russkoi istorii (Moskva). 1996. The principalities of Kievan and post-Kievan Russia were based on and centred around towns.). 9.

Peterburg. but the power of the ruling prince. although they were also the centres of their respective territories. M. Srednevekovaia i novaia Rossiia. opposed to the ordinary people.). etc. in combination with the specific role of Tatar-Mongol overlordship.B. “Problema obrazovaniia gorodov v Drevnei Rusi”. Dubov. special circumstances allowed long-lasting retention of independ35 36 See. indeed.). others were half-free and dependent on masters.36 In any case. This expressed itself externally in the formal granting of urban rights and internally in the elaboration of a specific legal regime for the townspeople. Novgorod was dominated by its own local boyar clans. the general picture differs significantly from its West European counterpart. In medieval Russia. 111-123. I. 94-101. bishop. There were. In Novgorod and Pskov. where (at least in the area where Roman influence and the survival of Roman settlements were weak or absent) towns appeared as territorial enclaves. for instance.). Vorob’ev & Dvornichenko (eds. “Proiskhozhdenie pervykh gorodov Severnoi Rusi”.).V. they themselves enjoyed a special legal status. Nosov. Cf.B. Genezis. and particularly the increasing preponderance of the Moscow grand prince and his eventual complete victory. “Kniaz’. The political environment of Western Europe favoured the formation of a special legal status for the medieval town in a triangular relationship between the nominal feudal lord of the town (emperor. the legal status of individual members of the urban population might in some ways be different from that of members of the rural population. as islands in the sea of feudal lands. Vorob’ev & Dvornichenko (eds. Most towns would count a considerable number of persons engaged in crafts and trades.V.35 The town population displayed a parallel variety in social status. Froianov (ed.”. king. the town itself was inseparable from the surrounding countryside and was in fact the central constituent part of the political territory.254 Law in Medieval Russia was on interregional and international trade. there were also towns which served mainly as administrative centres or as military outposts. Mikhailova. S. “Boiare i obshchina Iugo-Zapadnoi Rusi v sobytiiakh 1187-1190 gg.).V. Sredenevekovaia i novaia Rossiia. A. Maiorov. 1993.”. some of these were free. resulted in the failure of the towns to achieve anything resembling the position of towns in Western Europe. the chern’. Froianov (ed. Sverdlov (ed. 5-10. 226-243. . Only Novgorod and Pskov should be treated separately in this respect. enjoying a separate legal status. boiare i gorodskaia obshchina Severo-Vostochnoi Rusi v XII-nachale XIII v. Krivosheev. This development was not realized in Russia on account of the different political situation. the town itself and the surrounding feudalized countryside. 168-188. “K voprosu o sotsial’nom statuse iuzhnorusskikh porubezhnykh gorodov v domongol’skii period”. Genezis. Feodal’naia Rossiia.N. Iu. E. I. the beginnings of a differentiated legal status.).

which represents the only comprehensive codification between the Russkaia Pravda and the 1497 Code of Ivan III. in one important aspect. Novgorod and Pskov. The difference between urban and rural conditions dictated different legal regimes for town and country. accompanied by the elaboration of an indigenous legal system. Alekseev.. Vernadsky. This is quite obvious from the occasional references to townspeople in the Code of 149738 of Ivan III and in ch. 1992.). op. Eck. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. 282-383. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. 87-105 (Russian text and English translation). Froianov. RZ II.41 37 38 39 PRP III. Iu. private charters (gramoty). Bruxelles. see PRP II. Genezis.G.39 The late emergence of a self-confident urban citizenry can also be discerned in the major enactment concerning the legal status of towns and their citizens in the 18th century. op. See footnote 19. New York. Alekseev. 67-136. 61-82 (English translation). Martysevich. Specifically on Ivan III’s urban policies: Iu. 40 41 Text in RZ V. 79-86 (Russian text and English translation). this situation was different from the average feudal town in Western Europe.37 In Muscovy Russia. but the towns and their citizens did not enjoy any more freedom than was needed to serve the interests of the militarized Russian state. of which the 15th century Novgorod Court Charter (Novgorodskaia Sudnaia Gramota) is the most important. and some legislative documents. Moskva. D. 300-320. 117-214 (French translation). RZ I.cit.. see GVNP and for the Novgorod Court Charter: PRP II. as long as they were strong and independent. Medieval Russian Laws. G. 165-175. . 341-418. Vernadsky.D. 1963. the Charter on the Rights and Benefits of the Towns of the Russian Empire of 1785. Kaiser. RZ I. Text in RZ VI. 83-92 (English translation). Pskov.cit. 28-30. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.40 It was only in 1801 that an imperial edict allowed members of the merchant class and lower-class townspeople (meshchane) to buy and own land outside the town. I. a permanent watchfulness and even struggle was required to maintain the freedom of the town against the claims of its feudal master. The legal system of Novgorod is well documented by a large number of treaties. Kaiser (ed. were their own masters. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. Of much greater importance is the 15th century Pskov Court Charter (Pskovsksia Sudnaia Gramota). 210-244. In the case of the latter. Salt Lake City. the town fell into line within the overall framework of the state. Szeftel & A. 321389. but.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 255 ence. 1951.XIX of the Code of 1649 of tsar Aleksei. “Nekotorye cherty gorodskoi politiki Ivana III”. 1997 (not available to me). & transl. 34-97. devoted to the posadskie liudi (one of the principal categories of the urban population). M. 1947.G.

to a new kind of justice meted out through the intervention of the prince and his court (see the chapter on “The Russkaia Pravda”). 1952. considered here in its human rights dimension. straddles in its several chronological layers the transition from informal adjudication and dispute settlement within the family. the aspect of due process (in the broad sense indicated above: the well-regulated settling of disputes and punishment of crimes) remained dominant: the better parts of the Novgorod and Pskov Court Charters. the question of due process can also be regarded. the latter as the sole source of judicial interference in the life of the individual. and as such antedating the first fears about a too powerful state. as almost everywhere. 1976.256 Law in Medieval Russia 10. and by the same token. well known in the Russian middle ages and afterwards. Legal institutions may arise or be invented on the basis of existing institutions which served a different purpose. R. 97-177.43 The first article of the Criminal Procedure Statute of 1864 provided that: “Nobody shall be subject to judicial prosecution for a crime or misdemeanour. as an aspect of the limitation of the powers of the state. From this point of view.D. as has been done above. both of them intimately connected with the emergence of the state and the prevention of chaos. Grekov (ed. except in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Statute. . one has to admit that in a more general sense due process refers to the orderly settlement of disputes and the punishment of crimes. On the reforms: F. In all major enactments of the following ages. Wortman. and the intervening Code of 155042 were devoted to procedural rules. 229-332. Die Russische Justizreform von 1864. Chicago/London. 42 43 Text in PRP IV.B. Text of the Criminal Procedure Statute in RZ VIII. the emergence of the first state-like structures went hand in hand with the setting up of a rudimentary judicial framework. Leiden.” This having been said. They primarily concern the relationship between the individual and the state. Due Process “Due process” can be used to refer to a package of rights which form the core of the classic human rights. as a serious potential threat to the individual. RZ II.S. one could point to the institution of judicial immunity. It was only in the course of the great reforms of the judicial system of the 1860’s that the first classic rights of the individual concerning his position in respect of the legal system emerged.). of the Law Codes of 1497 and 1647. a more general observation concerning the ‘genealogy’ of legal institutions comes to mind. With regard to the due process aspect. clan or tribe. The oldest version of the Russkaia Pravda. At the same time. also in B. Moskva/Leningrad. Kaiser. 118-384. 1972. In Russia. the so-called Short Pravda. Sudebniki XV-XVI vekov. 111-340. The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness.

11. but.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 257 This institution. peasants. the Institution of Judicial Instances (Uchrezhdenie Sudebnykh Ustanovlenii) of 1864 enumerated the several judicial instances from the lowest to the highest court in its Article 1 and then stated in Article 2: “The judicial power of the instances indicated in the foregoing Article 1 extends to persons of all classes and to all cases. for these reasons. clergy. Minsk.9) that “all our subjects. because Russian citizens continued to belong to a legally defined class (nobility. von Loewe. The basic law concerning court organization. the principle itself was clear enough. In the list of civil rights of the 1905 Constitution. it did foreshadow in some way the classic human rights. Statut Vialikaga kniastva Litauskaga 1566 goda. be considered part of Russian legal history. For a more modern approach to the question of equality before the law and the courts. it did not pretend to safeguard human rights avant la lettre. this might indeed have proven to be problematic. strong influence on subsequent Russian legislation (such as on the Code of 1649).). U. 44 The Lithuanian Statute was the chief codification of the Grand Principality of Lithuania. Of course. workers. the Code of 1649. but as a reaction against the hypertrophy of the immunity system. one had to wait for the judicial reforms of the 1860’s. exempted certain categories of individuals from the jurisdiction of certain courts.1). Lazutka. 2004. Similarly. where also older editions of the Statute of 1529 are mentioned. It was to a considerable extent based on medieval Russian law and exerted. English translation and commentary in K. based on a modern view of the person and society. Iukho (eds. The Lithuanian Statute of 152944 provided (in art. Recent text edition by S. whatever their condition or position. Satolin & Ia.) right down to 1917. be tried equally and identically by these written laws”. which was also an important element of classic feudalism in Western Europe. one looks in vain for a general statement on the equality of citizens.A.” Although there was an increasing number of exceptions.). Vilnius. written in Russian and can. from the highest to the lowest rank” (art. 1976. Equality before the courts first appeared. Gudavichius. Pervyi Litovskii Statut (1529 g. which continued to build on the former. The Statute of 1529 was followed by the Statutes of 1566 and 1588. Dounar.M. The Lithuanian Statute of 1529. merchants. Leiden. The Statute of 1566 was recently published in Belarus by T. moreover. instructed all those entrusted with judicial duties “to judge honestly all the people of the Moscow state. etc. I. 2003. civil as well as criminal. in turn. not as a requirement of morality. in its Chapter 10 (On the court). Valikonite & E.I. it was. by forbidding the courts entry into certain areas. Equality A similar development is observable in connection with equality. . poor and rich alike.

notwithstanding the unsatisfactory state of affairs during the last decades of the Empire and the total collapse of human rights under the Soviet regime. . All this against the ideological background of the Byzantine heritage and a centuries-long isolation from ideas and influences from Western Europe. The main factors which militated against it were the subordinate position of the orthodox church. Classical antiquity. which. This pattern even reasserted itself in the later period of Soviet power when the regime had lost the aggressively terrorist character of the Stalin era. the Reformation. the medieval Church. and not a monolith like Russia. The separation of powers. pragmatically. One could even argue that. prominent citizens or just courageous individuals spoke out. the other side of the balance-sheet is not empty. Time and again church leaders. never got off the ground in Russia. which was dominant in Russia for most of the time. Nevertheless. the triumph and ultimate monopolization of power of the Moscow prince. and of guaranteeing the individual citizen a certain protected sphere of individual liberty. The actual evolution of political and socio-economic conditions in the Western world gradually created a situation which was more or less in harmony with these ideas. the peculiar shape of Russian ‘feudalism’. before the theory existed. they would agree on the desirability of circumscribing the domain of the state and its law. favoured autocracy. There were certain implicitly recognized principles of government and the ruler could be held accountable in this respect. The Eastern orthodox view of the church-state relationship. all have contributed at the level of ideas. the survival of strong princely power and the concomitant weakness of the higher nobility (the boyars) and the towns. Concluding Observations One of the main arguments in this chapter has been that the present world-wide success of the human rights doctrine has many ancestors (as success is supposed to have) in the history of Western civilization. the Enlightenment. An investigation into the presence and strength of all such factors in Russian legal history has produced a picture which shows that the historical background of human rights is significantly different in Russia. but their moral authority was obvious to all. Sakharov and others dissidents from the Brezhnev period represented a typically Russian tradition of civil courage. the idea itself of human rights was more alive in Russia during those times than it was in the Western world. which was a politically fragmented and ideologically pluriform congeries.258 Law in Medieval Russia 12. was maturing slowly in Western Europe over many centuries. but by no means legitimized despotism. They might lack the advantage of a legally defined position.

The purpose of an appropriate and effective human rights system is not a state of paradise. One might even discern the strength of a universal human rights concept reflected in Soviet legislation. The heritage of many centuries of autocracy.17 of the same). they only made sure. Most of the defects of the present state of Russian democracy and of the system of government are connected with the inability or unwillingness to let go of the “winner-takes-all” mentality. Once the Soviet system fell apart.1 of the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation) and that has explicitly embraced the universal principles in the field of human rights and freedoms (art. . already before the October Revolution. but a tolerable mess. It would be unrealistic to assume that. where human rights are concerned. the enunciation of a decent catalogue of human rights was one of the first concerns of the legislator. both through the fabrication of a spurious theory as well as through its legislative implementation. dictatorship and enforced orthodoxy and unity is a heavy burden which has a strong psychological impact on the Russian polity. all is well now in a Russia that has proclaimed itself to be a democratic and law-governed (pravovoe) state (art.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 259 It was at the centre of dissident thought in the 1970’s. that Soviet new-style civil rights would in no way hamper the regime’s complete freedom of action. From the very beginning. the Soviets considered it imperative to grant a package of human rights.


see F. the Skra has usually been viewed by German legal historians as an offshoot and a geographically remote representative of the family of North German city laws.Chapter 9 The Skra of Novgorod: Legal Contacts Between Russia and Western Europe in the Middle Ages 1. Die Nowgoroder Schra in sieben Fassungen vom XIII. bis zum 17. 1 2 The term Skra (scra. and its relations with Russian law. their organization and self-government. Introduction For many centuries. schrage) itself is of German origin and occurs in medieval German law to denote a more or less statutory enactment of a city. They had their own code of law. Schlüter.34 (1887). der Wiss.33 (1886). their commercial activities. Frensdorff. its place in Russian history.1 which regulated the most important aspects of their daily life. of life in medieval Novgorod. called the Skra. 25-26. 1-55. Vol.2 This chapter will consider the Skra in particular against the background of contemporary Russian law.) Frensdorff.1. The most complete edition of the text of the Skra is by W. and then to Novgorod’s relations with the cities of the Hanseatic League. Jh. Abhandlungen der kön. the medieval Russian city of Novgorod housed within its walls an independent community of Hanseatic merchants. The Skra has been studied by historians. 1911. These introductory sections will be followed by a discussion of the Skra itself. schra. the text of a lecture held in 1910. . On its etymology. of German-Russian relations. (The same author published a small booklet in the same year Die Nowgoroder Schra in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung vom 13. etc. its system of government and its laws. as a source for the history of the Hanseatic League.. its sources. As a legal document. Ges. both German and Russian. bis XVII. some attention must first be paid to Novgorod. zu Göttingen. Jahrhundert. Vol. In order to acquire a general perspective of the historical context and geographical surroundings in which the Skra functioned. “Das statutarische Recht der deutschen Kaufleute in Nowgorod”. Dorpat. 1-35 (at 2-5) and Vol.

Nosov & A. In this way. Tikhomirov. E. Upon the death of the grand prince or a local ruling prince. Novgorod’s geographical position in the North-West of the country proved to be a great advantage in the 13th century when the Mongols conquered and devastated most of the former Kievan empire. the brothers and other important male relatives of the grand prince of Kiev would usually each receive a principality. These names were still used in the oldest part of the Russkaia Pravda. who converted to Christianity in 988. From Novgorod. “Velikii Novgorod v istorii mirovoi kul’tury”. Novgorod k 1100-letiiu goroda. .).Vladimir. which then is connected through the river Neva with the Baltic Sea. 54-104. several of the most famous grand princes of Kiev—notably St. According to dynastic custom in the Kievan realm. “Kiev i Novgorod XII–nachala XIII vv. A. the Primary Chronicle and the First Novgorod Chronicle (see the chapter on “Sources”). the legislator of the oldest part of the Russkaia Pravda—came to the Kievan throne through Novgorod. dating from the beginning of the 11th century. the principalities were redistributed among the leading members of the ruling house. Vol. The route runs from the Black Sea up the Dniepr. v novgorodskom letopisanii”.262 Law in Medieval Russia 2. Khoroshev (eds. M. the eldest son would not normally succeed.). Wien. At that time. Moskva. 171-179.A. also. M. 1964. which flows into Lake Ilmen.S.P. 23-37. In those days. During the earliest period of Russian history. the Slavic tribes inhabiting the region of Kiev were called Russians. Gross-Nowgorod.N. Tolochko. The principal chronicles covering the earliest period of Russian history.N. See. P.4 More than once. Gippius. Onasch. Novgorod lies at the northern end of this lake. the river Volkhov flows north into Lake Ladoga. Moskva. Aufstieg und Niedergang einer russischen Stadtrepublik. K. Novgorod the Great3 Novgorod is situated in the North-West of European Russia on a trade route from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. 1969. the union achieved under earlier grand princes of Kiev had already broken down and the country was fragmented into a number of almost 3 4 Convenient surveys of the medieval history of Novgorod in Kliuchevskii. the prince of Novgorod succeeded in taking the throne of the grand prince in Kiev. while the population of the Novgorod region was known as Slovenes. Velikii Novgorod v istorii srednevekovoi Evropy [Ianin Festschrift]. and his son Iaroslav the Wise. which goes back to prehistoric times and is already described in detail in the Primary Chronicle. then through a portage to the river Lovat’.2. the descendants of Rurik (see the chapters on “The Elder Brother in Russia” and “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”). instead. Tikhomirov (ed. Novgorod appears as the most important city in the North of the country. 1999.N. clearly demonstrate the tensions which existed between the two cities.

now primarily engaged in East-West trade. no effective leader was left in Russia. In terms of territory. North-South trade between the Baltic and the Black Sea had much diminished in the 13th century. In its heyday during the 13th and 14th centuries. the Novgorod army was defeated by Ivan III in the battle at the Shelon’ River and in 1478 Novgorod had to give up its own institutions and became a province of the Muscovite state. therefore. a suburb.The Skra of Novgorod 263 independent principalities. During the campaign of 1237-1238. The latter city originally had the rank of a prigorod. first be divided into Russians and nonRussians. but also the comparative richness of its contemporary historical sources. After the breakdown of the Kievan Russian state. for instance by inviting a ruling prince themselves and concluding their own treaties. was never occupied by the Mongols. the proud position of the city was equally reflected by the contemporary saying “Who can stand against God and Novgorod the Great?”. Novgorod’s rela- . of Novgorod. The configuration of states among which Novgorod played such an important role in the Middle Ages was far from simple. In 1471. Novgorod. but it was forced to pay tribute to them for some time. and Novgorod’s neighbours should. the Pskovians usually followed a course independent from Novgorod. but the Mongol army turned south when it was only 100 km from Novgorod. Novgorod maintained its position as a commercial centre and a powerful state up till the end of the Russian Middle Ages. most of the Central Russian cities were destroyed. During the 12th and the 13th century. and the occupation of Southern Russia by the Mongols. It embraced not only the entire North-West of European Russia. and the city of Pskov. as mentioned above. The commercial centre of gravity in Russia had shifted to Novgorod. Novgorod was by far the largest of the medieval Russian principalities. The enormous hinterland of Northern Russia provided furs and wax for export to Western Europe. Russian national consciousness however remained intact. when it finally had to bow to the supremacy of the Moscow grand princes. the city was often referred to as “the Lord Novgorod the Great”. the penetration of the Venetians as traders in the Black Sea. on account of the occupation of Constantinople by the Crusaders. The fact that Novgorod and the surrounding countryside escaped Mongol occupation helps to explain not only its enhanced position in 13th century Russia. but also the vast expanses of Northern Russia up to the Ural Mountains and beyond. The chief Russian neighbours were the principality of Tver’ and later on (after Tver’ had been absorbed by Moscow) the principality of Moscow. The mother city finally recognized the independence of Pskov formally in 1347.

the most important person was the bishop (after 1165: the archbishop). Ianin. Vol. the bishop of Novgorod was appointed by the metropolitan of Kiev.2.Kh. who had to swear to uphold the ancient rights and freedoms of the city. 44-54. Istoriia SSSR.6 The principal secular official was the posadnik. Novgorod was ruled by a member of the family of the Kievan grand prince. Istoriia SSSR. the archbishopric of Riga. the namestnik. Initially. When the prince was absent in Novgorod—a frequent occurrence— his duties were carried out by his lieutenant. While the tysiatskii (‘thousandman’. from the middle of the 12th century. 58-63.L. his office 5 6 Kliuchevskii.5 A contract was concluded with a new prince. In the actual government of the city.2.2. Novgorod was also in frequent contact with other Baltic Sea states: Sweden. Revel (Reval.L. As a city engaged in international trade.264 Law in Medieval Russia tions with the Mongols were not as intense as those of other Russian principalities. No. commanding thousand men. In the 13th century. His power rested chiefly on his generally acknowledged authority. Ianin & M. Vol. 1970. 1971. usually a son or a brother. 3. which allowed him to mediate in the frequent controversies which raged in the city’s internal affairs. and the Hanseatic towns of Riga. like other provincial Russian cities. Tallinn) and Derpt were the main elements. Aleshkovskii. Novgorod was most closely involved with Lithuania and Livonia. 61. V. the custom of inviting a prince and dismissing him when he was not any longer to the liking of the city became firmly embedded. “Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda”. Denmark. Only in Pskov did a similar system take shape. Tartu). who was assisted by the tysiatskii. but. it became customary for the Novgorod assembly (the veche) to elect its own bishop from the local clergy. Even the earliest sources already show that Novgorod’s enterprising and self-conscious citizenry was always inclined to take a strong and independent line with its princes. V. “Problemy sotsial’noi organizatsii Novgorodskoi respubliki”. and two republics: Novgorod and Pskov. No.1. ruled by princes of the same house. and the Hanseatic League. Kliuchevskii. 32-61. after the decline of Kiev. . The latter territory had a complicated structure. can be regarded as a loose conglomerate of principalities. Oesel and Kurland. On the western side. the mayor. Iur’ev. and in fact medieval Russia. in which the Teutonic Order. chiliarch) was originally a military officer. Novgorod’s System of Government Originally. the bishoprics of Derpt (Dorpat. The prince was employed primarily as the commander of the army and was not allowed to exercise too much influence in the city’s internal affairs.

Novgorodskie posadniki. Novgorod was not only a city-state. the five-fifths (piatni) adjoining (or almost) the city territory. was of greater importance. Kliuchevskii. This Council consisted of the acting posadnik and tysiatskii.). Vol. The quarters were each divided into “hundreds” (sotni). the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”).9 All this resulted in Novgorod’s history being characterized by excessive conflict and strife: between various social classes. but also the centre of a large empire. Kliuchevskii. between the different parts of the city. black people). the custom of electing the posadnik remained firmly entrenched.2. 2003.7 Both offices were initially filled by appointees of the prince. merchants.The Skra of Novgorod 265 embraced a number of civil. In practice. The former consisted of the Potters’ (or People’s) Quarter. At a somewhat later date. and these into streets (ulitsy). Vol. which prepared the business to be dealt with by the veche. the Sophia and the Merchant Side (Torgovaia storona). . It was in this situation that the bishop emerged as the most effective conciliatory agent. (some of) their predecessors. The principal city offices remained firmly in the hands of the boyars for the entire duration of Novgorod’s independence. the First Novgorod Chronicle relates that “Daniil came from Kiev to be posadnik in Novgorod”. covering the entire northern half of European Russia and extending even beyond the Ural Mountains. lit. of which Dvina Land. and the more distant volosti. common citizens (chernye liudi. administrative and judicial functions. and several classes of unfree persons. The city of Novgorod was divided into two sides by the river Volkhov. was 7 8 9 Cf. the latter of the Slavno and the Carpenters’ Quarter. These units had a certain amount of self-government through their elected elders and councils. and the Nerev Quarter. commercial. supreme power in Novgorod belonged to the veche or popular assembly (see. from 1130 onwards. 67. Novgorod also successfully enforced its right to elect its own tysiatskii. and other prominent citizens. between family factions among the leading boyars. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod). a vast area in northern Russia.8 In theory.2. but already in 1126 the first locally appointed posadnik is mentioned. during the later period of Novgorod’s independence. V. the Quarter behind the Citadel (Zagorodskii konets). prominent citizens (zhitye liudi). Ianin. the sources distinguish between boyars. The democratic character of Novgorod’s government was also tempered by its rigid class division. and the precise distribution of the tasks between the posadnik and the tysiatskii is a matter of speculation. also. Three years later.L. Moskva (2nd ed. It consisted of a metropolitan area. 88.

1946. it can be reconstructed by eliminating the dominant position of the Moscow prince. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. 79-86. Altogether. Moskva/Leningrad. Medieval Russian Laws. Only the city of Pskov. Zimin in PRP II.266 Law in Medieval Russia the most important. It would explain to a great extent the absence of more ambitious legislation in the large collection of Novgorod legal sources known to us.). Grekov in Krest’iane na Rusi s drevneishikh vremen do XVII veka. RZ I. 373-396. 210. 1948. New York. . Vol.H. refers to the consensus between grand prince Ivan III of Moscow. the so-called Expanded Pravda. 404ff. succeeded in securing its independence from Novgorod after a lengthy struggle in 1347.). 300-320. This makes the final version of the Expanded Pravda almost a contemporary of the earliest legal documents from Novgorod and the earliest treaties concluded by the city.A. comments and modern Russian translation by A. the downfall of Novgorod. to some extent.V. 200-217. after the battle of the Shelon’ river and the subsequent peace treaty of Korostyn’. Kaiser (ed. 10 11 PRP II. Cherepnin. as the nucleus of a national Russian state during the 15th century signalled. After its defeat in 1471 at the Shelon’ River in a battle against the Muscovite army. The basic source of the written law of 13th and 14th century Novgorod must have been the Russkaia Pravda in its more recent and extensive form. as related above. including a number of cities situated therein. Novgorod’s role as an independent agent in North-Eastern Europe was over. Russian text and English translation in D. but.Peterburg (5th ed. and can therefore be dated in 1471. 83-92. The entire empire. was ruled from Novgorod.).11 Its final compilation probably took place during the second half of the 12th century or the early years of the 13th century. also.10 Its final version. who follows the views put forward in this respect by B. Novgorod’s Legal System The most comprehensive legislative document from medieval Novgorod is the Charter of Novgorod. L. A combination of economic. Salt Lake City. Vernadsky (transl. which for obvious reasons was written into the 1471 text. which has come down in a single copy. S.A. See. 4. As suggested by A. The Charter is based on a previous version which did not survive. Vol.D. 210-242. the archbishop-elect and the estates of Novgorod. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. 1899. Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava.F. 1992.1. political and military factors led to the loss of its independence.1. English translation by G. Moskva/Leningrad. the Charter concerns mainly procedural law and provides only a very fragmentary picture of the law of Novgorod as an independent state. Vladimirskii-Budanov. with notes. 1947. The rise of the principality of Moscow. Zimin. M.

not surprising that the first commercial treaty of Novgorod that has survived spoke of the confirmation of the “old peace [treaty]” (starogo mira). The political system and what could somewhat unhistorically be called the constitutional law of Novgorod can best be studied through the treaties which Novgorod concluded with different Russian princes. This legal system is illustrated by a large number of private charters (gramoty).The Skra of Novgorod 267 We might assume.A. that Novgorod’s legal system during the period of its independence was based on customary law and the Expanded Pravda. Also in PRP II. Zimin. 124-131. from 1264 to 1471. and they allow us to trace the development of Novgorod’s position vis-à-vis the ruling princes and the internal power shifts within the city government. 5.. 1986. esp. and testaments.A. . GVNP. 10-51. 24ff. Most of these are deeds of sale. therefore. with notes and comments by A. in which the merchant and the mercenary commingled effortlessly. It is. More than twenty are available. we shall return to this topic in the discussion of Novgorod’s relations with the Hanseatic League. Novgorod’s Trade with the Hanseatic League13 Trading relations between Russian and other Baltic Coast nations go back to prehistoric times. and the 12 13 14 GVNP.14 It thereby indicated a pattern which was adhered to with great regularity in the course of the following centuries: trade interrupted by conflict. the earliest sources of Russian law—such as the treaties between the Kievan princes and the Byzantine emperors and the Short Version of the Russkaia Pravda—are indicative of the necessity to come to terms with local communities of foreign traders. amended and supplemented by ad hoc enactments (of which little has survived) and also affected in some parts by the treaties concluded by the city. This subject is treated at length in E. Their contents are brief and they concern chiefly certain aspects of civil law (GVNP being the chief publication). was concluded between Novgorod on one side and “the sons of the Germans. therefore. 55. nobody would deny that they did play a role.12 The ‘international’ treaties concluded between Novgorod and foreign powers did in some ways affect the domestic law of Novgorod. solved by a treaty which promised a return to the peaceful relations of the past. Rybina’s important monograph Inozemnye dvory v Novgorode XII-XVII vv. gifts. Moskva. Indeed. The first treaty. Although the exact role of the Varangians (or Vikings) in the emergence of the first historic Russian state in Kiev is still a muchdebated and politically sensitive issue. the Goths. dated between 1189 and 1199.


Law in Medieval Russia

whole Latin people” on the other.15 From subsequent treaties, it is clear that
this formula referred to the Hanseatic League, led by the city of Lübeck.
In other treaties, the representative of Lübeck is often named explicitly,
while the designation “Goths” or “Gothic Coast” in treaties invariably
refers to the city of Visby. The preamble of the treaty mentioned prince
Iaroslav Vladimirovich, at that moment the ruling prince of Novgorod,
“consulting with the posadnik Miroshka, the tysiatskii Iakov, and all the
Novgorodians”. Miroshka was the ancestor of the most prominent boyar family of Novgorod, the Miroshkinichi, who supplied the city with
numerous posadniki and tysiatskie.
The first article of the treaty spelled out the freedom of trade to
be enjoyed by the German merchants on Novgorod territory and by the
Novgorodians on German territory. The rest of the treaty concerned
mostly criminal law. It laid down fixed monetary penalties for various
offences and was close to similar provisions of the Russkaia Pravda.16 The
necessity to regulate conflicts arising between the native population and
a resident foreign community of traders seemed to have been the prime
moving force in most ancient Russian legislation. This phenomenon can
already be observed in the 10th century treaties between the Kievan
princes and the Byzantine emperor and in most of the older parts of the
Russkaia Pravda. The inference is that purely internal Russian conflicts
could still be settled adequately by reference to customary law.17
The character of the following surviving treaty, of 1259-1260, is less
fundamental and appears to be directed primarily at solving certain disputes and reaffirming the existing relationship.18
In the next treaty, of 1262-1263, the emphasis is on purely commercial
matters.19 This treaty again mentioned the right of Novgorod merchants
to trade on the Gothic Coast, but most of the provisions concerned the


Cf. K.Goetz, Deutsch-Russische Handelsverträge des Mittelalters, Hamburg, 1916, 16-18;
V.S. Pokrovskii, “Dogovor Velikogo Novgoroda s Gotlandom i nemetskimi gorodami
1189-1195 gg. kak pamiatnik mezhdunarodnogo prava”, Pravovedenie, 1959, No.1, 90100; N.A. Kazakova, “Nachal’nyi tekst novgorodsko-nemetskikh dogovorov XII-XV
vv.”, Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny, Tom VI, Leningrad, 1974, 161-175. According
to E.A. Rybina, “O dvukh drevneishikh torgovykh dogovorakh Novgoroda”, V.L.
Ianin (ed.), Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik, 3(13), Leningrad, 1989, 43-50, this treaty
can be dated more precisely in the years 1191-1192.


Cf. B.D. Grekov, Krest’iane na Rusi, 406; Pokrovskii, op.cit., 96-97.


Cf. L.V. Cherepnin, Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov, Vol.1, Moskva, 1948,


The date of 1259-1260 is proposed by Rybina in her article on the two oldest surviving commercial treaties (see note 15); GVNP, 56-57, dates the treaty in 1262-1263.

GVNP, 56-57.

The Skra of Novgorod


presence of German merchants in Novgorod. This was, indeed, more in
accordance with the actual state of affairs, because Russian-German trade
was mostly a matter of German merchants exporting their wares in their
own ships to Novgorod and returning with the produce of Novgorod’s vast
territories to Western Europe. The Russian trading policy of the Hanseatic
League was primarily directed at maintaining its monopolistic position
on the Novgorod market. It was only after the demise of Novgorod as an
independent state that the grand princes of Moscow succeeded in breaking the monopoly.20
As the Hanseatic League was effectively able to prevent for a long
period the appearance of commercial competitors on the Novgorod
market, a curious bilateral relationship between the two trading partners
arose. It was this relationship which explained the regularity of the pattern of conflict and reconciliation between the League and Novgorod.21
Being both interested in continuing trade and not having any alternative
trading partners available, the main instrument of leverage on the other
partner was the seizure of goods, ships, and crews. This invariably prompted
reprisals by the other side, resulting in the interruption of commercial
traffic. But, as long as both sides remained interested in maintaining their
trading relations, differences would eventually be patched up through the
conclusion of a new treaty, which usually stipulated that everything was
to be as it always had been. Nonetheless, many subtle shifts, reflecting
changing interests and power positions, can be observed in the treaties.
Among the most important treaties should be mentioned those from
1191-1192, 1259-1260, 1262-1263, 1269 (available in draft form), 1301, 1338,
1342, 1371, 1372, 1373 (two items), 1392 (the so-called peace of Niebur), 1409,
1423, 1434, 1436, 1439, 1450, 1466, and 1514.22 The last-mentioned treaty


Political and commercial relations between the Hanseatic League and Novgorod
are discussed at length in chapters 2 (78-128), 4 (180-200) and 6 (262-337) of N.A.
Kazakova’s Russko-livonskie i russko-ganzeiskie otnosheniia, Moskva, 1975 (hereafter:

Kazakova, passim, e.g. 89.

Texts of the treaties from 1269 to 1466 in GVNP. Treaty of 1497 in Hanserecesse, Vol.3,
part 3, No.136. Treaty of 1514 in SGNP, Vol.5 (1894), 55-60. A general discussion of the
treaties and their contents in M. Berezhkov, O torgovle Rusi s Ganzoi, S.Peterburg, 1879,
179-224 and (for the treaties after 1392) in Kazakova. Elsewhere, Kazakova presents
strong arguments for considering the 1338 treaty (GVNP, No.40) as not belonging
to the category of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League; cf. N.A.
Kazakova, “Novgorodsko-nemetskie dogovory ili livonskie akty?”, V.L. Ianin (ed.),
Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik, 3(13), Leningrad, 1989, 63-67. On the German terminology of the treaties: S.M. Kashtanov, “Instituty gosudarstvennoi vlasti Velikogo
Novgoroda i Pskova v svete nemetskoi srednevekovoi terminologii”, E.A. Mel’nikova
(ed.), Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2001g., Moskva, 2003, 297-319.



Law in Medieval Russia

was concluded, on the Russian side, after the incorporation of Novgorod
into the Muscovite state, by the grand prince Vasilii III. During the earlier
period, the Hanseatic side was usually represented by the envoys from
Lübeck and Visby; but, from the beginning of the 15th century onwards,
the envoys from the chief Hanseatic cities in the Eastern Baltic area, Riga,
Dorpat and Reval replaced them, a reflection of the decreased interest of
the North German cities in the trade with Russia.
The succession of Novgorod foreign treaties shows clearly how the
prince was gradually marginalized. In the earliest treaties, the prince is
mentioned as the first representative of the city; then, in the treaties from
1342-1373, his place is taken by his namestnik. After 1373, the namestnik also
The treaty or agreement of 1439 is unique in that it was concluded
on the German side by the German Court itself, represented by the
alderman Hans Munstede and the “hoves knecht” Coerd van Tunen.

6. The German Court of St.Peter in Novgorod
The hub of German-Russian trade in the Middle Ages was the German
Court in Novgorod, the “hof synte peteres to Nogarden”, the nemetskii
dvor. Its exact location has been established as a result of the excavations
carried out by the Novgorod Archeological Expedition of Moscow University: in the old centre of the Merchant Side of the river, by the Market
Square (Torg), between the old Il’ina and Slavnaia streets, and just to the
west of the church of the Dormition.23 It is mentioned in the treaty of
1269 and a number of subsequent German-Russian treaties, and also in
some of the treaties between Novgorod and the princes. The fact that the
latter treaties, which regulate the relations between the city and its elected
princes, expressly mention the German Court, testifies to the considerable importance which Novgorod attached to a clear understanding of the
position of its German business community. The formula, which appeared
for the first time in the treaty with prince Iaroslav Iaroslavovich of Tver’,
was repeated almost unchanged in numerous subsequent treaties: “and
you shall permit our brothers to trade in the German court, and you shall
not close the court, nor appoint constables there.”24


Rybina, 15-23. The question had been much debated in the past; cf. N.G. Riesenkampf, Der deutsche Hof zu Nowgorod bis zu seiner Schliessung durch Iwan Wassiljewitsch
III im Jahre 1494, Dorpat, 1854, 21-22; Berezhkov, op.cit., 133-135; A.I. Nikitskii, Istoriia
ekonomicheskago byta Velikago Novgoroda, S.Peterburg, 1873 (hereafter: Nikitskii), 111112; S.N. Orlov, “K topografii Novgoroda”, in M.N. Tikhomirov (ed.), Novgorod–k
1100-letiiu goroda, Moskva, 1964, 264-285.

Treaty of 1270, GVNP, 13; the clause reappears in the treaties of 1304-1305 (ibidem, 1617), 1307-1308 (ibidem, 20 and 22), 1326-1327 (ibidem, 28), 1371 (ibidem, 30), 1435 (ibidem,
36), 1456 (ibidem, 41), 1471 (ibidem, 47), and also in the treaty between Novgorod and
the Lithuanian grand prince Kazimir IV of 1470-1471 (ibidem, 129-132).

The Skra of Novgorod


The extraterritorial character of the German settlement in Novgorod
suggested by these charters is made more explicit in the treaties between
Novgorod and the German cities, such as the treaty of 1269 and particularly
the treaty of 1371, which provides a.o.:
“juwe coplude de solen nicht stan op unser brugge to beidentsiden vor unseme hove,
unde de solen nene stocke in planken slaen unde en solen nenen husinge setten op
unse vort unde ok nene husinge darop [lege]ren unde neyn hor dar voren, unde
welke husinge daroppe staen oppe unser wort, de solle gi afsetten weder. Unde juwe
brodere en solen nicht copslagen in unseme hove mit eren schiinsecken unde des
gelikes op unser bruggen, dar wi dat sulver vore gheven.”25
(“your merchants shall not stand on our streets on either side of our court, and they
shall not put stakes in our fences, and they shall not put buildings on our plot or leave
[?] buildings there, or dump garbage there, and whatever buildings are on our plot,
you shall pull them down again. And your brothers shall not trade in our court with
their bags of furs, and similarly on our streets, for which we pay our silver”)

The exceptional position of the St.Peter’s Court can be reconstructed
from a variety of sources; its independence from Novgorod interference
was considerable, although it would go too far to regard it as a concession
in the style of 19th century European settlements in China. One of the
most appropriate methods of defining the status of the German Court
in Novgorod is through an examination of the administration of justice
in mixed German-Russian disputes.

7. Adjudication of German-Russian Disputes
Novgorod possessed a court system of considerable complexity, which
has not as yet been clarified in all its details.26 We shall only mention the
most important courts here which were of specific interest to the German
merchants. First of all, there was the court of the prince, usually presided
over by his lieutenant (namestnik). This was a mixed court where the prince’s
judge sat together with the mayor or his representative, according to the
traditional stipulation in a number of treaties between Novgorod and its
prince: “and without the posadnik, prince, you shall not try cases […].”
Then there were the courts of the posadnik and of the tysiatskii, the
exact relationship between their jurisdictions being unclear. A special
commercial court was presided over by the tysiatskii; its other members
were the aldermen of the Novgorod merchants. One may assume that the
bishop’s court, presided over by his own namestnik, was of less importance
to the German merchants, because it would normally deal with the usual

GVNP, 75.
Cf. A.A. Zimin in PRP II, 229-243; Cherepnin, Arkhivy I, 373-396; Kliuchevskii, Vol.2,


Law in Medieval Russia

matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction (to which the Roman-Catholic German merchants were not subject) and with ecclesiastical dependents.
Most of the information pertaining to the accommodation of mixed
German-Russian disputes in this system of adjudication is to be found in
the treaties of 1190-1191 and of 1269 between Novgorod and the German
cities; some additional light on this question is shed by the various editions of the Skra, the internal law of the German commercial community
in Novgorod.
The main part of the treaty of 1190-1191 is a list of serious offences
with the accompanying fixed fines. The list itself is an obvious adaptation
of one of the oldest sections of the Russkaia Pravda.27 Although the court
which is to impose these fines is not mentioned, one may assume that it
would be the same as in the Russkaia Pravda, i.e. the court of the prince.
With regard to civil cases, the treaty provides that twelve men are
to be produced as witnesses in disputes about debts. This rule, both in
its sense and its wording, is close to article 15 of the Short Pravda; the
main difference is that, in the Russkaia Pravda, the twelve men still appear as a vestigial popular court. The archaic character of the provision
is further substantiated by the fact that it subsumes both Germans and
Goths (inhabitants of Visby) under the term variaze, Varangians, a term
not encountered in any of the later treaties, but well-known in the Short
Pravda (arts.10 and 11). Again, it is implicit in this provision that it is the
prince’s court which tries such disputes about debts.
One can conclude therefore that certain offences of a serious nature,
committed by Germans, as well as at least certain civil disputes between
Germans and Russians, were subject to the jurisdiction of the prince’s
The second conclusion which the treaty of 1190-1191 allows is that the
German merchants were granted certain procedural privileges. The treaty
provided that Germans involved in lawsuits in Novgorod were not to be
prevented from going home (rubezha ne tvoriti), and that the lawsuit then
was to be resumed the next year. Also, Germans were not to be incarcerated for debts in Novgorod (nor Novgorodians in Germany).
As a general rule for the adjudication of disputes between Germans
and Russians the treaty of 1269 provided:
“Schut en tvist tuschen dhen Dudeschen unde dhen Nogarderen, dhe twist sal
endegen up sente Johannis hove vor deme borchgreven, dheme hertoghen unde
dhen copluden.”
(If a dispute arises between the Germans and the Novgorodians, it shall be tried in
St.John’s court before the posadnik, the tysiatskii and before the merchants.”)

Zimin, ibidem, 124; M.F. Vladimirskii-Budanov, Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava,
Vol.1, S.Peterburg, 1899, 108-112.

The Skra of Novgorod


This is obviously the commercial court of the tysiatskii and the merchants
of the guild of St.John, first mentioned in the charter which prince Vsevolod Mstislavich granted to the guild.28 The same court is mentioned as
competent in cases of disputes between German merchants and Russian
pilots (in this case the participation of the posadnik is not mentioned),
and again (without the participation of the posadnik) in a clause which
“So wat saken to wervende hebben van gerichtes wegene wintervart unde somervart, dhat scholen se endegen vor dheme hertogen, dhen oldermannen unde dhen
Nogarderen unde scholen varen eren wech sunder hindernisse.”
(“And whatever claims winter or summer visitors have to pursue in court, those they
shall pursue before the tysiatskii, the aldermen and the Novgorodians, and they shall
go their way without any hindrance.”)

If a German party felt that he had not received his due from the Russian court, his ultimate remedy was to apply to the officials of his own
community; the latter could disqualify a particular Russian, forbidding
his participation in the commercial activities of the German Court for
one year. This measure is mentioned in several editions of the Skra (III
art.65, IIa art.9[13], V art.121, VI art.61), and its effectiveness is confirmed
in the treaty of 1436 between Novgorod and the Hanseatic cities, which
contains a clause providing:
Welker Russen, de an de treppen screven zint van den Dutzschen, de zolen se van
der treppe uthdoen unde zullet myt oen koepslagen na older wonheit.”29
(“Whatever Russians, [whose names have been] written down on the stairs by the
Germans, they shall take them off the stairs and they shall trade with them according to the old customs.”)

Disputes between Germans and crimes committed by Germans in the
German Court in which no Russians were involved remained outside the
scope of Russian jurisdiction; this is made quite clear by the Skra (e.g.
Skra III art.66, dealing with the various penalties, up to death, for theft).
Russians who committed crimes in the German Court were handed over
to the Russian authorities (treaty of 1269).
The legal position of the German community in medieval Novgorod
can therefore be summarized as far-reaching self-government and autonomy, with limited extra-territorial effects.30 Still, there remained a


Text in PRP II, 175-177; also in Ia.N. Shchapov, Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy i
tserkov’, Moskva, 1976, 158-165. The charter is known as the “Testament” (Rukopisanie)
of Vsevolod Mstislavich. Its nucleus may be of 12th century origin, but the rules
concerning the guild of the merchants of St.John probably date from the second
half of the 14th century.

GVNP, 112.

Nikitskii, op.cit., 132-133, comes to a similar conclusion.


Law in Medieval Russia

possibility to make different arrangements on an ad hoc basis. There are
several examples (e.g. in a treaty of 1411 and in a charter of 1417) of disputes
of great importance being entrusted, not to the ordinary court, but to a
specially constituted arbitration commission.31

8. The Internal Organization of the Court of St.Peter
The internal organization of the German community in medieval Novgorod
is richly illustrated by its own constitution and code of laws, the Skra, in
its successive versions. Some additional information is supplied by the
texts of the various treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League.
Of course, the regular sources for the history of the Hanseatic League,
the Hanserecesse,32 the Hansisches Urkundenbuch,33 and the Urkundenbuch der
Stadt Lübeck,34 have also much to contribute. Another important source
is the Liv-, Esth-, und Kurländisches Urkundenbuch.35
The peculiar character of the Hanseatic settlement in Novgorod, and
its differences with comparable settlements of foreign merchants, such as
those in London or Bruges, can be explained by the unusual geographical
and political conditions in which it operated. Whereas other settlements
were more or less permanently inhabited, life in the St.Peter’s Court was
subject to a rigid semi-annual cycle.36 During the summer, Novgorod could
be reached by water by sailing up the Neva, Lake Ladoga, and then the
Volkhov river. This was called watervart. Obviously, in winter only lantvart
was possible. According to the Skra (IIIb art.4, V art.91) three land routes
were allowed: from Riga, Reval (Tallinn), and Pernau (present-day Piarnu).
This rule was based on an agreement with Novgorod (cf. the treaty of
1301).37 It was also possible to reach Novgorod over sea in winter by using
sleds (this was called wakevart), but this was forbidden by the Skra (IIIb
art.4, V art.91). The treaty of 1269 already provided that if one came by
sea, one had to leave the same way, and the same principle held true for
lantvart. This rule was taken over in the Skra (IIIb arts.2 and 3).
In summer, both lantvart and watervart were possible, although watervart would clearly be preferable for merchants coming from Northern


GVNP, 89-90, 91-92.

Hanserecesse, (numerous volumes, various places of publication), 1870-1970. For full
bibliographical references, see Rybina, 9.


Hansisches Urkundenbuch, Vols.1-11, Halle, 1876-1916.


Urkundenbuch der Stadt Lübeck, Lübeck, 1843.


F.G. v. Bunge (ed.), Liv-, Esth- und Kurländisches Urkundenbuch, (numerous volumes,
various places of publication), 1853-1914. See, also, Rybina, 8.

Riesenkampf, op.cit., 27-29; Nikitskii, op.cit., 117.

GVNP, 63-64.


Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik. There was also a “Gothenhof ”.38 The three named Baltic ports would be closed to shipping in winter. GVNP. op. when the Scandinavian element in Novgorod’s international trade had shrunk to the point of virtual disappearance.). 2(12).”. op. and this obviously called for a type of organization which was in many ways different from that of a permanently inhabited settlement.cit. Rybina. if they did not want to waste an entire year. The main building was s stone church. Ianin (ed. 89-100. the German settlement had a population which changed completely twice a year. had to leave during autumn. The 38 39 40 41 Riesenkampf.2). Riesenkampf. called stove in the Skra. there was also a Swedish court in Novgorod. and the Skra had special rules covering such eventualities (IIIb art. but also as a storehouse for goods. used not only for religious services. which originally belonged to the community of Scandinavian merchants. Considering that roads in Northern Russia would become totally impassable in spring. 1984. see Rybina. 17-18. and storehouses. See.P. Berezhkov. not so much the distinction between lantvart and watervart which was decisive for the internal organization of the St. but the one between somervart and wintervart.Peter. 188-202. Leningrad. from the Skra itself and also from the archeological excavations. it was in the nature of things that all voyages to Novgorod occurred in semi-annual waves. . especially. There were a number of wooden dwelling houses. who had to leave before spring set in.40 The central location of the German Court. Shaskol’skii.41 It was surrounded by a wooden fence or stockade and had streets paved with wooden beams. In later times. It was. when sudden frost or thaw occurred. 101-110... so merchants would have to take account of that in choosing lantvart or watervart. “O deiatel’nosti shvedskogo gostinogo dvora v Novgorode v XVII v. On the “Gothenhof ”. op.Peter was the principal settlement of the German merchants.L. 103.cit. at the main market square on the Merchant Side of the city. has been mentioned above. The German Court of St.39 In later years. the German (Roman-Catholic) church of St. see I. the Gothic Court passed into German possession. however. 113.The Skra of Novgorod 275 Germany. 61 and 136. Merchants who arrived in early summer. V.Peter’s Court. The same went for winter merchants..cit. Only exceptionally. mostly from Visby (which had a mixed Scandinavian-German population). like the rest of Novgorod. would this schedule be disturbed. As a result of all this. usually by water. The treaty of 1439 speaks of “beyden Dutschen hoven” (both German courts). A detailed picture of its physical characteristics can be gleaned from various sources.

or forbade additions or emendations in the Skra without the permission of the principal Hanseatic cities (IV art. trading with the Russians was subject to many restrictions.43 The exclusive legislative competence of the League was maintained throughout the entire period. the overseas cities gradually relaxed their grip and were increasingly replaced by the Baltic cities of Riga. op. During the 15th century. there are quite a number of provisions in the Skra.cit. The League. An important factor determining many details of the legal regulation of the German community in Novgorod was the character of GermanRussian trade. but very soon this place was taken over by Lübeck. This development is extensively discussed by Rybina (op. Certain other specialized buildings are also referred to by their Russian names in the Skra.89). was by no means a monolithic body.81). from Russian klet’ and podklet. The German community in Novgorod represented one corner of a triangular relationship. Nikitskii. influence. 118-124. IIIa art.81). as mentioned. such as the gridenisse or guardroom and the pogribbe (pogreb). In its relations with the Russians. . Nevertheless. VI art. Not a few of these were aimed at protecting the monopolistic position of the Hanseatic merchants on the Novgorod market.cit) and Kazakova (op. V art. there were very noticeable shifts in power..Peter’s Court. The Hanseatic League itself was hierarchically superior to the St.276 Law in Medieval Russia latter were used. op. Flemish or Walloon merchants. it was the League that negotiated with the Russians concerning the rights and the position of the Court of St.6. or to act as brokers between them and Russian merchants (III art. however. V art. for housing visiting merchants and their personnel. when needed.83). The Skra forbade individual German merchants to bring in more than 1000 marks in cash (IIIa art.cit. traditionally considered to consist of an association of 73 cities.). for instance. German merchants. This was based predominantly on barter. they are designated as klete or potklete in the Skra.117. V art.138.11.10. the leading position was taken by the city of Visby. IIIb art.Peter. III art. the present-day Tartu). the prison.68. and interest through the ages. On the German side. of which the Russians and the Hanseatic League were the other two corners.cit. VI art. were forbidden to engage in commission trade for English. Reval (also called Tallinn or Kolyvan’). Initially. especially in the 42 43 Riesenkampf.10[12]. Several editions of the Skra prescribed obligatory reference of legal questions not covered by the Skra itself to the city council of Lübeck (II arts. the Germans brought many different kinds of textiles. by virtue of the numerous regulations in the Skra.60 and 64. to be in partnership with them.42 The principal Russian exports were skins and furs of various kinds and beeswax (for making candles). 151-155.. and Dorpat (also called Iur’ev.

exercized certain legislative functions. of wax (Wasvinder).Peter. the nightwatchmen. in view of the difficulty of communication. of wine (Winvinder). A number of lower officials and their duties are mentioned in the Skra. A special position was occupied by the priest. or the merged offices of the aldermen of the court and the aldermen of St. According to Skra III art. Skra V art. the functions of alderman of the court and alderman of St.46 At a later stage.” Above.Peter would not engage in drawing up its own regulations. From Skra VI (art. we have pointed to the treaty of 1439. that the Court of St. This body. took various administrative decisions.76). there were two. which forbade the Novgorod community to issue weighty or serious ordinances and orders (zettynge offte bot grot offte swar) without the consent of the Hanseatic cities.The Skra of Novgorod 277 later editions. Indeed. Frequently. according to Skra I-II art.45 They appointed their own deputies. it is not clear whether in these cases the two aldermen of the court are meant. the consent of the cities is mentioned.Peter belonged to the general assembly of the merchants. implying that trivial matters could well be handled locally.131 speak of “both aldermen”. Skra V art. such as the Hovesknecht. it would seem unlikely. and to whose housing and maintenance the Skra devoted several articles. especially Skra IV-V is rich in this type of local ordinance. They were also appointed by the alderman of the court.2). It is not at all clear whether in all such cases the agreement of the competent Hanseatic authorities was obtained. Other specialized functions included the inspectors of textiles (Wantvinder).71 (=V art.3) on. and others.117 could be mentioned. and the Vorstender.Peter itself. Initially. e. from Lübeck or from Visby. 46 Skra VI art. there was only one.Peter became fused. of honey (Honichvinder).Peter. eligibility alternating between the two cities (V art. especially if they were urgently required or of a technical nature. the guard of the court. . the church guard.1 they were elected by the general assembly. The principal agents of the Court of St. and acted as the appeal court for judicial decisions of 44 45 As an example. The highest position among the Germans in Novgorod was occupied by the alderman of the court (olderman des hoves).g.Peter were the aldermen and the assembly. resulting from the regulatory activity of the German community in Novgorod itself.Peter were appointed by the alderman of the court.44 This is obliquely confirmed by the Skra itself (V art. Certain administrative.1 the aldermen of St. The highest authority within the Court of St. They were the chief judicial and administrative officers of the community.82) and Skra V art. forbidding the selling of beer in the Gothic Court. as pointed out before. but by the Court of St. which was not concluded on the German side by the Hanseatic cities. who would occasionally act as the scribe. called the stevene. judicial and executive functions were carried out by the two aldermen of St. the Vogt.109: “mit vulbort der meynen steden.

were apprenticed to senior.George. Frensdorff. Behrmann. 9. better known as the Iur’ev monastery. . The Skra of Novgorod and its Different Versions The earliest publication of the Skra was in 1828 in Copenhagen by H. Their relationships were regulated in the Skra and the junior merchants were not without influence or status in the community.48 The most important 19th century study on the Skra was by F.Peter were supposed to house no more than thirty merchants and their following (V art. Otherwise. they were eligible to certain offices.49 Of the older Russian works which pay much attention to the Skra. See note 1.G. Various kinds of craftsmen are mentioned in the Skra. G. Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der deutschen Hanse. theft). Copenhagen. 1828. was one of the oldest Russian monasteries and was located south of the city). who devoted two long articles to it in 1887. 1830. Junior merchants. and then there must have been ships’ crews and the personal servants of the merchants. the keys were handed over for safe-keeping to the bishop of Novgorod or the abbot of St. When there were thirty merchants present in Novgorod. N.3). The dwelling houses in the Court of St.1-2. the German population did not consist only of merchants and their limited number of knechte. Obviously. were fully-fledged members of the stevene. De Scra van Nougarden. Hamburg.38. Attendance at the stevene was compulsory and absentees were fined. A minimum occupation of six merchants and nine knechte was required to keep the church open (V art. the stevene tried serious criminal cases itself (esp. When the church had to be closed. independent merchants. Only independent merchants. Riesenkampf ’s Dorpat dissertation on the 47 48 49 H.G.278 Law in Medieval Russia other functionaries. together with a somewhat later edition by G.29).36). Sartorius in his history of the Hanseatic League.F. a higher occupancy was allowed. who were not in the service of other merchants. Vols. Several provisions of the Skra give an impression of the numerical strength of the German commercial community in Novgorod. one was obliged to proceed to the election of aldermen (VI art. With the permission of the aldermen. usually called knape or knechte in the Skra.George (V art. Occasionally. the surplus would have to be housed in the Gothic Court or in private houses of Russians.47 This edition was used in many 19th century German and Russian historical studies. Behrmann. the monastery of St. Sartorius.

another thirtyfive articles follow.L. and her works offer much that is of interest for a general understanding of the historical and economic background of the Skra. it was especially N. It was based on the first and second Skra. Its enactment occurred in the 13th century. the texts of the seven main versions with variants. Also of interest is. who had written several papers on the same theme.52 This still indispensable work.A. Schlüter designates it as Skra IIIa. copied the second Skra.54 A Russian translation by I. 2 (12). The Skra—as an internal code of law for the German merchant community in Novgorod—was enacted by the Hanseatic League. and several extensive indices. most of this study is devoted to the Skra. came into being. contains an introduction which deals with diplomatic and philological aspects of the various manuscripts. Leningrad. 54 See notes 15 and 20. it was completely incorporated in the second version. E. It was probably enacted around the year 1325 in either Riga or Visby. but contained also a few new provisions. as distinguished by Schlüter. The third Skra. together with a vocabulary. in all likelihood sometime after 1250. Schlüter. See note 21. . See note 13. published in Dorpat in 1911. The most complete edition of all available versions of the Skra is by W. The first and briefest version of the Skra consists of a preamble and eleven articles (according to Schlüter’s edition). by the same author. Of these. “Eshche raz o zakrytii ganzeiskogo dvora v Novgorode v 1494 g. V. with minor changes. Sometime between the second and the third Skra. Rybina. 177-187. With the exception of its last provision. Kleinenberg of Skra IV has been added. and as circumstances changed and new issues emerged.).E. old provisions were rendered obsolete and dropped and new ones incorporated. Ianin (ed.53 More recently. a short law applicable to the German community in Novgorod came into force.A. Among modern Russian (Soviet) authors. enacted in 1295 in Lübeck (the first Skra was probably drawn up in Visby). 1984.”. the seven principal versions. after the provisions taken over from the first Skra. the first three are closely related. Kazakova who wrote several studies on relations between medieval Novgorod and Western and Northern Europe. A similar 50 51 52 See note 22. published a monograph on foreign settlements in Novgorod from the 12th to the 17th century.The Skra of Novgorod 279 German Court in Novgorod50 and M. 53 See note 1. but had five additional articles. Berezhkov’s monograph on Russian Hanseatic trade51 should be mentioned. In this way. In the second Skra. Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik.

but had an additional number of about thirty articles. The Court of St. Skra VI was mainly a reworking of Skra V. 256-264. 262-337 and also the article by the same author quoted in note 53. Khar’kov. must have been appended subsequently. II and III.280 Law in Medieval Russia shorter law. The fourth. Even A. but several new provisions were inserted during the following twenty years. a long period of controversy between the Hanseatic cities and Moscow ensued. a new text was drafted and approved by the council of Lübeck and the other German cities. bear to a considerable extent the character of compilations and consolidations of previously enacted incidental decrees. Kazakova. All three were drafted in Novgorod. Skra V) had disappeared from the church of St. see 128-138.. The seventh Skra need only be mentioned as an epilogue to the history of the Court of St.Peter was closed in 1494. op.Peter where it was traditionally kept. the remainder are new provisions. Skra IIIb is dated 1346. under the guidance of the envoys from the leading Hanseatic cities. The fourth Skra contained a number of borrowings from Skra I. designated as Skra IIIb. As the text of the Skra (i. op.Peter in Novgorod. but the vast majority of the provisions were new. unlike their predecessors. 93-98. After Novgorod had lost its independence and was incorporated into the empire of the Muscovy grand prince. further Riesenkampf. tried very hard to argue that annexation by Moscow was a good thing for Novgorod..P. Berezhkov. Pronshtein. An important factor in the failure to 55 56 See. Skra V incorporated almost the entire text of Skra IV. Its first article clearly explained the political and international circumstances of its enactment.55 The conflict was finally resolved by the treaty of 1514. several German merchants were incarcerated by the prince and their goods were seized. Three final provisions (arts. on this period. and especially from IIIa and IIIb. it was completely destroyed and sacked. never regained its former economic vigour. dated 1370 and 1371.e. especially the fourth and the fifth. does not succeed in demonstrating that it had a positive effect on Novgorod’s trade with Europe. . with a few additions. The latter.56 Several times during the 16th century the Court was occupied by the Russians. The fourth and fifth Skra. Two of its nine articles are inspired by provisions from Skra IIIa. who in his Velikii Novgorod v XVI veke. In 1541. fifth and sixth Skra are also closely related to each other. and then submitted for approval to the League.cit. Schlüter concluded from internal evidence that editorial work on Skra IV must have been begun after 1355 and completed before 1361. after its restoration in 1514.117-119).cit. was drawn up by the assembly of the Hanseatic cities. Its initial version was probably drawn up in 1373. 1957.

For these reasons. In 1603. In Skra I the rule says: “Dhar en mesterman enen knapen entfet upe watervarth to Nogarden. from the text of Skra VII. unless he had . Lübeck finally succeeded in receiving a concession from tsar Boris Godunov for its merchants to trade in Novgorod and several other Russian cities. it ne si alsodan sake. is that each new Skra is based to some extent on its predecessor. and this concession included the permission to regulate the internal order among the German merchants communities in those cities. umbe dat ne mach ene sin here nicht vorwisen. dhar he ene rechte umbe vorwissen moge.Peter gradually lost all importance and finally disappeared without anybody really noticing. in 1604. that the drafters had Novgorod in mind. however. he may not dismiss him [prematurely]. Lübeck’s attempt to revive its commercial presence in Novgorod did not lead to much. It applied not only to Novgorod. he ne mach in nich vorwisen. V and VI. the total content has been changing cumulatively. Skra VII is written in High German. Comet oc enem knape ungelucke to an suke. On the basis of this concession Lübeck. As a result of this. the other Skras were written in Low German. It is obvious. especially Reval. Dorpat. Sources and Contents of the Different Versions of the Skra Looking at the textual development of the different versions of the Skra. Skra VII is based to a great extent on Skra VI. The connection is particularly strong within the sequence of Skra I. The rule concerns the master merchant’s responsibility for his apprentice (knape). was the new role of the principal commercial centres in the Baltic lands. Unlike its predecessors. II and III and within the sequence Skra IV.The Skra of Novgorod 281 revitalize trade between Novgorod and the North German cities. the general pattern. dhar he ene entfene. but also to other German settlements in Russian cities. It appears that the Court of St. The link is much weaker between Skra III and IV. which is closer to Dutch than to High German. but must take him back from where he took him. Skra VII will be disregarded in the rest of this chapter. The longest continuity that can be traced is between a part of article 5 of Skra I and article 130 of Skra V. They had become the focal point for Russian-West-European trade. notwithstanding the often strong connections between immediately subsequent versions of the Skra.” (“When a master accepts an apprentice for watervart to Novgorod. 10. he ne brenge ene wedher. and Narva. issued the text known as Skra VII. as has already been mentioned. Moreover. and they were understandably unwilling to favour the rehabilitation of Novgorod in this respect.

otherwise.”) A similar rule is found in Skra II and II. . which has contributed to the shaping of the subsequent versions of the Skra. This example has been given to demonstrate the mechanism of change and growth. another fifty-five provisions (arts. The intervening texts of Skra II and III show clearly how this rule originated.” (“When. If an apprentice suffers an accident or an illness. ok ene sal een knaepe des gheliken van syneme heren nycht scheeden. and it would appear pointless to 57 See the works quoted in note 1. It does not answer. dat deme knaepe zukedage to komen. The solution to this problem is best approached in a roundabout way. This innovation was generalized then. but returns in Skra V in the following shape: “Vortmer dar een mesterman enen knapen entfeyt uppe de vart to Nougarden wart. is missing in Skra IV.”) As can be seen. Of these. beyond the specific case of illness. an apprentice shall equally not part from his master. in Skra V. the more fundamental question of the origin of the first Skra and of any provisions in later Skras that do not have an ancestor in a previous Skra. moreover. or. In many cases this mechanism may explain the origins of particular provisions in the later Skras. unless it is clear that he had a valid reason to dismiss him. dar he ene nam. have undoubtedly been taken over from the written law of Lübeck. the new rule covers any voyage to Novgorod. In other words. provided both sides agreed to this. Isset ok zaeke. according to Skra II and III. of course. he ene brenge ene weder. about forty and possibly a few more. If it would happen that the apprentice falls ill. dar ene de here myt rechte mochte vorwysen.57 Among the remaining part of the provisions of this second part of the second Skra there are several which have been specifically written for the Novgorod settlement. the contract between master and apprentice could be terminated in case of illness of the latter. other German cities. occasionally. They add to the last sentence of the quoted passage of Skra I the words: “it ne si mit erer beider willen” (“unless it be with the will of both of them”). his master may not dismiss him for that reason. then his master may not dismiss him for that reason. a master receives an apprentice for the voyage to Novgorod. he ene mach ene nych vorwysen. Here we find after the almost unaltered copying of the text of the first Skra. the main substantive alteration is the addition of the last sentence in Skra V: an apprentice may terminate his contract with his master only with the latter’s approval. id ene sy myt willen synes heren.1064). umme dat mach ene syn here nycht vorwysen. id ene sy also merclike zaeke. not only watervart. by looking first at the second Skra. he may not dismiss him. This connection has been firmly established by Frensdorff and Schlüter. unless with the consent of his master.282 Law in Medieval Russia a valid reason to dismiss him. but must take him back from where he took him.

the relations between somervart and wintervart when their sojourns in Novgorod overlap. housing.The Skra of Novgorod 283 look for any more distant origins.2). Nazarova. shortly before and after Skra III). As an example. and contributions to the general funds. however. Schlüter. the most acceptable assumption is that Skra I represents essentially the fixation in writing of the most basic organizational arrangements of the German community in Novgorod. Indeed. .e.59 In this connection he refers to the words from its preamble: “[…] recht. 8. which in fact were preceded by earlier texts. V. Skra II. Pashuto (ed. to my knowledge. by themselves. suggest that Skra I is based on a written rendering of local custom. They do. Frensdorff.T. These laws were strongly influenced by medieval German law but retained a number of indigenous features.58 To return to the first Skra: none of its few provisions (arts. provisions taken over from the domestic law of the Hanseatic cities (esp. do not prove that no older Skra preceded Skra I.3). 25. When we look at the entire complex of the first three Skras. most of the provisions of Skra I are concerned with the most elementary arrangements for the ordering of affairs of the German settlement: the election of the aldermen. guard duty. dhat van aneginne gehalten ist unde gewesen hevet in dheme hove dhere Dhutschen to Nogarden […]” (“the law that from the beginning has been applied and observed in the court of the Germans in Novgorod”). Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR 1979 god. and similar provisions. Cf. one could mention the regulation of relations between lantvart and watervart (I art. “«Livonskie Pravdy» kak istoricheskii istochnik”. Lübeck). Moskva. 1980.). or between somervart and wintervart (I art. i. Schlüter regards Skra I as the oldest version. as they had emerged more or less spontaneously in the past. Vol. These words. with the addition of a few articles at the end of the text). and the shorter laws known as Skra IIIa and IIIb (enacted resp. based on customary law. the convocation of the assembly (stevene). the following components can be identified: Skra I (basic organizational arrangements of the Court of St. ������������������������������������������������������������������ Whether there are any parallels between the Skra and the contemporary law of the Baltic territories is an approach nobody has yet attempted.Peter. In the absence of evidence pointing in another direction. the relations between masters and apprentices (knape). of customary law origin). because the same words are repeated in the preambles of Skra II and Skra III.L. Skra I (incorporated into Skra II and III). 5-218 (also contains Low Middle German and Russian texts of the various laws). Skra III (consisting mainly of Skra II. E. mainly regulating the internal civil and criminal law of the 58 59 In similar vein.1-9b) can be traced clearly to the law of Lübeck or other Hanseatic cities.1.

which was equal to the Russian grivna kun. 59-84. Timoshina (ed. Initially. The Skra has a few scattered 60 61 In line with a certain tradition of pre-revolutionary Russian scholarship. Leningrad. cleit.cit.A. Then.148154. 1979.E. 1994. op. Names of localities (pogribbe. Tom XI. Torgovlia i predprinimatel’stvo v feodal’noi Rossii [Golikova Festschrift]. potcleit. 62 63 The equation of one mark silver to four mark kune (grivna kune. Ianin.). The last mentioned category includes the new provisions of Skra III (as compared with Skra II). because it helps to link up the Russian and German monetary systems.61 Fifty kune made up one mark kune. L. Moskva. Leningrad. doynisse.L. Of special importance is the occurrence of the Russian monetary unit of kune. Kleinenberg. S. some of it probably based on customary arrangements having emerged gradually during the development of the settlement. kak torgovali dosele novgorodtsy»”. V. “Den’gi v Novgorode na rubezhe XIV-XV vv.N. 125. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. four mark kune was equal to one silver mark (grivna serebra). the influence. Schlüter. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. 122-126 (Index).60 Russian influence is undeniable in the terminology of the Skra.”. but of the Russian-German treaties may be observed in a few instances. gridenisse) have already been mentioned. See. Kisterev.. which uses a considerable number of Russian words. The concession of three land routes to the German merchants. Mark Pfennige) is made explicit in the treaty of 1229 between the prince of Smolensk and the cities of Riga and Visby. viz. With regard to those provisions of the first three Skras which do not have a North German origin. the intriguing question poses itself of possible borrowings from Russian law. legislation specially adapted to the requirements of the Novgorod settlement. and forming the bulk of the provisions of Skra II and III. 251-258. cf.62 in later times. made in the treaty of 1301. “K istorii formirovaniia novgorodskoi denezhnoi sistemy XV v. 58. lies at the basis of article 4 of Skra IIIb. schevenisse. Tom XIII. 131. . “O denezhnykh edinitsakh v «Pamiati.”. This is especially noticeable in regard of the relations between Germans and Russians. not of Russian law. the influence of the treaties on the Skra is felt in the absence of certain provisions in the Skra. also: I. PRP II. popplen). concerning those subjects which had already been covered by the treaties. 1982. In a negative sense.63 On a more substantive level. The currency system of the Skra is discussed at length by Schlüter.284 Law in Medieval Russia Novgorod settlement. there is a series of terms denoting various types of furs and skins (troynisse. and Skra IIIa and IIIb in their entirety. such a possibility is rejected emphatically by Nikitskii. the silver mark had increased to eight mark kune (this seems to have been the case already at the time of Skra III).

but none of them repeat what had already been regulated by the treaties. (Short Pravda. he schal eme beteren 3 verdhinge” (“If a man hits another on his ear or his neck. One of the obscurest questions concerning the relations between German and Russian law as reflected in the Skra is the tariff system of fixed fines. the basic Russian-German treaty of 1191. arts. Frensdorff. Two factors which complicate matters in this respect are the incertitude surrounding the exact definition of the value of medieval currency and the general similarity between the structures of medieval German and Old-Russian tariff systems. Russkaia Pravda. In my opinion. Cf. 16-17. because it occurs in all four sources mentioned.V. also. This fact has been noted before in connection with the Russkaia Pravda and has understandably given rise to much debate regarding the alleged Germanic influences on early Russian law. battery. all know a system of fixed fines for particular offences. some influence of the Russian tariff system on the system of the Skra is probable. Equally. etc. An exhaustive exposition of the problem would require an explanation of the currency systems operative in the regions concerned and a full discussion would therefore take too much space here.1. See. .64 There is a closer parallel. and the German laws on which the earlier Skras are based in good part.The Skra of Novgorod 285 provisions on this subject. he shall pay 3 verdings”). Iushkov. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda in this work. Schlüter points to a parallel in Lübeck law where orslage is mentioned together with two other minor instances of violence against the person. in which the extensive older literature is cited. there are numerous parallels between the law of Lübeck and the Skra on this point. devoted an entire chapter to this subject. Skra II and III article 30 dealt with the case of hitting somebody’s ear: “So war ein man den andren to den oren sleit.66 64 65 66 Schlüter. Moskva. however. he shall pay one and a half verding […]”). Vol. but difficult to prove. S. The older Russian laws such as the Russkaia Pravda. which provides: “Slet en man dhen andern an sin ore ofte an sinen hals. This formula is also reminiscent of the Russkaia Pravda. 1950. Would the occasional deviations of the Skra from its German model have been inspired by the Russian tariff system prevalent in Novgorod at the time? 65 The most promising topic in this respect is the complex of assault. the various versions of the Skra.3 and 10). de sal beteren anderhalven verding silveres […]” (“If a man hits another on the ears. the system of the 1191 treaty is unmistakably based on the Russkaia Pravda. and inflicting injuries. pulling or pushing somebody. which does not envisage this particular offence. As mentioned before. but contains similar formulas for related offences. such as hitting with a fist or blunt object. 87. with the treaty of 1269.

See. as “the Lord Novgorod”] at the city assembly. 286-324 and in RZ I. 408-447. op. which for the first time introduced capital punishment in Russian law for theft. 87-105. Article 68 addressed itself to uncertainty of the law in a specific lawsuit.Peter. Cherepnin. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.). the final version of which was probably enacted between 1462 and 1467. 144-146. as well as in the Skra is the requirement of two witnesses in certain law-suits. This provision remotely resembles a provision from the Charter of Dvina Land from 1397. 397-407. in PRP II. Vernadsky (transl.cit.69 The well-known medieval institution of reference to the authorities of the mother-city is mentioned in article 60 of Skra II and in a more elaborate form in article 68 of Skra III. prescribes capital punishment for the thief who had already been banished (for previous thefts) from the Court of St. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vv.. One of the provisions of Skra III which is not based on Lübeck law. 14th century origin. in such a case the proceedings would be suspended until the councils of Lübeck and Visby would have ruled on the question in dispute. 1948. 162-164. Article 60 provided that if the German merchants in Novgorod were unsure about the existence of a certain rule.1.V. op. are of an earlier.67 A similar rule occurs in the Charter of Pskov (art. op. L. they should write to the council of Lübeck. 69 Text of the Charter of Pskov. the decision of the latter would be incorporated in the Skra. On the Charter of Dvina Land see. and article 8 is usually considered as among these earlier elements. 321-386. the Russkaia Pravda (Short Pravda. Along with the many parallels in German law. Again it is difficult to say with certainty what the origin of the respective provisions in the Skra (III arts.cit. also in I.. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. and in RZ II. also. at least for repeated theft. followed by a translation into modern Russian. 57-60. however.H.20 and 61) is.286 Law in Medieval Russia Another example of a legal institution which is found in Lübeck law. Cherepnin. 1947. Kaiser (ed. and also in D.68 Several parts of this law. English translation in G. English translation in Vernadsky. Then. 1992. also in GVNP. Cherepnin. 443.) This rule covers the same situation as the one envisaged in 67 68 Text of the Charter of Dvina Land in PRP III.. advising the insertion of a new clause accordingly.). article 108 of the Pskov Charter comes to mind. Salt Lake City. of which the first sentence provides: “And if any provision of customary law is missing in this charter. article 66. Medieval Russian Laws. 61-82. . also. the case would be decided in Novgorod and the new rule inserted in the Skra. Vol.V.8)... Martysevich. Moskva. Moskva/Leningrad. 1951. op.” (Vernadsky’s translation. New York. 111-113 (also includes Russian text). and (with Russian text) in Kaiser. art. 180-186.cit.10).cit. the mayor may refer the matter to Lord Pskov [the traditional title of the city.D.

on such-and-such a day” (“Dusse wilkor wart ghemaket na Godes bord […]”) at the end of the last provision. and “This decree was made in the year N after the birth of God.The Skra of Novgorod 287 article 60 of Skra II: an hiatus in the law. Skra I is primarily concerned with certain basic rules regarding the organization of St. Many of the latter are still completely recognizable in that the substantive rule is preceded or followed by words indicating that such-and-such a decree was issued at a specific date. but also adds something to the Skra. Razvitie feodal’nykh otnoshenii na Rusi XIV-XV vv. the sequences I-II-IIa-III-IIIb and IV-V-VI. 1980.70 but whether there is any connection with article 60 of Skra II is hard to say. Leningrad. Alekseev.G. such as rules regulating the election of aldermen. (b) a comparatively small number (about ten) of provisions from Skra II-III reappear in Skra IV-V. Altogether.e. So. The intermediate provisions normally start with the word “Further” (“Vortmer”). but also the procedural one: there is something like an intermediate cassational appeal to the mother-cities. this makes sense. A comparison of the contents of the Skras shows that: (a) about half the number of provisions from Skra I reappear in modified form in Skra IV-V. Article 108 of the Charter of Pskov is regarded as belonging to its oldest chronological layer. i. and this results in a decision which not only settles the dispute. 70 Iu. four provisions from Skra IIIa and six from Skra IIIb return in Skra IV-V.. The next question concerns the relationship between the first and second series of the Skra. as we have argued. (c) the shorter additional laws known as Skra IIIa and IIIb are comparatively important sources for Skra IV-V. Some of these decrees contain a single provision only. if. while article 68 of Skra III embraces not only this legislative aspect.Peter’s Court. 21. borrowings from the earlier Skras account for about 22% of the provisions of Skra IV and for about 18% of the provisions of the somewhat longer Skra V. where does the bulk of the provisions from Skra IV-V come from? It has been mentioned that Skra IV-V bears very clear traces of being a compilation of shorter previous enactments. They are often recognizable by the use of the words “Be it known to all who shall see these letters or who shall hear them read out” (“Witlik sy alle den genen de dysse schryfft seyn eder horen lesen”) at the beginning of the first provision of the fragment. Pskovskaia Sudnaia gramota i ee vremia. . but there are also clusters of provisions which are internally related and connected with a single date.

these specific enactments were collected and strung together into a more comprehensive piece of legislation. . The latter provision offers a good insight into the legislative technique of the later Skras.”) The rules in this fragment concerned two subjects: the internal order of the German Court and the regulation of trade. For instance. (Skra V art.cit. etc.” (“That these old rules were collected into a new set of rules happened in a general assembly of all the German merchants [in the year] after the birth of our Lord 1354 on the feast of St. instead. the great stove). makes the same observation. What appears to have happened is that. The rules for conducting trade in Skra IV-V are also indicative of the great distrust in which the Russian trading partners were held. 138-140.10. for instance. 23.31) concerning breaches of the peace in certain public places (the guardhouse. needles by the hundred.. custom as well. Skra IV-V has several provisions dealing with behaviour in the church alone (arts. in an apparent effort to prevent small-scale trade which could undercut the trade of the merchants themselves. This is also pointed out by Berezhkov. characterized by an almost complete absence of such regulation in the Middle Ages. particularly in the Expanded Pravda and in the Charter of Pskov. 25). There is plenty of evidence in medieval Russian law for the importance of commerce. Skra IV-V on the contrary goes to extremes in prescribing the German merchants of Novgorod how and how not to buy and sell. dat schach in ener meynen stevene myt vullbort des meynen dutschen copmans na der bord unses Heren MCCCLIIII in sunte Gregorius dage. the churchyard. other textiles by half lengths. the church. It provides: “Dat dusse olden dink vor up eyn nyghe dink vorgaddert synt. Skra II-III contains a single rule (art. which solidified into specific enactments.cit. 144. When Skra IV and V were drafted.41). on the basis of earlier laws and. op. With regard to trade regulation.288 Law in Medieval Russia One of the longest and best identifiable fragments begins at Skra V article 10 and ends at article 31.71 Merchants’ apprentices. Almost all provisions of Skra IV-V that have not been borrowed from earlier Skra versions fall into the categories of either regulation of daily life and duties. The fragment referred to in the preceding paragraph is typical in another aspect as well. op.72 71 72 Nikitskii. the approach of the later Skras is strongly at variance with Russian practice.Gregory.. were forbidden to sell goods in quantities below a certain minimum: blue yarn by pounds. new and more detailed customs developed. They offer much more detailed regulation of matters covered in a more general manner in the earlier Skras. but clearly no urgent need was felt to regulate the commercial activities themselves. 22. perhaps. or of trade. 18.

so sal de Dutsche dat vorfolgen na der krusekussynge und na den breven vor deme hertoghen myt den olderluden […]”73 (“Moreover. with the possibility of excluding the Russian offender from the German Court if no acceptable solution was reached by the Russian judges. there are still many traces of Russian terminology. Skra III article 65 referred such cases to the Novgorod court of the tysiatskii (hertoghe) and aldermen. without the possibility of exclusion: “Schut en tvist tuschen dhen Dudeschen unde den Nogarderen. or other serious offences against the Court of St. dheme hertoghen unde vor dhen copluden” (translation provided above). As in earlier Skras. Skra III contained a provision (art. such as those prescribed by the Charter of Pskov.cit. op. which is reminiscent of the oaths to be sworn by Russian officials. .Peter committed by a Russian (“edder breket he groveliken wedder den hof ”.. One of the very few provisions of Skra VI which do not go back to earlier Skras is article 73: insulting or injuring a Russian.65) which dealt with injuries sustained by a German and inflicted by a Russian. rather more remote parallel with Russian law may be seen in the oath taken by the aldermen (Skra V art. In at least one case Skra V seems to have taken account of the system of adjudication of Russian-German disputes as outlined in the treaty of 1269. if a dispute arises between a German and a Russian. but of a less drastic measure: an official description of the dispute to be deposited with the authorities in the Court of St.Peter. One of the forms of insulting mentioned in article 73 is pulling a Russian’s beard.132). not of excluding the Russian defendant from trading in the German Court. article 4. Skra V article 121 repeats this rule in similar terms: “Vortmer schude jenych twyst tusschen eme Dutschen und Russen. The treaty of 1269 referred Russian-German disputes in general terms to the Novgorod court. In view of what has been said before about the relationship between Skra V and Skra VI. dhe twist sal endegen up sente Johannis hove vor deme borchgreven. Another. 387. krestnoe tselovanie) was the traditional form of the oath in medieval Russia. there is no need to add much in respect of the sources of Skra VI. its specific meaning in Novgorod was recognition of Novgorod law. “or if he commits a major offence against the Court”). and according to Cherepnin.The Skra of Novgorod 289 Connections with Russian law are not easily discernible in Skra IV-V. This clause was probably inspired by the special protection which Rus73 The kissing of the cross (krusekussinge. article 2 and 5 or the Charter of Novgorod. in the case the Russian judges fail to do justice to the German claim (“[…] kan eme dar dan neyn recht beschen […]”). then the German shall prosecute it after [taking] the oath and after [presenting] the paper before the tysiatskii together with the aldermen […]”) and then adds the possibility. It is often prescribed by the Charter of Novgorod.

primarily because it was regarded as German law and. To some extent. The legal skeleton of these contacts were the Skra (regulating the internal affairs of the German community and some of its relations with the Russians).290 Law in Medieval Russia sian law had afforded the beard from the earliest days of the Short Pravda (art. this difficulty is alleviated by taking recourse to the Charter of Pskov. therefore. it devotes a great deal of attention to substantive private law. while in fact the raison d’être of the German settlement in Novgorod was intense contact with its Russian surroundings. Concluding Remarks In German legal history. In Russian legal history. the Skra is usually viewed as an offshoot of the medieval law of Northern Germany and this view fits into the perspective of the Novgorod settlement as a distant outpost of the Hanseatic League. The more recent layers (IV-VVI) are still strongly connected with the main Hanseatic cities in their origins. On the other hand. In the principal handbooks of Russian legal history. and the domestic law of Novgorod. at least in conducting commercial transactions. not of great interest to the history of Russian law. as we have seen. Of course. The difficulty in establishing Novgorod law on the basis of its very defective contemporary sources has been referred to above. this view is largely correct with respect to the earlier versions of the Skra (I-II-III). the Skra has not commanded much attention. the treaties would sometimes provide otherwise). This law is from the right period. the question of applicable law would certainly have arisen in those days too.8). and possibly also on account of its linguistic inaccessibility. As we have seen. If we consider that transactions took place in Novgorod and that disputes were tried in Novgorod by the Russian court. although they are to a much greater extent the product of local law-creating activities. it is obvious that in principle Russian law was applied (although. the German-Russian treaties (regulating the position of the German settlement and most of its relations with the Russians). and the law of Pskov (for a long time subordinate to Novgorod and similarly engaged in trade with Western partners) cannot have been very different from the law of Novgorod during the same . 11. Both views tend to look at the Skra as a legal document operating in a kind of vacuum. the Skra is not even mentioned. modern ideas of private international law cannot be indiscriminately applied to the relations between Germans and Russians in medieval Novgorod.

not realistic to regard the Skra merely as a trivial by-law of a handful of merchants.The Skra of Novgorod 291 era. therefore. The two legal spheres could coexist and penetrate each other without too much trouble because they were sufficiently germane. tucked away in an obscure corner of the world. Notwithstanding a number of different institutions. . in a forgotten period. the German settlement in Novgorod was the most important point of contact between Russia and Western Europe. The treaties between Novgorod. But. so the Skra can do much to paint in the framework outlined by the treaties. the cultural shock does not seem to have been very strong on either side. they were able to agree on workable institutions and practices which allowed them several centuries of reasonably peaceful relations. Returning to our previous observation that the Skra should not be seen as something operating in a legal vacuum. just as the treaties are essential in achieving a proper understanding of the Skra. On this basis. Russian princes and the Germans and other Western powers are rightly considered among the most important monuments of Russian legal history by Russian historians. it is. We have pointed to a few parallels between the Skra and the Charter of Pskov. the general impression received when one places it in the context of contemporary Russian law is one of similarity. For several centuries.


these countries were hidden from the view of Western Europe. this will have to be largely an exercise in external legal history. Inevitably. There were therefore never any reasonably permanent and independent state-like formations on the territory of present-day Azerbaidzhan. will not be discussed. Persians. Other parts of Azerbaidzhan stayed within Iran. These states have left a considerable heritage of legislation and other legal sources. Ottomans and Russians. Parthians. Introduction The re-emergence of Armenia and Georgia as legally independent and sovereign states has re-awakened an interest in their legal systems and their history. Armenia and Georgia were occasionally able to consolidate their political position in the form of an independent or semi-independent state. the fate of Armenia and Georgia has largely been determined by the histories of their more powerful neighbours. For centuries. Another neighbouring area which remains outside the purview of this chapter is the Caucasus Mountains themselves and the immediately . with only minor interruptions until most of the local khanates were successively incorporated into the Russian empire in the course of the latter’s southward expansion during the first decades of the 19th century. a more substantive treatment of the contents of the available material would exceed the limits of this chapter. Seldjuks. at present the third independent state in Transcaucasia. Azerbaidzhan was conquered by the Arabs in 642. and whatever there was found itself solidly within the world of Islam. however briefly and provisionally. located as they were behind the vast Russian and Ottoman empires. the original Iranian population was turkicized. When circumstances were favourable. The legal history of Azerbaidzhan. the successive empires of Assyrians. the country fell under Persian domination which continued. Mongols. During the 9th century. Alexander the Great. themselves states which played mostly a marginal role as European powers. Romans. when it became part of the world of Islam.Chapter 10 Medieval Law in Transcaucasia— on the Periphery of European Legal History 1. the place of medieval Armenian and Georgian law in the context of European legal history. Arabs. The purpose of this chapter is to offer a general overview of the most important material available and to indicate. Soon afterwards. Through the ages.

Bd. 1956. 1965. Karst. Moskva. 1960. Saidov. obychnoe pravo osetin v istoriko-sravnitel’nom izuchenii. Vyp. a measure of political independence until they were gradually absorbed into the Russian empire in the course of the 19th century. 1992). Première section: Droit national géorgien codifié. 1939. 1886. the aspect of legal history is minimal. (Vol. in Verbindung mit dem grossarmenischen Rechtsbuch des Mechitar Gosch. Makhachkala. . V. Code du roi Georges V.1. Code d’Aghbougha.M. Materialy po obychnomu pravu kabardintsev pervoi poloviny XIX v. Leontovich. many of whom were able to maintain. Adaty kumykov. Also.5. albeit precariously. the Chechens and other “mountain peoples” (gortsy) being the best-known example. “Obychnoe pravo kak istochnik dlia izucheniia sotsial’nykh otnoshenii u narodov Severnogo Kavkaza v XVIII–nachala XIX v. 1868 (repr. J. II. 1873. V.M.M. Adaty kavkazskikh gortsev: Materialy po obychnomu pravu Severnogo i Vostochnogo Kavkaza. M. published several studies (including translations) on some of the major monuments of the medieval law of Armenia and Georgia. Komarov. Vol.I-1.2). These are home to a bewildering variety of small nations and ethnic groups.V.2. Vol.294 Law in Medieval Russia adjoining regions to the North. “Adaty i sudoproizvodstvo po nim (Materialy dlia statistiki dagestanskoi oblasti)”.. Pamiatniki obychnogo prava Dagestana XVIIXIX vv.I. Codes médiévaux de la Géorgie. 1934.2 The main legislative documents of Armenia and Georgia have been translated into English. Joseph Karst has made the most important contribution to the literature on the subject of Transcaucasian legal history. Sempadscher Kodex. Khashaev. No. The Literature Among West-European scholars. these studies concern customary law as it has been observed and described in recent times. Kh. Moskva. Alibekov. 1935. Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh. Nal’chik. Gidatlinskie adaty. Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh. Tiflis. 1959.II-2/1. 1948.M. Shunaev.I-2/1. Moskva. Corpus Iuris Ibero-Caucasici. M. Vol. 1 2 A.1). Strasbourg: Code du Vakhtang VI. Gardanov. Sovetskaia Etnografiia. Vol. 1883. Sovremennyi obychai i drevnii zakon. Odessa. a professor at the university of Strassburg (as it then was). Commentaire. 1-88. 2 vols. 1937. Vol. 1905. Makhachkala. French or German and have been cited below at the appropriate places. Kovalevskii. Text und Übersetzung.”. Kh. Band 1: Mittelarmenisches Rechtsbuch. Strassburg.7. Khashaev & M. J. Kh. F. Karst. Vyp. “Prisiaga po obychnomu pravu osetin”. 1927.. Gardanov. Code d’Aghbougha. Kodeks zakonov Ummu-Khana avarskogo. 1938.II-2/2.. 1882 (Vol. Dzh.S. Tiflis. a description of the customary law of a small mountain tribe is a far cry from the official legislation of the Armenian and Georgian monarchs.II-1/1. 2.I-2/2. Moskva. Khashaev. Vol.K.K.1 However. Karst. Their various systems of customary law offer a rich source to the legal anthropologist and a considerable amount of work on this topic has been carried out by indigenous and Russian scholars during the last hundred-and-fifty years. Kommentar.

The other five volumes are all devoted to sources from the 16th century and later and contain court judgments. shortly after the year 300. The lasting dominance of the Armenian church in domestic affairs is very noticeable in the history of Armenian law. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as the state religion. much more so than the various political expressions of this identity. the Armenian monophysite church occupied a special position an account of its rejection of the council of Chalcedon (451). 1965 (II). in Georgian]. dominated and mostly absorbed by Byzantium. speaking a language which is counted among the IndoEuropean languages (although it contains many non-Indo-European elements in its vocabulary. 1985 (VIII).) in the area which has been considered their homeland ever since. but retained a considerable amount of autonomy. 1972 (IV). and an eastern part dominated by Persia. arrived in early historical times (around the 7th century B. published by the Georgian Academy of Sciences. Armenia was dominated alternately by the Romans and the Parthians.. a considerable part of the body of secular law is based on decisions of Armenian church councils or finds its origin in ecclesiastical sources.2. Dolidze (ed. with special regard to the place of Georgian law in European legal history is offered by B. Tbilisi. Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi–Pamiatniki gruzinskogo prava [Monuments of Georgian law.III secondary ecclesiastical legislation. Kandelhard. and similar short documents.C. “Geschichtliche Grundlagen der Zivilrechtsreform in Georgien”. A powerful Armenian kingdom flourished during the first century B. 1970 (III). Armenia came under Arab overlordship. under its king Tridat (Tiridates) III. until Pompeius forced the Armenian king to recognize the supremacy of Rome. this has remained a complicating factor in Armenia’s relations with Byzantium and with the West.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 295 The long and comparatively unbroken history of Georgian law is well documented in the eight-volume edition of the sources of Georgian law. Until the present day. Among the Christian churches of the Middle Ages.S. Soidse [Zoidze] & R. 1997. requests. In 885. In the following centuries.). 1974 (V). General Historical Background: Armenia The Armenians. No. . Recht in Ost und West. 1977 (VI). the Armenian ruler Ashot I was recognized as king of Armenia by the caliph of Baghdad and the Byzantine 3 I.C. the Armenian church has been the most important factor in the survival of the Armenian national identity.3 3. 1963 (I).II contains secondary secular legislation and Vol. In 653. 41-46.I (hereafter: Dolidze I). Vol. The relative independence of Armenia soon came to an end after the country was broken up in 387 into a western part. sounds and grammar). 1981 (VII). A convenient summary of Georgian legal history. The principal medieval sources are all in Vol.

but it was soon forcibly incorporated into the emerging Soviet Union. was forced to give up most of its territory. hundreds of miles to the south-west of the Armenian heartland. The Khetumid ruler Leo (Levon) II the Great was crowned king of Armenia in 1199 and was recognized by the pope and the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors. with Ani as its capital. invasions by the Turkish Seldjuks put an end to this golden era of Armenian history. however. there was a southern Artsruni kingdom of Vaspurakan and several other smaller principalities). When the Russian empire began to penetrate southwards into Transcaucasia in the beginning of the 19th century. In the following centuries. Armenia. At the end of the First World War. regaining genuine independence only after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Ultimately. and they gradually coalesced into an Armenian state (also known as Little Armenia) under the Rubenid and Khetumid dynasties. Some measure of Armenian independence could occasionally be realized in the remote and mountainous Karabakh area. Persia. as the balance of power between these kept shifting. the last Armenian king died in exile in Paris. The first Armenian principalities arose already around 1080 in this area. The fall of the Armenian capital Ani in 1064 signified the end of Armenian independence in Armenia proper (or Greater Armenia) until its re-emergence in the 20th century. achieved a short period of sovereign independence.296 Law in Medieval Russia emperor. By the middle of the 11th century. In 1393. As a result of the ensuing Armenian diaspora. the Cilician kings were more successful that their Russian colleagues in achieving a modus vivendi with the invaders. numerous Armenians had settled in the province of Cilicia. . The Cilician Armenian kingdom was closely allied with the Crusader states which had arisen as a result of the First Crusade (in particular the kingdom of Jerusalem and the principality of Antioch). which at that time controlled the Armenian heartland. with the waning of Mongol power. the Egyptian Mamelukes. the lands populated by the Armenians were ruled either by Ottoman Turkey or by Persia. Although this kingdom soon fell apart. When the Mongol invasions started in the first half of the 13th century. Nakhichevan and the area of Erevan were ceded to Russia in 1828. the Mamelukes were victorious and the fall of the Cilician capital Sis in 1375 marked the end of the Cilician Armenian kingdom. together with Georgia and Azerbaidzhan. they allied themselves with the Mongols against their common enemy. Armenia continued as a collection of virtually independent principalities for the next hundred years (apart from the northern Bagratuni kingdom founded by Ashot.

but he was the last king of a unified Georgia. of which Svanetia is the most important. General Historical Background: Georgia The general parameters of Georgian history are similar to those of Armenia in that the country’s fate through the ages was determined predominantly by developments in the states of its more powerful neighbours. king David Aghmashenebeli (“the Restorer”. occupy a separate position. The high mountain areas. further away from them. but soon the arrival of the armies of Timur signified a new period of downfall.e. although not to such an extent as Armenia. until the arrival of the Mongols in 1220. Georgia even emerged as the dominant regional power. Historically. In the 18th century. Members of the Armenian ruling house of the Bagratuni (Bagrationi in Georgian) gradually gained the ascendancy in Georgia and king Bagrat III (975-1014) was the first to be recognized as the king of most of Georgia. and the Ottoman empire. with the eastward-flowing Araxes as the main river) and a western part (Imeretia. with the westward-flowing Rioni as the main river). Under his descendant. during the 13th century. Byzantium.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 297 4. Mingrelia. the fact that Georgia was in a somewhat more advantageous geographical position in relation to these neighbours. i. Kakhetia and Imeretia. Abkhazia and Adzharia. For the eastern part of Georgia. However. 1089-1125). Christianity came to Georgia somewhat later than to Armenia. At one stage. This Georgian golden age and the political unity of the country were brought to an end by the Mongolian invasions. the eastern by Persia. Guria. King Giorgi Brtsqinvali (“the Brilliant”. but remained under Persian suzerainty. 1314-1346) restored some of the former glory. Persia loomed large. Georgian territory extended much further to the south and the west into present-day Turkey. Kartlia and Kakhetia were re-united. The country was broken up into the Bagrationi kingdoms of Kartlia. The western parts were dominated by Turkey. and the principalities of Samtskhe. may explain to a large extent how Georgia was more successful than Armenia in holding on to a measure of independence. Mingrelia and Abkhazia. Georgia had expanded considerably. The western part of Georgia was exposed. Geographical factors divide Georgia into an eastern part (Kartlia and Kakhetia. forced to look . In the 15th century. until it reached its apogee under the famous queen Tamara (1184-1207). dominated in turn by Persian and Arab invaders. a new revival was presided over by king Aleksandre the Great (1414-1443). but still in the first half of the 4th century. King Irakli II of Kartlia-Kakhetia. No permanently unified state arose in the following centuries and various Georgian kings ruled a succession of small states. to influences and interference from Rome.

). Worthy of mention are the canons of Saak Partev. and the Cilician Armenian kingdom (1080-1375). Paris. kanonagirk’). in R. Paichadze. G. all-Armenian catholicos (the supreme head of the Armenian church) from 387-439. 719).).5 An Armenian translation of 4 G. it had already de facto withdrawn from the USSR some months earlier. 5. The Law of the Armenian Kingdoms* As indicated above. Ani capitale de l’Arménie en l’an mil.4 Irakli was succeeded by his son Giorgi XII in 1798. Georgia became independent and retained this status precariously for another three years. Georgia regained its independence in December 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. entre droit canon et droit coutumier”. in which he renounced all links with Persia and recognized the Russian empress as his suzerain and protector. the Russian government did not allow his eldest son David to ascend the throne. 145-149). of which several versions are known. Paichadze (ed. It was especially the latter which has left an impressive legal heritage. until the Red Army put an end to it in February 1921. in 1859.G. concluded the treaty of Georgievsk with Russia (1783). 607. Širakawan (862). At the end of the First World War. there were two periods in which the political independence of Armenia was sufficiently consolidated to allow the emergence of a truly domestic legal order: the Bagratuni kingdom and other smaller Armenian principalities during the era of 861-1064. Kevorkian (ed. 1983. and Hromkla (1179). 1983.J. * 5 With grateful acknowledgment of Professor J. 2001. such as those of Dvin (551. Georgievskii Traktat [text]. the most important collections were published by V.S. the remote mountain region of Svanetia the last. The first formal collection appeared under catholicos Yovhannes III (between 717 and 728). Weitenberg’s (Leiden University) bibliographical help for this section. and the resolutions of various Armenian church synods. The kingdom of Imeretia was annexed in 1810 and other parts of Georgia in the course of the 19th century. Tbilisi. Kanonagirk’ Hayots. Ecclesiastical rules were collected in books of canons (Arm. The early Christian period and the Bagratuni period produced mainly a body of ecclesiastical prescriptions which constituted an important source of later secular legislation.G.298 Law in Medieval Russia for protection against the threat posed by Persian ambitions. Upon the death of the latter two years later. but annexed Kartlia-Kakhetia to the Russian empire. Georgievskii traktat [commentary]. Erevan. . “Le droit médiéval arménien. Hakobian. Bozoyan. Tbilisi. 1971 (quoted from A. Manzakert (726).

“Grundriss der Geschichte des Armenischen Rechts”. Kaufhold. Cf. and the suitable penances to be imposed on penitents. 17-18.XIX (1906). so the Code of Gosh was contemporary with the Cilician kingdom. Bozoyan. Zeitschrift f. 147. was probably already available in the 9th century. Franfurt a. J.6 A significant and interesting document from a later period is the Penitential of David of Sanjak (12th century). a law of that kingdom. Dowsett. Vol. II. Rechtswissensschaft. strictly speaking. This Penitential was one of the sources for the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. Die armenischen Übersetzungen byzantinischer Rechtsbücher. in this way. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh and the Law Code of Smbat Sparapet can be regarded as the principal monuments of the Cilician Armenian kingdom.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 299 the Byzantine collection of canon law. strictly speaking a mere guidebook to priests. was under Turkish rule at the time. 9 . Vol. 147-148. its very close connection with the Code of Smbat Sparapet justifies it being treated as such. 1961. or whether legal relationships in secular society were largely regulated by customary (unwritten) law during this period. which again was the main source for the Law Code of Smbat Sparapet and. the Armenian church continued to function as the political organization of the Armenian population under foreign 6 7 Bozoyan. Nevertheless. This area. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh The learned priest (vardapet) Mkhitar Gosh (d. Sonderabdruck. Armenia proper. he contended that already during the Bagratuni era significant parts of major legislation from surrounding countries were available in Armenian translation. 3-4. Louvain. There has been some debate whether major secular legislation from the Bagratuni era did exist but was lost. see the section on Byzantine canon law in the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”. I have not been able to consult H. 1997. a law code from the Bagratuni era served as one of the sources for the Code of Mkhitar Gosh.216-217. discussing all kinds of sins (which often also constituted violations of the law). vergl. although not.7 This work was. As observed before.. Moreover. a connection can be made between a purely pastoral document and an explicitly legal enactment. 1213) was active in Greater Armenia during the second half of the 12th century.F. On the Nomocanon generally. Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium.9 6.J.8 According to Karst. to be used in hearing confessions. Scriptores armeniaci. Karst. The Penitential of David of Sanjak. 8 C. the Nomocanon (also existing in numerous versions).M. in particular parts from the Byzantine Ecloga (726) and the Syro-Roman Law Code (see below). 1.

resulting in a Mongolian-Armenian 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 J. Thomson. was Smbat. 27-29. Thomson.15 As a result. Thomson. 23ff. 36. Exodus. 2000.12 The oldest copy extant dates from 1237. generally. Thomson.1213). 21-22. 20.16 He served as commander-in-chief of the Armenian army for fifty years and died in battle in 1276. . The Code of Smbat Sparapet The author of this Code.11 Mkhitar Gosh began his work on the Code in 1184. Istoriia Kilikiiskogo armianskogo gosudarstva i prava (XI-XIV vv. a corrupted form of the French connétable or ‘constable’). prince of Antioch. Thomson. was then married to Isabella and accepted as king in 1226. R. This resulted in the concurrent jurisdiction of the Muslim courts of the rulers and the jurisdiction of the Armenian bishops. Sempadscher Kodex. The latter enjoyed considerable popularity with the Armenian population. Band 2. according to its preamble. 14. Konstantin Pail. Cf. the most powerful nobleman in the country. 7.G. Numeri and Deuteronomium).300 Law in Medieval Russia domination. In Georgia. The reasons given by Gosh for drafting his Code are discussed by Thomson. Leviticus.).14 The system of the Code (the sequence of the sections) is based on the various sources used. and a Latin version was in use among the Armenian diaspora in Poland. died out in the male line with Leo II (1187-1219). and the Penitential of David of Sanjak. elder brother of the Cilician king Khetum I (1226-1269). 350. Karst. See. 1969. Philip fell out with the Armenian nobles and was killed in 1225. The Lawcode [Dastanagirk’] of Mxit’ar Goš.1208) commander-in-chief of the army (sparapet.W. Isabella was first married off in 1221 to Philip. Khetum (b. He spent three years heading an Armenian delegation to the Mongolian great khan in Karakorum (1248-1250). Amsterdam/Atlanta. also known as the Mosaic laws in the terminology of the period (the Old Testament books of Genesis.10 and the Code of Gosh was written with the strengthening of the Armenian courts as one of the avowed purposes. Erevan. a Georgian translation was used. A. also known as gundstabl’. Konstantin appointed his elder son Smbat (b. a son of Bohemond.13 The principal sources of the Code of Gosh are the Pentateuch. Leo’s daughter Isabella was only 4 years old and the kingdom was ruled by a regent. the organization of the Code appears chaotic to a modern reader. the Armenian collection of church canons (the Kanonagirk’). The Code of Mkhitar Gosh was used for centuries by the Armenian diaspora. A younger son of Konstantin Pail. Sukasian. GA. The Rubenid dynasty which had ruled the Cilician kingdom since Ruben I (10801095).

mentioned above. 1958. (99-104) Pledge and security. . were lost until the Armenian translation of (or ascribed to) Smbat were found. was written in 1265.) (70) Jurisdiction over kings. criminal law. religious duties. delicts and various offences. I-II. (40: dissolution of marriage if one spouse has been carried off into slavery.G. (172-175) Boundaries. (5-7) Various offences against persons. Sukasian. 1841. church property. Erevan. Karst. 17 18 Similar codes existed in the Crusader kingdoms of Jerusalem and Cyprus: Assises de Jérusalem ou receuil des ouvrages de jurisprudence composés pendant le XIII-ème siècle dans les royaumes de Jérusalem et de Chypre.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 301 treaty of friendship. (113-118) Testaments. Sudebnik). (119-171) Damages. shepherds. 60: listing of ecclesiastical ranks. with different variants. church dignitaries. This work gives the Armenian text. Sudebnik Smbata Sparapeta (Gundstablia) 1265 g. He also translated the law code of the neighbouring Crusader principality of Antioch into Armenian. There are several other Armenian editions and two Russian editions. (2) High treason and other felonies committed by princes and other vassals. A Russian translation by A. They were translated back into French and published by G. princes and nobles.A.17 and is known as the author of a short memoir Išatarakan. vineyards. offences affecting such duties. Papovian appeared in Vestnik Matenadarana. etc.G. written in 1269. 1971 (hereafter: Sukasian. Alishan in 1876. (71) Jurisdiction over ecclesiastical personnel.4. the order of succession.18 The Code consists of the following parts (according to the numeration of articles as proposed by Karst): (1) A very long provision (a chapter rather) concerning the king. and a German translation. Paris. as well as ranks at the royal court.A. (106-112) Commercial law. The most complete edition is the two-volume work by J. I have used the latter: A. royal privileges. foreword and comments). (72-93) Matrimonial law and sexual offences. Sukasian (transl. The Law Code. The Assises d’Antiochie. mills. Galstian and A. (97-98/105) Family law. the royal court. No. (94-96) Intestate succession. however. (8-69) All sorts of provisions concerning the church. The Law Code should be considered as his principal work. (3-4) Rights concerning gold and silver mining. etc. according to its preamble.. by A.

. etc. indicating thereby that he was in fact doing more than just translating. the law of Antioch. p.XXI-XXIV of the “Einleitung”. p.302 Law in Medieval Russia By far the most important source of the Code of Smbat was the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. and he proceeds to enunciate how this second case should be dealt with. which Smbat himself had translated) is noticeable. J. especially from Deuteronomium.XXXII of the “Einleitung”. Karst has argued that the reason for Smbat’s reworking of the Code of Mkhitar Gosh was not only linguistic. of course. In his preamble. an aspect which was largely absent in the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. 12-22.) Some direct influence of Byzantine law and the law of the Crusader states (esp. was too much based on imported and theoretical concepts. how he has combined rules derived from different sources. the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. The brief survey of the contents. already indicates that a serious effort had been made to organize the raw legislative material into a structured whole. He adds that he has tried to catch the essence of the text and to summarize this. This is quite obvious in the lengthy first provision. is itself based in large part on ecclesiastical prescriptions. Additionally. but also of a practical legal nature. the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. Vol. how he has shortened provisions taken over from other sources. as mentioned before. As is often observed in medieval legislation. Other sources are of purely ecclesiastical origin (such as the canons of Gregory the Illuminator and of Saak Partev or decisions of church synods) and a number of provisions has also been taken over directly from Mosaic law. easy to become lost in casuistry.1. J. given above. 19 20 21 Cf. according to Karst. a matter which is also regulated elsewhere in the Code. the approach to systematization is usually associative: the rule written down appears to remind the legislator of a related but different situation. Smbat does not mention Mkhitar Gosh by name and merely states that he intends to translate the “Code of Law” from the unintelligible Old-Armenian language into the vernacular of his age.19 Certain rules of a secular nature are probably derived from customary law. Sudebnik. It is. Vol. Sukasian.1. (Of course.21 There can be no doubt in any case that the great merit of Smbat’s Code was in the energetic editing and systematizing of the material. Karst. Karst. dealing with the king. In outlining the king’s duties as supreme judge.20 Sukasian elaborates this observation by pointing out that Smbat’s Code takes the feudal character of the Armenian Cilician society into account. while Smbat attempted to offer a law which was closer to the every-day reality of the Cilician kingdom. how he has changed old rules and for what reasons. the Code goes into considerable detail about the law of homicide. the author of the Code frequently explains what he has done. by moving from one case to another related one.1 of the “Vorwort” and pp.

. Surguladze. was published in the period 1703-1709. while the persistence of monetary compensation. D. Kandelhard. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. Javaxišvili. after the fall of this kingdom. 1928-1929 (II. feet. They were used as subsidiary sources of law when the Code of Vakhtang was silent on a particular point. Vakhtang collected all laws which were applied in Georgia at that time. No. Cf. 1-2) (in Georgian). is reminiscent of older layers of customary law. By their inclusion in the Laws of Vakhtang. Tbilisi. Even the ancient institution of collective responsibility of a village for murder committed on its territory is preserved. 1928 (I).24 The Laws of Vakhtang consist of four main parts: — the Mosaic laws. where he died in Astrakhan in 1737). Kartuli samartlis isţoria. the validity of the older laws was recognized. The Legal History of Georgia23 From 1703-1714. A closer look at some of the provisions indicates that the rulers of the Cilician kingdom were also keen to exercise control over the secular activities of the church. 24.A. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Gruzii. He also had a new code of law drafted. 1968 (in Russian). cutting off hands. the section on “collective liability” in the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings and Early Law”. Purtseladze. together with the old laws. even in case of homicide. 22 23 Cf. Recht in Ost und West. I.I. B.22 The Code of Smbat Sparapet was the law of the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia. Soidse [Zoidze] & R.L. the Code was soon forgotten and was rediscovered only in 1869. During his regency. the entire collection is known as the Laws of Vakhtang VI.2. As Vakhtang succeeded his uncle as king in 1716 and ruled until 1724 (when political conditions forced him to emigrate to Russia. noses. 1997. 24 Generally on Georgian legal history: I. Its shares with Byzantine law the frequency of maiming penalties (blinding. who was serving as Persian commander-in-chief in Afghanistan as a virtual hostage of the Persian shah. 8. based on a revision of the old laws. Tbilisi. genitals). mostly excerpts from Deuteronomium. nephew of king Giorgi XI. Tbilisi. “Geschichtliche Grundlagen der Zivilrechtsreform in Georgien”. A certain hybrid character of the Code becomes apparent in its system of sanctions.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 303 The large number of provisions devoted to ecclesiastical matters (over one-third of the text of the Code) illustrates the well-known importance of the Armenian church in public life. the kingdom of Kartlia was ruled by the viceroy (or regent) Vakhtang. The new code. 43. 1980 (Russian translation and comments).

the Georgian laws: the Law of Bagrat Kuropalates.” The book in question was the Syntagma of the Byzantine priest Matthaeus Blastaris. The Non-Georgian Oarts of the Collection In the preamble to his own Law Code. corrected and amended according to the Hexabiblos 25 26 Along with the Russian translation of the Law Code of Vakhtang by Purtseladze (mentioned in the previous footnote). there are also older Russian translations. 9. for the judicial books according to which they decided cases in the times of the caesars. the Canonical Laws (11th century). the Law Code of king Giorgi V the Brilliant. 103-125.e.25 In the first place. from the books Genesis and Exodus. through requests to the four patriarchs. i. It is. the Law of the Catholicos. the Armenian laws: the Syro-Roman Code (475/476). the laws derived from the Old Testament are mentioned. the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga with additional provisions. For reasons of space they will not be discussed here. Vakhtang continues: “I searched in Greece. the detailed provisions mostly from Deuteronomium. Georgian text in Dolidze I. The French translation by Karst is mentioned in the beginning of this chapter. — — The Georgian laws included among the Laws of Vakhtang VI cover a more or less continuous period of many centuries of Georgian legal development and may themselves be considered as the most important monuments of this development. as well as in Georgia”. they were translated with great trouble by wise men. Vakhtang explains how he collected “all law books which in the course of time were disseminated separately in other kingdoms.304 Law in Medieval Russia — the Greek. the Law Code of prince Vakhtang. . many smaller pieces of secular and ecclesiastical legislation have survived.26 Then. Along with the Georgian laws included among the Laws of Vakhtang VI. the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. Byzantine laws: the Syntagma of Matthaeus Blastaris (14th century) and the Hexabiblos of Harmenopoulos (1345). convenient to take the collection of Vakhtang VI as the starting-point for a brief survey of Georgian legal history. whom I myself helped very much in the translation. and the “Mosaic laws”. therefore.

Cf. Georgian text in Dolidze I. W. Georgian text of the Law of Bagrat also in Dolidze I. Purtseladze. 16. 1931. Zur Bedeutung des syrisch-römischen Rechtsbuches. and once the 32 . See. This law is preserved as a sequel to the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga (to be discussed below). 1985. containing elements of Roman law and of native law of the area. On p. until a more or less definitive version emerged in 468. Les sources du droit byzantin de 300 à 1453. but much amended afterwards. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. 136-137. It had first been given to the founder of the Georgian dynasty. 33 Purtseladze. cf. 116-118. Institutionen. as a competitor to the legislation of Justinian. Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/ Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. Ashot Bagrationi (786-826). Purtseladze. for further references. 127-221. Historiae iuris graeco-romani delineatio. Lokin.33 There were four early Georgian rulers by the name of Bagrat.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 305 of Harmenopoulos. van der Wall & J. The Law of Bagrat Kuropalates The oldest part of the Georgian laws included in the collection of king Vakhtang VI is the so-called Law of Bagrat Kuropalates.28 The Armenian laws used by Vakhtang included the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. see N. Cf. München.29 This code. but is in fact of a much older date. 118. “Iz natsional’nogo zakonodatel’stva korpusa Vakhtanga VI”. cf. München/Leipzig. discussed above. 464-470. Groningen. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger. 34 Russian translation and a short commentary in: D. It was usually reserved for members of the imperial family. On the Syntagma of Blastaris and the Hexabiblos of Harmenopoulos.31 These “Armenian” laws applied to the numerous Armenians living in the Georgian kingdoms. Purtseladze indicates the major text editions and studies in Georgian. was first drafted around 370-380. The place of Bagrat’s Law in comparative legal history is briefly discussed in the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings”.4. 30 Along with a Syrian (Aramaic) and Arabic version. No. 1985. The actual copy of the Syntagma used for the translations is still extant. 31 Others defend a date around 476-477.Selb.34 and 27 28 Epitome Syntagmatis Matthaei Blastaris ad Hexabiblum Harmenopouli mutati.30 It survived for a long time in the Near East. 29 It was initially adopted as a civil code when Greece became an independent kingdom in 1853.32 10. Zakony Vakhtanga VI.85. who sported the title of kuropalates. van der Wall & Lokin. Kuropalates was the fourth highest rank in the official Byzantine hierarchy of the era. 223-389. and the Syro-Roman code which existed in an Armenian version. 1964. The Armenian version was the basis of the Georgian translation used in Vakhtang’s collection. Georgian text of the Code of Mkhitar Gosh and of the Syro-Roman code in Dolidze I. 120. also. 84-98.27 The Hexabiblos (of 1345) was the last major work of Byzantine law and it continued to be in use during Ottoman times. 16. Geschichte und System des Römischen Privatrechts. in areas which at one time had been part of the Byzantine empire.

35 36 Russian translation in D. The first part of the law (the provisions protecting the church. The law consists of 62 provisions (according to the accepted numeration). Zakony Vakhtanga VI. 314-315. its personnel and property) attempts to integrate the church into the traditional system of monetary compensation. There are also a few provisions concerning inheritance law. Social stratification is already quite outspoken. Although the Law of Bagrat may have been preceded by legislation of earlier Georgian rulers which has been lost. then the magnates (didebuli). or of the earliest layers of the Russkaia Pravda (see. The reason presumably is that lay people could fall back on their family or clan for protection. it was used as a secondary title. imposed by the state. The Canonical Laws35 A short law. of uncertain date. 59-72. “Iz natsional’nogo zakonodatel’stva korpusa VakhtangaVI”. in the Law Code of king Vakhtang.306 Law in Medieval Russia this puts the date of the origin of this law in the period between 826 and 1072 (Bagrat I ruled from 826-876 and Bagrat IV from 1027-1072). About the first third part of the law contains special rules for the protection of bishops.1. 1988. The majority of scholarly opinion attributes the law to Bagrat I. Lordkipanidze & D. Cf.D. at 64-66. Tom II: Gruziia v IV-X vekakh. the ordinary nobles (aznauri). blinding or amputation of hand or foot). M. 471-473. 11. the ultimate source of the Law of Bagrat is undoubtedly Georgian customary law. but probably from before the year 1100. with the peasants (glexi) at the base of the pyramid. also. the amount of sisxli depended on the victim’s social status: the king and the bishops at the top. 87. 1986. The term used for such payments (sisxli. priests and church property.).36 It is obviously a church law and provides additional ecclesiastical punishment (usually excommunication) for a few serious felonies. of which the overwhelming majority is devoted to the various payments due for all kinds of transgressions ranging from simple threats to homicide. No.L. It also prescribes ordinary sanctions (the payment of sisxli or other indemnification and. the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings”).L. This is in stark contrast with the situation in Armenia where. Tbilisi. rulers had assumed the title of king (mepe) of Kartlia. Purtseladze. the church is protected through a system of draconic punishments. The general character of the law is reminiscent of the more or less contemporary Germanic laws (the leges barbarorum). Mushkelishvili (eds. Georgian text in Dolidze I. following the example of Byzantium. Macne–Ekonomikisa de samartlis seria/Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. Purtseladze. Ocherki istorii Gruzii. blood) was still in use 900 years later. in one case. .

another English translation (from O. 15-16. The Laws of Beka and Aghbuga37 Beka and Aghbuga. surnamed «The Brilliant»”. as well as customary law. introduction by I. Among the sources of the laws of Beka and Aghbuga. The law of Beka—the larger part of the entire document—is still quite close in general character to the law of Bagrat. the latter from 1381-1386. the law of Bagrat should be included. Sudebnik Beka i Agbuga.42 The law which bears his name is not a general law for 37 38 Russian translation by V. 28. were rulers (atabagi) of the principality of Samtskhe (roughly present-day Meskhetia. the southwestern part of Georgia).S. Dolidze/Dondua. offers a bilingual Georgian-Russian text. the ruler of Samtskhe. 332. Purtseladze (ed. 607-626) and an extensive commentary. His mother was the daughter of Beka I. The dates of 1381-1386 are given by Purtseladze.D. the transition is clearly marked by a new preamble. Tbilisi. an earlier English translation. and Aghbuga was amirspasalari or commander-in-chief. 1998. sales. Basic edition of the Georgian text in Dolidze I. Georgian text in Dolidze I. the law of Aghbuga.39 they ruled as virtually independent princes. to which he has added his own legislation. 1960. and one of the achievements of Giorgi V was to re-establish control over the Georgian provinces (like Samtskhe) which had broken free in the aftermath of the Mongol invasions. such as the ownership of land.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 307 12. as indicated by their legislative activities. Tbilisi. Dolidze. grandfather and grandson. the French translation by Karst (see note 2).S. Dolidze (hereafter: Dolidze/ Dondua).A. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. inheritance law. In the smaller second part. Giorgi V succeeded in re-uniting Georgia for a number of years (he ruled from 1314-1346).L. 423-463. cf. Dondua & I. In the available text. The Law of Giorgi V the Brilliant41 After the chaos resulting from the devastations of the Mongol invasions. the former from 1285-1306. French translation by J. The atabagi title itself was equivalent to the Byzantine title of basileopater. and the status of unfree peasants. or father of the king (emperor).). 399-421. The laws of these rulers have survived in a single document in which Aghbuga recounts that he has copied the laws of his grandfather. Ulozhenie Georgiia V-go Blistatel’nogo. Berdzenishvili (ed. in N. 40 Beka possessed the title of mandaturtuxucesi or minister of internal affairs. The influence of ecclesiastical law is also noticeable. see note 2 . July 1914. 41 42 D. theft. Wardrop. Karst in his Corpus Iuris Ibero-Caucasici. .). Zakony Vakhtanga VI. there is more attention to commercial matters and transactions. Dolidze/Dondua. 39 Aghbuga was alive in 1380. “Laws of King George V of Georgia.38 Although outwardly high officials of the Georgian (Kartlian) kingdom.40 13. concerned mainly with the payments for various personal injuries. Other matters are mentioned.

L. If an important general enactment had existed at the time of Giorgi the Brilliant. . who follows earlier Georgian historians. the Order of the King’s Court is a kind of handbook. Dondua in D. Tbilisi. Ulozhenie. 14. Purtseladze (ed. There is no doubt. Tbilisi. it is best discussed at this point.44 The extensive data provided by the preamble allow the precise dating of the Law of Giorgi in the year 1335. 10-11. such as the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga or the Law of Giorgi V. for the organization and 43 44 The exact extent of the territory to which Giorgi’s law applied is much disputed. The limited geographical applicability of the Law of Giorgi. Rasporiadok tsarskogo dvora. As it name indicates. Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi.D. for the mountainous regions (Mtiuleti) in the Central Caucasus. The preamble also indicates explicitly that the Law is only concerned with secular matters and that it does not affect the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the catholicos and the bishops appointed by him. one would expect that the memory of it would not have been completely lost at the time Vakhtang VI compiled his collection.). 45 Cf. from the Daryal Gorge (the present border with Russia). about the strategic importance of the area surrounding the only major road through the Main Range of the Caucasus.308 Law in Medieval Russia the whole kingdom. or at some earlier moment. across the Krestovy Pass. but otherwise the question remains open. 1991. such as Javaxišvili and Dolidze in this respect. but as it is roughly contemporary with the Law of Giorgi V. however. it was found by accident in 1908. I. along the foothills of Mount Kazbek. There are reasons to believe that at least Giorgi himself did not promulgate such a code. although it is considerably shorter and limits itself mostly to the regulation of all kinds of personal offences and injuries and the amounts of sisxli to be paid for them. the upper reaches of the Ksani and Aragvi rivers. Ulozhenie.). written by somebody close to the king. according to its lengthy preamble. The Law of Giorgi refers occasionally to what “has been ordained of old” (dzvelitgan gačenili). such as those of Bagrat the Kuropalates. Bilingual (Georgian and Russian) edition in the series “Monuments of Georgian Law”. 11-15. in which legislation from the same period. cf. and earlier laws. into the Kartlian heartland. Purtseladze. 1970. were included. Russian translation by V. but was meant specifically. combined with its closeness to the somewhat earlier Law of Beka. The Order of the King’s Court45 The Order of the King’s Court (xelmc’ipis k’aris garigeba) is a curious document which was not included in the corpus of Vakhtang’s Laws. Purtseladze. raises the intriguing question whether a now lost general code of law existed at the time. This may be explained by the cultural and socio-economic differences between the more developed and prosperous area of Samtskhe and the more primitive conditions prevailing in Mtiuleti.43 Its general character is close to the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga. Surguladze (ed.I.

The Law of the Catholicos The golden age under queen Tamara was followed by centuries of disorder and foreign domination. however. with only a short revival under Giorgi the Brilliant.L. a position reserved for the archbishop of Chkondidi (therefore also called the Čqondideli). sisxli is mentioned only once in passing. nothing that was not in the Nomocanon had been added. No.1.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 309 etiquette of the court of the king of Georgia. the “chief secretary” (mc’ignobartuxucesi) or prime-minister. and the chief marshal (msaxurtuxucesi) or minister of the royal household. 84-98. enacted by the All-Georgian catholicos. and the “father-of-the-king” (atabagi). 391-397. like its sister church in Armenia. somewhere around the middle of the 16th century. The Georgian church. it provides detailed information on the organization of the Georgian state. the collection of Greek ecclesiastical law. and three lesser ones: the chief constable (mandaturtuxucesi) or minister of internal affairs. Purtseladze in Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. remained united and to some extent the catholicos stepped into the void created by the disappearance of the central state. Such questions are rarely discussed in medieval legal sources and this makes the Order of the King’s Court a particularly valuable document.46 15. 1985. The law resulted from a synod of West-Georgian bishops and presumably applied only to that part of the country.4. The presence and blessing of the All-Georgian catholicos lent it extra authority. its chief officials and their different responsibilities. who competed in status with the prime-minister. No. Georgian text in Dolidze I. It is replaced by the severe penalties. 59-72. the commander-in-chief (amirspasalari). The impact of Georgian law is therefore minimal. The body of laws collected by Vakhtang VI also contained a general law. . neither was it very different from what was current in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. at 59-63. Comments and Russian translation by D. common to Byzantine law. together with the catholicos of Abkhazia. The division of responsibilities between the chief functionaries of the king’s government may have been inspired by Byzantine and Persian models. Although it is not a law. The country fell apart into a number of kingdoms and principalities and no important legislation survived until the Law Code of Vakhtang VI in the beginning of the 18th century. According to the preamble.47 The law purports to be an excerpt of the Byzantine Nomocanon. 46 47 The king’s council consisted of three major officials. and 1986. the chief treasurer (mečurčletuxucesi) or minister of finance. at 85.

oaths.310 Law in Medieval Russia 16. to a modern lawyer. Artsicles 160-168 regulate sales and the remainder of the first half of the Code (arts. duels. It is addressed to the judges who have to use the Code. Tbilisi. The last sentences are worth quoting: “Whoever thinks of something [new] and remembers it. was the elaboration of a new and comprehensive legislation for the kingdom of Kartlia-Kakhetia (i. and this is paid to the victim.” The first five provisions of the Code are then devoted to various admonitions to judges. A chapter on debts constitutes the third main part (arts.150-159) still used the payment of sisxli as the standard sanction. partition was a much less prominent topic. Then a solemn conclusion follows. Only in case of theft from the treasury or from the church. as before. In the older codes of Beka and Aghbuga and of Giorgi V. The tone of the preamble. As debts may be based on a great variety of factors. By the time Vakhtang wrote his Code. A longish second half follows (arts. let him include it and write it down. without any clear attempt at systematization.L. he will do a good and fitting deed. The general character of the Code was conservative.205-270). The next main part (arts. its innovations reflected primarily the further development of traditional institutions. Russian translation by D. Purtseladze.e. the king or the catholicos will determine what the thief will have to pay. the eastern part of Georgia) in the beginning of the 18th century. admission of guilt. in accordance with tradition. this chapter. testimony of witnesses. . The Law Code of Vakhtang VI48 The reason for the collection of old Georgian laws. It probably restates separate laws which were for some 48 Georgian text in Dolidze I. the old system of family or clan ownership had lost its vitality and a system of individual ownership or ownership by smaller family units had replaced it. This explains the importance of the rules on partition. French translation by Karst (see note 2). seven times the value of the stolen property is added. depended on the social status of the victim).17-97). The chapter on theft (arts.98-115) regulates partition. is didactic and moralising. Articles 6-14 deal with various kinds of evidence which may be employed to substantiate a claim: ordeals. To the sisxli (which. 1980.189-204) is taken up by sundry provisions. which recounts how the Code has been written with great care and which again admonishes judges and everybody else involved in its application. presents an amalgam of quite diverse topics. not to the state. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. 475-532.116-149). Articles 15-16 explain the complicated monetary system and then the first main part of the Code identifies a great variety of acts which lead to the payment of sisxli (arts. as effected by Vakhtang VI.

the annexation of Kartlia-Kakhetia by Russia in 1800 deprived these projects of any practical significance. 1995.52 49 50 Cf. Tbilisi. appended to the first half of the Code. Notwithstanding the time of its enactment. The drafters recall certain outstanding cases from the past and include the most desirable solutions in their new law. The provisions of the Dasturlamali are discussed extensively by Kekelia. It would seem that by the time the first draft of the Code had been completed. 52 Only a Georgian text is available in the series of “Monuments of Georgian Law”. Tbilisi. Giorgi XII) continued the family tradition.50 However.).51 It is of special importance on account of the information it offers on the organization of the courts. Surguladze. king of Kartlia-Kakhetia 1762-1798). Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. 1970. After Vakhtang. based on a complicated social stratification (various ranks of princes. This defect was to some extent corrected by the promulgation.I. bearing the title of Dasturlamali. and his grandsons Davit and Ivane (the sons of the last king of Kartlia-Kakhetia. more or less along the lines of the 14th century Order of the King’s Court.). Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi. Bagrationta samepo saxli [The Royal House of Bagration]. Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. not only the king himself. the casuistic approach is prominent. Surguladze (ed. As in most traditional legislation. Tbilisi. the kingship of Kartlia eventually came into the hands of another branch of the Bagrationi family. 8. 1986. of whom Irakli II was the most important (king of Kakhetia 1744-1762. each drafting a law code. a number of new questions had arisen and appropriate solutions were formulated as new rules. nobles.49 His sons were active as provincial legislators. the new handbook. The Code of Vakhtang VI continued to be applied in Georgia for some time and was translated into Russian. Unlike the latter. Dasturlamali The Law Code of Vakhtang hardly dealt with matters concerning the organization of the state. M. . at about the same time. 51 Cf. 17. of a new handbook of court regulations. was an official document. M. peasants and bondsmen). merchants. I. Kekelia.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 311 reason omitted in the first draft. the Code still portrays a thoroughly feudal society. or new legislation. sud i sudebnyi protsess (Vtoraia polovina XVIII–pervaia polovina XIX v. but also the queen and the royal princes took an active part in the administration of justice. the kings of Kakhetia.

civil damages or criminal punishment being of secondary importance in most instances. in order to establish how it came into being. would often appear to be very similar to counterparts in various continental European systems. whether it was invented of borrowed from elsewhere. such as individual laws or entire legal systems. and its major sub-divisions. i. The toolboxes of civil or criminal law were largely identical.e.g. reflected a social. our sources consist mainly of the law codes of the Cilician kingdom. political and economic reality which was fundamentally different from its European counterparts. In view of the length of the period. depending on the exact dating of the Law of Bagrat Kuropalates). the conservatism of Georgian law is striking. With regard to Armenia. The payment of sisxli. maintaining considerable continuity through the ages. etc. are compared. When complexes of rules. Notwithstanding its long history. and how it developed over time. the timeframe is more modest. This is indeed true. German. criminal law) would be a good case in point. Georgian law may therefore still be regarded as a diachronic entity. The Soviet legal system. embracing a period of three centuries. The majority of the constituent elements. Applying this approach to the medieval legal systems of Armenia and Georgia. but a very important point would be missed in this way. Conclusions As the approach in this chapter has been largely descriptive. rather than as the sum of its components. the period concerned is much longer (some 800-1000 years. but they were used for entirely different jobs. the complex should preferably be viewed as a whole. but as the most central sanction applicable in law. all being genetically connected and sharing a common origin. One might then conclude that Soviet civil or criminal law could be placed in a single category together with French. The Armenian and Georgian legal systems examined in this chapter operated both in a setting which could loosely be identified as “feudal”. For Georgia. for instance the individual provisions of the civil or criminal code. taken as a whole. a more comprehensive or holistic approach is indicated. The legal system of the former Soviet Union. or some of its major “branches” (e. . not as an obscure relic. It is. as a system of interrelated elements. civil law. it will be sufficient to highlight a few points which emerge when the medieval legal systems of Georgia and Armenia are compared.312 Law in Medieval Russia 18. survived into the 18th century in Georgia. blood-money. law. of course. a perfectly legitimate exercise in comparative legal history to look at a specific rule or a specific legal institution. we intend to look first and foremost at the kind of social and political system reflected. Italian.

mentioned by Zoidze. while Georgia by and large retained the older system of composition between offender and victim. The provisional conclusion will have to be that Georgian law. in his edition of the Code of Beka and Aghbuga.g. In this sense. magnates. monasteries. which occupies a unique place among the civil codes of the successor states of the Soviet Union and has clear connections with German civil law conceptualization. The fact that this type of feudalism (like West European feudalism) functioned within a Christian civilization meant that the church in its various emanations (bishops. The few examples of Western influence on the Code of Vakhtang VI.e.53 Foreign authors. are not particularly convincing. Armenia took over many of the severe maiming penalties of Byzantine law. and from the (medieval French) law of the Crusader states. we mean a society where the majority of the population is employed in agriculture. is hard to find. or Purtseladze. Zoidze. however. Georgian law has borrowed from abroad is difficult to establish. but rather in a somewhat Marxist sense. medieval Armenian law was indirectly connected to Roman law. 15-16. not in the precise sense of European history. . Older Georgian authors generally insist on the predominantly autochtonous character of Georgian law. They have recently been joined by the prominent Georgian legal historian. The Cilician Armenian codes borrowed extensively from Byzantine law. One of the most significant differences between Armenian and Georgian medieval law is in the system of penalties. A more detailed examination brings out significant differences between Armenia and Georgia. merely reactivates Georgia’s traditional links with European legal institutions. be astonishing if Byzantine law had left no traces in medieval Georgian law. and the higher strata of society (kings. By this. the Armenian and Georgian states did not differ essentially from the contemporary states of the Crusaders. such as Karst or Kovalevskii. from the older Syro-Roman law. has preserved its original character quite well over a long period. Cilician Armenia was much more open to external influences. B. The main thrust of Zoidze’s article (quoted in note 2) is to demonstrate that the enactment of the modern Georgian Civil Code.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 313 i. clerical personnel) was fully integrated into the social and legal system. in his edition of the Code of Giorgi the Brilliant. social stratification is based primarily on the personal and property relationships concerning the use of land. 19. which is not surprising in view of its geopolitical location.54 It would. posit a strong influence of Graeco-Roman law. indeed. How. and to what extent. higher and lower nobility) are bound together by a network of mutual obligations. Evidence for strong influence. especially when compared with Armenian law. Dolidze. in 53 54 E. In this way.

.314 Law in Medieval Russia very serious cases exile could be imposed (itself often an ancient penalty) and in later times capital punishment was available in rare cases. Another significant difference between Armenian and Georgian law was in their treatment of church functionaries and church property. it also generally enjoyed a higher degree of legal protection by the state than in Georgia. Not only did the church figure much more prominently in Armenian law.

... 249................................ 18n................ 231 Berezhkov..............................................157 Baumgarten....... 62n......68n................N....................................................... 193 Andrei Ivanovich (of Serpukhov). Boris Vladimirovich........... emp............. 250 Bentham.......... M.............18n Amira............................................301n Alkinoos.. emp............ 177n Antigone................. 202.................... Andrei Vasil’evich (of Volotsk).......... 231 Aleksei Fedorovich (Russian tsar)........................... 275n...... 114ff....................................................... 200 Attila............. 194n.... É....................................................... 269n..... 305n Askold...........................................G........... 175n Baranowski...................... 22.. 91 Arogast........ de........... 295......202 Aleksandr Iaroslavich Nevskii (of Vladimir and Moscow)........................ 255 Aleshkovskii....... D...........................)....205 Biulek... 137n................................................... 28n Alishan..... 255n...... 69......... G....... Akun (Haakon. K.......... N.......197.. 204.... 228 Ankhimiuk...A...................................28 Agamemnon.... 278 Beka................. 238 Bibikov.............. 15n Birger II (of Sweden).....9n.................................. 226ff.....59n Avtokratov..... N............... Barry.... Matthaeus....................... V.... 304ff............. 55n Behrmann............... 193 Andrei Iur’evich (of Volynia)............................xxv Algra................................... 175n...... 312 Bagrat III (of Georgia)...V. 123n B Bagrat Kuropalates.............. 229 Aleksandr Mikhailovich (of Tver’)...................V. Beneshevich......231 Blastaris....................171n Baranov......221.... A....... 225 Andrei Iaroslavich (of Suzdal’).........189ff.....................190n................. K. 219 Aleksandr Kazimirovich (of Lithuania)................197n Aleksei (metropolitan of Moscow).... 246n Austin.......7 Berdibek............ 270n..207 Aristenes.............14n Boguslavskii... 199n................ 307ff............................... xiiin Boris Aleksandrovich (of Tver’)................................. emp......................... Iu.................. 136n.......202 Andrei Dmitrievich (of Mozhaisk).........2 Avanesov....V....... 304ff.............297 Bagrat IV (of Georgia)...227ff....... 230 Boris Vasil’evich (of Volotsk).......... 44n..... 34n.....7n....... 183n Binchy............. J......... M.... 37n................. M...xxv Aleksei Mikhailovich (Russian tsar).. 160n..................Kh...................... 287n Alekseev............................I. 304ff.............. R.................... 143 Albrecht (Adalbert. 307ff................ ......................... H... 213n......... 279ff..V...... Albert)............................ 135 Bodogast............ 213n.....41 Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir).297 Alekseev.... Bloch................................ 221 Aleksandre the Great (of Georgia).........................................................199n Andrei Iur’evich Bogoliubskii (of Vladimir)...........D.......xxv.....................M............................21n................. 184 Baty.........84n............... 40 Alexander II (Russ............. 304ff...........132............. D.............................................. ................................................................................ 19......144n Blum.................... 45n..14n Ashot Bagrationi...).... 37 ........... 101n................ M......123n............. M.. 239 Antonov. 21. Andrei Vasil’evich (of Uglich)... G........................ V......... 81n.......................Index of Personal Names A Abel..............................N................. M......... L.............. S.............................V...............J..... 265n Alexander (Byz. 251........................... 213n...13n............. 306 Bakhrushin......... nephew of Igor of Kiev)...................................... .73...... 139 Blud....)......................................... xxiii......124........................193......... J... Iu..2 Benveniste................................ 288n Berman.................................. 227ff.. von............242n Basil I (Byz...... 89n....... ......... H.........229 Avenarius..... 147n. 46n Andrei Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir).............. 240n Aghbuga............. 176n............................. J........ 175n Arbud........

........ Iu............. 60n............... L. 80n...... R................ L........................ emp................................ P............. emp........35...... ................164n Butler. 304n.................. 97..................................... Epifanov............116....... 175n Eutychius. 194................ 199........... 258 Brunner...........80n............. ......................... 82 Cicero.................. 310n................................................. 13n...............213........... 204n..... R.... 88ff.......... 251 Borisov...... 230 E Eck...... 23n Dzhanibek Khan........................Ph. N.......................P... T...... 306n............................. G..........................J... von.. N.................. 177...D............................ 225ff............ 64n Chingis-Khan....... emp......)................... 211n..... 172n. 25.. E.... I....... xiiin Brunner. H..... 309n........... 13n Buckland. 307n............. xiiin Dewey........... 196n...22. 196n.266n. 99n D’iakonov. 28 Clark................ 274n Burgmann........................................... 311 Dekkers............... xixn Charlemagne.........151ff...... 248. 313n Dondua.... xiin C Cain................................... 221............. P.... J............213n................H....... xx............ 193 Danislav Lazutinich..S.D..........................144 David Ol’govich (of Vladimir). ..O.. xxii.. 308n. 244n.... 178n Bushuev.................. 192............... 239 Claessen..... xiv.. 251n...................... 289n Chernousov.... R.................. 163 Cherepnin. Law in Medieval Russia D Daniil Aleksandrovich (of Moscow)...)..316 Boris (Bulg... 147n.. David the Restorer (of Georgia)..................... I... 96n Cross...................... H..................................................................299 Davit Bagrationi (of Georgia)............ 222... I. 253 Chistiakov... 12n... 298n..... A........... J....... metropolitan).W.V..54n............... 229 Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka (of Galich)......195ff.. W....................A................................ Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi (of Moscow)..J................. 213n Cyril II (Russ..................... 100n Bunge....B....................... ..)......... 230 Dmitrii (Krasnyi) Iur’evich (of Galich).......................................... 149n Crummey..... 199...........xviin...........M. 72 Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (Byz............................28 Catherine II......................... 24n. L.......202 Dmitrii Andreevich (?) (of Volynia)........... ..................... N......................72n Bury....................... 248n Eskin................... 15n D’iakonov.... 159n.. 149n....I. 175n Dietze.. 271n..250 Chadwick.......247n Bozoyan... V.....239ff. 211n............... 26.............. 157.... A.... 308n Dounar................ 203n.........144 Dolidze...40....................S................ C. W... 255n Edel.............. 268n................... 88n Boris Godunov (Russian tsar)... 34n....................... 54n.................................. 22n..................................... 118......... 85n.76 Ewers.256n Dowsett. 11n. S. 131n.. tsar)............................................................................... I....... H... 253ff............ 295n. 170n...... 131..... H. 225ff....... 191n..... 231 Engels....................... 123n........... emp...192n..158... M......... xiiin Cliteur.................................... Cohen.................................. 204.................. 246n........... 197......... 299n Brezhnev........... F..................... 112n....7n......................... 66n Chudin..... 15n Edigei.... 3 Clovis. 190ff........ 79n......... 197n..G.............13n..... S...... 91 Cyrillus.................................. 237 Constantine V Copronymus (Byz.................................. 305n..S......M...36............... R...............I....... ...................... 299n Dubov.xxin.......................................... 188n..... 298.297 David of Sanjak. 162ff................... xviiin..................... D.. ... 247 Dobrynia...... 307n.........................................B..........M..........254n Dvornichenko........V..12............................ ... 184 Constantius (Byz.)........ ...............171n. O.................V......34n ............. 286n................................................. A..... 200 Dmitrii Aleksandrovich (of Novgorod).. xviin Dir.......... 64......................xxiii........ xix...................I............... 169n. 205ff..................F. S........... F.................Iu.......... Dylykov.204.....26 Conrad.............. 163n Constantine the Great (Byz................................................ 11n Chaev........

........................... xixn Iakubovskii.......... 268 Iakovlev. I..................xxii........................................................ 230 Fedor Nikitich Romanov.... F................................. 182n. A. D........ 133ff..............................167.......... xiiin Holwerda..219n Feognost (metropolitan of Moscow)....... 307ff....... 311 317 Gippius.. 55n............ 177ff............L..................... 304... 294n Gimon.......... 207.................................................. 285n Friedrich...... W....... A.......151n F Fedor Alekseevich (Russian tsar)......................216n ................. 28n Hofmann. 98ff.................... 30 Howes......53n.................................... 241 Hobbes... 1... 156n............. T............. 242n Fennel... 256n..... 42n.... 278................. 253ff...........A...29 Hoekema............ 168n.................................. 3n......... 81n... 147n...............19......................................... V.... B...................... R...... V......... 101 Hanak................... 304ff.... Gudavichius.......... R................. J................... 124n...... 60. 124n.................. 15n Goodman........ 18n................................. Hammurabi................ A...................... 170n Ginis........C..........3n Gregory of Tours................I............. 231 Fikentscher......... V.. N....... 268n Goetze...199n.... 62n. 67..............................247ff.. A.......... 230 Feldbrugge....................... ..3n Gorskii....... D..... 268n Grigor’ev.....298n Halperin... 19n.................... Ch... 213n.......... A........................................A.. 29n...K.248 Hitler..........157n...... 30.......248 Filipp (metropolitan of Moscow)................... A.................................. xiin........... 3.........12. 17n.....................137n.... G Gaius. 283n........................ 134n............ 225 Fedor Vasil’evich (of Riazan’)......... D..................V............... 216n............... xviin Harmenopoulos...........D.... 101n Froianov........................... 199...................... G.....P.T..............301n Ganev..... A........72n Ginsburgs..........147n.............V.......................... V............. 150n.. 135ff............... see Filaret Fedor Ol’govich (of Riazan’).... 218n.............. 15n..................... T.................... xxi...............132............ 193 Gleb Vladimirovich. 29n............... 167n.. 190n I Iagich.......xiiin............... 246n Hammer...... E....... 116n Ganshof.Index of Personal Names Eymund............. 149n.. 213n...... 164............R...........205 Hakobian.. 183n Forbes..... H..... ......... 191 Franke................ Hellie.. R........ 64n.................. 7n...A.... 214n Granberg... 139n Gardanov. 3 Filaret (patriarch of Russia).... 37n............................... xviin Fotii (metropolitan of Moscow)........... A.........xxn....... 9n...... .... 213n............................... 162 Grekov..P.. 65ff....................... 251 Fedor L’vovich (of Novosil’-Odoev)..............2n.. 230 Fedor Ivanovich (Russian tsar)... 151n............256n Gurevich.D.................. 16.......K................... O.. xiiin... 17n H Haakon V (of Norway).2 Hoebel...... 148..... 298..297... 266n...... 73n Homer.................................. 230ff........ xiii.......131 Gurney..177n............... .. 34n............. W............. G............................303 Giorgi XII (of Georgia)....... A............ 162n........... Fisher.................................. ...................... 199.............. Giorgi XI (of Georgia)........... P............. A..................................... 150n Grant...............................2n Frensdorff............ A. 248n Hermogen (Germogen) (Russian patriarch)....... 50n........ 251 Fedor Iur’evich (of Suzdal’)........ L.............. J... 216n...................... 45n..................................R.. .262n Gleb Iur’evich (of Kiev)...... 53n Iakov (tysiatskii of Novgorod)........ xxin............... 119 Galstian.... J....... 37 Goetz........Ia.. 69ff........................ 55 Ezhov..... V................. A.... 219n Gorskii..141n........ 179n........ 162. ..........Ia......... F.......A................. 181n Giorgi V the Brilliant (of Georgia)......... F. 79n.... 261n..R... 212n...... M........ 142.

.................. ... 205...................167n... 97n............. 54ff...... 220.......... 297... 202 Igor (prince of Kiev) ..256n Iurii Danilovich (of Galicia)..193...207 Iaroslav Vladimirovich the Wise (Mudryi).................. 192. 305 Justinian II Rhinotmetes (Byz.. Ivan Iur’evich (of Novosil’-Odoev). 76......... 205ff. 71n... 174n.. 187.. 186 Iushkov.. 102n...202 Iaroslav Iaroslavich (of Tver’)......... 37n....... 197.....57ff.. 265n................ 264n.....xxii............................. 244n.. 208n.. xx.. 40n. 34n................. 143 Iukho..... 69.....199n.... 168...... 175n......... 55 Ingvar Igor’evich (of Riazan’).. 147........... 255....................... ................ 186n.......... 187........ 44...... 58n.. .213n...124.... 248...188. 82ff...... 198..... 35...... 230 Ivan II Ivanovich (of Moscow)........... the Terrible (of Moscow)..............171 Ilarion............. 123............................. 171................... 89ff.............. 221...... 192n..).......... 134n............... 228.. the Great (of Moscow).............. 147n................... 152.................. 199.............. 47...............................300n Isaev..........197....... 303n. 104.I... 230 Ivan Vasil’evich (of Serpukhov-Borovsk)............... 229 Ivan Andreevich (of Mozhaisk)............................... 65ff.......... 175ff. 220 Iurii Sviatoslavich (of Smolensk)....... 227 Ivan Vladimirovich (of Pronsk).. 193. 206n......... Joseph of Volokolamsk................................. 170n.. Iaroslav Vsevolodovich (of Vladimir)......... 89n................... I... 199 Ivan III Vasil’evich.. 199n..I................ 219n................... emp. 143 Igor Iaroslavich. ..............213n.A....... 143....... 36ff.... 270 Iaroslav Iaroslavich (of Vladimir and Novgorod)..... 255n.....V... 262n. 225 Iurii Danilovich (of Moscow)...173n................. 93. D. 193 Ioann (metropolitan of Moscow)..... 43n........ 188n.. . 230 Iaroslav Vladimirovich (of Novgorod).. 230 Ivan Vasil’evich Gorbatyi (of Suzdal’)........................ 144n.. 244n........ 91....................... 95n......189ff.......... ...... 191ff..... 49ff........................ 311 Isabella (of Armenia)................ 230 Ivan I Danilovich Kalita (of Moscow).........).A..A... ................311 Ivar.....151 J Javaxišvili..................................... 70....................184n.... 134n........ ..... 52.... 199. 76....xxiv........ 41.. 95...............81n........ 55.................. 185 Iziaslav Iaroslavich....... 199........ 191. 101. ...144n Ianin......... 44...... 285n Law in Medieval Russia Ivan Aleksandrovich (of Smolensk).... 225...........202ff...............203n. ....... I....... Ivan Fedorovich (of Riazan’)............................. 268n. 207n.... .. Ivan IV Ivanovich (of Riazan’).. 230 Irakli II (of Georgia).. Ia.... ......189............ 229 Iurii Vladimirovich Dolgorukii.... S. Tver’ and Novgorod)..... 286n .... . 185 Igor (nephew of foregoing)..... 193....................... . 194n.. 214n.................. 80n..................... 244ff.. 188n............................................ xxin Ingigerd.... 171 Iziaslav Mstislavich (of Kiev). V........... .318 Ian Vyshatich... 266 Ivan IV Vasil’evich.......... 141ff.... 266n........... 225ff. 151....................... 200.. 275n............ emp..... 284n Iaropolk Sviatoslavich.... 67.... 213.199n Iurii Dmitrievich (of Galich)....199n................................ 279n.. 42n................................................. .. 114.. 308n John the Scholastic.............. 123n.. 251 Ivan III Vasil’evich (of Riazan’).......................... 85 Indova...... 215.. 211.............. 192n............. 190n. 94n.... 230 Ioann (bishop of Sarai)......... 205ff.......... 71 K Kaiser......................... 93n....... 46. xixn Justinian I (Byz...............171 Iaroslav Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir...........H.....................................67n.............40.... 212n........xvii.............................. E............................ 263.. 230 Ivane Bagrationi..... 186 Iziaslav Vladimirovich (of Polotsk)... 81n.. 79n... 244n Iskusevi........... 143......... 82......................... 62n...... xiii........ 162n....................... 60n....104..

...................... 35.. 294n........ K............. P................184n L Lange................. F.....251n........................... I............................................. .....................149n M MacNeill...... . D.....Index of Personal Names Kaiser....... 305n Lordkipanidze.........59ff......... F............ R..... 307n.... 46n Limonov............. 313 Kashtanov....... N..............S........ Llewellyn...262n Khoroshkevich....................................... 214.........................300n Korolev...E.............. H............. 177................... N...... 313 Kozlova...... I................................................. M...296..279.... 23n Karst..... Iu.... 150n............. xxin....................... Kh......... Kalinina.....239ff............. N. 249n Küpper................ 269n Kaufhold.................D.......210......................... 70n....... 269n... 205n............. 185n Koschaker....... O.... 175......... Iu................ M........... 205ff.....................D.............. J......... 44............L....... K.....22n Khetum I (of Armenia).......B. Kosniachko..................... A... 23 Maksimeiko....................................... Leo (Levon) II the Great (of Armenia)............... 2............................ J.......... . 202n............... xiiin....... F......... E.............. .295n....I..... I..............................F........................... 222.........29 Locke.................... 151n... 208n........ A.....................71n........................ von...... 217n Kevorkian......... V.2n Kolff...... 198n.. A.................................... S...B.... N. 116ff.... M....... N..................... 36n.....D.. 193 Lukin.. 86.................................. 11n Komarov.............. 268n. 262n......................V.... T...... emp............... 76n............. M..... N.75n...... 68n Kuchkin. 117n............................... S...... 86.. 116n.....A.... 48n Konstantin Pail............N.. 217n..... F....A....................72n 319 Krivosheev...............230 Kisterev............O................ 294............... Kh.V.... V.............. 148......... emp. V.................. Mavrodin................. N............... A.......... ..... E............. 306n Lotharius................ P..1..21n..... 294n Khazanov.. 73n....P......... O.....V........ 205........... 125n........... R... J......... 142 Kovalevskii....... 299n Kazakova............184n.... 271n Köhler............................. 48n.................. 251n Karnovich...................... 108ff.... A......................... 299ff...... 82 Kotliar............ V....... 257n Lenin........................ 276n....... A...... 255n......xxv........188n.M............... 279ff............ 134n Khoroshev.......64ff............ 284n Kliuchevskii....157n.. 135.... 99 Lazuta.......... J................ 218n Karpovich. 96.....V... 132 ....... A.... 72n............... 303n Karamzin................254n Kucherov............... xv. P..... 300n Leontovich........ 158........56 Lovmians’kii..... 79n...... 68ff..A........ N... 265n......L.................. 48n....... 294n Konovalova....... ................M...V.....................M.......... 310n..... 224 Khrushchev........... S........ Kazimir IV (of Poland and Lithuania).....245n Levitsky........... 168n.........M..256n Lokin.................. 118 Mallory.... A.... 72 Leo VI the Wise (Byz. 112....... ... 124n...................... 300 Khlebnikov..... 40............197ff.......S..... ............. 63.94ff.....). 284n Kleimola...............................207n.......................A........ 73ff...E......256n Kalachov......... 175n Martens..A.194n Kandelhard....P.....I.............................. 7n.. .......................................... 185n........... S....133 Kirill (metropolitan of Moscow)...............311n Kelly..... 192n... 181n Martysevich.).......................................F... 270n Kekelia............. xiv......2 Loewe.......... N.................. 229ff. 10............ 106....... A......................... 248n Markevich................ 294n Lev Danilovich (of Galicia)..M.... 224.......I.........35n...... 109ff.... 286n Marx. 156n.. 93n.............. H........ 72n. 15n Magnus V Eriksson (of Sweden).........................M.........S... 147n........ 63.. H.................G.......................... 264n...... 186n Lipshits.......... 222 Maine....................... S.... K................. ...........249 Kresten...254n Makrizi...V..298n Khashaev...... 9n Man’kov............................. 68n Kuznetsov........V............. 15n Kerim-Berdy.....................................55n.....56 Louis the Pious.. 97..H........ 99n Kleinenberg... 8n.... 32 Maiorov...................... 68.. E..... 179 Leo III the Isaurian (Byz......................................... ......

. A........... N................ 276n................ 248n Meissner.....A.................................................................................298n Papovian........... 183n... 196.. 175n Mel’nikova...... 54n.......................N..... ......................... 69 Odysseus......... 170n Nazarova.248...41....92 Nikitskii...270 Murtazy. A........160n......W. 283n Nedzila Pekhtinich...... 193 Mikhailova.......................xvii Nosov. 142.. 143.).... 229 Omel’chenko..L........ 244n Onasch............................. T......A. 221...... 185n... emp...... 157n.. 193 Mikhail Iur’evich (of Vladimir)........P... 213.........B...... ........... E................N........... 168...124n Novosel’tsev. 35.........254n................................................. 93n.. O..................... J..........164n Miroshka (posadnik of Novgorod)........... 216n Nazarenko........... 214 Mushkhelishvili. V........2 Morse. 283n Patrikii Narimontovich....... 43n... 82 Mironov........171 Oleg Sviatoslavich (of Chernigov).P.127................. 306n Law in Medieval Russia N Nasilov...............V............. 109n Meiske.....3n Mstislav Davidovich (of Smolensk)... 23n Nasonov.......D. Michael III (Byz......... 186n................. H............... 73n.......P....................... 193 Mikhail Vsevolodovich (of Kiev)........... Iu.......... A..... 114n. 42n.......... 186............................ 186n....... .......................88n Mikhail (metropolitan of Moscow)....... 177 ............ G................... 262n Novitskaia.................................................. I...............................152 Mstislav Vladimirovich.. 240n Olaf ............91n McLeod... 218n.....320 Maxim (Kievan metropolitan)...... 224ff..............36n... 184n....... B.......... 170ff.. 131..................... 268 Mitchell.... ............................................. Mikhail Andreevich (of Verei-Belozero)............ 217n..... 254 Mikula.......... A............... 196........ L......I..................... A.. xviin Mitteis...... D.............. 52.. 79n Ostrowski...E....................I.242n Mel’nikov............................ 284n...................................................... 304ff... 115n Nikifor (Kievan metropolitan)..... 288n Nikol’skii...........E................41... 202ff.. 207......... 170n........ 212n................................. 168........................ 211n..36n.......................... A.. 212 Oleg Ivanovich (of Riazan’).. 40.. A.T.......212n O Obolensky....249 Noah.. J...D.............................. 15n Medvedev........... 134n...........299ff. 82 Mikyfor (Nikifor) the Kievan.............. 94n. 44.......G...... 218n Merkulov........ 219................ 262n Oosten................................. K....... 246n P Paichadze............... 184......... 194n....... 192.... 229 Mstislav Sviatopolkich................................. E......... I.......301n Pashuto...................56n Methodius...... 270n..............274n.......................172.. 230 Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (Russian tsar)........... 216n................................. 227ff................................... 143 Olaf Tryggvason....................21n....................... 200................ B.. 220 Mikhail Iaroslavich (of Vladimir) ........ 273n........... 269n Mengu-Timur.......................................................... 43n.....xvi Nevolin...................... 170n.................. 185n... 193n................ C.. Mikhail Borisovich (of Tver’)............ 225 Oleg Sviatoslavich (of Dereva) ...................................................A. 55 Oleg (prince of Kiev).................. Morgan.......71n......................... V.231 Mikhail Aleksandrovich (of Tver’)..144 Nestor. 147n......................... 55n... 192 Munstede....... 88ff.................... 141ff.................. 74n....I.......................................... S.................................. 198ff....N....................... 184n Olgerd Gediminovich (prince of Lithuania).........xviin........ 225ff...... .......147n.......................... 251 Mikhail Iaroslavich (of Tver’)............25n Oroschakoff............ .H.. Nikon (Russian patriarch)....54n.................. G..... 305n Mkhitar Gosh............... 23n............................... ........ 55.. 75n......... E.....35... Hans... 230 Menshikov............ D.............. 186 Olga.................................. 72n.. 195ff..... R. 210n... D...........

... 23n Riesenkampf............ 309n.xivn.................................. 184n Salegast...........124n Pomorski............. 91 Scheil......................... 186n........ 193n Predslava............................. R...D.......124n Shunaev.. 73n Schröder..... ..... 207n...... 158n........ 245n Ruben I (of Armenia)................................ 189ff......... 5 Rapov...V...... 274n..................... 188n........................................... M.............................. A.... 167.............61......M......248 Pseudo-Dmitrii II.. A..K................................ 275n............. 89ff............. S........ 188........... 194n Sergei of Radonezh....... 229..... 123n Pivovarov. 261n. A...................305n Semën Ivanovich (of Moscow)..... 15n Pronshtein..... S... A.... 122.........B. ...... 106ff..................... 270n.........74. 177 Pchelov.....P.. emp.....)............ 68.......P..... 251 Petr Dmitrievich (of Dmitrov)...300n Rurik... 54.....A. xxi.................................A.....................L... ............... 178.......... A.......................... xxii Schlüter. V........... 172ff..... N....... 208n.......... 143 Presniakov...... E................. ................ 197n............ 93n Pavlov-Sil’vanskii.......... J.........A............ I......................... 275n Shchapov.......... 55n S Saak Partev (Armenian catholicos)...................... 284n. V... 274n.......... 276n................ 157n.......... S.......Index of Personal Names Pavlov....... 162n. 198n........... 44.... 120ff.. A...........168n Sherbowitz-Wetzor...V...................P........................ 153n..... 303n.......... 308n... A.............. 225 Photius (Byz.................. Iu.. 79................. 75 Rostislav Mstislavich (of Smolensk).......242n Schultz...... 66ff............ 68n Saidov............................... 213n Pritchard...................... 162 Silvester (Livonian Landmeister). 56...... 294n Sakharov.............248 Purtseladze...... 148ff........ 279 Rydzevskaia...E...... A. L.I..........214n................. 168n... 262 Rusanivs’kyi... F................... 283n............ M........... 35n...... jr... xvii. 56.... 88n Piotrovskaia. O................. 81n............ 268n. Shaskol’skii..........S.....M................................ A............ E........W..... xxv.... 170n.131n...... 218n.. 86....I.. 279.. 82 Perun (Slavic deity).130ff................ 55n. O. 176n......... A................................................. 112......... xvii Shapiro.. 278ff............ 209 ..........................................................................................40..G.................. 175n................ 177.......175n........... E.... 22n...................xvi.M.................... 192ff........ 144..............D..........270n..N........................... xiiin Poppe.............................................. 280n Pseudo-Dmitrii I . .... A....................... ................ 84ff.................... 131n......... 123n Pavlov. 114ff............ 55n Rogvolod (Rognvald)..... N.S......247 Shakhmatov........... 40n.............. 305n........41....................... D......256n Savva (Serbian bishop)................. M........P.....G..............................121n...... 294n Sigibert......... 313n Pushkarev................ 267n..S................. 205n.....120n.......... W................... 243ff..........xviin.298 Sacco....................156n........ 170n Priselkov........... ........... 193 Sergeevich......... C.B....170n Shchepkin.... 141. 183n R Ranke.... 55n Romanus I Lecapenus (Byz........................ 149n Shirokorad............................. U.... L................................ 168n Pereneg...... H.. 105ff..... 285 Schminck..... 80n..14n Salogubova..C....... ....... V....... Walter von (Livonian Landmeister)..........xivn..................I..... 167ff..... 132n........................ 85.... 89n................................xiv Selb......... ............... Dzh................. 35.307n.... 200............ A...S...... 231 Peter the Great.... .........................G...210 Poliak.......... 214n.... xiii.... 34n......... 189............................ 231 321 Rybina...M...... 244n Plettenburg......... V.219n Shtamm..... 125............ xxv.. 122 Satolin.. 94...................... 56n Peshchak.................... 273n Shchavelev...... 138.A....... 73n Schlacks..... 168n... 88n............ 275n......... 54n Schroeder........................ 152n...... 304n..... R........... patriarch)...........J. .......... 219.. .. 13n............ 64. Ia..................... E.......131 Riasanovsky..........................S....... A... 258 Sakharov.. E. 163............... E.. W..... Rogneda.......... .N........19n Scheltema..... 276n....................

. Sludi................. 137n Stoliarova......... 226 Vasilii Iur’evich (of Suzdal’)...303n.................................. 168.. 299ff... 192ff................ 143 Slusser........................................... 170n Soloviev. 82ff....... 309ff. 262n........... S.............................. 11n.... P...127.....P......................143ff. 124n Sophocles......... N.................... . 231 Tobien........... 153n Variazhko... 10 Skalník... 86............................xix................ 181n Trunk................. 98ff...... R....N. 25.......... 185n Sviatopolk Iziaslavich............... Coerd van.. I. 190ff... 2240n Taidula...... 81.......... 13..... 51n..... A............................B..... M..... 204.......... see Zoidze Solov’ev...... 230ff...... 308n......................... 124 Stalin... Valikonite.................... xx......................G....... 244n. I.............. 143 Sveinald ..............S..... 37......... xiiin Tunen........... 214..... 151... xixn. 284n Tiuliak..................... 205...............A............ 79n....... P........ 302n Surguladze...............V........ 132ff............. ....... 225ff........ R....... 195ff... 135..... 34n......... Socrates.....G.... 179............ 110n... 33.. 239 Sofiia Alekseevna (regent of Russia).......... 65............... 171....... 95ff....... 229 Sviatoslav Ol’govich (of Novgorod)........ 43n...xxii............................ 99 Sukasian.............. 311n Surguladze. V...... I.......... 35n....... 199.... .... R............ 136ff........................................................................... Uzbek Khan.......................... B......................xiv..... C................................................ 169n........................56n Thorpe................... 50. M.xxv Strube de Piermont......................................173n...................... 162n............. R........N.... V. 136n. 107......... 60n.152 Sviatopolk Vladimirovich....................322 Simons.)..........V....172n.................. 92ff...........................79 Thomas Aquinas..................... 80n.... 85........ M........................................... xiiin Sirks............................ Vasilii Iur’evich Kosoi (of Galich).............N... ..... M... 197n......... Ulug Mekhmet..... 116ff............... Vasilii Iaroslavich (of Serpukhov and Borovsk).. A........... L.. 174n..... ........... 163 Tatishchev........... 162............184n Stroev.. 248n... 48n........... M... 158.............239n Sorlin.. 34n...................... 247ff.....72n Vasilii I Dmitrievich (of Moscow)................................7n......... 262n Tridat (Tiridates) III (of Armenia)... R.............M..... A............. 57 Sviatoslav Iaroslavich.243n.. 192..... 93n......... 213n. 230 Vasilii II Vasil’evich the Blind ..............21.... 125n Timoshina................191n........ 305n Soidse................ 258 Stephen (Byz............ 82... P.............. 295 Triska.......................................... xviin.. J.... 231 Tolochko... 40 Stephenson...M..........................................................I......B.....G....... 245n Svidrigailo (of Lithuania). 212.......144n Vasil’evskii.......................... 81n..................... 39n........................63.................... 270n Tiktin............A. 185 Sverdlov........................ 85n. Sviatoslav Igor’evich..........311n Svanhild..... 125n Sohm........................ 81n.... 44.. I.........34n Tokhtamysh..................W................................ 12n Tikhomirov... 35.. ....... 253n...251 Sofronenko....... 213n........... 186 Theodor Bestes.... 167.V... 38... 254n Sverki............... 301n.............................300n Thor (Germanic deity).......... 255n Law in Medieval Russia T Tacitus...... 213n V Vakhtang VI................ 75n...143.. Tamayo y Salmorán.......... 108n...................... 152n Speranskii....................... ....... 181n Smbat Sparapet ................ 22n.............. 222...... 26 Skrynnikov.. I.... 191ff..... W.. K............. 87n....270 U Ulpian..................40n.................25n Tassilo.256n Valk......... 303ff................I............................143. ..68ff........ S................... emp..... 147n....... E.. 171. L...... .... 133... 239 Thomson............................. 46n........... 185 Sviatoslav Ivanovich (of Smolensk)...........36n. 65ff.... 300n.......... xi........... 197............................ 229 Szeftel.........

..59n Veenhof..............................183n................... 151.... 159.............35............ B... 46n.......15n.................. van der..239n Weitenberg. 250..... 313 Zonares........19n Venediktov..............xxiii........ 51n.... 244 Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh.....197........ 214. 52n..... 36............ 266n............ 29n Volos (Slavic deity)............. .... ..... ................... 198ff....... A........................ 81n. 255n...........127.7n... 18........... S. 39.......... van der........ 229 Wortman......... 12.. 144. 48n... 130 Vernadsky...............150n Vinke......... 93....F... ..V................................................ J....... 187......229 Vuefast.... 101n...... C............... Vladimir Mstislavich (of Dorogobuzh)......... 215 Vladimirskii-Budanov..............................Index of Personal Names (of Moscow)........................... 295n.............. .. 55.... A.. 32 Zoidze............ xixn..................... xixn Viacheslav Iaroslavich........... .... .. M. ...191........... xxn............. 229ff..298n Wenger.... V...... 81n........... 207n.. 82. 95n. K........... E.........................307n Watling......... 70n........ 177n.......... Th.298n Z Zachariae von Lingenthal..............................B.....A.... K........................ 221 Vasil’ko Rostislavich (of Terebovl’).. 144................ 199......... 208 Wardrop............. 192ff... O....42n.... 44..... 266n....... 39n............... 91 Žužek................................ 47n............. 266n................... 37.... 9........ 152n.... 240n Zimin..... 89n ..... 173n....... 170..........14n Vitovt (prince of Lithuania).................. B... 63................ Vseslav Briacheslavich....... 303n.. 135ff..256n Y Yovhannes III (Armenian catholicos)....... 271n...... 216n.............................. S........M.. 82.............151 Veen................... Vladimir Andreevich (of Serpukhov).149n Zeus................................. 23n..... 214n..41 Vorob’ev........ 156n.... 143 Vliet... 37n... 305n Winckler........190ff...... 83... R.. 200....... 123n....S. 42....... 43n..........J. ............................ 193 Vsevolod Mstislavich (of Novgorod).............151 Vsevolod Iaroslavich.......... 22n..... 143 Vyshata....... 72n.7....... Heidenreich (Livonian Landmeister). 194n.V. 41n...... 272n Zimmer...14n Vilenskii........... 244n.........xiv......... 286n Veselovskii. 253ff....... 171...... 149.. 10n Wal............. 61n...... 204.................I.............. 204. H... 75n....... 273n Vsevolod Mstislavich (?) (of Smolensk)...... 272n Vladislav.......... 76n....... xxin Vilkul... 83...... 66........ G............ 40n. 177n................................... I............. 207n Vladimir Sviatoslavich (St............................................ 142...186ff................... 172n......... ...... 19n...................R..................171 Vidogast....... L... 305n Walram (Land Marshal).... 151ff... 197... 34n.... 8n........................... 174n........................................... 224ff........... xvii......................................144n W Wagenvoort.......... Vladimir)...... H...S......................... E................ 18n.. xxv....... 101n Wladyslaw Jagiello (of Poland)..... 73n................................ ..xvii..................................... 46n. 81n... 38n........................F.........xxii. 34n................. 210.. 196.. 86.210 Visogast..........72n Zernack........... N.. 194n........ 167...................E...... T....................... . ........ 171 323 Vsevolod Iur’evich Bol’shoe Gnezdo (of Vladimir)..........


.. 61........ 90 Collectio L titulorum............................ xvi ff.. archives........ 96ff........ Beowulf epic..... 174ff.... composition... 57ff................ 99.............................73ff................................................................ 267 basileus. chern’........ C capital punishment............................................... 19ff............. debt slavery...... 234 derbfine. 155ff. 66ff..... 244ff.................. 135....................53............ ...120ff..... Corpus Iuris Civilis..A.........76........................ 219 Basilika.... xix archeology................. law of. Balkan............................. Law of the............................. see Oldest Pravda druzhina.............................................. ......................... 92...... Collectio XXV capitolorum...........89ff...........A......... 41ff...... Beka and Aghbuga.................... 60............................................. 298ff................ relations with Russia..... 264...... 306.............. 198................54 ancient law........................ 64ff.. 161.... Armenian church..74 Enlightenment................................ 188 Armenia.........295ff...29.... 18.......250 dvor E early law. birchbark documents................. ....311ff..................................... 68.. 30 Byzantine law....70-79......... 87ff....... 256....... 312ff............... 21..........)... 309 Byzantium............ 76... 111ff.................. 233ff..... ..144ff.................................................xviii...... 87... 90... 295ff..........48 chernye liudi... 116ff... 123................................................. 265 brithemain....... ................. 121................... 125ff.......... 306 Digesta.. 20 Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen..........131 Dasturlamali... 80ff........... Collectio XIV titulorum. Novgorod Chronicle church statutes. Laws of... 90 Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum.xx blood feuds........ 307ff.................. 67ff......... 89 Collectio LX titulorum. ................... 105ff..............xvi... 26ff....................... Law of... 20 Communist Party of the Soviet Union..................... xxii...... 121 Court of St....... 92. 72 Capitulare de Villis........... 66.......... 270ff......... 90ff........................ 101 Bagrat Kuropalates........................ 88........ 108ff.....11.............................. Armenian law............... 267 chronicles...... 234 Declaration of Independence (U.. 66ff..... xviii ff.. 29ff.. 20........... 70 Drevneishaia Pravda........ 123.........248ff.........................................Subject Index A Abridged Pravda........ 8ff.................... 309 cheliadin...............302 customary law......160..................... .... Crusader states............. 206ff.... 252ff............ 94..........12ff.... 121........... . 161................. 124 Court Charter of Pskov............. 96........ 288ff.....79ff......... 159........ Age of.....).................. ..........242ff.... Archeographical Commission. 80.. 286..........140 bezchestie.. 108....... 83ff...........................36 Catholicos............ 163...... 68ff....... 16ff............41ff...155..... Dukhovnyi Reglament.305ff.....S.... 108... 72ff............ 169 didebuli........... xiv.... 62ff...... legal connections with.... 291 Court Law for the People.... 137ff.251 boyars......................1ff.......... 9ff...................179ff.................. 312ff... .............. ............63ff.. 105ff....................... 299 Eisagoge................................... 108......................... 21................ 64............. .................... 55-56......... 61........................ ........... Baltic cities............305..140-145..................................................................... asega...38........76............................................ 306 B Babylonian law......................... 256ff... 258............ 97..................... 306 D dan’..............Peter (in Novgorod).................... xxv.....76 Collectio tripartita........................ 43ff.....34 Aethelberht...... 185 due process.76 collective liability........................... see Primary Chronicle.. 70ff....... 122 Bill of Rights (U... 106 Boyar Duma............. 183ff. Law of ..S..................... 116...............235.........................13......... 302ff........... 52 aznauri..76........................... 211..... 164........... 122ff............... see ancient law Ecloga.. 39ff....

Epanagoge..........................................63, 74ff.
Epitome....................................................... 75
equality.......................................235ff., 257ff.
Ewa ad Amorem.................................... 14, 54
Expanded Pravda..................xxi, 39, 41, 64,
................................................... 82ff., 92, 99
Farmers’ Law, see Nomos Georgikos
feudalism................................133ff., 136-139,
........................................... 145, 240ff., 252ff.
fiscus......................................................... 114
Four Freedoms........................................ 234
freedom of conscience........................238ff.
Frisian law................................................. 13
Gefolgschaft, see druzhina
genealogy.............................................xxv ff.
Georgian law......................21ff., 303ff, 312ff.
Georgievsk treaty...................................298
gerontes................................................... 29ff.
Giorgi V the Brilliant, Law of........... 307ff.
glexi.................................................... 21, 306
gosudar’..............................................211, 248
Gothic Coast.............................. 207ff., 268
gradskie zakony, see Zakon gradskii
gramoty................................ xvi, xviii ff., 267
grand prince (title)...............................192ff.
gridin, grid’.................................................42
Hanseatic League...................... 206ff., 261,
...................................................267ff., 274ff.
Hexabiblos of Harmenopoulos........... 304ff.
Hittite law........................... 9, 15, 17, 95, 101
human rights................................... 233-260
iabetnik.................................................14, 42
iarlyk............................................. 211ff., 246
Iasa of Chingis-Khan.............................22ff.

Law in Medieval Russia
Iazhel’bitsy treaty.................................. 204
iconoclasm................................................ 72
Ikh Tsaaz, see Mongol law
inheritance law.................................... 114ff.
Ireland, Old-Irish law......................9, 12, 15
izvod procedure.................................... 46ff.
judge-made law.......................................... 6
juries.......................................................... 18
Kanonagirk’............................................. 300
kholopy....................... 43ff., 48, 95, 112ff., 138
kingship, Frankish....................10, 12, 162ff.
Knigi Zakonnye.................. xviii, 71, 88, 93ff.,
........................................... 109, 121, 123, 126
koniukh staryi..........................................43ff.
Kormchaia, kormchie.................. xviii, 33, 63,
................................ 68, 81, 83ff., 87-92, 108,
.............................................119ff., 122, 125ff.
Korostyn’ treaty..................................... 204
Kratkaia Pravda, see Short Pravda
krestnoe tselovanie ..............................153, 172
krovavyi muzh (bloodied man)............ 119ff.
kuropalates....................................... 21, 305ff.
land tenure....................................... 129-145
Landmeister.......................................... 209ff.
law, definition of......................................2ff.
law, origins of............................... 28ff., 48ff.
leges barbarorum.......................14ff., 32, 53ff.,
.................................... 67, 81, 99ff., 163, 306
Lex Alamannorum.................................... 163
Lex Angliorum et Werinorum......................54
Lex Aquilia........................................... 100ff.
Lex Baiuvariorum.................................... 163
Lex Cornelia de iniuriis...............................95
Lex Francorum Chamavorum.....................54
Lex Frisionum.............................................54
Lex militaris............................................... 71
Lex Rhodia................................................. 71
Lex rustica, see Nomos Georgikos

Subject Index


Lex Saxonum..............................................54
Lex Thuringorum........................................54
Lithuania......................................196ff., 205
Liubech conference.................................151
lóg n-enech, díre.......................................... 15
Lübeck law........................ 276ff., 281ff., 286
luchshie liudi..............................................155

ognishchanin.......................................... 14, 43
Old Testament law.............. 71, 75, 108, 118,
................................................ 300, 302, 304
Oldest Pravda........ 35ff., 57ff., 82, 97, 100ff.
Ordá (Horde)...................... 172, 195ff., 212ff.
otchina.................................... 168, 189ff., 211

Marxist historiography...............11, 49, 60,
............................................ 132ff., 162, 187ff.
mechnik.................................................14, 42
medicatura................................................... 9
medieval legal history........................... xi, 1,
Merilo Pravednoe.................. xviii, 79, 81, 88,
..........................................92ff., 110, 123, 126
Mkhitar Gosh, Code of......299ff., 302, 305
monetary system......................................36
Mongol law.............................................22ff.
Mongols............... 22ff., 148, 157ff., 172, 200,
....... 211ff., 215ff., 245ff., 262ff., 296ff., 300ff.
Monomakh, Law of...........................83, 114
Mosaic law, see Old Testament law

patriarchy..................................... 9ff., 168ff.
poinè........................................................... 16
pokon virnyi................................................82
Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei.............xvi
Polnoe Sobranie Zakonov.................. 124, 249
poliud’e. .....................................................131
posadnik..................................159, 163, 264ff.
posadskie liudi........................................... 255
Povest’ Vremennykh Let,
see Primary Chronicle
Pravda of Iaroslav, see Oldest Pravda
Pravda Iaroslavichei
(Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons)...... 35ff., 82, 102
Pravosudie Metropolich’e............................123
prigorod...................................155, 159ff., 263
Primary Chronicle...........xvi ff., 36ff., 80ff.,
..................... 139, 143, 148ff., 168, 183ff., 186
principum placita.................................... 104
procedure................................... 46ff., 156ff.
Procheiron................63, 67ff., 73ff., 80, 90ff.,
.....................96, 108, 112ff., 118ff., 121, 125ff.
Prostrannaia Pravda,
see Expanded Pravda
Pskov, government.................................210

Nachal’naia Letopis’,
see Primary Chronicle
namestnik.............................................. 270ff.
narochitye liudi..........................................155
Nestor Chronicle, see Primary Chronicle
Nomocanon......................xviii, 33, 63, 67, 79,
.............................................85ff., 105ff., 309
Nomocanon XIV titulorum...................76, 79
Nomos Georgikos . ....................68, 71, 73, 88,
................................ 93, 98, 108ff., 123, 125ff.
Novellae...............................................60, 90
Novgorod, government.............. 159ff., 201,
..............................................249ff., 264-266
Novgorod Chronicle (First)..... xvi ff., 36ff.,
...................................... 48ff., 88, 143, 147ff.
oath . .................................................. 106ff.,
see also krestnoe tselovanie

rachineburgi............................................. 13ff.
razriadnye knigi.....................................176ff.
Redactio systematica sive Tarasiana............. 77
riad................................................. 153ff., 156
Roman law.........................6ff., 10ff., 59-128
Rurikids (house of Rurik)........xiv, 10, 15ff.,
.......................................................161, 167ff.

Russkaia Pravda.......................... xv ff., xviii,
.......... xxi ff., 14ff., 20, 31, 33-58, 62ff., 81-83,
............... 105, 161, 207ff., 262, 266, 272, 286
russkie stat’i................................................117
Salic Law............................ 14, 16ff., 32, 100
Scandinavians in Russia....... 49ff., 54ff., 63,
.....................................................65ff., 167ff.
sel’skii starosta.............................................43
separation of church and state.......... 237ff.,
separation of powers...........................236ff.
Short Pravda........ xxi, 22, 35-39, 41ff., 82ff.,
....................................88, 94ff., 102ff., 117ff.
sick-maintenance.................................. 9, 15
sisxli................................. 21, 306, 308ff., 310
Skra................................................... 261-291
Slovo o polku Igoreve.................................140
Smbat Sparapet, Code of...................300ff.
smerdy.............................................. 43ff., 138
Smolensk......................... 41, 163, 192, 197ff.
Sobornoe Ulozhenie,
see Ulozhenie of 1649
Sokrashchennaia Pravda,
see Abridged Pravda
sources........................................xv ff., 148ff.
Sovet Gospod............................................. 159
starshinstvo............................161, 168ff., 189,
..............................................200, 202, 215ff.
state, origins of..................................... 24ff.
Stoglav...................................................... 124
(princely, in Kievan Russia)...........10ff., 151,
............................................153, 167ff., 194ff.
Sudebnik, Svodnyi, of 1606/1607............. 124
svod procedure...................................... 46ff.
Syntagma Canonum........... 67, 76ff., 86, 89ff.
Syntagma of Matthaeus Blastaris....... 304ff.
Syro-Roman Code...................... 299, 304ff.
Table of Ranks..............................167, 178ff.
Tatars.......................148, 157ff., 191ff., 195ff.,
.........................................211ff., 215ff., 246ff.

Law in Medieval Russia
Teutonic Order...........................204, 209ff.
theft..................................98ff., 103ff., 110ff.
tiun, tivun, tivunets.............................. 14, 43
translations............................................. xxii
internal Russian............... 153, 171ff., 181-231
with Byzantium............... 39ff., 80ff., 105ff.,
....................................................... 122, 183ff.
Treaty of Rome....................................... 234
tsar’ (title)..........................................158, 211
tysiatskii..................................159, 163, 264ff.
udel....................... 155, 170ff., 187, 190ff., 215
Ulozhenie of 1497......................................123
Ulozhenie of 1649............................. 124, 248
Universal Declaration of
Human Rights..................................... 233ff.
urban freedom..............................241, 253ff.
Vakhtang VI, Law Code of.................310ff.
Vakhtang VI, Laws of.........................303ff.
veche.................... 147-165, 201, 249ff., 264ff.
verv’..................................................... 17, 20
Vinodol, Statute of................................... 53
vis genitalis.............................................. 11ff.
wergeld.................................17, 36, 39ff., 127
Zakon gradskii..................................... 75, 125
Zakon russkii......................... 40, 51f., 58, 122
Zakon Sudnyi liudem,
see Court Law for the People
Zemskii Sobor................................ 248ff., 251
zhit’i liudi.......................................... 201, 265

Glossary of Russian and Foreign Terms
(terms occurring in the text and accompanied by a translation have not been
included as a rule)
ab initio

from the beginning (Latin)


see in rem


commander-in-chief (Georgian, of Persian origin)


law-sayer (Frisian)


“father-of-the-king” (Georgian, of Turkic origin), high official

avant la lettre

“before the letter” (French); said when applying a term to
something occurring or existing before the term itself was


noblemen (Georgian)


father-of-the-emperor (Byzantine honorific title)


insult, injury


close relatives


nephew (son of one’s brother)


jurisconsults, legal experts (Old Irish)


catalogue of fixed fines for homicide, physical injuries, etc.


title of patriarch of the Armenian and Georgian churches


(dependent) member of household, such as child or serf
(compare Latin filius)


the common people (esp. in Novgorod); also chernye liudi
(“black people”)


“thousandman” (Greek), see tysiatskii

colluvies gentium

confluence of peoples (Latin)


loan for use (Latin)


imperial laws (Latin)

corpus alienum

foreign body (Latin)

Corpus Iuris Civilis

the final fixation of Roman law, in the middle of the 6th
century, consisting of the Institutions of Justinian, the Codex, the Pandectae or Digesta, and the Novellae


tribute (lit. “gift”)


extended patrilinear family of four generations (Old Irish)


magnates, great nobles (Georgian)


one of the four parts of the Corpus Iuris Civilis, consisting of
excerpts from the writings of the classical Roman jurists; also


(Old Irish) honour-price


kind of fur (Novgorod Skra)


Law in Medieval Russia

Drevneishaia Pravda

“Oldest Pravda”, also “Pravda of Iaroslav”, oldest segment of
Russkaia Pravda


following, entourage (of prince or lord; see also Gefolgschaft)


member of druzhina


court, also house

editio princeps

main or basic edition of text

ex nihilo

from, or out of, nothing


(Old Irish) learned class of poets and bards


(Latin) state treasury


(Latin) theft


following, entourage (of prince or lord; German); same as


(Latin) spirit uniting and permeating gens


(Latin) group of persons united by a common (patrilinear)


“old men” (Greek), esp. elders entrusted with public powers


(dependent) peasants (Georgian)


“head money”, to be paid by killer and his relatives


Lord, sovereign, majesty

gradskie zakony

“city laws”, Russian term referring esp. to Ecloga and Procheiron


charter, document


also gridin, junior member of the druzhina, guard


guardhouse (Novgorod Skra; from gridnitsa, itself of Scandinavian origin)


basic monetary unit in Kievan Russia; pound


commander-in-chief (Armenian; from French connétable, from
Latin constabularius)


official in German Court in Novgorod (Skra)


court official, bailiff


(Turkic) in medieval Russia: charter issued by Mongol-Tatar


Law Code of Chingis-Khan

Ikh Tsaaz

Law Code of the Oirat Mongols of 1640

in rem

“in a thing” (Latin); esp. “actiones in rem”, lawsuits
concerning a material object, as opposed to lawsuits against
persons, “actiones in personam”

in statu nascendi

in the process of being born (Latin)


unlawful action, injury (Latin)

inter vivos

“among the living” (Latin); esp. in respect of dispositions, as
opposed to testaments

Glossary of Russian and Foreign Terms



law-sayer (Latin)


persons who found themselves outside the ordinary social
units of family, clan, druzhina, etc.


version of manuscript, recension; also (in Russkaia Pravda):
type of procedure




cellar, storehouse (Novgorod Skra)


junior merchant (Novgorod Skra)


junior merchant (Novgorod Skra); also: dependent (usually
young) person


prince (etymologically rela