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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’


The Nature of Kievan Russia: Soviet Approaches 3. The Veche after 1240 9. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Continued 6. 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 . Veche and Prince 6. The Veche in Early Kievan Russia 4. The Russian Veche and Legislation 14. Sources 2. Five Centuries of Veche History 3. Interlude: Feudalism 5. THE DRUZHINA AND THE NATURE OF KIEVAN RUS’ 1. Later Developments 9. The Veche in a Comparative European Context 13. Land Tenure: The Legal Perspective 2.Contents vii 7. The Situation in Novgorod and Pskov 10. Kievan Rus’ as a Period of Transition 11. Conclusions 94 94 108 109 111 116 118 119 120 122 122 125 Chapter 4: LAND TENURE. The Druzhina 7. The Kievan ‘Empire’ 5. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Trade or Agriculture? 4. Conclusion 129 130 132 134 136 139 140 145 Chapter 5: POPULAR ASSEMBLIES IN EARLY MEDIEVAL RUSSIA: THE VECHE IN LEGAL HISTORY 1. 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. Veche Procedure 8. The Veche and the Nature of the Kievan Polity 12.

Postscript: The ‘Elder Brother’ in Soviet Rhetoric 167 167 170 174 178 179 Chapter 7: THE TREATIES OF MEDIEVAL RUSSIA 1.viii Law in Medieval Russia Chapter 6: THE ELDER BROTHER IN RUSSIA 1. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans 8. 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. Novgorod Treaties with Moscow and Tver’ Grand Princes with Foreign Rulers with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants 2. The House of Rurik 2. Defining the Topic 2. The Table of Ranks 5. Muscovy Russia: Mestnichestvo 4. 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 . Periodization and Sources 4. 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. Concluding Thoughts Appendix 1. Polotsk Treaties 4. Pskov Treaties 3. From Genealogical to Contractual Seniority 3. The Earliest Times 3. Princely Treaties not involving Moscow Smolensk Treaties Other Princely Treaties 6.

Novgorod the Great 3. Equality 12. Novgorod’s Legal System 5. The Position in Russia 6. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 3.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. Concluding Observations Chapter 9: THE SKRA OF NOVGOROD: LEGAL CONTACTS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND WESTERN EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE AGES 1. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans Chapter 8: HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIAN LEGAL HISTORY 1.Contents 5. Equality 4. Introduction 2. 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. Feudalism 9. Urban Freedom 10. Novgorod’s Trade with the Hanseatic League 6. Due Process 11. The German Court of St. Novgorod’s System of Government 4. Introduction 2. Popular Rule and Democracy in Russia 8. Other Princely Treaties among themselves and with Foreign Princes 6.

Peter 9. Dasturlamali 18. Introduction 2. The Laws of Beka and Aghbuga 13. The Non-Georgian Parts of the Collection 10. The Code of Smbat Sparapet 8.x Law in Medieval Russia 7. The Internal Organization of the Court of St. The Canonical Laws 12. The Literature 3. General Historical Background: Armenia 4. The Law of the Armenian Kingdoms 6. The Law of the Catholicos 16. Concluding Remarks 271 274 278 281 290 Chapter 10: MEDIEVAL LAW IN TRANSCAUCASIA— ON THE PERIPHERY OF EUROPEAN LEGAL HISTORY 1. The Law Code of Vakhtang VI 17. The Law of Giorgi V the Brilliant 14. The Order of the King’s Court 15. 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 Legal History of Georgia 9. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh 7. The Law of Bagrat Kuropalates 11. General Historical Background: Georgia 5. The Skra of Novgorod and its Different Versions 10. Sources and Contents of the Different Versions of the Skra 11. Adjudication of German-Russian Disputes 8.

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

F. 2003. Het oudste Russische recht.1 The following chapter on “The Russkaia Pravda” is an adapted version of a paper I also contributed to this volume. a “List of Abbreviations” has been appended to this Note.). but the conclusions reached at that time may have been somewhat premature. Leiden. 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”. The Law’s Beginnings. separately. Feldbrugge (ed. as a result of which a rather different paper emerged. The Law’s Beginnings. . Then there was the aspect of duplication. the internal organization of Novgorod. “The Earliest Law of Russia and Its Sources”. Leiden. everything had to be brought up-to-date by the insertion of new materials and the corresponding adjustment of my original texts. Leiden. An additional advantage is that the chapter discusses the most important monuments of early Russian law. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’”) is based in part on a paper that was published in 1977. A different version of this paper (in Dutch) was delivered as my farewell lecture at the University of Leiden. 255-280. In a few cases. the princely succession system of Kievan Russia. F. I have attempted to reduce redundancy and treat such subjects at what seemed to be the most appropriate place. the Russkaia Pravda. On this point.3 the problem raised in the latter paper was indeed fundamental for a proper understanding of early Russian law. Some Concluding Observations”. certain basic information had to be included about such topics as the Russian-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century. 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. Feldbrugge (ed. Russian Law: Historical and Political Perspectives. “The Law of Land Tenure in Kievan Russia”. 2003.2 The massive Chapter 3 (“Roman Law and Early Russian Law”) has not been published before. the literature on this topic had grown substantially and this alone justified a very thorough reworking. Anyway. 1998. When the papers were originally published. 1-28. W. First of all. Gedachten naar aanleiding van de Russkaia Pravda. etc. 1 2 3 “Law’s Beginnings. To eliminate duplication altogether would have been counterproductive. Leiden. I had felt for a long time that it would be desirable to treat this subject more in depth.xii Law in Medieval Russia The execution of this plan turned out to be less simple than it seemed in the beginning.). because then the narrative of an individual chapter would have to be interrupted too often by references to other chapters. 93-113. especially in respect of the older pieces. this resulted in very drastic revision.). Chapter 4 (“Land Tenure. 1977. Butler (ed.

1985. In the Chapters 7 (“The Treaties of Medieval Russia”) and 8 (“Human Rights in Russian Legal History”). International and National Law in Russia and Eastern Europe [Ginsburgs Festschrift]. the reason why the problem of a considerable amount of duplication had to be addressed. Küpper (eds. a longish section on the composition of the highest echelons of the Soviet nomenklatura has been reworked drastically. 2001.6 The same applies to Chapter 9 (“The Skra of Novgorod: Legal Contacts Between Russia and Western Europe in the Middle Ages”). 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. The Hague/London/Boston. A paper with an identical title was published in Hommage à–Hulde aan–Tribute to René Dekkers. Trunk (ed. “The Elder Brother in Russia: Seniority in Russian Politico-Legal Discourse”. Hofmann & H.). and the few relevant publications which have appeared since have been taken into account. The Russkaia Pravda as the main piece of legislation from the Kievan era is the central topic of Chapter 2. 165-179. 65-90. 2002. No.Foreword xiii The paper on the medieval Russian popular assembly. Sowjetsystem und Ostrecht [Meissner Festschrift]. 2004. 1982. G.4 In Chapter 6 (“The Elder Brother in Russia”) an older paper has been used. Nevertheless. Baden-Baden. was reviewed more lightly.). mainly to take into account new literature. but is also prominent in the discussion of the influence 4 Based on a paper with the same title in M. Russland im Kontext der internationalen Entwicklung [Boguslavskii Festschrift]. Feldbrugge & W. The interconnection between the different papers is a point which I already made above.51. The last Chapter 10 (“Medieval Law in Transcaucasia. Brunner (ed. Berlin. I decided to include it. I have restricted myself mainly to editorial adjustments. Simons (eds. F.). Clark. The Hague/Boston/London. because during the last two centuries Armenia and Georgia have been closely associated with Russia and Russian (Soviet) law. No. Human Rights in Russia and Eastern Europe [van den Berg Festschrift]. Berlin. among other things. the original paper7 was written in 1981.). Law in Eastern Europe. 211-225. both chapters being based on fairly recent original papers. . Bruxelles. 765-784. 5 6 “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. Feldbrugge & S. 519-533. of course.49. Pomorski (eds.). 2001. 7 8 Originally published under the same title in A. This was. Kontinuität und Neuanfang [Brunner Festschrift]. 157-205. the veche (Chapter 5: “Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History”). F. R.8 Certain parts of the paper do also connect with Chapter 1. Law in Eastern Europe.5 but in substantially amended form. “Human Rights in Russian Legal History”.

). the criminal law of Kievan Russia like? I intend to return to that at a later time. the commercial law.)” after their names). on the veche (Ch. A few small technical and editorial points to conclude.xiv Law in Medieval Russia of Byzantine law (Chapter 4) and in the question of land tenure (Chapter 4). I have regularly referred. on human rights (Ch. it coverage concerns predominantly what is known as external legal history. The opening chapter on “Law’s Beginnings” offers a comprehensive and more theoretical understanding of the phenomenon of early law.7 (treaties). they have been used as synonyms. The use of the ethnonyms “Mongol” and “Tatar” is occasionally. Two defects should be mentioned too. for practical reasons. the main topic of Ch. is also of great importance in Ch.Vladimir”. editors of collective works (where mentioned) have been treated as authors of the works concerned (with the addition of “(ed.8). explained in footnotes.Petersburg. generally speaking. in our modern terminology: what was the family law.9 In bibliographical references. whatever doubts one may have about the prince’s saintliness. and at that more incidentally. is in an unfavourable position in comparison to a Russian colleague who has large and ancient collections at his disposal in Moscow or St. Poppe. “Kogda i kak kniaz’ Vladimir byl priznan sviatym”. that is its limitation. 44-61. Sakharov (ed. to the Kievan grand prince who introduced Christianity into Russia as “St.N. Princely succession.Peterburg” instead of “Saint Petersburg”)). Place names in bibliographical references have been given as they were in the books concerned (“Moskva” instead of “Moscow”. 2005.6) and. 9 See A. of identifying the sources. to a lesser extent. on the treaties (Ch. but also part of its attraction for the scholar. it also occurs in other chapters.7). respectable as they may be. where suitable. about the actual contents of medieval Russian law. A non-Russian scholar who has to rely mainly on his own library and that of his university.6 (on the “Elder Brother”). The second reservation concerns my own sources. “S. One observation that can at least be made is that early law is very much a question of external history. There is much less. 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. concerning the origins of the Rurikid dynasty and the Kievan state.9). A. Ot Drevnei Rusi k novoi Rossii [Shchapov Festschrift]. .4 (about the druzhina and the nature of Kievan Rus’) and Ch. The so-called Normanist problem. if the work is dedicated (as a Festschrift or memorial volume) to a particular person. the latter’s name has been added in square brackets. which constitutes the conceptual background of the other papers.W. as is commonly done in Russian literature. turns up in most chapters and the same can be said about the impact of Mongol-Tatar rule.

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

The literature on Russian chronicles is rich. It is the oldest of them all and itself the source for many later chronicles. The Hypatian manuscript constituted Vol. as many leading medievalists and philologists have concerned themselves with them. All these factors have to be taken into account when evaluating the reliability of a chronicle. 1 2 There had been several private publications of chronicle texts previously.2 The Primary Chronicle (Nachal’naia letopis’) also used to be known as the Nestor Chronicle. Precise historical documentation was obviously not the exclusive or even dominant purpose of a chronicler. The oldest and most important redactions of the Primary Chronicle are represented by the Laurentian and Hypatian manuscripts. The foundation for all more recent work on the chronicles has been laid by A. The 10th century treaties between Russia and Byzantium are known only from the Primary Chronicle. They were then copied and recopied and could undergo all kinds of changes in the process. the chronicles are an invaluable source because our knowledge and understanding of medieval Russian society depends largely on them. they are occasionally the direct source for certain legal texts. .1 The first volume of the “Full Collection of Russian Chronicles” (Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei – PSRL) appeared in 1841. book-like volumes and separate (single) documents or charters (gramoty). More specifically. pride of place belongs to the Primary Chronicle. being erroneously ascribed to a monk Nestor. For chronicle texts. 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.xvi Law in Medieval Russia categories. with a second revised edition in 1926 in Leningrad. the PSRL is considered the basic publication. The Primary Chronicle Of the numerous chronicles. To realize the systematic publication of chronicle texts the Archeographical Commission was founded in 1834. Still. A. often at the behest of secular rulers. published also in St. The Laurentian manuscript derives it name from the monk Lavrentii who made the copy in Suzdal’ in 1377. Within the first category. Shakhmatov (1864-1920). The Laurentian manuscript was published as the first part of Vol. Chronicles were usually written by monks (initially the only literate persons).2 of the PSRL. with a second edition in 1908 and a third edition in 1923 in Leningrad. in 1843. according to the colophon of the copy. The Hypatian manuscript was found in the Hypatian monastery in Kostroma and dates from the middle of the 15th century. the chronicles form the most numerous group.Petersburg.Petersburg.1 of the PSRL in 1846 in St.

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

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

otnosiashchiesia do istorii Iuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rossii. mentioned above.. 1961 (Moscow metropolitanate and monastery of the Annunciation in Nizhnii-Novgorod).9 The Central State Archive for Ancient Documents (TsGADA) became the repository for many formerly private archives. Peterburg. 1956 (monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk). covering the period of their independence from Moscow. S. Veselovskii & A. 1951 (documents from the Moscow metropolitanate).11 Cherepnin was also the principal editor of the three-volume “Acts of feudal land ownership and management”. 1949 (the monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk). Vol. Valk (ed.N.). Akty istoricheskie. who were among the wealthiest landwoners in the past. Cherepnin (ed.Peterburg.).3. S. Akty. 8 Akty iuridicheskie. Iakovlev (eds. 1838.2). 1950.8 After the October Revolution...Peterburg.3). Vol. S. .A Note on Sources xix 1813.e. covering especially the archival materials of major ecclesiastical land owners. S. Moskva. Pamiatniki sotsialno-ekonomicheskoi istorii moskovskogo gosudarstva XIV-XVII vv. sobrannym i izdannym Arkheograficheskoiu Komissieiu. Moskva. 15 vols.V.N. Cherepnin (ed.). S. 1828 (Vol.).N. 1846-1872. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. Tikhomirov (eds. ili sobranie form starinnogo deloproizvodstva.1.V. Akty. S.I.Peterburg. Akty feodal’nogo zemlevladeniia i khoziaistva. 11 12 L. Moskva. until 1478 for Novgorod and until 1510 for Pskov.B.5). Moskva.12 7 Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogovorov.4). Several collections were devoted to the documents connected with some of the great monasteries. Vol. and twelve volumes of supplements. 1846-1853. Moskva. Kniga kliuchei.V. the publication of important archival material continued. 1813 (Vol. 5 vols. Chaev (ed. Valk edited a collection of charters concerning the history of Novgorod and Pskov. Moskva.). i. Cherepnin published a collection of testaments and treaties of the grand princes and provincial princes. was responsible for a whole range of serial publications containing documents collected from all over the empire. Severnye gramoty.. L. 1929 (the Solovetskii monastery). khraniashchikhsia v Gosudarstvennoi Kollegii inostrannykh del. Dopolneniia k Aktam istoricheskim. In other collections. S.7 The Archeographical Commission.Peterburg. Moskva/Leningrad. sobrannye i izdannye Arkheograficheskoiu komissieiu.1).).. Dukhovnye i dogovornye gramoty velikikh i udel’nykh kniazei XIVXVI vv. N. 1949. A. 9 10 S. 1894 (Vol. 1819 (Vol. Moskva. Zimin & M.2. 1929 (the Troitse-Sergiev monastery). otnosiashchiesia do istorii Zapadnoi Rossii.A. 5 vols. 18631892. a thematic rather than an archival criterion was decisive. 1820 (Vol. 1841-1842.10 A year later L.S. Moskva/Leningrad.

general editor S. Pamiatniki prava perioda ukrepleniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva. Moskva.V. Zakonodatel’nye akty Petra I.6. Cherepnin.V. had all kinds of other purposes.D. Grekov.1. But.3. Moskva.A. Vol. . Vol. L.V. ed. occasionally. Moskva. Iushkov.V. ed.A. mostly from Novgorod.A. 1952.14 3. K. the birchbark documents. starting with the Russo-Byzantine treaties of the 10th century.V. Pamiatniki prava Kievskogo gosudarstva.3-5. 1956 Vol. 1957 Vol.). Cherepnin and then K. Cherepnin (Vols. Pamiatniki prava perioda sozdaniia absoliutnoi monarkhii. 1 and 2). Sofronenko (Vols. Moskva.5.4 and 8): Vol. 1959 Vol. Moskva. they offer an insight into “the law in action” in a period where all other written records fail.2. Moskva. Novgorodskie berestianye gramoty kak istoricheskii istochnik. Moskva.V.15 The last of the eight-volume series to appear was Volume 7 in 1963.13 One category that should be specially mentioned are the birchbark documents. Sofronenko. 1963 Vol.). Pamiatniki russkogo prava. one could place collections of texts.4.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. Pamiatniki prava perioda soslovno-predstavitel’noi monarkhii.8.2 (L. 1964. the series continued under the editorship of L. Moskva.). Moskva. 15 Akty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii Severo-Vostochnoi Rusi. taken from the primary sources mentioned above. Moskva.). After his death in 1952.A. 1958. 1961. Zimin (comp. A. specifically devoted to the Russian North-East. 1955 Vol. Sobornoe Ulozhenie Alekseia Mikhailovicha 1649 goda. Iushkov (Vols. Moskva. Moskva. Considerable numbers of such documents have been preserved on account of the special soil conditions. Cherepnin.1 (B. The “Monuments of Russian Law” (Pamiatniki russkogo prava) were started in 1952 under the editorship of S. 1953 Vol. 1952 Vol. ed. the 13 14 Cf.7. having survived by chance. A.3 (L. but also from other places. The PRP bring together the most important Russian laws and government decrees. Secondary Sources In the first echelon of secondary legal sources. While the latter were mostly drawn up and kept safe in order to record some legally relevant matter. Zimin (comp. and they go back much further than parchment or paper documents. Pamiatniki prava perioda obrazovaniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva.V. Pamiatniki prava feodal’no-razdroblennoi Rusi. Two collections are of outstanding importance. Cherepnin. 1969. L. Vol. up to the year 1724.). 7).

For the Middle Ages.5-9 cover the period of 1726-1917.9. 1988 Vol.D. O. Twenty years later. V. The most difficult texts are accompanied by a modern Russian translation.).I. Indova (ed.3.G. 1987 Vol.1. Vol. Vols. O.A Note on Sources xxi eighth volume is devoted to the legislation of Peter the Great.D.). Dokumenty krest’ianskoi reformy. Gorskii (ed. Man’kov (ed.). 1947.V. Chistiakov (ed. For the most important legislative document of early medieval Russia.5. Faksimil’noe vosproizvedenie tekstov.L.I. 16 Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov.16 The first four volumes of this series cover the same period as the entire PRP.4.2. Moskva. 1989 Vol. A. B. Ianin (ed. All texts have been provided with a commentary. Moskva/Leningrad. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda obrazovaniia i ukrepleniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva. A. Moskva. Chistiakov (ed. Moskva. Moskva. 1984 Vol.8. Moskva. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda rastsveta absoliutizma.I. 1994. Moskva. Moskva. Grekov (ed. 17 .). A. Vol. Moskva.): Vol. the Russkaia Pravda. Zakonodatel’stvo epokhi burzhuazno-demokraticheskikh revoliutsii. ed. B. the vast literature from before 1947 has been collected and is quoted extensively. 1963. 1985 Vol.). E.3. Zakonodatel’stvo Drevnei Rusi. the Academy of Sciences publication edited by B. 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. Zakonodatel’stvo pervoi poloviny XIX veka. 1991 Vol.).I.). Vol. the PRP is therefore still the most useful source. 1986 Vol. Moskva.7.). based on manuscripts. Sudebnaia reforma. In the second volume. a new and similar series was started: “Russian Legislation from the 10th to the 20th century” (Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov).2.G. Chistiakov (gen. Pravda Russkaia. Kommentarii.I. Teksty. with the variant readings of other copies. Moskva.). although the RZ series does occasionally offer information not to be found in the PRP. Man’kov (ed. 1985 Vol.D. 1940. Akty Zemskikh soborov. Grekov is still the fundamental work. O. The series has been edited most carefully by the leading scholars for the different periods. the important variant readings have been given.6.1.). Vilenskii (ed.17 The first volume contains the texts of the oldest and most important copies of the different manuscript families. For the older texts. in the shape of a commentary to the individual provisions of the RP. Moskva/Leningrad. O. Chistiakov (ed. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda stanovleniia absoliutizma.

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

published in Rostov-naDonu. I have used the 3rd ed. Das Russische Recht. this part treats the entire legal history of all the territories of the USSR up to 1917. land use.Peterburg. it was first published in 1886 in Kiev and the last and seventh edition appeared in 1915. S. 2005. “state law”. a lengthy appendix is devoted to the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. But only S. Vladimirskii-Budanov and M. the pre-revolutionary handbooks are still of great value.. Vols. Sergeevich. S. prince. M. 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”. The leading authors were V. 21 22 23 24 V. S. 1949. I have used the 4th ed. 25 . Drevnosti russkago prava. (7th ed. V. 1995.I.F. id. Moskva (3rd ed. based on the 7th ed.F. Kiev. 1903...25 It is organized along the same lines as Sergeevich’s “Lectures” (state law.)1915. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. 1890.Peterburg. Moskva. Part 1.24 Vladimirskii-Budanov was the author of the most popular textbook on Russian legal history before the October Revolution. Stuttgart.V. Iushkov could be regarded as a legal historian first of all. Obzor istorii russkago prava. armed forces. 1890. Part 3. civil law. of Parts 1 and 2 of 1909 and 1908. Part 1. especially because in early medieval studies legal documents occupy an important place. 1886. 1910.I. medieval legal history became a branch of general medievistics. princely councillors. Lektsii i izsledovaniia po drevnei istorii russkago prava. Sergeevich. 1910-1914. some of his major works are about the only general works on early Russian legal history from the Soviet period. Sergeevich.22 For the more traditional and comprehensive surveys of legal history. 1950. 1883.). “civil law” and “court proceedings”. Iushkov. population.V. “criminal law”. criminal law. Goetz’ translation of the RP is now a century old. Goetz. Frankfurt a/M.I. In his major work: L. procedure) and covers the entire period up to the 20 G. Part 2.23 Another threevolume work by the same author makes greater use of original sources and is structured around major themes (territory. S. D’iakonov.Peterburg. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava SSSR. Baranowski. Vladimirskii-Budanov.A Note on Sources xxiii the exception of Baranowski’s translation in his monumental study on the RP. taxation).21 Textbooks on Legal History During the Soviet era.K. veche. M.1-4. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva.K.A.20 L. I have used the modern edition (Obzor istorii russkogo prava). Most of the scholars in that field wrote about medieval Russian law.

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

31 It leads up to 1612.1-5 of these. No.35.V. Roma. Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskago. this was first published during the years 1904-1910.. No. the beginning of the Romanov dynasty after the Time of Troubles. 1934. Généalogies des branches régnantes des Rurikides du XIIIe au XVI siècle. concerning especially the sensitive subject of their Germanic connections. Vol. the standard texts were two companion volumes by N..Peterburg (4th ed. 2001. a posthumously published work of A. Zimin. Roma.M. This is the edition which has been reprinted many times.94. 1988.M. N. Pchelov. 1925. de Baumgarten.A. E. 33 34 35 A.34 The earliest genealogy of the Rurikids. collected his university lectures on Russian history in a five-volume work Kurs russkoi istorii.). id.A Note on Sources xxv covers the period up to the death of tsar Aleksei Fedorovich. 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. Peter the Great’s father. 8 vols.O. de Baumgarten.A.V. The final (fourth) edition is provided with a special volume with indices by P.33 In 1988. . 1956-1958. Karamzin’s “History of the Russian State”.. Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle. XXXV-1. one of the most prominent Russian historians from the end of the pre-revolutionary era. For many years. as well as on a number of other boyar families.IX-1. Kliuchevskii (1841-1911). Formirovanie boiarskoi aristokratii v Rossi vo vtoroi polovine XV–pervoi treti XVI v. Karamzin. Genealogy The fragmentation of the Rurikid house and the resulting abundance of princes occasionally require a guide in the genealogical labyrinth. 1842-1844. Pchelov. Moskva.. published in the series of the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies in Rome. also during recent times. Orientalia Christiana. Moskva. Orientalia Christiana. in 1677. I have used the edition in the Sochineniia. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei IX–nachala XI v.32 It takes the story up to the land reforms of Alexander II in the 1860’s. is the subject of a more recent study by E. Vol. published first in 1811 in twelve parts. the Kurs takes up vols.35 31 32 N. Stroev. Moskva. V. The next great work is N. S. and republished many times afterwards.

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

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


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

of law presupposes an understanding of what it is that is beginning. The only remotely comparable work known to me is W. H. 1917. and investigation into the beginnings. Fikentscher. while “he [Maine] demonstrated that our legal conceptions […] are as much the product of historical development as biological organisms are the outcome of evolution”. “state”. Everyman’s Library edition. J. in threat or in fact.v-xiii.2 Law in Medieval Russia his Introduction to this work. Franke & O. 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. Köhler (eds. most authors dealing with the question of “early law” in specific cultures briefly touch upon this question. Entstehung und Wandel rechtlicher Traditionen. Morgan’s Introduction on pp. such as Hobbes and Locke.g.H.). one of the current definitions (“a social norm is legal if its neglect or infraction is regularly met. Ancient Law. In legal anthropology. London/New York.2 Morgan may have been unkind to legal philosophers and theorists. . in the same way as other terms used (e. The Question of Definition A discussion of. Terminology considered to be understood in more or less the same way by the audience is usually not explained. Freiburg/München. revolutionary at the time. Morgan. 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. 1980. it is not considered particularly urgent or relevant. with an Introduction by J. One might look for help to other disciplines. 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”. by the application of physical force. contrasting Maine’s method. the origins. 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. without offering an elaborate answer. “authorities”. with the efforts of jurists. and political philosophers. ostracism or shame by an individual or group possessing a socially recog2 H.S. Is a definition of law therefore required? Significantly. Morgan.H. but we can agree with him that the origins of law constitute a problem that should not be left to them alone. It should also be tackled in concrete historical terms. Maine [Sir Henry Sumner Maine]. 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. such as Bentham and Austin.

but it is of no assistance in studying “early law” and “law’s beginnings”.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. 1-9.3 Hoekema then refers to an approach adopted by several authors in the Fikentscher volume (mentioned above in the footnotes). who define the beginning of law as the rise of a more formal. Indigenous Law and the State. We derive from elsewhere (religion. RI. for instance. “Incipient Law.). B. and this consensus would also allow us to deal with the law of civilizations very different from our own. agree that certain family matters should be brought within the sphere of law. Dordrecht/Providence.R. while it is precisely that kind of definition that would be needed. The formula is logically defective (defining idem per idem). Cliteur. is characterized by the occurrence of peculiar institutions. more authoritarian structure of law and its administration. in any cultural setting or historical phase. The problem is turned into a normative one in this way. Hoekema derives the quotation from P. Cliteur notes correctly that law is not something that exists in reality (“outside and independently from ourselves”. 3 4 Quoted by A. People apparently feel that there is a sufficiently general consensus about what is meant by “law”. This could be a suitable approach when dealing with present-day law. Law’s Beginnings. This consensus need not be based on a shared underlying philosophy. Nobody would for instance deny that law. 9. 181-220. But such a definition of law would be difficult to apply in a different cultural setting. Feldbrugge. Legal philosophy may offer further elucidation. 1988.5 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]. 259268. We could. practices and procedures. at 182. Cliteur. 6 P. so that an actual definition is regarded as superfluous. Aspects of Legal Philosophy”.) a certain idea of what law should be and begin to construct law. but that it is a matter of what we wish to regard as law. 5 As quoted by Hoekema. “A New Beginning of Law Among Indigenous Peoples. . Observations by a Legal Anthropologist”. etc. Goodman (eds. a man-made construction. but something may possibly have been lost in translation. 183. Hoekema.R. “Recognition of Traditional Laws in State Courts and the Formulation of State Legislation”. I would say). Grant. while others should remain outside the law’s reach. Morse & G. ideology.4 The formula is too vague to be of much help. at 260. at 7.J. 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. Law’s Beginnings.W. first in our minds and then in the reality of social life. Feldbrugge.

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

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

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

“Justice and Written Laws in the Formation of the Polis”. Moskva. “An Emerging Legal System in an Embryonic State.. 12 The volume on which this chapter (Feldbrugge. “The Lex Frisionum. of course. S. 115136. For a recent study in this area. London. Feldbrugge. Kolff. 10 11 The Germanic leges barbarorum. Zimmer.9 When the obvious question is then asked: “What preceded this stage?”. being the main exception. the numerous parallels and similarities suggest a search for certain common origins. “The Earliest Law of Russia and its Sources”. Law’s Beginnings. Greek.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. Irish. 13 É. “Glimpses of Indo-European Law”. B. Russian translation. Indo-Europeans? The basic and most obvious parallels are of a linguistic nature. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. 1969. Frankfurt a/M. English translation. Roman. D. 45-58. . in Feldbrugge.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. The texts of the earliest laws of many European peoples have often been written in the vernacular. The Case of Early Medieval Ireland”. see B. implies the assumption that at a certain moment in the past there existed an ethno-linguistic community of people possessing a common language (or.12 Considerable detail was added by S. German translation. Edel. the same goes for the impressive body of Old-Irish law and for most early Slavic codifications. Benveniste.10 and these languages all belong to the linguistic family known as Indo-European. 11-22. Benveniste in his vocabulary of Indo-European institutions. Zimmer in a study specifically devoted to “Indo-European law”. The Genesis of a Legalized Life”.13 This approach. at least. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. Sirks. “Early Law in India”. 1973. 1993. Law’s Beginnings) is based contains studies on ancient Indian. such as those of the Anglo-Saxons and various Scandinavian peoples. other Germanic laws. Sirks. 23-43. Frisian. 59-76. in Feldbrugge. E. are in the vernacular. Algra. 93-113. a series of related languages or dialects) which may be regarded as the ancestor of the subsequently evolving Indo-European languages. van der Vliet. and a set of societal institutions (the 9 This aspect of Roman law studies may not have received much attention through the ages. and Russian law: D. 1995. Law’s Beginnings. 45-58. written in a corrupt Latin and often containing Germanic expressions. Paris. F. Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes. N. Chapter 2 of Part 2 is devoted to law. 77-92.

who were the carriers of this development is characterized as a colluvies gentium by the proponents of this theory. resulting in the comparatively rapid and sudden formation of new cultures and ethnic entities. J. On the other hand. As the theory would also involve the occurrence of several of such amalgamation processes. 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. The congeries of migrants. 186. are known from history and anthropology. Mallory. adventurers. if there would be any.14 14 Cf. who had been ejected or had migrated from their own homelands. it also evokes numerous questions to which it does not provide answers. 1989.. The latter date is more amply adstructed in the author’s Ursprache. although this theory may be able to explain certain phenomena.C. and can be accompanied by very fast language change by means of so-called creolisation. . robbers.C. It would also allow the denial of an Urvolk and an Ursprache for the Indo-Europeans.C.C. If Proto-IndoEuropean was such a recent phenomenon. In his paper. the dominant view nowadays is that one should look at the period from the 5th to the 3rd millennium B. 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. Archaeology and Myth. This can no longer be countered by the nostrum that pots have no language. and that 3000 or even 2500 would be a more likely date. vagrants. In Search of the Indo-Europeans. are quite clear by now. 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. it could explain the considerable differences between various Indo-European language groups at a very early stage. The main lines of the scenario of cultural development in the Pontic-Caspian area since the 5th millennium B. 1990. it would be perfectly possible that an ethnolinguistic entity speaking the—theoretically reconstructible—Proto-Indo-European language never existed as such. Urvolk und Indogermanisierung. 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. and neither an ethnos that could be identified as “Indo-European”. Zur Methode der Indogermanischen Altertumskunde. 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.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. Although the time and place of this existence have been the subject of intense debate for several centuries. Language. 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. in the Pontic-Caspian area. Such processes. etc. in other words.P. Innsbruck. London.

Mallory. property law. 78-134. 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. But the progress of science requires a combination of common sense.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. then marriage law.12 (1938). art. In a general sense. generally. of which marriage law and sick-maintenance15 are discussed in greater detail. that it would be very hard to produce another explanatory model of comparable persuasive power. Zimmer has identified a number of such institutions. imagination and intuition (and good luck).cit. For Old-Irish law.A. Binchy.cit. or to be more precise.2) grants the doctor’s fee (lettsiu m’zda). 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. “Sick Maintenance in Irish Law”. see D. where the subject is of considerable importance. 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. This map fits so well what is known about the spreading and variegation of Indo-European languages. even if we could assume such an existence. A general caveat should precede such an investigation. 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). the Russkaia Pravda (Short Version. Although definitive proof is difficult to present in such matters. Pactus legis salicae. and also ‘public’ law. the thesis about the South-Russian kurgan cultures and their link with the diffusion of Indo-European languages is now widely. 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. therefore. 19-6. It affects first of all the legal status of individuals. 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. of a genetic link between earlier and later phenomena. Indo-European Patriarchy Patriarchy is not so much a legal institution as a fundamental principle underlying the organization of Indo-European society and. 1964). Leiden. although not universally accepted. or even all. patriarchy ap This area. In his paper. op. 15 Zimmer (op. . together with a survey of terms having significant legal connotations and a common Indo-European origin. also on top of the composition for injuries.. which would take us back to these times and places. Vol. 17-4). The occurrence of similar institutions in the legal systems of several. also its law. See. Additional parallels have been suggested in other studies. Eriu.

In his study of archaic Roman law. Amsterdam.16 Roman patriarchy was of exceptional historical importance. Maine. Wagenvoort. his sons would move into his place as fully empowered representatives of the genius. Studiën over het ‘Mana’-begrip in zede en taal der Romeinen. each becoming a paterfamilias in his own right. Primogeniture and substitution (of predeceased fathers by their sons) appeared only later 16 17 See the paper by Sirks. The death of a prominent ruling prince would occasion a kind of game of musical chairs. first on generation. the other princes in the provincial capital (also ranged in order of importance). Once the father died. op. according to his position in the family hierarchy. 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 sexes. not to individuals. Wagenvoort.. then on age. manifesting itself in the vis genitalis of the sexually mature male members of the gens. The most senior prince would rule in the nominal capital Kiev. Similar arrangements occur among other Indo-European peoples. 18 Sirks refers to H. whose original studies have been influential in expounding these views: H.17 As the mana of the father or grandfather would obviously be superior to that of his offspring. although the power of the paterfamilias is generally not as exclusive as it is in Rome (a point already made by Maine18). quoted above. the ruling house which was regarded as the decisive factor. English edition: Roman Dynamism. all lower ranking princes moving one step up. Among the Merovingian and Carolingian kings of the Franks. The idea of power belonging. 1947. to share in the family ‘estate’—the government of Kievan Rus’. the status of his sons and grandsons remained very considerably reduced while he was alive. Imperium.The dynastic histories of Germanic and Slavic peoples indicate that it was not so much the ruler but. but the idea of the unity of the gens and its genius. the realm was usually divided among the surviving sons of the deceased ruler. 1941. The underlying idea was very clearly that every adult male member of the house had a right. .cit.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. Oxford. and the relationships between. Sirks has argued that it was not male dominance as such which determined Roman patriarchy. but to the ruling house was particularly strong among the Russian Rurikids. 85. The peculiarities of Indo-European patriarchy come to the fore most prominently in archaic Roman law. An informal hierarchy among the male members of the house was based. rather.

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

then. etc. quoted above. a life-giving force. were engaged in the elimination of petty kings among the Salic Franks.23 The same thing happened in Russia. who had split 22 23 See the Edel paper. refers both to the fact that such persons do little else but law. in ancient Irish law. achieve the chieftaincy of a tribe. “Exclusively”. nationlike units. transmitted by males. then a living paterfamilias could evolve into the leader of a large family group and. many elements of divine kingship were retained in a christianized form: the divine right of kings. as related in the Primary Chronicle. translated with an Introduction by Lewis Thorpe. in the sense of the emergence of a class of persons who are more or less exclusively engaged in legal business. is an important aspect of the processes around the origins of law. but Gregory of Tours relates in his Historia Francorum how the early Frankish kings. the king as healer. as to the fact that others have little concern with legal matters (except as occasional parties in legal disputes). where a socially prominent class of lawyers.22 The Germanic tribes. The Professionalization of Law Professionalization of law. 1974. The History of the Franks. among the different early Indo-European legal systems. 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. Professionalization of the law was most pronounced.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. The elimination of non-Rurikid Slavic princes was completed under St. the brithemain. 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. such as Clovis and his ancestors. at the threshold of history. by which the life of the ancestors perpetuated itself in posterity. existed. 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. If we accept that there was an original idea of vis genitalis. .Vladimir. Gregory of Tours. as argued at the beginning of this chapter. the elaborate religious ceremony around the assumption of kingship (anointing. coronation). but present in females as well. After the baptism of Europe. Law becomes “lawyers’ business”. London. were already amalgamating into larger. in this context.

it appears that the judge did not. Pactus legis salicae 57. while also the administration of justice in the royal courts must have produced its own specialized personnel. Leipzig (3rd ed. Si displicuit sententia. H. 64-65. 27 H. 255. The laws of the Salic and Ribuarian Franks describe the task of the rachineburgi as the enunciation of the law.. The old Frisian asega was expected to know the law by heart. the exposition of the case and the applicable law would be referred to an ‘expert’. Grundriss des germanischen Rechts. Lex Salica 60. R. Germania 12: “mox rex vel princeps […] audiuntur. K.). also.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 13 off from the general class of learned men. auctoritate suadendi magis quam iubendi potestate. Grundzüge der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte.). appoint a few chance citizens as 24 Edel. iuridicus) as an innovation. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte.]. a profession of legal councillors had gradually detached itself from the learned brahmin class. Leipzig (2nd ed. in specifically legal disputes. 28. frameas concutiunt [. 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).28 This might suggest that more or less anybody could serve as ‘law-sayer’.27 In a more circumstantial way..cit. 1903. The provision about the appointment of rachineburgi by the judge refers to a very specific situation during the execution of a claim. in fact. Conrad. 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.). Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Lex Salica 52. The weakness of these arguments is obvious.25 Both the Frisians and the Franks left the actual judgment to the popular assembly (the “thing”). 1962. Among the Germanic peoples legal professionalization was not as well developed but still well attested. Strassburg (3rd ed. Schröder.” Pactus legis salicae 60.). Band I: Frühzeit und Mittelalter. fremitu aspernantur.. which then would be either rejected by public grumbling or accepted by the bystanders’ beating their spears together. 43-44.24 In India. 1913. 28 Tacitus. assuming that originally the statement of the applicable law and the judgment based on it belonged to the competence of the assembly. Tacitus’ statement is brief and refers to all kinds of decisions made by the assembly (including political ones). German legal historians generally regard the institution of the ‘law-sayer’ (asega. op. Lex Ribuaria 55. the filid. he was in fact the mouthpiece of an oral code of law. 25 26 . Karlsruhe (2nd ed. Brunner. 17.26 The main foundation for this view seems to be Tacitus’ brief description of Germanic procedure in his Germania. sin placuit. 1898. It does not at all exclude that. von Amira.

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

199-303. 1941) of the Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series. English translation by A. Vol. Vol. Leipzig. Friedrich. Assirii i Khettskogo tsarstva”. 41-115.M. 1952. Die Gesetze Hammurabis. Cf. is devoted to homicide: “If anybody kills a man or a woman in a fight. 32. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. “The Law of Status or Franchise”. 1-66 (Bretha Déin Checht). The first text is followed by D. 1952. Section C. as Vol. McLeod.”35 The following articles deal with the killing of slaves and various forms of injuries. the Crith Gablach (“Branched Purchase”) and the Uraicht Becc (“Little Grammar”).A. 1987. there are also numerous parallels with the laws of non-Indo-European peoples of the Ancient Near East. Winckler. Vol. Vestnik drevnei istorii. Dublin. 259-308.C. Old Testament legal prescriptions are primarily to be found in Deuteronomium 21-26 and Exodus 21-23. No. 1902.3. Its first article.4.XI (Dublin. H. however. Binchy’s study on “Sick-Maintenance in Irish Law”.34 The Hittite laws. 265-316. also consisted to a considerable extent of catalogues of fixed compensations for personal injuries. op. . Binchy. Pritchard. MacNeill. the first article is split into two parts. An annotated edition of the Crith Gablach by D. E. Binchy) in Eriu. 1959. Russian translation by I. Cf. F.B.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 15 In Old-Irish law. In the parallel text of the Hittite Law. Band.cit.. 35 36 Based on the German translation of J.36.4. A Guide to Early Irish Law. he shall give four persons. No. D’iakonov. quoted above. 126ff. which should not surprise in view of the chronological and geographical surroundings of the Hittite laws. Leiden.12 (1938). This paper contains the English translations of the two most important texts on this subject. I. 1988.20 (1966).42. the most important texts are Bretha Crólige en Bretha Déin Checht.M. antedating comparable European sources by about two millennia. 1950. lóg n-enech or díre) for offences against persons. Old-Irish law was before all concerned with the determination of status. as compensation. Otherwise.. “Interpreting Early Irish Law: Status and Currency”. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. “Zakony Vavilonii. as in the Russkaia Pravda. Goetze in J. 33 34 Edel. the situation is more complex. Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament.33 While in most other systems the emphasis is on the fine itself. to be dated roughly about 1500 B. 1923. D’iakonov in Vestnik drevnei istorii. 205-321. 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). No. 1-77 (Bretha Crólige) and Eriu. that Old-Irish law also knew an elaborate scale of fines (usually called “honour-price”.A. Kelly. N. mainly on account of the wealth of sources.A. Princeton. English translations (by D. For the honour-price topic.36 One of the striking differences remains the treatment of manslaughter and physical injuries. treating the killing of a man or a woman as different torts. Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie. offering many parallels with the Russkaia Pravda and the leges barbarorum. related to the status of the victim and the seriousness of the injury or offence.. There can be no doubt. men or women [slaves].

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

Lex Salica 65 (Pactus legis salicae 62). Grekov. 1959.173). his close relatives. Moreover.g. II. The wergeld or composition. The collective liability which we have in mind here is a much more specific institution. see B. on the side of the injured party.).D. beyond its territorial aspect. Pravda Russkaia II (Kommentarii). The exact meaning of verv’ has been the subject of endless debates. his house shall become a ruin. The Hittites. the verv’ bears collective responsibility for the payment of the wergeld of a person killed within its territory. 93. the question has been asked whether.e. also. 1947. Moskva/Leningrad. they tend to forbid feuds and monopolize the punishment of offenders. Vol. 99. The evidence suggests that this stage did not last long in most cultures. which emerged at a certain stage as a substitute for the original revenge.38 In the Expanded Version of the Russkaia Pravda. if the murderer remained unknown. See O. 38 39 40 E.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 17 was to be paid by the close relatives (proximi) of the perpetrator and two thirds by himself. and also B.D. The other side of the coin was that. the wergeld then disappears. As soon as kings appear. but it is uncertain whether it would embrace everybody or consist of a voluntary association. the wergeld had to be divided and several Germanic laws contain pertinent rules. i. A similar thought process may make the entire clan or family group of the attacker responsible for the attack. Izbrannye Trudy. “Bol’shaia sem’ia i verv’ Russkoi Pravdy i politskogo statuta”. 261-274. Gurney.). ed. 1961. London (rev. 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. connected with a particular type of patriarchal social system. then an attack against a single member may be regarded as an attack against all. . would then be due by the entire group. with the victim and his family as a collective creditor.R. it has obvious territorial connotations. Grekov (ed. Moskva.39 In the Hittite Law Code (art. it covers a group of people inhabiting a particular territory. an element of consanguinity was also included.”40 But this rule could very well refer to the situation which may occur in any legal system. 564575. For an extensive overview of the various viewpoints advanced since the 19th century on the meaning of the verv’. where a penalty entailing material consequences inevitably affects not only the offender himself but. there is a single provision which could point to collective responsibility: “If anyone opposes the judgment of the king. If the unity of the patriarchal clan is considered to be based on a common origin and a common vital force.

which is the focal point of this chapter. that in the prehistoric phase of law (before we have any written sources) the links between law and religion. and who transmitted their knowledge to new generations of experts. The painstaking reconstruction of what one might call the proto-legal system of the proto-Indo-European could be somewhat advanced in this way. The “twelve” occur in nearly all Germanic laws. There are indications.42 The earliest documented phases of the legal systems of several Indo-European peoples show already the existence of fixed procedural institutions. see art. 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. cited above. 41 42 43 This point is also noted in the papers of van der Vliet and Algra. we have tried to identify a few common strands in early legal systems of Indo-European peoples. In the ‘early law’ phase. two should at least be mentioned briefly. were much narrower. as well as for the light it might shed on the processes surrounding the origins of law. As this complex became more elaborate and the knowledge of it more fixed and formalized. Cf. . One is the importance of procedure.18 Law in Medieval Russia Some Preliminary Conclusions Indo-European scholarship is a vast field. proper. see the paper by Algra. In the preceding sections.41 The emergence of law is nearly always closely connected with the solidification of procedures. the religious dimension of the law has already faded in most of the systems under consideration. ruled his country as the leader of twelve chieftains. people who knew how things should be and how they should be done. common practice. an exercise which is worthwhile on its own merits. A famous saying of American legal realism is: Procedure is the heart of the law. the paper by Zimmer quoted above.15 of the Short Russkaia Pravda. 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. and legally binding.g. in order to pose the question whether the similarities established may perhaps be based on a common origin. For Russian law. however.43 The second aspect is the religious one. Of the many aspects that have not been discussed above. ethical. η 390. a class of experts arose. socially beneficial. between the entire complex of what was considered divinely ordained. Alkinoos. king of the Phaeacians. e. or. the Lex Saxonum XVI. in Homer’s Odyssee. right.

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

while capital punishment was absent or rare in early European law. not by any kind of genetic connection. A major difference with the European laws.16 Short Pravda.46 A similar legal solution may then be dictated by the situations themselves. if he had pocketed the price twice. 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. When a person had been robbed and the identity of the robbers could not be established. or by theft). but by the simple fact that the underlying situations are similar. . The last third of the Code displays more similarity. once they proceed to regulate such matters.20 Law in Medieval Russia and slaves. through a loan. except that the latter concerned the composition in a case of homicide. It deals mostly with homicide and all kinds of personal injuries. these provisions will also be discussed in the chapter on Roman law and early Russian law).38 Expanded Pravda. This is very much like the situation discussed before in connection with the Old-Russian verv’.23).g. Many 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. and among the Slavs). with the early European laws. The similarity between legal institutions may actually be caused. he has to produce his predecessor(s) in order to prove that the property was acquired in the correct manner. however. In Babylon the first seller. as known from the Old Testament. A large number of offences are punishable by death. The general conclusion has to be that the Babylonian legal system was very different from the early European systems mentioned above. fines to be paid to the victim. Only less significant offences entail monetary sanctions. A quite similar procedure is described in the Russkaia Pravda (art. will work out a solution like the one described. Occasionally. 46 For this reason I would not include debt slavery. lies in the dominance of the retributive principle of “an eye for an eye”. If the latter’s ownership is in dispute. the standard case for first-year law examinations: acquisition by and revindication from a third owner (possessor). as already noted above. Rome. art. or because it had been bought but not yet delivered to us) in the hands of a third person. common in Babylonian law and encountered in many early Indo-European systems (Greece. the community inhabiting the locality where the robbery took place must make good the losses (art. a consequence not foreseen by Old-Russian law. as to the contents. The latter case suggests a marginal remark which may be relevant in comparing legal institutions from very different legal systems. was to be killed as a thief. Another example is article 9. curious parallels appear. If we find something belonging to us (either originally. in the list of interesting parallels.

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

or a good family chief in the country. Riasanovsky (Riazanovskii) and G. and then adds that a person who knows the law or whom the king considers to be educated and experienced. Without direct connections or genetic links. they even achieved political and military superiority in the entire Eurasian area in the 12th and 13th century under Chingis-Khan and his successors.V. most likely on account of similar socio-economic conditions. Claessen & P.15). With regard to the similarities with Germanic and Slavic models. Vol. a short code was compiled. The first author published a long study in Russian (“Velikaia Iasa Chingiz-Khana”) in the émigré journal Izvestiia iuridicheskogo fakul’teta v Kharbine. and then a mono- .M. Favoured by harsh geographical conditions. The Study of the State. art. The two main commentators are V. H.1) sheds some light on the way justice was to be administered. Borrowing from neighbouring Indo-European peoples (or the other way around) in an earlier period is a matter of speculation. “The Early State Among the Eurasian Nomads”. although by no means universal among different cultures. 155-175. Khazanov. 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. The Hague. or a well-to-do merchant. The phenomenon known as convergence could also offer an explanation for certain similarities. The Law of Bagrat does not refer to courts or professional judges.50 It contained legal norms. and Russia and the whole of Europe in the West. A. Another possibility would be to look for common roots in a more distant past. direct borrowing one way or the other is practically excluded in view of the geopolitical circumstances of the period. and thus reach stages of development which at a given moment were quite similar. 1933.).49 During the reign of Chingis-Khan. along with moral 49 50 Cf. The short preamble (art. “he will be sensible and will well understand the work of a judge. this road leads nowhere for the time being. For a while. This at least is the prevailing view nowadays. known as the Iasa of Chingis-Khan.10. the Mongols have succeeded in maintaining their independence while surrounded by powerful cultures and empires: China and Japan in the East. should act as a judge.J. As next to nothing is known about the ethnic origins of the Georgians. The use of the number ‘twelve’ is wide-spread. It simply states the fixed compensations to be paid for various types of behaviour injurious or harmful to others. It exhorts those who will sit in justice to act justly and fairly.A. Skalník (eds. and will not say anything that is unjudicious”. 1981.M. different legal systems could develop along similar paths.22 Law in Medieval Russia with the aid of twelve or twenty-four helpers. Vernadsky (Vernadskii). a procedure well known in Germanic law (something similar also in the Short Pravda.

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

“Aspects of Law and Order in Early State Societies”. is inevitably a central issue in all studies of early law. 54 Cf. 4. H. where it was common to be in great danger and dependent on the help of a passer-by. but many items such as theft. one hundred camels and one thousand horses (e. in a different setting. or at least of political independence (the ancient Frisians and Saxons. Claessen. the opposite may occur (certain early African states54). etc. where it then sets a fixed award. dealing with stray cattle. A reasonably sophisticated legal system may function in a still embryonic state (Ancient Ireland). effort has been made to present the material in a systematized manner.24 Law in Medieval Russia that it also deals with entirely lawful behaviour. etc. The existence of courts is mentioned only twice and in passing. in this case the penalty would obviously come close to a genuine public fine.” The basic unit of compensation was the “nine”: four cows and five sheep. In only one case (petty theft) is the cutting off of the thief ’s finger ordained. homicide. but in special cases the compensation could rise to one hundred cuirasses. The semi-military character of Mongol society is still very noticeable in the many provisions devoted to military discipline. treatment of equipment. The former severity of Mongol law has been replaced completely by a system of material compensation. from princes to village elders. Many provisions set awards for saving persons and animals. An obvious. and. This may perhaps reflect the harshness of conditions in the steppe. both in an early form. the articulation of early law in the form of codification may actually be connected with the loss of statehood. .g. 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. but the provision adds: “if he does not want to miss his finger. Law and State The relationship between law and state. etc. because the entire population had been victimized). the emergence of the two may be more or less synchronous (early Germanic and Slavic states). a leading prince who failed to defend his territory against an invader. absorbed by the Frankish empire. insults. the statute consists of blocks of provisions on specific topics. the fixation of the previously unwritten law of modern minority peoples). but not entirely successful. 161-179. then he pays [so much]. Feldbrugge. are regulated in two or more places. salvaging booty. behaviour in battle. extinguishing fires. Law’s Beginnings.

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

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

the moment all the elements of the definition were present. If early law and the early state would be tied to prescriptive definitions (“this is what constitutes early law”. The description may be more or less successful. of incremental change. Since no authoritative definitions of early law or the early state can be given.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 27 other words. When we speak of early law. We may then attempt to describe more precisely what we have in mind. . legally unfortunate. by a process of consolidation. In the beginning of this chapter. but a pointer to the solution. or rather an early legal system. that point being irrelevant. or the early state. i. then they would appear suddenly. 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. further elaboration of this function. we do have a general idea of what is meant. In such a case. monopolization of rule creation. but there can be no question of it being wrong. Do policemen include military policemen. or socially ineffective by the community to whom it is addressed. we would have to admit that that our definition was inadequate or ineffective. Such a judgment could always be overridden.e. all we can do is look for a more or less general consensus on various aspects of them. also by ourselves. because they contain explicit or implicit choices about including or excluding specific sub-collections. 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). of coalescence. We know in fact that they each emerge gradually. they reflect political choices. dispute settlement. it may succeed in expressing completely or adequately what we had in mind. The definition may be regarded as politically undesirable. “this is what constitutes an early state”). 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’. faulty or invalid (provided it has been expressed in the proper manner). Then the problem becomes manageable. do parents include adoptive and/or foster parents. 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. and enforcement.

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

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

of the legal rules. when only designated persons or agencies were considered to have the power to formulate the law. Previously. alongside the prevalence of custom and . also in the Russkaia Pravda there are traces of ancient fixed formulas. who had experience in the legal profession. to dictate new legal rules. Once such a power has asserted itself. There are. When the law can only be expressed authoritatively by certain persons or agencies. The period of early law. Before the law came to be written down. 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. Irish brithemain or Frisian asegas. On the other hand. the second stage of the development of early law attained its conclusion and the stage was set for the last phase. 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. Legislation. is therefore the most important corollary of writing in the sphere of law. for a longer period led to the invention of writing. This phase is concluded by the acquisition by the state of the monopoly to enforce the law. such as judges and courts. in two ways. the later the stage of development. both old and new. indications that legislation was not unknown in oral cultures. Another aspect of writing is that it allowed knowledge to become de-personalized. the perceived need to preserve information. the enunciation. This is directly connected with the introduction of writing. the monopoly. the purposeful creation of new rules. the existence of the state cannot be doubted any longer. which claims the exclusive power. then the second stage can be called pre-legislative. Once this rule enunciation became a monopoly. it became accessible to anyone who could read. to be sure. As can be expected. If the first stage of the development of early law can be called pre-legal. law was the possession of persons who were trained in it.30 Law in Medieval Russia know the law by heart. The older judicial monopoly. The availability of writing allowed a much more reliable and permanent fixation of texts. Once law was written down. the extensive formulary of older Roman law. Homeric gerontes. including legal knowledge. is over once this point has been reached. The professionalization of the law is thus intimately connected with the articulation. where certain sentences must be spoken in exactly the right words. it had already been fixed in the minds of the professionals of the law. the more abundant the information about it. is then transferred to the state. the extraordinary similarity between a number of basic provisions in the Germanic leges barbarorum. whether specialized brahmins. of the emergence of law.

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

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

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

1964. Baranowski. The new additions to the already large collection of manuscripts have not given rise to fundamentally new insights. soderzhashchie Russkuiu Pravdu”. Frankfurt a/M. Band 1. Kaiser. 1940. Growth). Ewers. 29-37. 1 2 Extensive accounts of the historiography of the RP in M. especially. Pravda Russkaia. although in sometimes slightly different wording. 2005 (hereafter: Baranowski). Bruxelles. this work was published on the basis of a manuscript completed shortly before the author’s death in 1980). Moskva. 100-103. 4 There is also a third version. Pravda Russkaia. and E. “Novye spiski kormchikh knig. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. New Haven.4 The two versions are intimately related.N. Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy. 1947 (hereafter: Vernadsky. id. Laws). Vernadsky. but at that time more than 100 copies were already extant.”. respectively. Band 321. No.Ph. Eck. Sammlung kritisch bearbeiteten Quellen der Geschichte des russischen Rechts.H. Shchapov. No. Istoriia SSSR. III). II. English translation in D. Tikhomirov. Die Prawda Russkaja und die ältesten Tractate Russlands. D.N. a shorter one. 1992 (hereafter: Kaiser. 1953 (hereafter: Tikhomirov.). Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. Moskva. 13-43 (there are also 19th century German translations by I. Tikhomirov. Grekov (ed.H. it became obvious that there were at least two basic versions.3 As soon as more copies of the RP had become available. 25-56. 1947. 14-40. Zimin. but we shall have to return to this question at greater length below. 209-211.2. Tobien. 3 B. Part II: Kommentarii. Moskva. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia.D. 12-14. 1963 (hereafter: Szeftel & Eck). Istoricheskii Arkhiv. Dorpat/ Hamburg.. 11-30. id. 1844). Kaiser (transl.). known as the Abridged (Sokrashchennaia) Pravda. 70-72. Posobie). Princeton. and a longer one about four times as long. Moskva/Leningrad. Ia. Vernadsky. Szeftel & A. 1971. M.N. 1941 (hereafter: Tikhomirov. Medieval Russian Laws. Shorter accounts in G. G.2. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1969 god. Moskva. A. Rechtshistorische Reihe. 1963 (hereafter: Grekov. numbering about 1100 words.. Medieval Russian Laws.34 Law in Medieval Russia Russia”). German translation in Baranowski. PR I. 1999 (hereafter: Zimin. “Russkaia Pravda v novykh spiskakh kormchikh knig XVI-XVII vv.. 1980 (hereafter: Kaiser. Moskva/Leningrad.4. but. “Novoe o spiskakh Russkoi Pravdy”. 44-157. 1826. 9-15. French translation in M. Dorpat. PR. Part I: Teksty. Medieval Russian Laws). Salt Lake City. It is generally regarded as a later abridgment of the Expanded Pravda and of no direct interest for the present topic.G.A. See. ch. . not only because in most manuscripts they go under the name of Russkaia Pravda. Moskva/Leningrad.S. The general consensus is that the Short Pravda is older than the Expanded Pravda. more importantly. Issledovanie).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. Das älteste Recht der Russen in seiner geschichtlichen Entwickelung. & ed. 21-116.2 A considerable number of new copies has emerged afterwards. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov. as the Short and the Expanded Pravda. because virtually all provisions from the Short Pravda reappear. 1959. numbering about 850 words. in the Expanded Pravda. These versions are known. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde.

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

most likely at the insistence of the Novgorod population. 1996. Nazarenko.N. S. Tom IX. “Proiskhozhdenie drevnerusskogo denezhno-vesovogo scheta”.31-40) continues the focus on the prince’s interests. 1997. 1. 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. the first block of provisions (arts. 4.”. Novoe v numizmatike. See. Kisterev. Article 30 stands somewhat isolated. grand prince of Kiev. probably around 1013 or 1014.B. had been appointed by his father St. Iaroslav thereupon reinforced his army.2 of the Short Pravda. 3-16. Moskva.V. . “Spornye voprosy nachal’noi istorii russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia”. 5-79.8 When Iaroslav. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. it concerns evidence: open wounds and bruises need no further corroboration by witnesses. Sverdlov. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. the Primary Chronicle and the First Novgorod Chronicle. but at the same time this rule repeats the first part of art. One of Iaroslav’s duties was the payment of an annual tribute of 2000 pounds (grivny) to Kiev. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons.e. his father summoned his troops and began to prepare an attack on Novgorod. especially by 7 8 In substance. Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii.Petersburg). 1978. An extensive and recent explanation of the Old-Russian monetary system by A. M.N. “Istochniki dlia izucheniia russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia v XII-XIII vv. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons has therefore repeatedly been compared with Charlemagne’s Capitulare de Villis (dating from shortly after 800). Article 41 concerns the distribution of the money collected in fines and articles 42 and 43 have been mentioned above. to rule in Novgorod (Novgorod the Great.7 but the next series of provisions (arts. 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. Leningrad. south-west of the present St. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1994 god.19-29) may very well be viewed as an addition or amendment to the wergeld provisions of the first part. with the accent now on his property interests. in accordance with the prevailing practice (see the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”) among the descendants of Rurik. i. Kisterev (ed. A. Two medieval chronicles are of decisive importance in this respect. As what appears to represent a short law code of princely domanial law. articles 19-29 deal with special and increased fines for killing or injuring the prince’s officials. Novosel’tsev (ed.36 Law in Medieval Russia In the second part. the legendary founder of the dynasty. 197-220.P.). decided to cease the payment of this sum. Moskva. from Iaroslav’s Pravda. an older provision. S. These chronicles relate how Iaroslav.). also.Vladimir.

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

13 . PR. 133-150. 133-150. the Oldest Pravda would have emerged at some other date. is not an actual piece of legislation and that the legislative portions it contains have not necessarily been transmitted in their original form.12 Whether they were acting under instructions from the prince’s administration. 61.g. I follow Tikhomirov in this respect. the following provisions (arts. Very little is known about the actual process of compilation.12-18) seem to represent another legislative fragment. There are definite traces of editorial interference in the production of the final compilation known as the Short Pravda. Issledovanie. plus a few minor enactments. and has no particular connection with Novgorod. 10 11 Tikhomirov. Zimin. Most authors agree that it was the work of monastic scribes. Issledovanie. but are also helpful in explaining a number of peculiarities of it. unlike its constituent parts. and the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. both parts may be broken up in two parts each. or in some intermediate position. Cf.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. as early as 1054 and as late as 1136.10 We must return to this question in more detail when the origins of the RP are examined. Issledovanie. Cf. various solutions have been proposed. More speculatively. PR. which has come down to us through monastic manuscripts as the Short Pravda. consists of two main parts. but rather with Kiev) lack these advantages of what must be considered the predominant view. Tikhomirov. 99-123. as argued above. 74-78. PR. All this applies only to the first ten or eleven articles of the Oldest Pravda in my view.13 The principal conclusions to be drawn are that the Short Pravda as a whole. The Short Pravda: Composition and Status The Short Pravda. 12 The proposed subdivisions of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons are of little relevance in this chapter. 62-70 and Zimin. is unclear. I refer to Tikhomirov. Alternative interpretations (e. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. all of them representing specific items of princely legislation. 5. Zimin. or independently.11 Eventually this entire legislative mass was united into a single document. As to the date of this compilation.

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

redemption of prisoners.. but in the context of this chapter only the treaties of 912 and 945 are of interest. PSRL. in PRP I. and all the serene and grand princes and great boyars under his sway” on the other. inheritance and succession. with extensive bibliography. 9 and 14 (according to the accepted numeration). In arts. etc. commercial and criminal law. because it would be far-fetched to assume that the matter was regulated by (statute) law among the still largely illiterate Russians.N. Also.19 Both treaties give the names of the envoys of the Kievan prince. assault and theft. commentary). Cf. Romanus Lecapenus and sons as co-emperors. A. 49-50. and Zimin. and Russian custom” (po zakonu gretskomu i po ustavu gretskomu i po zakonu russkomu). (Radziwill and Academy) have “according to Greek custom and Greek law.1. in the Laurentian manuscript). The topics covered are similar to those mentioned in the 912 treaty. his brother Alexander and his son Constantine Porphyrogenitus.40 Law in Medieval Russia tensive literature. 3-70 (text. It contained fairly detailed rules about a number of subjects which we would regard as belonging to civil. Sakharov. The list also indicates the persons represented by the 25 16 17 See.6 has the formula “according to Greek custom and Russian law and custom” (po zakonu Grech’skomu. in the 912 treaty all the envoys bear Scandinavian names. po usta[v]ou i po zakonu Ruskomu. regard the reference as an indication of very early Russian legislation. Sorlin. while the sophisticated Byzantine empire would have left it to custom. 245. according to Russian custom [po zakonu russkomu]. grand prince of Russia. The latter reading seems to be correct from the point of view of legal history. 45-46. Some of the legal arrangements obviously reflect Russian usages and in one case (assault) this is stated explicitly: “he shall. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi–pervaia polovina X v. Constantine and Stephen18 and the Russian grand prince Igor “and his princes and boyars and the whole people of Russia”. but generally less favourable to the Russians.. Sakharov. in which both Russians and Greeks were involved: homicide. modern Russian translation. 313-360 and 447-475. two other mss. especially. Alexander and Constantine17 on the one hand and “Oleg. Kaiser. the other places mentioned all refer to Russian custom (zakon russkii) only. art.16 The treaty of 912. according to its preamble was concluded between the emperors Leo. 1-13 (English translation). damages for torts. I. II (1961). Diplomatiia. Moskva. Vol. implicitly accepting the correctness of the formula from the Laurentian ms.3. 6. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”.” The treaty of 945 follows the general format of the treaty 912 (the latter clearly not being the first of its kind either). 18 The iconoclast emperor Leo the Wise and his co-emperors. There are several explicit references to Russian custom (po zakonu russkomu). in the 945 treaty a large number of names is given as “the envoys and merchants of the Russian nation”. pay five pounds of silver. runaway slaves. the parties mentioned are the emperors Romanus. Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. Laws. 1980. 19 . Also PRP I.

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. and then the names of the 25 merchants follow. One cannot exclude that certain written ordinances preceded the Oldest Pravda. would always be in writing and would then have the meaning which it still has: a statute or charter. Moreover. There is. .20 8. The overwhelming majority of these 50 persons bear Scandinavian names again. including its most ancient parts. 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. which were briefly discussed above. establishing laws (ustavy) and tribute (uroki). where the Russian side swears by its gods Volos and Perun. The existence of Russian customary law is well documented in the treaties with Byzantium of 912 and 945. also in RZ 331-243. nor in the text of the last-known Russian-Byzantine treaty of 971. more likely that at that early date Olga’s ustavy were simply oral directives. Igor’s widow Olga. It is. Zimin. and 1229 is therefore the certain terminus ante quem of the latter. however. An ustav.The Russkaia Pravda 41 envoys.A. also. travelled through the land of the Derevlians in 946. 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. apart from an apparent scribe’s mistake (as explained above). as opposed to zakon or pokon. the first bishop of Riga) died. The Primary Chronicle relates how the ruling grand princess of Kiev. 75-87. commentary by A. especially the important Court Charter of Pskov of the second half of the 15th century. the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod). the RP. refers to what has been ordered from above. in later times. 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. 57-71. referring to tradition and custom. The contents of the treaty are in many ways close to the Expanded Pravda. in the language of Kievan Russia. no indication of any written Russian law in these treaties. It offers the earliest link between the RP and later Russian legislation. Ustav. in the year bishop Albrecht (Albert of Adalbert. continued to exercise its influence over the development of the entire Russian legal 20 Text in PRP II.

It must be stressed that at the time it would be too early to speak of a genuine princely administration. . regardless of the origin or ethnicity of the victim. the mechnik (lit. the prince’s retinue. ethnic Scandinavians. The significance of the legislation of 1016 may best be illustrated by examining its first provision. his wergeld is 40 grivna . about the iabetnik there is much uncertainty. but it is at least clear that he is a man who belongs to the prince’s household. the term “Russians” is also used and there it unquestionably refers to the persons accompanying the prince. Vyp. “If a man kills a[nother] man. [the following relatives of the murdered man avenge him]. Gorskii (ed. This aspect is elaborated in a recent study by S. was itself not an innovation. Varangians. or the son of the brother or the son of the sister [avenge their respective uncles]. originally his comrades-in-arms and drinking companions. 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. and the izgoi. is not yet his court or his government. with rare exceptions. the exact meaning of this term is the subject of endless speculation. or the son the father. Nikol’skii. or [rather] an izgoi or a [Novgorodian] Slav. 2004.42 Law in Medieval Russia system during the next few centuries. then 40 grivna wergeld. clan or class. the merchant can be seen as somebody who is active in representing the commercial interests of the prince. The four specified sub-categories of the “Russians” in article 1 of the Short Pravda are all druzhina members. which makes perfect sense in the perspective adopted here. or the father the son. The equal treatment principle. The gridin is a junior member. The first category is called “Russians” and this is often taken to mean “Kievan Russians” as opposed to people from Novgorod. a bodyguard.”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. a steward [iabetnik]. a merchant. his druzhina.4. Moskva. who were.A. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. at 26-28. or a sheriff [mechnik]. 5-48. It was also included in the 912 21 22 My translation differs on minor points from those of Vernadsky and Kaiser. members of the prince’s druzhina.L. sword-man) is generally taken to be a person connected with the administration of justice. which deals with homicide. In the treaties with Byzantium. A.22 The “non-Russians” (slovenin) envisaged in article 1 are the Novgorodians. be [the murdered man] a Russian: a bodyguard [gridin]. however. according to most scholars. Vikings. if there is no one to avenge [the murdered man]. without any visible competition from older or contemporary Russian legislation. Srednevekovaia Rus’.). the brother avenges the brother.

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

25 One of the most contested phrases is liubo bratochado. or a brother’s sons [their uncle]. Vsevolod. 336-338. because article 2 cancels what has been established in article 1: blood revenge by close kin.44 Law in Medieval Russia servants to 5 grivna for the smerdy and kholopy. li bratniu synovi. if he was a Russian–a bodyguard [grid’]. this is obvious from the following provisions and from the entire context. or a boyar’s sheriff [tiun]. as Iziaslav [1054-78] established when the residents of Dorogobuzh killed his stablemaster” (art. 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.23.25 but the contrast between the two provisions catches the eye. The translations of the names of the various officials can also only be regarded as tentative. then a brother avenges his brother. See the extensive discussion in Baranowski. The three-stage development of the law of homicide is clear: first. and as to everything else. It is to be explained by the complicated genesis of the text. or a sheriff [mechnik]–or [rather] an izgoi or a [Novgorodian] Slav. if there is no one to avenge [the murdered man]. 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).” “[2] And after Iaroslav his sons: Iziaslav. This would mean that the inclusion of sons of sisters among the circle of possible avengers. had been deleted in the Expanded Pravda. all this being the customary law arrangement of the pre-Christian era. The name of this fine is vira (bloodwite) and it is to be paid to the prince. or a father [his son]. The rule concerning the stable master (koniukh staryi) is of special interest. secondly. and their men: Kosniachko. or a merchant. who reached the same conclusion. Pereneg. 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. I have followed those authors who regard bratochado (lit. restriction of the right to blood vengeance to a circle of close relatives. 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].” There are many uncertainties in translating these texts. decided by Iaroslav. or a son [his father]. or a cousin [=a son of the father’s brother][his cousin]. The 80 grivna fine for killing the stable master returns in article 12 of the Expanded Pravda. . as provided by the Short Pravda. and Nikifor came together again and abolished blood revenge but [instead ordered] composition by payment of money. Sviatoslav. blood vengeance with the possibility of substituting payment of wergeld for revenge. but then the reference to its origin is omitted. his sons established the same. then the wergeld is set at 40 grivna . Kaiser’s translation).

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

Cherepnin. most authors. see K. Tikhomirov.A. and the same applied to pulling out or shaving somebody’s beard or moustache (arts. 33. Strassburg (3rd ed.7). Medieval Russian Laws. S. instead he ought 28 29 Cf. 210-211. however. When imposing sanctions.4 and 8). 82.28 The various tariffs give a clear indication. 88-89.V. which correspond to arts. 56. 30 Zimin. against ten times in the Short Pravda. remaining close to the text of art. Arkhivy I. PRP I. Some authors regard the terms as synonymous.23 and 34. and a procedure called izvod in article 15. he is not to take it back. The precise meaning of most of the provisions is still much contested.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. does not specifically argue this point. this article also contains abundant references to older Russian literature. Procedure Procedural arrangements represent the second main cluster of rules which make up the Pravda of Iaroslav. but certain aspects are clear. Zimin. Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis/Revue d’histoire de droit. 341-436.13). Such a body also turns up in the earliest known treaty between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League. but of an older jurytype agency. consisting of twelve men. A. Szeftel & Eck. If this happened within the community (mir) of the owner. 90-91. On the other hand. Vernadsky points to the similarity between the svod and possessorial proceedings in Germanic law. Striking a man with the hilt or the sheath of a sword resulted in a penalty of 12 grivna. “Protection of Individual Honour and Dignity in Pre-Petrine Russian Law”. leaving unanswered the question before whom this confrontation took place. There is a procedure referred to as svod in article 14. a simple taking back is allowed (art.L. 1972. and ought not to say to him [who possesses his property]: ‘This [property] is mine’. . regarded svod as a form of confrontation. Vernadsky. but it is implicit in his entire treatment of the question. L. 1913. cutting off somebody’s finger (something a modern person would consider far more serious) came at 3 grivna (art. against the will of the owner or independent of his will. considered both svod and izvod as a survival of a kind of judicial council of the community. Outside the mir. 245. the Short Pravda often adds the words “for the insult” (za obidu). not the involvement of the prince’s court. Kaiser’s translation): “If someone recognizes [his property]. PRP I. 78-79. GVNP. 9. others stress the differences.). No.4 and 13 of the Short Pravda).29 but there is little doubt that in both cases one has to assume. in the Expanded Pravda the expression is only used twice (in arts. but reparation of honour and status. of 1189/1199. 28-29. the svod procedure was required (art. Issledovanie.14. Grundriss des Germanischen Rechts.46 Law in Medieval Russia tion for material losses. von Amira. Levitsky.28. at 342-346.14.

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

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

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

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

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

of 1189/1199. the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”). After defeating and punishing the latter. op. Zimin. In most of these cases the treaties use the formula “according to Russian custom [or law]” (po zakonu ruskomu).. . Zimin. Zimin advances the intriguing hypothesis that the ‘domanial’ law contained in arts. except what can be derived from the text of 1189/1199 treaty). One (already noted above) is the reference under the year 946 in the Primary Chronicle to Olga. 81-85. the grand prince Igor. All this strongly suggests that customary law was to a great extent fixed in an oral tradition. usually translated as “laws and tribute”. where the unwritten law constituted a definite entity. 39 40 Cf. This would agree with the situation encountered with other Indo-European peoples at a comparable stage of development. 11 (hiding someone else’s slave) and 38 (killing a thief caught in the act).19-27 of the Short Pravda could perhaps have been based on Olga’s directives for the management of her estates.. 94). the Frisian asega). 71-80. after all.Vladimir. This means that the Zakon russkii was more than a general and abstract item: “Russian custom”.52 Law in Medieval Russia unsheathed sword or a sword handle). op. had been killed by the Derevlians. There are a few vague indications in this direction. a short statute regulating church-state relationships of the recently baptized Kievan Rus’ (see. Whether there was any genuine legislation preceding the RP is mostly a matter of speculation.cit. On the other hand. is generally assumed to be the legislator of the so-called Church Statute of Vladimir Sviatoslavich (or at least of its oldest nucleus).cit. also.39 Other pointers are even vaguer. she established ustavy i uroki. There has never been any mention of other legislation which could in any way be regarded as a competitor in this respect. the “law-sayer” (iuri-dicus. who ruled in Kiev after her husband. The oldest known treaty. 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. to be enunciated by certain experts. The series of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League offers a useful parallel. The latter. but a specific body of unwritten rules.40 The existence of genuine princely legislation preceding the RP cannot be excluded on the other hand. given a little more than a century earlier. explicitly confirmed “the old treaty” (of which nothing is known. Elsewhere (ibidem. 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.

Zakon Vinodol’skii.D. and. an early medieval law code from the Dalmatian coast. “Pol’skaia Pravda. Grekov. Its relationships with the various versions of the RP have been examined in the chapter on Roman law in medieval Russia. 33-110. with the exception of the Short ZSL. but the latter’s system of sanctions was fundamentally changed. any borrowing must have been from the Short Pravda. Moskva.Peterburg. The Short ZSL originated outside Russia (Bulgaria. Closest to the RP. I. Russian translation by V. The parallels between the ZSL and the Short Pravda all concern suggested borrowings from the Expanded ZSL.D. The RP antedates the earliest codifications of other Slavic peoples. Izbrannye trudy. especially during the Soviet era in the period following the Second World War. the other two (the Expanded and the Concordance Versions) being of a later date than the Short Pravda. is the nameless Polish law book. 267-442 (includes German text and Russian translation). in time. Grekov. there are no parallel provisions between the Short ZSL and the Short Pravda. Moskva. 1957. only the Short Version will have to be considered. and only the most important points relevant to the present chapter will be repeated here. Of the three existing versions of the ZSL. po Pol’skoi Pravde (‘Kniga Prava’)”. secondly.42 14. I.D. B. These feelings apart. historical conditions would suggest at least a certain amount of Germanic. written in the 13th century in German. particularly Scandinavian influence on the development of early Russian law. Iagich. S. Germanic Contacts The relationship between early Slavic (Russian) and early Germanic law has long been a politically sensitive subject. probably during the first half of the 14th century. Izbrannye trudy. place and general tenor.D. hereafter ZSL). 41 42 Cf. B. B. 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. and not the other way around. 1957. “Vinodol’skii Statut ob obshchestvennom i politicheskom stroie Vinodola”. . It was almost entirely based on the Greek Ecloga.The Russkaia Pravda 53 13. Grekov. Cf. Opyt izucheniia obshchestvennogo i politicheskogo stroia Pol’shi XIII v. Moravia or Macedonia) sometime during the 9th century and reached Russia before the 13th century. As the Expanded ZSL was compiled in Russia. Grekov. 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. 1880.41 Another comparable source is the Statute of Vinodol of 1288. B.V.

1962.44 Similarity can always be explained in three ways: common origin. in North-West Germany. The latter becomes more unlikely as similarity becomes more striking. 1898. The Law of the Saxons. and the Ewa ad Amorem or Lex Francorum Chamavorum). the RP would fit effortlessly into the otherwise purely Germanic collection. A tripartite class structure (nobles. V. Pashuto (ed. the region from which Rurik. belong to the same general type. bears the traces of the recent war with the Franks and the forceful establishment of Frankish rule. “«Livonskie Pravdy» kak istoricheskii istochnik”.T. was the direct neighbour of Jutland.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. the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav Vladimirovich. In the Oldest Pravda the focus is on the freeman.43 Disregarding linguistic differences (the old English laws were written in Anglo-Saxon. the similarity with the Oldest Pravda is the most striking. 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. There is undeniably an important and perhaps dominant German influence to be observed in these laws. In the first part of the Lex Saxonum. 1980. and the RP in Old-Russian). originated. the laws of the Kentish kings.). I. the Old-German laws in corrupt Latin. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. freemen. during the first half of the 19th century. R. Lex Frisionum. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Frisians. the boyar appears in chronologically younger layers of the Expanded Pravda. The idea of borrowing takes us to the second point mentioned above: the presumed legislator of the Oldest Pravda. Moskva.). at least according to some of the current theories. Conrad. 131-134. Schröder. This is the more intriguing since the Saxon territory. or accident. and unfree persons) is dominant in the Germanic laws and less so in the RP. Nazarova. von Bunge in several volumes. H. for instance. Karlsruhe. Thuringians and Chamavian Franks (Lex Saxonum. 243-248. .G. borrowing. A new bi-lingual publication (Low Middle German and Russian) by E. Lex Thuringorum or Lex Angliorum et Werinorum. The earliest Anglo-Saxon laws.L. was still surrounded by many Scandinavian ele43 44 Cf. but the few authors who have concerned themselves with this topic have also noted an indigenous element. 5-218. The oldest layers of these laws resemble both the RP and sections from the early Germanic laws. 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. beginning with the Law of Aethelberht of around 600. The main publication of these Baltic laws was the work of F. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR 1979 god. Leipzig (3rd ed.

Moskva. Vol. And when.35. 2001. 2003. erroneously regards an “unknown pagan spouse” as the mother of Iaroslav. 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»”. with which Iaroslav must have been familiar. 48-92. If these considerations are combined with the 45 46 In the entry for 980.47 In this view.A. Moskva.45 and his wife Ingigerd was the daughter of the king of Sweden. Rydzevskaia. Pchelov. all of whom bore Scandinavian names. IX-1. especially the one about Olaf Tryggvason and Eymund. Drevnerusskaia gosudarstvennost’. Mel’nikova (ed. N.).The Russkaia Pravda 55 ments. “K tipologii predgosudarstvennykh i rannegosudarstvennykh obrazovanii v Severnoi i Vostochnoi Evrope”.V. the successor of Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. 1989 (not available to me). 1995. Iaroslav (‘Jaritsleif ’) and his father Vladimir (‘Waldamar’) figure prominently as rulers of Novgorod (‘Holmgard’) in several Scandinavian sagas. 63-70. He was himself the descendant of Viking chiefs. DGVE 1992-1993. during their raid on Byzantium. 47 Cf. Drevnerusskaia druzhina.F. Istoricheskaia pamiat’ i formy ee voploshcheniia. 1998. Gorskii. as related by the Chronicle..46 When political and military problems arose for Iaroslav as ruling prince of Novgorod in 1015-1016. 165.g. A. and contacts with Viking leaders from Scandinavia were obviously close and frequent. Materialy i issledovaniia 1978 g. Orientalia Christiana. founded in 1978. according to the preamble of the treaty of 945. This by itself could explain the strong similarity with Germanic law from NorthWestern Europe. See e. Drevniaia Rus’ i Skandinaviia v IX-XIV vv. 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. N.A. 1927.A.Peterburg. de Baumgarten. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2001 god. falling back on Scandinavian customary law.A. The old Western standard work on Rurikid genealogy. His great-grandparents Igor and Olga. Kotliar. S. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. would have been an equally obvious option. Roma. Moskva. 16-32. were accompanied by a large number of magnates and merchants. E. As to her Scandinavian background. must have been an easily available option. Moskva. . the daughter of prince Rogvolod or Rognvald of Polotsk as his mother. as we know it from two centuries later. 1978. 7-8. Mel’nikova. Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle.A. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. calling in help from his allies and relatives in Scandinavia. Especially the group of younger scholars around the yearbook Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy (DGVE). Of particular interest in this respect is the study by E. see E. Several modern Russian authors have stressed the importance of the druzhina aspect in the political and legal culture of early Kievan Russia. E. E. Moskva. there was a need to negotiate a settlement between the population of Novgorod and his Viking soldiery. the Primary Chronicle mentions Rogneda. his mother was also of Viking descent. No. somewhat later.

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

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

for whom an amount of 80 grivna was established. 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. When this system turned out to be inadequate to deal with new challenges during a crisis. . new arrangements were created.g. probably of considerable size and fixed through mnemonic devices. the episode discussed above about the stable master of Iziaslav. The genesis of the Expanded Pravda was even more complicated. In the beginning. as Russian tradition calls it. 50 E. as witnessed by the stability of the formulas appearing later on in written texts. soon discovered that simple recording could easily be expanded into the issuing of written orders. where the Expanded Pravda names them in article 2 as the princes who abolished the blood feud. although of decisive importance with a view towards the future. the Zakon russkii. 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. Those who caused the new arrangements to be written down. killed by the men of Dorogobuzh. Iaroslav’s sons already appear as genuine legislators. The Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons also has the appearance of legislation or rather a collection of acts of legislation of these princes. and that such orders were generally more effective than oral ones. there was a system of unwritten law. This had probably happened many times in the past—the creation of new customary law. there are also other indications of the legislative activities of the princes. and who already enjoyed the power to command. In the second half of the Short Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons).58 Law in Medieval Russia tion. The independent legislative input of the prince was probably small.50 The entire history of the RP in its subsequent chronological layers illustrates the complexity which the process of emerging law may display. there still was considerable confusion about who did the writing. 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.

15. 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. Nobody. In the present case. however. Usually. therefore there is no elephant in this matchbox). and if so. and with renewed vigour in post-Soviet times. Avenarius. which maintains the pagination of the original German publication.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. how and to what extent. In one of the great overviews of the impact of Roman law through the ages on Western culture. Roman law did not influence the early phases of Russian law. Koschaker’s views on Russia and the Roman law are to be found on pp. 1966). presents a complex of questions which have continued to intrigue Russian and foreign legal historians for almost two centuries. edited by Th. 2000). I have used the 3rd edition of the Dutch translation. Three more editions followed. one could simply ask those who claim that Roman law influenced early Russian law to mention one provision of. Paul Koschaker confessed that he had been unable to come up with clear answers. Veen (Deventer. Rezeption des römischen Rechts in Russland–Dmitrij Mejer. This policy resulted in a powerful injection of Roman law thinking into the study of law in Russia. Nikolaj Djuvernua und Josif Pokrovskij (Quellen und Forschungen zum Recht und seiner Geschichte XI). Europa und das römische Recht.1 To eliminate one issue already at the start: the following discussion only concerns the earlier phases of Russian legal history. 130-134. which in one way or another was maintained in later years. say. 1958.Chapter 3 Roman Law in Medieval Russia 1. when. 1947. Göttingen. In the course of the 19th century. Koschaker. 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. Such a conclusion is not definitive (that is why atheists can never win). The absence of something may occasionally be proven by arguing irrefutably that it cannot be present (a matchbox cannot contain an elephant. without a change in page numbers (1953. Introduction to the Problem Whether Roman law exercised any influence on the development of Russian law. Cf. München (1st ed. even under Soviet rule.). 2004. the small but very informative study by M. to the 1 2 P. . 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.

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

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.

Also.V. 29-37. 1999 (No. observed that renewed interest among Russian legal historians in Byzantine influences in Russian law is certainly to be welcomed. Band 54. 280. seriia II. 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. Salogubova. An Interpretation of Soviet Law. “Elementy rimskogo prava v rossiiskom sudoproizvodstve X-XVII vv. 34 35 36 .. 114-116. This appears to have been the view of S. “Vliianie rimskogo prava na rossiiskoe grazhdanskoe zakonodatel’stvo”. 192.68 Law in Medieval Russia to the RP. Isaev.31 (1972). on the Kormchaia. His views on the ecclesiastical origins of the RP in Vol. In an overview “The Romanist Substratum in the Civil Law of the Socialist Countries” (Review of Socialist Law. and id. Vestnik Moskovskogo Universiteta. 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. the Procheiron. perceived the presence of Roman law in many instances in early Russian law. but characterizes them as superficial. MA (Revised and Enlarged edition). 41. he appears to conclude that the RP was based a. Studien des Instituts für Ostrecht München. 1997. Salogubova. and in the person of Greek bishops and priests steeped in the ecclesiastical law of Byzantium. but equally adventurous position was taken by another recent author. he followed the lead of Kliuchevskii. Baranowski. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii takes up the first five volumes of the 8-volume collected works (Sochineniia)..”. Kucherov in “Indigenous and Foreign Influences on the Early Russian Legal Heritage”. Sacco recognized the predominantly native Russian character of the RP.V. E.36 The very few authors who looked more closely at the sources themselves were usually more circumspect in their judgment. in a wide-ranging overview of the influence of Roman law in the Balkans and 32 33 V. H. Cambridge. Pravo. Christianity came to Russia through Byzantium. who. acknowledges Byzantine influences in early Russian law.S. 1988. in his Einführung in die Rechtsgeschichte Osteuropas. Soloviev. like Maksimeiko many years ago. who saw the RP as a legal manual for the use of ecclesiastical courts.o. at 71). and the Nomos Georgikos.cit. in his recent magnum opus on the RP. op.33 A different.. Slavic Review.I. 37.2. Berman acknowledged a significant influence of Byzantine law on the RP in his well-known work Justice in the U.35 In Western scholarship.34 In this connection Baranowski.4). op.O. 66.R. No. H. would have reached Russia in this early period. but also the direct influence of the Ecloga and the Procheiron.S. published in Moscow. 726. Küpper. 1956-1959 (the edition which I have used). R. Ius Antiquum–Drevnee Pravo. 1962.cit. 208-209. The two papers are largely identical. the Court Law for the People (ZSL).32 From this. Vol. esp. E. 65-86. A. therefore Byzantine law. and through its prism also Roman law. Frankfurt a/M. the Ecloga. 2005. 257-282.

One of the most thorough Western studies of early Russian law has been D. and that. In accordance with the general format of his work he refrains from expressing an outspoken position.37 D. 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. although his overall judgment seems to be that only the Court Law for the People (the ZSL. concluded that the RP “taken as a whole. op. Band 76 (1959). Romanische Abteilung. and mainly in the form of the Ecloga and the Procheiron. 432-479.V. Princeton. “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”. Oxford. 1980. at 460. 319. The Byzantine Commonwealth.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 69 in Eastern Europe. in The Byzantine Commonwealth. the most notable of which are the ‘charters’ of Pskov and Novgorod. as indicated by the title.41 37 38 D. 724-726.. Obolensky. This chapter takes account of the important Soviet literature which had appeared after Hammer’s article. Soloviev. an extensive chapter on the sources of medieval Russian law has been included. considered Maksimeiko’s argument “a failed attempt” and concluded that the earliest Russian law showed no signs of Byzantine or Roman influence. 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”. Obolensky. 39 40 41 A. mentioned above. the Ecloga and the Procheiron may have affected individual provisions of the so-called Expanded Pravda (the later and longer version of the RP). Kaiser’s The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia.cit. and particularly. There were some traces of clerical influence in secular law (testimony and inheritance). Kaiser’s views on Roman and Byzantine influences could be summarized as follows: Roman law reached medieval Russia through the intermediary of churchmen. additionally. neither of them true to Roman roots. Hammer have been referred to above. in his recent work on the RP. limited himself to presenting a convenient survey of modern views on the question being discussed here.cit. 173-174. in its section on the Kormchaia. of Shchapov’s pioneering work. Kaiser.40 Baranowski. .39Although the main subject of this book.”38 The views of D. is legal change. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung.. Baranowski. in its Short Version) is a realistic candidate for having had a significant influence on the RP. 1971. op.

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

A considerable part of its contents seems to reflect customary law.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 71 Secular Byzantine Law: a.P. all dating from the same era. The Lex Rhodia. There are now few supporters of the theory that ascribes the law to Justinian II Rhinotmetes (685-695. Briefly on the Knigi Zakonnye also Kaiser. 705-711). Nomos Georgikos. 65. a law “On divorce” (O razdelenii brakom). 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).P. as well as the time and place of its origin.E. Leningrad. creates a vivid picture of the life of small and independent farmers and the manifold disputes and collisions that could arise among them. Zemledel’chskii zakon. also. Growth of the Law. Medvedev (ed. the Slavic-Russian text of the Law with notes and comments. but there are also influences from Old Testament (Mosaic) law. the first significant secular legislative document in Byzantium after the Corpus Iuris was the Nomos Georgikos (Lex rustica) or Farmer’s Law. . consisting of 85 articles (in the oldest available and most reliable version). annotated texts of the main Greek manuscripts and a Russian translation. See. Lipshits). and the “Chapters on witnesses” (Glavy o poslusekh). There can be no doubt. The other parts of the collection are the “Law on penalties” (Zakon o kaznekh).46 (More on the Knigi Zakonnye below.Peterburg. 144-145.). This law. 2001. and I. that after its reception in Russia it was regarded as a genuine piece of Byzantine legislation. van der Wal & Lokin. and various additional materials. Pravovaia kul’tura vizantiiskoi imperii. 233-259. Medvedev. 148-150. A minor part of its contents can be traced to the law of Justinian and earlier Roman law.) The Farmer’s Law is one of the three Byzantine leges speciales. 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). and a somewhat later date. This edition contains an extensive historiography (also of Western scholarship). Its authorship is unclear. The Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law In connection with medieval Russian law. however. of which the Lex Rhodia and the Lex militaris represent the other two. Included with comments by Lipshits in Medvedev. 73-75. in the beginning of the era of the iconoclast emperors. is preferred. an extensive commentary (by E. of great importance in the development of maritime law. The same goes for the Lex militaris. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii zakon. 1984.45 There is still much disagreement about all the external aspects of the Farmer’s Law. S. Whether it was promulgated as an official law or represents the work of private persons is uncertain. 45 46 I.

. but republished by the USSR Academy of Sciences). Pravovaia kul’tura. the question is not of great relevance. but is silent about icon worshippers. nicknamed Copronymus. and not so much as a major law reform. Fontes minores IV. Vasil’evskogo.. this would favour the 726 date. Ekloga. IV. 1924) which demonstrates (according to Lipshits) clearly that 726 is the correct date. van de Wal & Lokin. refers to a study by D. 37-106) which they believe settles the matter ultimately in favour of the 741 date. the Ecloga is a law code of modest size. also known as Leo the Isaurian. An older but still valuable Russian source is V.72 Law in Medieval Russia b. As the Ecloga was promulgated in March. “Zakonodatel’stvo ikonobortsev”. who insist on the reforming character of the Ecloga. Lipshits. along 47 48 Cf. Ecloga: Das Gesetzbuch Leons III. Ekloga. Ginis (“Das Promulgationsjahr des isaurischen Ecloge”. 52) prescribes the death penalty for Manichaeans and Montanists. devoted respectively to matrimonial and criminal law.G. and a useful bibliography at 132. an introduction and comments. See. Cf. also. For the purpose of our study. Frankfurt a/M. 1965. I note the point made by Vasil’evskii (173) that the Ecloga (XVII.).). und Konstantinos’ V. In the 17th and longest chapter. I am inclined to occupy a middle position: if it did not constitute a major change of course. 1983 (not available to me). corporal punishment and various amputations constitute the standard penalty. L. 138-148.49 After a lengthy preamble. presents a Russian translation. Byzantinische Zeitschrift.E. Frankfurt a/M.50 Its contents can be traced back to the Corpus Iuris and subsequent imperial legislation. Band 24. Van de Wal & Lokin (132) point to a paper by O. 1981. 16-18. The Ecloga is therefore to be understood primarily as a paraphrasing of the practically most important legislation in simpler language. 139-235 (originally written and published in the beginning of the 20th century. Vasil’evskii. 72-73. 8ff. Vizantiiskii zakonodatel’nyi svod VIII veka. Most innovations are contained in the 2nd and 17th chapters. 50 Lipshits. and promulgated by the emperors Leo and Constantine.. Leningrad. Burgmann (ed. 72-73. van der Wal & Lokin. who stress this point against what they consider to be the erroneous view of Zachariae von Lingenthal and his followers in the 20th century. such as Lipshits (Ekloga. They are also by far the longest chapters.G. including family and inheritance law. the years of 726 and 741 are mentioned. mainly devoted to private law. because Leo’s iconoclast policies began to be applied later on in the same year and remained a major concern all through his reign. was born in 718 and crowned co-emperor in 720. Medvedev. 49 Leo III. also. Trudy V. They were the first iconoclast emperors. with a few exceptions. Kresten (“Datierungsproblemen isaurischer Eherechtsnovellen”. His son Constantine V. I. He ruled from 741 until his death in 775. Ecloga47 Taken at face value. depending on the manuscript used. was emperor from 717 to his death in 741. Moskva. it was not just a change of words. the first 16 chapters (titles) of the Ecloga deal with various civil law topics. E. The preamble points in particular to the fact that the mass of preceding legislation had become incomprehensible to judges outside the capital itself. and extensive other explanatory and bibliographical materials. See. 1930.P.48 As its date.

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

It was more than twice the size of the 56 As Medvedev notes (176). I shall conform to this usage. it was explicitly meant to replace the Ecloga and to return to the old law of Justinian. The Basilika was based on the law of Justinian. but at the same time it ensured that the Epanagoge would never acquire the status of a law. According to present-day definitions. “Returning”. On account of the respective sizes of the works. d. 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. Only much later. the proper name is actually Eisagoge (“Introduction”). to the ‘pure’ law of Justinian) correspond to the 40 books of an earlier stage of the Basilika. in 1175. the Basilika is not to be regarded as legislation. but as it had come down through various Byzantine (Greek) works. The question of its character has been debated extensively. According to its lengthy introduction. Leo the Wise had another summary drawn up in 907-908. sc.56 Because certain parts of the Epanagoge were politically unpalatable to the emperor. written under the direction of the energetic and learned patriarch Photius in 885-886. .74 Law in Medieval Russia at first by the Epanagoge. 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. the 40th chapter is devoted to criminal law. not the original Latin text of the Corpus Iuris. This theoretical approach obviously reflected the ambitions of the patriarch Photius. was it officially recognized as a source of law. They generally return to the old law of Justinian by offering a more literal Greek rendering of the Corpus Iuris texts. e. the Procheiron. Epanagoge (Eisagoge) The 40 titles (chapters) of the Epanagoge (“Restoration”. Modern lawyers are conditioned by a strictly circumscribed concept of law. 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 rather as a work of reference. but such views may not be quite adequate for understanding legal sources from other times and other cultures. but as Epanagoge is the name which has been in use in the literature for very many years. 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. Of particular interest are the chapters 2 and 3. Of course it also incorporated later Byzantine legislation in the form of imperial constitutions. with the specific additional purpose of getting rid of Photius’ unacceptable statements on the church-state relationship. The following chapters cover many areas of private law and procedure.

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

the Corpus Iuris. Some new materials were added to this Syntagma canonum. Again. et monachis”. an appendix of secular law had been added. or rather the ruler. was being completed (534). did not operate in separate spheres but were continually involved in numerous common issues where they co-operated. divided into three 59 60 61 This part of the survey is based on van der Wal & Lokin. taken from the Corpus Iuris. consisting of fragments of Justinian’s Novellae relating to ecclesiastical subjects. who understood himself as a Christian prince. At the same time. and dates from around 580.61 The third collection was probably compiled by John the Scholastic’s successor as patriarch of Constantinople. and later on in Russia as well. This Collectio L titulorum contained the same materials as its predecessor (with a few additions).60 This collection was probably provided with an appendix. The greater part of the collection is taken up by Novella 123 “De sanctissimis episcopis et Deo amabilibus et reverendissimis clericis. In other areas the state. in short. 51-54. Many constitutiones (legislation of the Byzantine emperor) regulated issues which one would regard as canon law. quarrelled. and then a full collection of texts. inter-related intensively. A new collection of canon law was put together by John the Scholastic around the year 550 (he became patriarch of Constantinople in 565. . pulled together or against each other. one should keep in mind that the secular and spiritual rulers in Byzantium (the emperor and the patriarch). which did not offer a selection of actual imperial legal texts but instead a more systematic survey of legislation concerning the church. was content to leave regulation to the church. but the major innovation was that it had been divided into two parts: a systematic survey consisting of 14 chapters.76 Law in Medieval Russia ously remained outside the scope of the state’s regulation. the Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum. The Early Collections up to the Nomocanon XIV titulorum59 At the time the great codification of Justinian. having been a matter of time-honoured custom. The author added an appendix. 66-70. 60-62. The result was the Collectio LX titulorum. the text of which has not survived. The Collectio LX titulorum embraced the so-called 85 canons of the apostles. the year of emperor Justinian’s death). ruling by the grace of God. It contained secular law affecting the church. which has survived and goes by the name of Collectio XXV capitolorum. work was under way to collect the church canons into a single volume. the so-called canons of the Council of Ephesus (431). the Collectio tripartita. but the various council decisions were systematized and distributed over 50 chapters. the 193 canons of 8 church councils forming the old corpus canonum. Eutychius. and the canons of the Council of Sardica (343).

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

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

4.67 65 66 The principal editions of the Short ZSL are: M. 1977.14. (e) The Redactio systematica sive Tarasiana. (h) Secular law texts were added to the Nomocanon by Theodore Bestes in 1089/1090. around or shortly after 806: added decisions of the Second Council of Nicea of 787. The first two parts together became known as the Nomocanon XIV titulorum. It is neither a Byzantine. A facsimile edition of the oldest manuscript. 141-282. As the date of its origin. 1959. Dewey and A.N. the Short (Kratkii). Michigan Slavic Materials. Expanded (Prostrannyi) and Concordance (Svodnyi) ZSL. Zs. Moskva. 67 On the Merilo Pravednoe (“Just Measure”). Ann Arbor.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 79 mentioned in (a). has been published by Tikhomirov: M. It is. 23-25. MI.). Sofia. Moskva. in or shortly after 790: minor additions.66 There are several theories about the place of origin of the ZSL (Moravia. see Kaiser. its content is predominantly Byzantine. most conveniently treated at this particular place. H. but it functioned exclusively in medieval Russia. (f) The Third Redaction (in the terminology of Shchapov). 866-868. V. Rechtsw. (b) and (c)). Kleimola has been published as Zakon Sudnyj Ljudem (Court Law for the People). and a time between 830 and 840. of the middle of the 14th century.). according to the Bulgarian theory . The Moravian theory opts for 862 or slightly later. or its predecessor) reached Russia before the 13th century. The Growth of the Law. An English translation with introduction and commentary by H.N. the different theories mention 862. No. 1961. The Legislation Involved: Russian Law– The ‘Borrowers’ The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi liudem. The ZSL has survived in three different versions or redactions. therefore. 1961. Macedonia). Oroschakoff. Tikhomirov (ed. Ganev. Vol. the Short one is unquestionably the oldest. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. f. vergl. Zakon Sudnyi liudem Kratkoi redaktsii. but it is generally accepted that the text (of the Short ZSL.65 Most copies of the Short ZSL have been found in various kormchie (the Russian Nomocanon) and some others in Merilo Pravednoe manuscripts. ZSL) occupies a middle position between ‘lenders’ and ‘borrowers’. “Ein Denkmal des bulgarischen Rechts”. Of these redactions. nor a Russian law. (g) The Syntagma canonum of 883: added the canons of the Quinisextum and some other texts to d. Tikhomirov (ed.33 (1916). Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. Bulgaria.

68 69 Cf. the Procheiron. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. The Russian Primary Chronicle.). and other sources. sometimes with amendments. the entries for the years 907. intended for irregular Slav troops in the service of Byzantium. The principal copies of the Primary Chronicle are the Laurentian and the Hypatian manuscripts. Moskva. known variously as the Primary Chronicle (Nachal’naia letopis’). Moreover.H. but also the sequence of the provisions is more or less maintained. according to Tikhomirov. Kaiser. 1961.N. the Tale of Bygone Years (Povest’ vremennykh let). 1926 and 1923). M. The Expanded ZSL has probably been compiled in Russia during the first half of the 14th century. Salt Lake City.68 The Short ZSL has been incorporated in the Expanded ZSL. 945 and 971 contain the texts of what purport to be treaties between the earliest Kievan princes and the Byzantine emperor. in 866-868.80 Law in Medieval Russia The Short ZSL is almost completely based on the Ecloga. the chapter on criminal law. . Corporal punishment is frequently replaced by other penalties and there is also a peculiar system of two-track penalties. The principal innovation is in the system of penalties.H.69 The treaties were apparently the outcome of negotiations following Russian raids against the original ZSL was enacted by the first Christian ruler. Zakon Sudnyi liudem Prostrannoi i Svodnoi redaktsii. Cambridge. Sherbowitz-Wetzor. It consists of an amalgamation of the texts of the Short and the Expanded ZSL. 1973. Laurentian Text. The Russian-Byzantine Treaties In the oldest and most famous Russian chronicle. MA. 1992. Other provisions have been taken from the Ecloga. Not only is there great textual similarity. or the Nestor Chronicle. the 830/840 date in the Macedonian theory is connected with the view that the ZSL was an adaptation of the Ecloga. the principal Soviet scholar in the study of the ZSL. 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. 912. secular as well as ecclesiastical (church penance). The Concordance ZSL is known from a single copy included in a manuscript from 1402. only for the introductory provisions (chapters 1 and 2) and the end of the last chapter 33 no close parallels can be found. Cross & O. the Short ZSL borrows almost exclusively from Title 17 of the Ecloga. They have been published as the first and second volumes of the Polnoe Sobranie Russkikh Letopisei by the Archeographical Commission in S. English translation of the Laurentian Copy by S. tsar Boris.Peterburg in 1846 and 1843 (reprints Leningrad. Tikhomirov (ed.P. Translation of the four treaties also in D.

. Vernadsky in his Medieval Russian Laws..). etc. others have been included in manuscripts of chronicles and of collections such as the Merilo Pravednoe (see above and below). theft. 1963. by G. A recent and extensive bibliography. tables etc. Moskva/Leningrad. assault. The basic edition is still B.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. Sorlin. Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde.N. Cahiers du Monde Russe et Soviétique. Moskva. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi. covering both Russian-language and Western scholarship. The next thing one notices is that that are in fact two different RP texts. Frankfurt a/M. Proiskhozhdenie. M.II (1961). 72 A. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov. 3-72. Salt Lake City. also. Most surviving copies of the RP have come down to us as parts of kormchaia manuscripts. Rechtshistorische Reihe. commentaries. Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy. Moskva/ Leningrad. Grekov (ed. IX–pervaia polovina X v. Moskva. Literature on the RP goes back to the 18th century when it was rediscovered by V. ee znachenie. S. Part II: Kommentarii. also in M. Vol. Vladimirskii-Budanov (ed. New York. provides a good introduction to the very extensive literature. Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava. 1947. Byzantine sources do not even mention the raids (if there were in fact two) of 907 and 911. Tatishchev and has by now grown into a vast body. istochniki.Peterburg (5th ed. See. Tikhomirov. inheritance. 1992. Other basic studies on the RP are: M. 741-769.N. Moskva. Band 321. Kaiser. in G. Chapter 2) Together with the Primary Chronicle. trade regulation. 313-360.). Part III: Faksimil’noe vosproizvodenie tekstov. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. Moskva. 447-475. 1980. Moskva. runaway slaves. the Russkaia Pravda (RP) constitutes the principal written monument of Kievan Rus’. 1947. 73 The texts of the four treaties have been published separately in PRP I. 1953. occasionally controversial. Moskva. 1940. Baranowski.D.72 They both provide a kind of miniature law code for the various legal problems that could arise in Russian-Greek contacts (homicide. 1952. also. Iushkov. The first volume of the PRP (see above) is mostly devoted to the RP and offers texts. S. Part I: Teksty. Vyp. notes.70 Among the numerous questions which surround these treaties many still remain unsolved. Zimin. 1-22. English translation. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. shipwreck. 1950.N.V. 1947.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 81 Constantinople.N.).71 For our purpose only the treaties of 911 and 944 (the correct dates according to most experts) are of interest.. 1899. Sakharov. A. I. Pravda Russkaia. Pravda Russkaia. The ‘Russian Law’ (Russkaia Pravda) (See.A. Moskva/Leningrad. Tikhomirov. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. such as the Anglo-Saxon laws or the so-called leges barbarorum. 1999.).1. a shorter and a 70 71 The texts of the treaties have only been transmitted through the Primary Chronicle. A new English translation is offered by D. Russkaia Pravda. 2005.

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

79 The Church Statutes of the Princes According to the Primary Chronicle. etc. Within the Expanded Pravda certain clusters of provisions can be identified. such as interest. 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. Most of the provisions taken over. from the Short Pravda are indeed found in the first part of the Expanded Pravda. 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. there are two main parts. All of which makes it more difficult to make general statements about the Expanded Pravda. but some turn up in the second part. These clusters of provisions will have arisen at different dates. most of them included in kormchie. then an earlier date is indicated. each preceded by a title-heading in most of the manuscripts. devoted to a particular topic. or 1210-1215. Superficially. Through the ages 79 Cf. dating from the 14th to the 19th century. They have been divided into different groups and families. may he be accursed. and the differences among them are sometimes considerable. Only a section of the second part is considered the actual Law of Monomakh. the second one “The Law [Ustav] of Volodimer Vsevolodich”. 225.” He then wrote out a donation and deposited it in the church.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 83 The composition of the Expanded Pravda is perhaps even more complex than that of the Short Pravda. the date of the earliest manuscript copy of the Expanded Pravda. Tikhomirov. There is no doubt about the identity of the second legislator either: the famous Kievan prince Vladimir Monomakh. the oldest layer of course being the rules that can be traced to the oldest part of Iaroslav’s Pravda. The question is also complicated by the existence of more than 100 copies of the Expanded Pravda. Various other dates have been suggested after 1125 (death of Monomakh): 1160-1168. an indisputable terminus ante quem is 1280. albeit in amended form. inheritance law. As to the time of the final compilation of the protograph of the Expanded Pravda. Several partial codifications or consolidations may have occurred. Issledovanie. is the deed referred to in the Chronicle. . slaves. until finally all the elements were brought together into what came to be known as the Expanded Pravda. in the entry for the years 994-996. the first part bearing the title “The Law [Sud] of Iaroslav Volodimerich—Pravda Russkaia”. or rather its oldest nucleus.” More than 200 copies of the Church Statute of Vladimir are extant. declaring: “If anyone violates this promise. and it is generally assumed that it.

. which is from the middle of the 14th century (Shchapov. 1972 (the basic study).N. and the Short Redaction. RZ I. I.N. but in a smaller number of cases the formula “and the prince shall punish” is added. a third element may have been added: exclusive church jurisdiction in all matters over persons connected with the church. at this point. it will be sufficient to summarize some of the findings of Shchapov. It complements the RP. which emerged in the 12th century or the beginning of the 13th century. church thefts. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnago prava. 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. The two redactions do not differ as much as the short and expanded redactions of the RP do. witchcraft. op. The reconstruction of the original text (archetype) starts from a comparison of the so-called Expanded Redaction. who carried out the most detailed study of the various church statutes. RZ I. Kniazheskie ustavy. Shchapov (ed. 1915.80 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. At a later stage.cit. The oldest copies are from the second quarter of the 15th century. Moskva. 137-162. Most penalties consist of fines forfeited to the church. other copies have been included in chronicles and other collections. 59-77. Beneshevich.. See. 257-285. which regulates the purely secular types of offences. 1976 (text edition). also. Reconstruction of the original text in Shchapov.84 Law in Medieval Russia numerous additions have been made. V.N. The textual history of the Church Statute of Iaroslav is much more complicated than that of the Church Statute of Vladimir. 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.).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. etc. 78-89. Petrograd. PRP I. 293-296.). Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. Shchapov. This favour was soon extended to all churches. The majority of the more than 90 copies of this text form part of kormchie. The works of Ia. the key to understanding the Statute of Iaroslav 80 81 82 Reconstruction of the original text in Shchapov. but a reconstruction of the most likely original text indicates two main points that probably constituted a very short text as the initial nucleus. Shchapov provide a very full treatment of the so-called church statutes and discuss all previous literature: Ia. the Expanded Redaction of the Statute of Iaroslav is about one-quarter longer. Also in PRP I.. According to Shchapov. 235-256. Moskva. 120-121.N.. Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv. Kniazheskie ustavy. and Ia. 163-208. 257 and 243). Beneshevich. Both redactions are independent modernizations of the archetype.

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

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

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

The great majority of Expanded Pravda copies forms part of kormchie texts. The receiving party. The Church Statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav are also found mostly in various kormchie. performing the liturgy. such as teaching the new faith. and. 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. the baptism of the Bulgarian khan Boris in Constantinople by Photius. 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). Byzantine empire. more specifically. Among the other collections of legal texts. the ancestor of the rulers of Kievan Rus’. in practical terms the ruler and his entourage. with the emperor Michael acting as godfather. . the Merilo Pravednoe (the Trinity Recension copies). in the same way as Cyrillus and Methodius had come to Moravia in 862. and then also in other collections and chronicles. For Russia. the climax of the career of Photius. and missionaries had to be sent from a Christian country that could provide the indispensable services.88 Law in Medieval Russia been produced many centuries after the presumed date of origin of the laws concerned.87 For the 87 Although the format of this chapter prohibits a more detailed discussion. a smaller number has been included in another important collection of legal texts. the ‘Law Books’ or Knigi Zakonnye have been mentioned above in connection with the Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law. with the Greek church. one of the most brilliant and unscrupulous Byzantine patriarchs. 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 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. Greek clergymen came from Constantinople. after Russia had adopted Christianity in or around 988. moreover. and also in other ad hoc collections of legal texts (the Pushkin Recension copies) and in chronicle texts (the Karamzin Recension copies). a major Russian (or rather Varangian) raid on Constantinople. from the historian’s point of view. there was hardly any significant presence of Roman law in North-West Europe. this process is well documented by the various chronicles and in other ways. and setting up a church organization. although it became gradually byzantinized. Roman law remained alive in the Eastern. Christianization was effected in those days. Kievan Rus’ could realistically only come into contact with the world of Roman/Byzantine law through its contacts with Byzantium. the conversion of the Moravians. contacts with Western Europe were sporadic and. in a bilateral process. At that time.

N.89 The first Slavonic translation. has succeeded in drawing a consistent picture of this process. Vizantiiskoe. 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. was made (some time around 862) by Methodius. probably in Constantinople itself. The Growth of the Law. I have not been able to consult I. it made use of many other written sources: decisions of church councils. Kormčaja Kniga. 1923. Studies on the Chief Code of Russian Canon Law.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 89 Christian religion. as reconstructed by Shchapov. through his painstaking analysis of the vast repertoire of kormchie. connected with the conversion of Bulgaria. Shchapov which has increased our understanding of the process through which Byzantine law penetrated into the early Slavic world. writings of church fathers. Žužek. is complicated. Shchapov. The Syntagma version from around 806 was provided with some additions and amendments shortly before 912. if any. The story of its composition.N. from 806 or around that date).91 88 89 Such as V. to mention only two older Russian works. Ia. Shchapov. 36. which can be divided into three stages. known together with his younger brother Cyrillus as the apostles of the Slavs (825-885). Moskva. 1906-1907. Orientalia Christiana Analecta.Peterburg. Beneshevich. A..N. The entire story of the different kormchie reaching Russia is conveniently summarized by Kaiser. 88-100. Vizantiiskoe i iuzhnoslavianskoe pravovoe nasledie na Rusi v XI-XIII vv.S. 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). 168. Holy Scripture was an essential element. esp. Shchapov. resulting in the publication of important sources and studies. was based on the Third Redaction (in Shchapov’s terminology. Roma. 1978. besides. of the Collectio L titulorum of John the Scholastic of 550. 96-98. Kazan’. Little is known about the role. Pavlov. In the Eastern church. Vizantiiskoe. Pervonachal’nyi slaviano-russkii nomokanon.90 Another version of the Syntagma. Drevneslavianskaia kormchaia XIV titulov bez tolkovanii. as outlined above. 1964. 1869. it will be sufficient to relate some of his conclusions which are of relevance to our present topic. . of this translation in the development of medieval Russian law.88 But in more recent times it was especially the extensive work of Ia. The translation of church texts into Slavonic has been the subject of scholarly interest for a long time. such collections had to be translated. As a highly organized body it also needed rules. Shchapov. bearing such names as Collectio or Syntagma or Nomocanon. but. Particularly in his study of the “Byzantine and Southern Slav legal heritage in Russia in the XIth-XIIIth century”. In order to be used in newly baptized countries. S. 90 91 Cf. etc.

Shchapov. 93 94 This Collection of 93 chapters corresponds with the old Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum of John the Scholastic. still close to their pagan past and tribal customs. which did not itself survive and has been reconstructed on the basis of surviving kormchaia copies based on it. and imperial constitutions. This item includes titles 24 and 28 of the Procheiron. Vizantiiskoe. (b) two theological treatises. concerning the calculation of degrees of consanguinity. 47.94 It is to be noted that the main difference between this Kormchaia and its Byzantine model was in the additional materials. which were mostly based on other Byzantine texts. immune to editorial interference. 54. The (edited) Slavonic translation of these texts. (b) the Collectio XIV titulorum (a systematic survey of canonical texts). 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. which can be grouped into four categories: (a) chronological and historical survey of data and lists. consisting of various materials. (d) the Collection of imperial constitutions in 93 chapters. (II) Main part: (a) the (185) canons of the apostles. (b) the canons of the general (6) and regional (7) councils. Conditions among the newly baptized Slavic peoples. the canons of the general church councils and of certain regional councils. (c) the writings and rules of the church fathers. (c) excerpts from the Procheiron and the Ecloga. The main elements of the Syntagma of 806 were the so-called canons of the apostles. Vizantiiskoe. to which the novellae from the old Collectio XXV capitolorum which had not been included in the latter had been added. (d) rules of various origin concerning bishops. were very different from those in the Byzantine empire.93 (III) Additional part. is supposed to have consisted of the following three parts:92 (I) Introductory part: (a) Introduction. the collection of 14 titles from the old Syntagma canonum.90 Law in Medieval Russia The general rationale behind this editorial process was that a nomocanon or kormchaia was not itself a sacred text. . (c) a list of council rules. 92 Shchapov. concerning the property of bishops and monks and the right to appoint bishops. Cf. but rather an ad hoc collection of texts for the use of church dignitaries. rules of church fathers. and the three collections of secular law pertaining to church matters included in the Revised Syntagma of the Enantiophanes (consisting almost entirely of novellae).

connected with the name of Savva. and the entire Procheiron text. Vizantiiskii vremennik.S. possibly during the reign of Iaroslav the Wise. ego istoriia i teksty. 101. is devoted to the Efrem Kormchaia. Vol. A copy of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia was sent to Kiev from Bulgaria. after almost 40 years as metropolitan of the Russian church. Cyril himself died in 1281. 204-206.o.97 Although the original Serbian redaction did not include any specifically Slavonic materials.38 (1977). 172. Cf. by the same author. The arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia text in Russia signified simultaneously the beginning of the third stage. who became the first Serbian archbishop in 1219. during the Mongol sack of Kiev in 1240. Ch. in which the text is broken off at the end of the Collection of 93 chapters). Nomokanon pri Bol’shom Trebnike. Vizantiiskoe.95 Its oldest surviving copy is from the 12th century (the defective Efrem copy. particularly the canon law collections with comments by the great 12th century canonists Zonaras and Aristenes. III (117-155). the Greek Maxim. it was decided to create a new Russian kormchaia which would better satisfy the needs of the church at that time. may have been a central consideration in Cyril’s efforts to bring about a new version of the Russian kormchaia. 48-58. Pavlov. The loss of the rich cathedral library of Kiev. . 98 The penetration of the Procheiron is the subject of a special study by Shchapov: “Prokhiron v vostochnoslavianskoi pis’mennosti”. See. more recent imperial constitutions. also.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 91 Shortly after the conversion of Russia. on Cyril II: Ia. 1989.. this Slavonic Kormchaia reached Russia. the Collectio 87 capitolorum. Vizantiiskoe. quoted above. the oldest (the Riazan’ Copy) from 1284. at the request of Cyril II.96 This kormchaia was based on more up-to-date Byzantine materials. the last Kievan metropolitan. it did not have a Byzantine example or counterpart and was apparently put together in Serbia. Shchapov. 97 Shchapov. cf. moved the see to Vladimir on the Kliazma in 1299.98 shortly before 1273. At a Russian church council held in Kiev in 1273. S. The secular law section contained a. Vizantiiskoe. Shchapov.N. which undoubtedly included several kormchaia copies. A considerable number of copies of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia has survived in Russia. The second stage is represented by the emergence of the so-called Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia. Moskva. the earlier version (the Efrem Kormchaia) was also utilized and many new materials 95 96 Shchapov. The work by A.99 Although the Serbian redaction constituted the main source for the new text.Peterburg. 1897. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X-XIII vv. 99 Cyril’s successor.

therefore. legal texts in medieval Russia are usually encountered in larger collections. which make up an actual book. The second part counts 275 sheets and represents the explicitly legal side of the work.N. Shchapov.101 Some of the resulting North-West and North-East Russian families of kormchie. following immediately. Its first part. such as might be found in the kormchie. The general tenor is to admonish judges. The oldest extant version of the Expanded Pravda is as the last item in the Novgorod Synod Kormchaia of 1282. The work actually proceeded in two phases. Among them are the complete (Russian) texts of the Procheiron and the Ecloga.102 It consists of two parts. Cf. Most of them are of Byzantine origin.92 Law in Medieval Russia of Russian origin were included as well. including the Short Redaction of the ZSL. Of its oldest version. Vizantiiskoe. at a later stage. generally used in modern collections as being closest to the Expanded Pravda’s protograph. The latter is the so-called Trinity or Troitskii I Copy. 69 sheets. four almost identical volumes are known.100 This new product is known. It made sense. presents a large number of short exhortative and religious texts. but containing also some texts of Russian origin. therefore. as the Russian redaction. while a fifth volume offers a number of different texts. According to Tikhomirov. mostly of Greek origin. 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. to include the RP as a secular law code in the general ‘rule-book’ (kormchaia) at the disposal of the bishop. . where as a result of the particular politicolegal situation the bishop’s jurisdiction also began to extend to certain secular cases. In the second phase. as well as other amendments and additions. the collections knows as Merilo Pravednoe must be mentioned. 165-171. 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. Published in facsimile edition by M. Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. also came to include different versions of the Expanded RP. Moskva. Tikhomirov. The Trinity Copy of the second half of the 14th century is considered the standard text. 1961. Vizantiiskoe. This occurred first in Novgorod. The Merilo Pravednoe or ‘Just Measure’ As pointed out above. 163-164. more Byzantine and non-Byzantine materials were added. But the ZSL (Short Redaction) is also included and at the end the Expanded Pravda. After the numerous kormchie. The 30 texts are numbered separately.

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

in the following provisions. Series I: Medieval Russia. It is. from the most primitive to the most sophisticated. li. The Laws of Russia. Cf. Kaiser (transl. Maksimeiko detected Roman law influence especially in the older version of the RP. moreover. 10.1.94 Law in Medieval Russia law with some additions from title 14 of the Ecloga. RP II. Vol. If such a discussion yields a positive answer it becomes unnecessary to investigate the general arguments in favour. the debate becomes irrelevant. Salt Lake City. English translation of the Chapters on Witnesses at 116-121.106 The Chapters on Witnesses appear also in other medieval Russian collections. . is that it is utterly improbable that those responsible for shaping early Russian law. Weighing the Evidence In the fifth section.108 Maksimeiko doubted “that Old-Russian practice could independently work out such a precise. 1-3. We could debate. contain similar prohibitions of marriage between close blood relatives. It will be convenient to discuss the specific arguments first. 27 (169). D. The different texts of the Chapters on Witnesses show that they go back to different translations of the original Greek text.). A general and already persuasive argument against these claims. the Short Pravda. Medvedev. Almost all legal systems. and particularly the RP. Evaluation: The point seems to be extremely far-fetched. had access to the necessary Roman law sources. a distinction was made between general and specific arguments in favour of Roman/Byzantine influences in early Russian law. as has been mentioned before. Should 106 107 108 Cf. and especially the RP. are Maksimeiko and Salogubova. also convenient to begin by examining the most ambitious claims: that early Russian law was directly influenced by Roman law itself. 1992.H. 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. whether conditions on the planet Mars would allow the existence of some form of life. for instance. Roman Law The only authors who claim specifically that Roman law directly influenced early Russian law. Once a space craft has returned from Mars with a specimen of such a form of life. & ed. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. 191. specific and comprehensive list of persons entitled to pursue the murderer”. 1.107 7.

47. in legal terms. 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). Concealment of runaway slaves would then. 1. 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. 84 (163). domum vi introire). the distinction between pushing (shoving) and hitting (beating) is explained: hitting hurts. Baranowski leaves kholop untranslated. The positions of the kholop of Kievan Russia and the Roman slave were not identical. Article 10: Maksimeiko notes that the distinction between pushing another person (as mentioned in this provision) and hitting him (as mentioned in other provisions). as most of the other provisions of the Oldest Pravda. RP II. is also known in Roman law (Ulp. 1. Pushing or pulling another person without injuring him is about the least harmful and entails a payment of 3 grivna (40 grivna for homicide). 1). other German translations use Knecht. I have followed Vernadsky’s and Kaiser’s usage. 5). 4. runaway slaves will usually be a common occurrence. verberare. Also. find its closest parallel in the unlawful appropriation of stray 109 110 111 Anyway.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 95 they therefore be considered to have been influenced by Justinian?109 If so. pushing does not. a point Maksimeiko apparently missed. D. 89 (182). . how to explain similar pre-Roman rules. 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.111 Evaluation: In slave-owning societies.. 58ff. RP II. the text of Justinian’s Institutes repeats almost verbatim the Institutes of Gaius. beating.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. as. In this context. the rule most likely reflects customary law and was not the product of legislative ingenuity. 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. 10. and entering a residence by force (pulsare. D. 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.

The sanctions against concealment of a runaway slave are mild. requires more detailed regulation. 1) is Ulpian’s lapidary: “He who hides a fugitive is a thief. 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. 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. In case of recidivism his hand is cut off. allowing them to return the slave to its master or to the authorities.113 The Ecloga (XVII. or to notify them. if he is unable to do so he is to be whipped and exiled. compared to those for the thief. one finds in classical Roman law additional rules concerning periods of grace granted to those harbouring runaway slaves. if that is considered desirable.96 Law in Medieval Russia cattle. but introduced various amendments in the major laws of the first millennium. 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. . the rule in question is presumably of Roman origin. the first statement in the title on fugitive slaves in the Digest (11. 24) dropped the additional requirement again but otherwise took over the Ecloga’s rule. FF]. 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. 4. 1. Byzantine law retained the principle of the unlawfulness of hiding runaway slaves. or an equivalent sum of money. Consequently. 17) introduced an additional requirement by defining the offence as “luring away and hiding the slave of another person […]” [italics added. A very similar formula (“alium paris meriti cum eodem servum domino dare cogatur”) is found in the 6th century Lex Visigothorum (XI. Characteristically. 1). The Procheiron (XXXIX. moreover.112 This feature was taken over in later Byzantine legislation. 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. As this law is known to be heavily influenced by Roman law.” 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. precisely because of the fact that concealment of a runaway slave is actually rather unlike ordinary theft. This equation. but with considerable amendments. The rule of the Ecloga has been taken over in the early (Short) version of the Court Law for the People (ZSL).

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

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

It does not deal with unauthorized use anymore. although it does not provide for the double compensation.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 99 The Ecloga contains a provision which in its wording is more reminiscent of the classical texts (Title 17. Lange in 1859. to say the least. who referred to a very similar rule in the Law of the Jutes. This provision has been taken over almost verbatim by the Short ZSL (art. The theory was already rejected by N. but simply of native origin. the leges barbarorum offer quite a list of close parallels to article 12. When it was pointed out that this Law appeared long after the RP. RP II. During the Soviet era and especially after the Second World War. it could be proved that the Russkaia Pravda would have been borrowed from the Chinese Law Code. the provision returns in significantly amended form (art. the conclusion that the rule on ‘joy-riding’ was taken over from the already existing Short Pravda is obvious. 96 (292). attention focused on Byzantine law as the source of the provision. the only clear ‘Byzantine’ parallel is the above-mentioned article 27. but only with the risk aspect: if the horse perishes before the agreed place has been reached. It talks about “taking the horse beyond the agreed point” (as Gaius and Ulpian did). . Then a new provision is inserted (art. whose words are worth to be quoted here: “[…] the article on the horse is not at all of Germanic and neither of Byzantine. The Germanic parallels of article 12 have had a rather unhappy history. beginning 117 118 In the translation of Dewey & Kleimola. 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 […]”). But leaving that aside for a moment.27). Considering that the Expanded ZSL was composed in Kievan Russia. otherwise.” 118 Pace Lange.26). In the Expanded ZSL. the Germanic parallels are much more intriguing than the Roman/Byzantine ones. Nevertheless. if the horse perishes after the agreed place has been reached. inserted after Iaroslav’s Pravda had already been drafted. art. but only envisages the situation when the horse gets injured or dies. the risk is the owner’s. the user has to pay the value of the horse. The theory was introduced early in the 19th century by Strube. if one bases oneself on the similarity of certain laws. references to Germanic connections of the RP were unpopular.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).7).24).

RP II. ne proshav ego. 10120 and D. esp. D. offers in its usual way a vast array of casuistic material discussing all possible variations of delicts and injuries. 600.W. 115 (164. 17. such as family members or slaves) were discussed at length in D. 47. the 119 120 In the latter Law. Among the 18 provisions of the Oldest Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav) three mention slaves: article 11 (discussed above). 4 (De Noxalibus Actionibus). A Textbook of Roman Law From Augustus to Justinian. 10. Cambridge. Noxal actions (actions for damages caused by delicts of dependents. 47.121 and adds that the author of the RP was influenced by Book 9 of the Digest. the almost uniform wording of which is obvious (how else could you describe the offence simply?). 4 are similar: a slave has struck a freeman and has sought refuge with his own master. Maksimeiko points to D. 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. That alone would already explain the striking similarity between the different provisions. 9 ( Ad Legem Aquiliam). […]”. see W. this similarity is still general. 47. 10. devoting ample attention to liability for acts of dependents. 17. in the chapters concerned. the formula is almost exactly the same as in the Short Pravda art. Article 17: This provision deals with the liability of the master who refuses to hand over his slave who has struck a freeman. 4-7. article 16 (the procedure for reclaiming a stolen slave) and the present article 17.12: “Si quis caballum extra consilium domini sui ascenderit […]” and “Ashche kto poedet’ na chiuzhem kone. 17. Evaluation: The situations described in this provision and in D. D. 4. 9. the Roman rule refers more generally to an iniuria committed by a slave. The Short Pravda offered the master a choice between paying 12 grivna or handing over the slave to be punished by the aggrieved party. 9. The provisions differ strongly in their wording and also in context. The similarity between the situations described article 17 and D. 1932. 10. or being sued in a noxal action. 171-173). The Digest. 4 is undeniable. 121 More precisely. on the other hand.119 Without attempting to solve this riddle here. Buckland. but the situation described in article 17 of the Short Pravda is not specifically mentioned in this chapter.100 Law in Medieval Russia with the Salic Law (title 25 of the Pactus Legis Salicae) and the Law of the Ripuarian Franks (art. .40). In the Pravda of Iaroslav. 47. in Roman law the choice was between handing over the slave to be flogged.

17. 11 (art. Although this aspect is not wholly absent in classical Roman law. or clothing. based on the Lex Aquilia.” All modern translations125 agree on the following reading (Kaiser’s translation): “And if someone breaks a lance. 81-85 (at 82). 244. Leipzig. and if he has broken it. Baranowski.” 122 123 124 125 H. then [him] payment to make.123 Article 18: A provision devoted to property damage. and if he will return it.95 of the First Tablet. The procedure of article 16 RP. Das älteste Gesetzbuch der Welt (Der alte Orient. RP II. as much as [that person/the owner] would have given for it. Winckler. Financial compensation does not serve to make good the material losses suffered.A. 47. and wishes to keep [the damaged property] for himself. the oldest example being the Code of Hammurabi. Zimin in PRP I. Leiden. Jahrgang. but to right the injury to the affected person’s status. 17. See J. 47. but if he has broken it and will return it. and [that person/the owner] wishes to keep it for himself. The Laws of Rus’. The mere general similarity between the situations described in article 17 of the Short Pravda and D. 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.124 Evaluation: Maksimeiko’s position requires some preliminary explanation. or shield. 4. 1959. Heft 4). where the master of a stealing slave is given the option of compensating the loss or rejecting the slave.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 101 emphasis is strongly on status and reputation and on what is to be done when these are affected. then [the owner] is to take payment for it. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. 4 can therefore not be considered as a serious argument for a genetic link between the two provisions. then [the one who broke it] is to pay [the owner] money. . 119-120 (194-206). In art. The Hittite Law Code contains a provision which could equally be regarded as an example. Königs von Babylon um 2250 v.122 Nobody would claim of course that the author of article 16 had consulted the Babylonian law. then [the owner is] to take payment from him. 10. or a shield. Die Gesetze Hammurabis. 1902.9). Kaiser. The following text offers the main alternatives: “And if [someone] breaks a lance. A. Chr. is encountered in other legal systems as well. as much as [the owner] gave for it. or destroys clothes. 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 wealth of available texts proves beyond doubt that correcting the economic balance was the dominant consideration. Friedrich.

he felt that this arrangement had been inspired by Roman law views. . Kaiser translates these resp. obviously intended to protect the interests of the prince by providing increased penalties for offences against his servitors or affecting his property. 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. as well as the damaging of his property. their bloodwite having been set at 80 grivna. and for other unlawful damage to his property. is inspired by the Lex Aquilia. as “steward”. probably belong to the same category. at least as a general rule. “collector of fines”. while the latter are worth only 12 grivna. but the higher-ranking persons covered by articles 19-24. The most important provisions of this Law concerned the compensation for the unlawful killing of somebody else’s slave. or the property that had been destroyed) illustrated very clearly that the matter was viewed exclusively from a financial point of view. The ognishchanin.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. “overseer”. Article 19: Fines for killing (high-ranking) servitors of the prince. we need not pay any more attention to his views on this matter. The first four officials are far more prominent. equally based on the same Roman law. the pod”ezdnoi. As Maksimeiko’s understanding of this provision does not have followers anymore and his reference to Roman influence is unworkably general. 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?). the tivun.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. 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. “field supervisor” and “plowland supervisor”. the koniukh staryi. based on the system of the Lex Aquilia. “senior stablemaster”. The unfree status of most of the princely servitors mentioned in this part of the Short Pravda is obvious. the sel’skii starosta and the ratainyi.127 comparable perhaps to the court functionaries of Carolingian times in Western Europe. 126 127 RP II. The character of the compensation (the highest price during the last year for the slave that had been killed. 137 (139-150).

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

2. or from a storeroom. RP II. who felt free to impose a severe punishment on the people of Dorogobuzh (a town not far from Kiev). Maksimeiko points to Inst.132 Evaluation: See comments to article 19. whether committed by a single thief. RP II. In Kaiser’s translation: “And for the senior stablemaster [who is murdered] while [he is] with the herds [pay] 80 grivnas. Article 25: Concerning the fine for killing a servant of the prince.130 Evaluation: The most remarkable thing about this provision is its patently casuistic origin. which distinguishes it from all other. but RP II does not include these. . 196 (184-186).133 Evaluation: The provision establishes a uniform fine (1 grivna and 30 rezana) for theft of a horse or an oxen. Article 28: Fixed damages for killing the prince’s livestock. 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). when more 130 131 132 133 RP II. or by a band of thieves. as Iziaslav [1054-78] established when the residents of Dorogobuzh killed his stablemaster. 5. Article 31: Fines for cattle theft. and then in particular to the definition of the principum placita: what pleases the ruler has the force of law. He argues that the excessively high fine for killing the stablemaster reflected the anger of prince Iziaslav. 162-163 (119-120). based on the ideas of the Lex Aquilia. RP II.104 Law in Medieval Russia Article 23: Concerning the fine for killing the prince’s stable master. more abstractly worded provisions of the Short Pravda. 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.” The reference to the precedent in Dorogobuzh was dropped in the parallel provision of the Expanded Pravda (art.131 Evaluation: See comments to article 19. 1. 186 (121-156). based on the Lex Aquilia. 169 (130-133).12). Maksimeiko provides examples from the Digesta.

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

6 and 7). As to the 945 treaty. judicial searches and testimony by witnesses began to appear in Russian law as means of evidence. who usually cites chapter and verse. With regard to the treaty of 911 she points to its provisions reflecting an amended Roman system of evidence.139 The double or threefold penalty for theft was Greek. Sergeevich’s general argument is that the Greeks succeeded in maintaining the prevalence of Byzantine law in most questions. and avers that from that moment on the judicial oath. 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. Also. where the traditional Russian alternative of blood-feud or compensation (wergeld) was replaced by capital punishment or. The question of Byzantine legal influences on early Russian law will be discussed below. 645-646. 3 and 13. So far Salogubova.138 The provision dealing with the justifiable killing of a thief (art. I suppose that the provisions the author had in mind were. Lektsii.6) appears to be a compromise between Greek law and the harsher Russian custom. while Salogubova quotes from an unknown 1899 Moscow edition.136 Roman inheritance law was contained in the provision which for the first time in Russian law differentiated between intestate and testate succession. Sergeevich. Instead of identifying those places in the treaty which might illustrate her point. according to the usual system of numeration.4). Evaluation: We shall deal here only with those instances where Salogubova alleges direct influence of Roman law.I.137 His first example is homicide. These numbers differ from the usual numeration laid down by Zimin in PRP I. Sergeevich appears to agree with her. Unlike Maksimeiko. In his special study on the relationship between Greek and Russian law in the 10th century treaties. . My references are to the fourth edition of 1910. in some cases compensation as an alternative (art. not Russian (arts. 655. 626-666. 652-654. Ibidem. 2 and 11. Ibidem.106 Law in Medieval Russia and a distinction was made between two kinds of oath (exculpatory and supplementary). Salogubova confines herself to sweeping statements and only identifies the RussianByzantine treaties of 911 and 945 as actual examples of direct Roman law influence. she refers to several pre-1917 authors of whom only V. 9.140 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. The Greek Nomocanon in its Slavic variety (the Kormchaia) and the RP had equal validity. Ibidem. the ordeal by fire was a Byzantine innovation.

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

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

Kalachov. the first number refers to the original Greek text as reproduced in this edition.E.P. 46.145 and article 45 (43) with articles 46 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda (on the master’s liability for thefts committed by his serf). According to Lipshits’ detailed study of the Russian translation of the Farmer’s Law as a component of the Knigi Zakonnye. 257-260. 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. Medvedev. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii Zakon.147 Evaluation: As the Roman law ancestry of the Farmer’s Law can only be assumed for part of the latter law’s provisions. Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. the latter compilation may very tentatively be dated in the 12th century. 43. 41-42. 31. the second number (in brackets) to the Russian translation as offered in the Knigi Zakonnye. 44.146 In more recent times. In her commentary to the Russian translation of the law she mentions articles 12. 236-237. 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. Ibidem. in its Old-Russian translation or in its Greek original. . 32. In the Obolenskii and Museum recensions of the Karamzin group.148 Whether the text of the Farmer’s Law. only E.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. Moreover. I. 223-230. 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. could have been available in Russia before that time is even more problematic. 34 and 40 of the Short Pravda and articles 33. She refrains from suggesting any borrowing one way or another. any possibility of Russian borrowing from the Farmer’s Law has to be seen in this light.). Leningrad. The chronological framework presents another problem. he notes the similarity between the preambles of certain versions of the Byzantine law and of the RP. 1984. 71-73 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda and parallel provisions in the Farmer’s Law. Medvedev (ed. The possibility of its having influenced the Short Pravda is therefore very remote.

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

Kalachov makes the connection with articles 63152 and 121. A number of provisions in the Farmer’s Law deal with thefts committed. Damaging someone else’s forest through arson or by cutting trees is the subject of article 57 (55) of the Farmer’s Law.45-47 (43-45). The Ecloga 151 152 Title 17 art. 243. and this would naturally apply to all participants. Lipshits points to articles 31 and 40 of the Short Pravda and the corresponding articles 41 and 42 of the Expanded Pravda. 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). 71-72 (69-70)). 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. This. is very close to the original Greek provision of the Farmer’s Law. Again. Lipshits connects article 43 of the Expanded Pravda (theft of grain from a storage place. 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. Ecloga Article 12 Title 17 of the Ecloga regulates theft committed by a slave. 47 in Kalachov’s numeration (=63 Exp. something the Farmer’s Law does not envisage. I suppose this is a printing error and 46 (=46 Exp. both in the definitions and in the penalties to be applied. plus (only in the Russian version) marking the arsonist’s hand by fire. in accordance with its general tenor. Finally. incidentally. Kalachov. 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. however. Pravda). of grain from storage places). is only concerned with the question of the competent court. Pravda) is meant. or damage caused by a slave (arts.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 111 well as any profits that accrued to him. Parallels offered by Lipshits are article 32 of the Short Pravda and article 83 of the Expanded Pravda. All of these provisions concern the violation of borders between fields. the similarity is remote. of fruit from orchards. and the responsibility of each individual participant in the theft) with articles 60 (57). The Farmer’s Law.151 The usual double-value penalty applies. The similarity again is remote.40 of the Ecloga. . 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. prescribes various forms of physical punishment. however. Article 46 of the Expanded Pravda. but there the similarity stops. 61 (58) and 68 (63) of the Farmer’s Law (theft of grain from the fields.

the Expanded Pravda contains a general prohibition for kholopy to appear as witnesses. Kliuchevskii. 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. .154 He discerned Byzantine influence especially in the provisions of the Expanded Pravda which dealt with inheritance law (arts.156 Evaluation: Presumably the reference is not to article 63 of the Expanded Pravda (slave stealing horse).155 Kliuchevskii’s view was similar. The Ecloga provision Kalachov has in mind is Title 17 article 12. in Kaiser’s translation). Its parallel in the Expanded Pravda is article 121. In similar vein. not the general rule of article 46.112 Law in Medieval Russia also forbids slaves to testify against their masters (Title 14 art. They were only aware of judicial practice that was based on it. 1-5 and other sources which deal with the so-called noxal actions. but he need not give up the [slave’s] wife or children. then the Russian provision. Sergeevich. Vol.90. 4. The two provisions follow (first the one from the Ecloga. but if they will have stolen and hidden what they have stolen together with the slave. 50. remarks that certain provisions of the Expanded Pravda on inheritance and guardianship are very similar to Ecloga provisions. Sergeevich returns more extensively to this matter. In his chapter on inheritance law. the general provision dealing with theft by a slave.157 Article 121 is the last provision of the Expanded Pravda and 153 154 155 156 157 Kalachov. Ocherki. D’iakonov. 92-94. If he does not want to receive his slave [back]. Sergeevich regarded the Ecloga as the principal source of Byzantine influence. but stressed that the Russian courts did not have direct access to it.153 As already outlined above.5). if those who stole and hid [the stolen goods] with him be free [men]. Ocherki. 8. 104-105). then [they are to pay] the prince a fine. 94. 99-102. 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. 94.” “If a slave steals from someone. “If the owner of a slave who has committed theft wants to keep his slave. See Inst. or redeem them. but to article 46.” 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. 243. Lektsii. let him compensate what has been stolen. Lektsii.1. let him hand him over in full ownership to him who suffered the theft. 210-211. 49. D’iakonov. then [the slave’s] lord is to redeem him or give him up together with him with whom he stole. then [the lord] may either give them all up. Sergeevich. inspired to some extent by the Byzantine provisions.

but is absent in the second part of the Short Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav’s sons). then. to the best of my knowledge. the so-called Statute of Monomakh. This was a typical Roman law institution and it appears as a corpus alienum in the Russian law. the Ecloga. but if there be no free man [to testify]. especially in the Statute of Monomakh (the second main component of the Expanded Pravda). has escaped the attention of the numerous scholars who have concerned themselves with the question of Roman law influence in early Russian law. and subsequently abandoned because it did not agree with Russian tradition? As mentioned earlier. Kalachov’s reading of the provisions concerned is imprecise. article 46 is the only one which sets a double-value fine.” Three different legal systems (Justinian. And in a suit [over] a small [sum] refer to [the testimony of an] indentured labourer. the availability of the appropriate Byzantine texts (Ecloga or Procheiron) is unlikely. Would it have been a one-off legislative attempt by a Kievan prince. none of them exclude it outright. It is in the first part of the Expanded Pravda. so it could tentatively be dated in the last decades of the 11th century. referred to above (on thefts by slaves in general). 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.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 113 probably belongs to its most recent layer. and the Expanded Pravda) each attempt to cope in their own way with the problem of the slave’s testimony. The rule is not (as Kalachov avers): “A slave does not testify. The chapter on witnesses in Justinian’s Novellae (90. But even at such a relatively late date.” (Ecloga. if necessary. Article 46 of the Expanded Pravda. the 911 treaty between the Russians and the Greeks included the threefold fine for theft. In the second half of the Expanded Pravda. As to the question of testimony given by slaves or unfree persons. esp. refer to [the testimony] of a boyar’s overseer. there is a clearly discernible block of provisions devoted to 158 Whether this rule has actual Roman law roots seems quite uncertain. The double-value fine has disappeared in later legislation. especially when the social position of the witness is inferior. without forbidding testimony by slaves outright. 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. offers a curious feature which. in the 944 treaty this was replaced by a double-value fine. XIV. . but do not rely upon other [slaves]. and possibly as late as the end of the 12th century. suggested by his Greek bishop. as has been demonstrated above. 1 and 6) demonstrates a general aversion against the testimony of witnesses. in any case after the rule of Vladimir Monomakh (1113-1125).

so I shall just refer to him here.163 The second sentence of article 90 concerns the case when the peasant dies without sons. The question has been extensively discussed in Russian literature and nobody appears to agree with Sergeevich. . the 159 160 161 162 163 Arts. 609. and certainly not its Old-Russian translation. See. in Kaiser’s translation: “If a peasant dies. They then receive a certain portion. because they concern the bulk of the population. art.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. A few other pre-1917 authors (such as Nevolin) have expressed themselves more briefly. with cases of inheritance law.” Commentators agree that the rule refers only to the case that the peasant dies without sons. 556. could have been present in the ecclesiastical courts which would deal. esp. 604-616. Arts. were available). as reflected by the Ecloga. for instance. not when they are married. Lektsii. but that a general knowledge of Byzantine inheritance law. but in similar vein as Sergeevich. Most authors agree on considering Vladimir Monomakh as the source of this section. 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.88-106).162 The similarity is obviously remote. Baranowski.88 and 89 concern the general status of women and unfree persons and can be considered as connected with inheritance law.161 The chief Byzantine source considered in this connection is always the Ecloga. The rules of article 90 can be regarded as basic in this section of the Expanded Pravda.114 Law in Medieval Russia inheritance law (arts. see the summaries of their views in RP II and in Baranowski under the provisions concerned. the first one. It consists of two separate rules. Byzantine law would then have reached the Expanded Pravda through a kind of osmotic process. Sergeevich connects it with Ecloga VI 6. but only when they are “at home”.90. but leaves daughters. but does not indicate a source. as a rule. and the other half to the fiscus. Baranowski offers an extensive summary of the discussion and has added his own reasoned refutation of Sergeevich in this matter.96 and 97 have no connection at all with inheritance law and must have been inserted at this place at some later moment. Sergeevich. which states that half the estate of a person who does not have relatives as heirs passes to his wife. then his estate [escheats] to the prince. The basic provision of the ‘inheritance block’ is article 90. 232-234. esp. Sergeevich asserts “Greek-Roman” influence. an authoritative scholar such as Zimin in Pravda Russkaia. and that the whole estate passes to the fiscus if he also does not have a wife. who presents plausible arguments for such a view.

. This rule is apparently not derived from older Roman law. but not the case covered by article 101 of the Expanded Pravda.92 does not distinguish between sons and daughters as beneficiaries of their father’s will. which also deals with the case of the remarriage of the widower and the first wife’s estate.92 of the Expanded Pravda as an example of Byzantine (Ecloga) influence is the fact that the rule of art.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 115 smerdy. the argument becomes very feeble. 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. Article 93 does not confirm this principle but only provides that the widow is entitled to what her husband has specially assigned to her.165 The text of article 102 also does not support Sergeevich’s allegation. correctly I believe.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. Nevolin (R II.91) discusses the inheritance of the sons and daughters of boyars. 646) notes that art.) However. it only conforms to the principle underlying Ecloga II. then the mother is allowed to stay and enjoy the share the husband left her. Article 94 regulates the fate of the estate in case of a subsequent marriage of the widowed father. but does not indicate which provision. As precisely this provision is the only one to support Sergeevich’s theory. Only article 101 is fully compatible with the argument of Sergeevich: “If a woman promises to remain a widow after her husband’s death. I fail to see any close parallel between the two provisions.94 is close in content and wording to a parallel provision in the Ecloga. that Nevolin obviously thought of Ecloga II 7. then squanders [her late husband’s] property. This can also hardly be considered a confirmation of the Ecloga principle. 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. she is to repay her children [the property she lost]. The only reason Sergeevich mentions art. The lengthy Ecloga provision describes various situations covered by this principle in detail. the dependent peasants. it concerns the case that (adult) children do not wish to stay with their mother in the family residence (dvor). 554.6 (that the surviving spouse retains possession and management of the deceased spouse’s estate). Baranowski observes (630). The next provision (art.” (Kaiser’s translation. 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. then the children of the first wife take their mother’s share.

116 Law in Medieval Russia the provision does not distinguish between sons and daughters. insults) in some of the Concordance copies and in some of the Karamzin group copies of the Expanded Pravda. Article 105 is only mentioned in passing by Sergeevich as reflecting the principle of equality of sons and daughters. adding that there were probably many more borrowings in the Expanded Pravda.169 Among the Soviet authors. 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. 58-59. 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). 112. 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. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. 211.18) as having been borrowed from the so-called Expanded Version of the ZSL. Ganev. the same rule also appears in a few copies of the Pushkin group of the Expanded Pravda.166 the provision on bezchestie (dishonour.12) and the damaging of another’s weapons or clothing (art. The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi Liudem. agrees with Kalachov and simply refers to the latter’s argumentation. he stated explicitly that the situation was actually 166 167 168 169 170 Kalachov.167 and the provision o stoge (haystack).168 D’iakonov’s views have already been referred to above: he considered the ZSL the most important conduit for Byzantine influence. Pravno-istoricheski i pravno-analitichni prouchvaniia. as being connected with the ZSL. he referred to the rules in the Short Pravda on the unauthorized use of another person’s horse (art. mentions the same provision. ZSL) is the most frequently quoted foreign source for the RP. The evidentiary force of this totally obvious arrangement is zero. Ocherki. D’iakonov. In his main work on the RP. Kalachov mentions the following provisions: on damaging arms. 247. 49. 1959. Tikhomirov is the one who has been most involved in comparative studies of the ZSL and the RP.1. . Kliuchevskii. Ibidem. also in some of the Concordance copies (and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) and in some of the Karamzin group copies. Tikhomirov. in the fundamental Bulgarian study on the ZSL. he does not return to it in his discussion of inheritance law.170 But twenty years later (in 1961) in his study on the Expanded ZSL. Sofia. 247. Kalachov. V. Issledovanie. Vol.

Baranowski. The convoys of which these copies form part all include the ZSL. that they belong to the original cores of neither the Expanded Pravda.N.172 This version is reliably dated in the beginning of the 15th century. 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’). RP I. 296. as compared with the Expanded and Concordance versions of the ZSL (note that the provision is lacking in 171 172 173 174 M. 26. 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. Tikhomirov. The wording of the provision in the various texts of the Expanded Pravda and the ZSL is almost identical. op. also points out this incongruity.cit. In these copies. seemingly appended to some copies of the Expanded Pravda. In some copies.. 222. 21. 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.. but significantly different in the Short Pravda.175 The rule appears in the Short Pravda. 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. without offering much explanation for this conversion.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 117 the other way around and that the RP was the lender and the ZSL the borrower.173 The Expanded Pravda itself is of a much earlier date. is that they are unquestionably of comparatively late origin. In view of the far greater age of the Short Pravda. In the Academy of Sciences edition of the RP.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. Moskva. Prostrannoi i Svodnoi redaktsii. op. 325. however. See Tikhomirov.cit. 175 It has briefly been discussed above in connection with Maksimeiko’s claim that the rule is inspired by the Lex Aquilia. 77-78. Zakon Sudnyi liudem.171 Evaluation: Kalachov’s references are all to provisions which appear only in the Concordance version of the ZSL. Tikhomirov. Kalachov’s parallels concerning insults and the haystack are found. in most copies of the Pushkin and Karamzin groups of Expanded Pravda manuscripts. they are inserted at the end of the Expanded Pravda manuscript as an appendix. it is suggested that the editor or editors of these collections have tried to streamline the regulative material of the two sources. the texts of the RP and the ZSL have been mixed up. nor the Expanded ZSL. .

244-245. the Short Pravda had borrowed accordingly from the ZSL. Even if the chronology would allow it. before the actual text of the ZSL reached Kiev. he must be handed over to the prince’s court the next day and may not be killed. Kalachov. he speculated that elements of the ZSL were already available in Kievan Rus’ at a very early moment. 3 (on killing a burglar during night-time) and articles 21 and 38 of the Short Pravda and article 40 of the Expanded Pravda. this remains unpunished. Tikhomirov (Issledovanie. 55 (on the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) and articles 63. 1. 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.118 Law in Medieval Russia the older Short ZSL). This also seems to be the view of Baranowski in his recent commentary to the RP. Article 38 concerns the killing of a thief during a night-time break-in. moreover. A very similar rule may already be found in Exodus XXII. borrowing from the Expanded ZSL would therefore be less likely than from the Old Testament. by something quite different. and not the other way around. As mentioned. Tikhomirov later retracted this view. by replacing it by topor he found an acceptable escape out of his dilemma. 313. The speculation is indeed unwarranted and. 120 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda. additionally the same provision from the Rostovskii Copy is mentioned. 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. 3. as referred to above.12 Short Pravda) has been extensively discussed above in connection with the views of Maksimeiko. 58-59) argued that “axe” followed logically after “lance” and “shield”. In his older writings. 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.. who also points to the chronological impossibility of the Short Pravda borrowing from the ZSL. op. Baranowski observes correctly that the rule is found in the most diverse legal systems.176 As to the suggestions of D’iakonov. and Procheiron 39.cit. the case of riding another person’s horse without the latter’s permission (art. but its wording differs significantly. and that port was a scribe’s error.18 Short Pravda against topor (axe) in the other texts. . The Expanded ZSL has a parallel provision. Baranowski. If he is captured. the Short Pravda must be regarded as the original source. 248.178 Evaluation: Article 21 of the Short Pravda (concerning the killing of the prince’s steward) is obviously not connected with Procheiron 39.177 Procheiron Two provisions from the Procheiron are suggested by Kalachov as paralleling similar provisions of the RP: Procheiron 39.

231. he may either reimburse the victim or hand over the slave. and the identical or similar provisions of the Expanded Pravda therefore too. As to the “bloodied man” (krovavyi muzh). 2. he first appears in the Short Pravda (art.) In a number of copies of Expanded Pravda manuscripts (of the Rozenkampf and Ferapontov recensions). according to Kalachov. which also explicitly indicates that if the thief is apprehended after sunrise. 29. the RP text is immediately preceded by a few provisions “On Witnesses” and “On the Bloodied man”. the latter text is of predominantly Byzantine origin and based mainly on the Procheiron and the Ecloga. 262-263. . The wording of the Expanded Pravda provisions bears little similarity to the corresponding rules of the Procheiron. The second case (the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) has already been discussed above. In such cases. The distinction between nocturnal and daytime killing of a thief is also made in classical Roman law. discussed above. on various Byzantine sources. Article 29 of the Expanded Pravda offers a more elaborate version of the rule.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 119 Pravda (art. 4).40) come closer. they are in fact much closer to Exodus 22. Kalachov does not present any Byzantine parallels. This question has already been discussed above in the section on the Ecloga. 248-251.30 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. 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. The texts concerned may be found in RP II. 9. Chapter on Witnesses (This text has nothing to do with the text “On Witnesses” included in the Knigi Zakonnye. With regard to article 66 Kalachov refers to the Byzantine rule “A slave cannot testify”. as they also concern the excusable killing of a night-time burglar. 30 and 31 of the Expanded Pravda. 179 Kalachov. The biblical rule still appears to be closest to the RP provisions and may very well be their source. according to a statement by Gaius who quotes the Twelve Tables law (D. he may not be killed. The contents of the Russian provisions are still quite different from the short Procheiron provision. 1. These provisions are based. Together with the provision on the “bloodied man” the following two provisions of the Expanded Pravda (arts.30).179 The text of the provisions is very similar or identical to articles 66.

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

payable only by the state (the prince).183 182 183 A. but also lay people attached to the church) were removed from secular jurisdiction and placed under the jurisdiction of the bishop (metropolitan). as in the Byzantine world. 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. Many authors have noted that the RP and the church statutes complement each other in that there is hardly any overlap.). although the general idea of assigning the church an important role in the administration of justice is of course of Byzantine origin. in exchange for its loss of independence it received important judicial powers. inspired by the new Christian teaching. The system introduced by these statutes represented a fundamental reform of Russian law. 250. Moreover. Obviously. Vol. the latter in particular. 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. differed from the more comprehensive West-European tithe. but they received a peculiarly Russian twist: church and state did not co-exist as two more or less equivalent powers.. but also sorcery and other pagan survivals and inheritance disputes. Kievskaia Rus’. This explains why no direct textual borrowings from Byzantine sources have been identified in the church statutes. Shchapov. the Ecloga. the ZSL. insults. These matters concerned primarily marriage and sexual morality. theft. the contents of the statutes of Vladimir and Iaroslav. the oldest core of the RP consisted of customary law. and dealt with. have equally been derived from Byzantine examples. if necessary. Kniazheskie ustavy. . Presniakov. 1938. Lektsii po russkoi istorii. although generally similar situations are dealt with in the Procheiron.E.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 121 income182 and jurisdiction in certain matters violating the new Christian moral precepts. the basic ideas underlying the church statutes were of Byzantine origin. Moskva. but the church was incorporated to a great extent into the texture of the state’s institutions. a few other offences harmful or objectionable to the church were added. to which the church statutes added a list of new offences reflecting behaviour rejected by the new religious doctrine. through extra-legal procedures in pre-Christian times. because nothing like it had existed before. etc. has drawn attention to the fact that the Old-Russian tithe. people connected to the church (clerics. and other Byzantine or Byzantineinspired sources. Half a century later. This core dealt mainly with a traditional range of offences (violence against persons. the Knigi Zakonnye.I. 115ff. which then was subsequently replaced and eased out by princely legislation.

184 Sergeevich presents a credible argument for the viewpoint that in fact the Greeks were successful in securing the dominance of Greek law. etc. Their origin is not yet quite clear. in that they deal with related subjects. 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. the double or threefold penalty for theft. in particular the Procheiron. points to several provisions which must be considered as originating in Byzantine law. 8.122 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. Treaties With Byzantium These are not mentioned by Kalachov. Later Developments As has been noted above. inasmuch as they both deal (among other things) with setting fire to a barn (gumno). for instance. 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’. However. They constitute a comparatively late addition to certain manuscripts of the RP. the right to inherit of distant relatives in the absence of close relatives. Sergeevich indicated a number of crucial instances where Greek law appeared to prevail: capital punishment for homicide. the similarity between the provisions is only very general. 184 Sergeevich. . and this has been gratefully picked up by many authors as the earliest written reference to Old-Russian law. which have been discussed above. The similarity between the two arson provisions is somewhat closer. Sergeevich. they form part of the debate. Moreover. but as referred to above in the discussion of the views of Salogubova. instead of the traditional Russian blood feud. 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). 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. 639-666. major Byzantine legal texts. 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. Lektsii.

K. 438-457. Russia—broken up into separate principalities.G. 321-331 (by Iu. Alekseev).P. but still united under a single metropolitan—was slowly recovering from the devastation caused by the Mongol conquest of most of the country. No major legislative monuments from the 14th century have survived or have in fact existed. Byzantium had succumbed to the onslaught of the Turks and had exited from the political stage. 25ff. S. as opinions on its date of origin differ widely. where it was subsequently included. Alekseev Collection]. in the text of the Merilo Pravednoe. Alekseev.A. Text in PRP III. 331. 185 186 187 The most recent comprehensive study of the Pskov Charter is Iu.186 Another legislative text which bears clear traces of Byzantine influence is the “Metropolitan’s Justice” (Pravosudie Metropolich’e). but the result of the availability of a very small number of translated Greek texts.Peterburg.G. .185 Several commentators have noticed that there are minor. traces of Byzantine influence in a small number of provisions of the Pskov Charter. If they had. Tekst. they would have been included in kormchie and other collections of legal texts. commentary by V. The Byzantine texts concerned are the Ecloga and the Farmer’s Law (and other texts from the Knigi Zakonnye). as were older texts from the preceding three centuries. a short and somewhat enigmatic text. The oldest part of the Pskov Charter. 1997 (not available to me). 282-285 (by A. E. 167-172. 107-110. Rossiiskoe gosudarstvo v XIV-XVII vv. Cherepnin. By this time. Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota. Avtokratov. Zimin) and Rossiiskoe Zakonodatel’stvo I.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 123 At about the same time or somewhat later. together with the Procheiron translation. is probably from 1397. Laws. 2002. if we follow Alekseev on this point.). Pavlov (ed. which implied the disappearance of the Byzantine legal system as a living entity. also. Arkhivy II. from the 13th to the 16th century. the introductions to the Pskov Charter text in PRP II. Alekseev. which consists of several chronological layers. Issledovanie. it is important to stress that Byzantine influence was not a matter of continuous interaction. See. Pskov. they could exert their influence over a very long period. In surveying developments in Russian legal history in the post-Kievan period. also.G. a Slavonic translation of the Ecloga will also have reached Russia. Greek experts were not needed. “Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota i kompiliatsiia «Knigi Zakonnye»”. Kommentarii.cit. 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). In this period. op. [Iu.N. Piotrovskaia. but clear. 429-432.187 The Code of Ivan III of 1497 marks the definitive end of the Kievan period of Russian legal history. Once they had arrived. also (Russian text and English translation) in Kaiser. by the exchange of personnel and/or texts. A. See.

RZ II. mentioned below. as it was adopted in consultation with the Church Council and with the boyars and other nobles. Also in RZ III. 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. Part 1: Text and Translation.Peterburg. The entire volume of PRP VI is devoted to text and commentary of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie. Novitskaia in RZ II. Man’kov. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung.Ia. 242-500. Sudebnik Ivana III. 191 192 Ibidem. CA.G. Soloviev.124 Law in Medieval Russia In the extensive literature on the Code of 1497. effected in the middle of the 19th century under the direction of M. of Byzantine law reached its climax long after Byzantium had become the capital of the Turkish empire. the Codes of 1550 and 1589 and the so-called Combined Code (Svodnyi Sudebnik) of 1606/1607.). 346-374. Text with comments by T. Froianov (ed. 54-62. The library was lost in a fire when the Poles occupied Moscow in 1612. 432-479. at 464. in 1649. the era of Ivan IV (Groznyi) was characterized (among other things) by increased contacts with Western Europe. The Code of 1550 was accompanied by a comprehensive text embodying church law. 62-97. the Sobornoe Ulozhenie (the Council Enactment or Code).V. Aleksei Mikhailovich.189 Many provisions of the Stoglav are derived from different kormchie and in this way Byzantine law could penetrate. 75-443 and in the volume edited by A. 2004.G. commentary (by S. Shtamm). The same goes for its successors in the following century. 188 189 190 On the Code of 1497 generally: I. A. “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”.190 Interestingly. Poliak). Stanovlenie samoderzhavnogo gosudarstva na Rusi. English translation by R.E. Irvine. nobody has claimed the presence of Byzantine or Roman elements. 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. Romanische Abteilung. which in turn was the basis for the new codification which was gradually embarked upon in the Russian Empire. Speranskii.188 The Code confines itself anyway mainly to topics concerning criminal law and procedure. The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649. Text of the Code in PRP III. S.I. 374-413. Hellie. . Band 76 (1959). 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. 1988.191 To return to a point made in the beginning of this section. 248. commentary (by A. if not the impact.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). the recognition.

Leningrad. 18-19. 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. as explained above. Small and relatively unimportant parts of the Ecloga and the Procheiron were included in 193 194 N.I. A. and some indeed deny or disregard the Byzantine element completely. A different picture emerges when Byzantine law from the great legislative era of the 8th and 9th centuries is considered (Nomos Georgikos. 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. Moreover. such influence is also extremely unlikely if one considers the conditions of early Christian Russia. Some of these will have had a knowledge of Byzantine canon law and. Tiktin. Leningrad. Cf.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 125 In its Preamble. K. Ulozhenie 1649 goda. regards the Lithuanian Statute of 1588 as the principal source of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie. . Ecloga. defined in article 46 Expanded Pravda. According to the most recent and reliable studies.G.194 With Peter the Great. 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.193 Later authors reduced this number very considerably. 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. The double-value fine is well known in Roman law and otherwise unknown in Russian law. 1987. 9. Odessa. Tekst. Vizantiiskoe pravo kak istochnik Ulozheniia 1649. 12. 1980. 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. This knowledge was based exclusively on Greek-language sources. this included certain sections of secular law. Kommentarii. the Code of 1649 stated unequivocally that the “city laws” (gradskie zakony. and Procheiron). a term which usually referred to the Procheiron and the Ecloga) of the Greek emperors were among the sources consulted and utilized. In a special study by Tiktin.).A. 1891. Opinions differ as to the exact size of the element borrowed from Byzantine law. so whatever elements of Roman law would have been present would at least have to pass through this filter. the presence of a Slavonic translation of the Procheiron is at least certain with the arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia in Russia in 1273. without the Byzantine intermediary. more than 100 places were identified. Kodeks feodal’nogo prava Rossii. Man’kov. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. (ed. in his introduction to the text of the Code in PRP VI. This process accelerated in the 19th century and constitutes an on-going story.

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

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

civil law. or to debate whether the Russkaia Pravda or the Ecloga or any other medieval legal source constituted “legislation”. criminal law. such as public law. in the selection of their conceptual instruments. In such discussions. etc. or rather invented them. Often enough. the emergence of the state at a certain moment in Russian history. everything depends on the definition preferred and there are no objective yardsticks to decide whether one definition is better than another. 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. The nationalist bias against foreign legal influences is even more dysfunctional.128 Law in Medieval Russia purpose. 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. including legal historians. as Russian historians often do. It is therefore meaningless to observe. “legislation”. family law. Medieval law is generally described according to present-day categories. and in fact law itself. . One should never forget that all these things (unlike language. The circle of dubious concepts may also be widened to include such things as “the state”. for instance) did not exist until we thought of them.

as one of the primary factors of production. the feudalism question is of course intimately bound up with the more general question of land tenure. and by whom. A second point concerns the role Marxist-Leninist ideology has played. the MarxistLeninist approach to it. the study of the role of towns in Kievan Russia or of the system of social classes. A legal approach would require an adequate set of conceptual tools. in the study of Kievan Russia. be said of. 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. For Kievan Russia. The same can. Land. land ownership and related subjects lends itself to being treated separately. The importance of the question rests on a variety of reasons. Thirdly. 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. It has often been expressed as the question concerning the feudal character of Kievan Russia. But the way a society. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ The question of land tenure. In Soviet scholarship. but the primary sources (as explained in the chapter on sources) are scarce. . The conceptual framework of the legal aspects of land tenure. handles the use of land would normally also embrace the rural-urban relationship and the social hierarchies. 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. is of particular importance for an understanding of Kievan Russia.Chapter 4 Land Tenure. 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. of how land was used. The other three questions (the ‘visualization’ of Kievan Russia. If a sufficiently clear picture of the use of land can be assembled. we already have the landscape in front of us in which the other details can be painted. the literature may be vast. and in fact continues to play. say. and the question of the feudal character of Kievan Russia) are so intimately related that they cannot very well be discussed in isolation. of course. a polity. This has resulted in strongly diverging views on its socio-political and economic characteristics.

published in 1948. lawyers are often inclined to regard ownership as an inherent. 102106. In his discussion of the rights in rem in a feudal system. .12. notwithstanding its ideological qualifications. Ann Arbor. thereby. the leading civil law scholar of that time. pointed out in his basic work on state socialist property. In the Soviet Union. social. this principle. 789.V. 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. Venediktov. 1969. and that as a result several types of ‘ownership’ in one and the same object might co-exist. Moskva. the ownership concept based on Roman law and dominant in the West since Napoleon is defective in this respect.V. quality of a material object. The determination of ownership then becomes the first and most fundamental question to be solved in any legal relationship. V.1 The same thought was expressed by the historian A. this absolute ownership concept has retained its function as the central organizational principle of private law. Land Tenure: The Legal Perspective An adequate set of conceptual tools would be required for a meaningful legal analysis.L.130 Law in Medieval Russia 1. In the West. Voprosy istorii. Shapiro. Land ownership had. Venediktov. No. Moreover. 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. I.L. although not without causing considerable strain. A. 1948. almost physical. that the distinction between ownership and possession in such a system was blurred. It has made ownership the fundamental and pivotal right from which all other private law rights flow. Modern concepts might not always be suitable. did not fit well into the political and economic reality. Gsovski had made a very much similar point in his work on Soviet Civil Law.2 In a 1 2 A. that there was also not a clear line of distinction between ownership and various rights in rem. as we stated above. political and ideological superstructure. to be established through ‘scientific’ observation and analysis. Shapiro. MI. A. who even went so far as to assert that the Marxist definition of ownership did not embrace “all varieties of ownership existing under feudalism”. true to its 19th century origins. 5772. In particular. “O prirode feodal’noi sobstvennosti”. 1948. 576. become almost irrelevant from a practical legal point of view. Marxism. ownership of the means of production was considered the basically decisive and determining factor for the entire economic. the legal scholars of the Stalin era used the comparison with medieval law to find a way out of the dilemma. did not offer an exception in this respect. Gosudarstvennaia sotsialisticheskaia sobstvennost’. Outside the socialist world.

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

Obshchestvennyi stroi Drevnei Rusi v russkoi istoricheskoi nauke XVIII-XX vv. have occasionally demonstrated an awareness of the inadequacy of the modern ownership concept. Vol. in accordance with his generally dissident views. “F.Peterburg. M. Blum.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. even earlier passage in the Primary Chronicle.cit. The most comprehensive factor is the acceptance (or rather imposition) of Marxism-Leninism as a scientifically verified 9 I. S. 1999. The American Slavic & East European Review. For the Polianians had already existed even before the time of these brothers.11 Western authors. in particular by M. Froianov. Chapter 3 (168-321). Glavnye cherty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo stroia. Froianov.12 (1953). 10 11 From the translation by Pushkarev.. Sovetskaia etnografiia.9 Another.1. belonging each to his clan. as was pointed out by Mavrodin and Froianov. 13 J. in tackling the question of land tenure in pre-Kievan and Kievan Russia.132 Law in Medieval Russia of Ol’zhichi. And there were three brothers […]. 137-139. Mavrodin & I..B. the individual peasant held his land from the commune.V. 12 V. and each one lived with his clan on his own place. 1996. the unsuspecting Western reader will be struck by many common traits in the style and argument of Soviet historiography of the period in question.Peterburg. which as the name indicates is very much her own property (it would hardly have been mentioned otherwise). in Kievskaia Rus’. Still. 122-130. 14-23. . offers another interpretation of this passage.12 2. About one of the Slavic tribes. at 124. The Nature of Kievan Russia: Soviet Approaches The plural “approaches” is not used without a reason. Engel’s i nekotorye voprosy obshchinnogo zemlevladeniia na Rusi IX-XII vv.”10 This text indicates. Blum. suggesting a multi-tiered system of land tenure. but which were de facto owned by them. Sverdlov.B.Ia. which is clearer on this point than Cross/ Sherbowitz-Wetzor. that there was an awareness of tribal territory (where the Polianians “lived apart”) which was divided into a number of clan territories. who published several important papers in this field during the 1950’s and 1960’s and freely used the term “landownership”. No. is an entry which deals with the earliest history of the Slavs in Russia.”. Sverdlov. it reports: “The Polianians lived apart and were governed by their clans. More recent Russian works. “The Smerd in Kievan Russia”. smaller family groups would presumably ‘own’ land within the clan territory. 1972. for instance. observed that territorial peasant communes used land of which the prince was the nominal supreme proprietor.Ia. op. S.

but in fact usually concerning very real scholarly issues which however could not be discussed in plain language. for instance. although. Grekov. was the mental anguish of some Soviet historians about slave-owning in early Russian history. 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. 1959). The leading historian from the Stalinist era. Moscow. baffling to the uninitiated observer. until these various exploitative forms of production would be overthrown by a revolution which would introduce socialism. because in the Soviet Marxist view of feudalism ownership of agricultural land by a class of feudal lords. . as explained by Sverdlov. the tenets of historical materialism were of prime relevance.D. in the English translation (Kiev Rus. in his discussion of the formation of the first towns. making use of the labour force of a dependent 14 B. slave-owning. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 133 and therefore true doctrine. gradually to be transformed into communism. 58-59. including that of historians. then how about slave-owning in Russia? Would it be possible. first pointed to the existence of early towns. 127-128. 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. 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. 1953. but left the Marxist-Leninist ideology more or less intact. Soviet scholars would still argue about the feudal character of Kievan Russia. the position taken could be used to draw further conclusions. B. This doctrine postulated the phased advance of societal development through the stages of the ‘clan-tribal wayof-life’ (rodo-plemennyi byt). For the latter. because a town would imply the existence of private property and a class society. Once this had been done. even then authors found ways around the most awkward ideological obstacles and engaged in debates appearing esoteric and abstruse to outsiders. a question of immediate relevance to the land tenure issue.14 So. without offending against the scientific laws of social development. Moskva.Land Tenure. Another phenomenon. such as those mentioned in the 907 treaty with Byzantium. Then he continued that such early towns were not real towns. or feudal. constituting the foundation of all scholarly work. feudalism. 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. slaveowning. and capitalism. Kievskaia Rus’.D. This pattern required Soviet historians to qualify the various phases of pre-Kievan and Kievan Russian history as either clan-tribal. Grekov.

Khlebnikov. Moskva (3rd rev. Srednevekovaia Rus’. At one end of the spectrum. The entire generation of Soviet medievalists working during the last three decades of the Soviet system was still imbued with such Marxist ideas. Moskva. because feudal economies were generally self-sufficient.A.A. Obshchestvo i gosudarstvo v domongol’skii period russkoi istorii. A.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. is an example. quoted above. Grekov’s work on Kievan Russia. in the most recent edition of the leading university textbook on legal history by I.Peterburg. was the very essence of the feudal system.V. Some of the proponents of this view. more exposed to international literature and less to Soviet-style indoctrination. Gorskii (ed. and as mere terminology.134 Law in Medieval Russia peasant population. held that large scale landownership and ‘feudalization’ set in as early as the 7th century. 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. because a feudal economy rested on the labour of serfs. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti”. 44. in particular some of the leading Soviet authors. S. ed. i. that Kievan Russia represented a feudal society (in the Marxist sense). 1871. cf. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii. 1939. not of slaves. The situation of Kievan Russia was then considered to be generally similar to that of Carolingian Europe. Nikol’skii.4.17 Once the position had been taken. Moskva/Leningrad. Iushkov. Foreign trade could be neglected.). there was N. In the 19th century. S. Iushkov. perhaps without always being aware of it. as a conceptual framework. These 15 16 This is very noticeable. 17 A notable example in the field concerned is the study by S.L. .). took essentially the same position. Vyp. Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Rossii.V. the old ideas survive to a considerable extent through their dominance in the traditional Soviet terminology. for instance. a number of other conclusions became more or less inevitable. 3. 2004. prehistoric times.15 Only among the younger generation of historians. money did not play a major role in these economies. the leading Soviet legal historian from the era.e. Even after the demise of the Soviet Union and the widespread rejection of Marxist-Leninist ideology among educated Russians. S. Slavery did not exist or was at least very unimportant. are the habits of the past wearing off. Isaev. 5-48. 2006. By the same token. there is the view that agriculture had been the predominant mode of production and economic determinant from very early. under Grekov’s leadership.

esp. the princes and boyars. Froianov’s was the most audible heterodox voice. such as those of Vernadsky. augmented by hunting and the acquisition of booty. Although Froianov did not deny the emergence of 18 Most explicitly in his Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi. Vol. His ultimate conclusion was that Kievan Russia was more like Byzantium than like medieval Europe. Szeftel. but. Vernadsky. Coulborn (ed. and that large scale landownership did not assume significant importance before the 12th century. for instance. slavery was still a factor of some importance. New Haven.19 A similar view had been put forward by M.21 Among Soviet authors. and Lord and Peasant in Russia From the 9th to the 19th Century. 2004. serfdom existed. Princeton.Peterburg (3rd ed. but stressed that agriculture on communal land still would have been the basic occupation of the bulk of the population. agreed with earlier writers that large scale landownership did not appear in Kiev before the 11th century. R. Szeftel.Ia. Blum. as well as internal and foreign trade. . His starting-point was the rejection of the ‘classic’ view proposed by Grekov. Vol. 167-182. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 135 considerations produced an already detailed picture of Kievan society. crafts and trades. derived their wealth primarily from trade. The American Slavic & East European Review. Kievskaia Rus’.7 (1948). although not necessarily a correct one. This chapter had been published separately as “On Feudalism in Kievan Russia”.Land Tenure. 179-189 (original English publication: G. therefore. Princeton. Feudalism in History. 3-14.20 Vernadsky pointed out that in Kievan times hunting (including beekeeping). than on their ownership of land. lecture VII. 1902. 1948). 776-790. and small scale landownership was still a significant phenomenon. it was clothed in traditional Soviet terminology.V. large scale landownership was present. “The Beginnings of Large-Scale Private Landownership in Russia”. I have used the modern Russian edition: G. mainly based on their trading activities. 1961. Kievan Russia.). The opposite view was that the Kievan elite. agriculture and cattle-breeding. S. be inappropriate and misleading.18 The few Western authors who expressed themselves occupied a more intermediate position. Tver’/Moskva. 1956. but the landowners did not constitute a closed class as in Europe. Parallels with Carolingian Europe would.). the position of the elite rested more on their financial strength. at least in his earlier writings. Chapter V. 13. 21. that Kievan Russia was a feudal society. 21 M. Istoriia Rossii. 19 20 J. Blum. in a more implicit form in his Kurs. His actual appraisal of Kievan Russia was closer to Western views. An early protagonist of this view was Kliuchevskii. I. Vernadskii. but was in no way universal or even dominant as a source of labour.1. “Aspects of Feudalism in Russian History”. were all major economic factors. Speculum. 1953.

Vernadsky has remarked. ed. 315-319. that a cat may properly be called a small tiger.136 Law in Medieval Russia certain feudal elements.24 If one follows Grekov in accepting that “the essence of feudalism was revealed only in the works of the founders of Marxism-Leninism”. Sverdlov. Ocherki otechestvennoi istoriografii. These ideas have been elaborated in very extensive writings on various aspects of Kievan Russia. S.Ia. concerning the emergence of feudalism. Froianov has authored three volumes entitled “Kievan Rus’” and in each of them the debate with the ‘official’ Soviet theory is taken up. regarding the Soviet definition of feudalism. Glavnye cherty sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo stroia. What rather has happened is that. G. 1990. 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”. Leningrad. quoted above. Moskva. Alekseev. 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. Ocherki sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii. it might be helpful to look at an intermediate question first. esp. 2001. 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”.G. 1974. Leningrad. as noted above.22 In the post-Soviet era. Vernadsky. Communes and individual producers were the main owners and agents in agriculture.. there is the question of definition. Kievskaia Rus’.B. A full publication followed in 1999 under the title Kievskaia Rus’. I. These three works have been republished in a single volume Nachala russkoi istorii (Iu. in the article quoted above. this work was a partial publication of the author’s doctoral thesis.Peterburg. 1999. Kievskaia Rus’. 4. Froianov’s views have found many followers in Russia. 1980. the old terminology still survives in most of the more recent works. esp. crafts and trade. but that we may cause a lot of trouble by shouting “tiger” when we see a cat crossing the road. . Kievskaia Rus’. Russian medievalists have dispersed and present a much greater variety of views on developments in Kievan Russia. esp. Leningrad. It is not a decisive issue. freed from the constraints of the old ideologies. at 5-6.23 Before continuing our examination of the question posed at the head of this section (agriculture of trade?). he held that the ‘clan-tribal existence’ was still the dominant social form. See.). but still of considerable importance. and that “a classical definition of the feudal system was given by Stalin”. Interlude: Feudalism First of all. but they have in no way become the dominant trend. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. the sections on “Concerning the forms of communal land tenure in Kievan Russia” and “Princely land tenure and management”.

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. 4. 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. 6. in a footnote (on p.28 With regard to economic feudalism. existence of a scale of greater and lesser rulers (suzerain. 28 . large estates did not predominate over peasant holdings to the same extent as in Western Europe. (3) the status of land from the juridical point of view. Ganshof. notes that among modern Russian historians views which parallel Western conceptions have been defended and he regards this as a promising development. Kievskaia Rus’. 181.. as is customary in European history. although the argument does not carry 25 Grekov. (2) their types.. whatever its merits and deficiencies. op. 149).).25 If. New York (3rd ed. I. the control of land by the vassals being stipulated by the service rendered to their seignior”). as it emerged in post-Carolingian Europe through the ritual of homage and fealty. FF] of supreme political authority.26 it would be difficult to consider Kievan Russia as a feudal entity. (6) the general pattern of national economy in the Kievan period. according to Vernadsky. Feudalism. Ithaca. Paris. on the other hand. Vernadsky’s conclusion was that the Kievan manor was on all six counts significantly different from its West-European counterpart. Chapter 2. Bloch. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 137 tion and his limited ownership of the productive worker. Most scholars would agree here with Vernadsky. the presence of which is by no means proven. resp. the other two elements of feudalism in his view are political feudalism (“mediatication [sic. feudalism is regarded as the socio-political system based on the combination of fiefholding and vassalage. 183. M. for instance. subvassals) bound by personal contract. Kievskaia Rus’. it can have a serious distorting effect when applied to Kievan Russia by importing characteristics. “On Feudalism in Russia”. 1942.27 The answers to these questions. cannot very well be avoided. because it continues to be used in Russian historiography.L. the serf. Stephenson. (4) the degree of manorial authority over the tenant farmer. 1939. First. As pointed out in the foregoing section. Chapters 1 and 2. vassals.cit. Mediaeval Feudalism. reciprocity of such a contract”) and the feudal nexus (“an indissoluble fusion of personal territorial rights. Ibidem. determine the degree of economic feudalism. C. The Soviet/Russian definition of feudalism. 26 27 Cf. 115 (Kiev Rus’. (5) the social standing of the landowners.” Sverdlov. Book 2. Part 2. 317-321. but whom he can sell or buy” (Stalin’s words).Land Tenure. La société féodale. F. 1952. whom he cannot any longer kill.

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

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

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

Land Tenure. .). however. In Russia. were actually on the right track. Come to rule and reign over us.L. 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. and this fact has inexplicably been overlooked by the supporters of the ‘Byzantine parallel’. and any kind of foreign. Once Kievan Russia began to flourish. Nikol’skii. 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). the druzhina issue has been connected with the so-called problem of the Normans which has continued to agitate scholars. although not impossible. but there is no order in it. at 5. 5-48. But. notwithstanding their overly schematic Marxist approach of a tribal-clan society making the transition to a feudal one. even then.”31 31 S. although they did not quite disappear (Iaroslav’s daughters married the kings of Hungary.L. while at the same time the positive achievements of past scholarship are further developed. contacts with Western Europe diminished.4. since the 19th century. In this respect. In a recent study by S. Soviet historians. 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. this schematism is criticised. 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.A. Vyp. The overwhelming reality of these contacts. Norway. Moskva. Nikol’skii. let alone ‘barbarian’ Viking influence on the culture of Kievan Russia was declared to be impossible. 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. A. Denmark and France).” Some of the vast literature concerning these events has been coloured by political bias. Connections with Byzantium then became more intense. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. until the Mongol conquest after 1240 made these connections more burdensome. Srednevekovaia Rus’. was that Byzantine culture and political institutions existed in a completely different setting than their counterparts in Kievan Russia. 2004.” Rurik and two of his brothers answered the call: “Our land is great and rich. 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. Gorskii (ed.

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

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

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

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


The most prominent Novgorod expert among present-day Russian historians is V. A brief survey of the main aspects of the early Russian veche may also be found in M. Politicheskie instituty Drevnei Rusi.I. its jurisdiction. see. 1971. Ianin. Ianin and M. Its first recorded meeting was in 1016.1 The activities of the Novgorod veche. Vol.Kh.150-161. Moscow.2 (1957). Moskva. This work was first published in 1904 and has been republished several times in editions of Kliuchevskii’s collected works Sochineniia.O. Mel’nikova (eds. pride of place belongs to the veche or popular assembly of Novgorod.2 The primary sources are to be found in the medieval Russian chronicles.Chapter 5 Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History Among the ancestors of the Russian State Duma. “La participation des assemblées populaires dans le gouvernment central de la Russie depuis l’époque kiévienne jusqu’à la fin du XVIII siècle”.A. Gross-Novgorod. Recently a new study on the veche appeared.2. have been and still are a subject of lively debate in Russian historiography. the veche of Pskov functioned until 1510. for instance. Receuils de la Société Jean Bodin. J. I have used the 1956-1959 edition. 32-61. its massive absorption of Turkic elements soon resulted in an ethnic metamorphosis which . The prominent role of the Novgorod veche in medieval Russia has understandably overshadowed the activities of veches in other Russian cities.V. No. 1969. Aufstieg unde Niedergang einer russischen Stadtrepublik. Neverthe1 2 As explained below. In respect of the latter. for a recent overview: Velikii Novgorod v istorii srednevekovoi Evropy [Ianin Festschrift]. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii. 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.). “Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda”. the chapters on Novgorod are in Vol. but Pskov only became independent of Novgorod in 1347/1348. No body of popular representation in Russia can boast such a long period of operation. Gimon & E. 54-104. Although the empire founded by Chingis-Khan was Mongol in its origin. in Istoriia SSSR. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2004 god. Szeftel. 339365. Wien. Göteborg. also. Lektsiia XXIII. its procedures. 1999. Veche in the Chronicles of Medieval Rus: A Study of Functions and Terminology. first of all the Novgorod Chronicle. 2004 (not available to me). See. Also. an abbreviated translation (“Veche v drevnerusskikh pis’mennostnykh istochnikakh: Funktsii i terminologiia”) appeared in T. It was abolished by Ivan III in 1478 after Novgorod’s subjugation to Moscow. there is a relative paucity of sources.25. its composition. This work also offers a list of direct chronicle references to the term veche on pp. the role of the veche in other Russian cities diminished sharply after the Tataro-Mongol3 invasions in the middle of the 13th century. at 339-345. Aleshkovskii. 3 V. 2006. Granberg. K. Onasch.

the veche has enjoyed increased interest in recent times when it is often seen as a precursor of present democratic institutions. V. have to be consulted. N. 4 5 The Laurentian text of the Suzdal’ Chronicle in PSRL. 1816-1829 (hereafter: Karamzin).4 The earliest reference to a veche dates from 997. Medieval Russian legislation provides little information on the activities of the veche. It is. Leningrad. 12 volumes. a survey of the main sources and the principal characteristics is required.I Sergeevich devoted much attenmade contemporaries look upon the invaders as ‘Tatars’ (at the time. for the Novgorod veche the Novgorod Chronicle must be added. Karamzin’s monumental Istoriia Gosudarstva Rossiiskago. such as the Suzdal’ Chronicle. .1 part 2. after 1100. A useful secondary source is N. Vol.5 Among the prerevolutionary Russian legal historians.M. There are also other reasons. Sources The basic sources concerning the early Russian veche are the medieval Russian chronicles. especially the Primary or Nestor Chronicle. Karamzin (1766-1836). For the later period. S. and the next generation of Russian medieval chronicles. There are also interesting parallels with similar institutions in West European legal history. Before considering the early Russian veche briefly from these various points of view. there are a handful of references from the 11th century.Peterburg. concern veches in Novgorod and Pskov. a collective name denoting the population of Asia). 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. its narrative stops at 1116.148 Law in Medieval Russia less. 1927. Although the Primary Chronicle remains the main source of information on the early period of Kievan Rus. for looking more closely at the early medieval Russian veche. they get more numerous. especially after the Tataro-Mongol invasions around 1240. most references.M. And. an essential component for constructing a comprehensive view of Kievan Russia. apart from the importance of the veche of Novgorod. Istoriia Gosudarstva Rossiiskago. first of all. whose extensive footnotes offer long quotations from the various chronicles on which the work is based. A subsequent association with Greek tartaros (underworld) was responsible for the common European misnomer ‘Tartars’. but still should not be altogether disregarded in this respect. 1. on a different plane. although not all of them.

150-184. body. col. pressed by starvation. Drevnosti II). Studien zur verfassungsgeschichtlichen Bedeutung des Veče. many authors have assumed the presence of another. in principle. This date does not tally with another entry (under the year 980) in the Primary Chronicle. assembled to decide on the best course of action.10 6 7 V. The decision to surrender the town was then overturned by the town-elders. “insatiable in vice”. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy.Vladimir of Kiev in 9918) by the Pechenegs. at the request of an old man. . 8 The discussion is conveniently summarized by I.Peterburg. Of the Western literature on the veche. vols. 10 Further references in Froianov. to lead the Pechenegs astray). P.I. S. the work by K. 1980. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi.The Veche in Legal History 149 tion to the veche. Leningrad.Ia. 160-162. i. 1967). maintained 300 concubines in Belgorod.). Divested of its legendary aspects (the execution of an elaborate deception. 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. the chronicler recounts how the population of the town.1-3. who suggested a ruse. 1908. Local elites (the town-elders) may act independently.und Westslaven.2 are devoted to the veche (hereafter: Sergeevich. sometimes. 1908. the first four chapters of Vol. the second part of his work on Russian legal antiquities is entitled “Veche and Prince”. I have not been able to consult this work. the 991 entry should be interpreted as meaning that Vladimir fortified an already existing town. 132-142) has recently drawn the attention to the confusion surrounding the unstable terminology in the sources: where terms other than veche are used. 1980). Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. part 2. Of considerable interest is also the work of M. an actual general assembly of the population may be meant. smaller.Peterburg (2nd ed.e. where it is stated that Vladimir. the brief narrative already contains several of the elements of the functioning of the veche which return in later reports. 1909. an assembly of the whole town population. one would expect this entry to refer to Vladimir’s days as a pagan. 9 PSRL Vol. 2003. According to Cross and SherbowitzWetzor in their translation of the Primary Chronicle. In a tale about the siege of Belgorod (a new town founded by St.A. S. before 988. 115-136. D’iakonov. Moskva 2005. 1903.1. Wiesbaden. Lukin (“K voprosu o tak nazyvaemom sovete v domongol’skoi Rusi”. 1980 (hereafter: Froianov. however. Zernack should be mentioned (Die burgstädtischen Volksversammlungen bei den Ost. such as “council” (sovet). Drevnosti russkago prava.B.9 The veche is. reminiscent of other stories of Near Eastern origin. It appears to have the power to decide certain important questions. Froianov in Kievskaia Rus’. Sergeevich. along with the study by Granberg (mentioned above).122. Five Centuries of Veche History The first time the Primary Chronicle mentions a veche is under the entry for the year 997.6 Most of the leading Soviet medievalists have written about the veche. footnote 83.

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

whom he (Vasil’ko) considered responsible for David ordering him (Vasil’ko) to be blinded. Ezhov (ed. Traces of a similar system may be observed in pre-medieval Germanic dynastic succession. the grandson of Iaroslav the Wise’s elder brother Iziaslav.II. Iziaslav. A feud already existed between these brothers and their nephew Vseslav. 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). liberated from his dungeon. but not for his advisors. the latter’s eldest son. PSRL Vol. 14 This Iziaslav. This matter is discussed at greater length in the chapters on “The Elder Brother in Russia” and “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. prince of Terebovl’. based on the collective right to rule of the Rurikid house. Iz istorii feodal’noi Rossii [Mavrodin Festschrift].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. The following excerpt of the complicated story has to suffice. among the Merovingians and Carolingians. along with the Kiev veche. and this time it was in particular the veche of Vladimir which played an active role. Karamzin. After seven months and under threat from a counterattack by Iziaslav.”. The latter demanded the extradition of three advisors of David. prince of Polotsk. died before his father St. 173-195 (a reworking of “Veche v Kieve 1068-1069 gg. and the Kiev veche invited Iziaslav back as their prince. and a solemn pact of unity was concluded. David Ol’govich. Vseslav absconded. Leningrad. 1068-1069. and two other sons. who were then handed over to Vasil’ko. became princes of Chernigov and Pereiaslavl’ respectively. 1978.A. Later on. The sons and grandsons of some of the participants in the previous crisis met to patch up their differences.12 Two examples may be recounted briefly. part 1. The people of Vladimir told their prince David at a veche meeting that they would fight for him. 1995. who called a veche and issued an ultimatum to their prince.Vladimir. established by St.Peterburg. who was already unpopular in Kiev. 38-46). Soon hostilities broke out again.171-173.). Iziaslav. was being besieged by his cousin Vasil’ko Rostislavich.Ia.1. in the same year.14 The next major crisis erupted in 1097 in the aftermath of the Liubech peace conference.13 Vseslav had been arrested treacherously by Iziaslav Iaroslavich of Kiev and incarcerated in Kiev. prince of Vladimir. I. completely fell out with his own people. inherited the throne of Kiev. S. Drevniaia Rus’. The original system of Rurikid succession did not allow for substitution in case a son predeceased his father. was more or less maintained by his son Iaroslav the Wise (†1054). grand prince of Kiev. Vol. Iziaslav fled in a hurry and the Kievans proclaimed Vseslav. his line remained forever in a disadvantaged position.Vladimir. In the course of a campaign against the nomad Polovtsians. Froianov. The unity of the Kievan empire. col. Primary Chronicle. . 4344. V. Sviatoslav and Vsevolod.

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

The veche could probably claim an ancient right to approve or disapprove of its prince. the most important princes would each occupy one of the major town-territories. but at least for the Kievan period they can be explained adequately in light of the dynastic peculiarities of Rurikid rule (see. in the course of the Kievan period at any rate. related above. This is evidenced by the later contracts (or treaties) between Novgorod and a series of princes of Tver’. Within a few generations. but. also. and a declaration of readiness. to kiss the Cross. More extensively on the riad. of which the first one extant dates from 1264. whose consent was required. . a place to rule.The Veche in Legal History 153 cluded by the Kievan grand prince Sviatopolk who stated that his boyars and “all Russia” agreed with him. Sergeevich. was actually in the form of a request. part 1. The contractual formula. corresponding roughly to the old tribal principalities: Novgorod. Polotsk.N. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. There is evidence that a riad was even concluded with a prince who had imposed himself by force. By virtue of the seniority or starshinstvo principle. Vladimir and others.e.17 The two examples from the Primary Chronicle. but also more than a co-governing body. 1949 (hereafter GVNP). Moskva/Leningrad. Rostov. The continuous coming and going of princes implied in this system allowed the towns concerned to strengthen their position vis-à-vis their prince.Vladimir stood out by its prolificity. a contract between the veche and the prince. see. with their father or eldest brother residing in Kiev.1. col. the strategic weakening of the prince’s position led to the institutionalization of this right by means of a riad. i. to which numerous others could be added.73.19 17 18 19 PSRL Vol.). usually by ejecting his predecessor.18 Such a contract was invariably concluded at the prince’s accession. The dynasty founded by St. As long as the size of the ruling house remained modest. S. it was obviously not only much more than an advisory body to the prince. Valk (ed. This contract was formally confirmed by oath by both sides kissing the Cross (krestnoe tselovanie). 80-92. Drevnosti II. The veche in many Russian towns could invite and dismiss its own prince. the death of a more senior prince would result in a reshuffling of the princely seats. These powers might perhaps go back to arrangements in prehistoric times. perhaps also to elect and dismiss him. there were scores of princes who had to be provided with a livelihood. demonstrate that the veche could act independently. the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”). 9-10. but a new contract could be concluded when circumstances had changed. once the riad started to be written down. also. the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”.

its territorial and its social composition. were connected with the increasing role of organized government which slowly began to assume legislative and judicial functions. at this disposal. Initially. 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. the veche did not enjoy a clear-cut institutional framework. part 1. 6. etc. Tver’. PSRL Vol. the veche would usually also claim a deciding vote in ‘foreign affairs’. individual branches of the family tended to hold on to the territories of their respective ancestors. as indicated by a number of incidents where the prince was ordered or forbidden to engage in certain campaigns. in questions of war and peace. an army would have to be raised from the population. who had his own armed retinue. which resulted in sub-dynasties in places like Vladimir. to be raised from various taxes and court-fees. For his efforts the prince received certain revenues. These towns together with the entire province around them were the origin of the Russian principalities of later centuries. Two aspects may be distinguished. The latter. 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. if one could call it that. with the town came a large territory. and this may also contribute to the explanation of the veche’s interest in the prince’s military intentions and capabilities. With the proliferation of the Rurikids.154 Law in Medieval Russia As no actual texts of riady from the earlier Kievan period have survived.257. the druzhina. in particular. In case of serious hostilities. where the cousins specifically agreed to settle each for the domains of their respective fathers (derzhit’ otchinu svoiu). The political direction. speculation on their contents must mainly be based on inferences from the generally laconic statements in the chronicles. Smolensk. sons and younger brothers of the Kievan grand prince would take up residence in the other major towns (among which Novgorod ranked first). In those chronically troubled times the prince.1.20 Within those sub-dynasties. junior princes would usually be granted so20 This tendency was already noticeable in the results of the Liubech conference of 1097 (mentioned before). In a wider sense. and of its influence on the policies to be adopted. as mentioned before. was usually the most reliable rallying-point for military organization. of military operations often remained with the veche. col. Chernigov. that is to say in defining relationships with other Russian principalities. Composition of the Veche As an institution whose roots went back into prehistory. while the dynasty was still small. .

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

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

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

Drevnosti II. even as far as Karakorum. “at the sound of the bells assembled for a veche. part 2. 45 and note 91. 36-37. col. the khan was able to control a vast territory with great profit and little effort. rebelled against the local aristocracy at veche meetings. cf. 55 and note 105. in which the prince served by virtue of the khan’s indulgence. Vol. Karamzin.158 Law in Medieval Russia generally content with being recognized as such (contemporary Russian sources often referred to him as tsar’. to be invested with their dignity (bringing suitable presents). 36.1. also Sergeevich. if one hesitates to call it a right. Karamzin.IV. remembering the ancient right of the Russian citizens to decide their own fate in important situations by a majority of votes”.28 There is a final mention of a veche meeting in 1382. The people of Moscow. The latter had fled with his family to Kostroma. Sergeevich.476 (Suzdal’ Chronicle).IV. of appointing and dismissing princes was incompatible with the new order of things. there was little room for veche independence. when it was still ruthless and effective. By playing the princes against one another and enlisting their support in tax-collection. The old practice. in the vicinity of Moscow.25 A similar uprising took place again in Rostov in 1280. Vol. It is doubtful whether Russians would dare to rise up against the immediate representatives of Mongol rule at that time.IV. He left the actual job of governing the Russian principalities to the Russian princes. but Central Asians who had bought the tax-collection from the khan. the most important one concerned the year 1262 when veches were held in Rostov. Karamzin points out that the “Besurmene” of the Chronicles were probably not Tatars. Moscow was subsequently taken and destroyed by the Tatars. Suzdal’. In this scheme. 29 Karamzin.29 25 26 27 28 PSRL Vol. who had to travel to his headquarters. which expressed itself in a veche meeting. Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma. Karamzin. in which it was decided to throw out the Tatar tax collectors. Vladimir. significantly. but the impression is given that these meetings were little else but local disturbances.26 In 1304. Vol. the local population of two towns.27 There is another sporadic report of civil unrest in Briansk in 1340.IV. mentioned in the preceding footnote—unlawful. in Moscow. There are very few reports of veches from the second half of the 13th century and beyond. Karamzin calls this meeting—and the ones in Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma. Drevnosti II. 106 and note 209. Vol. 148 and note 320. and Tokhtamish had already captured Serpukhov. when khan Tokhtamish was engaged in a full-scale campaign against the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi. and Iaroslavl’. in the words of Karamzin. the same title as enjoyed by the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors) and receiving the taxes imposed by him. .

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.


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

55-57. Leningrad.Peterburg.168 Law in Medieval Russia not just a Viking adventurer but could claim royal rank on account of his ancestry. 1908.2 According to the annals (the Primary Chronicle. 1956. S. who ruled from 945-964. 1909. Igor or Ingvar and his wife Olga or Helga. self-evident within the setting of the times. also called Nestor Chronicle or Tale of Bygone Years). 4 This question was first asked by E. Rurik (Hrörekr) arrived in Russia in 862. and Sviatoslav) waged war with and subdued other Slavic tribes populating European Russia. Kievskaia Rus’. was seniority: within the ruling house seniority determined the sequence of succession. Vol. wives or widows of men who are for some reason unable to rule (being too young.1. During this period.. included in Sochineniia.I. Kurs russkoi istorii. 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). Presniakov. 1980.O. but then as mothers. Kliuchevskomu. at least during the first centuries after Rurik. the Scandinavian element in the ruling house and its attendants was slowly being absorbed by its Slavic surroundings. . Lektsii po russkoi istorii. Sergeevich. Pchelov. 68-70. incapacitated. was that the house prevailed over its individual members.). 2001. Vol. 1938. 248-249. Shchepkin in his paper “Poriadok prestolonaslediia u drevnenorvezhskikh konungov”. women may occasionally be in the supreme ruling position. 164-216. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. who assumed the reign when he reached manhood. posviashchennykh V. I. Pchelov does not even discuss the opinions of Grekov and Iushkov.5 2 3 Cf. IX-XI v. in his section on the possibility of Rurik’s Slavic origins. rather than to any individual member.I. Kievskaia Rus’. in Sbornik statei. Drevnosti II.V. 5 The formidable Olga. The evidence from the Primary Chronicle and other sources is quite clear and reveals the operation of several interlocking principles. Moskva. His relatives and descendants (the Kievan princes Oleg or Helgi. 232-235. Froianov. See. the principle typically belongs to patriarchal societies. Moskva. The question may also be approached differently. A. The first principle. closely connected to the previous one. is that only male members of the house of Rurik were eligible to succeed. served as a regent for her son Sviatoslav. The third principle. or more explicitly. and also by the same author. the two systems were probably very similar. Moskva.3 In any case.g. absent. Moskva. 180185. Whether princely succession among the descendants of Rurik had its origin in Scandinavian or in local Russian tradition is difficult to answer. that rulership belonged to the house. ch. V. e. Kliuchevskii. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. 1909.4 The second principle discernible. E.. Moskva (3rd ed. Generally. Kniazhoe pravo v drevnei Rusi. deceased). Also V.

In other words. among the less prominent towns the proper sequence is less clear. The hierarchy of Russian cities can be reconstructed on the basis of historical records as: Kiev. the starshinstvo principle excluded the application of substitution: sons (or grandsons) taking the places of their fathers. his position was taken over by the most worthy member of the family. Especially with regard to succession to the throne of Kiev (the best documented case. Polotsk.The Elder Brother in Russia 169 In its original and strict form. The historical origin of the principle is probably in patriarchal pastoral societies where it governed the process of maintaining and. The central importance of starshinstvo was first stressed by S. also. 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. and this need not be his son(s). Novgorod.M. Solov’ev in Istoriia Rossii s drevneishikh vremen. of course never operated as such. 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. for obvious reasons). The principle. if required. . in one form or another.7 As the ruling house of Rurik expanded. the sense of forming a single ruling fam6 7 This is suggested by the fact that the principle. the patrimonial or substitution principle did not operate: sons did not automatically step into the shoes of their fathers. occurs in pre-medieval times not only among Indo-European peoples. The point of view advanced here is by no means uncontested. When he died. breaking up of large herds of cattle. and this hierarchy corresponded with a hierarchy of cities. all those with lower seniority would move up one step on the ladder. and within the generation usually by age. the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings and Early Law”. but also among various Turkic and Mongol peoples. when a prince died. Family hierarchy was determined first by generation. A similar system operates to the present day in Saudi-Arabia. Uncles preceded nephews. Smolensk. See. the most ‘senior’. even where the latter were sons of elder and predeceased brothers. but on account of his position in the family. Rostov. 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. Chernigov. The rationale for this was apparently that the ruler did not enjoy his position on the basis of an individual right.6 The peculiar form of starshinstvo in Old Russia displayed two further features: there existed a more or less fixed hierarchy among family members. as described. 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. Ideally. Pereiaslavl’.

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

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

13 In this context.N. should kiss the cross [i. The body of the text of the treaty would be devoted to defining the exact content of the seniority relationship. 101 (treaty of 1439 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iur’evich. prince N. In particular. etc. ne kanchivati ni s kim bez nashego vedan’ia). but also to other Russian principalities. prince N. “foreign powers” refers to Russia’s neighbours. Lithuania. The last two duties were typically imposed on the “younger brother”. your elder brother. should kiss the cross to me.9.36.N. prince N. 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. in accordance with established Byzantine practice. 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. This was invariably done in the opening address of the documents with the words: “[…] you. E. 13 . DDG No.. by forbidding the younger brother to enter into contact with the latter (Ordy ne znati). because.. the other copy would therefore start: “[…] you. brate. the elder brother would in a number of cases reserve for himself the right to deal with the Mongol overlords. the Baltic cities. swear] to me. Drevnosti II.11 The treaties were normally drawn up in two authentic but different copies. my elder brother. my younger brother. made out in the name of both parties. actual fathers and sons would not conclude treaties (the father would unilaterally impose his will). 152.g. 200-220. If the latter did 10 11 Sergeevich.e. In some cases.g. 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.N. 12 E. DDG No. the duty to rescind or revoke treaties with other powers. 25 (treaty of 1375 between the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi and the Tver’ grand prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich). A more detailed analysis of this topic is given by the prominent pre-revolutionary legal historian V. […]”. and the duty to go to war in support of the “elder brother”. […]”.12 Sergeevich points out that the most important treaty clauses were: the prohibition to negotiate with foreign powers. Sergeevich. Sergeevich. your younger brother. by recognizing his status as elder brother.172 Law in Medieval Russia brother relationship.N. such as the Golden Horde. prince N.10 The most common treaties between Russian princes in the Middle Ages were those which established or reaffirmed seniority of one of the signatories.. prince of Galich). Drevnosti II. the younger brother was forbidden altogether to engage in foreign relations or in relations with specific powers.

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

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

P. Most of the leading pre-revolutionary historians of Muscovy Russia discussed it in their works. 24 E.21 Neither was it neglected by Soviet historians. 120-140.). the publication of sources received much attention.). Mestnichestvo v Rossii XVIXVII vv. then the following two brothers B and C would occupy the next two places. “Mestnichestvo. which referred to the rank of an individual within his family and in inter-family relationships.L. Markevich.M. Moskva. Iu.O. although this general designation does not do justice to the peculiarities of mestnichestvo.V. “Precedence” would be the closest term in English. newly published together with another work (Liudi kabal’nye) by the same author. 222-235. Istoriia mestnichestva v moskovskom gosudarstve v XV–XVII vv. K. The weaker position of the fourth brother (and further brothers) was an innovation of Ivan IV.g. The fourth place was shared by the eldest son of A and the fourth brother D of A. Sergeevich. Baranov. Once more uncles and nephews got involved.N. Ankhimiuk.I. Moskva. 2005. “Akty XVI–nachala XVII veka iz mestnicheskikh del”. 7-15. 65-79.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. Tom IX. If A was an eldest son. the matter became accordingly more complex.22 In the later Soviet period. Vol. 2001 (references below are to the 2001 publication). 2003. 148.V.II.24 it could have been based on the probability that by the time 21 22 The main prerevolutionary monograph study on mestnichestvo is A.”. Kliuchevskii discusses mestnichestvo in Lecture XXVII in his Kurs russkoi istorii (Vol. ch. 23 A convenient overview of the literature in Iu. “Mestnicheskie dela v razriadnom proizvodstve 80-kh godov XVI v. Eskin. a more scholarly attitude prevailed.. Mel’nikov. Pavlov-Sil’vanskii. Gosudarevy sluzhilye liudi. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. Antonov (ed. Odessa. A. Moskva. on account of the relative abundance of the surviving materials. rodoslovtsy i ‘rodoslovnye paskvili’”.23 In making important military. B and C. 1978. as Kliuchevskii suggests. Iu. Ianin (ed. Further: N. in particular. Leningrad. 1957.7. 1888. 35-51. 1898. used by me). Lektsii. 145-156. Chastnye Razriadnye knigi s zapisiami za posledniuiu chetvert’ XV–nachalo XVII vekov. derived from the idea of the unity of the family. Eskin. The operation of mestnichestvo is known in considerable detail. Russkii diplomatarii. V. The system owed its name to the term mesto (place). 165-172. Iu. civil and court appointments.Peterburg. . Khronologicheskii reestr. Moskva. the Moscow grand prince (tsar since 1547) observed the complicated rules of the mestnichestvo system.V. in the Sochineniia edition. 284-294. Moskva. although they often approached the phenomenon from a one-sided Marxist point of view. Op. M.II.. 2001. V. The system was based in principle on an old tradition from Kievan times (and probably long before that). Ot Drevnei Rusi k Rossii novogo vremeni [KhoroshkevichFestschrift]. D’iakonov. V.cit. 1994.M. Moskva. S.

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

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

as a qualification for public service. In theory. either as a soldier or in some civilian function. the lower ranks only created personal nobility for the incumbent. The background of the institution of the Table of Ranks in 1722 was the dominance of the service character of the nobility. 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.B.179-203.31 The idea was not altogether new. that the negative effects of the arrangement led to its abolition. Bury. the civil service. Being noble involved serving the state. The practice in a number of West European countries had been studied. With the Revised Text of the Kletorology of Philotheos (British Academy. had gradually been reduced to servants of the state. as an attempt to draw up a Table of Ranks had already been made during the reign of Peter’s older half-brother. to a certain extent. The meritocratic foundation of the system was combined with the element of hereditary nobility. Supplemental Papers).178 Law in Medieval Russia threatening and the disadvantages of mestnichestvo more manifest. tsar Fedor Alekseevich. the high nobility. Under the Moscow grand princes and tsars. In 1856. a trend which became more dominant with subsequent amendments of the relevant legislation. the 8th class for civilians—college assessor) conferred hereditary nobility. made it necessary to look for another mechanism. London. to loyal and effective members of the lower nobility and other classes.32 The Table of Ranks was one of the best prepared legislative innovations of the Petrine era. In another way. Attainment of a certain rank (the 12th class—lieutenant—for military personnel. and the court. as a means to channel recruitment of candidates for the higher levels of the military and civil service. . the Table of Ranks continued and strengthened this principle by stressing in its preamble that only service to the state conferred status. Cf. In one way. The increasing dysfunctionality and ultimate abolition of mestnichestvo. see J. This tendency became even more pronounced with the introduction of Peter the Great’s Table of Ranks (Tabel’ o Rangakh) in 1722. 4. princes and boyars. 1911. The Table of Ranks The abolition of mestnichestvo unquestionably represented a victory of merit over birth. the Table reversed the old principle by 31 32 Text in PRP VIII. The Table consisted of a hierarchy of 14 steps. everybody had to start at the bottom of the ladder and work his way up. 53. access to the higher levels of the bureaucracy had been opened up. and in RZ IV. embracing the armed services. A Table of Ranks was known in the Byzantine administrative system. 52-78. The Imperial Administrative System in the Ninth Century. At the same time. RZ IV.

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. 362. but only in theory. 33. Virtus. 448. No.2. XXIV S”ezd. but in the editorial comment to his speech. Mestnichestvo.1. but after Stalin alluded to it on 24 May 1945 at a toast to the Russian nation during a Kremlin reception for military commanders. XXI S”ezd.13 (2006). 1945. Stalin actually called the Russian people “the leading people”. delegates from the non-Slavic (oriental) republics used the ‘elder brother’ designation in referring to Russia. Vol. as argued above. the term was not used by delegates from the European (Ukrainian.34 At all the Party congresses from the 20th (1956) to the 26th (1981).35 Intriguingly. Instead of “service follows nobility”. 12. when a spokesman from one of the ‘oriental’ republics used the term. 33 34 The Table of Ranks was of fundamental importance for the peculiar character of the noble class in Russia. Vol.10.1. 35 “Russkii narod–rukovodiashchaia sila sredi narodov nashei strany”. . down to the lowest officer ranks and modest civilian positions. Vol. 62-77 (in Dutch).The Elder Brother in Russia 179 connecting the acquisition of nobility with the attainment of a specific rank. The Table of Ranks would.5% of persons enjoying personal nobility). 325. 1956. I have discussed the history of the Russian nobility in more detail in “De Russische adelsgeschiedenis”. the Russian people was designated as the elder brother (starshii brat) of the other peoples of the USSR. of a precise hierarchy between all persons occupying higher positions in the Muscovy state. when it came to be applied to the position of the Russian republic (the RSFSR) within the USSR. Vol. XX S”ezd Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. Belorussian and Baltic) republics. 337. the new principle was “nobility follows service”. which survived as a legal phenomenon until 1917. 404. it was always someone from the indigenous nation. and not an ethnic Russian. it soon became current at official Party meetings. Moskva. resulted in the emergence. I did not encounter it in Lenin’s works and neither did it occur in the speeches at the 18th Party Congress in 1939. go even further because it embraced a far greater section of the state’s personnel. Postscript: The ‘Elder Brother’ in Soviet Rhetoric The ‘elder brother’ metaphor experienced a remarkable revival in the Soviet Union. Jaarboek voor Adelsgeschiedenis. Bol’shevik. Vol. published in Bol’shevik.1. 5. Stenograficheskii otchet.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. again in theory. Also.

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

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

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

1972. New Haven/London. Point (a) implies that the presence of a unilateral document (such as a letter) may be enough.5 The principal domestic source is the Primary Chronicle (see the chapter on sources).). Pushkarev (comp. 912.e.) & R.? This question.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 183 by separate acts of offer and acceptance. who were. S. the presence of a treaty is presumed when: (a) there appears to be a formalized agreement. Drevniaia Rus’ v svete zarubezhnykh istochnikov. as usual. although related to the question of the material form. (b) concerning matters that can be regarded as belonging to public law.). Mel’nikova (ed. What we have in mind are the charters (iarlyki). ed. Vernadsky (senior ed. 1999.T. in particular. may more suitably be discussed when looking at the different categories of treaties. Moskva.g. the Primary Chronicle contains what purport to be the texts of treaties concluded 5 Cf. issued by the Tatar-Mongol rulers (more below). although their character is indisputably unilateral. A collection of English translations of relevant texts in S. sufficiently independent of each other. . The Earliest Times The first information on Russia is provided by foreign authors. Finally. A related question concerns the external form of treaties: what formulas were used to begin and end treaties. (man. 945 and 971. 2.A. what other aspects of the treaties were determined by a set formulary. If.1 “Early Times to the Late Seventeenth Century”. A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1017. because they may be equated to treaties on a functional level. mainly Greek and Arab historian and chroniclers.Peterburg. Vol. G. Borderline cases will occur. To summarize. Fisher Jr. a small number of documents is included in the survey. almost no information has been lost and we may regard the surviving letter in a material sense as a treaty. M. provided it reflects the contents of an agreement. Point (c) excludes situations where one party is fully subordinate to the other. i. etc. Under its entries for the years 907.). princely brothers who settle their father’s private estate).V. as often happened in the case of medieval documents. E. capable of being reproduced. Vizantiiskie istochniki po istorii Drevnei Rusi i Kavkaza. 2000. Bibikov. (c) between parties enjoying a certain measure of ‘sovereign’ power. only one part of the set of letters has survived. Point (b) excludes situations which concern predominantly private law relationships (e.

913-959). Moskva. 3-172.II (1961). Text in PRP I. IX-pervaia polovina X v. connected with the hostilities between Byzantium and the Russians in the beginning of the 10th century.. A large body of literature on these treaties exists. na Konstantinopol’ i pervoe kreshchenie Rusi v srednevekovykh pis’mennykh istochnikakh”. 2003. claiming to represent Oleg. relevant in connection with the subsequent Russian treaty practice. The 10th century Russian-Byzantine treaties were not the first of their kind. will be made.59-82 are devoted to a discussion of the treaty and its possible contents. and “all the serene and grand princes 6 7 A. op. the most recent major Russian work on this subject. also discusses the raids and treaty (or treaties. The parties to the 10th century treaties were the Byzantine emperors and various collectives of Russian (or Viking) chiefs.V Kuznetsov. In the Primary Chronicle. Byzantine sources add more detail. not 912. 1980. 102-111. and the (first) baptism of Russia on the other.N.M. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Moskva. The 912 treaty mentioned fifteen persons.cit. On account of the Russians using the March calendar. 1-13 (text and English translation). pp.). contains an extensive bibliography. The fragmentary text of the 907 treaty seemed to have only Oleg. of which their acceptance of baptism was an important element. All authors stress the connection between the raid and the treaty on the one hand. just the only ones that survived.7 The relationship between the short treaty of 907 and the treaty of 9128 remains controversial. 1992. Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi. Problemy istochnikovedeniia.6 In this chapter. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2000g. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. The most comprehensive discussion by a Western author is I. under the command of a prince. Kaiser (transl. 3-70 (incl. Sorlin. 1996. Most commentators are inclined to regard the two texts as fragments of a lost treaty text. the raids and the conversion of Olga (around the middle of the XIth century) are completely separate events. L. 47-82 (chapter 2). appearing on the Russian side. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. Salt Lake City. 4-59.. Sakharov. Among later Russian works: S..V. to which almost all leading Russian medievalists have contributed. 313-360 and 447-475. According to the chronicle written by the author known as the Continuator (actually the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. only a few specific observations concerning aspects. grand prince of Kiev. op.). See. all with Scandinavian names.cit. Kashtanov. “Pokhod 860 g. Mel’nikova. Vol. . & ed. Stoliarova (ed. Sakharov. Moskva..184 Law in Medieval Russia between Byzantium and Russia. the correct date of the treaty is generally regarded as 911. there may have been more than one) extensively. modern Russian translation and bibliography) and in D. the emperor Basil I (867-886) concluded a peace treaty with the “Russes”. grand prince of Kiev. The Primary Chronicle mentions several raids by Russians (Vikings) around the year 860. also. 8 Extensively on the raid of 860: P.

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

Materialy i issledovaniia 1991 god.). GVNP. Ianin (ed. 1994. V.A. Rybina. 14 15 16 PSRL II.13 The text of the treaty itself refers to previous treaties between the same parties. The contacts and treaties with Byzantium must be seen in this light. we know that the Byzantine emperor did not regard his Russian counterparts as equal and fully respectably treaty partners. The Hypatian Chronicle includes the full text of a letter written in 1149 on behalf of Mstislav’s son Iziaslav. the text of which was apparently available to Tatishchev. text and commentary in Pashuto. Vneshnaia politika. 124-132.A. 3. probably had access to treaty texts which have been lost since. the East Russian city on the Volga which was founded only in 1221) and Hanseatic partners. dates the treaty more precisely in 1191-1192. A. A great quantity of ancient documents was lost in the great fire in 1812 during the French occupation of Moscow.P. V. in 1125. also in PRP II. the ancestor of the ruling dynasty of Muscovy. in 1096.14 and his father’s first cousin Oleg Sviatoslavich. as the Byzantines were accustomed to do with ‘barbarian’ invaders.28. “Aktovo-pravovoe oformlenie vneshnepoliticheskikh otnoshenii Vladimiro-Suzdal’skoi Rusi s Volzhskoi Bolgariei (Opyt rekonstruktsii)”. Iu. 1989. 3(13).15 The grandfather of Russian historiography.L.A.186 Law in Medieval Russia dominant position within the entire Russian commonwealth in this era. the Primary Chronicle contains the texts of an exchange of letters between Mstislav. 153-155. to his uncle Iurii Dolgorukii. Novgorodskii Istoricheskii Sbornik. prince of Chernigov. .I. No. “O dvukh drevneishikh torgovykh dogovorakh Novgoroda”. 387. 43-50. Limonov has attempted to reconstruct a treaty between Vladimir Monomakh and the Volga Bulgars from 1106. like his father before him.). Moskva. Limonov. but no complete texts of treaties have survived. The chronicles offer ample evidence of lively diplomatic traffic in the previous period. Iu. From Byzantine sources. Of even greater importance was the meeting of most of the leading princes the next year. in Liubech. Leningrad. grand prince of Kiev.16 12 13 E. 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. For instance. as opposed to Nizhnii Novgorod. Tatishchev (1686-1750). the son of Vladimir Monomakh and prince of Novgorod at the time. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy. but as irregular freebooters who had to be pacified and bought off. 259-264. resulting in a formal agreement concerning the division of Kievan Rus’ in a number of principalities. He became grand prince of Kiev. Novosel’tsev (ed.

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

and within this group the vast majority is made up of treaties concluded by the grand prince of Moscow with other Russian princes. had already used the title occasionally. Moscow-Lithuania. This can be explained in part by the fact that. for at least the latter half of the period under review. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. Assumption of the title. however. the tsars. detailed information about which has been provided by the chronicles. that the practice of concluding treaties among themselves was by no means new in the second half of the 14th century. covers only five treaties (Moscow-Tver’. Moscow/Leningrad. Drevnosti II. in their ultimately successful struggle for supremacy. and Moscow-Tver’. Moscow. 2003.19 The treaties between Russian princes (mostly those of Tver’ and Moscow) and Novgorod are not discussed in this section. also. but under the general heading of Novgorod treaties. V. An additional reason for the preponderance of Moscow documents may be the deliberate destruction of treaties between other princes. Moscow-Riazan’. 1948.V. of 1381. 150-162. notably his grandfather Ivan III. Moskva. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo Kievskogo gosudarstva. Cherepnin. Arkhivy I or II). Moscow-Novgorod. Kuchkin. S. 1949. begins at a comparatively late moment. Sergeevich. of 1399). the core out of which the Russian state archives grew and understandably the conditions for document survival were more favourable in Moscow than elsewhere. and the emperors. derived from the Latin Caesar. the Moscow grand prince was the most important and powerful ruler. available to us. of 1318. Dogovornye gramoty moskovskikh kniazei XIV veka. therefore. There can be no doubt. We have referred above to several instances of treaties between 11th century Russian princes. The Treaties between the Princes The treaties between the Russian princes constitute the most numerous group among the collection surveyed in this chapter. 17 18 19 His predecessors. of 1375.V. had an interest in doing away with anything that might upset their claims. . 330. Vneshnepoliticheskie dogovory. See.A.18 For these reasons. The Moscow princes. There is a direct and unbroken connection between the grand princes of Moscow. Moskva. Ivan IV (the Terrible) solemnly assumed the title of tsar in 154717 and tsar Peter transformed Russia into an empire in 1721. The standard work on the history of the archives of the princes of Moscow and connected archives is L. had been facilitated by the fall of Constantinople in 1454 and the disappearance of the Byzantine emperor. Iushkov. Part 1. the corpus of treaties between Russian princes. This point was also made a century ago by V. The archives of the princes of Moscow were.188 Law in Medieval Russia 4. of 1371. 1951 (hereafter: Cherepnin. Part 2.I.

The grand prince of Kiev was not automatically the ruler of Russia. the private law character prevails. This hierarchy corresponded to a hierarchy of cities/provinces: first Kiev. Of even greater importance was the fact that seniority or starshinstvo became an object for negotiation. with some assets set aside for his wife and younger children. 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. the testament of Ivan Danilovich (Kalita). Its underlying principle was that the right to rule was essentially a right of the ruling house. It is explained in detail in the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”. but as something that could be negotiated and freely disposed of. . Ivan and Andrei. This approach of course implied that the right to rule was not any longer viewed as dependent on the operation of a fixed principle. Precedence was determined first by generation (fathers and uncles before sons and nephews) and within the generation by age. the substitution principle gradually asserted itself.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”. Chernigov and others. 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. at least not in principle. in that branches of the family became established in particular provinces. Ivan divided what he received from his father (his otchina) among his three sons. then Novgorod. 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”. The seniority principle established (ideally) a hierarchy within the ruling family. Semën. Later succession principles such as substitution and primogeniture did not operate. the ruler would also be free to appoint his own successor. The individual right to rule was then apportioned according to rank and status of individual (male) members of the house. which came to be regarded as their own. but he was undoubtedly the first among otherwise equals.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. As the house of Rurik expanded. In the oldest available document. As a consequence of this new understanding. from around 1339.

around 1350-1351.26 After Vasilii the Blind. He became the ancestor of the princes of SerpukhovBorovsk. between grand prince Semën and his brothers Ivan and Andrei. Howes. and of his son grand prince Ivan III Vasil’evich in 1504. succeeded as grand prince. that they would support him in war and that they would not conclude treaties with outsiders. stating that he left his patrimony Moscow (otchinu svoiu Moskvu) to his sons Dmitrii and Ivan. Ivan. among which was Serpukhov.28 From a modern point of view. their own principalities (udely. one could say that the private law element in these treaties was strong and sometimes dominant. In his last will of 1389. he was survived only by his youngest son Vasilii the Blind (Temnyi) on whom again the grand princely dignity was conferred. also a treaty from 1472 between grand prince Ivan III and his brother Andrei. Dmitrii Donskoi again left “his patrimony Moscow” to his four sons. DDG. the practice solidified: the eldest son was made grand prince of Moscow and the younger brothers were told to obey and follow him. but otherwise the sons receive equal treatment.23 His brother Ivan who in fact succeeded him as grand prince of Moscow. No.4.12. wrote his last will in 1358. No.25 When Vasilii died in 1425.66. but the grand princely dignity to his eldest son Vasilii. 214-216. instructing the younger sons to “honour and obey” their elder brother. 353-364. No. No. as in the past.22 When Semën died in 1353. where they mainly concerned the division of the 21 22 DDG.89. DDG.27 The accession of Vasilii the Blind was the occasion. . DDG. however.2. 7-11. 23 24 25 26 27 28 See the testaments of Vasilii Vasil’evich Temnyi in 1461. DDG. DDG. No. 11-13. the elder son. the other brother. E. 15-19. DDG.190 Law in Medieval Russia is exhorted to act as protector (pechal’nik) of his mother and brothers and sisters. Dmitrii (Donskoi). No. This implied. died in 1364. Ivan’s younger brother Andrei had been assigned various properties.C.21. his sons had all predeceased him without issue. but they did receive. English translation in R. DDG.61. No. Ithaca. 33-37. however. No. DDG.g. the subjects of numerous treaties with their Moscow cousins. 13-14. 57-60. prince of Uglich. apanage principalities).21 Some ten years later. when Semën was well installed as grand prince of Moscow. No. The Testaments of the Grand Princes of Moscow. the treaty mentioned above. and he left his possessions to his widow. 193-199. he concluded a compact with his brothers Ivan and Andrei in which the latter bound themselves to honour him as their father. 1967. without any mention of his successor. of a fierce family feud (see below).1.3. among other things. There exists a modest number of treaties between the grand prince of Moscow and one or more of his brothers. 24 Again.

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

of 1445. R. that between Dmitrii Shemiaka and two princes of Suzdal’. prince of Mozhaisk. like his father.O. Several other treaties of the period are also directly linked with the Shemiaka episode. in which Shemiaka advertised himself as plain prince in the preamble. but referred later on to his grand princely dignity and also used the grand princely formula “By the grace of God”. the tide was against Vasilii. 155-160. who held out longer than any other branch of the Rurikids against their Moscow cousins. In 1433 Iurii briefly overran Moscow. were the descendants of Sviatoslav II (†1076). being deserted by his own brothers. the khan withdrew the offer and released Vasilii Temnyi. No. Vasilii was able to reassert himself in 1446.192 Law in Medieval Russia lord of the Russian princes (more on this topic below). Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka. 68-71. when his army was defeated by Iurii’s. Cf. grand prince of Kiev and son of Iaroslav the Wise. 2. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and prince Ivan Vasil’evich Gorbatyi of Suzdal’. He was succeeded by his son Vasilii Kosoi. 119-121. Vasilii won the day. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his cousin Ivan Andreevich. One treaty survives.31 Not surprisingly. see. also. when Vasilii Temnyi was taken prisoner by khan Ulug Mekhmet. and DDG. The Formation of Muscovy 1304-1613. e. but that his principal referred to the khan’s good favour. who was unable to maintain himself. his surname Temnyi). Civil war again broke out. 31 32 The episode is recounted in detail by Karamzin. Iurii ruled as grand prince of Moscow until his death a few months later.48. The story was more or less replayed ten years later.g. Initially. Cherepnin. No. assumed the grand princely dignity.40. Crummey. . 128-150. 1987. only to lose it again. who then offered the Moscow throne to Vasilii Kosoi’s younger brother.52. Next. col. The first prince who apparently appropriated the title for his own branch was Mstislav Davidovich (†1230).32 Excursion Concerning the Title of Grand Prince Originally. London/New York. like his father Mstislav Harald (eldest son and successor of Vladimir Monomakh). The descendants of Mstislav Davidovich who ruled in Smolensk until the end of the 14th century styled themselves grand princes of Smolensk. Vasilii’s emissary argued that Iurii’s claim rested on the tradition of the Russian princes. Vasilii’s side grew in strength and he recaptured the Moscow throne. who was taken prisoner and blinded in revenge (hence. DDG. however. prince of Galich.141-156. When support for Shemiaka’s claim to the grand princely dignity dwindled. Soon. early in the next year. Vasilii Temnyi returned and had Vasilii Kosoi blinded. it was attached to the principality of Kiev and accordingly it moved around the various branches of the Rurikid dynasty. The princes of Riazan’. prince of Smolensk and grandson of Rostislav. had been grand prince of Kiev. the latter. and his nephew retired as apanage prince to Kolomna. 146-148. DDG. V. No. Arkhivy I.

269-275. of the branch of the princes of Chernigov (descendants of the above-mentioned Sviatoslav II). prince of Riazan’. Pashuto (ed. although the throne of Kiev remained a fiercely contested prize among the various branches of the Rurikid house. Iaroslav and Vasilii. in the end. starting from Aleksandr Nevskii. Mikhail. the descendants of Aleksandr Nevskii were successful in claiming the title exclusively for the princes of Moscow. Acta Poloniae historica. Suzdal’ (later on Nizhnii Novgorod) and Tver’.T. The Vladimir title occasionally reverted to the Tver’ branch. also. who were in fact rulers of all Russia.). See Kh. The latter’s grandson Semën was the first to adopt the style of grand prince of Moscow and Vladimir.34 33 See. The last prince to bear the Kievan title was Mikhail Vsevolodovich. “Words that serve the authority. grand prince of Kiev and prince of Smolensk (in 1168). There were only a few grand princes of Nizhnii Novgorod. Andrei.”. 1972.33 A related. were the first to use the title of grand prince of Riazan’. Andrei and Iaroslav became the ancestors of the dynasties of respectively Moscow. Andrei Bogoliubskii. Poppe. such as Vladimir Monomakh (†1125). but the grand princes of Tver’ were major rivals of the Moscow princes until the end of Tver’ independence in 1485. On the title of ‘Grand Prince’ 34 in Kievan Rus”. Aleksandr. Kiev was sacked and destroyed by an alliance of Russian princes in the following years. it became the most important title of the Moscow grand princes. Kiev had already lost much of its former glory and power in the 12th century.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 193 The sons of Ingvar Igorevich (†1235). Moskva. The other grand princely titles were all derived in some way from the grand princely dignity of Vladimir (on the Kliazma). prince of Vladimir and the most powerful among the Russian princes of his day. who also refers to older literature on the subject. gave Kiev to his brother Gleb and styled himself grand prince of Vladimir from this time on. The early . but. It had been used in a descriptive sense by the chroniclers in referring to Kievan princes. 159-184. Andrei Bogoliubskii was succeeded as grand prince of Vladimir by his brothers Mikhail and then Vsevolod III the ‘Great Nest’ (Bol’shoe Gnezdo). Lovmians’kii. but separate issue is the origin of the title of grand prince of all Russia (vseia Rusi). A. the apanage of Aleksandr Nevskii’s youngest son Daniil. 60 (1989). The latter’s son Iaroslav II was succeeded as grand prince of Vladimir by five of his sons successively: Aleksandr Nevskii. Feodal’naia Rossiia vo vsemirno-istoricheskom protsesse [Cherepnin Collection]. he died in exile in 1533 or 1534. V. After the death of the aforementioned Rostislav. although the (less important) prince who happened to rule in Kiev would still enjoy the title of grand prince. Later on. who was killed by the Mongols in 1246. “Russko-litovskie otnosheniia v XIV–XV vv. Ivan IV Ivanovich was the last ruling grand prince of Riazan’.

g. so that uncles could take the place of fathers. younger.M. 63-67.39 Once the Moscow grand prince had established his right to appoint his successor (usually his eldest son). Moskva.27. was that older generations took precedence over younger ones.g.V. which included a duty to inform about anything of importance to the latter. The junior party bound himself to be loyal to his senior. as co-signatories. it is worth noting that fathers (and grandfathers) and sons did not conclude treaties among each other. No. according to the old family hierarchy of the Rurikids. DDG. “K voprosu ob odnom iz drevneishikh titulov russkogo kniazia”.24.35 or simply as father. Cf. and equal brothers. A possible exception to this implicit rule would be a treaty between a maternal grandfather and his grandson. Kalinina (ed. also in T. E. As a result. between Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka of Galich. and uncles and nephews. contained a package of standard conditions.4. where a more prominent position would overrule the family relationship. distinguished between fathers and sons. an uncle would then address his nephew as elder brother in certain cases. Extensively on this entire topic Sergeevich. This system was superseded then by the new Moscow approach. . each indicating more precisely the character of the relationship. 1982. elder. 2000. the treaty outlined a more complex hierarchy.). No. 152-153. DDG. or sometimes his heirs in general. 367-379. A. where several princes were involved. Sergeevich. grand prince Vitovt of Lithuania. He was obliged 35 36 37 38 39 grand princes of Kiev also used the title of kagan.40. There are no extant examples of such treaties. DDG. 62-63. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1998 g. [Novosel’tsev memorial volume].37 In this connection.23.38 The general logic. No. cf. Sergeevich. the treaty between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his uncle Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich. E. as mentioned. but in a treaty of 1427 between Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and the brother of his paternal grandmother. DDG. and the princes of Suzdal’. The basic elements of the dependent relationship were the following. the latter is referred to as Boris’ grandfather. borrowed from the Khazars. he made sure to insert his successor. when he was actually occupying the grand princely throne.194 Law in Medieval Russia The ‘house pacts’ within the clan of Ivan Kalita’s descendants. Drevnosti II. No. Sometimes one party recognized the other as elder brother and father. 181-200. The core of it was always the recognition of the status of elder brother. Istoriia SSSR. Drevnosti II. regarded starshinstvo as a matter of family etiquette and linguistic practice and rejected the notion that it had any meaning beyond that. The treaty of 1445. E. Ibidem.g. so that the other party would also have to recognize the grand prince’s successors as elder brothers.36 Occasionally. There were several variations on this theme. No. Novosel’tsev.

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

Mikhail Borisovich. thinks otherwise. 49. The Moscow prince promised to cancel his agreement with the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. Cherepnin. op. The brief Russian-Lithuanian peace treaty was. 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’. Arkhivy I. because the treaty required consultation (duma). No. otherwise the conditions of the treaty were symmetrical. in the same year. Arkhivy I. The grand prince of Tver’. in 1485.79. of which the treaties of 1375 and 1396 between these two gentlemen. The two grand princes recognized each other simply as brothers. cf. to negotiate with other powers or to have relations with the Golden Horde. mentioned in the preceding section. the Tver’ prince was allowed full freedom in his relations with the Horde (k Orde put’ chist).e. 46 DDG. Cherepnin. was forced to conclude a treaty which did not quite reduce him to the status of a Moscow apanage prince (he was. cf. Most other obligations. cf. Cherepnin. but only in consultation with Moscow). . Arkhivy I. Crummey. 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.46 All three of them are with the rulers of Lithuania. to support him in arms. 91. 85-86. 295-301. it seems to me that the duty to consult in this case was also mutual. were also an expression.15.45 The Treaties between Moscow and Lithuania Very few foreign treaties of the grand princes of Moscow have survived. 198-199. 45 DDG. the situation had changed completely.cit. were mutual. is probably most typical as an example of a treaty between equals. Mikhail of Tver’ was forced into exile and Tver’ became part of the Muscovy state.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. He was not forbidden. 53.44 A century later. 43 44 Cherepnin. Arkhivy I.43 He did promise not to accept the Moscow principality from the hands of the khan. but the Moscow prince promised likewise with regard to the Tver’ principality. still allowed to negotiate with the Golden Horde. i. however. but effectively deprived him of all freedom of action. as was customary in treaties which the Moscow prince concluded with other princes. Most of the Russian principalities had been brought under Moscow’s control and Tver’ was surrounded by Moscow territory. The following Moscow-Tver’ treaty. Later on. of 1396. No. 40-43.. for instance.

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. Alekseev. 69-71. Cf.6.83. certain concessions were therefore made (e.g.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 197 from the Moscow point of view. No. M. 329-332. the grand princes of Riazan’ were allowed to serve the Polish king. Arkhivy I. an attempt to neutralize the powerful Lithuanian state in the conflict with Tver’. DDG. 1980.M... No. The grand prince Sviatoslav of Smolensk acted as a co-signatory. The 1494 treaty made clear that Riazan’ had moved to Moscow’s sphere of influence.50 As mentioned.e.51 Although the conditions of the treaty were similar to those 47 48 DDG. 1974. No. Cherepnin. 25-29. All three Lithuanian treaties make clear that Smolensk and its princes were subject to the Lithuanian prince. Hramoty XIV st. At that moment only Riazan’ and the city of Pskov still maintained a measure of precarious independence.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). The subordinate position of the Smolensk prince is evidenced by the treaty of 1386 between Iurii Sviatoslavich.). 21-22.53. 45-49. Moskva. grand prince of Smolensk. to enter into some kind of feudal relationship with the latter). 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. Princely Treaties. associated with the Lithuanian prince.48 It was imperative for the Moscow prince to keep the ruler of Poland and Lithuania out of the internal Russian conflict. and not to Moscow. after the Polish-Lithuanian union in 1386). L. Cf. Arkhivy I.49 5. Peshchak (ed. 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. Smolenskaia zemlia v IX-XII vv. 49 50 51 . Smolensk Treaties The four Smolensk treaties constitute a special category. and king Wladyslaw Jagiello of Poland and his brother prince Svidrigailo of Lithuania. DDG. Smolensk had stayed outside the mainstream of Russian medieval history. Kiev. Cherepnin. i.V. being closely allied with and in fact subject to the grand prince of Lithuania (and king of Poland. Cf. 205-207. 160-161.

The first two.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. 1978. See. 139-140.53 Polotsk. inevitably. 483-383.L. 69-76. 1011. an important principality in the early period of Kievan Russia. 325-341. “Russkie gramoty 60-70-ykh godov XV v. a mixed bag. 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. and other “old charters”. from the Russian point of view. compared with the bulk of Russian princely treaties. Vol. Khoroshkevich (ed. there is no recognition of the dominant party as elder brother. Khoroshkevich.). 1966. but are also unusual on account of their contents. concluded by his grandfather. the general style of the text is different. because they form a link between the earliest Russian code of the Russkaia Pravda and later general codifications. are not only very early texts.171. also. 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. . Moskva. was even more marginal in the Russian middle ages than Smolensk.8. Polotskie gramoty XIII-nachala XVI vv. Moskva. Peshchak. The texts are of great interest for Russian legal history. Hramoty.198 Law in Medieval Russia found in comparable Russian treaties from the same era.L. such as Lithuania or Poland. The other three Smolensk treaties were with Riga. such as the Court Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota). DDG [no number]. iz byvshego Rizhskogo gorodskogo arkhiva”.. A. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda.55 Prince Mikhail made a 52 53 54 55 SGGD.. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1965 g. A. It was permanently under the control of Western powers. and was generally along the lines of other commercial treaties between Baltic cities and Russian partners. of 1229 and of a later date sometime between 1230 and 1270. also. with Riga and Visby (“Gothic Coast”). A short treaty from between 1330 and 1359 between Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga confirmed an earlier treaty.54 Other Princely Treaties The remaining princely treaties are. They provide a kind of short code of law. see.2 No. applicable to Smolensk subjects and to the German citizens of Riga and Visby in their commercial dealings. No. A trade agreement between Polotsk and Riga of 1478 renewed the provisions of an earlier (unknown) agreement.

king of Galicia. 67-68 (Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’. .39. were based on a more or less formal equality between the parties.54. No. the last remaining independent prince. No. In 1496. 1449).60. the Moscow grand prince. 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. The younger brother promised to support his elder brother. Hramoty. 117-118 (Fedor L’vovich of Novosil’ and Odoev.56 The two treaties of Boris of Tver’. 56 57 DDG. in the other treaties the princes concerned requested (through a chelobitie) the Polish/ Lithuanian king to be admitted to his service. Fedor was to succeed. No. No. 38-39. is perhaps the son of Andrei Iur’evich. No. the last prince of Riazan’).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. 62-63 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’.59 They were distantly related. No. DDG. 58 Peshchak.58 The treaty of 1461 between Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk was concluded in Lithuania. the grand prince of Riazan’ Ivan Vasil’evich. 1430). No. 199-201. and had both lost their Russian possessions. who styled himself grand prince. If Ivan were to die childless. whose paternal grandmother was a sister of the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. 59 60 DDG. No. Dmitrii. 1442). prince of Volynia. for the Moscow throne. 1442).26. 1459). They agreed to close ranks in their conflict with their cousin Vasilii Vasil’evich. No. 332-341. DDG. one of the sons of Iurii Danilovich. where both princes were in exile. 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. 163-164 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’. not to engage independently in foreign relations. grand prince of Moscow. 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. 1427).60 The treaty was very much along the line of similar treaties within the Moscow dynasty. 119-121.40.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.62.84. concluded a treaty with his younger brother Fedor. 192-193 (Ivan Iur’evich of Novosil’ and Odoev.25.23. from different cadet branches of the Moscow ruling house. 68-69 (Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk.

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

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

Mikhail Iaroslavich. Oesel. GVNP. the bishoprics of Derpt (Dorpat. Nos. GVNP. Novgorod’s treaty practice reflected its more cosmopolitan location and involved also more distant Baltic powers: Sweden. but also smaller Baltic entities: the Teutonic Order.13-26. In the treaties reviewed in this chapter. although the texts of the treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich make it quite clear that they only continue an old and traditional pattern. 17-18. the bishops of Riga. and more distant ancestors. Kashtanov. Novgorod was of course ever more involved with the expanding realm of the Moscow grand prince. 1996. in 1263. grand prince of Vladimir. Revel (Reval. Vladimir). 36-38. Nos. 58-66. They refer to previous treaties concluded with Iaroslav’s father Iaroslav Vsevolodovich.26-30.64 and a more disparate group of later treaties. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. after the death of his older brothers Aleksandr and Andrei.e.14-15. to be their prince. the grand prince of Tver’. Moskva.e.9-13. This contingent may be subdivided into an early group of three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’. and the Hanseatic cities of Riga. and Kurland. 64 65 .M. GVNP. pp. Its Western neighbours were numerous.4-13. Kolyvan’) and Derpt. This explains why the three treaties with Novgorod (of 1264. the archbishopric of Riga. Tallin. In later years. 32-34. grand prince of Vladimir. Iaroslav was the prince of Tver’ and the ancestor of the sub-dynasty of the princes of Tver’. Iur’ev. the citizens of Novgorod had refused to accept his son Dmitrii as their prince and had invited a younger brother of Aleksandr. Tver’) and the “land of Suzdal’ (i. pp.62 Novgorod-Tver’ Treaties Of the Russian treaties concluded by Novgorod. not only the major powers of Lithuania and Poland.65 After the death of Aleksandr Nevskii. in accordance with the rules of starshinstvo.202 Law in Medieval Russia ity of Tver’.63 a larger group of treaties with the latter’s son. 1266 and 1270) show Iaroslav accepting obligations with regard to his own volost’ (i. grand prince of Vladimir and the most powerful Russian prince of his time. and the Hanseatic League. Iaroslav. The treaties set the tone for the series of treaties concluded by Novgorod with later Tver’ princes. the largest contingent is understandably with its immediate Eastern neighbour. 20. 1-3. pp. Denmark. 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. Nos. Tartu). Oesel and Kurland rarely appear as parties. He was also.

Cherepnin.67 As was often the case. Arkhivy I. cf. being adopted by Novgorod was attractive on account of the city’s wealth. 293-296. Arkhivy I. war broke out between him and Novgorod in 1312. according to the tsar’s charter (po tsesareve gramote). In the northern half of the country. 291-293.8 constitutes an addition to No. with final success in 1318. cf. the major prize was the grand princely dignity of Vladimir. which yielded the incumbent the leading position among the Russian princes. Cherepnin.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 203 in the land of Suzdal’. It lasted for several years and various attempts at making peace were made. also. a perpetual coming and going of princely supplicants could be observed at the mobile Mongol headquarters. which started with the taking of Riazan’ in 1237. cf. located somewhere on the East Russian or West Siberian steppe. 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. pp.7. The two texts are accordingly quite divergent. 267-270. PRP II. The general background is nearly always the same: the incessant struggle of the North Russian princes for hegemony. the tsar being the Mongol khan. Novgorod itself was a not insignificant player in this game. during the first century of Mongol suzerainty. 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. Arkhivy I. No.15-22.66 The first treaties between Novgorod and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ date from 1296/1301 and were devoted to an ad hoc co-operation agreement. pp.13 also included the Moscow grand prince Iurii Danilovich as a party. Arkhivy I. the Hanseatic colony within Novgorod (see the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod). Cherepnin. 68 69 . Cherepnin. Nos. Nos. GVNP. Although Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ had officially been installed as prince of Novgorod in 1308. the text is defective and has been tentatively reconstructed by Cherepnin. see. Nos.68 All of them included a reference to the trading freedom of the “German Court”. the treaty consisted of an exchange of letters in which the parties outlined their commitments and claims. For a prince. The appointment was in the hands of the khan of the Golden Horde. pp. GVNP.6-10. 133-159 (text and comments). 282-299. No. After the Mongol conquest of Russia. GVNP. 270-282. who suggests that the explanation must be sought in Mongol interference in the negotiations. 254266.11-13.69 Prince Mikhail was killed the next 66 67 On the three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’.4-5. The curious political background of the three-cornered treaty is discussed by Cherepnin. Arkhivy I. because it used its unique freedom to select its own prince as an instrument to extract the best deal.22-26.13-15.

and Cherepnin. 369-373. Cherepnin. 15.16. The peace treaty between Novgorod and Vasilii Temnyi of 143573 was connected with the dynastic difficulties which beset Moscow at that moment. see.74 The Iazhelbitsy treaty was imposed on Novgorod under a severe military threat.26-30. No. in 1471. together with the grand prince of Tver’. Arkhivy I. 45-51. Moscow was not in serious danger of German aggression. by the “Germans” (the Teutonic Order). on the implementation of the Iazhelbitsy treaty.71 The next Moscow-Novgorod treaty dates from 1371-1372. a not uncommon fate for a medieval Russian prince. The so-called Iazhelbitsy peace treaty of 1456 already reflected the growing preponderance of Moscow.75 In a wording slightly less favourable to Novgorod.204 Law in Medieval Russia year during his visit to the Horde.14. GVNP No. PRP II. 293. 17. his cousin Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov was included as a party. the Novgorod veche was deprived of its right to make independent decisions (A vechnym gramatam ne byti.70 Novgorod-Moscow Treaties The grand prince of Moscow appeared for the first time in a treaty with Novgorod in 1318/1319. The army of Novgorod was beaten on the Shelon’ river and a new peace treaty was concluded (the Korostyn’ treaty). 32-34.26/27. see above. 18. No. 251-259 and commentary on 267-272. 4344. also. . 72 73 74 75 GVNP. 34-36. Along with the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi. directed against a possible attack on either party by Lithuania or Tver’. No.72 It was a treaty of mutual aid. believes 1317 is the correct date. No. Later treaties with Tver’ were connected with the ups-and-downs in the struggle of Tver’ with Moscow.19. GVNP. GVNP. 31. in the case of Novgorod. and also GVNP No. the provisions of the Iazhelbitsy treaty were 70 71 GVNP. 39-43 (Novgorod and Moscow copies).22/23. it came to actual hostilities. Fifteen years later. 36-38. or. Dmitrii Donskoi only had very young children in 1371 and his cousin would be the probable successor at that time. 20.24. Obviously.13. Nos. pp. the last Novgorod-Tver’ treaty of 1446-1447 was between Boris Aleksandrovich and the city. when the young Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich was involved in a struggle with his first cousins Vasilii Kosoi and Dmitrii Shemiaka. GVNP.) and Novgorod was forced to make various financial and territorial concessions.

Istoricheskie Zapiski.76 Novgorod Treaties with Foreign Rulers The Novgorod Chronicle. 63-72. reports the conclusion of an “everlasting peace” with the king of Sweden.77 names this prince as Manush Orikovich—Magnus V Eriksson. I. in 1326. Ivan III fully incorporated Novgorod in the Muscovy state. Cherepnin. concluded three years later. Cherepnin. 105-106. the remainder of the text refers only to the kingdom of Norway. col. of 1431. commentary on 260-266. No. parallel text in Latin. with Kazimir IV of Poland and Lithuania. as was often the case. Ch. however. with Svidrigailo of Lithuania. 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. No. contained a more comprehensive treatment of mutual relations. grand prince Iurii is mentioned. under the year 1323. 129-132. 115-116. “Dogovory Novgoroda s Norvegiei”. A Latin text is extant.81 The treaty was apparently never signed and the draft fell into the hands of the Moscow grand prince. must be seen as a last desperate attempt of Novgorod to ward off the imminent annexation by Moscow. GVNP. GVNP. but not available to me. Tallin.15. was of a similar nature.77. however. elder brother of Ivan Kalita. The end of Novgorod independence was near. Arkhivy I. The treaty did not contain a reference. GVNP. 1945. Book VI. Vol.80 The last treaty. Sweden and the Goths in the treaty. the Chronicle states that the treaty was concluded “on the old terms” (po staroi poshline). Cherepnin has attempted a reconstruction. PRP II.79 It appears to be primarily a trade agreement. 1976. to previous similar treaties. A second treaty with Magnus V Eriksson. See. 245-251. The first treaty. 78 79 GVNP. 332-333. No.14. of 1470/1471. 80 81 .39. 67-68.70. who was also serving as prince of Novgorod at the time. Karamzin. 69-70. 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).78 Although Magnus is called the king of Norway. The treaty is mainly about the regulation of borders. has survived only in very defective form.38.63. GVNP. also. The second agreement. with the Lithuanian prince Kazimir. I. 323-333.3. The available Russian text.78-83. Skandinavskii Sbornik. No.P. 76 77 Cf. Vyp. born in 1316. Arkhivy. this is none other than the Moscow grand prince Iurii III. to be dated between 1440 and 1447. 45-61 and “Russko-Norvezhskii dogovor”.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 205 repeated. In 1478. Shaskol’skii. No. Along with the usual Novgorod signatories (the mayor and the tysiatskii).

prince. Even in Novgorod’s numerous treaties with the princes of Tver’ and Moscow. also Pskov (see below). One of the most intriguing aspects of Russian foreign trade in the middle ages is the role of permanent settlements of foreign merchants. kniazhe. No. Cherepnin. were largely concerned with the position of the resident Hanseatic merchants in Novgorod. the settlement was semi-permanent because for climatic reasons it had a semi-annual cycle.83 The 945 treaty between Byzantium and the Russians already dealt extensively with the colony of Russian traders in the St.3) and survived right to the end of Novgorod independence. 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. The general context. 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. No. 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. a number of minor powers. a dvora ti ne zatvariati. however.84 The German Court. is the same. This formula already appeared in the treaty of 1270 with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ (GVNP. special discussion. this was first of all Novgorod. especially those connected with the Hanseatic League. Along with the Court of 82 83 Cf. On the Russian side. Novgorod’s relations with Western powers. Cherepnin’s restrained treatment of the episode (published in 1948) contrasts favourably with the commentary in PRP II.” 84 In Novgorod. later on. The number of Novgorod treaties with other regional powers exceeds by far the few texts from Smolensk and Pskov and merits. was active in the North-West of medieval Russia and in the Baltic area.206 Law in Medieval Russia who used it to great effect in accusing the Novgorodians of consorting with his enemies. Arkhivy I. and then Smolensk and. The usual formula was: “And you. 344-345. the freedom of the German Court (or Compound: nemetskii dvor) was often specifically included. a pristavov ti ne pristavlivati). enjoyed a kind of territorial immunity and had its own law. therefore. it was still included in the 1471 treaty with Ivan III of Moscow (GVNP. Mamas quarter of Constantinople. in a varying configuration. or St. Novgorod could not be reached by ship in the winter.26). and its own jurisdiction (see the chapter on the Skra). the Skra. Peter’s Court. See the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod.82 Novgorod Treaties with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants As mentioned above. . torgovati nasheiu brateiu.

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

An echo of the old provisions of the Russkaia Pravda can be heard in the rules which set fixed compensations for homicide. with the Teutonic Order. N. “all the 73 [or 72] cities” are sometimes mentioned.).91 89 90 A fuller list of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic cities is to be found in the Appendix to this chapter.31. Riga is also mentioned by name at an early date already. Nos. 110-112). 1372 (GVNP. 74-76). No. 80-83). 58-61.A. Cf. However. the accepted number of Hanseatic League members at that time. 124-126). No.42. the staryi mir. In 15th century treaties. Together with Lübeck and Visby. “Novgorodsko-Nemetskie dogovory ili Livonskie akty?”.43. Ianin (ed.L. Most treaties. which gradually assumed leadership of the Hanseatic League in the course of the 13th century. .43. No.37 and 40 (of 1323. rules of evidence. No. the treaties of 1372 (GVNP. but as unilateral declarations that a treaty had been concluded. 43-50. there can be no doubt that the two documents concerned give a precise account of the conditions of a treaty. 63-67. but did not contain specific rules about them. 1392 (GVNP. 106-108). No. in summer and winter. Much attention was paid to questions of jurisdiction: how disputes were to be adjudicated. with German merchants). Other regularly named parties are Kolyvan’ (Tallin). and of 1342. V. identifying the officials participating in the signing of the treaty. Kazakova. No. injuries. etc. These two documents begin with the formula: “Be it known to all that […]”. the text confirmed the old treaty terms. Then the different ways Novgorod could be reached were regulated in detail: which routes.89 First of all.208 Law in Medieval Russia first place is taken by Lübeck. the treaty was only ratified in 1265. it concerns GVNP. 1436 (GVNP. but confirmed certain details of the framework provided by the more general treaties. instead of the usual opening line of Novgorod treaties. No. According to Rybina. 76-79).74.64. etc. Kazakova has argued that two texts should not be regarded as treaties proper. “O dvukh drevneishikh …”. and Iur’ev (Tartu). 1434 (GVNP.76. make clear that the named parties appeared on behalf of “all the merchants from across the sea”. Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik. No. 91 GVNP. Many of the later treaties concerned more specific questions. however. 127-129). No. The treaty mentioned the German and the Gothic Courts. the hiring of guides and pilots. 1466 (GVNP. There were also rules about dealing with criminal offences and with people who participated in inter-ethnic brawls. Among the more general treaties. 1450 (GVNP. 1989. The general treaty pattern with the Hanseatic League is perhaps best reflected by the text of a draft treaty of 1269. 76-79). Leningrad.46.90 A number of peace treaties and treaties declaring a truce demonstrate that the basically commercially oriented relationships were not always smooth. Rybina. the following could be mentioned: 1371 (GVNP.67. 3(13). etc.

in the complicated power game in the region. in Marienburg (the present Polish Malbork.60. which marked the beginning of the decline of the Order. with the German controlled cities of Riga. 133-136 (between Novgorod and Pskov and the bishop of Dorpat). It transferred its lands to the Pope in 1234. No. since 1308. Novgorod also allied itself several times with the Order. The success of the Order in the Baltic area was to a considerable extent due to its co-operation with the Hanseatic League. especially after World War II. the Land Marshal Walram. 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. 98-100.48. not always deservedly. receiving them in return as a fief. 85-86 (concerning an extension of the peace treaty of 1392. from a bad press in Russian historiography. under the international law regime prevailing in the Middle Ages. in respect of Dorpat).92 The most important of these was the treaty of 1474. not far from Gdansk/Danzig)). No. when the Order had been beaten decisively by Poland in the battle of Tannenberg.e. The first “eternal alliance” (vechnyi soiuz) was concluded in 132393 and was directed against the then still pagan Lithuanians.59. The Order suffers. where it has been portrayed. and others). This made the order. and the bishop of Dorpat and the Master of Riga. Its grand master (Hochmeister) resided. and the Landmeister for Livland in Riga. The other treaties all date after 1410.49. GVNP.78. the socalled peace of Niebur. 65-67. A treaty of 1421 between Novgorod and the order (represented by the Livonian Landmeister Silvester. because Novgorod at that moment had already lost its independence.37. i. 94 . as a kind of precursor of the SS. Kolyvan’ and Iur’ev. No. The treaty contained detailed regulation of the trade between the parties and the rights and duties of merchants. This was also the last treaty concluded by Novgorod. 96-98 (between Novgorod. Dorpat and Reval). 86-88 (settlement of a dispute between Novgorod and the cities of Riga. acting also on behalf of Pskov.94 The treaty was preceded by a draft 92 93 GVNP. restored the peace between the two sides and contained the usual conditions about the rights of merchants. The last significant contingent among the treaties of Novgorod with its neighbours is represented by the treaties with the Teutonic order. No. between the bishop of Dorpat and Novgorod and Pskov. acting on behalf of the Teutonic Order). a distinct sovereign entity.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 209 A smaller number of treaties concerned only local Baltic relations. Most of the provisions concerned Pskov only. GVNP. No. No.

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

The second treaty. 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. was concluded together with Novgorod and has been discussed above. 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.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. 1998. Russia’s eastern and south-eastern neighbours.cit. Crummey. since Kievan times. 178-183. Both Russian and Western authors use the terms Mongol and Tatar frequently indiscriminately. was probably one of the last treaties concluded by Pskov before it completely lost its independence in 1508.100 It offers a picture of the complicated network of relations of Pskov at the time. had been steppe nomads: Scythian and other Iranian peoples in proto-historic times. equivalent to emperor or basileus. 1304-1589. internationally recognized. Cambridge. and Tatar (as a general term to denote various Turkic elements) in the north-western part of the empire. GVNP. Pskov is recognized as the patrimony (otchina) of the “grand prince.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 third treaty. D. the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt is identified as the potential enemy. only the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors and the Tatar Great Khan were adorned in Russia with the title of tsar. 7. and finally. This was part of Ivan’s policy of having the title of tsar (caesar). Pechenegs and Polovtsians in Kievan times. between Novgorod and Pskov and. and the bishops of Riga and Dorpat (Iur’ev) appear as potential allies. of 1503. 331-337. the bishop of Iur’ev. The archbishop of Riga is included as a party. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier.334. the Mongols-Tatars. 96. A treaty involving a truce for thirty years. such as Chinese. Initially. 318-321. No. No.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 211 peace treaty or a truce for ten years. Walter von Plettenburg” on the one hand and of the city of Pskov on the other. Arab. then Khazars and Bulgars. along with the Master of the Teutonic Order. . of 1448. on the other side. the Russian sovereign [russkii gosudar’/dem Ruschen keiser] Vasilii Dmitrievich” (the grand prince of Moscow).. Ostrowski. op. some accompanying provisions concern the freedom of trade. Cf. the most redoubtable of them all. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans So far. was concluded in 1474 and has been discussed above. our lord.347. The central theme of the treaty is a six-years’ truce between the parties. we have dealt with treaties shaping internal Russian relations and treaties with various western neighbours.

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

Vol. That the khans were dealing. Vol. 13-14. 14-16 . of Taidula of 1351.cit.N. also PRP III. This has resulted in considerable alterations of the hitherto accepted views. see Crummey. Moskva i Orda. 467-468. No.cit.30.106 The main content of all these documents was that the Russian church was exempt from all taxes. 470. In a recently published study of the Mongol iarlyki. of Taidula of 1354. The iarlyki also stipulated that the estates of the church should remain unmolested. op.cit.108 Edigei. which document is considered a falsification by PRP III..2 No. See. 106 Iarlyk of Mengu-Temir of 1267. 465-466. S. on the other hand. S.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. Vol. 107 108 GVNP.cit. of 1347. based on a new examination of the original Turkic texts (A.A. SGGD. to metropolitan Ioann.2 No. of Tiuliak of 1379..15. One of the interesting aspects of the iarlyki is that they enumerate the various taxes imposed by the Tatars. who became prince of Novgorod in 1266. op. SGGD. The prince is Iaroslav Iaroslavich. On Edigei and the humiliations inflicted on Moscow. also Beneshevich.11. he reproached the Moscow prince in no uncertain terms for the latter’s failure to pay his dues and for lack of respect. 9-12. also PRP III.D. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnago prava. Petrograd. 466-467. 12. and Beneshevich.12. 196-197. Vol.2 No. the bishop of the Christians living in the eastern. wife of Dzhanibek Khan.2. Moskva. 62-65. . 1916. and Beneshevich. and V. Priselkov. and Beneshevich. A. SGGD.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 213 metropolitan of Moscow. to metropolitan Aleksei. dated 1266-1272. begins: “The words of Mengu-Temir to prince Iaroslav: allow the German merchants to travel freely in your lands. II. also PRP III 469. Also in A.10. 16-18. 464. Mongol controlled region of Russia. SGGD. op. Vol. also PRP III. grand prince of Vladimir. Beneshevich. 5-6.9. it was recognized that the church in turn would pray for the khan and his family.2 No.Peterburg.cit. Iaroslav declares that the men of Riga and all others may travel freely (put’ vash chist). of Taidula. the next five to various Moscow metropolitans. op. with more distant European rulers on a basis of equality is shown by two other documents. 18-20. to metropolitan Aleksei. to metropolitan Feognost. was the factual Tatar ruler.cit. although not a khan.2 No. of Berdibek of 1357.. but constituted a laissez-passer (proezzhaia gramota) to a bishop Ioann of Sarai. also.Peterburg. 13-14. 1914.P. Gorskii.2 No. M.. Grigor’ev has presented corrected texts of the six documents. of 1267 is addressed to all Tatar officials. 11-12.” In the following and last sentence of the charter. Grigor’ev. The earliest iarlyk. op. SGGD. A laconic charter. 12.. and Beneshevich. 2004). The 1347 document was apparently not addressed to the metropolitan Ioann. SGGD. 24-25. to metropolitan Aleksei. 17-18. 57.. A small number of other documents adds to the picture sketched by the collection of iarlyki. PRP III. 468-469. Khanskie iarlyki russkim metropolitam. also PRP III. op. Beneshevich (21-24) also gives the text of a iarlyk from khan Uzbek. Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam.P. Vol. 2001.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SGGD Vol. 134-159 1266 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 17-18 .1 No.4/5. PRP II. 67-68 (Russian text and English translation) commentary: PRP II.10. 138141 commentary: PRP II. Kaiser. 137-138 commentary: PRP II. 10-11.2.1. 16-18.12. SGGD Vol. Laws.13.11. 13 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.1 No.1 No.4/5.14.Appendix 1. 13-15.6. 9-10. SGGD Vol. 3-4.11.1 No. 18-19.12. SGGD Vol. 22-24. 1. Tver’ and Novgorod copies 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 5-6. 135136.6/7. PRP II. 14 1307/1308 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. SGGD Vol.1 No. 24.1 No.7.8. 11-12. 6-8. SGGD Vol. 25-26. 69-71 (Russian text and English translation) 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. PRP II.1 No.1.1 No.16.1 No. 15-16. 15 1317 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. Novgorod and Tver’ copies 1316 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 21 1318/1319 Iurii Danilovich of Moscow and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No. Laws. 19-22. 11-13. SGGD Vol. 134-159 1296/1301 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. SGGD Vol. Novgorod Treaties with Moscow and Tver’ Grand Princes 1264 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.9/10. Kaiser.1 No. 134-159 1270 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.3. SGGD Vol.3. 2-3.1 No.2.9.

36-38. 26-28.1 No.16. Novgorod and Moscow copies. PRP II.17. 44 1471 Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (Korostyn’ peace treaty) GVNP No.22/23.1 No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 16 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. commentary: PRP II. 23-24 1448/1461 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (temporary transfer of territory) GVNP No.24.1 No. 45-51. SGGD Vol. Laws.15.1 No.20. SGGD Vol.8.26/27. SGGD Vol. 251-259.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 221 1326/1327 Aleksandr Mikhailovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 21-22 1435 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (peace treaty) GVNP No.21. 26-30. 31 1372 Novgorod conditions for peace treaty with Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 32-33.13.1 No. 39-43. 9-10.18.18. 28-30. 19-20. SGGD Vol. 33-34.15. 34-36 1446/1447 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. Laws. 72-74 (Russian text and English translation) 1371 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No.20.17. Novgorod and Moscow copies 1456 Novgorod to Vasilii Vasil’evich (on implementation of Iazhelbitsy treaty) GVNP No.19.14. 38-39 1456 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (Iazhelbitsy peace treaty) GVNP No. 75-78 (Russian text and English translation) 1371/1372 Dmitrii Ivanovich of Moscow (mutual aid) GVNP No. Kaiser. 43-44 1471 Novgorod to Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (on payment of debts) GVNP No. 267-272 .1 No.25. Kaiser.

28. 62 1301 Lübeck (co-operation against Sweden) GVNP No.222 Law in Medieval Russia with Foreign Rulers 1323 Magnus Eriksson of Sweden (peace treaty) GVNP No. Visby and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No.77. PRP II. 62-63. parallel text in Middle Low German 122 Actually the Teutonic Order. when referring to events after 1237. 55-56. 63-64 1323 Livonian Order122 (alliance) GVNP No. 125-126. commentary: PRP II. 58-61 parallel text in Middle Low German 1269 Riga and Lübeck (free transit) GVNP No. . bishop of Riga. 69-70. Visby and German cities (draft commercial treaty) GVNP No.38. 65-67. The old name is occasionally used in Russian sources. No.31. Gotskii Bereg] and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No. The Livonian Order had been founded in 1202 by Adalbert. parallel text in Middle Low German 1301 Lübeck. 24-25. Arkhivy I. SGGD Vol. 67-68 1326 Magnus Eriksson of Norway and Sweden GVNP No.29.70. 124-132 1262/1263 Lübeck. 245-251. 260-266 with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants 1189-1199 Visby [Gothic Coast. 115-116 1470-1471 Kazimir of Poland/Lithuania GVNP No. the Order joined the Teutonic Order. 331-332 (full reconstruction) 1440-1447 Kazimir of Lithuania (peace treaty) GVNP No.33. Cherepnin.39. 105-106. 129-132. In 1237. Visby.1. commentary: PRP II. parallel text in Latin 1431 Svidrigailo of Lithuania GVNP No. Riga (free transit) GVNP No. 56-57 1269 Lübeck. PRP II.

41. parallel text in Middle Low German 1372 Visby and German merchants (two years’ truce) GVNP No.64.40. Tartu.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 223 1338 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1420 Riga and Teutonic Order (peace treaty) GVNP No. 74-76.67. 98-100 1423 Hanseatic League (dispute settlement) GVNP No.44/45. parallel text in Middle Low German 1371 Lübeck.48. Münster and other German cities (wax trade) GVNP No. Visby. parallel text in Middle Low German 1373 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1434 Hanseatic League (two years’ truce) GVNP No. Tartu [Iur’ev]. parallel text in Middle Low German 1448 Teutonic Order (five years’ truce) GVNP No. 76-79. parallel text in Middle Low German 1439 German colony in Novgorod (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 106-108. 96-98 1421 Teutonic Order (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 113-114. Tallinn [Kolyvan’] and German cities (peace treaty) GVNP No. 86-88. 85-86. Visby and German cities (draft treaty) GVNP No.49.46. Tallinn (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 117-119 . 102-104. Dortmund. parallel text in Middle Low German 1436 Hanseatic League (renewal of previous treaties) GVNP No. Visby. parallel text in Middle Low German 1409 Riga.62.59. 80-83 1405 Taru (extending 1392 peace treaty) GVNP No. 79-80 1392 Lübeck.72. 73-74. Riga.60. Riga. 110-112.42.43. parallel text in Middle Low German 1342 Lübeck. 71-72.68.

SGGD Vol. parallel text in Middle Low German 1450 Hanseatic League (seven years’ truce) GVNP No.1 No. 127-129. Khoroshkevich (ed.224 Law in Medieval Russia 1448 (together with Pskov) Teutonic Order GVNP No. parallel text in Middle Low German 1474 (together with Pskov) Tartu (thirty years’ truce) GVNP No. 44-45 1374-1375 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.73. SGGD Vol. Moscow Treaties with Other Russian Princes 1367 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.28.74. 1978. 69-76 4.171.347. No.5. Polotskie gramoty XIII-XVI vv.27. 331-337.1 No. Moskva. 124-126 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1466 Hanseatic league (two years’ truce) GVNP No. 119-124. parallel text in Middle Low German 3.).7.335.9. 321-322 1503 Teutonic Order (six years’ truce) GVNP No..334. II. 46-48 .1 No.L. SGGD Vol. 25-28.29. 49-50 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 23-24. 318-321 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1440 Kazimir of Lithuania GVNP No. 133-136 2. Polotsk Treaties 1478 Riga (trade agreement) A.76.78. Pskov Treaties 1417 Teutonic Order (ten years’ truce) GVNP No. 19-21.

SGGD Vol. 63- 99-104.1 No. 37-39. 83-87.16.31. SGGD Vol.1 No. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 53-55 1389 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.33. 30-33.11. 94-96.18. 69-71.46. 65-67 1428 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich and Zvenigorod DDG No. 96-99 1434 Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka and Dmitrii Krasnyi Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 39-40 1396 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No.49/50.38. 68-69 1402 Fedor Ol’govich of Riazan’ DDG No.27. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 29-30. 92-94.1 No. 55-57 1390 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. Moscow copy 1434 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No.47.13.45.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 1382 Oleg Ivanovich of Riazan’ DDG No. 87-89.1 No.33.60.1 No.10. 82-83. MozhaiskVerei-Belozero copy DDG No.43/44.1 No.19. SGGD Vol.1 No. 52-55.1 No. 75-80.34. 86-89.1 No. SGGD Vol.1 No. SGGD Vol.1 No. 130-133 . 90-92 1434 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 69-71 1401-1402 Andrei Dmitrievich of Mozhaisk and Petr Dmitrievich of Dmitrov DDG No.14. 40-43 225 1401-1402 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 80-82. SGGD Vol.1 No. 62-64 1390 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No. SGGD Vol.24. 43- SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.36.1 No. 51-52.

118-124.48.226 Law in Medieval Russia 1436 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 89-100. 113-118.1 No. SGGD Vol.61. Moscow and Galich copies DDG No. Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. second version 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.35.1 No. 112-117.1 No.46. 140-141.64. 107-112.71-74.36.42. 126-129. SGGD Vol. two different sets of Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (reconciliation) DDG No.43.56-59. SGGD Vol.1 No. 153-154 1445 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (draft treaty) DDG No. 146-149 .38 II. 149-151 1447 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No. 107-112. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 133-135 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No. 121-123. 146-148.1 No. 123-125. 100- No.67.70.44. PRP III.37.1 No. 156-168.1 No. SGGD No.47. 140-142 1447 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.1 No. SGGD Vol. 129-140. 125-126. 105-107 1441-1442 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 264-272.41. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 142- No.54-55. 155-156 1447 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 142-144 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No.38 I.52-53. two different sets of Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Vasilii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No.

195-201. 63. Moscow and Suzdal’ copies 1450 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. corrected text .1 No. SGGD Vol. 201-207.1 No.66.69 I. SGGD Vol.58.55.1 No. 153- No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 227 1448 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No. SGGD Vol.69 II. 168-170. 223-227. 155-160.1 No.1 No.1 No. 220-222 1472 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No.56.67.80-81. Moscow and Belozero copies 1473 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. 212-214. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462-1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.51c. 234-238. SGGD Vol. 215-220.76-77.95. 225-229. 229-232.97-98. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1451-1456 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 186-192. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. 179-186.75. SGGD Vol.68.1 No. 209-215.1 No. 151-152 (third version) 1448 Ivan Vasil’evich of Suzdal’ DDG No.1 No. 207-211. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. 177-184. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1450-1454 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. 92.64. 164-168. SGGD Vol. 138-139 (two versions) DDG No. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No. 214-216.51a & b.84-85.93-94.1 No.90-91. 217-221. 171-176. 185-189.59. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. SGGD Vol. 150-153. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1456 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 168-175.1 No.88-89. 228-230 1472 Mikhail Andreevich of Belozero DDG No. SGGD Vol.1 No.78-79.63.

119-120.79. 277-283.1 No.70 IV. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.118. 293-299.1 No. 295-301. 237-241.73 I. 279-286. SGGD Vol.75. 257-263.1 No.72 III. 290-292 1484-1485 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No.228 Law in Medieval Russia 1473 Andrei Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.73 II.72 II. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. Moscow and Uglich copies . 313-320. SGGD Vol1 No.82.108-109. 247-249.99-100. 283-290. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No. 241-246.125-126. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No. 232-2327.72 I. 244249.1 No. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No.1 No.1 No. SGGD Vol.1 No. 239-243. 322-328. Moscow and Uglich copies 1481 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. SGGD Vol. 253-259. 265-270. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No. third version.1 No.1 No. 263-268. Moscow and Riazan’ copies 1483 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.115-116.113-114.70 II.70 III.110-111. 295-301. 273-279. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1483 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No.70 I.79. 293-295.101-102. Moscow and Volotsk copies 1482 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 252-257. 293-299.119-120. 259265. SGGD Vol.78.106-107. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No. SGGD Vol.76. Moscow and Volotsk copies. 268-271 DDG No.1 No. 271-275. fourth version 1481 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No. second version DDG No.

Moskva. M. 160-161.29. PRP III. 72-74. Other Princely Treaties among themselves and with Foreign Princes 1229 Mstislav Davydovich of Smolensk and Riga PRP II. 329-332.23. 62-63.25. 272-277 1494 Aleksandr Kazimirovich of Lithuania DDG No. Avanesov (ed.8. 16-18 5. Hramoty XIV st.1 No. commentary: PRP II. Peshchak. R. 18-62 1230-1270 (Vsevolod Mstislavich of ?) Smolensk and Riga PRP II. 46-49 1449 Kazimir of Poland-Lithuania DDG No. Hramoty. 52-53.53. 139-140 1427 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No. 121-123 (with wrong date: 1393) 1430 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 229 with Foreign Princes 1371 Olgerd Gediminovich of Lithuania and Sviatoslav Ivanovich of Smolensk (reconciliation) DDG No. Hramoty.31.M. Peshchak. 21-22. Hramoty. 85-87 1330-1359 Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga SGGD Vol. commentary: PRP II.6. 72-75. 67-68 .5 No. 38-39 1386 Iurii Sviatoslavich of Smolensk and Vladislav Jagiello of Poland-Lithuania and Svidrigailo of Lithuania Avanesov. 1963. 75-85. 1974. SGGD Vol.83.).2 No. Smolenskie gramoty. Peshchak. 57-71. Smolenskie gramoty XIII-XIV vv. Kiev.I. 69-71 1399 Vitovt of Lithuania and Riga (concerning Polotsk) Peshchak. SGGD Vol... 10-11 1366 Dmitrii of Volynia (?) and king of Poland (border settlement) Peshchak. Hramoty.

57 1267 Mengu-Temir to metropolitan Kirill SGGD Vol. 466-467. 68-69 1442 Fedor L’vovich of Novosil-Odoev and Kazimir of Lithuania DDG No.84. .40. 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. S. 199-201 1483 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ and Kazimir IV of Lithuania DDG [no number]. 119-121. 332-341. SGGD Vol.62.30. 192-193 1461 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam.1 No.62. 117-118 1445 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich and Vasili and Fedor Iur’evichi of Suzdal’ DDG No. 5-6. 467-468. PRP III. A.39.Peterburg. SGGD Vol.127-128.2. 320-329 6.230 Law in Medieval Russia 1442 Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No.2 No. 2004. 44123 1347 Taidula (wife of Dzhanibek Khan) to bishop Ioann of Sarai (Grigor’ev) or to metropolitan Ioann (traditional identification of addressee) PRP III.60.54. 483-484 1496 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ and Fedor Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No. Grigor’ev.1 No.26. 163-164 1459 Ivan Iur’evich of Novosil-Odoev and Kazimir of PolandLithuania DDG No. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans 1266-1272 Mengu-Temir to Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Novgorod GVNP No. Grigor’ev.P. 135-137 1449 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Kazimir of PolandLithuania DDG No.

70-71 1357 Berdibek to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol. Grigor’ev. 470.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 231 1351 Taidula to metropolitan Feognost SGGD Vol.10. 12. Ukrains’ki hramoty XV st.. 114-115 1379 Biulek (Grigor’ev) or Tiuliak to metropolitan Mikhail SGGD Vol.15. Grigor’ev. 11-12. 469. 65-66 1354 Taidula to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol.2 No.11.12. PRP III.2 No. Kiev.2 No. 13-14. 112-113 1409 Edigei Emir to Vasilii Dmitrievich of Moscow SGGD Vol. Grigor’ev. 12. PRP III. 1965.2 No.).2 No. 468-469.9. Rusanivs’kyi (ed. 465-466. Grigor’ev. PRP III. Hramoty. 137-138 . 17-18 1484 Murtazy to Kazimir of Lithuania V. 201-202 1393 Tokhtamysh to king of Poland (peace proposal) Peshchak.M. PRP III.


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

also explicitly recognized the state’s duty to assume responsibility for the welfare of the individual. . social protection. The Preamble also referred to the Four Freedoms (of speech and religious worship. Roosevelt in 1941. human rights promote friendly relations between nations. modern Western constitutions. justice and peace. work. 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. a more pragmatic tone was adopted: without recognition of human rights. and also.234 Law in Medieval Russia The paramount position of the Universal Declaration is explicitly recognized by its European counterpart. from fear and want). so human rights are obviously a good thing and anyway everybody seemed to agree on the following catalogue. social progress and better standards of life. and other facilities. the Treaty of Rome of 1950. one reverts to barbarism (this was just three years after the Second World War). health care. by the USSR and Russian Declarations. The US Declaration of Independence of 1776 had stated that “all men […] are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”. 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. rest. as mentioned above. But. 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. It refrains understandably from explaining why this dignity is inherent. Its starting-point is that recognition of the inherent dignity of every human being is the foundation of freedom. such as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. summarized as the freedom from want. the state would have to take certain steps towards enabling the individual to realize his potential. the US Bill of Rights. in accordance with the Soviet Marxist theory of human rights. Instead. 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. Older 19th century constitutions had already acknowledged that the state was obliged to produce certain basic provisions in this respect. and the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen). 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. The latter rights were strongly emphasized in the various Soviet and other communist constitutions. such as primary education and care for the indigent. the main difference is in the addition of the socio-economic rights. in order to lead a life in accordance with human dignity. by stipulating the latter’s right to education.

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

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

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

Cambridge. should not obscure the fact that the overall effect of Christianity in Europe on the development of human rights has been overwhelmingly positive. Berman. 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. 1 2 See H. 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. living and dead. On the other hand. The result was a pragmatic settlement by which certain matters were left to the state and others to the church.J. the Church. the investiture struggle of the 11th century planted the seeds for the separation of powers. illius et religio (the state or the ruler determines the religion of the people). The state withdrew almost completely from the realm of religion. . or the persecution of heretics and non-conformists and other excesses. 273-294.2 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.8: “The Concept of Secular Law”. because neither side could ultimately be beaten. MA/London. large ones such as the state and small ones such as marriage and the family. In the views of mainstream Christian denominations. Dictates of conscience are intrinsically unsuitable for legal evaluation. As this arrangement depended in good part on the relative strengths of the parties. without risking legal sanctions. even where the whole world would condemn the action dictated by conscience.1 The Reformation added a new aspect to this relationship. Christian Anthropology and the Freedom of Conscience Criticism of past and present religious intolerance. the status quo was to prove unstable in the following centuries. The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. as the community of all the faithful. Law and Revolution. Nevertheless. It would obviously be impossible for the law to permit everybody to act according to his conscience. 1983. 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. While all forms of human community. such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Ch.238 Law in Medieval Russia to understand that the battle had to end undecided. is also regarded as eternal. If the initial outcome of the religious wars was the rule of cuius regio. the individual is destined for eternal life. The interests of other individuals will always be a major factor in making such decisions. are tied to this earth and will disappear in time. rather than on fundamental consensus. A sensible and reasonable balance will have to be found.

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

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

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

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

Novosibirsk. 1991. as the creator of the legal system. The present ideology of human rights rests therefore on two pillars: a concept of the unique value of the human individual. by the Soviet Marxists-Leninists and most of the excessively presidential regimes of the ex-Soviet republics.. Tserkov’). which endows him with certain inalienable rights.. because the state. The primary instrument for creating such a system is the limitation of the powers of the state. and R. Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo na Rusi IX-XVII vv. but also international and supranational organizations. Krest). S. Church and State in Russia8 The First Centuries Christianity reached Russia through Byzantium. in order to allow them to live in accordance with their innate dignity. The principal modern Russian works which deal directly with this theme are Ia. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ na Rusi XIV-XVI vv. not only the national (sovereign) state. 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. 1989 (hereafter: Shchapov. albeit on different ideological grounds. Shchapov. 2000 (herafter: Skrynnikov.7 5. is the most powerful actor in society.N. A close 7 8 The latter view is shared. Moskva. “state” should be understood to embrace all agencies which exercise public power.G. but for the purpose of setting up a workable system of basic rights a general consensus on what should be included is sufficient. Skrynnikov.Peterburg. In this context. and at a more popular level: R. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X-XIII vv. and lower level public authorities. Krest i korona. There does not seem to be general agreement on the source or origin of these basic rights..G. Skrynnikov. . 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. The Position of Russia As has been argued above. individual human beings need and are entitled to a certain basic package of rights. and the need to limit public power (and in this respect the theory of the separation of powers occupies a central place).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.).11 and the transfer of jurisdiction in a number of cases to the church. see Ia. 134-208 (text. Szeftel & A. family.H. and inheritance law. The earliest and principal monument of this policy is the so-called Church Statute of Vladimir.. RZ I. 50-60. 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. The Church Statute of Vladimir remained the fundamental charter regulating church-state relationships for the centuries to come. (transl. is Iu. 229-266. 1976 (texts in the latter volume).Vladimir. I. It put 9 10 11 A review of the treatment of the church-state relationship in Russia.L.. i. In what was probably a somewhat later addition to the Statute. Ianin). Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. D. and comments by V. Kaiser.A.). including a discussion of various Western viewpoints. In Western Europe. 120-146. 1988.A. “Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo v istorii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii (modeli istoricheskikh vzaimootnoshenii)”. 1980. Princeton. Moskva. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. some provision had to be made for the material maintenance of the church and its personnel. M.). and id. Zimin). Moskva. The latter category generally involved matters where infractions of the newly introduced Christian morality were turned into criminal offences and also questions of matrimonial. id. Eck (eds. Salt Lake City. . by making grants of land to bishops and abbeys. Bruxelles. see Shchapov.. Isaev & O. 1992. & ed. the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century.e. 1963. On the Church Statutes of Vladimir and his son Iaroslav. 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. 235285 (text. Istoriko-pravovye voprosy vaimootnoshenii gosudarstva i tserkvi v istorii Rossii. Tserkov’.S.N. Shchapov. 76-87.A. 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.10 The oldest part of this text does indeed go back to the time of the first Christian grand prince of Kiev. the basic solution of this problem had been the incorporation of the church into the feudal system. 41-50. PRP I. On the Old-Russian tithe.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. and comments by A. Omel’chenko (eds. 1972. As a consequence of this step.244 Law in Medieval Russia symbiosis between church and state was the most important legacy of Byzantium to Russia. Moskva. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv. Pivovarov. although developments in Russia followed a course of their own. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries (text and English translation).

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

J. Ohio. see C. Cambridge. the caesar. or the sovereign in modern terminology.246 Law in Medieval Russia In constitutional terms. Halperin. addressed to the metropolitan of Moscow (the principal see of the Russian church had by that time been moved from Kiev to Moscow). but also avoidance of hostilities with the Tatars. have survived. A small number of charters. One of his favourite ploys was the extension of generous privileges to the Russian church. but after Attila’s death in 453 his empire evaporated within a few years for lack of internal consistency. is instructive. The Russian church understandably used its privileged position to further its own agenda.15 To retain his eminent position. he also engaged in subtle manoeuvring to play his Russian subject princes against each other. eight centuries earlier. 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. Western and Russian writers through the ages have put great stress on the ferocity and cruelty of the Tatars. The Russian princes who in their numerous sub-dynasties continued to rule the many principalities into which the Kievan empire had dissolved. 1986. In language and culture. A comparison with the similar empire of Attila the Hun. and D. The immediate effect of an army of steppe nomads. 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. on the more peaceful and urbanized European world was similar. Columbus. For modern Western views of the Mongol-Tatar empire. The Tatar Yoke. the church was probably inspired by its links with the emperor in Constantinople who. Contemporary Russian sources would refer to him as the tsar. called iarlyki. to administer to the needs of all orthodox Christians in that region. mainly Turkic groups. This included support for the efforts of the leading princes (increasingly the grand prince of Moscow) to free Russia from Tatar overlordship. Ostrowski. the latter became dominant in later years. mobile. the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”). the khan did not rely only on military superiority. numerous and well-equipped. the Mongol-Tatar14 khan was the overlord. a title which until then had only been enjoyed by the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors. also. 1998. . In this respect. in which the khan granted the church complete freedom of taxes and other benefits (see the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”). the centre of Tatar power. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier. hence the relative interchangeability of “Mongol” and “Tatar”. 1304-1589. depended on the khan’s confirmation and owed him military and fiscal allegiance (see. MA. Religious tolerance among the Tatar rulers even went so far as to allow the establishment of a new bishopric in Sarai.

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

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

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

21 The secularization of church lands was completed under empress Catherine II in 1764. the power of the Old-Russian veche diminished in favour of the power of the prince and his increasingly structured governmental administration. the last medieval Russian state to preserve its independence. regulating the internal organization of the orthodox church in detail. the Moscow grand prince emerged victorious among the competing sub-dynasties. See Vladimirskii-Budanov. a considerable part of the church income from land holdings was shifted to the state. along with the princes and their retinues (see the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”). Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnogo prava. Tatar-Mongol domination rang the death-knell of the veche. his subjects. With the strengthening of the Kievan state and its subsequent breakup into semi-independent principalities. the veche) succeeded in relegating the prince and his servants to the margin. It was more effectively subordinated to the state (the emperor) by a series of measures. Petrograd. with the waning of Tatar rule.250 Law in Medieval Russia and the tysiatskii or military commander). a Church Statute (Dukhovnyi Reglament) was issued by the emperor. The patriarchal dignity was abolished and the church government was entrusted to a Holy Synod. They were among the chief political actors. because here the local parties (boyar clans. appointed by the emperor. The khan dealt with the Russian princes who were nominally. 1914. Novgorod (and Pskov) was again the exception. . They had their roots in Slavic prehistory and they offered a close parallel to the popular assemblies known in Germanic history and protohistory. In the following year. 553-554. In this power equation. 89-250. Part 2. and occasionally the ruling prince or his representative (the namestnik). consisting mainly of the posadnik and tysiatskii and their predecessors). and usually also in actual fact.22 7.N. In 1721. The last veche meeting was held in 1510 in Pskov. Peter prevented the appointment of a successor. 21 22 Text in V. the veche would only be an encumbrance. When patriarch Adrian died in 1700. in order to decide on Pskov’s submission to the grand prince. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod. When. Popular Rule and Democracy in Russia Popular assemblies are well documented in the history of early Kievan Russia.). Beneshevich (ed. Obzor. the bishop. the (arch)bishop. The Church in the Russian Empire The drastic reforms introduced by Peter the Great extended also to the church. the veche had virtually disappeared.

24 both of them institutions with a longer tradition.23 The Land Council grew out of a combination of the church council and the Boyar Council (Boiarskaia Duma). Zemskie Sobory. Peter reserved the right to appoint a successor to the emperor himself. After the death of the latter.. IX. col. PRP VIII.26 In the following Time of Troubles.27 In Peter the Great’s views on the absolute monarchy. the Land Council met regularly under the first two Romanov tsars. by the addition of representatives of the merchants and townspeople (of Moscow) and of provincial landowners. The decisive moment was the issuing of the Manifesto of 17 October 1905 which promised.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 251 An element of representative government returned. 28 29 30 31 . with the simultaneous appointment of their sister Sophia as regent. 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. 362-370. the Zemskii Sobor emerged as the normal electoral agency for appointing a new tsar. Moskva. assisted by various government agencies appointed by him (the Senate since 1711. As related above. Only the reforms of 1905 brought a return of a form of representative government to Russia. 54-90. there was no room for a representative body deciding on important matters of state. In his Statute on Accession to the Throne of 1721. Cherepnin. he relates how Ivan IV did something unheard of: he invited not only the usual members of the Boyar Council. along with a 23 24 The literature on the Zemskii Sobor is extensive. 63ff. 42-44. RZ VI. albeit in an entirely different form. 1892 (several later editions). but only one more Land Council was held after this. Kliuchevskii. Ivan IV organized several others until his death in 1584. 1978.. Zemskie Sobory.67. but also the above-mentioned representatives. Zemskie Sobory russkogo gosudarstva v XVI-XVII vv. 25 On the Boyar Duma: V. with the convocation of the Land Council (Zemskii Sobor).29 the State Council since 1810. Cherepnin. 27 Cherepnin.25 After the first Zemskii Sobor of 1566. Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi.O. See Karamzin.V. the Russian empire was governed by the emperor. when his son Fedor was offered the throne by a hastily convened Land Council.28 From Peter the Great onwards. 90-156. PRP VIII. 204-205.30 the Council of Ministers since 181131). Moskva. his young sons Fedor and Peter were still elected by the Zemskii Sobor in 1682. the basic modern study is L. Mikhail Fedorovich and Aleksei Mikhailovich. beginning with Boris Godunov in 1598. Ibidem. in 1683/1684. 26 This is quite obvious from Karamzin’s description of the first reported Zemskii Sobor in 1566.

but this should not obscure the magnitude of the reforms of 1905-1906. the legislative process. At this place. Many parts of Western Europe were only marginally affected by feudalism. which was closer to a natural economy (Naturalwirtschaft) during the early Middle Ages. the Druzhina. 42-52. elections for a State Duma with full-fledged rights to participate in the legislative process and in the supervision of the executive. and the Nature of Kievan Rus’”. In later years. but a balanced system as had emerged in Western Europe did not arise. all kinds of variations on this basic theme developed. unlike the Carolingians. Feudalism In Western Europe. State Duma. and enumerated the basic civil rights. 53-117.252 Law in Medieval Russia basic human rights package. a few more summary points will be sufficient. on 23 April 1906. . where feudalism is concerned. was of a mixed public-private character. especially as it came to be imbued with a moral aspect. survived and expanded created a different political situation in Russia. Lord and liegeman each contributed materially: land and service. especially in the heartland of the old Carolingian empire. 8.33 The representative character of the Duma was quickly eroded by extensive tinkering with the electoral system. because the Marxist concept is very deeply embedded. The distinguishing feature of classic European feudalism was the particular nature of the feudal contract. Can the same be said about Russia? This question has been discussed in more detail in the chapter on “Land Tenure. There is first of all the terminological aspect which still hampers understanding. Classic feudalism flowered mainly in parts of Western Europe. The fact that the dynasty of Rurik. the contract. See the Election Statute for the State Duma of 3 June 1907. Moreover. feudalism was undoubtedly one of the ancestors of modern human rights. A number of factors contributed to this. RZ IX. in fact a Russian constitution which elaborated the short announcements made in the Manifesto. State Council. 32 33 RZ IX. or not at all. Feudalism in this sense never got beyond the initial stage in Russia. The princes of Kievan Russia did indeed begin to make land grants to their servitors. and Council of Ministers). support and protection. also among post-Soviet historians in Russia and other ex-Soviet countries. in present-day terminology. but beyond that they owed each other loyalty. of the new Fundamental State Laws. it regulated the supreme state agencies (emperor.32 This Manifesto was followed by the promulgation. Trade played a greater role in the economy of Kievan Russia than it did in Western Europe.

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

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

67-136. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. 300-320. Alekseev. 1951. 1963. RZ I. the Charter on the Rights and Benefits of the Towns of the Russian Empire of 1785. Kaiser. I. Bruxelles. Medieval Russian Laws.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 255 ence. Iu. Martysevich. in one important aspect. 83-92 (English translation). Kaiser (ed. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. op.). & transl. private charters (gramoty). Text in RZ VI. 61-82 (English translation). 87-105 (Russian text and English translation). Specifically on Ivan III’s urban policies: Iu. “Nekotorye cherty gorodskoi politiki Ivana III”. 79-86 (Russian text and English translation). D. op. RZ I.. Of much greater importance is the 15th century Pskov Court Charter (Pskovsksia Sudnaia Gramota). Szeftel & A. 282-383.41 37 38 39 PRP III. were their own masters. see PRP II. Eck. Salt Lake City. The legal system of Novgorod is well documented by a large number of treaties. Moskva. 165-175. Novgorod and Pskov. but the towns and their citizens did not enjoy any more freedom than was needed to serve the interests of the militarized Russian state.G. See footnote 19. which represents the only comprehensive codification between the Russkaia Pravda and the 1497 Code of Ivan III.D. of which the 15th century Novgorod Court Charter (Novgorodskaia Sudnaia Gramota) is the most important. 34-97. Pskov. 40 41 Text in RZ V. This is quite obvious from the occasional references to townspeople in the Code of 149738 of Ivan III and in ch.G.XIX of the Code of 1649 of tsar Aleksei. 210-244. 1997 (not available to me). Vernadsky. Alekseev. The difference between urban and rural conditions dictated different legal regimes for town and country. 341-418. as long as they were strong and independent. the town fell into line within the overall framework of the state. G.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.cit. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. . Froianov. M. 28-30. 1947. accompanied by the elaboration of an indigenous legal system. Genezis.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. but. see GVNP and for the Novgorod Court Charter: PRP II. RZ II. this situation was different from the average feudal town in Western Europe. In the case of the latter. 117-214 (French translation). 1992. devoted to the posadskie liudi (one of the principal categories of the urban population). 321389. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota..cit. and some legislative documents. Vernadsky. a permanent watchfulness and even struggle was required to maintain the freedom of the town against the claims of its feudal master. New York.37 In Muscovy Russia.

R. Wortman.256 Law in Medieval Russia 10. 111-340. well known in the Russian middle ages and afterwards. the question of due process can also be regarded. Legal institutions may arise or be invented on the basis of existing institutions which served a different purpose. the latter as the sole source of judicial interference in the life of the individual.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. the so-called Short Pravda. 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. to a new kind of justice meted out through the intervention of the prince and his court (see the chapter on “The Russkaia Pravda”). 1976. Text of the Criminal Procedure Statute in RZ VIII.S. 97-177. and by the same token. Chicago/London. one has to admit that in a more general sense due process refers to the orderly settlement of disputes and the punishment of crimes. The Development of a Russian Legal Consciousness. 229-332. also in B. and as such antedating the first fears about a too powerful state. Die Russische Justizreform von 1864. of the Law Codes of 1497 and 1647. On the reforms: F. Leiden. the emergence of the first state-like structures went hand in hand with the setting up of a rudimentary judicial framework. 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. At the same time. except in accordance with the procedure laid down by this Statute. In Russia. In all major enactments of the following ages. straddles in its several chronological layers the transition from informal adjudication and dispute settlement within the family. a more general observation concerning the ‘genealogy’ of legal institutions comes to mind. RZ II. as an aspect of the limitation of the powers of the state. one could point to the institution of judicial immunity. .” This having been said. clan or tribe. Sudebniki XV-XVI vekov. The oldest version of the Russkaia Pravda. 118-384. With regard to the due process aspect. Kaiser. considered here in its human rights dimension. 42 43 Text in PRP IV. as has been done above. Grekov (ed.B. and the intervening Code of 155042 were devoted to procedural rules.D. 1952. Due Process “Due process” can be used to refer to a package of rights which form the core of the classic human rights.). From this point of view. Moskva/Leningrad. both of them intimately connected with the emergence of the state and the prevention of chaos. as a serious potential threat to the individual. as almost everywhere. 1972. They primarily concern the relationship between the individual and the state.

by forbidding the courts entry into certain areas. Valikonite & E. workers. It was to a considerable extent based on medieval Russian law and exerted. strong influence on subsequent Russian legislation (such as on the Code of 1649). 11. merchants. instructed all those entrusted with judicial duties “to judge honestly all the people of the Moscow state. written in Russian and can. 2004.9) that “all our subjects. etc. . Equality A similar development is observable in connection with equality. from the highest to the lowest rank” (art. clergy.). The Lithuanian Statute of 152944 provided (in art. English translation and commentary in K. Minsk. in turn. be considered part of Russian legal history. Satolin & Ia. civil as well as criminal. peasants. but.M.) right down to 1917. U. exempted certain categories of individuals from the jurisdiction of certain courts. the Code of 1649. be tried equally and identically by these written laws”. The Lithuanian Statute of 1529. it did not pretend to safeguard human rights avant la lettre. In the list of civil rights of the 1905 Constitution. for these reasons. because Russian citizens continued to belong to a legally defined class (nobility. where also older editions of the Statute of 1529 are mentioned. whatever their condition or position.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 257 This institution. The Statute of 1529 was followed by the Statutes of 1566 and 1588. the principle itself was clear enough. Leiden. For a more modern approach to the question of equality before the law and the courts. Statut Vialikaga kniastva Litauskaga 1566 goda. 1976.” Although there was an increasing number of exceptions. one had to wait for the judicial reforms of the 1860’s. 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. Vilnius. this might indeed have proven to be problematic. The Statute of 1566 was recently published in Belarus by T. based on a modern view of the person and society. moreover. Equality before the courts first appeared.1). I. poor and rich alike. Dounar. one looks in vain for a general statement on the equality of citizens. Recent text edition by S. 2003. 44 The Lithuanian Statute was the chief codification of the Grand Principality of Lithuania. The basic law concerning court organization. but as a reaction against the hypertrophy of the immunity system. von Loewe. Similarly.). it did foreshadow in some way the classic human rights. Iukho (eds. which continued to build on the former. which was also an important element of classic feudalism in Western Europe. not as a requirement of morality. it was. Lazutka. Of course.I. Pervyi Litovskii Statut (1529 g. in its Chapter 10 (On the court).A. Gudavichius.

never got off the ground in Russia. the idea itself of human rights was more alive in Russia during those times than it was in the Western world. they would agree on the desirability of circumscribing the domain of the state and its law. which. Classical antiquity. all have contributed at the level of ideas. the Enlightenment. There were certain implicitly recognized principles of government and the ruler could be held accountable in this respect. The main factors which militated against it were the subordinate position of the orthodox church. before the theory existed. One could even argue that. the peculiar shape of Russian ‘feudalism’. . Nevertheless. the medieval Church. the survival of strong princely power and the concomitant weakness of the higher nobility (the boyars) and the towns. The Eastern orthodox view of the church-state relationship. the Reformation.258 Law in Medieval Russia 12. Time and again church leaders. 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. and not a monolith like Russia. 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 triumph and ultimate monopolization of power of the Moscow prince. prominent citizens or just courageous individuals spoke out. Sakharov and others dissidents from the Brezhnev period represented a typically Russian tradition of civil courage. but by no means legitimized despotism. The separation of powers. favoured autocracy. 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. 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. 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. but their moral authority was obvious to all. and of guaranteeing the individual citizen a certain protected sphere of individual liberty. pragmatically. which was dominant in Russia for most of the time. the other side of the balance-sheet is not empty. which was a politically fragmented and ideologically pluriform congeries. They might lack the advantage of a legally defined position. was maturing slowly in Western Europe over many centuries.

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


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

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

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

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

At a somewhat later date.The Skra of Novgorod 265 embraced a number of civil. and the precise distribution of the tasks between the posadnik and the tysiatskii is a matter of speculation. and these into streets (ulitsy). the Quarter behind the Citadel (Zagorodskii konets). covering the entire northern half of European Russia and extending even beyond the Ural Mountains. This Council consisted of the acting posadnik and tysiatskii. the latter of the Slavno and the Carpenters’ Quarter. the First Novgorod Chronicle relates that “Daniil came from Kiev to be posadnik in Novgorod”. common citizens (chernye liudi. the Sophia and the Merchant Side (Torgovaia storona).7 Both offices were initially filled by appointees of the prince. administrative and judicial functions. Vol. V.L. Novgorodskie posadniki. These units had a certain amount of self-government through their elected elders and councils. Three years later. between the different parts of the city. a vast area in northern Russia. which prepared the business to be dealt with by the veche.9 All this resulted in Novgorod’s history being characterized by excessive conflict and strife: between various social classes. Kliuchevskii. Ianin. The quarters were each divided into “hundreds” (sotni). the sources distinguish between boyars. and the Nerev Quarter. The democratic character of Novgorod’s government was also tempered by its rigid class division. . The former consisted of the Potters’ (or People’s) Quarter. the five-fifths (piatni) adjoining (or almost) the city territory.2. supreme power in Novgorod belonged to the veche or popular assembly (see. It consisted of a metropolitan area. Novgorod also successfully enforced its right to elect its own tysiatskii. Moskva (2nd ed. The city of Novgorod was divided into two sides by the river Volkhov. also. was of greater importance. of which Dvina Land. Kliuchevskii. 67. The principal city offices remained firmly in the hands of the boyars for the entire duration of Novgorod’s independence. merchants. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod). but also the centre of a large empire. In practice.2. prominent citizens (zhitye liudi). black people). 88. but already in 1126 the first locally appointed posadnik is mentioned.). 2003. and several classes of unfree persons. commercial. Vol. the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”). and other prominent citizens. the custom of electing the posadnik remained firmly entrenched. from 1130 onwards. It was in this situation that the bishop emerged as the most effective conciliatory agent. during the later period of Novgorod’s independence. between family factions among the leading boyars. was 7 8 9 Cf. Novgorod was not only a city-state. and the more distant volosti. lit. (some of) their predecessors.8 In theory.

The Charter is based on a previous version which did not survive. 210-242. 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. 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.A. also. 79-86. the archbishop-elect and the estates of Novgorod.). A combination of economic. Zimin in PRP II. 1899. It would explain to a great extent the absence of more ambitious legislation in the large collection of Novgorod legal sources known to us.1.A. . As suggested by A. which for obvious reasons was written into the 1471 text. 404ff. Moskva/Leningrad. M.D. 1946. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. S. 1947. after the battle of the Shelon’ river and the subsequent peace treaty of Korostyn’. Medieval Russian Laws. but. Vladimirskii-Budanov. Novgorod’s role as an independent agent in North-Eastern Europe was over. Vol. New York. as related above. After its defeat in 1471 at the Shelon’ River in a battle against the Muscovite army. 373-396.11 Its final compilation probably took place during the second half of the 12th century or the early years of the 13th century. See. the Charter concerns mainly procedural law and provides only a very fragmentary picture of the law of Novgorod as an independent state. Novgorod’s Legal System The most comprehensive legislative document from medieval Novgorod is the Charter of Novgorod. Vernadsky (transl. English translation by G.1. comments and modern Russian translation by A.). Moskva/Leningrad. was ruled from Novgorod. Russian text and English translation in D. The entire empire.V. L. to some extent. which has come down in a single copy. Kaiser (ed. with notes. as the nucleus of a national Russian state during the 15th century signalled. Altogether. 1992. political and military factors led to the loss of its independence. 4. it can be reconstructed by eliminating the dominant position of the Moscow prince. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. 1948. succeeded in securing its independence from Novgorod after a lengthy struggle in 1347. Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava. RZ I. including a number of cities situated therein.266 Law in Medieval Russia the most important.H. the so-called Expanded Pravda. 200-217. refers to the consensus between grand prince Ivan III of Moscow.Peterburg (5th ed.). Only the city of Pskov. The rise of the principality of Moscow. and can therefore be dated in 1471. Salt Lake City. the downfall of Novgorod. Grekov in Krest’iane na Rusi s drevneishikh vremen do XVII veka. 10 11 PRP II. who follows the views put forward in this respect by B. Cherepnin. 83-92.F. Zimin.10 Its final version. 300-320. Vol. 210.

not surprising that the first commercial treaty of Novgorod that has survived spoke of the confirmation of the “old peace [treaty]” (starogo mira).14 It thereby indicated a pattern which was adhered to with great regularity in the course of the following centuries: trade interrupted by conflict. . This legal system is illustrated by a large number of private charters (gramoty). and testaments.The Skra of Novgorod 267 We might assume. therefore. Rybina’s important monograph Inozemnye dvory v Novgorode XII-XVII vv. the Goths.12 The ‘international’ treaties concluded between Novgorod and foreign powers did in some ways affect the domestic law of Novgorod.A. nobody would deny that they did play a role. and the 12 13 14 GVNP. More than twenty are available. 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. in which the merchant and the mercenary commingled effortlessly. with notes and comments by A. Indeed. gifts. we shall return to this topic in the discussion of Novgorod’s relations with the Hanseatic League. Also in PRP II. Zimin. 1986. 10-51. This subject is treated at length in E. 5.. Most of these are deeds of sale. 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. The first treaty. therefore. Novgorod’s Trade with the Hanseatic League13 Trading relations between Russian and other Baltic Coast nations go back to prehistoric times. Their contents are brief and they concern chiefly certain aspects of civil law (GVNP being the chief publication).A. 55. Moskva. from 1264 to 1471. was concluded between Novgorod on one side and “the sons of the Germans. It is. 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. esp. 24ff. that Novgorod’s legal system during the period of its independence was based on customary law and the Expanded Pravda. GVNP. solved by a treaty which promised a return to the peaceful relations of the past. dated between 1189 and 1199. 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. 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. 124-131.


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.


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

but very soon this place was taken over by Lübeck.cit. to be in partnership with them. German merchants.Peter. the leading position was taken by the city of Visby.cit. the prison. Initially.43 The exclusive legislative competence of the League was maintained throughout the entire period. The Hanseatic League itself was hierarchically superior to the St. it was the League that negotiated with the Russians concerning the rights and the position of the Court of St. III art.81). op. This development is extensively discussed by Rybina (op. 151-155.276 Law in Medieval Russia latter were used. IIIb art. Certain other specialized buildings are also referred to by their Russian names in the Skra. The Skra forbade individual German merchants to bring in more than 1000 marks in cash (IIIa art. however. and interest through the ages. VI art. and Dorpat (also called Iur’ev.68. there were very noticeable shifts in power. the Germans brought many different kinds of textiles. there are quite a number of provisions in the Skra. An important factor determining many details of the legal regulation of the German community in Novgorod was the character of GermanRussian trade. On the German side.. V art. In its relations with the Russians. This was based predominantly on barter. V art.6.83). The League.. op.11. as mentioned. the overseas cities gradually relaxed their grip and were increasingly replaced by the Baltic cities of Riga. they are designated as klete or potklete in the Skra.10[12].10. or forbade additions or emendations in the Skra without the permission of the principal Hanseatic cities (IV art. the present-day Tartu). were forbidden to engage in commission trade for English. 118-124.cit. when needed. 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.Peter’s Court.cit) and Kazakova (op. IIIa art. trading with the Russians was subject to many restrictions. Reval (also called Tallinn or Kolyvan’). Flemish or Walloon merchants.60 and 64. VI art. Not a few of these were aimed at protecting the monopolistic position of the Hanseatic merchants on the Novgorod market. for housing visiting merchants and their personnel.117.89).138. of which the Russians and the Hanseatic League were the other two corners. or to act as brokers between them and Russian merchants (III art. V art. During the 15th century. especially in the 42 43 Riesenkampf.81). . by virtue of the numerous regulations in the Skra. Nevertheless. from Russian klet’ and podklet. was by no means a monolithic body. The German community in Novgorod represented one corner of a triangular relationship. such as the gridenisse or guardroom and the pogribbe (pogreb). Nikitskii. influence.). for instance. traditionally considered to consist of an association of 73 cities.42 The principal Russian exports were skins and furs of various kinds and beeswax (for making candles).

A special position was occupied by the priest.71 (=V art. who would occasionally act as the scribe.45 They appointed their own deputies. resulting from the regulatory activity of the German community in Novgorod itself. that the Court of St.Peter itself. This body. They were the chief judicial and administrative officers of the community. forbidding the selling of beer in the Gothic Court. from Lübeck or from Visby. the consent of the cities is mentioned.Peter were the aldermen and the assembly. eligibility alternating between the two cities (V art. judicial and executive functions were carried out by the two aldermen of St. the nightwatchmen.” Above. 46 Skra VI art. we have pointed to the treaty of 1439.Peter belonged to the general assembly of the merchants.Peter became fused. Certain administrative. which was not concluded on the German side by the Hanseatic cities.The Skra of Novgorod 277 later editions.Peter were appointed by the alderman of the court. exercized certain legislative functions. . e.44 This is obliquely confirmed by the Skra itself (V art. Indeed. there were two.Peter would not engage in drawing up its own regulations. the functions of alderman of the court and alderman of St. the guard of the court.g. The highest position among the Germans in Novgorod was occupied by the alderman of the court (olderman des hoves).Peter.Peter. The principal agents of the Court of St. From Skra VI (art. implying that trivial matters could well be handled locally. called the stevene.82) and Skra V art. of honey (Honichvinder).117 could be mentioned. Frequently. of wax (Wasvinder). as pointed out before. or the merged offices of the aldermen of the court and the aldermen of St. They were also appointed by the alderman of the court. the church guard. Skra V art.131 speak of “both aldermen”.1 the aldermen of St. The highest authority within the Court of St. especially if they were urgently required or of a technical nature. such as the Hovesknecht. especially Skra IV-V is rich in this type of local ordinance. the Vogt. Skra V art. Other specialized functions included the inspectors of textiles (Wantvinder). in view of the difficulty of communication. and to whose housing and maintenance the Skra devoted several articles. according to Skra I-II art. it would seem unlikely. and the Vorstender. there was only one. Initially. of wine (Winvinder). it is not clear whether in these cases the two aldermen of the court are meant. According to Skra III art.2).109: “mit vulbort der meynen steden.76). and acted as the appeal court for judicial decisions of 44 45 As an example. and others.46 At a later stage. It is not at all clear whether in all such cases the agreement of the competent Hanseatic authorities was obtained.1 they were elected by the general assembly. 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. but by the Court of St. took various administrative decisions. A number of lower officials and their duties are mentioned in the Skra.3) on.

Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der deutschen Hanse. usually called knape or knechte in the Skra. A minimum occupation of six merchants and nine knechte was required to keep the church open (V art. Their relationships were regulated in the Skra and the junior merchants were not without influence or status in the community. Behrmann. together with a somewhat later edition by G. Occasionally.G. they were eligible to certain offices. G. the stevene tried serious criminal cases itself (esp. a higher occupancy was allowed. N.29). The dwelling houses in the Court of St.G. The Skra of Novgorod and its Different Versions The earliest publication of the Skra was in 1828 in Copenhagen by H. one was obliged to proceed to the election of aldermen (VI art. Riesenkampf ’s Dorpat dissertation on the 47 48 49 H. When there were thirty merchants present in Novgorod. Only independent merchants.Peter were supposed to house no more than thirty merchants and their following (V art. Copenhagen.3).278 Law in Medieval Russia other functionaries. Behrmann. and then there must have been ships’ crews and the personal servants of the merchants. were apprenticed to senior. 1830. Frensdorff. When the church had to be closed. the German population did not consist only of merchants and their limited number of knechte. who were not in the service of other merchants.F. Hamburg. Several provisions of the Skra give an impression of the numerical strength of the German commercial community in Novgorod. .George (V art. Obviously. Vols. the monastery of St. With the permission of the aldermen.38. 9. 1828. See note 1.47 This edition was used in many 19th century German and Russian historical studies. theft). the keys were handed over for safe-keeping to the bishop of Novgorod or the abbot of St. independent merchants. better known as the Iur’ev monastery.48 The most important 19th century study on the Skra was by F. the surplus would have to be housed in the Gothic Court or in private houses of Russians. who devoted two long articles to it in 1887. Otherwise. Junior merchants.49 Of the older Russian works which pay much attention to the Skra. Sartorius in his history of the Hanseatic League. Various kinds of craftsmen are mentioned in the Skra. were fully-fledged members of the stevene. Attendance at the stevene was compulsory and absentees were fined.36).George.1-2. Sartorius. was one of the oldest Russian monasteries and was located south of the city). De Scra van Nougarden.

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

Skra V incorporated almost the entire text of Skra IV. after its restoration in 1514. Pronshtein.e. The latter.. Skra VI was mainly a reworking of Skra V. unlike their predecessors. dated 1370 and 1371.56 Several times during the 16th century the Court was occupied by the Russians.Peter in Novgorod. tried very hard to argue that annexation by Moscow was a good thing for Novgorod. Berezhkov. The fourth and fifth Skra. never regained its former economic vigour. who in his Velikii Novgorod v XVI veke. .cit.. and especially from IIIa and IIIb. with a few additions. 256-264. Three final provisions (arts. 93-98. The seventh Skra need only be mentioned as an epilogue to the history of the Court of St. and then submitted for approval to the League. it was completely destroyed and sacked. several German merchants were incarcerated by the prince and their goods were seized.280 Law in Medieval Russia shorter law. but had an additional number of about thirty articles. op. designated as Skra IIIb. Its initial version was probably drawn up in 1373. As the text of the Skra (i. Even A.Peter was closed in 1494. fifth and sixth Skra are also closely related to each other.cit. All three were drafted in Novgorod. Khar’kov.Peter where it was traditionally kept. but the vast majority of the provisions were new. In 1541. II and III.P.55 The conflict was finally resolved by the treaty of 1514. Schlüter concluded from internal evidence that editorial work on Skra IV must have been begun after 1355 and completed before 1361. further Riesenkampf. a long period of controversy between the Hanseatic cities and Moscow ensued. Kazakova. on this period. 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. The fourth Skra contained a number of borrowings from Skra I. 262-337 and also the article by the same author quoted in note 53. does not succeed in demonstrating that it had a positive effect on Novgorod’s trade with Europe. Its first article clearly explained the political and international circumstances of its enactment. must have been appended subsequently. Skra IIIb is dated 1346. see 128-138. under the guidance of the envoys from the leading Hanseatic cities. 1957. but several new provisions were inserted during the following twenty years. was drawn up by the assembly of the Hanseatic cities. After Novgorod had lost its independence and was incorporated into the empire of the Muscovy grand prince. Two of its nine articles are inspired by provisions from Skra IIIa. Skra V) had disappeared from the church of St. op. especially the fourth and the fifth. The fourth. An important factor in the failure to 55 56 See. The Court of St.117-119). the remainder are new provisions.

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

”) A similar rule is found in Skra II and II. unless it is clear that he had a valid reason to dismiss him. he ene brenge ene weder. an apprentice shall equally not part from his master. id ene sy also merclike zaeke. This example has been given to demonstrate the mechanism of change and growth. If it would happen that the apprentice falls ill.” (“When. according to Skra II and III. or. in Skra V. moreover. 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”). This connection has been firmly established by Frensdorff and Schlüter. have undoubtedly been taken over from the written law of Lübeck. In other words. dar ene de here myt rechte mochte vorwysen. The intervening texts of Skra II and III show clearly how this rule originated. he may not dismiss him. his master may not dismiss him for that reason. 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. unless with the consent of his master. which has contributed to the shaping of the subsequent versions of the Skra.1064). is missing in Skra IV. the contract between master and apprentice could be terminated in case of illness of the latter. the new rule covers any voyage to Novgorod.282 Law in Medieval Russia a valid reason to dismiss him. beyond the specific case of illness. id ene sy myt willen synes heren. Here we find after the almost unaltered copying of the text of the first Skra. . In many cases this mechanism may explain the origins of particular provisions in the later Skras. of course. he ene mach ene nych vorwysen. otherwise. If an apprentice suffers an accident or an illness. Of these. 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. other German cities. The solution to this problem is best approached in a roundabout way. dat deme knaepe zukedage to komen. by looking first at the second Skra. dar he ene nam. This innovation was generalized then. ok ene sal een knaepe des gheliken van syneme heren nycht scheeden. not only watervart. and it would appear pointless to 57 See the works quoted in note 1.57 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. another fifty-five provisions (arts. umme dat mach ene syn here nycht vorwysen. Isset ok zaeke. then his master may not dismiss him for that reason. but returns in Skra V in the following shape: “Vortmer dar een mesterman enen knapen entfeyt uppe de vart to Nougarden wart. a master receives an apprentice for the voyage to Novgorod. It does not answer. but must take him back from where he took him. provided both sides agreed to this. about forty and possibly a few more. occasionally.”) As can be seen.

do not prove that no older Skra preceded Skra I. the relations between masters and apprentices (knape). Nazarova. as they had emerged more or less spontaneously in the past. to my knowledge.e. or between somervart and wintervart (I art. These laws were strongly influenced by medieval German law but retained a number of indigenous features.1-9b) can be traced clearly to the law of Lübeck or other Hanseatic cities. which in fact were preceded by earlier texts. 1980. Skra III (consisting mainly of Skra II. by themselves.58 To return to the first Skra: none of its few provisions (arts. 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. and contributions to the general funds. V. ������������������������������������������������������������������ Whether there are any parallels between the Skra and the contemporary law of the Baltic territories is an approach nobody has yet attempted. suggest that Skra I is based on a written rendering of local custom. Skra II. and the shorter laws known as Skra IIIa and IIIb (enacted resp. 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”). Skra I (incorporated into Skra II and III). the relations between somervart and wintervart when their sojourns in Novgorod overlap. one could mention the regulation of relations between lantvart and watervart (I art. Frensdorff. They do. however. 8. guard duty. provisions taken over from the domestic law of the Hanseatic cities (esp.59 In this connection he refers to the words from its preamble: “[…] recht. of customary law origin).2). Schlüter regards Skra I as the oldest version. Vol. mainly regulating the internal civil and criminal law of the 58 59 In similar vein. In the absence of evidence pointing in another direction. E. the following components can be identified: Skra I (basic organizational arrangements of the Court of St.). and similar provisions.3). because the same words are repeated in the preambles of Skra II and Skra III. “«Livonskie Pravdy» kak istoricheskii istochnik”. i. These words. based on customary law.The Skra of Novgorod 283 look for any more distant origins. 25.1.T.Peter. Moskva. shortly before and after Skra III). . Schlüter. Indeed. Pashuto (ed. When we look at the entire complex of the first three Skras. Lübeck). 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. with the addition of a few articles at the end of the text). 5-218 (also contains Low Middle German and Russian texts of the various laws). Cf. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR 1979 god.L. housing. the convocation of the assembly (stevene). As an example.

”. also: I.E. 1979. some of it probably based on customary arrangements having emerged gradually during the development of the settlement.A. the influence of the treaties on the Skra is felt in the absence of certain provisions in the Skra. 125. four mark kune was equal to one silver mark (grivna serebra). Leningrad. potcleit. 62 63 The equation of one mark silver to four mark kune (grivna kune. Kisterev. 251-258. and forming the bulk of the provisions of Skra II and III. 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. and Skra IIIa and IIIb in their entirety. lies at the basis of article 4 of Skra IIIb.”. gridenisse) have already been mentioned. 59-84.63 On a more substantive level.L. which was equal to the Russian grivna kun. kak torgovali dosele novgorodtsy»”. 1982. Kleinenberg. the silver mark had increased to eight mark kune (this seems to have been the case already at the time of Skra III). there is a series of terms denoting various types of furs and skins (troynisse.62 in later times.). In a negative sense.60 Russian influence is undeniable in the terminology of the Skra. The currency system of the Skra is discussed at length by Schlüter.284 Law in Medieval Russia Novgorod settlement. Schlüter. made in the treaty of 1301. The Skra has a few scattered 60 61 In line with a certain tradition of pre-revolutionary Russian scholarship.148154. cleit. PRP II. Leningrad. Of special importance is the occurrence of the Russian monetary unit of kune. 58. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. 122-126 (Index). doynisse.cit.61 Fifty kune made up one mark kune. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. because it helps to link up the Russian and German monetary systems. “O denezhnykh edinitsakh v «Pamiati. Names of localities (pogribbe. Then. but of the Russian-German treaties may be observed in a few instances.N. 131. L. See. popplen). schevenisse. Ianin. not of Russian law. “Den’gi v Novgorode na rubezhe XIV-XV vv. “K istorii formirovaniia novgorodskoi denezhnoi sistemy XV v. 1994. op. the intriguing question poses itself of possible borrowings from Russian law. the influence. The last mentioned category includes the new provisions of Skra III (as compared with Skra II). S. Tom XI. . With regard to those provisions of the first three Skras which do not have a North German origin. legislation specially adapted to the requirements of the Novgorod settlement. Tom XIII. V. Initially. which uses a considerable number of Russian words. Torgovlia i predprinimatel’stvo v feodal’noi Rossii [Golikova Festschrift]. This is especially noticeable in regard of the relations between Germans and Russians. Moskva. concerning those subjects which had already been covered by the treaties. Timoshina (ed. viz.. cf. such a possibility is rejected emphatically by Nikitskii.

pulling or pushing somebody. In my opinion.The Skra of Novgorod 285 provisions on this subject.3 and 10). battery. also. in which the extensive older literature is cited. Russkaia Pravda. the system of the 1191 treaty is unmistakably based on the Russkaia Pravda. de sal beteren anderhalven verding silveres […]” (“If a man hits another on the ears. Schlüter points to a parallel in Lübeck law where orslage is mentioned together with two other minor instances of violence against the person. 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. but contains similar formulas for related offences. 1950. Cf. he schal eme beteren 3 verdhinge” (“If a man hits another on his ear or his neck. This formula is also reminiscent of the Russkaia Pravda. because it occurs in all four sources mentioned. which does not envisage this particular offence. 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. some influence of the Russian tariff system on the system of the Skra is probable.66 64 65 66 Schlüter. 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. Frensdorff. S. 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. with the treaty of 1269. See. which provides: “Slet en man dhen andern an sin ore ofte an sinen hals. such as hitting with a fist or blunt object.1.64 There is a closer parallel. 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. 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. he shall pay 3 verdings”). Vol. all know a system of fixed fines for particular offences. the various versions of the Skra. Moskva. Equally. and inflicting injuries. however. but difficult to prove. (Short Pravda. there are numerous parallels between the law of Lübeck and the Skra on this point. arts. . the basic Russian-German treaty of 1191. he shall pay one and a half verding […]”). etc. but none of them repeat what had already been regulated by the treaties. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda in this work. The older Russian laws such as the Russkaia Pravda. Iushkov. devoted an entire chapter to this subject. and the German laws on which the earlier Skras are based in good part. As mentioned before.V. 16-17. 87.

the case would be decided in Novgorod and the new rule inserted in the Skra. 111-113 (also includes Russian text). op. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota.).cit. Salt Lake City. the decision of the latter would be incorporated in the Skra. 443. Along with the many parallels in German law. 397-407.cit. Article 68 addressed itself to uncertainty of the law in a specific lawsuit. 57-60..cit. advising the insertion of a new clause accordingly. 87-105. Again it is difficult to say with certainty what the origin of the respective provisions in the Skra (III arts. 1992. op.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. are of an earlier. 408-447.). 321-386. Cherepnin. of which the first sentence provides: “And if any provision of customary law is missing in this charter. One of the provisions of Skra III which is not based on Lübeck law. 1951. English translation in Vernadsky. followed by a translation into modern Russian. at least for repeated theft. the final version of which was probably enacted between 1462 and 1467. art. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vv. On the Charter of Dvina Land see.D. op.68 Several parts of this law. article 108 of the Pskov Charter comes to mind. See.. they should write to the council of Lübeck. Cherepnin.67 A similar rule occurs in the Charter of Pskov (art. 1947.. . as well as in the Skra is the requirement of two witnesses in certain law-suits. 14th century origin. in PRP II.V. in such a case the proceedings would be suspended until the councils of Lübeck and Visby would have ruled on the question in dispute. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. as “the Lord Novgorod”] at the city assembly. Article 60 provided that if the German merchants in Novgorod were unsure about the existence of a certain rule. 1948.. and (with Russian text) in Kaiser.” (Vernadsky’s translation. 162-164.20 and 61) is. Kaiser (ed. Cherepnin. L.cit. Martysevich. and in RZ II.1.8). Then. 180-186. and also in D. Vol. This provision remotely resembles a provision from the Charter of Dvina Land from 1397.H. also in I.10). 286-324 and in RZ I. Medieval Russian Laws. and article 8 is usually considered as among these earlier elements. the Russkaia Pravda (Short Pravda. 69 Text of the Charter of Pskov. English translation in G. article 66. 61-82.) This rule covers the same situation as the one envisaged in 67 68 Text of the Charter of Dvina Land in PRP III. Moskva.286 Law in Medieval Russia Another example of a legal institution which is found in Lübeck law. also. Vernadsky (transl. however.Peter.V.. also in GVNP. New York. which for the first time introduced capital punishment in Russian law for theft. the mayor may refer the matter to Lord Pskov [the traditional title of the city. prescribes capital punishment for the thief who had already been banished (for previous thefts) from the Court of St. op. also. Moskva/Leningrad. 144-146.

and “This decree was made in the year N after the birth of God. Some of these decrees contain a single provision only. and this results in a decision which not only settles the dispute.e. the sequences I-II-IIa-III-IIIb and IV-V-VI. Pskovskaia Sudnaia gramota i ee vremia. Razvitie feodal’nykh otnoshenii na Rusi XIV-XV vv. but also adds something to the Skra. but also the procedural one: there is something like an intermediate cassational appeal to the mother-cities. Altogether. The next question concerns the relationship between the first and second series of the Skra. So. four provisions from Skra IIIa and six from Skra IIIb return in Skra IV-V. 21. .70 but whether there is any connection with article 60 of Skra II is hard to say. (c) the shorter additional laws known as Skra IIIa and IIIb are comparatively important sources for Skra IV-V. Article 108 of the Charter of Pskov is regarded as belonging to its oldest chronological layer.Peter’s Court. such as rules regulating the election of aldermen. on such-and-such a day” (“Dusse wilkor wart ghemaket na Godes bord […]”) at the end of the last provision. if. 70 Iu. 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.G. as we have argued. The intermediate provisions normally start with the word “Further” (“Vortmer”). but there are also clusters of provisions which are internally related and connected with a single date. Alekseev. 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. 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. Leningrad. 1980. 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.The Skra of Novgorod 287 article 60 of Skra II: an hiatus in the law. this makes sense. while article 68 of Skra III embraces not only this legislative aspect. Skra I is primarily concerned with certain basic rules regarding the organization of St. (b) a comparatively small number (about ten) of provisions from Skra II-III reappear in Skra IV-V. i..

in an apparent effort to prevent small-scale trade which could undercut the trade of the merchants themselves. needles by the hundred. which solidified into specific enactments.. but clearly no urgent need was felt to regulate the commercial activities themselves.31) concerning breaches of the peace in certain public places (the guardhouse.Gregory. 23. instead.” (“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. For instance. the churchyard. particularly in the Expanded Pravda and in the Charter of Pskov. were forbidden to sell goods in quantities below a certain minimum: blue yarn by pounds. op. Skra II-III contains a single rule (art. on the basis of earlier laws and. perhaps. or of trade.”) The rules in this fragment concerned two subjects: the internal order of the German Court and the regulation of trade. these specific enactments were collected and strung together into a more comprehensive piece of legislation. There is plenty of evidence in medieval Russian law for the importance of commerce.72 71 72 Nikitskii. The rules for conducting trade in Skra IV-V are also indicative of the great distrust in which the Russian trading partners were held.. characterized by an almost complete absence of such regulation in the Middle Ages. They offer much more detailed regulation of matters covered in a more general manner in the earlier Skras.41). The fragment referred to in the preceding paragraph is typical in another aspect as well. What appears to have happened is that. When Skra IV and V were drafted.cit. 144. op. for instance. dat schach in ener meynen stevene myt vullbort des meynen dutschen copmans na der bord unses Heren MCCCLIIII in sunte Gregorius dage. etc. the great stove). This is also pointed out by Berezhkov.288 Law in Medieval Russia One of the longest and best identifiable fragments begins at Skra V article 10 and ends at article 31.cit. 138-140. Skra IV-V on the contrary goes to extremes in prescribing the German merchants of Novgorod how and how not to buy and sell.71 Merchants’ apprentices. The latter provision offers a good insight into the legislative technique of the later Skras. . With regard to trade regulation. Skra IV-V has several provisions dealing with behaviour in the church alone (arts. the approach of the later Skras is strongly at variance with Russian practice. 25).10. custom as well. It provides: “Dat dusse olden dink vor up eyn nyghe dink vorgaddert synt. 22. 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 church. new and more detailed customs developed. (Skra V art. 18. makes the same observation. other textiles by half lengths.

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

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

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


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

Pamiatniki obychnogo prava Dagestana XVIIXIX vv.II-2/2.II-1/1. Komarov. the aspect of legal history is minimal. obychnoe pravo osetin v istoriko-sravnitel’nom izuchenii. Kh. “Adaty i sudoproizvodstvo po nim (Materialy dlia statistiki dagestanskoi oblasti)”. a measure of political independence until they were gradually absorbed into the Russian empire in the course of the 19th century.1 However.2 The main legislative documents of Armenia and Georgia have been translated into English. Leontovich. “Obychnoe pravo kak istochnik dlia izucheniia sotsial’nykh otnoshenii u narodov Severnogo Kavkaza v XVIII–nachala XIX v. Also. 1927. French or German and have been cited below at the appropriate places. (Vol. 1948. Gardanov. 1868 (repr. No. 1883. Moskva.I-2/1. Tiflis. 1935. these studies concern customary law as it has been observed and described in recent times. Moskva. 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. . 2 vols.1). Bd. M.5.I-1. 1905.K. 1934.. 2. Kodeks zakonov Ummu-Khana avarskogo. Khashaev. Saidov. Gardanov. Karst. Dzh. Vol. The Literature Among West-European scholars. 1959. Khashaev & M. Kh. Materialy po obychnomu pravu kabardintsev pervoi poloviny XIX v.I.I-2/2. Band 1: Mittelarmenisches Rechtsbuch. 1992). Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh. These are home to a bewildering variety of small nations and ethnic groups. published several studies (including translations) on some of the major monuments of the medieval law of Armenia and Georgia. Shunaev. Vyp. in Verbindung mit dem grossarmenischen Rechtsbuch des Mechitar Gosch. 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.. Strassburg. Code du roi Georges V. Karst. “Prisiaga po obychnomu pravu osetin”.V. Strasbourg: Code du Vakhtang VI. 1960. Makhachkala. 1937. Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh. Moskva. J. many of whom were able to maintain. the Chechens and other “mountain peoples” (gortsy) being the best-known example. 1956.M. Vol. Code d’Aghbougha. a professor at the university of Strassburg (as it then was). Codes médiévaux de la Géorgie. 1939. 1882 (Vol. albeit precariously. II. Khashaev.M. 1-88.7. Vol. M. Adaty kumykov. Sovremennyi obychai i drevnii zakon.1..II-2/1. Kh. Code d’Aghbougha. Moskva. 1886. J.M.2). 1873. Karst. Vol. F. Adaty kavkazskikh gortsev: Materialy po obychnomu pravu Severnogo i Vostochnogo Kavkaza. 1938. Nal’chik. 1965. Corpus Iuris Ibero-Caucasici. V.2. Text und Übersetzung. Sempadscher Kodex.294 Law in Medieval Russia adjoining regions to the North. V.S.”.K. Makhachkala. Tiflis. Sovetskaia Etnografiia. Vol. Odessa. Kovalevskii. Première section: Droit national géorgien codifié. Kommentar. Gidatlinskie adaty. Joseph Karst has made the most important contribution to the literature on the subject of Transcaucasian legal history. Alibekov.M. Vol. 1 2 A. Commentaire. Vyp.

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

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

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

The Law of the Armenian Kingdoms* As indicated above. Paichadze. 607.5 An Armenian translation of 4 G.). 1983. Ani capitale de l’Arménie en l’an mil. Georgievskii traktat [commentary]. Bozoyan. “Le droit médiéval arménien. 5. Manzakert (726). Upon the death of the latter two years later. Georgia regained its independence in December 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. * 5 With grateful acknowledgment of Professor J. all-Armenian catholicos (the supreme head of the Armenian church) from 387-439.). Weitenberg’s (Leiden University) bibliographical help for this section. G.J. 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. entre droit canon et droit coutumier”. in 1859. Širakawan (862).298 Law in Medieval Russia for protection against the threat posed by Persian ambitions. Georgia became independent and retained this status precariously for another three years. . Georgievskii Traktat [text]. Erevan. until the Red Army put an end to it in February 1921. kanonagirk’). At the end of the First World War. Tbilisi.G. the most important collections were published by V. Paichadze (ed. in R. concluded the treaty of Georgievsk with Russia (1783). The early Christian period and the Bagratuni period produced mainly a body of ecclesiastical prescriptions which constituted an important source of later secular legislation. and the Cilician Armenian kingdom (1080-1375). such as those of Dvin (551.4 Irakli was succeeded by his son Giorgi XII in 1798. Ecclesiastical rules were collected in books of canons (Arm. the remote mountain region of Svanetia the last. in which he renounced all links with Persia and recognized the Russian empress as his suzerain and protector. The first formal collection appeared under catholicos Yovhannes III (between 717 and 728). The kingdom of Imeretia was annexed in 1810 and other parts of Georgia in the course of the 19th century. It was especially the latter which has left an impressive legal heritage. 2001. of which several versions are known.S. 719). Tbilisi. Kanonagirk’ Hayots. and the resolutions of various Armenian church synods. but annexed Kartlia-Kakhetia to the Russian empire. Worthy of mention are the canons of Saak Partev. 1971 (quoted from A. Kevorkian (ed. the Russian government did not allow his eldest son David to ascend the throne. and Hromkla (1179). Hakobian.G. 145-149). 1983. it had already de facto withdrawn from the USSR some months earlier. Paris.

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

Leo’s daughter Isabella was only 4 years old and the kingdom was ruled by a regent. and the Penitential of David of Sanjak. generally. This resulted in the concurrent jurisdiction of the Muslim courts of the rulers and the jurisdiction of the Armenian bishops.1208) commander-in-chief of the army (sparapet. 27-29. Thomson. The latter enjoyed considerable popularity with the Armenian population. Konstantin Pail. prince of Antioch. a son of Bohemond. 36. Sempadscher Kodex. 7. a Georgian translation was used.W. See. was then married to Isabella and accepted as king in 1226. resulting in a Mongolian-Armenian 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 J.300 Law in Medieval Russia domination. Sukasian. The Lawcode [Dastanagirk’] of Mxit’ar Goš. also known as gundstabl’.15 As a result.G. GA. Philip fell out with the Armenian nobles and was killed in 1225. Leviticus.11 Mkhitar Gosh began his work on the Code in 1184. He spent three years heading an Armenian delegation to the Mongolian great khan in Karakorum (1248-1250). Erevan. Karst. the organization of the Code appears chaotic to a modern reader.14 The system of the Code (the sequence of the sections) is based on the various sources used. died out in the male line with Leo II (1187-1219).). Thomson. 1969. . the most powerful nobleman in the country. Band 2.12 The oldest copy extant dates from 1237.10 and the Code of Gosh was written with the strengthening of the Armenian courts as one of the avowed purposes. Isabella was first married off in 1221 to Philip. Exodus. Konstantin appointed his elder son Smbat (b. The Rubenid dynasty which had ruled the Cilician kingdom since Ruben I (10801095). A. 21-22. Cf. The Code of Smbat Sparapet The author of this Code.13 The principal sources of the Code of Gosh are the Pentateuch. a corrupted form of the French connétable or ‘constable’). also known as the Mosaic laws in the terminology of the period (the Old Testament books of Genesis. In Georgia. Thomson. Thomson. Khetum (b. 23ff. R.16 He served as commander-in-chief of the Armenian army for fifty years and died in battle in 1276. was Smbat.1213). the Armenian collection of church canons (the Kanonagirk’). elder brother of the Cilician king Khetum I (1226-1269). 2000. 350. The reasons given by Gosh for drafting his Code are discussed by Thomson. according to its preamble. Istoriia Kilikiiskogo armianskogo gosudarstva i prava (XI-XIV vv. 14. Thomson. and a Latin version was in use among the Armenian diaspora in Poland. Numeri and Deuteronomium). The Code of Mkhitar Gosh was used for centuries by the Armenian diaspora. Amsterdam/Atlanta. A younger son of Konstantin Pail. 20.

I-II. Sudebnik). etc. A Russian translation by A. (71) Jurisdiction over ecclesiastical personnel. criminal law. however.4. according to its preamble. royal privileges. vineyards. written in 1269. 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. shepherds.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. They were translated back into French and published by G. the order of succession. (3-4) Rights concerning gold and silver mining. (5-7) Various offences against persons. 60: listing of ecclesiastical ranks. religious duties. (40: dissolution of marriage if one spouse has been carried off into slavery. . by A. mills. (2) High treason and other felonies committed by princes and other vassals. offences affecting such duties.) (70) Jurisdiction over kings. No. (8-69) All sorts of provisions concerning the church. (72-93) Matrimonial law and sexual offences. Sukasian. He also translated the law code of the neighbouring Crusader principality of Antioch into Armenian. Alishan in 1876. was written in 1265. etc.A. Karst. were lost until the Armenian translation of (or ascribed to) Smbat were found. (99-104) Pledge and security. (172-175) Boundaries. 1971 (hereafter: Sukasian. This work gives the Armenian text. (97-98/105) Family law. mentioned above. Sukasian (transl. I have used the latter: A. church dignitaries. Papovian appeared in Vestnik Matenadarana. Galstian and A. Sudebnik Smbata Sparapeta (Gundstablia) 1265 g. the royal court. The most complete edition is the two-volume work by J. and a German translation. (94-96) Intestate succession. There are several other Armenian editions and two Russian editions. foreword and comments). Erevan. 1958. 1841.17 and is known as the author of a short memoir Išatarakan.G. The Assises d’Antiochie. with different variants. The Law Code should be considered as his principal work. The Law Code. princes and nobles. Paris. as well as ranks at the royal court. delicts and various offences.A. (113-118) Testaments..G. church property. (106-112) Commercial law. (119-171) Damages.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 301 treaty of friendship.

19 20 21 Cf. dealing with the king. a matter which is also regulated elsewhere in the Code. In outlining the king’s duties as supreme judge. the author of the Code frequently explains what he has done. an aspect which was largely absent in the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. given above. the law of Antioch. the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. the approach to systematization is usually associative: the rule written down appears to remind the legislator of a related but different situation. (Of course. This is quite obvious in the lengthy first provision. is itself based in large part on ecclesiastical prescriptions.XXXII of the “Einleitung”. according to Karst. especially from Deuteronomium. which Smbat himself had translated) is noticeable. the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. easy to become lost in casuistry. Karst.19 Certain rules of a secular nature are probably derived from customary law. As is often observed in medieval legislation. 12-22. The brief survey of the contents. but also of a practical legal nature. and he proceeds to enunciate how this second case should be dealt with. Sukasian.1. already indicates that a serious effort had been made to organize the raw legislative material into a structured whole. J. p. as mentioned before. Karst. by moving from one case to another related one. Vol. while Smbat attempted to offer a law which was closer to the every-day reality of the Cilician kingdom. Vol.XXI-XXIV of the “Einleitung”. It is. was too much based on imported and theoretical concepts. indicating thereby that he was in fact doing more than just translating. how he has combined rules derived from different sources. 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. Sudebnik.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.) Some direct influence of Byzantine law and the law of the Crusader states (esp. etc. p. In his preamble. J. how he has changed old rules and for what reasons. Additionally. He adds that he has tried to catch the essence of the text and to summarize this. the Code goes into considerable detail about the law of homicide. Karst has argued that the reason for Smbat’s reworking of the Code of Mkhitar Gosh was not only linguistic. of course.20 Sukasian elaborates this observation by pointing out that Smbat’s Code takes the feudal character of the Armenian Cilician society into account. 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.1.302 Law in Medieval Russia By far the most important source of the Code of Smbat was the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. how he has shortened provisions taken over from other sources. .1 of the “Vorwort” and pp.

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

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

Cf.34 and 27 28 Epitome Syntagmatis Matthaei Blastaris ad Hexabiblum Harmenopouli mutati.30 It survived for a long time in the Near East.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 305 of Harmenopoulos.28 The Armenian laws used by Vakhtang included the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. This law is preserved as a sequel to the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga (to be discussed below). On p. 31 Others defend a date around 476-477. but is in fact of a much older date. 1985. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. The place of Bagrat’s Law in comparative legal history is briefly discussed in the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings”. 116-118. It was usually reserved for members of the imperial family. 1964. 84-98. Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/ Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. 1931. 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. 127-221. but much amended afterwards. Geschichte und System des Römischen Privatrechts. On the Syntagma of Blastaris and the Hexabiblos of Harmenopoulos. Les sources du droit byzantin de 300 à 1453. discussed above.31 These “Armenian” laws applied to the numerous Armenians living in the Georgian kingdoms. Institutionen. in areas which at one time had been part of the Byzantine empire. “Iz natsional’nogo zakonodatel’stva korpusa Vakhtanga VI”. See. 34 Russian translation and a short commentary in: D. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger.29 This code. 33 Purtseladze. Historiae iuris graeco-romani delineatio. who sported the title of kuropalates. cf. Lokin. Zur Bedeutung des syrisch-römischen Rechtsbuches. The Armenian version was the basis of the Georgian translation used in Vakhtang’s collection. Purtseladze indicates the major text editions and studies in Georgian. 30 Along with a Syrian (Aramaic) and Arabic version. 120. and the Syro-Roman code which existed in an Armenian version.27 The Hexabiblos (of 1345) was the last major work of Byzantine law and it continued to be in use during Ottoman times. The actual copy of the Syntagma used for the translations is still extant. as a competitor to the legislation of Justinian.32 10. Purtseladze.33 There were four early Georgian rulers by the name of Bagrat. Georgian text of the Law of Bagrat also in Dolidze I. also. 223-389. 16. Groningen. 29 It was initially adopted as a civil code when Greece became an independent kingdom in 1853.Selb. Kuropalates was the fourth highest rank in the official Byzantine hierarchy of the era. 464-470. van der Wall & J. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. Georgian text in Dolidze I. for further references. München/Leipzig. Purtseladze.85. containing elements of Roman law and of native law of the area. München. Cf. W. No. 16. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger. Georgian text of the Code of Mkhitar Gosh and of the Syro-Roman code in Dolidze I. cf. and once the 32 . was first drafted around 370-380. 118. see N. 136-137. Ashot Bagrationi (786-826). until a more or less definitive version emerged in 468. 1985. It had first been given to the founder of the Georgian dynasty. van der Wall & Lokin.4.

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

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

or at some earlier moment. such as Javaxišvili and Dolidze in this respect. Russian translation by V.). were included. and earlier laws. 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. 14. Bilingual (Georgian and Russian) edition in the series “Monuments of Georgian Law”. but was meant specifically. in which legislation from the same period. There is no doubt.308 Law in Medieval Russia the whole kingdom. raises the intriguing question whether a now lost general code of law existed at the time. from the Daryal Gorge (the present border with Russia). 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. 1970. Purtseladze. into the Kartlian heartland. combined with its closeness to the somewhat earlier Law of Beka. Tbilisi. but as it is roughly contemporary with the Law of Giorgi V.44 The extensive data provided by the preamble allow the precise dating of the Law of Giorgi in the year 1335. such as the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga or the Law of Giorgi V. 45 Cf. Rasporiadok tsarskogo dvora.). The Law of Giorgi refers occasionally to what “has been ordained of old” (dzvelitgan gačenili). As it name indicates. If an important general enactment had existed at the time of Giorgi the Brilliant. . cf. for the mountainous regions (Mtiuleti) in the Central Caucasus.43 Its general character is close to the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga. Ulozhenie. 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. one would expect that the memory of it would not have been completely lost at the time Vakhtang VI compiled his collection. but otherwise the question remains open. who follows earlier Georgian historians. it is best discussed at this point. however. Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi. according to its lengthy preamble. Dondua in D. Purtseladze (ed. I. about the strategic importance of the area surrounding the only major road through the Main Range of the Caucasus. for the organization and 43 44 The exact extent of the territory to which Giorgi’s law applied is much disputed. across the Krestovy Pass.D. 11-15. it was found by accident in 1908. Ulozhenie. the Order of the King’s Court is a kind of handbook. Surguladze (ed. along the foothills of Mount Kazbek. There are reasons to believe that at least Giorgi himself did not promulgate such a code. written by somebody close to the king. 10-11. The limited geographical applicability of the Law of Giorgi. 1991. such as those of Bagrat the Kuropalates.I.L. Purtseladze. the upper reaches of the Ksani and Aragvi rivers. Tbilisi. 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 Georgian church.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 309 etiquette of the court of the king of Georgia. No. enacted by the All-Georgian catholicos. Purtseladze in Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. and three lesser ones: the chief constable (mandaturtuxucesi) or minister of internal affairs. No. it provides detailed information on the organization of the Georgian state. together with the catholicos of Abkhazia. The presence and blessing of the All-Georgian catholicos lent it extra authority. The law resulted from a synod of West-Georgian bishops and presumably applied only to that part of the country. It is replaced by the severe penalties. and the chief marshal (msaxurtuxucesi) or minister of the royal household. and 1986. with only a short revival under Giorgi the Brilliant. remained united and to some extent the catholicos stepped into the void created by the disappearance of the central state. The impact of Georgian law is therefore minimal. and the “father-of-the-king” (atabagi). According to the preamble. 1985.47 The law purports to be an excerpt of the Byzantine Nomocanon. the chief treasurer (mečurčletuxucesi) or minister of finance. 59-72. at 85. 84-98. however. like its sister church in Armenia. . Such questions are rarely discussed in medieval legal sources and this makes the Order of the King’s Court a particularly valuable document.4.1. The body of laws collected by Vakhtang VI also contained a general law. who competed in status with the prime-minister. 46 47 The king’s council consisted of three major officials. the collection of Greek ecclesiastical law.L. 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. the commander-in-chief (amirspasalari). 391-397. somewhere around the middle of the 16th century. nothing that was not in the Nomocanon had been added. a position reserved for the archbishop of Chkondidi (therefore also called the Čqondideli). its chief officials and their different responsibilities.46 15. sisxli is mentioned only once in passing. neither was it very different from what was current in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The Law of the Catholicos The golden age under queen Tamara was followed by centuries of disorder and foreign domination. common to Byzantine law. Although it is not a law. at 59-63. Comments and Russian translation by D. the “chief secretary” (mc’ignobartuxucesi) or prime-minister. The division of responsibilities between the chief functionaries of the king’s government may have been inspired by Byzantine and Persian models. Georgian text in Dolidze I.

seven times the value of the stolen property is added. To the sisxli (which. the eastern part of Georgia) in the beginning of the 18th century. admission of guilt. It is addressed to the judges who have to use the Code. It probably restates separate laws which were for some 48 Georgian text in Dolidze I. depended on the social status of the victim). oaths. was the elaboration of a new and comprehensive legislation for the kingdom of Kartlia-Kakhetia (i. partition was a much less prominent topic. 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. A longish second half follows (arts.150-159) still used the payment of sisxli as the standard sanction. to a modern lawyer.116-149). In the older codes of Beka and Aghbuga and of Giorgi V.310 Law in Medieval Russia 16. Tbilisi. the king or the catholicos will determine what the thief will have to pay. A chapter on debts constitutes the third main part (arts.205-270).189-204) is taken up by sundry provisions. The chapter on theft (arts. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. The last sentences are worth quoting: “Whoever thinks of something [new] and remembers it. The tone of the preamble. let him include it and write it down. Then a solemn conclusion follows. is didactic and moralising. presents an amalgam of quite diverse topics. Only in case of theft from the treasury or from the church. duels. 1980. This explains the importance of the rules on partition.e. . Purtseladze. French translation by Karst (see note 2). and this is paid to the victim. which recounts how the Code has been written with great care and which again admonishes judges and everybody else involved in its application.17-97). As debts may be based on a great variety of factors. 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. without any clear attempt at systematization.98-115) regulates partition. testimony of witnesses. Articles 6-14 deal with various kinds of evidence which may be employed to substantiate a claim: ordeals. Russian translation by D. By the time Vakhtang wrote his Code. The next main part (arts. The Law Code of Vakhtang VI48 The reason for the collection of old Georgian laws. 475-532.” The first five provisions of the Code are then devoted to various admonitions to judges. in accordance with tradition.L. this chapter. The general character of the Code was conservative. Artsicles 160-168 regulate sales and the remainder of the first half of the Code (arts. as effected by Vakhtang VI. as before. its innovations reflected primarily the further development of traditional institutions. he will do a good and fitting deed. not to the state.

This defect was to some extent corrected by the promulgation. the kingship of Kartlia eventually came into the hands of another branch of the Bagrationi family. Surguladze.52 49 50 Cf. the casuistic approach is prominent. After Vakhtang. M. a number of new questions had arisen and appropriate solutions were formulated as new rules. bearing the title of Dasturlamali. more or less along the lines of the 14th century Order of the King’s Court. peasants and bondsmen). Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. The Code of Vakhtang VI continued to be applied in Georgia for some time and was translated into Russian. 8. Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. As in most traditional legislation.49 His sons were active as provincial legislators. at about the same time.50 However. Notwithstanding the time of its enactment. Unlike the latter. the kings of Kakhetia. merchants. . and his grandsons Davit and Ivane (the sons of the last king of Kartlia-Kakhetia. Tbilisi. each drafting a law code.). 52 Only a Georgian text is available in the series of “Monuments of Georgian Law”. appended to the first half of the Code. Tbilisi. Dasturlamali The Law Code of Vakhtang hardly dealt with matters concerning the organization of the state. 1970. the annexation of Kartlia-Kakhetia by Russia in 1800 deprived these projects of any practical significance. M. of a new handbook of court regulations. Surguladze (ed. the new handbook. based on a complicated social stratification (various ranks of princes. sud i sudebnyi protsess (Vtoraia polovina XVIII–pervaia polovina XIX v. of whom Irakli II was the most important (king of Kakhetia 1744-1762. Kekelia. nobles.). king of Kartlia-Kakhetia 1762-1798). Tbilisi. The provisions of the Dasturlamali are discussed extensively by Kekelia. Bagrationta samepo saxli [The Royal House of Bagration]. It would seem that by the time the first draft of the Code had been completed.51 It is of special importance on account of the information it offers on the organization of the courts. or new legislation.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 311 reason omitted in the first draft. the Code still portrays a thoroughly feudal society. Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi. 1986. 51 Cf. 17. not only the king himself.I. Giorgi XII) continued the family tradition. I. but also the queen and the royal princes took an active part in the administration of justice. was an official document. The drafters recall certain outstanding cases from the past and include the most desirable solutions in their new law. 1995.

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

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

it also generally enjoyed a higher degree of legal protection by the state than in Georgia.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. Not only did the church figure much more prominently in Armenian law. .

.... 136n............................................... Andrei Vasil’evich (of Volotsk)....68n.. 143 Albrecht (Adalbert.... 101n........M........ von..... 177n Antigone..........84n............................ 225 Andrei Iaroslavich (of Suzdal’)....... 227ff.......................................................xxv Aleksei Mikhailovich (Russian tsar)................................................. 240n Aghbuga.......... 160n.................. 265n Alexander (Byz.................... 304ff...... Albert)...... 194n.. 114ff................. 123n B Bagrat Kuropalates........ 250 Bentham.... M..............221............. V. Bloch.......................... 193 Andrei Ivanovich (of Serpukhov)....... Beneshevich....... Boris Vladimirovich.... K.......... 69................157 Baumgarten............. 231 Berezhkov........................V.................. 213n.......................9n. 306 Bakhrushin............................ G. H...... 239 Antonov........ 295..........13n........ 91 Arogast......................I...... ...............................207 Aristenes.............2 Benveniste............ 305n Askold..227ff.. 34n........... 270n..... K... 19.............2 Avanesov... Barry.................... 175n.. 228 Ankhimiuk.........................................231 Blastaris...... emp...7 Berdibek. A...................................132.... xiiin Boris Aleksandrovich (of Tver’)......................... 175n Baranowski............ 287n Alekseev... N...................................................197n Aleksei (metropolitan of Moscow)............... Akun (Haakon...................... Iu.. 28n Alishan......... emp............xxv........................... nephew of Igor of Kiev)................193.......................... M..................... 213n.............229 Avenarius........ 184 Baty.................... H............ É........... 37n...... 226ff............................................ 219 Aleksandr Kazimirovich (of Lithuania)........18n Amira........................G................ 137n..............................V..144n Blum......297 Alekseev.................. J........ R............7n................................................. 279ff... J......... 246n Austin..................... Iu....... Andrei Vasil’evich (of Uglich)..... 275n..... 147n............ 193 Andrei Iur’evich (of Volynia).......................... 255 Aleshkovskii........ D.............. N....................................... 304ff......................... 231 Aleksei Fedorovich (Russian tsar)...... 45n...... ......... 249........... xxiii........... emp..............59n Avtokratov. M................................................. 221 Aleksandre the Great (of Georgia).................. V.........171n Baranov.. 312 Bagrat III (of Georgia)...... 176n...................... 307ff.. 229 Aleksandr Mikhailovich (of Tver’).... 21.................. 278 Beka.............. 202.202 Andrei Dmitrievich (of Mozhaisk)........................................ 37 ....... 46n Andrei Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir).......Index of Personal Names A Abel........V...................................Kh.... 304ff....197.21n...........N.................)......297 Bagrat IV (of Georgia)....... 55n Behrmann........ 18n........... 183n Binchy........ 238 Bibikov... 44n... 81n........ 135 Bodogast..... 230 Boris Vasil’evich (of Volotsk)........ 22..........V..........199n Andrei Iur’evich Bogoliubskii (of Vladimir).......... 213n....................................V. 255n.....73...................A...................................................................... 200 Attila.. 288n Berman......D.123n.................)..........301n Alkinoos................... M....189ff....................................................205 Biulek............................. 139 Blud......xxv Algra.N......... 62n................................................... J......... 89n.............)............................. L.............28 Agamemnon.................... M............................................................ de... 175n Arbud.................... Matthaeus... 15n Birger II (of Sweden)............................. 307ff............. 269n........ S... ... M...................14n Boguslavskii........ 204...... 304ff.124............202 Aleksandr Iaroslavich Nevskii (of Vladimir and Moscow).......... 40 Alexander II (Russ.190n...................................242n Basil I (Byz.......... G...... ..41 Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir)............................................ D.......14n Ashot Bagrationi........... 251.. 199n....J.........

..144 Dolidze.. 64..... .. G.... 118..... A.....72n Bury................. 131............)....... 308n...158. 230 E Eck.... 194.. N.................... 251 Borisov.....xxin........................................ 211n.................. 172n......G........... 197.................... xx........ 193 Danislav Lazutinich... 213n Cyril II (Russ..... ........................ 211n.......... 80n..... 310n.............................. E.......195ff..... 222...... 131n......M... 299n Brezhnev................................D. 15n Edigei.... J....................... 196n.............................. 25.. 85n........... xiiin Brunner. I...... emp................ 100n Bunge................................. 200 Dmitrii Aleksandrovich (of Novgorod)... xviin Dir...................................................247n Bozoyan...316 Boris (Bulg....... L..... D.. 309n....13n.V........ 163n Constantine the Great (Byz..... 304n.... 28 Clark............................. 253 Chistiakov....... 72 Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (Byz...... ..... 197n.........35......................... 82 Cicero.. J....250 Chadwick...... 188n. 88ff.................... Cohen.....36........ 253ff................. H... N.... 229 Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka (of Galich)................. 274n Burgmann................................ 308n Dounar.................... 248..... xxii............... L.......80n..... 159n....)..........J....... xix.............. 15n D’iakonov.... 34n...................... 299n Dubov. Epifanov.................204............. 307n........... 306n.....297 David of Sanjak.. .... xiiin Cliteur............................... 247 Dobrynia....... 157..................... 295n... 91 Cyrillus............. von.......... .. 248n Eskin..... xiin C Cain.................. 237 Constantine V Copronymus (Byz...... 205ff. 163 Cherepnin... 112n...J............. 244n.............S... H...........................26 Conrad...................... 199.......... ............ 190ff............. 255n Edel.. L.................).............. 162ff................................ 203n... 192..............................28 Catherine II................ S..................................M............................. C................7n........................ 191n.............. F........................................................................... 11n Chaev.. W............B... S........ .164n Butler.............xviin.......V.....M...12.... R.144 David Ol’govich (of Vladimir).. Dylykov.................. I. 221.. xiiin Dewey.34n .... 149n................... 199..... T............... 147n......................... 177................. 66n Chudin... 54n....... 13n.. F........ 97.......... R............................... A................ A...........xxiii.B..... H.................... Iu............ Law in Medieval Russia D Daniil Aleksandrovich (of Moscow)........ Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi (of Moscow)....................... 230 Dmitrii (Krasnyi) Iur’evich (of Galich).................. O.............. N...........S......... 286n............. 170n.Ph.. . xixn Charlemagne.. emp...............299 Davit Bagrationi (of Georgia).................40.............................................. V. W.. I..........239ff...192n............. 64n Chingis-Khan......... 305n.......................254n Dvornichenko.....................................I.54n... 99n D’iakonov............. 251n. H......................... 196n...................O..116................ 298.................................... 11n................ 149n Crummey.. 239 Claessen........213n.................................V......... 169n......I.. 313n Dondua.. 22n.... M........ 311 Dekkers............ 225ff. .....P.................... 88n Boris Godunov (Russian tsar)... 79n...................)..76 Ewers....................... 96n Cross......... David the Restorer (of Georgia).... 175n Eutychius............ 12n. tsar).. R............. 225ff......... xviiin..... 298n...... I.................Iu.....256n Dowsett......... 60n................ 184 Constantius (Byz.........H......... 26........ 123n..........F.202 Dmitrii Andreevich (?) (of Volynia).......151ff........ 258 Brunner.. metropolitan)......171n.W... P.............. 204n............................ 231 Engels.... 24n................ emp....213................... emp.................. 289n Chernousov......................D.............. 23n Dzhanibek Khan..........................................266n... 246n..... S..I...................... 13n Buckland. 268n.......... R......... 204..........................S..............22.......... P...............................A.... 307n................. 271n..................... 178n Bushuev............... xiv............................... 175n Dietze............ 3 Clovis.................

........................ 190n I Iagich.... 149n.................... 16......... .... 251 Fedor L’vovich (of Novosil’-Odoev).. 133ff............................. 7n... 134n.. 268n Grigor’ev.......... N.......................................... Giorgi XI (of Georgia)..C... V..................................................... 213n......... 142.72n Ginsburgs........... 268 Iakovlev......... xiin...V.............. 170n Ginis......... 179n................. E.A....... .. 246n Hammer........ A..................... T. G Gaius....... 15n............ ................Ia......... 285n Friedrich.xxn........... xviin Harmenopoulos.......... ..... ..D.... Ch..... 18n...... 311 317 Gippius..... D...... xiii.....xiiin........................................................ 69ff..........3n Gregory of Tours........ 304.........R.... A........................ 162.........................157n........ D..............T.......................... 15n Goodman............. 124n.Ia..................... 213n. G...303 Giorgi XII (of Georgia)............. 60............ W.......247ff. A.............. 150n Grant............ 62n..A.......... 116n Ganshof......I...............216n .... 50n. R. J.... 168n.......Index of Personal Names Eymund...........P. 304ff... 30 Howes............ R...... 230 Feldbrugge... F......... 65ff.. 230 Fedor Nikitich Romanov........ A.................. 17n. W..............3n Gorskii... Gudavichius.... H................ 9n. 199. xixn Iakubovskii... 124n.. F. 183n Forbes......... 45n..... 148................ 193 Gleb Vladimirovich...... V..131 Gurney..................................................... Fisher......................................................................L................... 230 Fedor Ivanovich (Russian tsar)..................................... 101 Hanak.. Hammurabi.............. 29n.........301n Ganev.......... V... 225 Fedor Vasil’evich (of Riazan’)..................................... 214n Granberg......... 162 Grekov......................... 37 Goetz.......... 67...... 191 Franke................ 55n.. J.............................A...........199n. 42n...............R..................167........................297............... V..................... xiiin. 1. B........................................ 199..................A............. 278.............. 37n...........147n.. 218n........... A............................ see Filaret Fedor Ol’govich (of Riazan’)................. A............. xxi...................................... A.151n F Fedor Alekseevich (Russian tsar)............................ I.. 207......................... 151n....... 219n Gorskii............... V....... 150n..........248 Filipp (metropolitan of Moscow). A.............. 182n........ 213n. xviin Fotii (metropolitan of Moscow).............................256n Gurevich....2 Hoebel....................... O...... 29n.......................... 216n.........................D.... F.. 81n...... 248n Hermogen (Germogen) (Russian patriarch).......... 164............ 212n.. M........ 283n............................................ A.. 242n Fennel......... 64n. ........2n.......19.... 34n.....262n Gleb Iur’evich (of Kiev)....... 53n Iakov (tysiatskii of Novgorod)... A...... G............ 162n...........29 Hoekema.......xxii......................219n Feognost (metropolitan of Moscow).. 261n............. 147n..298n Halperin.. 177ff............... D... J.................... 266n.... 3n. ... 119 Galstian.... 30.......... T..... 251 Fedor Iur’evich (of Suzdal’).... 230ff... 216n.......... 79n................. R........ 307ff...................R..... 294n Gimon.. 268n Goetze.............K... 256n................ 231 Fikentscher.. xiiin Holwerda......... 298... xxin.......2n Frensdorff................... 241 Hobbes................. Hellie....... A.............................P............V........... P.......K... 156n............. 253ff.......141n...... L..... 55 Ezhov........ 17n H Haakon V (of Norway)............. 101n Froianov................177n... 28n Hofmann.......................205 Hakobian............... 98ff.................. 139n Gardanov. 73n Homer...........248 Hitler........ A.. 3 Filaret (patriarch of Russia)........... 19n...... 3......53n.............. 135ff..........................132...137n............................. 181n Giorgi V the Brilliant (of Georgia)........... 167n..........................12......

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

....... N..L. O.......... K.94ff........... M.......Index of Personal Names Kaiser..................... I.... 205.................................... 68n Kuznetsov................V........................ F..249 Kresten.............. V.......... H..... 106..256n Lokin.....254n Makrizi........ S.. 224.. ............ 112.......... E....................... V.....H...... 270n Kekelia....................... 99n Kleinenberg.. 269n....... emp........300n Korolev.........298n Khashaev........ S..................... 208n......M............. Mavrodin......262n Khoroshkevich.. A........F....... 222 Maine........... S..... 185n Koschaker. 35.. A..... 284n Kleimola..................... 151n.............. 72n.. 40...A.L............... N........64ff.... 150n.....................35n.... 175.S.210.B. 168n........... N......... 125n.........296..A.. 251n Karnovich......... 72n.. 229ff... T. R.....56 Lovmians’kii............................ N......... 294n Khazanov..........295n............... 249n Küpper.............. 279ff.V................... 222......M............................. emp................ K...................... A.... 202n....... H. 118 Mallory..................... Kh..B.....................M.. 175n Martens.......311n Kelly............ 10........ 48n............................ 79n....................149n M MacNeill..................... 306n Lotharius..P....G.....M............ .......................... M....... N... 32 Maiorov.............................. . S................ 76n... 262n......... 294n............................ 48n Konstantin Pail. 217n Kevorkian.............. 132 ....V.............. N................ 294n Konovalova... M.............N..xxv.................................. 299ff........ P........ 186n Lipshits...... 224 Khrushchev. ..................... N................... 286n Marx................ 156n......S.... O........ 70n....230 Kisterev.............. 205ff...................... 8n. xiv. J............ ... M.................................).......................... 305n Lordkipanidze..I..... 68....... P..... ............................ Kosniachko....... 255n................ 177. N.197ff....... 271n Köhler.........207n......... 276n..................I..... .......184n L Lange........... 134n Khoroshev..................... R......... 82 Kotliar....... 185n............................... 15n Magnus V Eriksson (of Sweden)................ 265n............. 124n...... 11n Komarov.)........D........ J..................55n......... 72 Leo VI the Wise (Byz...A.........2 Loewe......... 63.............................. 257n Lenin..................S...........F......... ............. .......256n Kalachov..... 268n....... 198n........D.............. F.... 135...................... A... 310n.... 264n................................ 299n Kazakova........................ Leo (Levon) II the Great (of Armenia).................... .....................P........ xxin...................... ....................................................1........... 269n Kaufhold...........22n Khetum I (of Armenia)................................ 15n Kerim-Berdy...................251n........... 284n Kliuchevskii............. xv... 99 Lazuta. S..... A.............................. 193 Lukin................. E....... Iu... 86............ Kalinina.................... 116ff.................... Llewellyn. 96............... Iu.................... 68n Kuchkin............ 93n...... A........................72n 319 Krivosheev.................... 192n...O................ 303n Karamzin....... I......................... 294.279.................... 44.......... 218n Karpovich.. F..............M. 217n. 48n...................A........... D............ 313 Kozlova..... 147n....59ff..................29 Locke............... 158...... 97................. H........ N... Kh.....56 Louis the Pious.. 205n..........D....71n..............157n.... Kazimir IV (of Poland and Lithuania)................2n Kolff.............................. A........ 300 Khlebnikov..... 23 Maksimeiko.V.......... xiiin....V..V.............. 2............... V. I..A........ 181n Martysevich. 46n Limonov. P........ von........184n.. 248n Markevich.75n...................I........... 73n.......... 108ff........... A........ 23n Karst.188n......... 73ff.. 68ff....254n Kucherov........... 9n Man’kov....194n Kandelhard...... 116n....... 117n..... J.... 300n Leontovich........ 294n Lev Danilovich (of Galicia).............................. 214......21n........ 148....................245n Levitsky.............. 63......... J... 179 Leo III the Isaurian (Byz.. 307n.......... 109ff........... F....... V.. A.......................... 36n................ 142 Kovalevskii.................239ff.......................................133 Kirill (metropolitan of Moscow). K..... 313 Kashtanov.....E..V......E........... 86.. E.M. 7n....

.. A......................160n..........A....................................................B................. 55 Oleg (prince of Kiev)....... 304ff.......... 306n Law in Medieval Russia N Nasilov............. D... Nikon (Russian patriarch)....................... 74n.......................... 93n......... 192 Munstede................ C........... ............E.............I.... E....... 200...................... 72n.. 251 Mikhail Iaroslavich (of Tver’)......................254n.172.. Iu.. G..... 244n Onasch............ 219....xviin.. 170ff............D... 141ff.... 229 Omel’chenko..................................... A. 23n..... 194n. B....... 193 Mikhailova....... L.....71n................. 246n P Paichadze............. 186n........... S........ 225ff..............274n... I..I....................... 221.144 Nestor....D............P....... 283n Patrikii Narimontovich. 202ff.......147n. 217n.. .................249 Noah........ 40........21n............................. 79n Ostrowski... 305n Mkhitar Gosh....................... xviin Mitteis....... 230 Menshikov................... 284n........ Mikhail Borisovich (of Tver’)........ 143... 142................. 170n................ 248n Meissner............... 240n Olaf ...... 186........ .. J....N.................... 184n....... 44..... 212 Oleg Ivanovich (of Riazan’)... 168..G..............................270 Murtazy....... E. R...................... .. 42n.... N... 23n Nasonov...... T....... 55n..............301n Pashuto.......... A...............171 Oleg Sviatoslavich (of Chernigov).................. 69 Odysseus.....W............................................127..................... A......................T..... 134n.... 195ff............. H................................ 288n Nikol’skii...... 15n Medvedev........... 184n Olgerd Gediminovich (prince of Lithuania)...... Morgan......... 115n Nikifor (Kievan metropolitan)..........164n Miroshka (posadnik of Novgorod)..............36n.......................... 177 ......................... 183n......................V.... Hans........248............................... A...... O................................... D...P..............299ff.. Mikhail Andreevich (of Verei-Belozero).......231 Mikhail Aleksandrovich (of Tver’)........ 230 Mikhail Fedorovich Romanov (Russian tsar)................xvi Nevolin........)............................... 207......... .................... ............. 88ff................... 193 Mikhail Vsevolodovich (of Kiev)................... 143 Olaf Tryggvason..........................H... 224ff...N.......................... K.... E......................... 35............... 262n Novitskaia........................... 54n........... 75n................ 147n....91n McLeod........................ 262n Oosten.....E.. 82 Mironov..... 52.................41......320 Maxim (Kievan metropolitan).. 269n Mengu-Timur......... 270n.A.......... 94n............ I.................. 218n.. 211n......... 157n.....................25n Oroschakoff.... 131......................... 170n...88n Mikhail (metropolitan of Moscow)....I.............................. 184............ 210n.......... 170n Nazarova...... 198ff.... 192............................... 43n........... 212n..... 218n Merkulov................................... 273n.. V.................. 82 Mikyfor (Nikifor) the Kievan...........92 Nikitskii......2 Morse... B.........152 Mstislav Vladimirovich......... 109n Meiske........... 175n Mel’nikova........41........ 185n........................ 114n.. 283n Nedzila Pekhtinich........... 216n Nazarenko...... 225 Oleg Sviatoslavich (of Dereva) ............... 213.............................L.......36n....242n Mel’nikov...................... 227ff..... 254 Mikula.................... 268 Mitchell...P. 186 Olga...................... A........298n Papovian.212n O Obolensky.............. 196.. G... 55.......................................124n Novosel’tsev.. 220 Mikhail Iaroslavich (of Vladimir) ...... 229 Mstislav Sviatopolkich...35............ Michael III (Byz..........3n Mstislav Davidovich (of Smolensk).......54n....... 168........... 186n............. 196............... 43n......... 214 Mushkhelishvili.... 216n................ emp... . 73n........... 193 Mikhail Iur’evich (of Vladimir).................... A....... J.............................xvii Nosov.... 185n................................ 276n..............................56n Methodius.....A........................N..... V...... D... 193n.

...... 193n Predslava... M... xxii Schlüter............... 123n Pavlov....... 34n...........G.. 122 Satolin................................... xxi..... V.... 188n.......... C. U...I.................... 304n.....................K... 274n......... 183n R Ranke..... 294n Sigibert...................... 15n Pronshtein............S.... O................................ V............B...... M........... 35...P. 56................................... 44.................... 184n Salegast.......210 Poliak........... 84ff........... jr...256n Savva (Serbian bishop).........................xiv Selb..............S............................. 170n Priselkov......................... E........... 13n........ 229.......... A.. 167ff.......248 Pseudo-Dmitrii II......... 213n Pritchard.. 168n..... 73n Schröder. 162n........ H...... 245n Ruben I (of Armenia).... 55n Rogvolod (Rognvald).....124n Pomorski......... 5 Rapov........ Dzh....214n....... 275n........156n........................... 55n.............298 Sacco.......................... 267n. xvii.. ...M..... N................. 132n............... 23n Riesenkampf........ 153n......................... 279...........A....P.... 276n....................... 22n. 88n Piotrovskaia......168n Sherbowitz-Wetzor......A....... 313n Pushkarev...... 178..... 261n.....14n Salogubova... S..... 75 Rostislav Mstislavich (of Smolensk). ... 275n Shchapov.124n Shunaev................. 91 Scheil......... 56n Peshchak....... E........ 167............. .E..................... 114ff... 141........... 120ff..... A. 175n......131n..... E...... 123n Pivovarov. 138........... 177................... 85.........M.............219n Shtamm........ 80n...... A...... A........ L................... F........ 207n... 56............ 81n......N....... .................248 Purtseladze................ 86.. 258 Sakharov....Index of Personal Names Pavlov.......... V......... A.. 198n..xivn.............................. 82 Perun (Slavic deity)....... 40n... O........ 285 Schminck... 273n Shchavelev................... 197n........................................ 231 Peter the Great... 192ff.................................................. 143 Presniakov................ 231 321 Rybina................121n............... 225 Photius (Byz.... 275n............. S.. 55n S Saak Partev (Armenian catholicos)............xvi................................ 163.......... xiii. 89n... 294n Sakharov.................... ....... 170n... 88n.... Rogneda... 122............... 131n.................W........S. ....... E... Shaskol’skii. 106ff..S.... 54n Schroeder.............41.... 309n................ 68... 112..... 68n Saidov....... patriarch).........V..........G....... E........................... 280n Pseudo-Dmitrii I ........................ 148ff............ ....... V........... 214n....... 105ff..........)........ xvii Shapiro...... xxv..... 244n Plettenburg.............. 144........ W......... R. .. 205n.........131 Riasanovsky....................xviin.....305n Semën Ivanovich (of Moscow)..... 219..........120n... 79...300n Rurik...............................I.... 193 Sergeevich. .............. 168n Pereneg................ A........ 262 Rusanivs’kyi...........................J........40.........P.............. E......... 157n........ xiiin Poppe.. 168n.................... 305n................270n...................... xxv.... S.. 268n..... Ia. 218n...................175n........................................ A... 308n..M............. 54....... emp.. 303n........... Iu.. J...................... A...... 94. D.... A. 172ff..... A. 66ff...I.................. .... 270n........................... I......................................... 188.... N........ A.... 276n... 208n.... 158n........................... 176n.......G................ A........... 209 .............L.......... 149n Shirokorad....242n Schultz........ 152n......... 279 Rydzevskaia....A......130ff.247 Shakhmatov........ A.D..................... 278ff...N............................ 283n.... ........ L......170n Shchepkin..... M.. 93n Pavlov-Sil’vanskii....B........61............. 73n Schlacks.. Walter von (Livonian Landmeister).... 89ff............................... 162 Silvester (Livonian Landmeister)...... 284n.................... 177 Pchelov...V..307n.......... 64............... 251 Petr Dmitrievich (of Dmitrov)..................................................................19n Scheltema...................... ............. 200............. 274n...... W. 35n.......D..............C...........A..... R........................ 186n.P.................. 189ff....... 194n Sergei of Radonezh.....74..S................. 189.M...... 55n Romanus I Lecapenus (Byz.............................................xivn....... 243ff. 125.......... ................................

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

... 224ff.................S............. T............ 95n. 266n. 22n.. 313 Zonares.......F... 271n..................................... Vladimir Andreevich (of Serpukhov)... V.................. 48n.... 41n.. 89n ................. ... 42.......................xxiii............. 199.. ....... 23n................... 51n.144n W Wagenvoort....... 229ff........................... 266n.... 135ff............ 170.. J...............E..................... 273n Vsevolod Mstislavich (?) (of Smolensk)............ 193 Vsevolod Mstislavich (of Novgorod).. 210. 151........ H.186ff.. K........ 253ff........... 34n..................... 44........ 172n....... ....... 171. 216n............ 10n Wal............. R.............................................. 266n........................ ..................xiv............ 194n.........xvii.............. 305n Winckler. 70n...... 214n..............151 Veen. G........... 32 Zoidze.......... Vladimir Mstislavich (of Dorogobuzh)....... 55........ 39.....149n Zeus..... 240n Zimin.......... C... 91 Žužek...A.... xxin Vilkul....210 Visogast................... 177n.M.14n Vitovt (prince of Lithuania)....J. xixn Viacheslav Iaroslavich....................................... 82......298n Wenger............ 305n Walram (Land Marshal)... ..........V... Vseslav Briacheslavich...............151 Vsevolod Iaroslavich.......171 Vidogast...........239n Weitenberg...................127................................14n Vilenskii................. 143 Vliet... M..... 144.... van der...... 167....... 29n Volos (Slavic deity)........ ................................................... 19n..41 Vorob’ev. 272n Vladislav......... 18. Th.. 73n... 303n.... 207n Vladimir Sviatoslavich (St...... 52n.......... Heidenreich (Livonian Landmeister)........... .......... 82.... 196.......... ................256n Y Yovhannes III (Armenian catholicos)........ O........... 192ff..... 215 Vladimirskii-Budanov.... 250................. A. 171 323 Vsevolod Iur’evich Bol’shoe Gnezdo (of Vladimir). 37n... 194n.......R.......... 286n Veselovskii.................................................... 101n... 174n...............S............ 214.................... 75n.. K......191.......... 63.............. 151ff.. xxn......V............B..... 46n................. ........ 8n..................42n...... 221 Vasil’ko Rostislavich (of Terebovl’)...... 36. van der.. B.. ............................ 244 Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh.............. 34n. 123n.... 152n.... 37............................................. S.................197.................. 72n.... 101n Wladyslaw Jagiello (of Poland).................. A.............. 142..... 149.....................................F................ 197.. 143 Vyshata............. 81n..........7......19n Venediktov.... 93... xvii............59n Veenhof..... 207n. xixn.... 272n Zimmer...... E..