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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruxelles. 5 6 “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. among other things. because during the last two centuries Armenia and Georgia have been closely associated with Russia and Russian (Soviet) law. 2004. I decided to include it. a longish section on the composition of the highest echelons of the Soviet nomenklatura has been reworked drastically. 519-533. The Russkaia Pravda as the main piece of legislation from the Kievan era is the central topic of Chapter 2. 157-205.). 211-225. No. was reviewed more lightly. 1982. R. Brunner (ed. F. A paper with an identical title was published in Hommage à–Hulde aan–Tribute to René Dekkers. 1985.). No. 2001. Feldbrugge & W. This was. 7 8 Originally published under the same title in A. 2002. Nevertheless. Law in Eastern Europe. the veche (Chapter 5: “Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History”). both chapters being based on fairly recent original papers. Simons (eds. Law in Eastern Europe.49.4 In Chapter 6 (“The Elder Brother in Russia”) an older paper has been used. F. 165-179. Pomorski (eds. Baden-Baden. .). Küpper (eds.5 but in substantially amended form. 765-784.Foreword xiii The paper on the medieval Russian popular assembly.). Human Rights in Russia and Eastern Europe [van den Berg Festschrift]. “The Elder Brother in Russia: Seniority in Russian Politico-Legal Discourse”.).6 The same applies to Chapter 9 (“The Skra of Novgorod: Legal Contacts Between Russia and Western Europe in the Middle Ages”). I have restricted myself mainly to editorial adjustments.51. Berlin. The last Chapter 10 (“Medieval Law in Transcaucasia. 65-90. Sowjetsystem und Ostrecht [Meissner Festschrift]. but is also prominent in the discussion of the influence 4 Based on a paper with the same title in M. Trunk (ed. Feldbrugge & S. International and National Law in Russia and Eastern Europe [Ginsburgs Festschrift]. “Human Rights in Russian Legal History”. Kontinuität und Neuanfang [Brunner Festschrift]. the original paper7 was written in 1981. Hofmann & H. mainly to take into account new literature. the reason why the problem of a considerable amount of duplication had to be addressed. 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. and the few relevant publications which have appeared since have been taken into account.8 Certain parts of the paper do also connect with Chapter 1. The interconnection between the different papers is a point which I already made above. In the Chapters 7 (“The Treaties of Medieval Russia”) and 8 (“Human Rights in Russian Legal History”). of course. 2001. Berlin. The Hague/London/Boston. Russland im Kontext der internationalen Entwicklung [Boguslavskii Festschrift]. The Hague/Boston/London. Clark. G.

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

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

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

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

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

B. Moskva. 5 vols. sobrannym i izdannym Arkheograficheskoiu Komissieiu. Cherepnin (ed. N. 1828 (Vol. S.A Note on Sources xix 1813. Moskva. 1961 (Moscow metropolitanate and monastery of the Annunciation in Nizhnii-Novgorod). 1846-1853. Dukhovnye i dogovornye gramoty velikikh i udel’nykh kniazei XIVXVI vv. 1894 (Vol. khraniashchikhsia v Gosudarstvennoi Kollegii inostrannykh del. S. S. Valk edited a collection of charters concerning the history of Novgorod and Pskov.7 The Archeographical Commission. covering especially the archival materials of major ecclesiastical land owners. Cherepnin (ed. L.2. Tikhomirov (eds. 1951 (documents from the Moscow metropolitanate).Peterburg. otnosiashchiesia do istorii Zapadnoi Rossii. the publication of important archival material continued.Peterburg.).1.. Vol. Moskva. Akty feodal’nogo zemlevladeniia i khoziaistva. Akty istoricheskie.2).. 1950. Vol. Moskva. Pamiatniki sotsialno-ekonomicheskoi istorii moskovskogo gosudarstva XIV-XVII vv. sobrannye i izdannye Arkheograficheskoiu komissieiu. Zimin & M. S. Peterburg. 18631892. 1929 (the Troitse-Sergiev monastery). 1949.5).1).N. Moskva/Leningrad.Peterburg. Several collections were devoted to the documents connected with some of the great monasteries. . A. Moskva.). otnosiashchiesia do istorii Iuzhnoi i Zapadnoi Rossii. 1813 (Vol.). who were among the wealthiest landwoners in the past.. 1846-1872. 9 10 S. Veselovskii & A.V.10 A year later L. a thematic rather than an archival criterion was decisive.A. mentioned above..4). 1949 (the monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk). was responsible for a whole range of serial publications containing documents collected from all over the empire. 1820 (Vol. and twelve volumes of supplements. 1841-1842.S.12 7 Sobranie Gosudarstvennykh Gramot i Dogovorov. Akty. Moskva.).9 The Central State Archive for Ancient Documents (TsGADA) became the repository for many formerly private archives.Peterburg.V. 1838. 5 vols. 1819 (Vol. In other collections.N. until 1478 for Novgorod and until 1510 for Pskov.V. 1956 (monastery of Joseph of Volokolamsk). Moskva/Leningrad.3. ili sobranie form starinnogo deloproizvodstva. Moskva. 11 12 L. Kniga kliuchei.3). covering the period of their independence from Moscow.11 Cherepnin was also the principal editor of the three-volume “Acts of feudal land ownership and management”. Akty. S. 8 Akty iuridicheskie.. Valk (ed. S. Severnye gramoty.N.8 After the October Revolution.). 1929 (the Solovetskii monastery). i.). Vol.e. Dopolneniia k Aktam istoricheskim. Chaev (ed. Iakovlev (eds. Cherepnin published a collection of testaments and treaties of the grand princes and provincial princes. S.I. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. 15 vols.

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

1947. ed.D. E. 1984 Vol. All texts have been provided with a commentary. O. Moskva. V.): Vol. 1985 Vol. Pravda Russkaia. a new and similar series was started: “Russian Legislation from the 10th to the 20th century” (Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov). Moskva/Leningrad. Zakonodatel’stvo Drevnei Rusi. 1963. B. although the RZ series does occasionally offer information not to be found in the PRP.1. 1988 Vol. Vols. Vol. Chistiakov (ed. O. O. Vilenskii (ed.). Grekov (ed.7. B.2.I. Kommentarii.I. Moskva. Zakonodatel’stvo pervoi poloviny XIX veka. 1986 Vol. the PRP is therefore still the most useful source. Indova (ed.3. Gorskii (ed.D.). Twenty years later. A. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda obrazovaniia i ukrepleniia Russkogo tsentralizovannogo gosudarstva.4. Moskva. Moskva. O. Chistiakov (ed. the vast literature from before 1947 has been collected and is quoted extensively.).2.5-9 cover the period of 1726-1917. Faksimil’noe vosproizvedenie tekstov. The most difficult texts are accompanied by a modern Russian translation. 1985 Vol.V. Dokumenty krest’ianskoi reformy. in the shape of a commentary to the individual provisions of the RP.A Note on Sources xxi eighth volume is devoted to the legislation of Peter the Great. Moskva. Vol.).9.G.5.17 The first volume contains the texts of the oldest and most important copies of the different manuscript families.I.). Ianin (ed.3.D. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda rastsveta absoliutizma. 16 Rossiiskoe zakonodatel’stvo X-XX vekov. A. A. Chistiakov (gen. Man’kov (ed.). The series has been edited most carefully by the leading scholars for the different periods. Vol. Moskva. Moskva.6. based on manuscripts. 1940. For the Middle Ages. Sudebnaia reforma. 1994.L.1.8. the important variant readings have been given. with the variant readings of other copies.). For the most important legislative document of early medieval Russia. For the older texts.).). Zakonodatel’stvo epokhi burzhuazno-demokraticheskikh revoliutsii. Moskva. 1989 Vol.16 The first four volumes of this series cover the same period as the entire PRP. Man’kov (ed. Teksty. Chistiakov (ed. the Russkaia Pravda. Grekov is still the fundamental work. Zakonodatel’stvo perioda stanovleniia absoliutizma. Moskva/Leningrad. 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. 1991 Vol.G. the Academy of Sciences publication edited by B.I. In the second volume. 1987 Vol. Moskva.).I. Moskva. Akty Zemskikh soborov. 17 .

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

23 Another threevolume work by the same author makes greater use of original sources and is structured around major themes (territory. Sergeevich. S. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva.Peterburg. veche. 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”.K. armed forces.I. 1890. Most of the scholars in that field wrote about medieval Russian law. Kiev. especially because in early medieval studies legal documents occupy an important place. V. civil law.. 1995. Part 1. a lengthy appendix is devoted to the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. this part treats the entire legal history of all the territories of the USSR up to 1917. the pre-revolutionary handbooks are still of great value.22 For the more traditional and comprehensive surveys of legal history. Obzor istorii russkago prava. Vols.24 Vladimirskii-Budanov was the author of the most popular textbook on Russian legal history before the October Revolution. Sergeevich. Goetz’ translation of the RP is now a century old. Iushkov could be regarded as a legal historian first of all. Moskva (3rd ed. 1949. 2005. Goetz. “criminal law”. medieval legal history became a branch of general medievistics. land use. based on the 7th ed. I have used the 3rd ed. Iushkov.A. Drevnosti russkago prava. 25 . S.I.25 It is organized along the same lines as Sergeevich’s “Lectures” (state law. S.20 L. princely councillors.K. procedure) and covers the entire period up to the 20 G.1-4. “state law”. Frankfurt a/M. “civil law” and “court proceedings”.A Note on Sources xxiii the exception of Baranowski’s translation in his monumental study on the RP. 1910. I have used the 4th ed. M. But only S. criminal law. Baranowski. 1886.I.V. 1950.Peterburg. I have used the modern edition (Obzor istorii russkogo prava). 1890. Vladimirskii-Budanov. Sergeevich. The leading authors were V. published in Rostov-naDonu. In his major work: L. id.). 21 22 23 24 V. S. of Parts 1 and 2 of 1909 and 1908. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava SSSR. M.V.F. it was first published in 1886 in Kiev and the last and seventh edition appeared in 1915. some of his major works are about the only general works on early Russian legal history from the Soviet period. Part 2.)1915. Moskva. prince. Part 3. 1903... 1883. Stuttgart. 1910-1914.21 Textbooks on Legal History During the Soviet era. Part 1.Peterburg. taxation). Das Russische Recht. (7th ed. Lektsii i izsledovaniia po drevnei istorii russkago prava.F. Vladimirskii-Budanov and M. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. population. D’iakonov.

scion of one of the Rurikid families and highly gifted in many fields.A. Soviet and post-Soviet) on the Russian Middle Ages is very rich and we shall only refer to a few of the patriarchs here.A. Russische Rechtsgeschichte von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart einschliesslich des Rechts der Sowjetunion. The work by D’iakonov. His eight-volume “Russian History” has been republished many times. although the emphasis is on the Kievan and Muscovy periods. Küpper’s introduction to the legal history of Eastern Europe. 1908.A. Istoriia rossiiskaia.26 Therefore.N. Küpper. 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. as the title suggests. but in discussing the legal status of the various sections of the population numerous other topics are treated. 1964 (scholarly edition prepared by a team of leading historians).). Inevitably. Tatishchev (1686-1750).Peterburg (2nd ed.) 2006. Einführung in die Rechtsgeschichte Osteuropas.N. 2005. Schultz. although the work appears to exclude civil and criminal law. Lahr. the value of Tatishchev’s work is unique. It 26 M.. Moskva. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii. Isaev. V. 30 . and much more recently. 27 28 29 H. S. Schultz’ concise overview of Russian legal history. D’iakonov. Tatishchev. could be called the founder of Russian historiography. L.27 This volume also covers the Soviet era. 1951. there is L. In the post-Soviet era. In Western languages. V. published in Moscow in 2003.30 In some respects. I.xxiv Law in Medieval Russia 19th century Svod Zakonov. Isaev published a university textbook on Russian legal history. Moskva. More accessible perhaps is a modern edition in three volumes.29 Both works are in German. General History Classics The Russian literature (pre-Soviet. 1998. is devoted in principle to the organization of the state. which devotes some 140 pages to the legal history of Russia before 1917. Frankfurt a/M. because some of the sources used by him have subsequently been lost. I. The first edition appeared in a very small number of copies and is very rare. H.28 which also includes the Soviet period. its overall coverage is not too different from that of the textbooks of the other two authors. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi. (3rd ed.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

in Feldbrugge. Frankfurt a/M. 1993. For a recent study in this area. the same goes for the impressive body of Old-Irish law and for most early Slavic codifications. Greek. Benveniste. 93-113. Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-européennes. 11-22. implies the assumption that at a certain moment in the past there existed an ethno-linguistic community of people possessing a common language (or. at least. Edel. F. Russian translation. Indo-Europeans? The basic and most obvious parallels are of a linguistic nature. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. see B. 23-43. Moskva. The Genesis of a Legalized Life”. are in the vernacular.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. Zimmer. Chapter 2 of Part 2 is devoted to law. The Case of Early Medieval Ireland”. 10 11 The Germanic leges barbarorum. a series of related languages or dialects) which may be regarded as the ancestor of the subsequently evolving Indo-European languages. Irish. 13 É.. B. Algra. S. Sirks. 115136. London.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 7 The ineffaceable preponderance of Roman law in European legal history tends to obscure the fact that there has also been a time when the archaic law of the Romans was in many ways comparable to the legal systems of other European cultures at a similar level of development. “The Lex Frisionum. Roman. in Feldbrugge. “Justice and Written Laws in the Formation of the Polis”. “Glimpses of Indo-European Law”. written in a corrupt Latin and often containing Germanic expressions. E. The texts of the earliest laws of many European peoples have often been written in the vernacular. and Russian law: D. “The Earliest Law of Russia and its Sources”. such as those of the Anglo-Saxons and various Scandinavian peoples. Feldbrugge. “Early Law in India”.13 This approach. the numerous parallels and similarities suggest a search for certain common origins. Frisian. German translation. 12 The volume on which this chapter (Feldbrugge. Zimmer in a study specifically devoted to “Indo-European law”. of course. “An Emerging Legal System in an Embryonic State. being the main exception. Law’s Beginnings. “An Aspect of Archaic Roman Law: Auctoritas tutoris”. other Germanic laws. 45-58. .10 and these languages all belong to the linguistic family known as Indo-European. 59-76. 45-58. Law’s Beginnings.9 When the obvious question is then asked: “What preceded this stage?”. N. D. Benveniste in his vocabulary of Indo-European institutions. Kolff. 77-92.12 Considerable detail was added by S. and a set of societal institutions (the 9 This aspect of Roman law studies may not have received much attention through the ages. 1995. 1973. 1969. van der Vliet. Sirks. Paris. Law’s Beginnings) is based contains studies on ancient Indian. English translation.

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

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

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

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

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

Lex Salica 60. which then would be either rejected by public grumbling or accepted by the bystanders’ beating their spears together. 1962. 255. 1898. while also the administration of justice in the royal courts must have produced its own specialized personnel. 1913. H. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. Grundzüge der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. op. in fact. Leipzig (2nd ed. 25 26 . German legal historians generally regard the institution of the ‘law-sayer’ (asega. Grundriss des germanischen Rechts. It does not at all exclude that.27 In a more circumstantial way.]. 43-44. assuming that originally the statement of the applicable law and the judgment based on it belonged to the competence of the assembly. fremitu aspernantur. Tacitus’ statement is brief and refers to all kinds of decisions made by the assembly (including political ones). Brunner. sin placuit. Pactus legis salicae 57. The laws of the Salic and Ribuarian Franks describe the task of the rachineburgi as the enunciation of the law.28 This might suggest that more or less anybody could serve as ‘law-sayer’.cit. Leipzig (3rd ed.). 17.). R. von Amira.24 In India. Si displicuit sententia. Among the Germanic peoples legal professionalization was not as well developed but still well attested. auctoritate suadendi magis quam iubendi potestate. 28. iuridicus) as an innovation.. 1903. The weakness of these arguments is obvious. it appears that the judge did not.). Conrad. the filid. 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. Lex Salica 52. 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). Lex Ribuaria 55. 64-65. Germania 12: “mox rex vel princeps […] audiuntur.. frameas concutiunt [. a profession of legal councillors had gradually detached itself from the learned brahmin class. also.). Schröder. appoint a few chance citizens as 24 Edel. Band I: Frühzeit und Mittelalter. The provision about the appointment of rachineburgi by the judge refers to a very specific situation during the execution of a claim. in specifically legal disputes. 28 Tacitus.25 Both the Frisians and the Franks left the actual judgment to the popular assembly (the “thing”). The old Frisian asega was expected to know the law by heart.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 13 off from the general class of learned men.” Pactus legis salicae 60. he was in fact the mouthpiece of an oral code of law. Strassburg (3rd ed. 27 H.. Karlsruhe (2nd ed. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. K. the exposition of the case and the applicable law would be referred to an ‘expert’.26 The main foundation for this view seems to be Tacitus’ brief description of Germanic procedure in his Germania.

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

E. Assirii i Khettskogo tsarstva”. D’iakonov. 1902.A. Vol.12 (1938). is devoted to homicide: “If anybody kills a man or a woman in a fight. 1952. 126ff. I. 1-77 (Bretha Crólige) and Eriu.42. Dublin. the most important texts are Bretha Crólige en Bretha Déin Checht. Goetze in J. Its first article. the first article is split into two parts. For the honour-price topic. 35 36 Based on the German translation of J.4.M. mainly on account of the wealth of sources. Friedrich. Pritchard..34 The Hittite laws. Leipzig. Princeton. 1941) of the Mediaeval and Modern Irish Series.C. 1959. Section C. Vestnik drevnei istorii. N. H. Die Gesetze Hammurabis. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. No. An annotated edition of the Crith Gablach by D.36 One of the striking differences remains the treatment of manslaughter and physical injuries. Binchy’s study on “Sick-Maintenance in Irish Law”. MacNeill.. There can be no doubt. Cf. to be dated roughly about 1500 B. Binchy) in Eriu. 259-308. D’iakonov in Vestnik drevnei istorii. however. Band. A Guide to Early Irish Law. Ancient Near Eastern Texts relating to the Old Testament. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. related to the status of the victim and the seriousness of the injury or offence. English translation by A.33 While in most other systems the emphasis is on the fine itself.B. 1987. Russian translation by I. treating the killing of a man or a woman as different torts. he shall give four persons.20 (1966).”35 The following articles deal with the killing of slaves and various forms of injuries. This paper contains the English translations of the two most important texts on this subject.3. as Vol. there are also numerous parallels with the laws of non-Indo-European peoples of the Ancient Near East. men or women [slaves]. as compensation. Vol. No. offering many parallels with the Russkaia Pravda and the leges barbarorum. the Crith Gablach (“Branched Purchase”) and the Uraicht Becc (“Little Grammar”). In the parallel text of the Hittite Law.4. 1950. Binchy. 199-303. Old Testament legal prescriptions are primarily to be found in Deuteronomium 21-26 and Exodus 21-23. 41-115. English translations (by D. antedating comparable European sources by about two millennia. quoted above. 1-66 (Bretha Déin Checht). 265-316. 32. also consisted to a considerable extent of catalogues of fixed compensations for personal injuries. 33 34 Edel.36. Vol. 1952. op. Zeitschrift für Celtische Philologie.XI (Dublin. 205-321. which should not surprise in view of the chronological and geographical surroundings of the Hittite laws. 1988.cit. 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).A. 1923. Otherwise. Old-Irish law was before all concerned with the determination of status. lóg n-enech or díre) for offences against persons. The first text is followed by D. “Interpreting Early Irish Law: Status and Currency”. Kelly. F. “The Law of Status or Franchise”. that Old-Irish law also knew an elaborate scale of fines (usually called “honour-price”. Leiden.Law’s Beginnings and Early Law 15 In Old-Irish law.. as in the Russkaia Pravda. Winckler.A.M. . McLeod. “Zakony Vavilonii. Cf. No. the situation is more complex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

15). H. and Russia and the whole of Europe in the West. As next to nothing is known about the ethnic origins of the Georgians. direct borrowing one way or the other is practically excluded in view of the geopolitical circumstances of the period. should act as a judge. this road leads nowhere for the time being. or a well-to-do merchant. “he will be sensible and will well understand the work of a judge. For a while. Skalník (eds. and will not say anything that is unjudicious”. Another possibility would be to look for common roots in a more distant past. Borrowing from neighbouring Indo-European peoples (or the other way around) in an earlier period is a matter of speculation. the Mongols have succeeded in maintaining their independence while surrounded by powerful cultures and empires: China and Japan in the East. Vernadsky (Vernadskii). and then adds that a person who knows the law or whom the king considers to be educated and experienced.V. The Law of Bagrat does not refer to courts or professional judges. a short code was compiled.). 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 Study of the State. most likely on account of similar socio-economic conditions. art. Claessen & P. “The Early State Among the Eurasian Nomads”. Riasanovsky (Riazanovskii) and G. It simply states the fixed compensations to be paid for various types of behaviour injurious or harmful to others. Without direct connections or genetic links.M. or a good family chief in the country.J.22 Law in Medieval Russia with the aid of twelve or twenty-four helpers. Favoured by harsh geographical conditions.A. The phenomenon known as convergence could also offer an explanation for certain similarities. 1933.50 It contained legal norms. It exhorts those who will sit in justice to act justly and fairly. and then a mono- . although by no means universal among different cultures. a procedure well known in Germanic law (something similar also in the Short Pravda. 155-175. The first author published a long study in Russian (“Velikaia Iasa Chingiz-Khana”) in the émigré journal Izvestiia iuridicheskogo fakul’teta v Kharbine. along with moral 49 50 Cf. The short preamble (art. 1981.M. The use of the number ‘twelve’ is wide-spread. different legal systems could develop along similar paths.49 During the reign of Chingis-Khan. known as the Iasa of Chingis-Khan. they even achieved political and military superiority in the entire Eurasian area in the 12th and 13th century under Chingis-Khan and his successors. With regard to the similarities with Germanic and Slavic models. Vol.10.1) sheds some light on the way justice was to be administered. A. Khazanov. The two main commentators are V. and thus reach stages of development which at a given moment were quite similar. This at least is the prevailing view nowadays. The Hague.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

German translation in Baranowski. Salt Lake City. 44-157. French translation in M.D. 1947 (hereafter: Vernadsky. Vernadsky. Growth). Medieval Russian Laws. PR. Part III: Faksimil’noe vosproizvedenie tekstov. a shorter one.H. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. Eck. Ia. especially. soderzhashchie Russkuiu Pravdu”. and E. 1959. 1844). 1992 (hereafter: Kaiser.2 A considerable number of new copies has emerged afterwards. Medieval Russian Laws). 1953 (hereafter: Tikhomirov. but at that time more than 100 copies were already extant. Istoriia SSSR. Posobie dlia izucheniia Russkoi Pravdy. Moskva/Leningrad. Moskva/Leningrad. The general consensus is that the Short Pravda is older than the Expanded Pravda. M. No. Das älteste Recht der Russen in seiner geschichtlichen Entwickelung. Issledovanie).. id. 1941 (hereafter: Tikhomirov. 1940. See. Princeton. 13-43 (there are also 19th century German translations by I. 1826. Zimin.2. 25-56. 70-72.G. Posobie). Tikhomirov.3 As soon as more copies of the RP had become available. 11-30. Szeftel & A. Moskva/Leningrad.N. known as the Abridged (Sokrashchennaia) Pravda.2.1 The standard edition by the USSR Academy of Sciences from the middle of the last century made use of 88 different copies. “Novye spiski kormchikh knig. “Novoe o spiskakh Russkoi Pravdy”. 1964. Bruxelles. Medieval Russian Laws. Tikhomirov. Vernadsky. II. Moskva. 1971.. Part I: Teksty. 21-116.). III). 12-14. Laws).4.N.Ph.H. Sammlung kritisch bearbeiteten Quellen der Geschichte des russischen Rechts.4 The two versions are intimately related. it became obvious that there were at least two basic versions. id. numbering about 1100 words. It is generally regarded as a later abridgment of the Expanded Pravda and of no direct interest for the present topic.. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1969 god. These versions are known. 1963 (hereafter: Grekov. Dorpat. 29-37. & ed. Kaiser. New Haven.). 3 B. in the Expanded Pravda. Shchapov. Die Prawda Russkaja und die ältesten Tractate Russlands. but we shall have to return to this question at greater length below. Shorter accounts in G. 2005 (hereafter: Baranowski). Grekov (ed. numbering about 850 words. 14-40.N. No. Proiskhozhdenie tekstov. Moskva. Istoricheskii Arkhiv. Tobien. Moskva. although in sometimes slightly different wording. 1 2 Extensive accounts of the historiography of the RP in M. this work was published on the basis of a manuscript completed shortly before the author’s death in 1980). . Kaiser (transl. Band 1. PR I. Pravda Russkaia. 100-103. respectively. 9-15. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale.S. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Dorpat/ Hamburg. Issledovanie o Russkoi Pravde. G. The new additions to the already large collection of manuscripts have not given rise to fundamentally new insights. 1947. ch. Ewers. D. not only because in most manuscripts they go under the name of Russkaia Pravda. because virtually all provisions from the Short Pravda reappear. Band 321. Die Russkaja Pravda–ein mittelalterliches Rechtsdenkmal. Part II: Kommentarii. Moskva. and a longer one about four times as long. Pravda Russkaia. 1963 (hereafter: Szeftel & Eck). 1999 (hereafter: Zimin. more importantly. 209-211. Rechtshistorische Reihe.A. “Russkaia Pravda v novykh spiskakh kormchikh knig XVI-XVII vv. 4 There is also a third version.”. 1980 (hereafter: Kaiser. Frankfurt a/M. A. English translation in D. but. Baranowski. as the Short and the Expanded Pravda.34 Law in Medieval Russia Russia”).

Moreover. 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. Also.43.6 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. when Iziaslav. however. they are all concerned with the payment of wergeld for homicide and other personal injuries. there are two provisions with their own headings. See Tikhomirov.The Russkaia Pravda 35 3. Sviatoslav. Issledovanie. regarded as a law connected with the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav the Wise. art. The first ten articles are very similar in scope and terminology. It may be obvious that an unfortunate placing of numbers may distort the context. More speculatively. 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).42). Kosniachko. 5 6 The manuscript texts of the RP do not use article numbers. article 11 seems to belong to the same layer.1. Chudin [and] Mikula met together. 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. Vsevolod. Mikyfor the Kievan. who ruled in Kiev from 1019 to 1054).” The first three persons were the sons and successors of the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav the Wise (Iaroslav Vladimirovich. which would argue in favour of the viewpoint that the two provisions originally belonged to separate complexes.” It is primarily on the basis of these texts that it is generally recognized that the Short Pravda consists of two main parts: the first 18 articles. This preamble is repeated in article 2 of the Expanded Pravda in a different and more precise wording: “After Iaroslav [had died]. his sons established the same. and their men: Kosniachko. The reference to Varangians and Kolbiags. The system introduced by the Academy of Sciences edition is generally followed nowadays. his sons Iziaslav. Sviatoslav. and the bridgebuilders’ statute (urok mostnikov). The division in numbered articles is something introduced by editors for easy reference. Art. one may discern different chronological layers in the Oldest Pravda.16 is devoted to the same topic. 61.” Most copies of the Expanded Pravda carry the heading: “The Law of Iaroslav Vladimirovich. connected with his sons. in some manuscripts new provisions are started on a new line and/or with a capital letter in red ink.11 does not deal with personal injuries but with the runaway slave. at the end of the Short Pravda. connects it with art. art. identified as “a law of Iaroslav” (to ti urok iaroslavl’). and a following section. Pereneg. . but older studies (such as those by Kalachov or Sergeevich) often use different systems. decided by Iaroslav. Pereneg. Vsevolod. the Pravda of Iaroslav. and Nikifor came together again [and decided certain things] and as to everything else.

V. articles 19-29 deal with special and increased fines for killing or injuring the prince’s officials. also. These chronicles relate how Iaroslav. Article 30 stands somewhat isolated.19-29) may very well be viewed as an addition or amendment to the wergeld provisions of the first part. An extensive and recent explanation of the Old-Russian monetary system by A. M.N.2 of the Short Pravda.Petersburg). Article 41 concerns the distribution of the money collected in fines and articles 42 and 43 have been mentioned above. Tom IX. probably around 1013 or 1014. most likely at the insistence of the Novgorod population.7 but the next series of provisions (arts. his father summoned his troops and began to prepare an attack on Novgorod. S. Iaroslav thereupon reinforced his army. 4. with the accent now on his property interests. A. As what appears to represent a short law code of princely domanial law. 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. Two medieval chronicles are of decisive importance in this respect. S.”. . Leningrad. south-west of the present St. 197-220. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. grand prince of Kiev. “Istochniki dlia izucheniia russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia v XII-XIII vv.P.B. it concerns evidence: open wounds and bruises need no further corroboration by witnesses. the first block of provisions (arts. Moskva.8 When Iaroslav. Novosel’tsev (ed. the legendary founder of the dynasty.). The Chronological Framework of the Short Pravda It is abundantly clear from the above that the Short Pravda consists of different chronological layers which have been combined into a single document at a certain moment. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. especially by 7 8 In substance.31-40) continues the focus on the prince’s interests. decided to cease the payment of this sum. Sverdlov. 3-16.N. the Primary Chronicle and the First Novgorod Chronicle. 5-79. Moskva. from Iaroslav’s Pravda. in accordance with the prevailing practice (see the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”) among the descendants of Rurik. 1996. Novoe v numizmatike.e. Ocherki feodal’noi Rossii. “Spornye voprosy nachal’noi istorii russkogo denezhnogo obrashcheniia”. Nazarenko. One of Iaroslav’s duties was the payment of an annual tribute of 2000 pounds (grivny) to Kiev. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny.36 Law in Medieval Russia In the second part. “Proiskhozhdenie drevnerusskogo denezhno-vesovogo scheta”. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1994 god. See. 1978. 1. had been appointed by his father St. Kisterev.).Vladimir. 1997. Kisterev (ed. but at the same time this rule repeats the first part of art. an older provision. to rule in Novgorod (Novgorod the Great. i. the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons has therefore repeatedly been compared with Charlemagne’s Capitulare de Villis (dating from shortly after 800).

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

133-150. the following provisions (arts. I refer to Tikhomirov. unlike its constituent parts. the Oldest Pravda or Pravda of Iaroslav. the Oldest Pravda would have emerged at some other date. The Short Pravda: Composition and Status The Short Pravda. is not an actual piece of legislation and that the legislative portions it contains have not necessarily been transmitted in their original form. More speculatively. as early as 1054 and as late as 1136.12 Whether they were acting under instructions from the prince’s administration.g.10 We must return to this question in more detail when the origins of the RP are examined. Issledovanie. Cf. Tikhomirov. various solutions have been proposed. but are also helpful in explaining a number of peculiarities of it. and the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons. Zimin. 62-70 and Zimin. both parts may be broken up in two parts each. PR. consists of two main parts. As to the date of this compilation. All this applies only to the first ten or eleven articles of the Oldest Pravda in my view. Cf. as argued above. 74-78. but rather with Kiev) lack these advantages of what must be considered the predominant view. 99-123. 13 . all of them representing specific items of princely legislation. and has no particular connection with Novgorod. is unclear. Very little is known about the actual process of compilation. 133-150. I follow Tikhomirov in this respect. PR.12-18) seem to represent another legislative fragment.11 Eventually this entire legislative mass was united into a single document.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. 61. Issledovanie. 12 The proposed subdivisions of the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons are of little relevance in this chapter. or in some intermediate position. Issledovanie. Zimin. 5. There are definite traces of editorial interference in the production of the final compilation known as the Short Pravda. Alternative interpretations (e.13 The principal conclusions to be drawn are that the Short Pravda as a whole. 10 11 Tikhomirov. plus a few minor enactments. or independently. which has come down to us through monastic manuscripts as the Short Pravda. Most authors agree that it was the work of monastic scribes. PR.

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

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

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

at 26-28. sword-man) is generally taken to be a person connected with the administration of justice. the mechnik (lit. be [the murdered man] a Russian: a bodyguard [gridin]. or the father the son. Nikol’skii. with rare exceptions. or the son the father. the merchant can be seen as somebody who is active in representing the commercial interests of the prince. his wergeld is 40 grivna .22 The “non-Russians” (slovenin) envisaged in article 1 are the Novgorodians. [the following relatives of the murdered man avenge him]. a merchant. The four specified sub-categories of the “Russians” in article 1 of the Short Pravda are all druzhina members. if there is no one to avenge [the murdered man]. Srednevekovaia Rus’. ethnic Scandinavians. which makes perfect sense in the perspective adopted here. Gorskii (ed. then 40 grivna wergeld. or a sheriff [mechnik]. but it is at least clear that he is a man who belongs to the prince’s household. or [rather] an izgoi or a [Novgorodian] Slav. 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. a bodyguard. who were. originally his comrades-in-arms and drinking companions. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. The equal treatment principle. . It must be stressed that at the time it would be too early to speak of a genuine princely administration. or the son of the brother or the son of the sister [avenge their respective uncles]. This aspect is elaborated in a recent study by S. members of the prince’s druzhina. the exact meaning of this term is the subject of endless speculation. The first category is called “Russians” and this is often taken to mean “Kievan Russians” as opposed to people from Novgorod.A. The significance of the legislation of 1016 may best be illustrated by examining its first provision. A. 5-48. Varangians. was itself not an innovation. the prince’s retinue.L. the brother avenges the brother.4.42 Law in Medieval Russia system during the next few centuries. Vyp. a steward [iabetnik]. about the iabetnik there is much uncertainty. which deals with homicide. according to most scholars. In the treaties with Byzantium. and the izgoi. his druzhina. the term “Russians” is also used and there it unquestionably refers to the persons accompanying the prince. The gridin is a junior member.). regardless of the origin or ethnicity of the victim. Moskva. Vikings. 2004. It was also included in the 912 21 22 My translation differs on minor points from those of Vernadsky and Kaiser.”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. “If a man kills a[nother] man. is not yet his court or his government. without any visible competition from older or contemporary Russian legislation. however. clan or class.

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

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

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

A. 30 Zimin. 1972. GVNP.14. leaving unanswered the question before whom this confrontation took place. Levitsky.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. Zimin. cutting off somebody’s finger (something a modern person would consider far more serious) came at 3 grivna (art. 56. Procedure Procedural arrangements represent the second main cluster of rules which make up the Pravda of Iaroslav. Szeftel & Eck. most authors. 210-211.28 The various tariffs give a clear indication. 88-89. . at 342-346. but certain aspects are clear. instead he ought 28 29 Cf. Such a body also turns up in the earliest known treaty between Novgorod and the Hanseatic League. L. von Amira.23 and 34. the Short Pravda often adds the words “for the insult” (za obidu). against the will of the owner or independent of his will. Outside the mir.A.V. but it is implicit in his entire treatment of the question. There is a procedure referred to as svod in article 14. The precise meaning of most of the provisions is still much contested. but reparation of honour and status. in the Expanded Pravda the expression is only used twice (in arts. against ten times in the Short Pravda. S.14. 341-436.13). of 1189/1199.46 Law in Medieval Russia tion for material losses. Issledovanie. If this happened within the community (mir) of the owner. not the involvement of the prince’s court. remaining close to the text of art. a simple taking back is allowed (art. Striking a man with the hilt or the sheath of a sword resulted in a penalty of 12 grivna. Some authors regard the terms as synonymous. and ought not to say to him [who possesses his property]: ‘This [property] is mine’. which correspond to arts. regarded svod as a form of confrontation. 245. Kaiser’s translation): “If someone recognizes [his property]. Grundriss des Germanischen Rechts.L. others stress the differences. 33. and a procedure called izvod in article 15. PRP I. Strassburg (3rd ed. Vernadsky. Tikhomirov.4 and 13 of the Short Pravda). On the other hand. 9. this article also contains abundant references to older Russian literature. PRP I. however. 28-29. he is not to take it back. the svod procedure was required (art. considered both svod and izvod as a survival of a kind of judicial council of the community. does not specifically argue this point. 78-79. When imposing sanctions. 90-91.). Medieval Russian Laws. 82. “Protection of Individual Honour and Dignity in Pre-Petrine Russian Law”. consisting of twelve men. 1913.4 and 8). see K. but of an older jurytype agency. Cherepnin.29 but there is little doubt that in both cases one has to assume.7). No. Vernadsky points to the similarity between the svod and possessorial proceedings in Germanic law. and the same applied to pulling out or shaving somebody’s beard or moustache (arts. Arkhivy I.28. Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis/Revue d’histoire de droit.

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

”.16 and 17 use different terms to denote a slave. Genealogiia kak forma istoricheskoi pamiati. offspring. 33 Arts. 1971. but the dominant opinion is that the cheliadin (related to terms denoting children.). “Ob obshchestvennoi kategorii «cheliad’» v Drevnei Rusi”. and will be discussed below. “Cheliadin v russko-grecheskikh dogovorakh X v. Cf. also: S. Konovalova (ed. and M. There are first of all the concrete political and historical conditions under which the law code was created. We have considered this matter briefly above and tentatively accepted the version offered by the Novgorod Chronicle.B. cheliadin and kholop. or based on the experience of the society concerned. question of the underlying causes: what were the problems the code was supposed to deal with. but instead of presenting the claim to the twelve men. judicial oath). he must pay 12 grivna and the victim retains the right to chastise the slave. 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. that claims our attention. The last two provisions of the Oldest Pravda. I. and more particularly the first half of this text. In this perspective.G. the creditor must produce witnesses who will swear that the claim is true (rota. Kholopy na Rusi (s drevneishikh vremen do kontsa XV v.). 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. Then there is the closely related. it is especially the oldest part of the RP. the Pravda of Iaroslav. is closely connected with the “Court Law for the People”. 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. but still to be distinguished.A. articles 17 and 18.48 Law in Medieval Russia The corresponding provision in the Expanded Pravda is article 47. 2004. Sverdlov.33 Article 18. Moskva. 10. 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. Problemy istorii feodal’noi Rossii [Mavrodin Festschrift]. or the Oldest Pravda. Leningrad. 200-214. Article 17 deals with the slave who has struck somebody and who then hides in his master’s house. There are several theories to explain this difference. what were the origins of these new solutions? Were they original inventions. and why was it considered necessary to create new solutions—as provided by the code—to these problems? Finally.N. 1973. concerning damage done to another person’s weapons. 53-58. and comparable to Latin filius) is the older term. Kisterev. Moskva. If the master refuses to hand him over to the offended person (for punishment). Zimin. also emphasize procedure. . Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2002 god. A.

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

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

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

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

Cf. . 1957. and. the other two (the Expanded and the Concordance Versions) being of a later date than the Short Pravda. Izbrannye trudy. hereafter ZSL). two major considerations remain: there is a considerable amount of similarity between the RP and the early Germanic laws of the type of the leges barbarorum. 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.D. 1880. historical conditions would suggest at least a certain amount of Germanic. Grekov. I. probably during the first half of the 14th century. and only the most important points relevant to the present chapter will be repeated here. especially during the Soviet era in the period following the Second World War. I. The Short ZSL originated outside Russia (Bulgaria.D. 267-442 (includes German text and Russian translation). any borrowing must have been from the Short Pravda. As the Expanded ZSL was compiled in Russia. B.41 Another comparable source is the Statute of Vinodol of 1288.42 14. Opyt izucheniia obshchestvennogo i politicheskogo stroia Pol’shi XIII v. Germanic Contacts The relationship between early Slavic (Russian) and early Germanic law has long been a politically sensitive subject. Iagich. Grekov. These feelings apart. Zakon Vinodol’skii. place and general tenor. with the exception of the Short ZSL. 41 42 Cf. Moskva. Izbrannye trudy.V. secondly. 1957. Russian translation by V. The RP antedates the earliest codifications of other Slavic peoples. only the Short Version will have to be considered. B. 33-110. Grekov. is the nameless Polish law book. “Vinodol’skii Statut ob obshchestvennom i politicheskom stroie Vinodola”. Of the three existing versions of the ZSL. S. in time. B. It was almost entirely based on the Greek Ecloga.The Russkaia Pravda 53 13. po Pol’skoi Pravde (‘Kniga Prava’)”. and not the other way around. particularly Scandinavian influence on the development of early Russian law.Peterburg. “Pol’skaia Pravda.D. B. Grekov.D. an early medieval law code from the Dalmatian coast. there are no parallel provisions between the Short ZSL and the Short Pravda. Moravia or Macedonia) sometime during the 9th century and reached Russia before the 13th century. The parallels between the ZSL and the Short Pravda all concern suggested borrowings from the Expanded ZSL. Closest to the RP. written in the 13th century in German. but the latter’s system of sanctions was fundamentally changed. Its relationships with the various versions of the RP have been examined in the chapter on Roman law in medieval Russia. Moskva.

H. borrowing. von Bunge in several volumes. 131-134. 5-218. The earliest Anglo-Saxon laws. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR 1979 god. V. Moskva. There is undeniably an important and perhaps dominant German influence to be observed in these laws. The idea of borrowing takes us to the second point mentioned above: the presumed legislator of the Oldest Pravda. bears the traces of the recent war with the Franks and the forceful establishment of Frankish rule.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. In the first part of the Lex Saxonum.T. was the direct neighbour of Jutland. A new bi-lingual publication (Low Middle German and Russian) by E. “«Livonskie Pravdy» kak istoricheskii istochnik”. Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte. 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. Conrad. during the first half of the 19th century. and unfree persons) is dominant in the Germanic laws and less so in the RP. . 1962. and the Ewa ad Amorem or Lex Francorum Chamavorum). Leipzig (3rd ed. Frisians.). or accident. originated. the region from which Rurik. was still surrounded by many Scandinavian ele43 44 Cf. 243-248. In the Oldest Pravda the focus is on the freeman. The oldest layers of these laws resemble both the RP and sections from the early Germanic laws. The Law of the Saxons. belong to the same general type. the similarity with the Oldest Pravda is the most striking. the RP would fit effortlessly into the otherwise purely Germanic collection. the boyar appears in chronologically younger layers of the Expanded Pravda. Thuringians and Chamavian Franks (Lex Saxonum.). in North-West Germany. at least according to some of the current theories. the laws of the Kentish kings.44 Similarity can always be explained in three ways: common origin. The latter becomes more unlikely as similarity becomes more striking.G.L. Nazarova. for instance. 1980.43 Disregarding linguistic differences (the old English laws were written in Anglo-Saxon. 1898. the Kievan grand prince Iaroslav Vladimirovich. I. A tripartite class structure (nobles. This is the more intriguing since the Saxon territory. Lex Frisionum. Lex Thuringorum or Lex Angliorum et Werinorum. The main publication of these Baltic laws was the work of F. R. freemen. Schröder. Pashuto (ed. 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. the Old-German laws in corrupt Latin. Karlsruhe. Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte. but the few authors who have concerned themselves with this topic have also noted an indigenous element. and the RP in Old-Russian). beginning with the Law of Aethelberht of around 600.

F.V. 1978. Drevniaia Rus’ i Skandinaviia v IX-XIV vv. falling back on Scandinavian customary law. Moskva. Vol.A.A. “K tipologii predgosudarstvennykh i rannegosudarstvennykh obrazovanii v Severnoi i Vostochnoi Evrope”. 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»”. As to her Scandinavian background.Peterburg. N. the daughter of prince Rogvolod or Rognvald of Polotsk as his mother. his mother was also of Viking descent. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. 1927. 2001.. See e. Several modern Russian authors have stressed the importance of the druzhina aspect in the political and legal culture of early Kievan Russia. 2003. Pchelov. 1989 (not available to me). DGVE 1992-1993.). 63-70. Moskva. If these considerations are combined with the 45 46 In the entry for 980. were accompanied by a large number of magnates and merchants. see E.The Russkaia Pravda 55 ments.g. somewhat later. Of particular interest in this respect is the study by E. Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. E. Moskva.A. E.A. especially the one about Olaf Tryggvason and Eymund. de Baumgarten. 1998. founded in 1978. No. Moskva. Gorskii. the successor of Drevneishie gosudarstva na territorii SSSR. The old Western standard work on Rurikid genealogy. Mel’nikova (ed. N. E. as we know it from two centuries later.35. Drevnerusskaia gosudarstvennost’. A. erroneously regards an “unknown pagan spouse” as the mother of Iaroslav. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2001 god. And when. Orientalia Christiana. Mel’nikova. and contacts with Viking leaders from Scandinavia were obviously close and frequent. Especially the group of younger scholars around the yearbook Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy (DGVE). all of whom bore Scandinavian names. This by itself could explain the strong similarity with Germanic law from NorthWestern Europe.47 In this view. Roma. with which Iaroslav must have been familiar. 7-8. there was a need to negotiate a settlement between the population of Novgorod and his Viking soldiery. . He was himself the descendant of Viking chiefs. 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. as related by the Chronicle. Rydzevskaia. Kotliar. Drevnerusskaia druzhina. S. 165. 1995. would have been an equally obvious option. 47 Cf. Moskva. must have been an easily available option.46 When political and military problems arose for Iaroslav as ruling prince of Novgorod in 1015-1016. calling in help from his allies and relatives in Scandinavia. Iaroslav (‘Jaritsleif ’) and his father Vladimir (‘Waldamar’) figure prominently as rulers of Novgorod (‘Holmgard’) in several Scandinavian sagas. 48-92. His great-grandparents Igor and Olga. the Primary Chronicle mentions Rogneda. during their raid on Byzantium. according to the preamble of the treaty of 945.45 and his wife Ingigerd was the daughter of the king of Sweden.A. IX-1. Istoricheskaia pamiat’ i formy ee voploshcheniia. 16-32. Materialy i issledovaniia 1978 g. Généalogies et mariages occidentaux des Rurikides russes du Xe au XIIIe siècle.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Pravo. 280.”. Slavic Review. 37. 257-282.68 Law in Medieval Russia to the RP.2. No. op.35 In Western scholarship.V. the Procheiron. 41. and in the person of Greek bishops and priests steeped in the ecclesiastical law of Byzantium. Salogubova.. Sacco recognized the predominantly native Russian character of the RP.34 In this connection Baranowski. H. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii takes up the first five volumes of the 8-volume collected works (Sochineniia). 192. 1999 (No. The two papers are largely identical.4).R. the Ecloga. would have reached Russia in this early period.36 The very few authors who looked more closely at the sources themselves were usually more circumspect in their judgment. MA (Revised and Enlarged edition). 1988. Salogubova. Kucherov in “Indigenous and Foreign Influences on the Early Russian Legal Heritage”.cit.o. This appears to have been the view of S. “Vliianie rimskogo prava na rossiiskoe grazhdanskoe zakonodatel’stvo”.32 From this. the Court Law for the People (ZSL). but also the direct influence of the Ecloga and the Procheiron. on the Kormchaia. acknowledges Byzantine influences in early Russian law.cit. H. R. Studien des Instituts für Ostrecht München. in his Einführung in die Rechtsgeschichte Osteuropas. 34 35 36 . op. Baranowski.O.S. 1956-1959 (the edition which I have used). he appears to conclude that the RP was based a.31 (1972). Band 54. and the Nomos Georgikos. 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. in his recent magnum opus on the RP.I. observed that renewed interest among Russian legal historians in Byzantine influences in Russian law is certainly to be welcomed. who.S.. 2005. An Interpretation of Soviet Law. published in Moscow. Küpper. Christianity came to Russia through Byzantium. Cambridge. seriia II. esp. Frankfurt a/M. 65-86. 66. Vol. 114-116. at 71). in a wide-ranging overview of the influence of Roman law in the Balkans and 32 33 V. but equally adventurous position was taken by another recent author. E. Ius Antiquum–Drevnee Pravo. 1997.33 A different. 726. Berman acknowledged a significant influence of Byzantine law on the RP in his well-known work Justice in the U. he followed the lead of Kliuchevskii. Isaev. Also. perceived the presence of Roman law in many instances in early Russian law. like Maksimeiko many years ago. 29-37.. and through its prism also Roman law. Soloviev. and id. “Elementy rimskogo prava v rossiiskom sudoproizvodstve X-XVII vv. 1962. therefore Byzantine law.V. In an overview “The Romanist Substratum in the Civil Law of the Socialist Countries” (Review of Socialist Law. A. but characterizes them as superficial. 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. E. 208-209. who saw the RP as a legal manual for the use of ecclesiastical courts. His views on the ecclesiastical origins of the RP in Vol.

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

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

of which the Lex Rhodia and the Lex militaris represent the other two. 73-75.45 There is still much disagreement about all the external aspects of the Farmer’s Law.P. Medvedev (ed. This edition contains an extensive historiography (also of Western scholarship). in the beginning of the era of the iconoclast emperors. Briefly on the Knigi Zakonnye also Kaiser. Its authorship is unclear. 233-259. but there are also influences from Old Testament (Mosaic) law. 65. . See.E. and various additional materials. 148-150.Peterburg. Medvedev. This law. annotated texts of the main Greek manuscripts and a Russian translation. the first significant secular legislative document in Byzantium after the Corpus Iuris was the Nomos Georgikos (Lex rustica) or Farmer’s Law. however. 144-145. Lipshits). The same goes for the Lex militaris. 45 46 I. Growth of the Law. The Nomos Georgikos or Farmer’s Law In connection with medieval Russian law. There are now few supporters of the theory that ascribes the law to Justinian II Rhinotmetes (685-695. of great importance in the development of maritime law. 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). Nomos Georgikos. an extensive commentary (by E.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 71 Secular Byzantine Law: a. van der Wal & Lokin. creates a vivid picture of the life of small and independent farmers and the manifold disputes and collisions that could arise among them. A minor part of its contents can be traced to the law of Justinian and earlier Roman law. 1984. There can be no doubt. Leningrad. the Slavic-Russian text of the Law with notes and comments. Pravovaia kul’tura vizantiiskoi imperii. also.P. The other parts of the collection are the “Law on penalties” (Zakon o kaznekh).).) The Farmer’s Law is one of the three Byzantine leges speciales.46 (More on the Knigi Zakonnye below. is preferred. S. A considerable part of its contents seems to reflect customary law. 705-711). that after its reception in Russia it was regarded as a genuine piece of Byzantine legislation. consisting of 85 articles (in the oldest available and most reliable version). Included with comments by Lipshits in Medvedev. Whether it was promulgated as an official law or represents the work of private persons is uncertain. Zemledel’chskii zakon. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii zakon. was of little interest to a land-logged legal system such as that in medieval Russia (although it was included in several medieval Russian manuscript collections). and a somewhat later date. 2001. all dating from the same era. a law “On divorce” (O razdelenii brakom). The Lex Rhodia. as well as the time and place of its origin. and I. and the “Chapters on witnesses” (Glavy o poslusekh).

The Ecloga is therefore to be understood primarily as a paraphrasing of the practically most important legislation in simpler language. They were the first iconoclast emperors. the question is not of great relevance. devoted respectively to matrimonial and criminal law. In the 17th and longest chapter. an introduction and comments. was emperor from 717 to his death in 741.E. 72-73.48 As its date. mainly devoted to private law. the first 16 chapters (titles) of the Ecloga deal with various civil law topics. See. Cf. Vasil’evskogo.. also. His son Constantine V. Ekloga. was born in 718 and crowned co-emperor in 720. 72-73. Frankfurt a/M. this would favour the 726 date. Vizantiiskii zakonodatel’nyi svod VIII veka. van der Wal & Lokin. See.49 After a lengthy preamble.). For the purpose of our study. Lipshits. and a useful bibliography at 132. the years of 726 and 741 are mentioned. 139-235 (originally written and published in the beginning of the 20th century. 1981. including family and inheritance law. 37-106) which they believe settles the matter ultimately in favour of the 741 date. 8ff. 1924) which demonstrates (according to Lipshits) clearly that 726 is the correct date. Trudy V. Van de Wal & Lokin (132) point to a paper by O. 49 Leo III. “Zakonodatel’stvo ikonobortsev”. but is silent about icon worshippers. Burgmann (ed.G. IV. such as Lipshits (Ekloga. with a few exceptions.. L. und Konstantinos’ V. 50 Lipshits. 52) prescribes the death penalty for Manichaeans and Montanists.P. Pravovaia kul’tura. 1983 (not available to me). 138-148. Vasil’evskii. the Ecloga is a law code of modest size. Medvedev. I note the point made by Vasil’evskii (173) that the Ecloga (XVII.72 Law in Medieval Russia b. Ecloga: Das Gesetzbuch Leons III. An older but still valuable Russian source is V. along 47 48 Cf. I. and promulgated by the emperors Leo and Constantine. Moskva. it was not just a change of words. Leningrad.50 Its contents can be traced back to the Corpus Iuris and subsequent imperial legislation. Kresten (“Datierungsproblemen isaurischer Eherechtsnovellen”. He ruled from 741 until his death in 775. The preamble points in particular to the fact that the mass of preceding legislation had become incomprehensible to judges outside the capital itself. E.G.). also known as Leo the Isaurian. corporal punishment and various amputations constitute the standard penalty. who insist on the reforming character of the Ecloga. and not so much as a major law reform. nicknamed Copronymus. Ecloga47 Taken at face value. They are also by far the longest chapters. I am inclined to occupy a middle position: if it did not constitute a major change of course. Most innovations are contained in the 2nd and 17th chapters. Fontes minores IV. Ekloga. also. refers to a study by D. presents a Russian translation. because Leo’s iconoclast policies began to be applied later on in the same year and remained a major concern all through his reign. and extensive other explanatory and bibliographical materials. Ginis (“Das Promulgationsjahr des isaurischen Ecloge”. Frankfurt a/M. Byzantinische Zeitschrift. As the Ecloga was promulgated in March. who stress this point against what they consider to be the erroneous view of Zachariae von Lingenthal and his followers in the 20th century. van de Wal & Lokin. Band 24. 1965. 16-18. but republished by the USSR Academy of Sciences). 1930. depending on the manuscript used. .

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

to the ‘pure’ law of Justinian) correspond to the 40 books of an earlier stage of the Basilika. written under the direction of the energetic and learned patriarch Photius in 885-886. but as it had come down through various Byzantine (Greek) works. Leo the Wise had another summary drawn up in 907-908.56 Because certain parts of the Epanagoge were politically unpalatable to the emperor. 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. I shall conform to this usage. it was explicitly meant to replace the Ecloga and to return to the old law of Justinian. e. not the original Latin text of the Corpus Iuris. but rather as a work of reference. 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. but as Epanagoge is the name which has been in use in the literature for very many years. Of course it also incorporated later Byzantine legislation in the form of imperial constitutions. “Returning”. The Basilika was based on the law of Justinian. sc. On account of the respective sizes of the works. with the specific additional purpose of getting rid of Photius’ unacceptable statements on the church-state relationship. According to its lengthy introduction. The question of its character has been debated extensively. the Procheiron. the Basilika is not to be regarded as legislation. Modern lawyers are conditioned by a strictly circumscribed concept of law. d. was it officially recognized as a source of law. Epanagoge (Eisagoge) The 40 titles (chapters) of the Epanagoge (“Restoration”. Only much later. The following chapters cover many areas of private law and procedure. . the 40th chapter is devoted to criminal law. the proper name is actually Eisagoge (“Introduction”). but such views may not be quite adequate for understanding legal sources from other times and other cultures.74 Law in Medieval Russia at first by the Epanagoge. but at the same time it ensured that the Epanagoge would never acquire the status of a law. They generally return to the old law of Justinian by offering a more literal Greek rendering of the Corpus Iuris texts. in 1175. 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. 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. According to present-day definitions. This theoretical approach obviously reflected the ambitions of the patriarch Photius. Of particular interest are the chapters 2 and 3. It was more than twice the size of the 56 As Medvedev notes (176).

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

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

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

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

N. vergl. therefore. Michigan Slavic Materials. MI. 866-868. ZSL) occupies a middle position between ‘lenders’ and ‘borrowers’. of the middle of the 14th century. (e) The Redactio systematica sive Tarasiana. Tikhomirov (ed. around or shortly after 806: added decisions of the Second Council of Nicea of 787.67 65 66 The principal editions of the Short ZSL are: M. 1959.65 Most copies of the Short ZSL have been found in various kormchie (the Russian Nomocanon) and some others in Merilo Pravednoe manuscripts. The first two parts together became known as the Nomocanon XIV titulorum. Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. most conveniently treated at this particular place. see Kaiser.14. A facsimile edition of the oldest manuscript. (g) The Syntagma canonum of 883: added the canons of the Quinisextum and some other texts to d. has been published by Tikhomirov: M. “Ein Denkmal des bulgarischen Rechts”. No. Dewey and A. 1961. An English translation with introduction and commentary by H.N. Zakon Sudnyi liudem Kratkoi redaktsii. 141-282. 4. Kleimola has been published as Zakon Sudnyj Ljudem (Court Law for the People). 67 On the Merilo Pravednoe (“Just Measure”). Zs. V. 1977. 1961. the different theories mention 862. Expanded (Prostrannyi) and Concordance (Svodnyi) ZSL. Rechtsw. It is neither a Byzantine. As the date of its origin. Tikhomirov (ed. Bulgaria. but it is generally accepted that the text (of the Short ZSL. the Short (Kratkii).33 (1916). It is. (f) The Third Redaction (in the terminology of Shchapov). Oroschakoff. or its predecessor) reached Russia before the 13th century. Moskva. Of these redactions. Ann Arbor. Ganev. (h) Secular law texts were added to the Nomocanon by Theodore Bestes in 1089/1090. The ZSL has survived in three different versions or redactions. 23-25. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. and a time between 830 and 840.). (b) and (c)). but it functioned exclusively in medieval Russia. nor a Russian law. the Short one is unquestionably the oldest. The Moravian theory opts for 862 or slightly later. Sofia. H. its content is predominantly Byzantine. according to the Bulgarian theory . in or shortly after 790: minor additions. Moskva. The Legislation Involved: Russian Law– The ‘Borrowers’ The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi liudem. Vol.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 79 mentioned in (a). f. The Growth of the Law. Macedonia).).66 There are several theories about the place of origin of the ZSL (Moravia.

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

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

at least its older parts. The Pravda of Iaroslav itself probably also consists of at least two distinct layers. 78 The version in art. For the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons.74 These are generally known as the Short and the Expanded Pravda. a text of much later origin. 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). 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. Mikyfor the Kievan [and] Chiudin Mikula met together. The two older copies. if one also counts the so-called Abridged Pravda (Sokrashchennaia Pravda). 77 Using the by now generally accepted system employed in the Academy of Sciences edition. Vsevolod. The final compilation of the Short Pravda could have taken place (according to Tikhomirov78) during the reign (1117-1136) of Vsevolod Mstislavich. The Short Pravda is concluded by two separate provisions. The 40-odd provisions of the Short Pravda (the number varies. accordingly. Sviatoslav. 74 75 And even three. The Short Pravda is generally considered the older of the two. his sons got together again: Iziaslav. which are very reminiscent of similar Germanic laws. the pokon virnyi (the law on the payment of bloodwite) and the urok mostnikov (the bridgebuilders’ statute). Its first 18 provisions76 are known as the Oldest Pravda (Drevneishaia Pravda) or the Pravda of Iaroslav. .75 It quite clearly consists itself of several chronological layers. which will be left aside in this paper. Pereneg [and] Nikifor […]. Pereneg. The origin of at least the first half of Iaroslav’s Pravda is often sought in certain events in Novgorod in 1016.2 of the Expanded Pravda is much clearer to a modern reader: “After Iaroslav. the First Academic Copy and the First Archeographical Copy. but usually in an edited version and not as a single block. 74-78. the first ten articles. Issledovanie. The Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons is primarily concerned with the protection of the prince’s servants and property. Vsevolod and their men: Kosniachko. and the following eight articles which form a less consistent block. Sviatoslav. Kosniachko.77 The second part of the Short Pravda is.” Tikhomirov. prince of Novgorod. the year 1072 is usually accepted.” The first three persons were sons of Iaroslav who together succeeded him. Tikhomirov has argued that the full text of Iaroslav’s Pravda was enacted or at least composed in 1036. known as the Pravda of Iaroslav’s Sons (Pravda Iaroslavichei). according to the numbering system employed) return in the Expanded Pravda (with a few exceptions). but dispersed through the text of the Expanded Pravda.82 Law in Medieval Russia longer one. 76 11 of the 13 available copies of the Short Pravda are recent (18th and 19th century).

but some turn up in the second part.” He then wrote out a donation and deposited it in the church. the oldest layer of course being the rules that can be traced to the oldest part of Iaroslav’s Pravda. They have been divided into different groups and families.” More than 200 copies of the Church Statute of Vladimir are extant. etc. Several partial codifications or consolidations may have occurred. the first part bearing the title “The Law [Sud] of Iaroslav Volodimerich—Pravda Russkaia”. is the deed referred to in the Chronicle. and it is generally assumed that it. or 1210-1215. in the entry for the years 994-996. 225. Through the ages 79 Cf. slaves. These clusters of provisions will have arisen at different dates. Various other dates have been suggested after 1125 (death of Monomakh): 1160-1168. or rather its oldest nucleus. an indisputable terminus ante quem is 1280. most of them included in kormchie. inheritance law. The question is also complicated by the existence of more than 100 copies of the Expanded Pravda. Superficially. the date of the earliest manuscript copy of the Expanded Pravda. albeit in amended form. . As to the time of the final compilation of the protograph of the Expanded Pravda. All of which makes it more difficult to make general statements about the Expanded Pravda. Most of the provisions taken over. dating from the 14th to the 19th century. Only a section of the second part is considered the actual Law of Monomakh. each preceded by a title-heading in most of the manuscripts. 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. and the differences among them are sometimes considerable. may he be accursed. 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. Issledovanie. declaring: “If anyone violates this promise. There is no doubt about the identity of the second legislator either: the famous Kievan prince Vladimir Monomakh. then an earlier date is indicated. devoted to a particular topic.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 83 The composition of the Expanded Pravda is perhaps even more complex than that of the Short Pravda. there are two main parts. who ruled as grand prince from 1113-1125.79 The Church Statutes of the Princes According to the Primary Chronicle. Tikhomirov. from the Short Pravda are indeed found in the first part of the Expanded Pravda. such as interest. Within the Expanded Pravda certain clusters of provisions can be identified. until finally all the elements were brought together into what came to be known as the Expanded Pravda. the second one “The Law [Ustav] of Volodimer Vsevolodich”.

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

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

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

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

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

1869. it made use of many other written sources: decisions of church councils. 88-100. Kormčaja Kniga. Vizantiiskoe.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 89 Christian religion. which can be divided into three stages. esp. writings of church fathers.Peterburg. In order to be used in newly baptized countries. Pervonachal’nyi slaviano-russkii nomokanon. Pavlov. 1923. if any. Studies on the Chief Code of Russian Canon Law. 1978. etc. 96-98. Shchapov. S. The Syntagma version from around 806 was provided with some additions and amendments shortly before 912. it will be sufficient to relate some of his conclusions which are of relevance to our present topic. besides. Roma. 1906-1907. As a highly organized body it also needed rules. known together with his younger brother Cyrillus as the apostles of the Slavs (825-885).N.N. Orientalia Christiana Analecta. In the Eastern church. such collections had to be translated. 90 91 Cf.90 Another version of the Syntagma. as outlined above. Shchapov. to mention only two older Russian works.S. Kazan’. through his painstaking analysis of the vast repertoire of kormchie. Vizantiiskoe i iuzhnoslavianskoe pravovoe nasledie na Rusi v XI-XIII vv. The Growth of the Law.88 But in more recent times it was especially the extensive work of Ia.N. probably in Constantinople itself. Vizantiiskoe. bearing such names as Collectio or Syntagma or Nomocanon. of this translation in the development of medieval Russian law. 168. Particularly in his study of the “Byzantine and Southern Slav legal heritage in Russia in the XIth-XIIIth century”. I have not been able to consult I. The entire story of the different kormchie reaching Russia is conveniently summarized by Kaiser. connected with the conversion of Bulgaria. Shchapov. Little is known about the role. Žužek. but. The translation of church texts into Slavonic has been the subject of scholarly interest for a long time. was made (some time around 862) by Methodius. 1964.91 88 89 Such as V. from 806 or around that date). has succeeded in drawing a consistent picture of this process.. Beneshevich. is complicated. resulting in the publication of important sources and studies. 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). Ia. The story of its composition. Moskva. 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 based on the Third Redaction (in Shchapov’s terminology. A.89 The first Slavonic translation. Drevneslavianskaia kormchaia XIV titulov bez tolkovanii. 36. as reconstructed by Shchapov. Shchapov. Holy Scripture was an essential element. Shchapov which has increased our understanding of the process through which Byzantine law penetrated into the early Slavic world. of the Collectio L titulorum of John the Scholastic of 550. .

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

Ch. also. 98 The penetration of the Procheiron is the subject of a special study by Shchapov: “Prokhiron v vostochnoslavianskoi pis’mennosti”. connected with the name of Savva. on Cyril II: Ia. more recent imperial constitutions. cf. the oldest (the Riazan’ Copy) from 1284. the last Kievan metropolitan. at the request of Cyril II. Shchapov. the earlier version (the Efrem Kormchaia) was also utilized and many new materials 95 96 Shchapov. The work by A. A copy of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia was sent to Kiev from Bulgaria. . by the same author. At a Russian church council held in Kiev in 1273. 48-58. may have been a central consideration in Cyril’s efforts to bring about a new version of the Russian kormchaia. who became the first Serbian archbishop in 1219. 99 Cyril’s successor.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 91 Shortly after the conversion of Russia. the Collectio 87 capitolorum. Moskva. Nomokanon pri Bol’shom Trebnike. 1989. is devoted to the Efrem Kormchaia. 204-206. 172. quoted above. Shchapov.o. S.N.Peterburg. III (117-155). Vizantiiskoe. it did not have a Byzantine example or counterpart and was apparently put together in Serbia. during the Mongol sack of Kiev in 1240.97 Although the original Serbian redaction did not include any specifically Slavonic materials. Cyril himself died in 1281.98 shortly before 1273.96 This kormchaia was based on more up-to-date Byzantine materials. 101. the Greek Maxim. Vizantiiskii vremennik. it was decided to create a new Russian kormchaia which would better satisfy the needs of the church at that time.S.. See. Pavlov. Vizantiiskoe. possibly during the reign of Iaroslav the Wise. The arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia text in Russia signified simultaneously the beginning of the third stage. ego istoriia i teksty. Cf. The second stage is represented by the emergence of the so-called Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia. 1897. The loss of the rich cathedral library of Kiev. in which the text is broken off at the end of the Collection of 93 chapters). 97 Shchapov. Vizantiiskoe. The secular law section contained a. after almost 40 years as metropolitan of the Russian church. Vol. this Slavonic Kormchaia reached Russia. particularly the canon law collections with comments by the great 12th century canonists Zonaras and Aristenes. moved the see to Vladimir on the Kliazma in 1299. A considerable number of copies of the Serbian redaction of the Kormchaia has survived in Russia. and the entire Procheiron text.38 (1977).95 Its oldest surviving copy is from the 12th century (the defective Efrem copy.99 Although the Serbian redaction constituted the main source for the new text. which undoubtedly included several kormchaia copies. Gosudarstvo i tserkov’ Drevnei Rusi X-XIII vv.

such as might be found in the kormchie. Published in facsimile edition by M. 69 sheets. Shchapov. According to Tikhomirov. therefore.92 Law in Medieval Russia of Russian origin were included as well. After the numerous kormchie. presents a large number of short exhortative and religious texts. The latter is the so-called Trinity or Troitskii I Copy.101 Some of the resulting North-West and North-East Russian families of kormchie. 165-171.102 It consists of two parts. four almost identical volumes are known. The Trinity Copy of the second half of the 14th century is considered the standard text. Most of them are of Byzantine origin. but containing also some texts of Russian origin. where as a result of the particular politicolegal situation the bishop’s jurisdiction also began to extend to certain secular cases. at a later stage. Vizantiiskoe. Merilo Pravednoe po rukopisi XIV veka. The Merilo Pravednoe or ‘Just Measure’ As pointed out above. Of its oldest version. as the Russian redaction. In the second phase. Its first part. The second part counts 275 sheets and represents the explicitly legal side of the work. legal texts in medieval Russia are usually encountered in larger collections. The general tenor is to admonish judges. Moskva. 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. Cf. therefore. mostly of Greek origin. The 30 texts are numbered separately. Tikhomirov. But the ZSL (Short Redaction) is also included and at the end the Expanded Pravda. 1961. 163-164. Vizantiiskoe. generally used in modern collections as being closest to the Expanded Pravda’s protograph. following immediately. The oldest extant version of the Expanded Pravda is as the last item in the Novgorod Synod Kormchaia of 1282. It made sense.N. as well as other amendments and additions. the collections knows as Merilo Pravednoe must be mentioned. also came to include different versions of the Expanded RP. while a fifth volume offers a number of different texts. 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. . which make up an actual book. including the Short Redaction of the ZSL. The work actually proceeded in two phases.100 This new product is known. This occurred first in Novgorod. Among them are the complete (Russian) texts of the Procheiron and the Ecloga. more Byzantine and non-Byzantine materials were added. to include the RP as a secular law code in the general ‘rule-book’ (kormchaia) at the disposal of the bishop.

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

a distinction was made between general and specific arguments in favour of Roman/Byzantine influences in early Russian law.). 191. in the following provisions.1. are Maksimeiko and Salogubova. We could debate. from the most primitive to the most sophisticated. Salt Lake City. 1992. li.94 Law in Medieval Russia law with some additions from title 14 of the Ecloga. Should 106 107 108 Cf. also convenient to begin by examining the most ambitious claims: that early Russian law was directly influenced by Roman law itself. the Short Pravda. . contain similar prohibitions of marriage between close blood relatives. It is. The different texts of the Chapters on Witnesses show that they go back to different translations of the original Greek text. 27 (169). moreover. is that it is utterly improbable that those responsible for shaping early Russian law. It will be convenient to discuss the specific arguments first.H. Roman Law The only authors who claim specifically that Roman law directly influenced early Russian law. the debate becomes irrelevant. Medvedev. Evaluation: The point seems to be extremely far-fetched. 1-3. whether conditions on the planet Mars would allow the existence of some form of life. & ed. If such a discussion yields a positive answer it becomes unnecessary to investigate the general arguments in favour. English translation of the Chapters on Witnesses at 116-121. and especially the RP. Almost all legal systems. 1. as has been mentioned before. specific and comprehensive list of persons entitled to pursue the murderer”. and particularly the RP. Series I: Medieval Russia. RP II. D. Vol. Cf. 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. The Laws of Russia. Maksimeiko detected Roman law influence especially in the older version of the RP. had access to the necessary Roman law sources. Once a space craft has returned from Mars with a specimen of such a form of life. A general and already persuasive argument against these claims. 10.108 Maksimeiko doubted “that Old-Russian practice could independently work out such a precise. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. for instance.107 7.106 The Chapters on Witnesses appear also in other medieval Russian collections. Weighing the Evidence In the fifth section. Kaiser (transl.

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

24) dropped the additional requirement again but otherwise took over the Ecloga’s rule. or to notify them. . The Procheiron (XXXIX. compared to those for the thief. if that is considered desirable. As this law is known to be heavily influenced by Roman law. precisely because of the fact that concealment of a runaway slave is actually rather unlike ordinary theft. 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.96 Law in Medieval Russia cattle. A very similar formula (“alium paris meriti cum eodem servum domino dare cogatur”) is found in the 6th century Lex Visigothorum (XI. but with considerable amendments. one finds in classical Roman law additional rules concerning periods of grace granted to those harbouring runaway slaves. 17) introduced an additional requirement by defining the offence as “luring away and hiding the slave of another person […]” [italics added. 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.113 The Ecloga (XVII. 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 rule in question is presumably of Roman origin. The sanctions against concealment of a runaway slave are mild. 1. Characteristically. 4. or an equivalent sum of money. Byzantine law retained the principle of the unlawfulness of hiding runaway slaves. The Codex of Justinian (534) allowed the replacement of the standard fine of classical Roman law of 20 solidi (on top of the handing over of the fugitive slave) by supplying a second slave of the same value as the fugitive.” The 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. requires more detailed regulation. This equation. The rule of the Ecloga has been taken over in the early (Short) version of the Court Law for the People (ZSL). if he is unable to do so he is to be whipped and exiled. 1).112 This feature was taken over in later Byzantine legislation. 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. In case of recidivism his hand is cut off. the first statement in the title on fugitive slaves in the Digest (11. allowing them to return the slave to its master or to the authorities. FF]. Consequently. 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. moreover.

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

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

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

the Roman rule refers more generally to an iniuria committed by a slave. That alone would already explain the striking similarity between the different provisions. 4 are similar: a slave has struck a freeman and has sought refuge with his own master. this similarity is still general. the almost uniform wording of which is obvious (how else could you describe the offence simply?).12: “Si quis caballum extra consilium domini sui ascenderit […]” and “Ashche kto poedet’ na chiuzhem kone. 47. on the other hand. 47. in the chapters concerned. Cambridge. 4-7. 4 (De Noxalibus Actionibus). 10. Article 17: This provision deals with the liability of the master who refuses to hand over his slave who has struck a freeman. Buckland. . ne proshav ego. 600. offers in its usual way a vast array of casuistic material discussing all possible variations of delicts and injuries. The similarity between the situations described article 17 and D. A Textbook of Roman Law From Augustus to Justinian. 47.119 Without attempting to solve this riddle here. 4. […]”. 17. devoting ample attention to liability for acts of dependents. 9. 10120 and D. 47. RP II.100 Law in Medieval Russia with the Salic Law (title 25 of the Pactus Legis Salicae) and the Law of the Ripuarian Franks (art. 9. The provisions differ strongly in their wording and also in context. 115 (164. 10. Among the 18 provisions of the Oldest Pravda (the Pravda of Iaroslav) three mention slaves: article 11 (discussed above). 121 More precisely. Evaluation: The situations described in this provision and in D. 17. 17. or being sued in a noxal action.121 and adds that the author of the RP was influenced by Book 9 of the Digest. The Digest. D. 9 ( Ad Legem Aquiliam).40). In the Pravda of Iaroslav. 10. esp. but the situation described in article 17 of the Short Pravda is not specifically mentioned in this chapter.W. Noxal actions (actions for damages caused by delicts of dependents. 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. The Short Pravda offered the master a choice between paying 12 grivna or handing over the slave to be punished by the aggrieved party. such as family members or slaves) were discussed at length in D. see W. 171-173). article 16 (the procedure for reclaiming a stolen slave) and the present article 17. D. Maksimeiko points to D. 1932. 4 is undeniable. in Roman law the choice was between handing over the slave to be flogged. the 119 120 In the latter Law. the formula is almost exactly the same as in the Short Pravda art.

Baranowski. 119-120 (194-206). as much as [that person/the owner] would have given for it. or a shield. Winckler. Leipzig. or clothing. Chr. but if he has broken it and will return it. Zimin in PRP I. 4. Kaiser. where the master of a stealing slave is given the option of compensating the loss or rejecting the slave. 1959. RP II. 17.A. A.122 Nobody would claim of course that the author of article 16 had consulted the Babylonian law. 47. 11 (art. The following text offers the main alternatives: “And if [someone] breaks a lance. Friedrich. Königs von Babylon um 2250 v.” All modern translations125 agree on the following reading (Kaiser’s translation): “And if someone breaks a lance. The Laws of Rus’. 4 can therefore not be considered as a serious argument for a genetic link between the two provisions. See J. the oldest example being the Code of Hammurabi. Financial compensation does not serve to make good the material losses suffered. 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. based on the Lex Aquilia. then [the owner is] to take payment from him. The procedure of article 16 RP. and [that person/the owner] wishes to keep it for himself.” 122 123 124 125 H. The mere general similarity between the situations described in article 17 of the Short Pravda and D. and if he will return it. Die Hethitischen Gesetze. 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.95 of the First Tablet. then [him] payment to make. Jahrgang. Das älteste Gesetzbuch der Welt (Der alte Orient. 47. then [the one who broke it] is to pay [the owner] money. 10. The Hittite Law Code contains a provision which could equally be regarded as an example. 1902. and wishes to keep [the damaged property] for himself.9).124 Evaluation: Maksimeiko’s position requires some preliminary explanation. but to right the injury to the affected person’s status. the wealth of available texts proves beyond doubt that correcting the economic balance was the dominant consideration. In art. 244. is encountered in other legal systems as well. Heft 4). and if he has broken it.123 Article 18: A provision devoted to property damage. . or destroys clothes. or shield. as much as [the owner] gave for it. Die Gesetze Hammurabis. Although this aspect is not wholly absent in classical Roman law.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 101 emphasis is strongly on status and reputation and on what is to be done when these are affected. 81-85 (at 82). then [the owner] is to take payment for it. Leiden. 17.

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

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

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

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

Instead of identifying those places in the treaty which might illustrate her point. As to the 945 treaty.137 His first example is homicide. Salogubova confines herself to sweeping statements and only identifies the RussianByzantine treaties of 911 and 945 as actual examples of direct Roman law influence. Unlike Maksimeiko. 9. Ibidem. where the traditional Russian alternative of blood-feud or compensation (wergeld) was replaced by capital punishment or. Also.4). Sergeevich’s general argument is that the Greeks succeeded in maintaining the prevalence of Byzantine law in most questions. . So far Salogubova.136 Roman inheritance law was contained in the provision which for the first time in Russian law differentiated between intestate and testate succession. she refers to several pre-1917 authors of whom only V.6 and 7).I. while Salogubova quotes from an unknown 1899 Moscow edition. judicial searches and testimony by witnesses began to appear in Russian law as means of evidence. Sergeevich appears to agree with her. In his special study on the relationship between Greek and Russian law in the 10th century treaties. 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. My references are to the fourth edition of 1910. 3 and 13. not Russian (arts. who usually cites chapter and verse. Lektsii.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. 626-666. The Greek Nomocanon in its Slavic variety (the Kormchaia) and the RP had equal validity. the ordeal by fire was a Byzantine innovation. 652-654.106 Law in Medieval Russia and a distinction was made between two kinds of oath (exculpatory and supplementary). in some cases compensation as an alternative (art. Sergeevich. Ibidem. 2 and 11. Evaluation: We shall deal here only with those instances where Salogubova alleges direct influence of Roman law. and avers that from that moment on the judicial oath. With regard to the treaty of 911 she points to its provisions reflecting an amended Roman system of evidence. 645-646. Ibidem. I suppose that the provisions the author had in mind were.138 The provision dealing with the justifiable killing of a thief (art. These numbers differ from the usual numeration laid down by Zimin in PRP I.6) appears to be a compromise between Greek law and the harsher Russian custom. 655. according to the usual system of numeration.139 The double or threefold penalty for theft was Greek. The question of Byzantine legal influences on early Russian law will be discussed below.

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

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

146 In more recent times. 223-230. 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.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. Vizantiiskii Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. 32. 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. any possibility of Russian borrowing from the Farmer’s Law has to be seen in this light. The chronological framework presents another problem. 1984. Medvedev. 46. the first number refers to the original Greek text as reproduced in this edition. She refrains from suggesting any borrowing one way or another. 43. 44. Ibidem. Medvedev (ed. Kalachov.). 41-42. the second number (in brackets) to the Russian translation as offered in the Knigi Zakonnye. in its Old-Russian translation or in its Greek original. 236-237.148 Whether the text of the Farmer’s Law. In the Obolenskii and Museum recensions of the Karamzin group. 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. 257-260. Leningrad.P. 34 and 40 of the Short Pravda and articles 33. Moreover. only E. Zemledel’cheskii Zakon. . According to Lipshits’ detailed study of the Russian translation of the Farmer’s Law as a component of the Knigi Zakonnye.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).E. he notes the similarity between the preambles of certain versions of the Byzantine law and of the RP. 71-73 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda and parallel provisions in the Farmer’s Law.147 Evaluation: As the Roman law ancestry of the Farmer’s Law can only be assumed for part of the latter law’s provisions. I. could have been available in Russia before that time is even more problematic. 31. In her commentary to the Russian translation of the law she mentions articles 12. the latter compilation may very tentatively be dated in the 12th century. The possibility of its having influenced the Short Pravda is therefore very remote.

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

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

99-102. 104-105). Sergeevich returns more extensively to this matter. Ocherki. let him hand him over in full ownership to him who suffered the theft. 243. the general provision dealing with theft by a slave. then the Russian provision. 94.1. 8.112 Law in Medieval Russia also forbids slaves to testify against their masters (Title 14 art. Lektsii. See Inst. but he need not give up the [slave’s] wife or children. but stressed that the Russian courts did not have direct access to it. or redeem them. D’iakonov. 94. let him compensate what has been stolen.153 As already outlined above. . 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. The Ecloga provision Kalachov has in mind is Title 17 article 12. Sergeevich regarded the Ecloga as the principal source of Byzantine influence. the Expanded Pravda contains a general prohibition for kholopy to appear as witnesses. then [the slave’s] lord is to redeem him or give him up together with him with whom he stole.90. 210-211.155 Kliuchevskii’s view was similar. Sergeevich. Its parallel in the Expanded Pravda is article 121. then [they are to pay] the prince a fine. In his chapter on inheritance law. 1-5 and other sources which deal with the so-called noxal actions. if those who stole and hid [the stolen goods] with him be free [men].154 He discerned Byzantine influence especially in the provisions of the Expanded Pravda which dealt with inheritance law (arts. 49. If he does not want to receive his slave [back]. Sergeevich. remarks that certain provisions of the Expanded Pravda on inheritance and guardianship are very similar to Ecloga provisions.156 Evaluation: Presumably the reference is not to article 63 of the Expanded Pravda (slave stealing horse). Kliuchevskii. in Kaiser’s translation). but if they will have stolen and hidden what they have stolen together with the slave. 50. inspired to some extent by the Byzantine provisions. not the general rule of article 46. then [the lord] may either give them all up. 92-94. “If the owner of a slave who has committed theft wants to keep his slave. Ocherki. 4. Lektsii.157 Article 121 is the last provision of the Expanded Pravda and 153 154 155 156 157 Kalachov. 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.5). but to article 46. Vol. D’iakonov. In similar vein.” “If a slave steals from someone.” 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. They were only aware of judicial practice that was based on it. The two provisions follow (first the one from the Ecloga.

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

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

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. but not the case covered by article 101 of the Expanded Pravda.) However.94 is close in content and wording to a parallel provision in the Ecloga. Baranowski observes (630). Article 93 does not confirm this principle but only provides that the widow is entitled to what her husband has specially assigned to her. which also deals with the case of the remarriage of the widower and the first wife’s estate. 646) notes that art.91) discusses the inheritance of the sons and daughters of boyars.92 of the Expanded Pravda as an example of Byzantine (Ecloga) influence is the fact that the rule of art. The next provision (art. Nevolin (R II.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 115 smerdy. Article 94 regulates the fate of the estate in case of a subsequent marriage of the widowed father. As precisely this provision is the only one to support Sergeevich’s theory. then squanders [her late husband’s] property.6 (that the surviving spouse retains possession and management of the deceased spouse’s estate). 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. This rule is apparently not derived from older Roman law.” (Kaiser’s translation. The only reason Sergeevich mentions art. the argument becomes very feeble. it only conforms to the principle underlying Ecloga II. then the children of the first wife take their mother’s share. she is to repay her children [the property she lost]. correctly I believe. The lengthy Ecloga provision describes various situations covered by this principle in detail. it concerns the case that (adult) children do not wish to stay with their mother in the family residence (dvor). 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. but does not indicate which provision. then the mother is allowed to stay and enjoy the share the husband left her. 554. Only article 101 is fully compatible with the argument of Sergeevich: “If a woman promises to remain a widow after her husband’s death.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.165 The text of article 102 also does not support Sergeevich’s allegation. I fail to see any close parallel between the two provisions. that Nevolin obviously thought of Ecloga II 7.92 does not distinguish between sons and daughters as beneficiaries of their father’s will. . This can also hardly be considered a confirmation of the Ecloga principle. the dependent peasants.

the same rule also appears in a few copies of the Pushkin group of the Expanded Pravda. 247.116 Law in Medieval Russia the provision does not distinguish between sons and daughters. The Court Law for the People The Court Law for the People (Zakon Sudnyi Liudem. Ocherki. In his main work on the RP. 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).169 Among the Soviet authors. Zakon Soudnyi Liudŭm. agrees with Kalachov and simply refers to the latter’s argumentation. Vol. Ganev. insults) in some of the Concordance copies and in some of the Karamzin group copies of the Expanded Pravda. Ibidem. adding that there were probably many more borrowings in the Expanded Pravda. he does not return to it in his discussion of inheritance law.168 D’iakonov’s views have already been referred to above: he considered the ZSL the most important conduit for Byzantine influence. 112. D’iakonov. V. Kliuchevskii. mentions the same provision. Tikhomirov.12) and the damaging of another’s weapons or clothing (art. Tikhomirov is the one who has been most involved in comparative studies of the ZSL and the RP.18) as having been borrowed from the so-called Expanded Version of the ZSL. 247. Issledovanie. ZSL) is the most frequently quoted foreign source for the RP. 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. in the fundamental Bulgarian study on the ZSL. Pravno-istoricheski i pravno-analitichni prouchvaniia. Kalachov mentions the following provisions: on damaging arms.170 But twenty years later (in 1961) in his study on the Expanded ZSL. which is almost identical in the so-called Concordance version of the ZSL (and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) and in article 18 of the Short Pravda. he stated explicitly that the situation was actually 166 167 168 169 170 Kalachov. 211. The evidentiary force of this totally obvious arrangement is zero.1. he referred to the rules in the Short Pravda on the unauthorized use of another person’s horse (art. Sofia. 58-59. Article 105 is only mentioned in passing by Sergeevich as reflecting the principle of equality of sons and daughters.166 the provision on bezchestie (dishonour. 49. as being connected with the ZSL.167 and the provision o stoge (haystack). 1959. . Kalachov. also in some of the Concordance copies (and in some copies of the Expanded ZSL) and in some of the Karamzin group copies.

The wording of the provision in the various texts of the Expanded Pravda and the ZSL is almost identical. however. in most copies of the Pushkin and Karamzin groups of Expanded Pravda manuscripts.172 This version is reliably dated in the beginning of the 15th century. 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. op. without offering much explanation for this conversion. 26. In some copies. 175 It has briefly been discussed above in connection with Maksimeiko’s claim that the rule is inspired by the Lex Aquilia.. Moskva.cit. Kalachov’s parallels concerning insults and the haystack are found.cit. 1961. but significantly different in the Short Pravda.. the texts of the RP and the ZSL have been mixed up. nor the Expanded ZSL. In view of the far greater age of the Short Pravda. Baranowski. 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. seemingly appended to some copies of the Expanded Pravda.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 117 the other way around and that the RP was the lender and the ZSL the borrower. 296. they are inserted at the end of the Expanded Pravda manuscript as an appendix. Prostrannoi i Svodnoi redaktsii. 77-78. 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. .N. The convoys of which these copies form part all include the ZSL. it is suggested that the editor or editors of these collections have tried to streamline the regulative material of the two sources. 21.174 What can be said here without an exhaustive enquiry into the origins of these so-called Russian articles (russkie stati) from the ZSL. RP I.173 The Expanded Pravda itself is of a much earlier date. In these copies.175 The rule appears in the Short Pravda. also points out this incongruity. See Tikhomirov. that they belong to the original cores of neither the Expanded Pravda. is that they are unquestionably of comparatively late origin. Zakon Sudnyi liudem. 222. In the Academy of Sciences edition of the RP.171 Evaluation: Kalachov’s references are all to provisions which appear only in the Concordance version of the ZSL. Tikhomirov. 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’). Tikhomirov. as compared with the Expanded and Concordance versions of the ZSL (note that the provision is lacking in 171 172 173 174 M. 325. op.

The Expanded ZSL has a parallel provision. Article 38 concerns the killing of a thief during a night-time break-in.. additionally the same provision from the Rostovskii Copy is mentioned. moreover. 3 (on killing a burglar during night-time) and articles 21 and 38 of the Short Pravda and article 40 of the Expanded Pravda.cit. 248. before the actual text of the ZSL reached Kiev.177 Procheiron Two provisions from the Procheiron are suggested by Kalachov as paralleling similar provisions of the RP: Procheiron 39. this remains unpunished.118 Law in Medieval Russia the older Short ZSL). In his older writings. 244-245. borrowing from the Expanded ZSL would therefore be less likely than from the Old Testament.12 Short Pravda) has been extensively discussed above in connection with the views of Maksimeiko. 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. 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. he must be handed over to the prince’s court the next day and may not be killed. by something quite different. 58-59) argued that “axe” followed logically after “lance” and “shield”. A very similar rule may already be found in Exodus XXII. As mentioned. 55 (on the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) and articles 63. Even if the chronology would allow it. and Procheiron 39.176 As to the suggestions of D’iakonov. Baranowski observes correctly that the rule is found in the most diverse legal systems. 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. the Short Pravda had borrowed accordingly from the ZSL. he speculated that elements of the ZSL were already available in Kievan Rus’ at a very early moment. If he is captured. and not the other way around. Tikhomirov later retracted this view. The speculation is indeed unwarranted and. but its wording differs significantly. Kalachov. op. who also points to the chronological impossibility of the Short Pravda borrowing from the ZSL. 120 and 121 of the Expanded Pravda.18 Short Pravda against topor (axe) in the other texts. . 313. 1. This also seems to be the view of Baranowski in his recent commentary to the RP. the case of riding another person’s horse without the latter’s permission (art. and that port was a scribe’s error. the Short Pravda must be regarded as the original source. by replacing it by topor he found an acceptable escape out of his dilemma. Baranowski.178 Evaluation: Article 21 of the Short Pravda (concerning the killing of the prince’s steward) is obviously not connected with Procheiron 39. Tikhomirov (Issledovanie. as referred to above.

discussed above. The wording of the Expanded Pravda provisions bears little similarity to the corresponding rules of the Procheiron. 4). Together with the provision on the “bloodied man” the following two provisions of the Expanded Pravda (arts. With regard to article 66 Kalachov refers to the Byzantine rule “A slave cannot testify”. Article 29 of the Expanded Pravda offers a more elaborate version of the rule. 29.) In a number of copies of Expanded Pravda manuscripts (of the Rozenkampf and Ferapontov recensions). In such cases. on various Byzantine sources. 262-263. As to the “bloodied man” (krovavyi muzh).30). 231. he first appears in the Short Pravda (art. the RP text is immediately preceded by a few provisions “On Witnesses” and “On the Bloodied man”. Kalachov does not present any Byzantine parallels. The contents of the Russian provisions are still quite different from the short Procheiron provision. 2. he may either reimburse the victim or hand over the slave. The texts concerned may be found in RP II.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 119 Pravda (art. they are in fact much closer to Exodus 22. 248-251. 179 Kalachov. which also explicitly indicates that if the thief is apprehended after sunrise. as they also concern the excusable killing of a night-time burglar.40) come closer.179 The text of the provisions is very similar or identical to articles 66. he may not be killed. 30 and 31 of the Expanded Pravda. . Chapter on Witnesses (This text has nothing to do with the text “On Witnesses” included in the Knigi Zakonnye. 1. 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. according to a statement by Gaius who quotes the Twelve Tables law (D. 9. The biblical rule still appears to be closest to the RP provisions and may very well be their source. This question has already been discussed above in the section on the Ecloga. the latter text is of predominantly Byzantine origin and based mainly on the Procheiron and the Ecloga. The distinction between nocturnal and daytime killing of a thief is also made in classical Roman law. These provisions are based. The second case (the master’s liability for theft committed by his slave) has already been discussed above.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. according to Kalachov. and the identical or similar provisions of the Expanded Pravda therefore too.

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

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

the double or threefold penalty for theft. Moreover. 639-666. Lektsii. They constitute a comparatively late addition to certain manuscripts of the RP. inasmuch as they both deal (among other things) with setting fire to a barn (gumno). 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. major Byzantine legal texts. Sergeevich indicated a number of crucial instances where Greek law appeared to prevail: capital punishment for homicide. . Their origin is not yet quite clear. in particular the Procheiron. The similarity between the two arson provisions is somewhat closer. they form part of the debate. Sergeevich.184 Sergeevich presents a credible argument for the viewpoint that in fact the Greeks were successful in securing the dominance of Greek law. 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). 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’. 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. the similarity between the provisions is only very general. and this has been gratefully picked up by many authors as the earliest written reference to Old-Russian law. etc. points to several provisions which must be considered as originating in Byzantine law. which have been discussed above. in that they deal with related subjects. Later Developments As has been noted above. 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. but as referred to above in the discussion of the views of Salogubova. 184 Sergeevich. Treaties With Byzantium These are not mentioned by Kalachov. the right to inherit of distant relatives in the absence of close relatives. However. for instance. 8. instead of the traditional Russian blood feud.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.

Text in PRP III. but the result of the availability of a very small number of translated Greek texts. which implied the disappearance of the Byzantine legal system as a living entity. [Iu. The oldest part of the Pskov Charter. 185 186 187 The most recent comprehensive study of the Pskov Charter is Iu.P. . S. where it was subsequently included. Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota.186 Another legislative text which bears clear traces of Byzantine influence is the “Metropolitan’s Justice” (Pravosudie Metropolich’e). Rossiiskoe gosudarstvo v XIV-XVII vv. 25ff. but clear. Issledovanie. E. Cherepnin. also. commentary by V. a Slavonic translation of the Ecloga will also have reached Russia. In surveying developments in Russian legal history in the post-Kievan period. Alekseev). Alekseev. 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). it is important to stress that Byzantine influence was not a matter of continuous interaction. Laws.K. a short and somewhat enigmatic text. 107-110.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 123 At about the same time or somewhat later. 321-331 (by Iu. is probably from 1397. Once they had arrived. Greek experts were not needed. traces of Byzantine influence in a small number of provisions of the Pskov Charter. See. they would have been included in kormchie and other collections of legal texts. in the text of the Merilo Pravednoe. Tekst. See. which consists of several chronological layers. they could exert their influence over a very long period. In this period. Pskov.N.Peterburg. If they had. Alekseev. Byzantium had succumbed to the onslaught of the Turks and had exited from the political stage.185 Several commentators have noticed that there are minor.187 The Code of Ivan III of 1497 marks the definitive end of the Kievan period of Russian legal history. Zimin) and Rossiiskoe Zakonodatel’stvo I. the introductions to the Pskov Charter text in PRP II. 429-432. 282-285 (by A. Russia—broken up into separate principalities. No major legislative monuments from the 14th century have survived or have in fact existed. 167-172. as were older texts from the preceding three centuries. A. Avtokratov. By this time. Alekseev Collection]. “Pskovskaia sudnaia gramota i kompiliatsiia «Knigi Zakonnye»”.). 1997 (not available to me). Kommentarii.G. as opinions on its date of origin differ widely. by the exchange of personnel and/or texts. Arkhivy II.A. 331. but still united under a single metropolitan—was slowly recovering from the devastation caused by the Mongol conquest of most of the country. from the 13th to the 16th century. also (Russian text and English translation) in Kaiser. op. together with the Procheiron translation. 2002. The Byzantine texts concerned are the Ecloga and the Farmer’s Law (and other texts from the Knigi Zakonnye). if we follow Alekseev on this point.G.cit. Piotrovskaia. Pavlov (ed. 438-457.G. also.

the recognition. the Codes of 1550 and 1589 and the so-called Combined Code (Svodnyi Sudebnik) of 1606/1607. 374-413. The Code of 1550 was accompanied by a comprehensive text embodying church law.188 The Code confines itself anyway mainly to topics concerning criminal law and procedure. 248. Soloviev. 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. 62-97. which in turn was the basis for the new codification which was gradually embarked upon in the Russian Empire. Band 76 (1959).189 Many provisions of the Stoglav are derived from different kormchie and in this way Byzantine law could penetrate. Romanische Abteilung. 1988.). Hellie. 242-500.G. if not the impact. in 1649. 346-374. RZ II. 432-479. The library was lost in a fire when the Poles occupied Moscow in 1612. 2004.190 Interestingly. commentary (by A. of Byzantine law reached its climax long after Byzantium had become the capital of the Turkish empire.E. Also in RZ III. 191 192 Ibidem. The same goes for its successors in the following century. 188 189 190 On the Code of 1497 generally: I. Aleksei Mikhailovich. Shtamm). the era of Ivan IV (Groznyi) was characterized (among other things) by increased contacts with Western Europe. 54-62. Irvine. Text with comments by T. Stanovlenie samoderzhavnogo gosudarstva na Rusi. A. Novitskaia in RZ II. “Der Einfluss des Byzantinischen Rechts auf die Völker Osteuropas”. 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. Froianov (ed. CA.Ia. Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung.V.191 To return to a point made in the beginning of this section. The entire volume of PRP VI is devoted to text and commentary of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie.Peterburg. Part 1: Text and Translation. mentioned below.124 Law in Medieval Russia In the extensive literature on the Code of 1497. commentary (by S. The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649. Sudebnik Ivana III. English translation by R. Text of the Code in PRP 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. 75-443 and in the volume edited by A. at 464. . the Sobornoe Ulozhenie (the Council Enactment or Code). as it was adopted in consultation with the Church Council and with the boyars and other nobles. Speranskii.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). Man’kov. nobody has claimed the presence of Byzantine or Roman elements.G.I. S. Poliak). effected in the middle of the 19th century under the direction of M.

A different picture emerges when Byzantine law from the great legislative era of the 8th and 9th centuries is considered (Nomos Georgikos. Opinions differ as to the exact size of the element borrowed from Byzantine law.I. Small and relatively unimportant parts of the Ecloga and the Procheiron were included in 193 194 N. Kommentarii. Man’kov. 9. defined in article 46 Expanded Pravda. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. Tiktin. the presence of a Slavonic translation of the Procheiron is at least certain with the arrival of the Serbian Kormchaia in Russia in 1273.194 With Peter the Great. In a special study by Tiktin. Cf. 12. and some indeed deny or disregard the Byzantine element completely. in his introduction to the text of the Code in PRP VI.193 Later authors reduced this number very considerably. and Procheiron). 1891. more than 100 places were identified. A. Ulozhenie 1649 goda.Roman Law in Medieval Russia 125 In its Preamble. 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. Odessa. Some of these will have had a knowledge of Byzantine canon law and. 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. regards the Lithuanian Statute of 1588 as the principal source of the Sobornoe Ulozhenie. 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.G. This process accelerated in the 19th century and constitutes an on-going story. Leningrad. Moreover. Kodeks feodal’nogo prava Rossii. Ecloga. a term which usually referred to the Procheiron and the Ecloga) of the Greek emperors were among the sources consulted and utilized.A. so whatever elements of Roman law would have been present would at least have to pass through this filter. According to the most recent and reliable studies. 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. without the Byzantine intermediary. K. This knowledge was based exclusively on Greek-language sources. 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. as explained above. such influence is also extremely unlikely if one considers the conditions of early Christian Russia.). 1987. 18-19. Leningrad. the Code of 1649 stated unequivocally that the “city laws” (gradskie zakony. Tekst. The double-value fine is well known in Roman law and otherwise unknown in Russian law. this included certain sections of secular law. (ed. Vizantiiskoe pravo kak istochnik Ulozheniia 1649. 1980. .

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

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

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

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

Moreover. 789. Land ownership had. and that as a result several types of ‘ownership’ in one and the same object might co-exist. Gosudarstvennaia sotsialisticheskaia sobstvennost’. Marxism. pointed out in his basic work on state socialist property. 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. 5772.2 In a 1 2 A. ownership of the means of production was considered the basically decisive and determining factor for the entire economic. become almost irrelevant from a practical legal point of view. In the Soviet Union.130 Law in Medieval Russia 1. the leading civil law scholar of that time. this principle. quality of a material object. “O prirode feodal’noi sobstvennosti”. . No. notwithstanding its ideological qualifications. the ownership concept based on Roman law and dominant in the West since Napoleon is defective in this respect. Shapiro. In particular. Modern concepts might not always be suitable.L. as we stated above.1 The same thought was expressed by the historian A. Outside the socialist world. Venediktov. lawyers are often inclined to regard ownership as an inherent. true to its 19th century origins. did not offer an exception in this respect. thereby. Voprosy istorii. this absolute ownership concept has retained its function as the central organizational principle of private law. published in 1948. social.L. Gsovski had made a very much similar point in his work on Soviet Civil Law. 1948. did not fit well into the political and economic reality. In his discussion of the rights in rem in a feudal system. Venediktov. who even went so far as to assert that the Marxist definition of ownership did not embrace “all varieties of ownership existing under feudalism”. political and ideological superstructure. A. It has made ownership the fundamental and pivotal right from which all other private law rights flow. MI.V. 576. that the distinction between ownership and possession in such a system was blurred. I. 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. 102106. A. to be established through ‘scientific’ observation and analysis. almost physical.V. 1969. 1948. that there was also not a clear line of distinction between ownership and various rights in rem. Shapiro. The determination of ownership then becomes the first and most fundamental question to be solved in any legal relationship. In the West. the legal scholars of the Stalin era used the comparison with medieval law to find a way out of the dilemma.12. V. Moskva. although not without causing considerable strain. Land Tenure: The Legal Perspective An adequate set of conceptual tools would be required for a meaningful legal analysis. Ann Arbor.

7 8 . [947] Olga went to Novgorod. A. 1968. her trading-posts and hunting-grounds.”8 One notices the existence of rights at three or four levels: the land of the Derevlians.cit.M. 88-105.7 Some passages of the Primary Chronicle illustrate the various levels of princely rights of land tenure. boundary-posts. Problema zemel’noi sobstvennosti v dofeodal’nykh i rannefeodal’nykh obshchestvakh Zapadnoi Rossii.M. op. Gurevich wrote in a discussion of West European feudalism: “Man did not relate to the land as to something alien and outside himself. Ibidem. Land was the condition for his existence. for Vyshgorod was Olga’s city. 62. Shapiro. She then passed through the land of Dereva. Her hunting-grounds. Then she returned with her son to Kiev. 1968. but there could not yet be any talk of any kind of exclusive rights to specific tracts of land […]. Rapov. A Source Book for Russian History from Early Times to 1917. She also collected imposts and tribute along the Luga. Gurevich.6 but he himself had emphasized that in the case of dan’ we were dealing with a princely right over the land of his own principality.4. 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. 5 A description of the poliud’e is given by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913-959) in his De Administrando Imperio. and trading-posts still exist throughout the whole region. and the third to Olga in Vyshgorod. 52-65. “K voprosu o zemel’noi rente v Drevnei Rusi v dofeodal’nyi period”. Her fowling preserves still remain on the Dniepr and the Desna. and along the Msta she established trading-posts and collected tribute. New Haven. Her trading-posts and hunting-preserves are still there. where Olga established laws and tribute.). while her village of Olzhichi is in existence even now. which appears to be more of her private property. Istoriia. her own principality of Kiev. No. O. at about the same time. and her village 3 4 A.1. two parts of which went to Kiev. establishing laws and tribute.Ia. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 131 similar vein. the town of Vyshgorod.Ia. her city. where she remained one year. 1972. not without justification. Pushkarev (comp. No. Voprosy Istorii. From the Cross/Sherbowitz-Wetzor translation.”3 Similar views were expressed by other Soviet historians. 6 O. 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.5 Shapiro remarked. accompanied by her son and her retinue. while her sleighs stand in Pskov to this day. that the introduction of a term like “supreme ownership” was wordplay. One of the most famous concerns the entries for the years 946 and 947. English translation of the relevant text in S.Land Tenure. Vestnik MGU.

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

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

V. Istoriia gosudarstva i prava Rossii. ed. in particular some of the leading Soviet authors. perhaps without always being aware of it. Gorskii (ed. was the very essence of the feudal system.134 Law in Medieval Russia peasant population.A. At one end of the spectrum. Slavery did not exist or was at least very unimportant. S. the old ideas survive to a considerable extent through their dominance in the traditional Soviet terminology. The entire generation of Soviet medievalists working during the last three decades of the Soviet system was still imbued with such Marxist ideas. Ocherki po istorii feodalizma v Rossii. there is the view that agriculture had been the predominant mode of production and economic determinant from very early. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti”. for instance. 2006. 44. Iushkov.A. These 15 16 This is very noticeable. Grekov’s work on Kievan Russia.). Moskva. are the habits of the past wearing off. that Kievan Russia represented a feudal society (in the Marxist sense). In the 19th century. . in the most recent edition of the leading university textbook on legal history by I.Peterburg. Isaev. Moskva/Leningrad. 5-48. Even after the demise of the Soviet Union and the widespread rejection of Marxist-Leninist ideology among educated Russians. because feudal economies were generally self-sufficient. i. 1939. the leading Soviet legal historian from the era. Iushkov. under Grekov’s leadership. as a conceptual framework. Some of the proponents of this view. quoted above. By the same token. Foreign trade could be neglected. S. more exposed to international literature and less to Soviet-style indoctrination.L. money did not play a major role in these economies. 2004.e. 3. cf.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. Khlebnikov.).4. A. Obshchestvo i gosudarstvo v domongol’skii period russkoi istorii.15 Only among the younger generation of historians. because a feudal economy rested on the labour of serfs. Srednevekovaia Rus’. Nikol’skii. Moskva (3rd rev. not of slaves.17 Once the position had been taken. S. prehistoric times. 1871. and as mere terminology. 17 A notable example in the field concerned is the study by S. 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. Vyp. The situation of Kievan Russia was then considered to be generally similar to that of Carolingian Europe. there was N. took essentially the same position.V. is an example. held that large scale landownership and ‘feudalization’ set in as early as the 7th century. a number of other conclusions became more or less inevitable.

Vernadsky.20 Vernadsky pointed out that in Kievan times hunting (including beekeeping). mainly based on their trading activities. serfdom existed. derived their wealth primarily from trade. This chapter had been published separately as “On Feudalism in Kievan Russia”. Blum. and that large scale landownership did not assume significant importance before the 12th century. The opposite view was that the Kievan elite. The American Slavic & East European Review. An early protagonist of this view was Kliuchevskii. Feudalism in History.Ia.). that Kievan Russia was a feudal society.18 The few Western authors who expressed themselves occupied a more intermediate position. 3-14.21 Among Soviet authors. Vernadskii. His starting-point was the rejection of the ‘classic’ view proposed by Grekov. be inappropriate and misleading. 1953. agreed with earlier writers that large scale landownership did not appear in Kiev before the 11th century. 2004. agriculture and cattle-breeding. and small scale landownership was still a significant phenomenon. Vol. Although Froianov did not deny the emergence of 18 Most explicitly in his Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi. Chapter V.19 A similar view had been put forward by M. but the landowners did not constitute a closed class as in Europe. Vol. His actual appraisal of Kievan Russia was closer to Western views. Kievan Russia. augmented by hunting and the acquisition of booty. Froianov’s was the most audible heterodox voice. 776-790. Princeton. 1961. lecture VII.Land Tenure. the position of the elite rested more on their financial strength. I. esp. S.1. 167-182. as well as internal and foreign trade. Istoriia Rossii.). for instance. the Druzhina and the Nature of Kievan Rus’ 135 considerations produced an already detailed picture of Kievan society.Peterburg (3rd ed. 1948). . 13. but was in no way universal or even dominant as a source of labour. Szeftel. Tver’/Moskva. than on their ownership of land. 1956. “The Beginnings of Large-Scale Private Landownership in Russia”. His ultimate conclusion was that Kievan Russia was more like Byzantium than like medieval Europe. Szeftel. and Lord and Peasant in Russia From the 9th to the 19th Century. slavery was still a factor of some importance. such as those of Vernadsky. 1902. 21. 19 20 J. but.V. large scale landownership was present. therefore. Parallels with Carolingian Europe would. Blum. in a more implicit form in his Kurs. Coulborn (ed. but stressed that agriculture on communal land still would have been the basic occupation of the bulk of the population. Princeton. Speculum. the princes and boyars. “Aspects of Feudalism in Russian History”. R. Kievskaia Rus’. New Haven. although not necessarily a correct one. were all major economic factors. crafts and trades. 179-189 (original English publication: G. at least in his earlier writings. it was clothed in traditional Soviet terminology.7 (1948). 21 M. I have used the modern Russian edition: G.

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

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

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

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

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

Nikol’skii. and this fact has inexplicably been overlooked by the supporters of the ‘Byzantine parallel’.” Rurik and two of his brothers answered the call: “Our land is great and rich.”31 31 S.). 5-48. This postulate compelled students of ancient Russian law to search for—and find—the expression of the feudalization process of the Old-Russian society in the oldest written legal records. Vyp. 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. “O druzhinnom prave v epokhu stanovleniia gosudarstvennosti na Rusi”. But. Norway. Nikol’skii. the idea that Russia would submit to the political leadership of Germanic princes was considered almost treacherous in Stalinist times. even then. 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). Soviet historians. the druzhina issue has been connected with the so-called problem of the Normans which has continued to agitate scholars. Gorskii (ed. until the Mongol conquest after 1240 made these connections more burdensome. contacts with Western Europe diminished. was that Byzantine culture and political institutions existed in a completely different setting than their counterparts in Kievan Russia. The overwhelming reality of these contacts. although they did not quite disappear (Iaroslav’s daughters married the kings of Hungary. In a recent study by S.L. but there is no order in it. were actually on the right track.A. this schematism is criticised. notwithstanding their overly schematic Marxist approach of a tribal-clan society making the transition to a feudal one. and any kind of foreign. 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. while at the same time the positive achievements of past scholarship are further developed. let alone ‘barbarian’ Viking influence on the culture of Kievan Russia was declared to be impossible. since the 19th century. Once Kievan Russia began to flourish. 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.Land Tenure. Come to rule and reign over us.” Some of the vast literature concerning these events has been coloured by political bias. Connections with Byzantium then became more intense. 2004. In Russia. at 5.4. however. . 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. Srednevekovaia Rus’. A. Moskva. although not impossible.L. Denmark and France). In this respect.

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

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

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

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


Ianin and M. Onasch. No. Politicheskie instituty Drevnei Rusi. for instance. for a recent overview: Velikii Novgorod v istorii srednevekovoi Evropy [Ianin Festschrift]. the role of the veche in other Russian cities diminished sharply after the Tataro-Mongol3 invasions in the middle of the 13th century.2 The primary sources are to be found in the medieval Russian chronicles. The prominent role of the Novgorod veche in medieval Russia has understandably overshadowed the activities of veches in other Russian cities. Wien. and little is known about the existence or operation of a veche in Pskov in the earlier period. an abbreviated translation (“Veche v drevnerusskikh pis’mennostnykh istochnikakh: Funktsii i terminologiia”) appeared in T.I. Veche in the Chronicles of Medieval Rus: A Study of Functions and Terminology.O. the veche of Pskov functioned until 1510. Granberg. Ianin. 1971. Neverthe1 2 As explained below. See.1 The activities of the Novgorod veche. at 339-345.2. see. pride of place belongs to the veche or popular assembly of Novgorod. 2004 (not available to me). 3 V. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2004 god. Lektsiia XXIII.2 (1957). Also. Although the empire founded by Chingis-Khan was Mongol in its origin.150-161.A. Gross-Novgorod. “La participation des assemblées populaires dans le gouvernment central de la Russie depuis l’époque kiévienne jusqu’à la fin du XVIII siècle”. Vol. This work was first published in 1904 and has been republished several times in editions of Kliuchevskii’s collected works Sochineniia. Recently a new study on the veche appeared.V. This work also offers a list of direct chronicle references to the term veche on pp. In respect of the latter.). Moscow. J. 32-61. It was abolished by Ivan III in 1478 after Novgorod’s subjugation to Moscow. its procedures. also.25. A brief survey of the main aspects of the early Russian veche may also be found in M. its massive absorption of Turkic elements soon resulted in an ethnic metamorphosis which . 54-104. 2006. Mel’nikova (eds.Chapter 5 Popular Assemblies in Early Medieval Russia: The Veche in Legal History Among the ancestors of the Russian State Duma.Kh. Kliuchevskii’s Kurs russkoi istorii. first of all the Novgorod Chronicle. 1969. its composition. have been and still are a subject of lively debate in Russian historiography. there is a relative paucity of sources. No body of popular representation in Russia can boast such a long period of operation. Aufstieg unde Niedergang einer russischen Stadtrepublik. K. 339365. Aleshkovskii. “Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda”. but Pskov only became independent of Novgorod in 1347/1348. Göteborg. the chapters on Novgorod are in Vol. its jurisdiction. Its first recorded meeting was in 1016. Gimon & E. 1999. is still a good introduction to the institutions of medieval Novgorod. Receuils de la Société Jean Bodin. Szeftel. Moskva. I have used the 1956-1959 edition. The most prominent Novgorod expert among present-day Russian historians is V. in Istoriia SSSR.

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

I have not been able to consult this work. 2003.2 are devoted to the veche (hereafter: Sergeevich. Leningrad. Of the Western literature on the veche.Ia. Zernack should be mentioned (Die burgstädtischen Volksversammlungen bei den Ost. Divested of its legendary aspects (the execution of an elaborate deception. the brief narrative already contains several of the elements of the functioning of the veche which return in later reports. 132-142) has recently drawn the attention to the confusion surrounding the unstable terminology in the sources: where terms other than veche are used. footnote 83. before 988. P.10 6 7 V. It appears to have the power to decide certain important questions. S. however. at the request of an old man. col. Drevnosti russkago prava. vols. reminiscent of other stories of Near Eastern origin.e. i.Vladimir of Kiev in 9918) by the Pechenegs.Peterburg. 1908. 160-162.1-3.1. Wiesbaden. 1903. to lead the Pechenegs astray).A. maintained 300 concubines in Belgorod. 1980 (hereafter: Froianov. the work by K. 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. part 2. where it is stated that Vladimir. the first four chapters of Vol. 9 PSRL Vol. in principle. Studien zur verfassungsgeschichtlichen Bedeutung des Veče. Five Centuries of Veche History The first time the Primary Chronicle mentions a veche is under the entry for the year 997. the chronicler recounts how the population of the town.B. 8 The discussion is conveniently summarized by I. In a tale about the siege of Belgorod (a new town founded by St. sometimes. along with the study by Granberg (mentioned above). Drevnosti II). Of considerable interest is also the work of M.9 The veche is. D’iakonov. smaller. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii.und Westslaven. S. the second part of his work on Russian legal antiquities is entitled “Veche and Prince”. 1909.Peterburg (2nd ed. pressed by starvation. Froianov in Kievskaia Rus’.6 Most of the leading Soviet medievalists have written about the veche. 1980).122. an assembly of the whole town population. Local elites (the town-elders) may act independently. 115-136. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy. This date does not tally with another entry (under the year 980) in the Primary Chronicle. body. According to Cross and SherbowitzWetzor in their translation of the Primary Chronicle. Ocherki obshchestvennago i gosudarstvennago stroia Drevnei Rusi. assembled to decide on the best course of action. who suggested a ruse. Sergeevich. 1980.I. . 10 Further references in Froianov. such as “council” (sovet). many authors have assumed the presence of another. 1908. Moskva 2005. Lukin (“K voprosu o tak nazyvaemom sovete v domongol’skoi Rusi”. 1967).The Veche in Legal History 149 tion to the veche. The decision to surrender the town was then overturned by the town-elders. “insatiable in vice”.). 150-184. one would expect this entry to refer to Vladimir’s days as a pagan. the 991 entry should be interpreted as meaning that Vladimir fortified an already existing town. an actual general assembly of the population may be meant.

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

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

cols. These terms may refer. ed. part 1. The Kievan ‘Empire’ The polity of Kievan Rus’ was ethnically defined. that people had been assembling in veches of old in the Russian territories. The larger town areas had their roots in earlier tribal divisions among the Eastern Slavs (Dregovichi. The Russians were divided into groups whose designations were derived from the major town in their territory: the Kievans. federalism. Sorlin. 8-12. the people from Smolensk (Smoliane). Radimichi. To grasp the general picture one has to leave aside more modern concepts of the state. cols.15 Similar developments were recurrent all through the 12th century. the title of prince (kniaz’) and the right to rule could belong only to a member of this house. was installed as prince of Vladimir. Along with the text from the annals. Moskva.152 Law in Medieval Russia by his cousins. 4.1. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi–pervaia polovina X v. 1952. his princes and boyars and the whole people of Rus’ (which in this instance meant Kiev). 1980.1. as such divisions are documented for the protohistorical period in the Primary Chronicle. also. . the emissaries stated that they had been sent by the grand prince Igor. son of Sviatopolk. the Finnish tribes in the North (the Chud’ and others).. The Poles (Liakhi).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. 30-53 (A. depending on the context. Sakharov. Vol. Russian text and English translation in Kaiser. the Hungarians (Ougry). Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique.Vladimir and his immediate forbears who eliminated other independent tribal princes.A. part 1. 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. 1980. Laws. 5. also in PPR I. David returned and laid siege to the town. Henceforth. to the inhabitants of the town or of the entire territory of which the town was the focal point. Froianov. Polotsk (Polochane). there are for instance clear references in the 10th century treaties with Byzantium. etc. and A. PSRL Vol. I.46-53. the Novgorodians. Zimin. Poliane.N. in principle. 313-360 and 447-475. the Turkic nomads such as the Pechenegs and the Polovtsians. It was only St. of sovereignty.). until the ruling line of the Rurikid house died out soon after the death of Ivan the Terrible (1584). quoted above. and Mstislav.16 The treaty of 971 was con15 16 PSRL Vol. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. were outsiders. The text of the 945 (944) treaty is in the Primary Chronicle under the year 945. II (1961). etc. 164-167. In the treaty of 945. etc. Moskva. see.256-273.).

the strategic weakening of the prince’s position led to the institutionalization of this right by means of a riad. and a declaration of readiness. The contractual formula. with their father or eldest brother residing in Kiev. The veche in many Russian towns could invite and dismiss its own prince.The Veche in Legal History 153 cluded by the Kievan grand prince Sviatopolk who stated that his boyars and “all Russia” agreed with him. This contract was formally confirmed by oath by both sides kissing the Cross (krestnoe tselovanie). Valk (ed. whose consent was required. S. to which numerous others could be added. also. once the riad started to be written down.73. of which the first one extant dates from 1264.1. These powers might perhaps go back to arrangements in prehistoric times. Gramoty Velikogo Novgoroda i Pskova. 9-10. More extensively on the riad. part 1. 80-92. This is evidenced by the later contracts (or treaties) between Novgorod and a series of princes of Tver’. but a new contract could be concluded when circumstances had changed. Polotsk. a contract between the veche and the prince. The dynasty founded by St. The veche could probably claim an ancient right to approve or disapprove of its prince. the chapter on “The Elder Brother in Russia”). usually by ejecting his predecessor. Sergeevich. to kiss the Cross. i. The continuous coming and going of princes implied in this system allowed the towns concerned to strengthen their position vis-à-vis their prince.N. Drevnosti II. . in the course of the Kievan period at any rate. By virtue of the seniority or starshinstvo principle. perhaps also to elect and dismiss him. Moskva/Leningrad. was actually in the form of a request. the chapter on “The Treaties of Medieval Russia”. related above. col. it was obviously not only much more than an advisory body to the prince. corresponding roughly to the old tribal principalities: Novgorod. Within a few generations.Vladimir stood out by its prolificity.17 The two examples from the Primary Chronicle. but at least for the Kievan period they can be explained adequately in light of the dynastic peculiarities of Rurikid rule (see.). also. There is evidence that a riad was even concluded with a prince who had imposed himself by force. demonstrate that the veche could act independently. As long as the size of the ruling house remained modest. but also more than a co-governing body. see. a place to rule. Vladimir and others. there were scores of princes who had to be provided with a livelihood. the most important princes would each occupy one of the major town-territories.18 Such a contract was invariably concluded at the prince’s accession.19 17 18 19 PSRL Vol. but.e. 1949 (hereafter GVNP). Rostov. the death of a more senior prince would result in a reshuffling of the princely seats.

. while the dynasty was still small. 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. and of its influence on the policies to be adopted. Tver’. individual branches of the family tended to hold on to the territories of their respective ancestors. and this may also contribute to the explanation of the veche’s interest in the prince’s military intentions and capabilities. as mentioned before. where the cousins specifically agreed to settle each for the domains of their respective fathers (derzhit’ otchinu svoiu). if one could call it that. that is to say in defining relationships with other Russian principalities. Composition of the Veche As an institution whose roots went back into prehistory. With the proliferation of the Rurikids. as indicated by a number of incidents where the prince was ordered or forbidden to engage in certain campaigns.257. with the town came a large territory. the veche would usually also claim a deciding vote in ‘foreign affairs’. who had his own armed retinue. The political direction. speculation on their contents must mainly be based on inferences from the generally laconic statements in the chronicles.1. were connected with the increasing role of organized government which slowly began to assume legislative and judicial functions.20 Within those sub-dynasties. Initially. was usually the most reliable rallying-point for military organization. which resulted in sub-dynasties in places like Vladimir. For his efforts the prince received certain revenues. an army would have to be raised from the population. In a wider sense. PSRL Vol. in questions of war and peace. The latter. in particular. Chernigov. 6. its territorial and its social composition. In case of serious hostilities. the veche did not enjoy a clear-cut institutional framework. These towns together with the entire province around them were the origin of the Russian principalities of later centuries. col. to be raised from various taxes and court-fees. sons and younger brothers of the Kievan grand prince would take up residence in the other major towns (among which Novgorod ranked first). 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. part 1. the druzhina. etc. of military operations often remained with the veche.154 Law in Medieval Russia As no actual texts of riady from the earlier Kievan period have survived. at this disposal. Two aspects may be distinguished. Smolensk. junior princes would usually be granted so20 This tendency was already noticeable in the results of the Liubech conference of 1097 (mentioned before). In those chronically troubled times the prince.

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

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

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

rebelled against the local aristocracy at veche meetings. the same title as enjoyed by the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors) and receiving the taxes imposed by him. but the impression is given that these meetings were little else but local disturbances. Vol. in Moscow. if one hesitates to call it a right. He left the actual job of governing the Russian principalities to the Russian princes.28 There is a final mention of a veche meeting in 1382. which expressed itself in a veche meeting. Drevnosti II.IV. In this scheme.IV. who had to travel to his headquarters. in which it was decided to throw out the Tatar tax collectors. Sergeevich. remembering the ancient right of the Russian citizens to decide their own fate in important situations by a majority of votes”. significantly. Drevnosti II. “at the sound of the bells assembled for a veche. Vol. 106 and note 209. 36.IV. Moscow was subsequently taken and destroyed by the Tatars. The old practice. when khan Tokhtamish was engaged in a full-scale campaign against the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi.27 There is another sporadic report of civil unrest in Briansk in 1340. Karamzin calls this meeting—and the ones in Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma.IV. There are very few reports of veches from the second half of the 13th century and beyond. Karamzin. Karamzin. the local population of two towns. 148 and note 320. 36-37. Vol. and Iaroslavl’. Suzdal’. col. 45 and note 91. in the vicinity of Moscow. . mentioned in the preceding footnote—unlawful. By playing the princes against one another and enlisting their support in tax-collection. Karamzin. part 2. Nizhnii Novgorod and Kostroma. in the words of Karamzin. Vladimir. Karamzin points out that the “Besurmene” of the Chronicles were probably not Tatars.1. It is doubtful whether Russians would dare to rise up against the immediate representatives of Mongol rule at that time. the khan was able to control a vast territory with great profit and little effort. also Sergeevich. 29 Karamzin. in which the prince served by virtue of the khan’s indulgence. Vol. of appointing and dismissing princes was incompatible with the new order of things. and Tokhtamish had already captured Serpukhov. The latter had fled with his family to Kostroma. the most important one concerned the year 1262 when veches were held in Rostov. but Central Asians who had bought the tax-collection from the khan.476 (Suzdal’ Chronicle).25 A similar uprising took place again in Rostov in 1280.158 Law in Medieval Russia generally content with being recognized as such (contemporary Russian sources often referred to him as tsar’.29 25 26 27 28 PSRL Vol. cf.26 In 1304. there was little room for veche independence. even as far as Karakorum. to be invested with their dignity (bringing suitable presents). The people of Moscow. 55 and note 105. when it was still ruthless and effective.

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.


).. and in 1722 Peter the Great introduced his Table of Ranks which assigned all military. to such an extent that an individual’s status could be precisely determined by considering the office occupied by him. 76-77 (the chapter in question was written by Grekov himself). As the Kievan empire was gradually transformed into a loose confederation of semi-independent principalities. 1. in 1598. In an amended form. the political hierarchy among Soviet leaders became more and more formalized. In Stalin’s time. This system lasted until 1682. This arrangement lost its relevance when the grand princes of Moscow acquired supreme power and exclusive sovereignty in the entire Russian land. leading Soviet historians denied the Scandinavian roots of Rurik. 1949.1. Vol. Iushkov is quite outspoken in Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo kievskogo gosudarstva. Grekov. 67. S. For a while. but seems to deny Rurik’s Scandinavian credentials in a collective work published in the same year: B. Moskva. It is equally undeniable that Rurik was 1 B. 1953.D. Moskva. during the last decades of Soviet power.V. The House of Rurik From the Kievan grand prince Vladimir (†1016). all the rulers of Russia and its component principalities had belonged to the house of Rurik.1 This politically motivated position is not supported by anybody any longer. Moskva. the attribution of offices according to the social position of the prospective incumbent and his family. civilian and court personnel to one of 14 ranks. 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 Table of Ranks survived until the October Revolution. is not entirely clear. Then the concept of hierarchical ranking returned within the organization of the Muscovy state through the institution of mestnichestvo. 1953.D. in his best-known work. period feodalizma IX-XV vv. the ‘elder brother’ metaphor enjoyed a certain popularity in Soviet political discourse. and until the death of tsar Fedor Ivanovich. the insignificant son of Ivan the Terrible. Ocherki istorii SSSR.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. Grekov (ed. 452-453. In the early period of Kievan Rus’. 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.

A.g. His relatives and descendants (the Kievan princes Oleg or Helgi. the Scandinavian element in the ruling house and its attendants was slowly being absorbed by its Slavic surroundings. Moskva (3rd ed. Froianov. or more explicitly. Sergeevich.I. 4 This question was first asked by E. Lektsii po russkoi istorii. ch.I. E. Moskva. self-evident within the setting of the times. The first principle.O. Pchelov. served as a regent for her son Sviatoslav. posviashchennykh V. Kievskaia Rus’. Leningrad. women may occasionally be in the supreme ruling position. Kievskaia Rus’.4 The second principle discernible.1. Kurs russkoi istorii. Kniazhoe pravo v drevnei Rusi. 248-249..V. also called Nestor Chronicle or Tale of Bygone Years). in Sbornik statei. Shchepkin in his paper “Poriadok prestolonaslediia u drevnenorvezhskikh konungov”. Rurik (Hrörekr) arrived in Russia in 862. Genealogiia drevnerusskikh kniazei. Generally. 68-70. Igor or Ingvar and his wife Olga or Helga. Kliuchevskomu. I. 5 The formidable Olga. Whether princely succession among the descendants of Rurik had its origin in Scandinavian or in local Russian tradition is difficult to answer. and also by the same author. 1938. Moskva. 1908. The evidence from the Primary Chronicle and other sources is quite clear and reveals the operation of several interlocking principles. V. and Sviatoslav) waged war with and subdued other Slavic tribes populating European Russia. 1956. 55-57. e. Vol. S. incapacitated. 1909. . 180185.. that rulership belonged to the house. absent. See.168 Law in Medieval Russia not just a Viking adventurer but could claim royal rank on account of his ancestry. 1980. rather than to any individual member. is that only male members of the house of Rurik were eligible to succeed. Also V.). the principle typically belongs to patriarchal societies. 164-216. Ocherki sotsial’no-politicheskoi istorii. but then as mothers. 2001. was seniority: within the ruling house seniority determined the sequence of succession. 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). Vol. The third principle. Moskva.2 According to the annals (the Primary Chronicle. Moskva. IX-XI v.5 2 3 Cf. 1909. who ruled from 945-964.Peterburg. Kliuchevskii. wives or widows of men who are for some reason unable to rule (being too young. Presniakov.3 In any case. deceased). the two systems were probably very similar. The question may also be approached differently. closely connected to the previous one. was that the house prevailed over its individual members. Pchelov does not even discuss the opinions of Grekov and Iushkov. who assumed the reign when he reached manhood. included in Sochineniia. 232-235. in his section on the possibility of Rurik’s Slavic origins. Drevnosti II. at least during the first centuries after Rurik. During this period.

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

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

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

13 . Sergeevich. prince N. Drevnosti II.13 In this context.N. the other copy would therefore start: “[…] you. the elder brother would in a number of cases reserve for himself the right to deal with the Mongol overlords. the duty to rescind or revoke treaties with other powers. etc. such as the Golden Horde.172 Law in Medieval Russia brother relationship. brate. ne kanchivati ni s kim bez nashego vedan’ia).. 25 (treaty of 1375 between the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Donskoi and the Tver’ grand prince Mikhail Aleksandrovich).g. by recognizing his status as elder brother. If the latter did 10 11 Sergeevich.e.g. In particular.9. prince N. prince N.11 The treaties were normally drawn up in two authentic but different copies. the Baltic cities. prince N. actual fathers and sons would not conclude treaties (the father would unilaterally impose his will).N. In some cases. Lithuania. […]”. 152. made out in the name of both parties.. A more detailed analysis of this topic is given by the prominent pre-revolutionary legal historian V. in accordance with established Byzantine practice. but also to other Russian principalities. my younger brother.10 The most common treaties between Russian princes in the Middle Ages were those which established or reaffirmed seniority of one of the signatories.N. prince of Galich). 101 (treaty of 1439 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iur’evich. 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. Drevnosti II. 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. E.12 Sergeevich points out that the most important treaty clauses were: the prohibition to negotiate with foreign powers. 200-220. my elder brother. swear] to me. the younger brother was forbidden altogether to engage in foreign relations or in relations with specific powers. This was invariably done in the opening address of the documents with the words: “[…] you. The body of the text of the treaty would be devoted to defining the exact content of the seniority relationship. 12 E. and the duty to go to war in support of the “elder brother”. Sergeevich. “foreign powers” refers to Russia’s neighbours. should kiss the cross [i. your younger brother. your elder brother. should kiss the cross to me..N.36. […]”. DDG No. by forbidding the younger brother to enter into contact with the latter (Ordy ne znati). because. 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. DDG No. The last two duties were typically imposed on the “younger brother”.

70 (treaty of 1433 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and Vasilii Iaroslavich. officials.g. according to oath. prince of Serpukhov and Borovsk). it would normally suffice for the younger brother to send a contingent of troops with a commander. where both parties would usually declare that they would maintain each other as elder or younger brother “in honour and without offence”. etc. is your friend. The significance of the third principal clause emphasized by Sergeevich. with the usual formula: “and whoever. henceforth. because the single hierarchical system of the whole of Russia was thus replaced by a number of unconnected bilateral relationships.” 16 E.15 The unilateral duties assumed by the elder brother were naturally more restricted. Where this clause was included.13. recognized in the treaties. one invariably finds the rather vague duties to be united (byti zaodin) and well-disposed towards each other (dobra choteti). 37 (treaty of 1390 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich and Vladimir Andreevich. and the more concrete agreements about respecting each other’s territories. The most important duties unilaterally imposed on the younger brother were those of informing the elder brother of anything affecting the latter’s interests. the traditional seniority structure of the Rurikid dynasty was set aside and. Some of these conditions are bilateral (such as the abovementioned ne kanchivati). instead of going himself. taxes. without deceit.The Elder Brother in Russia 173 not personally lead his army. the duty to break off relations with other powers (tselovanie slozhiti). the younger brother had only one single elder brother. without trickery. . prince of Galich). was in the establishment of the exclusivity of the starshinstvo (seniority) relationship. DDG No.” E. others unilateral (such as tselovanie slozhiti or vsesti na kon’). This was a consequence of the system of mutual honour. Among the bilateral ones. In other words. Apart from the clauses discussed by Sergeevich.16 14 15 E. will be my friend.14.27. with the usual formula: “and whatever you will hear to our advantage or disadvantage from Christian or heathen. but included sometimes an undertaking not to acquire land within the younger brother’s territory without the latter’s knowledge. DDG No. a number of other conditions is usually to be found in the treaties establishing or reaffirming seniority.14 and of accepting his friends or enemies as such. 40 (treaty of 1390 between the Moscow grand prince Vasilii Dmitrievich and his brother Iurii. and whoever is your enemy will be my enemy. you will inform us about it truthfully.g. it actually destroyed it in its original form. grand prince. although the starshinstvo clause in a treaty appeared to lend great weight to the institution. courts. prince of Serpukhov and Borovsk). DDG No.g.

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

2005.II. Once more uncles and nephews got involved. 24 E. Kliuchevskii discusses mestnichestvo in Lecture XXVII in his Kurs russkoi istorii (Vol. Moskva. used by me). then the following two brothers B and C would occupy the next two places. 1994. B and C. newly published together with another work (Liudi kabal’nye) by the same author. Gosudarevy sluzhilye liudi. as Kliuchevskii suggests. ch. in the Sochineniia edition. “Mestnicheskie dela v razriadnom proizvodstve 80-kh godov XVI v.M. Moskva. A. Most of the leading pre-revolutionary historians of Muscovy Russia discussed it in their works. which referred to the rank of an individual within his family and in inter-family relationships. V.I. Odessa. 284-294. Sergeevich. 2001.II. The system was based in principle on an old tradition from Kievan times (and probably long before that).. although this general designation does not do justice to the peculiarities of mestnichestvo. 23 A convenient overview of the literature in Iu.). Ianin (ed. Op. The fourth place was shared by the eldest son of A and the fourth brother D of A. derived from the idea of the unity of the family. D’iakonov.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. . V.L. Vspomogatel’nye istoricheskie distsipliny. 145-156. 65-79. 120-140. 7-15. Moskva. Moskva. Tom IX. Markevich. K. rodoslovtsy i ‘rodoslovnye paskvili’”. a more scholarly attitude prevailed.23 In making important military. Chastnye Razriadnye knigi s zapisiami za posledniuiu chetvert’ XV–nachalo XVII vekov. M. 2003. S. 1888. Lektsii. Pavlov-Sil’vanskii.g. Further: N. Mestnichestvo v Rossii XVIXVII vv. Iu. Iu. 35-51.V. Mel’nikov. The operation of mestnichestvo is known in considerable detail.21 Neither was it neglected by Soviet historians. “Precedence” would be the closest term in English. Eskin. Leningrad. on account of the relative abundance of the surviving materials.P.V. Istoriia mestnichestva v moskovskom gosudarstve v XV–XVII vv. 1898. the publication of sources received much attention. “Mestnichestvo. civil and court appointments. 1978.cit.O. in particular. Eskin. “Akty XVI–nachala XVII veka iz mestnicheskikh del”. If A was an eldest son. the matter became accordingly more complex.V. V. Moskva. Baranov. The system owed its name to the term mesto (place). Moskva.22 In the later Soviet period.N.7. 148..). The weaker position of the fourth brother (and further brothers) was an innovation of Ivan IV. Ot Drevnei Rusi k Rossii novogo vremeni [KhoroshkevichFestschrift]. Vol.24 it could have been based on the probability that by the time 21 22 The main prerevolutionary monograph study on mestnichestvo is A. although they often approached the phenomenon from a one-sided Marxist point of view. 165-172.”.Peterburg. 222-235. Antonov (ed. Russkii diplomatarii. Iu. the Moscow grand prince (tsar since 1547) observed the complicated rules of the mestnichestvo system. 2001 (references below are to the 2001 publication). Khronologicheskii reestr. Ankhimiuk.M. 1957.

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

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

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

Stenograficheskii otchet. of a precise hierarchy between all persons occupying higher positions in the Muscovy state.5% of persons enjoying personal nobility). go even further because it embraced a far greater section of the state’s personnel. but in the editorial comment to his speech. Postscript: The ‘Elder Brother’ in Soviet Rhetoric The ‘elder brother’ metaphor experienced a remarkable revival in the Soviet Union. when it came to be applied to the position of the Russian republic (the RSFSR) within the USSR. 337. I have discussed the history of the Russian nobility in more detail in “De Russische adelsgeschiedenis”. 12. resulted in the emergence. 33 34 The Table of Ranks was of fundamental importance for the peculiar character of the noble class in Russia.35 Intriguingly. 33. Vol.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. Bol’shevik. 325. Stalin actually called the Russian people “the leading people”. published in Bol’shevik. The Table of Ranks would. Instead of “service follows nobility”. and not an ethnic Russian. No.1. 1945. the term was not used by delegates from the European (Ukrainian. Also. Jaarboek voor Adelsgeschiedenis. as argued above. it was always someone from the indigenous nation. . XXI S”ezd. the Russian people was designated as the elder brother (starshii brat) of the other peoples of the USSR.1. 362. 1956. Vol.10. when a spokesman from one of the ‘oriental’ republics used the term. down to the lowest officer ranks and modest civilian positions. XXIV S”ezd. XX S”ezd Kommunisticheskoi Partii Sovetskogo Soiuza. which survived as a legal phenomenon until 1917. 448.34 At all the Party congresses from the 20th (1956) to the 26th (1981).13 (2006). again in theory. I did not encounter it in Lenin’s works and neither did it occur in the speeches at the 18th Party Congress in 1939. the new principle was “nobility follows service”. 5. delegates from the non-Slavic (oriental) republics used the ‘elder brother’ designation in referring to Russia. Belorussian and Baltic) republics.1. Virtus. Moskva.2. 404. it soon became current at official Party meetings. Vol. Vol.The Elder Brother in Russia 179 connecting the acquisition of nobility with the attainment of a specific rank. 62-77 (in Dutch). Vol. but only in theory. Mestnichestvo. but after Stalin alluded to it on 24 May 1945 at a toast to the Russian nation during a Kremlin reception for military commanders. 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. 35 “Russkii narod–rukovodiashchaia sila sredi narodov nashei strany”.

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

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

17 February 1994. 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. “The Elections in Chechnia in the Framework of Russian Constitutional Law”. 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. Also. It has not only been eroded by the ever increasing role of international and even supranational organizations. Applying another modern concept anachronistically.182 Law in Medieval Russia This framework is not fully applicable in a medieval setting. it will be included in this survey. A pragmatic (some would say opportunistic) approach offers the most convenient solution to the dilemma.g. a treaty is a bilateral (or multilateral) legal act (almost always in written form). Another definitional aspect concerns the material form: strictly speaking. an exchange of letters. Review of Central and East European Law. by which the (‘sovereign’) parties create mutual rights and duties. These situations have a parallel in private law in the contract concluded 3 4 Rossiiskaia Gazeta. but we also observe a growing independence and assertiveness of lower range public law corporations. National states are seen to conclude agreements (sometimes even called treaties) with their own provinces or even cities. the treaty of 15 February 1994 with the Republic of Tatarstan. Parenthetically. one could define a medieval treaty as an agreement between public law parties. one could say that sovereignty was usually fragmented in the middle ages and parcelled out among several authorities. at 4.g. if then and now it was and is regarded as a treaty. Russia herself offers a prime example (e. We have grown accustomed to a certain dissolution of absolute sovereignty.1.3 or the agreement between the prime ministers of Russia and Chechnia of 23 November 1996. If modern concepts are employed. 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. however. F. the concept is extended to include situations created by more than one act. concerning Chechnia. In medieval Russia. . e. In this chapter. No. Feldbrugge. There are numerous examples among the documents considered in this chapter. one might add that this approach is probably more acceptable now than it would have been a generation ago. we would not look upon a community of foreign merchants as a public law party. when for instance there is no distinction between the ‘private’ wealth of the ruler and the powers exercised by him over his territory. Cf. If it looks like a treaty. 1-7. 1997. Such letters then appear as each other’s complements.

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

On account of the Russians using the March calendar. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. The fragmentary text of the 907 treaty seemed to have only Oleg. . of which their acceptance of baptism was an important element. and “all the serene and grand princes 6 7 A. Most commentators are inclined to regard the two texts as fragments of a lost treaty text. 2003. Kaiser (transl. contains an extensive bibliography. 3-172.cit. op. The most comprehensive discussion by a Western author is I. the correct date of the treaty is generally regarded as 911. 102-111. All authors stress the connection between the raid and the treaty on the one hand. the emperor Basil I (867-886) concluded a peace treaty with the “Russes”. Sakharov.. Moskva. will be made. Moskva. na Konstantinopol’ i pervoe kreshchenie Rusi v srednevekovykh pis’mennykh istochnikakh”. grand prince of Kiev. 1980.6 In this chapter. Byzantine sources add more detail. Diplomatiia Drevnei Rusi. Kashtanov.N. According to the chronicle written by the author known as the Continuator (actually the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. In the Primary Chronicle. 1992. claiming to represent Oleg. & ed. there may have been more than one) extensively. 1-13 (text and English translation). Moskva. and the (first) baptism of Russia on the other. “Pokhod 860 g. Stoliarova (ed. Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique. the raids and the conversion of Olga (around the middle of the XIth century) are completely separate events. Sakharov. relevant in connection with the subsequent Russian treaty practice. also. grand prince of Kiev. Problemy istochnikovedeniia. connected with the hostilities between Byzantium and the Russians in the beginning of the 10th century. The 912 treaty mentioned fifteen persons. See. under the command of a prince. 8 Extensively on the raid of 860: P. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 2000g. to which almost all leading Russian medievalists have contributed. Text in PRP I. The 10th century Russian-Byzantine treaties were not the first of their kind. Salt Lake City. Sorlin. the most recent major Russian work on this subject. Vol. 1996.V.7 The relationship between the short treaty of 907 and the treaty of 9128 remains controversial. The Primary Chronicle mentions several raids by Russians (Vikings) around the year 860. appearing on the Russian side....). A large body of literature on these treaties exists. all with Scandinavian names. IX-pervaia polovina X v.II (1961). modern Russian translation and bibliography) and in D. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. not 912. The parties to the 10th century treaties were the Byzantine emperors and various collectives of Russian (or Viking) chiefs.184 Law in Medieval Russia between Byzantium and Russia. Mel’nikova. just the only ones that survived.). op. 313-360 and 447-475. also discusses the raids and treaty (or treaties. “Les traités de Byzance avec la Russie au Xe siècle”. only a few specific observations concerning aspects.59-82 are devoted to a discussion of the treaty and its possible contents. 913-959). L. Among later Russian works: S.M. 4-59. 47-82 (chapter 2).V Kuznetsov. 3-70 (incl.cit. pp.

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

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

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

of 1399). This can be explained in part by the fact that. 2003. The archives of the princes of Moscow were. The standard work on the history of the archives of the princes of Moscow and connected archives is L. Obshchestvenno-politicheskii stroi i pravo Kievskogo gosudarstva. Cherepnin. 1948. and the emperors. but under the general heading of Novgorod treaties. derived from the Latin Caesar. therefore. Iushkov. We have referred above to several instances of treaties between 11th century Russian princes. Part 2. Arkhivy I or II). Vneshnepoliticheskie dogovory. 330. An additional reason for the preponderance of Moscow documents may be the deliberate destruction of treaties between other princes.19 The treaties between Russian princes (mostly those of Tver’ and Moscow) and Novgorod are not discussed in this section. See. had an interest in doing away with anything that might upset their claims. Moscow-Lithuania. The Treaties between the Princes The treaties between the Russian princes constitute the most numerous group among the collection surveyed in this chapter. Part 1. Moscow-Novgorod. Dogovornye gramoty moskovskikh kniazei XIV veka. also. Kuchkin.188 Law in Medieval Russia 4. S.V. Moscow. 1951 (hereafter: Cherepnin. and Moscow-Tver’. Ivan IV (the Terrible) solemnly assumed the title of tsar in 154717 and tsar Peter transformed Russia into an empire in 1721. of 1381. covers only five treaties (Moscow-Tver’. the corpus of treaties between Russian princes. Assumption of the title.A. Moskva. the Moscow grand prince was the most important and powerful ruler. 150-162. detailed information about which has been provided by the chronicles. Moskva. that the practice of concluding treaties among themselves was by no means new in the second half of the 14th century. 17 18 19 His predecessors. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. Moscow-Riazan’.18 For these reasons. and within this group the vast majority is made up of treaties concluded by the grand prince of Moscow with other Russian princes.V. Drevnosti II. 1949. This point was also made a century ago by V. Moscow/Leningrad. notably his grandfather Ivan III. of 1318. The Moscow princes. had been facilitated by the fall of Constantinople in 1454 and the disappearance of the Byzantine emperor. the tsars. the core out of which the Russian state archives grew and understandably the conditions for document survival were more favourable in Moscow than elsewhere. however. Sergeevich.I. begins at a comparatively late moment. of 1371. There is a direct and unbroken connection between the grand princes of Moscow. of 1375. for at least the latter half of the period under review. in their ultimately successful struggle for supremacy. had already used the title occasionally. available to us. There can be no doubt. . V.

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

No. 23 24 25 26 27 28 See the testaments of Vasilii Vasil’evich Temnyi in 1461. 24 Again.1.23 His brother Ivan who in fact succeeded him as grand prince of Moscow. however. DDG. DDG.C. the treaty mentioned above. Howes. one could say that the private law element in these treaties was strong and sometimes dominant. DDG. There exists a modest number of treaties between the grand prince of Moscow and one or more of his brothers.25 When Vasilii died in 1425. the other brother.61.2.28 From a modern point of view. DDG. No.89. He became the ancestor of the princes of SerpukhovBorovsk. E. between grand prince Semën and his brothers Ivan and Andrei. DDG. 214-216. 33-37. that they would support him in war and that they would not conclude treaties with outsiders. his sons had all predeceased him without issue. Dmitrii Donskoi again left “his patrimony Moscow” to his four sons. he was survived only by his youngest son Vasilii the Blind (Temnyi) on whom again the grand princely dignity was conferred. prince of Uglich. 11-13. DDG. however. No.4. Ivan. 193-199. the practice solidified: the eldest son was made grand prince of Moscow and the younger brothers were told to obey and follow him. of a fierce family feud (see below). around 1350-1351. without any mention of his successor. but the grand princely dignity to his eldest son Vasilii. instructing the younger sons to “honour and obey” their elder brother. 7-11. This implied. when Semën was well installed as grand prince of Moscow. died in 1364. apanage principalities). also a treaty from 1472 between grand prince Ivan III and his brother Andrei. and he left his possessions to his widow. succeeded as grand prince. No. No. but they did receive. their own principalities (udely. among which was Serpukhov.21. No. and of his son grand prince Ivan III Vasil’evich in 1504. 15-19. 13-14. Dmitrii (Donskoi). the elder son. 353-364.21 Some ten years later. . 1967.g. the subjects of numerous treaties with their Moscow cousins. among other things. wrote his last will in 1358. English translation in R. Ivan’s younger brother Andrei had been assigned various properties. 57-60.27 The accession of Vasilii the Blind was the occasion. No.22 When Semën died in 1353.3. as in the past. stating that he left his patrimony Moscow (otchinu svoiu Moskvu) to his sons Dmitrii and Ivan. No. where they mainly concerned the division of the 21 22 DDG. DDG.12.66.190 Law in Medieval Russia is exhorted to act as protector (pechal’nik) of his mother and brothers and sisters. but otherwise the sons receive equal treatment. Ithaca.26 After Vasilii the Blind. he concluded a compact with his brothers Ivan and Andrei in which the latter bound themselves to honour him as their father. The Testaments of the Grand Princes of Moscow. No. DDG. In his last will of 1389.

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

Vasilii’s emissary argued that Iurii’s claim rested on the tradition of the Russian princes. 146-148. Vasilii won the day. Cherepnin. but that his principal referred to the khan’s good favour. . see. Several other treaties of the period are also directly linked with the Shemiaka episode. 119-121. prince of Smolensk and grandson of Rostislav.g. 155-160. the latter. The first prince who apparently appropriated the title for his own branch was Mstislav Davidovich (†1230). when his army was defeated by Iurii’s. who was taken prisoner and blinded in revenge (hence.32 Excursion Concerning the Title of Grand Prince Originally.192 Law in Medieval Russia lord of the Russian princes (more on this topic below). had been grand prince of Kiev. also. Initially. col. however. R. in which Shemiaka advertised himself as plain prince in the preamble. The story was more or less replayed ten years later. and his nephew retired as apanage prince to Kolomna. but referred later on to his grand princely dignity and also used the grand princely formula “By the grace of God”. grand prince of Kiev and son of Iaroslav the Wise. prince of Mozhaisk. the tide was against Vasilii. He was succeeded by his son Vasilii Kosoi. Vasilii Temnyi returned and had Vasilii Kosoi blinded. like his father Mstislav Harald (eldest son and successor of Vladimir Monomakh).141-156. Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka. No. when Vasilii Temnyi was taken prisoner by khan Ulug Mekhmet. The Formation of Muscovy 1304-1613. Next. only to lose it again. No. who then offered the Moscow throne to Vasilii Kosoi’s younger brother. who held out longer than any other branch of the Rurikids against their Moscow cousins.48. 2. being deserted by his own brothers. that between Dmitrii Shemiaka and two princes of Suzdal’. Arkhivy I. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and prince Ivan Vasil’evich Gorbatyi of Suzdal’. his surname Temnyi).52. Crummey.40.31 Not surprisingly. DDG. Iurii ruled as grand prince of Moscow until his death a few months later. early in the next year. DDG. The princes of Riazan’.O. Vasilii’s side grew in strength and he recaptured the Moscow throne. Soon. 128-150. the khan withdrew the offer and released Vasilii Temnyi. it was attached to the principality of Kiev and accordingly it moved around the various branches of the Rurikid dynasty. London/New York. Cf. In 1433 Iurii briefly overran Moscow. Vasilii was able to reassert himself in 1446. Civil war again broke out. assumed the grand princely dignity. e. The descendants of Mstislav Davidovich who ruled in Smolensk until the end of the 14th century styled themselves grand princes of Smolensk. of 1445. V. When support for Shemiaka’s claim to the grand princely dignity dwindled. like his father. 31 32 The episode is recounted in detail by Karamzin. between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his cousin Ivan Andreevich. 1987. were the descendants of Sviatoslav II (†1076). 68-71. prince of Galich. who was unable to maintain himself. and DDG. One treaty survives. No.

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

the latter is referred to as Boris’ grandfather. 152-153. and uncles and nephews. between Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka of Galich. 62-63. DDG. Drevnosti II. where several princes were involved.g. .4. A. A possible exception to this implicit rule would be a treaty between a maternal grandfather and his grandson. Cf.23. There are no extant examples of such treaties. the treaty outlined a more complex hierarchy. 1982. No. Ibidem. Sergeevich. where a more prominent position would overrule the family relationship.M. the treaty between grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich and his uncle Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich.39 Once the Moscow grand prince had established his right to appoint his successor (usually his eldest son). No. Drevnosti II. No.40. according to the old family hierarchy of the Rurikids.).35 or simply as father. also in T. The core of it was always the recognition of the status of elder brother. Novosel’tsev. Sometimes one party recognized the other as elder brother and father. and equal brothers. it is worth noting that fathers (and grandfathers) and sons did not conclude treaties among each other. so that uncles could take the place of fathers. Drevneishie gosudarstva Vostochnoi Evropy 1998 g. each indicating more precisely the character of the relationship. so that the other party would also have to recognize the grand prince’s successors as elder brothers. as mentioned. “K voprosu ob odnom iz drevneishikh titulov russkogo kniazia”. Extensively on this entire topic Sergeevich.V. E. E. DDG. when he was actually occupying the grand princely throne. Istoriia SSSR. [Novosel’tsev memorial volume].36 Occasionally. 181-200. which included a duty to inform about anything of importance to the latter. as co-signatories.38 The general logic. but in a treaty of 1427 between Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and the brother of his paternal grandmother. There were several variations on this theme. borrowed from the Khazars.g. distinguished between fathers and sons. younger. DDG. or sometimes his heirs in general.24. an uncle would then address his nephew as elder brother in certain cases. As a result. No.37 In this connection. was that older generations took precedence over younger ones. No. Sergeevich. 2000. He was obliged 35 36 37 38 39 grand princes of Kiev also used the title of kagan. The basic elements of the dependent relationship were the following. Kalinina (ed. he made sure to insert his successor. E.g. 63-67. elder. The treaty of 1445. grand prince Vitovt of Lithuania.27. DDG. This system was superseded then by the new Moscow approach.194 Law in Medieval Russia The ‘house pacts’ within the clan of Ivan Kalita’s descendants. The junior party bound himself to be loyal to his senior. regarded starshinstvo as a matter of family etiquette and linguistic practice and rejected the notion that it had any meaning beyond that. and the princes of Suzdal’. Moskva. cf. 367-379. contained a package of standard conditions.

Generally the junior partner was forbidden to engage in foreign affairs (ne kanchivati. col. led by the Moscow grand prince. continued raiding Russia. Such duties could be more or less onerous. between grand princes Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi of Moscow.42 he recognized Dmitrii Donskoi 40 41 42 Cf. but there were exceptions. and one with the prince of Suzdal’. the senior party also had to inform the junior party of foreign policy activities. such as the levying of various taxes and the administration of justice. he was allowed to conclude treaties. 51-58.9. in some cases. five with the grand princes of Riazan’. DDG. was concluded after the military defeat of Tver’ at a very precarious moment of Dmitrii Donskoi’s rule. the sequence in time shows an increasing loss of independence of the respective prince. In the cases of the Tver’ and Riazan’ treaties. Cherepnin. The earliest treaty in this category. Cf. as could be expected. Crummey. 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. Relations with the Golden Horde were nearly always the exclusive domain of the senior party. 25-28.cit. of 1375. A grand alliance of Russian princes. sometimes the junior prince was only obliged to take part in campaigns if the elder brother also participated in person. Tokhtamysh.41 In the resulting treaty. 191-205. was then formed which forced Mikhail of Tver’ into submission. 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. 80-86.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 195 to support his senior in his external affairs. not to conclude agreements). Book 2.e. the khan of the Golden Horde. Most treaties paid attention to internal administrative activities of both parties. The Treaties of the Princes of Muscovy: Distant Relatives A smaller part of the collection of Moscow treaties concerns relations with other Russian princes. which might also involve military duties. but in a general way one might say that they displayed. The collection contains six treaties with the grand princes of Tver’. princes belonging to the Rurikid house.21-24. op. Part 5. i. but not without the senior’s knowledge. Karamzin.57-58.. Arkhivy I.40 The circumstances surrounding the conclusion of these treaties differed from each other. No. After pillaging Moscow. a more equal status between the parties than the treaties concluded by the Moscow grand prince with his closer relatives. but not to the Moscow branch. . In a few cases. and the effects of such activities in the principality of the other party.

however. otherwise the conditions of the treaty were symmetrical. cf. 91. 53.15. Crummey. 85-86. Mikhail Borisovich. 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. in the same year. it seems to me that the duty to consult in this case was also mutual. No. cf. but effectively deprived him of all freedom of action. Cherepnin. No. were mutual. Cherepnin. but only in consultation with Moscow). for instance. 49. is probably most typical as an example of a treaty between equals. 46 DDG. 198-199.cit. because the treaty required consultation (duma). still allowed to negotiate with the Golden Horde. the situation had changed completely.43 He did promise not to accept the Moscow principality from the hands of the khan. Arkhivy I. Arkhivy I. The brief Russian-Lithuanian peace treaty was. were also an expression. i. as was customary in treaties which the Moscow prince concluded with other princes. 43 44 Cherepnin. to negotiate with other powers or to have relations with the Golden Horde. Most other obligations. was forced to conclude a treaty which did not quite reduce him to the status of a Moscow apanage prince (he was.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. Later on. Most of the Russian principalities had been brought under Moscow’s control and Tver’ was surrounded by Moscow territory. in 1485. of which the treaties of 1375 and 1396 between these two gentlemen. Cherepnin. the Tver’ prince was allowed full freedom in his relations with the Horde (k Orde put’ chist). 45 DDG. Arkhivy I. cf. but the Moscow prince promised likewise with regard to the Tver’ principality.79. mentioned in the preceding section.46 All three of them are with the rulers of Lithuania.44 A century later. op. He was not forbidden..e. to support him in arms. The grand prince of Tver’. The following Moscow-Tver’ treaty.45 The Treaties between Moscow and Lithuania Very few foreign treaties of the grand princes of Moscow have survived. The Moscow prince promised to cancel his agreement with the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. . 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’. The two grand princes recognized each other simply as brothers. 40-43. Mikhail of Tver’ was forced into exile and Tver’ became part of the Muscovy state. of 1396. thinks otherwise. 295-301. Arkhivy I.

50 As mentioned. 25-29. The subordinate position of the Smolensk prince is evidenced by the treaty of 1386 between Iurii Sviatoslavich. 1980.6.49 5. 1974. Arkhivy I.53. Cherepnin. an attempt to neutralize the powerful Lithuanian state in the conflict with Tver’. being closely allied with and in fact subject to the grand prince of Lithuania (and king of Poland. 21-22. and king Wladyslaw Jagiello of Poland and his brother prince Svidrigailo of Lithuania.51 Although the conditions of the treaty were similar to those 47 48 DDG. Hramoty XIV st. 205-207. Peshchak (ed. 329-332. At that moment only Riazan’ and the city of Pskov still maintained a measure of precarious independence. 69-71.V.). after the Polish-Lithuanian union in 1386). No. DDG. 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.M. associated with the Lithuanian prince.g. The grand prince Sviatoslav of Smolensk acted as a co-signatory.. to enter into some kind of feudal relationship with the latter). Smolensk had stayed outside the mainstream of Russian medieval history. i.. Alekseev. grand prince of Smolensk. certain concessions were therefore made (e. No. Cf. No. Cherepnin. 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. DDG. 49 50 51 .e. and not to Moscow. Smolensk Treaties The four Smolensk treaties constitute a special category.48 It was imperative for the Moscow prince to keep the ruler of Poland and Lithuania out of the internal Russian conflict. Cf. 160-161. Smolenskaia zemlia v IX-XII vv.83. All three Lithuanian treaties make clear that Smolensk and its princes were subject to the Lithuanian prince. Princely Treaties. the grand princes of Riazan’ were allowed to serve the Polish king. Moskva. Cf. L.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). M. 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. The 1494 treaty made clear that Riazan’ had moved to Moscow’s sphere of influence.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 197 from the Moscow point of view. Arkhivy I. 45-49. Kiev.

A short treaty from between 1330 and 1359 between Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga confirmed an earlier treaty. 139-140. Khoroshkevich (ed. compared with the bulk of Russian princely treaties.53 Polotsk.. inevitably. DDG [no number].54 Other Princely Treaties The remaining princely treaties are. “Russkie gramoty 60-70-ykh godov XV v. Vol. such as the Court Charter of Pskov (Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota). 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. iz byvshego Rizhskogo gorodskogo arkhiva”.198 Law in Medieval Russia found in comparable Russian treaties from the same era.2 No. see. 325-341. the general style of the text is different. The texts are of great interest for Russian legal history. . Khoroshkevich. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda. but are also unusual on account of their contents. No. are not only very early texts. The other three Smolensk treaties were with Riga. See. of 1229 and of a later date sometime between 1230 and 1270. a mixed bag. A. also. from the Russian point of view. Peshchak. such as Lithuania or Poland. Hramoty. They provide a kind of short code of law. and was generally along the lines of other commercial treaties between Baltic cities and Russian partners. and other “old charters”. A treaty of around 1483 between grand prince Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ and the Polish king and Lithuanian grand prince Kazimir is connected with the 1485 treaty between Tver’ and Moscow. Moskva. was even more marginal in the Russian middle ages than Smolensk. 483-383. an important principality in the early period of Kievan Russia. 1978..8.55 Prince Mikhail made a 52 53 54 55 SGGD.). It was permanently under the control of Western powers. 69-76.171. also. The first two. Moskva. Polotskie gramoty XIII-nachala XVI vv. A trade agreement between Polotsk and Riga of 1478 renewed the provisions of an earlier (unknown) agreement. A. with Riga and Visby (“Gothic Coast”).L. applicable to Smolensk subjects and to the German citizens of Riga and Visby in their commercial dealings. Arkheograficheskii Ezhegodnik za 1965 g.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.L. concluded by his grandfather. 1011. because they form a link between the earliest Russian code of the Russkaia Pravda and later general codifications. 1966. there is no recognition of the dominant party as elder brother.

were based on a more or less formal equality between the parties. No. 1427). In 1496. DDG. 38-39.60 The treaty was very much along the line of similar treaties within the Moscow dynasty.25.62. king of Galicia. who styled himself grand prince. the last remaining independent prince. for the Moscow throne. from different cadet branches of the Moscow ruling house.84. No. . No. the Moscow grand prince. 332-341. prince of Volynia. 59 60 DDG. 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. 1459). in the other treaties the princes concerned requested (through a chelobitie) the Polish/ Lithuanian king to be admitted to his service. DDG.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. whose paternal grandmother was a sister of the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt. concluded a treaty with his younger brother Fedor. No.40. 119-121. one of the sons of Iurii Danilovich. 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. Hramoty. where both princes were in exile. 199-201. 1442).39. 117-118 (Fedor L’vovich of Novosil’ and Odoev. the grand prince of Riazan’ Ivan Vasil’evich.60. 56 57 DDG. The younger brother promised to support his elder brother. Dmitrii. grand prince of Moscow. 62-63 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’.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.56 The two treaties of Boris of Tver’.58 The treaty of 1461 between Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk was concluded in Lithuania. No. If Ivan were to die childless. No. No. They agreed to close ranks in their conflict with their cousin Vasilii Vasil’evich. 58 Peshchak. No. the last prince of Riazan’).26. 163-164 (Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’.23. No. 68-69 (Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk. 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. 1442). not to engage independently in foreign relations. 1449). is perhaps the son of Andrei Iur’evich. 1430).54. Fedor was to succeed.59 They were distantly related. 67-68 (Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’. and had both lost their Russian possessions. 192-193 (Ivan Iur’evich of Novosil’ and Odoev.

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

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

e. but also smaller Baltic entities: the Teutonic Order. Tartu). Novgorod was of course ever more involved with the expanding realm of the Moscow grand prince. 64 65 . In later years. Vladimir). Kolyvan’) and Derpt. GVNP. the bishops of Riga. pp. the citizens of Novgorod had refused to accept his son Dmitrii as their prince and had invited a younger brother of Aleksandr. 1266 and 1270) show Iaroslav accepting obligations with regard to his own volost’ (i. Kashtanov.4-13. Tver’) and the “land of Suzdal’ (i. grand prince of Vladimir. to be their prince. grand prince of Vladimir and the most powerful Russian prince of his time. Nos. GVNP. and the Hanseatic League. in accordance with the rules of starshinstvo.26-30.9-13.65 After the death of Aleksandr Nevskii. 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. not only the major powers of Lithuania and Poland. This explains why the three treaties with Novgorod (of 1264. and Kurland. although the texts of the treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich make it quite clear that they only continue an old and traditional pattern. pp.202 Law in Medieval Russia ity of Tver’. pp. the bishoprics of Derpt (Dorpat. GVNP. Mikhail Iaroslavich. 58-66. This contingent may be subdivided into an early group of three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’. 36-38. In the treaties reviewed in this chapter. Tallin. Novgorod’s treaty practice reflected its more cosmopolitan location and involved also more distant Baltic powers: Sweden. Nos.64 and a more disparate group of later treaties. Iur’ev. Moskva. in 1263.e. 32-34. 17-18. 1996. Iz istorii russkogo srednevekovogo istochnika. and more distant ancestors. He was also. the grand prince of Tver’. Its Western neighbours were numerous.M.13-26. Oesel and Kurland rarely appear as parties. Oesel. Iaroslav. Nos. and the Hanseatic cities of Riga. 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.14-15. the archbishopric of Riga. Denmark. Iaroslav was the prince of Tver’ and the ancestor of the sub-dynasty of the princes of Tver’. Revel (Reval. grand prince of Vladimir. They refer to previous treaties concluded with Iaroslav’s father Iaroslav Vsevolodovich.62 Novgorod-Tver’ Treaties Of the Russian treaties concluded by Novgorod.63 a larger group of treaties with the latter’s son. after the death of his older brothers Aleksandr and Andrei. 1-3. 20.

69 Prince Mikhail was killed the next 66 67 On the three treaties with Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’. For a prince. Nos. Nos. Cherepnin. pp. 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.11-13. Novgorod itself was a not insignificant player in this game. because it used its unique freedom to select its own prince as an instrument to extract the best deal. the treaty consisted of an exchange of letters in which the parties outlined their commitments and claims. the southern half of what used to be Kievan Russia remained for a long time in a state of chaos and stopped playing a significant role in Russian history. the major prize was the grand princely dignity of Vladimir.13 also included the Moscow grand prince Iurii Danilovich as a party. In the northern half of the country. cf. according to the tsar’s charter (po tsesareve gramote). the text is defective and has been tentatively reconstructed by Cherepnin. 291-293. Cherepnin. No. GVNP. 270-282. being adopted by Novgorod was attractive on account of the city’s wealth. Arkhivy I. It lasted for several years and various attempts at making peace were made.67 As was often the case. The curious political background of the three-cornered treaty is discussed by Cherepnin. PRP II.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. with final success in 1318. GVNP. Cherepnin. After the Mongol conquest of Russia. 293-296. 267-270.22-26. Arkhivy I.4-5. a perpetual coming and going of princely supplicants could be observed at the mobile Mongol headquarters.8 constitutes an addition to No. Although Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ had officially been installed as prince of Novgorod in 1308. cf. war broke out between him and Novgorod in 1312. which yielded the incumbent the leading position among the Russian princes. GVNP. Arkhivy I.68 All of them included a reference to the trading freedom of the “German Court”. pp. cf. 282-299. located somewhere on the East Russian or West Siberian steppe. Cherepnin. 68 69 . the Hanseatic colony within Novgorod (see the chapter on the Skra of Novgorod). Arkhivy I. The two texts are accordingly quite divergent.15-22. No. pp. the tsar being the Mongol khan. which started with the taking of Riazan’ in 1237.13-15.7. 254266. 133-159 (text and comments). during the first century of Mongol suzerainty.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 203 in the land of Suzdal’. also. see. The general background is nearly always the same: the incessant struggle of the North Russian princes for hegemony. Nos. Arkhivy I.6-10. who suggests that the explanation must be sought in Mongol interference in the negotiations. The appointment was in the hands of the khan of the Golden Horde.

Along with the Moscow grand prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Donskoi. see. also.22/23. when the young Moscow grand prince Vasilii Vasil’evich was involved in a struggle with his first cousins Vasilii Kosoi and Dmitrii Shemiaka. together with the grand prince of Tver’. 15.26-30. 293. 17. 36-38. Fifteen years later.72 It was a treaty of mutual aid. 369-373.70 Novgorod-Moscow Treaties The grand prince of Moscow appeared for the first time in a treaty with Novgorod in 1318/1319.71 The next Moscow-Novgorod treaty dates from 1371-1372. The so-called Iazhelbitsy peace treaty of 1456 already reflected the growing preponderance of Moscow. No. The army of Novgorod was beaten on the Shelon’ river and a new peace treaty was concluded (the Korostyn’ treaty). in the case of Novgorod.24. Cherepnin.14. the provisions of the Iazhelbitsy treaty were 70 71 GVNP. 34-36.204 Law in Medieval Russia year during his visit to the Horde.74 The Iazhelbitsy treaty was imposed on Novgorod under a severe military threat. Later treaties with Tver’ were connected with the ups-and-downs in the struggle of Tver’ with Moscow. Dmitrii Donskoi only had very young children in 1371 and his cousin would be the probable successor at that time. 18.16. GVNP. PRP II. believes 1317 is the correct date. the Novgorod veche was deprived of its right to make independent decisions (A vechnym gramatam ne byti. 20. No. and also GVNP No. . see above. 31. it came to actual hostilities. No. The peace treaty between Novgorod and Vasilii Temnyi of 143573 was connected with the dynastic difficulties which beset Moscow at that moment. his cousin Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov was included as a party. on the implementation of the Iazhelbitsy treaty.) and Novgorod was forced to make various financial and territorial concessions.19. or. 39-43 (Novgorod and Moscow copies). directed against a possible attack on either party by Lithuania or Tver’.13. Nos. GVNP No. and Cherepnin. Moscow was not in serious danger of German aggression. GVNP. 45-51. Obviously. 72 73 74 75 GVNP. by the “Germans” (the Teutonic Order).75 In a wording slightly less favourable to Novgorod. the last Novgorod-Tver’ treaty of 1446-1447 was between Boris Aleksandrovich and the city. 4344. in 1471.26/27. No. Arkhivy I. 251-259 and commentary on 267-272. 32-34. GVNP. a not uncommon fate for a medieval Russian prince. pp.

70. In 1478. Along with the usual Novgorod signatories (the mayor and the tysiatskii). 105-106. See. A Latin text is extant. commentary on 260-266. grand prince Iurii is mentioned. 129-132. 69-70. I. but not available to me. 67-68. The end of Novgorod independence was near. Sweden and the Goths in the treaty. Book VI.79 It appears to be primarily a trade agreement. GVNP. Skandinavskii Sbornik. No. to previous similar treaties.81 The treaty was apparently never signed and the draft fell into the hands of the Moscow grand prince. Karamzin. must be seen as a last desperate attempt of Novgorod to ward off the imminent annexation by Moscow. No. Ivan III fully incorporated Novgorod in the Muscovy state. however. col. the Chronicle states that the treaty was concluded “on the old terms” (po staroi poshline). 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). 63-72. 80 81 . No. 245-251.63. the remainder of the text refers only to the kingdom of Norway.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 205 repeated.77 names this prince as Manush Orikovich—Magnus V Eriksson. Cherepnin. also.80 The last treaty. 1945.15. 1976. this is none other than the Moscow grand prince Iurii III. as was often the case. Arkhivy I. The first treaty. Ch. Vyp. with the Lithuanian prince Kazimir. 45-61 and “Russko-Norvezhskii dogovor”.77.76 Novgorod Treaties with Foreign Rulers The Novgorod Chronicle. born in 1316. GVNP. PRP II. was of a similar nature.39. The treaty did not contain a reference. contained a more comprehensive treatment of mutual relations. with Svidrigailo of Lithuania. The second agreement. however. GVNP. The available Russian text.14.38. Cherepnin. 323-333. parallel text in Latin. 78 79 GVNP. The treaty is mainly about the regulation of borders. No. has survived only in very defective form. concluded three years later. 76 77 Cf.3. who was also serving as prince of Novgorod at the time. reports the conclusion of an “everlasting peace” with the king of Sweden. Vol. Tallin. 332-333.78 Although Magnus is called the king of Norway. 115-116. “Dogovory Novgoroda s Norvegiei”. I.78-83. GVNP. Arkhivy. elder brother of Ivan Kalita. to be dated between 1440 and 1447. No. under the year 1323. of 1470/1471. of 1431. A second treaty with Magnus V Eriksson.P. Istoricheskie Zapiski. with Kazimir IV of Poland and Lithuania. Cherepnin has attempted a reconstruction. in 1326. 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. Shaskol’skii.

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

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

with the Teutonic Order. No. No. instead of the usual opening line of Novgorod treaties. 1372 (GVNP. Other regularly named parties are Kolyvan’ (Tallin). make clear that the named parties appeared on behalf of “all the merchants from across the sea”.74. V. it concerns GVNP. Together with Lübeck and Visby. Kazakova has argued that two texts should not be regarded as treaties proper. 1450 (GVNP. Many of the later treaties concerned more specific questions. there can be no doubt that the two documents concerned give a precise account of the conditions of a treaty.76. the text confirmed the old treaty terms. “Novgorodsko-Nemetskie dogovory ili Livonskie akty?”. Novgorodskii istoricheskii sbornik. the accepted number of Hanseatic League members at that time. 1434 (GVNP. 43-50.31. Ianin (ed. . The treaty mentioned the German and the Gothic Courts.46. which gradually assumed leadership of the Hanseatic League in the course of the 13th century. These two documents begin with the formula: “Be it known to all that […]”. 127-129).37 and 40 (of 1323. the following could be mentioned: 1371 (GVNP.). N. In 15th century treaties. the staryi mir. etc. 110-112). however. There were also rules about dealing with criminal offences and with people who participated in inter-ethnic brawls. 1989. the treaty was only ratified in 1265. The general treaty pattern with the Hanseatic League is perhaps best reflected by the text of a draft treaty of 1269.67. No. Much attention was paid to questions of jurisdiction: how disputes were to be adjudicated. 76-79). No. 76-79). An echo of the old provisions of the Russkaia Pravda can be heard in the rules which set fixed compensations for homicide. “O dvukh drevneishikh …”. the hiring of guides and pilots.91 89 90 A fuller list of treaties between Novgorod and the Hanseatic cities is to be found in the Appendix to this chapter. Nos.L. No. Then the different ways Novgorod could be reached were regulated in detail: which routes. and Iur’ev (Tartu). 80-83). rules of evidence. Most treaties. the treaties of 1372 (GVNP. Cf. 1436 (GVNP. 106-108). 91 GVNP. and of 1342. No. in summer and winter.90 A number of peace treaties and treaties declaring a truce demonstrate that the basically commercially oriented relationships were not always smooth. etc. Kazakova. 63-67.43. 58-61. etc. with German merchants). Rybina. identifying the officials participating in the signing of the treaty. Leningrad. but did not contain specific rules about them. Among the more general treaties. Riga is also mentioned by name at an early date already.43. 3(13).89 First of all. No. 1466 (GVNP.42.A. injuries. “all the 73 [or 72] cities” are sometimes mentioned. However.208 Law in Medieval Russia first place is taken by Lübeck. 1392 (GVNP. No. but confirmed certain details of the framework provided by the more general treaties. but as unilateral declarations that a treaty had been concluded. 124-126). According to Rybina.64. No. 74-76).

98-100. when the Order had been beaten decisively by Poland in the battle of Tannenberg. in Marienburg (the present Polish Malbork.94 The treaty was preceded by a draft 92 93 GVNP. a distinct sovereign entity.37. under the international law regime prevailing in the Middle Ages. because Novgorod at that moment had already lost its independence. 65-67. Novgorod also allied itself several times with the Order. 85-86 (concerning an extension of the peace treaty of 1392. The success of the Order in the Baltic area was to a considerable extent due to its co-operation with the Hanseatic League. in respect of Dorpat). the Land Marshal Walram. which marked the beginning of the decline of the Order. as a kind of precursor of the SS.e. not far from Gdansk/Danzig)). No. This was also the last treaty concluded by Novgorod. 96-98 (between Novgorod. The other treaties all date after 1410. between the bishop of Dorpat and Novgorod and Pskov. No. Kolyvan’ and Iur’ev. The Order suffers. and the Landmeister for Livland in Riga. No. acting also on behalf of Pskov.59. especially after World War II.49. 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. The first “eternal alliance” (vechnyi soiuz) was concluded in 132393 and was directed against the then still pagan Lithuanians. Its grand master (Hochmeister) resided. Most of the provisions concerned Pskov only. and the bishop of Dorpat and the Master of Riga.92 The most important of these was the treaty of 1474. No. and others). 94 . GVNP. acting on behalf of the Teutonic Order). the socalled peace of Niebur. The treaty contained detailed regulation of the trade between the parties and the rights and duties of merchants. not always deservedly. No.78. restored the peace between the two sides and contained the usual conditions about the rights of merchants. 133-136 (between Novgorod and Pskov and the bishop of Dorpat).60. since 1308.48. The last significant contingent among the treaties of Novgorod with its neighbours is represented by the treaties with the Teutonic order. in the complicated power game in the region. Dorpat and Reval). where it has been portrayed. GVNP. This made the order. receiving them in return as a fief. i. No. 86-88 (settlement of a dispute between Novgorod and the cities of Riga.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 209 A smaller number of treaties concerned only local Baltic relations. with the German controlled cities of Riga. from a bad press in Russian historiography. It transferred its lands to the Pope in 1234. A treaty of 1421 between Novgorod and the order (represented by the Livonian Landmeister Silvester.

Pskov increasingly followed its own course. often played an independent role in Novgorod’s internal politics. the Landmeister of Livonia). while “prince Heidenreich Vinke”. together with the inhabitants of Ladoga.210 Law in Medieval Russia peace treaty of 1420. others in conjunction with Novgorod. of 1417. was part of Novgorod and enjoyed the status of a Novgorod borough (prigorod). 96 . and on the other side the Teutonic Order and the bishop of Dorpat. Ocherk vnutrennoi istorii Pskova. only Pskov had the right to have its own boroughs. some of them concluded by Pskov alone. 97 GVNP. agreeing on a truce for five years and a meeting in the summer on the banks of the Narva River.73. Novgorod officially recognized Pskov’s independence. and for the city of Riga.99 Three other treaties are with the Teutonic Order. made its own laws. 96-98. 119-124. No. also appeared for the archbishop of Riga.59. see A. Nikitskii. Of all the towns on Novgorod territory.72. S. No.96 The former treaty was between Novgorod and the Order and the bishop of Dorpat. All of them are available in bilingual form: Russian and Middle Low German. The first one.e.98 Pskov held out longer against Moscow than Novgorod. Already in the 12th century. it finally had to submit in 1509. No. was basically a 95 GVNP. Several Pskov treaties have survived. 321-322. 117-119. GVNP. 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. the representatives of Novgorod and of the Order and the bishop of Dorpat met again in February 1448 and concluded a preliminary treaty.95 After renewed troubles. the Master of Riga (i. Pskov Treaties Originally. it invited and dismissed its own princes. The meeting took place in July and resulted in a comprehensive treaty. situated some 200 km south-east of Novgorod. Pskov also took part on the side of Novgorod. No. between Novgorod. which settled various outstanding border disputes.Peterburg. Oesel and Kurland. In 1347. 99 On Pskov-Novgorod relations and the internal organization of Pskov. also acting on behalf of Pskov. 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. In subsequent years. the men of Pskov.335. 1873.97 and negotiated with other powers. as related in the Novgorod Chronicle. the city of Pskov. In the latter treaty. the bishops of Dorpat.

of 1503. The second treaty. 1998. 96. No. the Mongols-Tatars. D. The archbishop of Riga is included as a party. of 1448. No. the Lithuanian grand prince Vitovt is identified as the potential enemy. Both Russian and Western authors use the terms Mongol and Tatar frequently indiscriminately. Crummey. the Russian sovereign [russkii gosudar’/dem Ruschen keiser] Vasilii Dmitrievich” (the grand prince of Moscow). had been steppe nomads: Scythian and other Iranian peoples in proto-historic times. 7. along with the Master of the Teutonic Order. on the other side. Cf. equivalent to emperor or basileus. Russia’s eastern and south-eastern neighbours. the bishop of Iur’ev.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.334. The third treaty.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 211 peace treaty or a truce for ten years. This was part of Ivan’s policy of having the title of tsar (caesar).cit. then Khazars and Bulgars.. our lord. The central theme of the treaty is a six-years’ truce between the parties. Walter von Plettenburg” on the one hand and of the city of Pskov on the other. Cambridge. Initially. 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.347. 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. Ostrowski. some accompanying provisions concern the freedom of trade. and finally. we have dealt with treaties shaping internal Russian relations and treaties with various western neighbours. internationally recognized. such as Chinese. Iarlyks of Tatar Khans So far. was concluded in 1474 and has been discussed above. Muscovy and the Mongols: Cross-cultural Influences on the Steppe Frontier. op. and the bishops of Riga and Dorpat (Iur’ev) appear as potential allies. 178-183. Pskov is recognized as the patrimony (otchina) of the “grand prince. was concluded together with Novgorod and has been discussed above. 1304-1589. Arab. since Kievan times. between Novgorod and Pskov and. Pechenegs and Polovtsians in Kievan times. was probably one of the last treaties concluded by Pskov before it completely lost its independence in 1508. 318-321. 331-337.103 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 most redoubtable of them all.100 It offers a picture of the complicated network of relations of Pskov at the time. only the Byzantine and Holy Roman emperors and the Tatar Great Khan were adorned in Russia with the title of tsar. A treaty involving a truce for thirty years. GVNP. and Tatar (as a general term to denote various Turkic elements) in the north-western part of the empire. .

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

PRP III. grand prince of Vladimir. One of the interesting aspects of the iarlyki is that they enumerate the various taxes imposed by the Tatars.. and V. 465-466. 16-18. No. to metropolitan Aleksei. II. 5-6.. Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam. 57. SGGD.2 No. but constituted a laissez-passer (proezzhaia gramota) to a bishop Ioann of Sarai. 1914.cit. Mongol controlled region of Russia.2 No..cit. of Taidula of 1354. although not a khan.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 213 metropolitan of Moscow. That the khans were dealing. Vol. 464. Vol. See.9. of Taidula. S. The iarlyki also stipulated that the estates of the church should remain unmolested. also PRP III. and Beneshevich. 11-12.. The 1347 document was apparently not addressed to the metropolitan Ioann. op. Vol. see Crummey. was the factual Tatar ruler.2 No. of 1347. to metropolitan Aleksei. on the other hand. 62-65. 2001.D. begins: “The words of Mengu-Temir to prince Iaroslav: allow the German merchants to travel freely in your lands. 196-197. The prince is Iaroslav Iaroslavich. 467-468. 18-20. Moskva. Grigor’ev. A.P. dated 1266-1272. Vol. Beneshevich. SGGD.. Beneshevich (21-24) also gives the text of a iarlyk from khan Uzbek.” In the following and last sentence of the charter. S.Peterburg. A small number of other documents adds to the picture sketched by the collection of iarlyki. 106 Iarlyk of Mengu-Temir of 1267. 468-469. the bishop of the Christians living in the eastern. and Beneshevich.10.2 No. Iaroslav declares that the men of Riga and all others may travel freely (put’ vash chist). Vol. wife of Dzhanibek Khan. 2004). 24-25. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnago prava. op. 470. which document is considered a falsification by PRP III. 107 108 GVNP. to metropolitan Ioann. This has resulted in considerable alterations of the hitherto accepted views. Khanskie iarlyki russkim metropolitam. Grigor’ev has presented corrected texts of the six documents.12. SGGD. Vol. to metropolitan Feognost. . SGGD. also PRP III. and Beneshevich. with more distant European rulers on a basis of equality is shown by two other documents.2 No. 12. Priselkov. it was recognized that the church in turn would pray for the khan and his family. In a recently published study of the Mongol iarlyki.15. The earliest iarlyk. Gorskii.A.108 Edigei. he reproached the Moscow prince in no uncertain terms for the latter’s failure to pay his dues and for lack of respect. 9-12.2. based on a new examination of the original Turkic texts (A. op. Moskva i Orda.Peterburg. of Berdibek of 1357. 466-467. On Edigei and the humiliations inflicted on Moscow. op.106 The main content of all these documents was that the Russian church was exempt from all taxes.2 No. Petrograd.11. 13-14. who became prince of Novgorod in 1266. also PRP III. and Beneshevich. of 1267 is addressed to all Tatar officials. 14-16 .P. also Beneshevich.cit. 17-18. 1916. 13-14. op. also PRP III. of Tiuliak of 1379. to metropolitan Aleksei.30. A laconic charter. 12. op.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. Also in A. SGGD.cit.N. also PRP III 469. SGGD. also. M.. the next five to various Moscow metropolitans.cit. of Taidula of 1351.cit.

therefore. certain inferences may be made about the legal system they reflect. 1965.110 The fraternal terminology (“elder/younger brother”). Concluding Thoughts The field surveyed in this chapter is vast and no specific hypotheses to be verified or falsified have been advanced. quite clearly the early Kievan state as it had taken shape under St. etc. it makes good sense to stay aware of the anachronistic element involved. although on the way out. op. of 1393. Ukrains’ki hramoty XV st. op. federation. This implies that an element of personal interest and choice is involved in the views expressed below. Vladimir and 109 110 111 112 Peshchak.cit. It is. grouping them in three sets mainly serves the avoidance of an otherwise chaotic discussion. The people of Kievan Russia did not worry about whether they constituted a state. Gorskii. Hramoty. (commentary). Two generations after Iaroslav the Wise (†1054) the chronicles occasionally still referred to tribal communities. In early Kievan times. Kiev. the tribal factor was unquestionably still alive. sovereignty. When examining the treaty network of medieval Russia. but that does not mean that they completely exclude each other.112 Whether one could speak of tribal states in pre-Kievan Russia is a moot question here.111 8. But. Rusanivs’kyi (ed. a federation or a confederation. 98.214 Law in Medieval Russia a peace proposal by khan Tokhtamysh to the Polish king. First of all. See Ostrowski.109 and a similar proposal of 1484 by khan Murtazy to grand prince Kazimir of Lithuania. looking at the treaties themselves. Secondly. I propose to arrange my thoughts in an order of increasing specificity. notwithstanding the fact that the formal political structure was already that of principalities arranged around capital cities.M. legal or otherwise. one could look at the treaty network of medieval Russia as a source of information about political and constitutional structure. The so-called Testament of Vladimir Monomakh (†1115) referred to his expeditions among the Krivichians. already employed in the former document by Tokhtamysh. V.). These are three different perspectives. at their content and form. only became current in Russian-Tatar relations by the end of the 15th century. as already argued in earlier chapters. cf. 137-138.cit. 199 (text of the letter) and 179ff. . 112-113. One thought leads to another. Thirdly. it is inevitable to use modern concepts such as state. The same Murtazy wrote to Ivan III of Moscow in 1487 and the different address is very noticeable. appropriate to speak of concluding thoughts instead of conclusions.. the treaties may offer information about specific topics..

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

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

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

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

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

Laws. 67-68 (Russian text and English translation) commentary: PRP II. 14 1307/1308 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. SGGD Vol.13. 17-18 . 5-6. 138141 commentary: PRP II. SGGD Vol.Appendix 1. 137-138 commentary: PRP II. 69-71 (Russian text and English translation) 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.7. SGGD Vol.8. 1.6. SGGD Vol. 2-3. PRP II. 135136. SGGD Vol. 15-16.11. 134-159 1296/1301 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.2. Kaiser.1 No.12. 18-19.1 No. SGGD Vol.4/5. 9-10. Tver’ and Novgorod copies 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. 11-12. 21 1318/1319 Iurii Danilovich of Moscow and Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No.14. 6- No. 13-15. Novgorod and Tver’ copies 1316 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No.1 No. 16-18. Novgorod Treaties with Moscow and Tver’ Grand Princes 1264 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. SGGD Vol. Kaiser.1 No. 15 1317 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ (peace treaty) GVNP No.1 No. 134-159 1270 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No.6/7.2.4/5. SGGD Vol. PRP II.1 No. SGGD Vol.16. 22-24.1 No.1 No. 3-4.3. 19-22. 11-13.9. 10-11.10. 25-26. SGGD Vol. 24. 13 1304/1305 Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. PRP II.9/10.11.1. SGGD Vol.1 No. 134-159 1266 Iaroslav Iaroslavich of Tver’ GVNP No. Laws.3.1 No.

34-36 1446/1447 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 38-39 1456 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (Iazhelbitsy peace treaty) GVNP No. 16 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 44 1471 Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (Korostyn’ peace treaty) GVNP No. 267-272 . 75-78 (Russian text and English translation) 1371/1372 Dmitrii Ivanovich of Moscow (mutual aid) GVNP No. 9-10. SGGD Vol. 21-22 1435 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (peace treaty) GVNP No.1 No. Kaiser. SGGD Vol. Novgorod and Moscow copies 1456 Novgorod to Vasilii Vasil’evich (on implementation of Iazhelbitsy treaty) GVNP No. 32-33. 45-51. 19-20.1 No.15.1 No. Laws.26/27. Novgorod and Moscow copies.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 221 1326/1327 Aleksandr Mikhailovich of Tver’ GVNP No. 43-44 1471 Novgorod to Ivan Vasil’evich of Moscow (on payment of debts) GVNP No. 26-28. 26-30.20. 23-24 1448/1461 Vasilii Vasil’evich of Moscow (temporary transfer of territory) GVNP No.8.18.15. SGGD Vol. 251-259. 72-74 (Russian text and English translation) 1371 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No.17.16.1 No.14.17. SGGD Vol.25. Kaiser.24.13. 31 1372 Novgorod conditions for peace treaty with Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ GVNP No.22/23. SGGD Vol. commentary: PRP II. 28-30.20.19. SGGD Vol.1 No.18. 39-43. Laws. 36-38.1 No.21. 33-34. PRP II.

the Order joined the Teutonic Order. parallel text in Middle Low German 1301 Lübeck. 62 1301 Lübeck (co-operation against Sweden) GVNP No.37. 63-64 1323 Livonian Order122 (alliance) GVNP No. when referring to events after 1237. PRP II. Arkhivy I. 69-70. Visby.28.32. 260-266 with German and Baltic Cities and Merchants 1189-1199 Visby [Gothic Coast. 65- SGGD Vol. 55-56.19. 245-251. Cherepnin. 129-132. commentary: PRP II. The Livonian Order had been founded in 1202 by Adalbert. 105-106. .77.222 Law in Medieval Russia with Foreign Rulers 1323 Magnus Eriksson of Sweden (peace treaty) GVNP No. 125-126. Visby and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No. 58-61 parallel text in Middle Low German 1269 Riga and Lübeck (free transit) GVNP No. parallel text in Latin 1431 Svidrigailo of Lithuania GVNP No. 124-132 1262/1263 Lübeck.39. commentary: PRP II. No.1. 331-332 (full reconstruction) 1440-1447 Kazimir of Lithuania (peace treaty) GVNP No. PRP II. In 1237. Riga (free transit) GVNP No. 62-63.33. bishop of Riga.31. Gotskii Bereg] and German cities (peace and commerce treaty) GVNP No.29. parallel text in Middle Low German 122 Actually the Teutonic Order. 67-68 1326 Magnus Eriksson of Norway and Sweden GVNP No. Visby and German cities (draft commercial treaty) GVNP No.63. The old name is occasionally used in Russian sources. 56-57 1269 Lübeck. 115-116 1470-1471 Kazimir of Poland/Lithuania GVNP No. 24-25.

parallel text in Middle Low German 1448 Teutonic Order (five years’ truce) GVNP No. Visby and German cities (draft treaty) GVNP No. 71-72. parallel text in Middle Low German 1439 German colony in Novgorod (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 85-86.62. 96-98 1421 Teutonic Order (dispute settlement) GVNP No. 98-100 1423 Hanseatic League (dispute settlement) GVNP No.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 223 1338 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No. Visby. Visby. 117-119 .48.72. parallel text in Middle Low German 1372 Visby and German merchants (two years’ truce) GVNP No. 110-112.43. parallel text in Middle Low German 1342 Lübeck.64.60. parallel text in Middle Low German 1371 Lübeck. 106-108. Riga. parallel text in Middle Low German 1409 Riga. 76-79. 80-83 1405 Taru (extending 1392 peace treaty) GVNP No. Münster and other German cities (wax trade) GVNP No.68. parallel text in Middle Low German 1436 Hanseatic League (renewal of previous treaties) GVNP No.41.49. 74-76.42. Tallinn [Kolyvan’] and German cities (peace treaty) GVNP No. 113-114.40. 86-88. 79-80 1392 Lübeck.59. parallel text in Middle Low German 1434 Hanseatic League (two years’ truce) GVNP No.67.44/45. 102-104. Dortmund. 73-74. parallel text in Middle Low German 1420 Riga and Teutonic Order (peace treaty) GVNP No. Tartu. Tartu [Iur’ev].46. Riga. parallel text in Middle Low German 1373 Lübeck and Visby (dispute settlement) GVNP No. Tallinn (dispute settlement) GVNP No.

28. 1978. SGGD Vol.334. parallel text in Middle Low German 3.171. 321-322 1503 Teutonic Order (six years’ truce) GVNP No. 127-129.76. SGGD Vol. parallel text in Middle Low German 1474 (together with Pskov) Tartu (thirty years’ truce) GVNP No.1 No.224 Law in Medieval Russia 1448 (together with Pskov) Teutonic Order GVNP No.7. No. II.27..335. Khoroshkevich (ed.78.). 23-24. 25-28. 318-321 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1440 Kazimir of Lithuania GVNP No.347. Polotsk Treaties 1478 Riga (trade agreement) A. Moskva. SGGD Vol. 119-124. 49-50 1375 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 19-21.L. 331-337. parallel text in Middle Low German 1450 Hanseatic League (seven years’ truce) GVNP No.1 No.74.5. 69-76 4.29. 133-136 2.1 No. Moscow Treaties with Other Russian Princes 1367 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.9. 124-126 (parallel text in Middle Low German 1466 Hanseatic league (two years’ truce) GVNP No.73. 46-48 . 44-45 1374-1375 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. Polotskie gramoty XIII-XVI vv. Pskov Treaties 1417 Teutonic Order (ten years’ truce) GVNP No.

MozhaiskVerei-Belozero copy DDG No.11.1 No. 87-89.1 No. 94-96.47.1 No. 53-55 1389 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.49/50. 75-80. 99-104. 96-99 1434 Dmitrii Iur’evich Shemiaka and Dmitrii Krasnyi Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 55-57 1390 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.27.33.32. 92-94.1 No.1 No.14. 51-52. SGGD Vol. 69-71 1401-1402 Andrei Dmitrievich of Mozhaisk and Petr Dmitrievich of Dmitrov DDG No.45.1 No. 37-39.33. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.16. Moscow copy 1434 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No. SGGD Vol. 62-64 1390 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No.46.32.18. SGGD Vol.1 No.48. 39-40 1396 Mikhail Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No. 29-30. 40-43 225 1401-1402 Vladimir Andreevich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.36.10.1 No. SGGD Vol. 65-67 1428 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich and Zvenigorod DDG No.1 No. SGGD Vol. 30-33. 82-83. Moscow and Galich copies 1433 Iurii Dmitrievich of Galich DDG No.1 No.35.1 No. SGGD Vol. 68-69 1402 Fedor Ol’govich of Riazan’ DDG No.1 No. SGGD Vol.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 1382 Oleg Ivanovich of Riazan’ DDG No. SGGD Vol. 130-133 .31.34. 86-89. 52-55.37. 43-45. 80-82.30. 90-92 1434 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 69-71. SGGD Vol.24. SGGD Vol.1 No. SGGD Vol.60. SGGD Vol. 63-67. 83-

146-148.48.36. 156-168. two different sets of Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (reconciliation) DDG No.1 No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.44. 142-145. 140-142 1447 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.47. PRP III.65. 129-140.54-55.71-74.1 No.64. SGGD Vol. 105-107 1441-1442 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. 146-149 . SGGD Vol. 121-123. 123-125.66. 125-126.52-53.38 II.1 No.1 No.41. 112-117.67.38 I. Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No.61.45. 264-272. 155-156 1447 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. SGGD No. SGGD Vol. 107-112. two different sets of Moscow and Galich copies 1439 Vasilii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No.42. second version 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.1 No.56-59.1 No. 113-118. 89-100. 126-129. 100-105.1 No.1 No.1 No. 118-124. SGGD Vol. 140-141. SGGD Vol. 149-151 1447 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ DDG No.43. SGGD Vol. 142-144 1447 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No. 153-154 1445 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero (draft treaty) DDG No.70.69.226 Law in Medieval Russia 1436 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich DDG No. Moscow and Galich copies DDG No.37. 107-112.1 No.35. 133-135 1445 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No.46.

229-232.1 No.93-94.1 No.63.80-81. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1450-1454 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No. SGGD Vol.59.90-91.78-79.65. 92. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.69 II. 171-176. 215-220.1 No.1 No. SGGD Vol. 212-214. SGGD Vol. 201-207. 220-222 1472 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No.97-98. 207-211. SGGD Vol. 168-170.64. SGGD Vol. 138-139 (two versions) DDG No. SGGD Vol.1 No.84-85. 225-229. 234-238.1 No.52.51c. 228-230 1472 Mikhail Andreevich of Belozero DDG No.67. 209-215. Moscow and Suzdal’ copies 1450 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 177-184. 63. 214-216. 155-160. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462-1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.1 No. 153-155. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No. 185-189. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1451-1456 Vasilii Iaroslavich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.76-77. 186-192.88-89. 164-168.56. 179-186. 217-221.1 No. 150-153. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1462 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. 195-201.95. 168-175. 151-152 (third version) 1448 Ivan Vasil’evich of Suzdal’ DDG No.1 No. 223-227.1 No.1 No. corrected text .68. Moscow and Belozero copies 1473 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 227 1448 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk DDG No.66.75.1 No. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Serpukhov-Borovsk copies 1456 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ DDG No.55.69 I. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1464 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.51a & b.1 No. SGGD Vol.58.

Moscow and Uglich copies 1481 Boris Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. 271-275.1 No.72 II.75. 241-246.1 No.110-111. 293-299.1 No. 253-259. 257-263. 247-249.78.70 IV. Moscow and Verei-Belozero copies 1483 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No.119-120. SGGD Vol. 265-270. 322-328.73 II. SGGD Vol. SGGD Vol.99-100.1 No. second version DDG No.82.76.108-109. third version.1 No. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No.115-116.125-126. 239-243. Moscow and Uglich copies DDG No. fourth version 1481 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No. Moscow and Riazan’ copies 1483 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No.118.106-107.73 I. 283-290. 279-286. SGGD Vol. 313-320. 244249.1 No. SGGD Vol. 252-257. Moscow and Uglich copies .70 II. 293-295.1 No. Moscow and Volotsk copies. 237-241. 277-283. 268-271 DDG No. 290-292 1484-1485 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. SGGD Vol. 263-268. 295-301. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ DDG No. 295-301. Moscow and Tver’ copies 1486 Andrei Vasil’evich of Uglich DDG No. SGGD Vol. 273-279.79.72 I. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No.72 III.70 I. SGGD Vol.1 No. Moscow and Volotsk copies DDG No.119-120. 293-299.70 III. 232-2327.1 No.113-114.1 No. SGGD Vol1 No.79.101-102.228 Law in Medieval Russia 1473 Andrei Vasil’evich of Volotsk DDG No. SGGD Vol. Moscow and Volotsk copies 1482 Mikhail Andreevich of Verei-Belozero DDG No. 259265.

SGGD Vol.1 No.25. Hramoty XIV st.23. SGGD Vol. 85-87 1330-1359 Ivan Aleksandrovich of Smolensk and Riga SGGD Vol.53. Other Princely Treaties among themselves and with Foreign Princes 1229 Mstislav Davydovich of Smolensk and Riga PRP II. Avanesov (ed. commentary: PRP II. 69-71 1399 Vitovt of Lithuania and Riga (concerning Polotsk) Peshchak. Hramoty. 57-71. 139-140 1427 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ 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. Peshchak. Hramoty.M.I. 46-49 1449 Kazimir of Poland-Lithuania DDG No. Peshchak. 329-332. M.5 No.). PRP III. Smolenskie gramoty XIII-XIV vv. 67-68 . Smolenskie gramoty. 75-85. 72-74. 160-161.83. Hramoty.31. commentary: PRP II. Moskva.. 62-63. 38-39 1386 Iurii Sviatoslavich of Smolensk and Vladislav Jagiello of Poland-Lithuania and Svidrigailo of Lithuania Avanesov. 1963. R.2 No. 18-62 1230-1270 (Vsevolod Mstislavich of ?) Smolensk and Riga PRP II. 16-18 5.29.. 52-53. Peshchak. Hramoty. 21-22. Kiev.8. 121-123 (with wrong date: 1393) 1430 Ivan Fedorovich of Riazan’ and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No. 72-75. 10-11 1366 Dmitrii of Volynia (?) and king of Poland (border settlement) Peshchak. 1974. 272-277 1494 Aleksandr Kazimirovich of Lithuania DDG No.6.

26. 119-121.Peterburg. 5-6.30. 117-118 1445 Dmitrii Iur’evich of Galich and Vasili and Fedor Iur’evichi of Suzdal’ DDG No.62. SGGD Vol. Grigor’ev. 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.230 Law in Medieval Russia 1442 Ivan Vladimirovich of Pronsk and Vitovt of Lithuania DDG No. A. PRP III. 68-69 1442 Fedor L’vovich of Novosil-Odoev and Kazimir of Lithuania DDG No. Sbornik khanskikh iarlykov russkim metropolitam. 57 1267 Mengu-Temir to metropolitan Kirill SGGD Vol. 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. 466-467. 192-193 1461 Ivan Andreevich of Mozhaisk and Ivan Vasil’evich of Serpukhov-Borovsk DDG No.1 No.P.54.40.127-128. Grigor’ev.84. 467-468. 332-341. S. 2004. SGGD Vol. 135-137 1449 Boris Aleksandrovich of Tver’ and Kazimir of PolandLithuania DDG No. 483-484 1496 Ivan Vasil’evich of Riazan’ and Fedor Vasil’evich of Riazan’ DDG No. . 320-329 6.2. 199-201 1483 Mikhail Borisovich of Tver’ and Kazimir IV of Lithuania DDG [no number].39. 44123 1347 Taidula (wife of Dzhanibek Khan) to bishop Ioann of Sarai (Grigor’ev) or to metropolitan Ioann (traditional identification of addressee) PRP III.2 No.60.62.1 No.

Grigor’ev. 201-202 1393 Tokhtamysh to king of Poland (peace proposal) Peshchak.2 No. 12. 65-66 1354 Taidula to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol. PRP III. 469.2 No. 11-12.2 No. 468-469.15..2 No.10.M.). Ukrains’ki hramoty XV st.2 No. 1965. PRP III.12. PRP III. 17-18 1484 Murtazy to Kazimir of Lithuania V.11. Hramoty. Grigor’ev. Kiev. 112-113 1409 Edigei Emir to Vasilii Dmitrievich of Moscow SGGD Vol. PRP III.The Treaties of Medieval Russia 231 1351 Taidula to metropolitan Feognost SGGD Vol. 470. 465-466. 13-14. 137-138 . 12. 114-115 1379 Biulek (Grigor’ev) or Tiuliak to metropolitan Mikhail SGGD Vol. Rusanivs’kyi (ed.9. Grigor’ev. Grigor’ev. 70-71 1357 Berdibek to metropolitan Aleksei SGGD Vol.


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

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

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

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

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

238 Law in Medieval Russia to understand that the battle had to end undecided. large ones such as the state and small ones such as marriage and the family. The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Christian Anthropology and the Freedom of Conscience Criticism of past and present religious intolerance. Nevertheless.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.1 The Reformation added a new aspect to this relationship. The interests of other individuals will always be a major factor in making such decisions. or the persecution of heretics and non-conformists and other excesses. as the community of all the faithful. the individual is destined for eternal life. 273-294. The result was a pragmatic settlement by which certain matters were left to the state and others to the church. Berman. Ch. the status quo was to prove unstable in the following centuries. 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.J. 1 2 See H. rather than on fundamental consensus. In the views of mainstream Christian denominations. 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. On the other hand. As this arrangement depended in good part on the relative strengths of the parties. 1983. If the initial outcome of the religious wars was the rule of cuius regio. The state withdrew almost completely from the realm of religion. even where the whole world would condemn the action dictated by conscience. without risking legal sanctions. is also regarded as eternal. illius et religio (the state or the ruler determines the religion of the people). It would obviously be impossible for the law to permit everybody to act according to his conscience. . living and dead. Law and Revolution. are tied to this earth and will disappear in time. While all forms of human community. the Church. 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. Dictates of conscience are intrinsically unsuitable for legal evaluation. the investiture struggle of the 11th century planted the seeds for the separation of powers. Cambridge. MA/London. because neither side could ultimately be beaten. such as the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.8: “The Concept of Secular Law”. should not obscure the fact that the overall effect of Christianity in Europe on the development of human rights has been overwhelmingly positive. A sensible and reasonable balance will have to be found.

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

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

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

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

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

. Pivovarov.e. Tserkov’.244 Law in Medieval Russia symbiosis between church and state was the most important legacy of Byzantium to Russia. and id. Szeftel & A. 50-60. & ed. Shchapov. see Ia. 1988. “Tserkov’ i gosudarstvo v istorii dorevoliutsionnoi Rossii (modeli istoricheskikh vzaimootnoshenii)”. 120-146. Moskva.). 1980.S.). Kaiser. Omel’chenko (eds. On the Church Statutes of Vladimir and his son Iaroslav. In what was probably a somewhat later addition to the Statute. In Western Europe. Salt Lake City. see Shchapov. Isaev & O. family. Moskva.A. .11 and the transfer of jurisdiction in a number of cases to the church. 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. On the Old-Russian tithe. some provision had to be made for the material maintenance of the church and its personnel. 41-50. It put 9 10 11 A review of the treatment of the church-state relationship in Russia. and comments by V. D. The latter category generally involved matters where infractions of the newly introduced Christian morality were turned into criminal offences and also questions of matrimonial. 1963. RZ I.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. Bruxelles. although developments in Russia followed a course of their own. 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. 1976 (texts in the latter volume). Eck (eds. Kniazheskie ustavy i tserkov’ v Drevnei Rusi XI-XIV vv.A. Drevnerusskie kniazheskie ustavy XI-XV vv. 134-208 (text. and inheritance law.. The earliest and principal monument of this policy is the so-called Church Statute of Vladimir.Vladimir.. The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia. 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. Istoriko-pravovye voprosy vaimootnoshenii gosudarstva i tserkvi v istorii Rossii.N. 76-87. Princeton. Moskva. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale.L. Zimin). the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century. 1992. 235285 (text. later known as St. PRP I. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries (text and English translation). As a consequence of this step. i.A. 229-266. by making grants of land to bishops and abbeys.H. The Church Statute of Vladimir remained the fundamental charter regulating church-state relationships for the centuries to come. and comments by A. (transl. 1972. id. M.). is Iu. including a discussion of various Western viewpoints. I. Ianin).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.

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

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

the metropolitan and other church leaders often played a decisive role. Moskva. 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). but. According to Borisov. But. By the middle of the 15th century. Byzantine influence on the Russian church was ultimately reduced to zero by the fall of Constantinople in 1453. the Russian church leadership gave strong support to Moscow’s hegemonic buildup. 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. The great monasteries with their vast holdings should be mentioned in the same breath. the Trinity monastery had become the biggest landowner in Russia. Occasionally. but was also the principal advisor and supporter of prince Dmitrii Donskoi in the latter’s wars with the Tatars. The latter unwillingly accepted the highest post in 16 17 A thesis put forward by Skrynnikov. the metropolitan. particularly its official leader. the ties between the Russian church. north of Moscow. first of all the famous Trinity monastery. who not only initiated major monastic reforms. was anxious to maintain peaceful relations with the khan. began to bring the church behind the grand prince from about the middle of the 14th century. it was also a strong pillar of his power on account of its wealth in land.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 owed its prestige to the remarkable Sergei of Radonezh (1321-1391). 1986. . becoming ever more the absolute ruler of Russia.17 In the not infrequent dynastic conflicts within the ruling family. and the ruler of Muscovy grew closer. If the Russian church was able to provide the Moscow grand prince with the required religious and ideological legitimation of his dignity. Borisov.S. But. fierce conflicts between the prince and the metropolitan would flare up. as the Moscow grand prince was able to consolidate his position. who devoted a monograph to church-state relations in Moscow during the period in question. the Moscow metropolitan. Krest. Russkaia tserkov’ v politicheskoi bor’be XIV-XV vekov. N. 41. after initial lukewarm support. 50-78. the church slipped back into a more modest place. on the whole. 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 Complete 18 19 Cf. retreated in 1612.18 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). Text and commentary (by K. During the reign of the first two Romanov tsars. Fedor Nikitich. 1985. Halle-Wittenberg (2 vols. also in RZ III. . Hellie: The Muscovite Law Code (Ulozhenie) of 1649. the only time in Russia when supreme power in the state and the church were united in the hands of one man. it acquired paramount importance during the Time of Troubles. another impostor. Skrynnikov. as Hermogen had died in the meantime. Part 1: Text and Translation. consisting of the patriarch. could assume the patriarchate. M. under the name of Filaret. Although a Land Council had already been convoked by Ivan the Terrible. One of the constituent parts of the Zemskii Sobor was the Sacred Council (Osviashchennyi Sobor). Irvine. With his son tsar Mikhail. Filaret was finally released and. Further: A. Sofronenko) in PRP VI. Hermogen. which was to last until the election of a new tsar. when it emerged as the residual source of sovereignty (more on the Zemskii Sobor below). Epifanov.248 Law in Medieval Russia the Russian church at the beginning of the reign of terror. Das Sobornoe Uloženie von 1649.19 The comprehensive compilation of the complete legislation of Russia in the 19th century. he was robbed of his dignity and murdered in 1569. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. by the Zemskii Sobor (Land Council). in fact. tekst. Sobornoe Ulozhenie 1649 goda. Russian text and English translation by R. 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. Man’kov (ed. the metropolitans. Mikhail Romanov. they took Filaret along as a prisoner. the (arch)bishops. 1961. Three years later. ruled Russia in his son’s stead until his death in 1633. Moskva. After three years of courageous opposition. he shared the title of “Great Sovereign” (Velikii Gosudar’) and.P. Its major legislative achievement was the adoption of the Law Code of 1649 (Sobornoe Ulozhenie).). After the death of Boris in 1605. one of the most important milestones in Russian legal history. 1987. Tikhomirov & P. Leningrad. although there was a legitimate patriarch. 263-288. Filaret bounced back and was promoted to metropolitan of Rostov by ‘tsar’ Pseudo-Dmitrii I (lzhe-Dmitrii I). CA. of Ivan the Terrible. The father of the first Romanov tsar. When the Polish army. which had occupied Moscow. German translation by C.A. In 1619. Pseudo-Dmitrii II (known in Russian history as the “thief of Tushino”) made him patriarch. had been one of the leading boyar opponents of tsar Boris Godunov.N.G. the Zemskii Sobor convened regularly. 1988. Krest. The latter forced Fedor in 1600 to accept the tonsure and become a monk. and the abbots of the principal monasteries. the Oprichnina.). kommentarii. Meiske. in 1613.

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

250 Law in Medieval Russia and the tysiatskii or military commander). In this power equation. Part 2. Obzor. the (arch)bishop. the veche had virtually disappeared. The khan dealt with the Russian princes who were nominally. They were among the chief political actors. his subjects.N.21 The secularization of church lands was completed under empress Catherine II in 1764. Sbornik pamiatnikov po istorii tserkovnogo prava. a Church Statute (Dukhovnyi Reglament) was issued by the emperor. The Church in the Russian Empire The drastic reforms introduced by Peter the Great extended also to the church. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod. the bishop. because here the local parties (boyar clans. along with the princes and their retinues (see the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”). Tatar-Mongol domination rang the death-knell of the veche. When. When patriarch Adrian died in 1700. the veche would only be an encumbrance. . 21 22 Text in V. the veche) succeeded in relegating the prince and his servants to the margin. They had their roots in Slavic prehistory and they offered a close parallel to the popular assemblies known in Germanic history and protohistory. appointed by the emperor.). Beneshevich (ed. In the following year. and usually also in actual fact. 1914. and occasionally the ruling prince or his representative (the namestnik). the power of the Old-Russian veche diminished in favour of the power of the prince and his increasingly structured governmental administration. consisting mainly of the posadnik and tysiatskii and their predecessors). regulating the internal organization of the orthodox church in detail. 553-554. See Vladimirskii-Budanov. the Moscow grand prince emerged victorious among the competing sub-dynasties. a considerable part of the church income from land holdings was shifted to the state. Popular Rule and Democracy in Russia Popular assemblies are well documented in the history of early Kievan Russia. Petrograd. The last veche meeting was held in 1510 in Pskov. with the waning of Tatar rule. the last medieval Russian state to preserve its independence. The patriarchal dignity was abolished and the church government was entrusted to a Holy Synod. In 1721.22 7. It was more effectively subordinated to the state (the emperor) by a series of measures. in order to decide on Pskov’s submission to the grand prince. With the strengthening of the Kievan state and its subsequent breakup into semi-independent principalities. Novgorod (and Pskov) was again the exception. 89-250. Peter prevented the appointment of a successor.

28 29 30 31 . 362-370. but only one more Land Council was held after this. by the addition of representatives of the merchants and townspeople (of Moscow) and of provincial landowners. After the death of the latter. 42-44.67. 25 On the Boyar Duma: V. the Land Council met regularly under the first two Romanov tsars.30 the Council of Ministers since 181131). 54-90.28 From Peter the Great onwards.24 both of them institutions with a longer tradition. in 1683/1684. In his Statute on Accession to the Throne of 1721. with the convocation of the Land Council (Zemskii Sobor). Boiarskaia Duma Drevnei Rusi. Ibidem. albeit in an entirely different form. Kliuchevskii. along with a 23 24 The literature on the Zemskii Sobor is extensive. PRP VIII. See Karamzin. col. Only the reforms of 1905 brought a return of a form of representative government to Russia. the Zemskii Sobor emerged as the normal electoral agency for appointing a new tsar. 90-156. the Russian empire was governed by the emperor.. but also the above-mentioned representatives.26 In the following Time of Troubles. 26 This is quite obvious from Karamzin’s description of the first reported Zemskii Sobor in 1566.27 In Peter the Great’s views on the absolute monarchy.29 the State Council since 1810. As related above.23 The Land Council grew out of a combination of the church council and the Boyar Council (Boiarskaia Duma). 1978. Cherepnin.25 After the first Zemskii Sobor of 1566. his young sons Fedor and Peter were still elected by the Zemskii Sobor in 1682. Zemskie Sobory. there was no room for a representative body deciding on important matters of state.. RZ VI. beginning with Boris Godunov in 1598. Cherepnin. Moskva. The decisive moment was the issuing of the Manifesto of 17 October 1905 which promised. 1892 (several later editions). 27 Cherepnin. Zemskie Sobory. the basic modern study is L. 63ff. when his son Fedor was offered the throne by a hastily convened Land Council. assisted by various government agencies appointed by him (the Senate since 1711. with the simultaneous appointment of their sister Sophia as regent.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 251 An element of representative government returned. IX.V. Zemskie Sobory russkogo gosudarstva v XVI-XVII vv. Peter reserved the right to appoint a successor to the emperor himself.O. PRP VIII. Moskva. 204-205. 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. Mikhail Fedorovich and Aleksei Mikhailovich. Ivan IV organized several others until his death in 1584. he relates how Ivan IV did something unheard of: he invited not only the usual members of the Boyar Council.

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

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

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

Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. 40 41 Text in RZ V. 1963. 79-86 (Russian text and English translation). which represents the only comprehensive codification between the Russkaia Pravda and the 1497 Code of Ivan III. I. 321389. 34-97.41 37 38 39 PRP III. “Nekotorye cherty gorodskoi politiki Ivana III”. op. Eck. 1997 (not available to me). 1951. Bruxelles. Specifically on Ivan III’s urban policies: Iu. the Charter on the Rights and Benefits of the Towns of the Russian Empire of 1785. Froianov.cit. 117-214 (French translation). 300-320. RZ II. Martysevich. Genezis. The Laws of Rus’–Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. of which the 15th century Novgorod Court Charter (Novgorodskaia Sudnaia Gramota) is the most important. The difference between urban and rural conditions dictated different legal regimes for town and country. Text in RZ VI. See footnote 19. devoted to the posadskie liudi (one of the principal categories of the urban population).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. 1992. Kaiser. private charters (gramoty). Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota. 165-175. 282-383. Kaiser (ed.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. This is quite obvious from the occasional references to townspeople in the Code of 149738 of Ivan III and in ch. Medieval Russian Laws. in one important aspect.Human Rights in Russian Legal History 255 ence. 341-418. .XIX of the Code of 1649 of tsar Aleksei. Alekseev. M.).D. New York. & transl. 83-92 (English translation). as long as they were strong and independent. see GVNP and for the Novgorod Court Charter: PRP II. but the towns and their citizens did not enjoy any more freedom than was needed to serve the interests of the militarized Russian state. this situation was different from the average feudal town in Western Europe. Vernadsky. 1947. Salt Lake City. were their own masters. D.G. Iu. Of much greater importance is the 15th century Pskov Court Charter (Pskovsksia Sudnaia Gramota). In the case of the latter. but. 28-30. 210-244. Moskva. accompanied by the elaboration of an indigenous legal system.cit. 67-136. op. the town fell into line within the overall framework of the state. 61-82 (English translation).. Vernadsky.G.37 In Muscovy Russia. 87-105 (Russian text and English translation). Szeftel & A. G. Alekseev. Documents de droit public relatifs à la Russie médiévale. Pskov. Novgorod and Pskov.. a permanent watchfulness and even struggle was required to maintain the freedom of the town against the claims of its feudal master. and some legislative documents. RZ I. The legal system of Novgorod is well documented by a large number of treaties. RZ I. see PRP II.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Kh. Denmark. In the 13th century. the mayor. V.L. 32-61. after the decline of Kiev. In the actual government of the city. the most important person was the bishop (after 1165: the archbishop). the custom of inviting a prince and dismissing him when he was not any longer to the liking of the city became firmly embedded. his office 5 6 Kliuchevskii. 58-63. Kliuchevskii. While the tysiatskii (‘thousandman’. in which the Teutonic Order. 44-54. and the Hanseatic League. On the western side. 1970.2.6 The principal secular official was the posadnik. from the middle of the 12th century. who had to swear to uphold the ancient rights and freedoms of the city. His power rested chiefly on his generally acknowledged authority. 3. .2. Ianin. Initially. When the prince was absent in Novgorod—a frequent occurrence— his duties were carried out by his lieutenant.L. chiliarch) was originally a military officer.2. 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. No. Istoriia SSSR. 61. the archbishopric of Riga. Iur’ev. which allowed him to mediate in the frequent controversies which raged in the city’s internal affairs.1. the bishop of Novgorod was appointed by the metropolitan of Kiev. who was assisted by the tysiatskii.264 Law in Medieval Russia tions with the Mongols were not as intense as those of other Russian principalities. “Proiskhozhdenie Novgoroda”. ruled by princes of the same house. the bishoprics of Derpt (Dorpat. As a city engaged in international trade. usually a son or a brother. Novgorod was most closely involved with Lithuania and Livonia. No. Novgorod was also in frequent contact with other Baltic Sea states: Sweden. 1971. “Problemy sotsial’noi organizatsii Novgorodskoi respubliki”. The latter territory had a complicated structure. V. Tartu). Novgorod’s System of Government Originally. and in fact medieval Russia. it became customary for the Novgorod assembly (the veche) to elect its own bishop from the local clergy.5 A contract was concluded with a new prince. and two republics: Novgorod and Pskov. Oesel and Kurland. like other provincial Russian cities. but. Ianin & M. 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. the namestnik. Vol. Vol. Only in Pskov did a similar system take shape. can be regarded as a loose conglomerate of principalities. Novgorod was ruled by a member of the family of the Kievan grand prince. Aleshkovskii. and the Hanseatic towns of Riga. commanding thousand men. Tallinn) and Derpt were the main elements. Revel (Reval.

Novgorod was not only a city-state. supreme power in Novgorod belonged to the veche or popular assembly (see. The city of Novgorod was divided into two sides by the river Volkhov.). and these into streets (ulitsy). These units had a certain amount of self-government through their elected elders and councils. the latter of the Slavno and the Carpenters’ Quarter. but already in 1126 the first locally appointed posadnik is mentioned. Novgorodskie posadniki. the Council of Lords (Sovet Gospod). The former consisted of the Potters’ (or People’s) Quarter. administrative and judicial functions. the Sophia and the Merchant Side (Torgovaia storona). 2003.The Skra of Novgorod 265 embraced a number of civil. and several classes of unfree persons. was 7 8 9 Cf. common citizens (chernye liudi. black people). of which Dvina Land. and other prominent citizens. and the more distant volosti. from 1130 onwards.9 All this resulted in Novgorod’s history being characterized by excessive conflict and strife: between various social classes. and the precise distribution of the tasks between the posadnik and the tysiatskii is a matter of speculation. It was in this situation that the bishop emerged as the most effective conciliatory agent. between family factions among the leading boyars. commercial. . It consisted of a metropolitan area. but also the centre of a large empire. 88.2. Novgorod also successfully enforced its right to elect its own tysiatskii. merchants. Vol. which prepared the business to be dealt with by the veche. between the different parts of the city. and the Nerev Quarter. Moskva (2nd ed. Vol. prominent citizens (zhitye liudi). a vast area in northern Russia.2.8 In theory. the sources distinguish between boyars. was of greater importance. the custom of electing the posadnik remained firmly entrenched.7 Both offices were initially filled by appointees of the prince. V. This Council consisted of the acting posadnik and tysiatskii.L. 67. covering the entire northern half of European Russia and extending even beyond the Ural Mountains. during the later period of Novgorod’s independence. the chapter on “Popular Assemblies”). At a somewhat later date. also. (some of) their predecessors. the First Novgorod Chronicle relates that “Daniil came from Kiev to be posadnik in Novgorod”. Kliuchevskii. The democratic character of Novgorod’s government was also tempered by its rigid class division. lit. The principal city offices remained firmly in the hands of the boyars for the entire duration of Novgorod’s independence. The quarters were each divided into “hundreds” (sotni). Ianin. the five-fifths (piatni) adjoining (or almost) the city territory. Three years later. In practice. Kliuchevskii. the Quarter behind the Citadel (Zagorodskii konets).

Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vekov. Cherepnin. the archbishop-elect and the estates of Novgorod. refers to the consensus between grand prince Ivan III of Moscow.A. RZ I. but. the Charter concerns mainly procedural law and provides only a very fragmentary picture of the law of Novgorod as an independent state. Khristomatiia po istorii russkago prava. 373-396. M.Peterburg (5th ed.1. 1947. 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.). Grekov in Krest’iane na Rusi s drevneishikh vremen do XVII veka. succeeded in securing its independence from Novgorod after a lengthy struggle in 1347. Vol. 79-86. 10 11 PRP II.).). 83-92. was ruled from Novgorod. New York. comments and modern Russian translation by A. 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.10 Its final version. Kaiser (ed. Altogether. after the battle of the Shelon’ river and the subsequent peace treaty of Korostyn’. which for obvious reasons was written into the 1471 text. Only the city of Pskov. The Charter is based on a previous version which did not survive. with notes. the downfall of Novgorod. After its defeat in 1471 at the Shelon’ River in a battle against the Muscovite army. which has come down in a single copy. as related above. Vol. and can therefore be dated in 1471. A combination of economic. English translation by G. Moskva/Leningrad. S. 200-217. See.D.V. as the nucleus of a national Russian state during the 15th century signalled. The entire empire. Novgorod’s role as an independent agent in North-Eastern Europe was over.266 Law in Medieval Russia the most important. political and military factors led to the loss of its independence. the so-called Expanded Pravda. Moskva/Leningrad. 1948. 1899. it can be reconstructed by eliminating the dominant position of the Moscow prince. Medieval Russian Laws.11 Its final compilation probably took place during the second half of the 12th century or the early years of the 13th century. who follows the views put forward in this respect by B.H. The rise of the principality of Moscow. Novgorod’s Legal System The most comprehensive legislative document from medieval Novgorod is the Charter of Novgorod. also. Vladimirskii-Budanov. . Zimin. 210. to some extent.A. As suggested by A. Vernadsky (transl. Salt Lake City. 404ff. 1992. 210-242. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries. Russian text and English translation in D. It would explain to a great extent the absence of more ambitious legislation in the large collection of Novgorod legal sources known to us. including a number of cities situated therein.F. L. 300-320. Zimin in PRP II. 4. 1946.1.

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


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.


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

The German community in Novgorod represented one corner of a triangular relationship. as mentioned. for housing visiting merchants and their personnel. Several editions of the Skra prescribed obligatory reference of legal questions not covered by the Skra itself to the city council of Lübeck (II arts. the Germans brought many different kinds of textiles.117. IIIb art. were forbidden to engage in commission trade for English.). from Russian klet’ and podklet. V art. Nikitskii. . and interest through the ages.Peter’s Court. In its relations with the Russians.89). and Dorpat (also called Iur’ev. or to act as brokers between them and Russian merchants (III art..10. On the German side.68. Not a few of these were aimed at protecting the monopolistic position of the Hanseatic merchants on the Novgorod market. Initially. VI art. they are designated as klete or potklete in the Skra. but very soon this place was taken over by Lübeck.Peter.81). op. V art. During the 15th century.cit. op. influence.138.83). VI art. for instance. V art. traditionally considered to consist of an association of 73 cities. the overseas cities gradually relaxed their grip and were increasingly replaced by the Baltic cities of Riga. there are quite a number of provisions in the Skra. The Hanseatic League itself was hierarchically superior to the St. the prison. such as the gridenisse or guardroom and the pogribbe (pogreb).43 The exclusive legislative competence of the League was maintained throughout the entire period.81).11. An important factor determining many details of the legal regulation of the German community in Novgorod was the character of GermanRussian trade. Nevertheless. Flemish or Walloon merchants. by virtue of the numerous regulations in the Skra.276 Law in Medieval Russia latter were used. the leading position was taken by the city of Visby. 151-155.42 The principal Russian exports were skins and furs of various kinds and beeswax (for making candles). Certain other specialized buildings are also referred to by their Russian names in the Skra. This was based predominantly on barter. when needed. or forbade additions or emendations in the Skra without the permission of the principal Hanseatic cities (IV art. Reval (also called Tallinn or Kolyvan’). especially in the 42 43 Riesenkampf.10[12]. was by no means a monolithic body. of which the Russians and the Hanseatic League were the other two corners.. however. III art. The League.cit) and Kazakova (op. 118-124. IIIa art. the present-day Tartu).cit.60 and 64. German merchants. to be in partnership with them. trading with the Russians was subject to many restrictions. there were very noticeable shifts in power. The Skra forbade individual German merchants to bring in more than 1000 marks in cash (IIIa art. it was the League that negotiated with the Russians concerning the rights and the position of the Court of St. This development is extensively discussed by Rybina (op.6.cit.

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

36). See note 1.3). Sartorius in his history of the Hanseatic League. were apprenticed to senior. When the church had to be closed. and then there must have been ships’ crews and the personal servants of the merchants. Vols.Peter were supposed to house no more than thirty merchants and their following (V art. Sartorius. one was obliged to proceed to the election of aldermen (VI art. usually called knape or knechte in the Skra.47 This edition was used in many 19th century German and Russian historical studies. The dwelling houses in the Court of St.29). better known as the Iur’ev monastery. 9. Frensdorff. the surplus would have to be housed in the Gothic Court or in private houses of Russians. .G. they were eligible to certain offices. who devoted two long articles to it in 1887.49 Of the older Russian works which pay much attention to the Skra. Several provisions of the Skra give an impression of the numerical strength of the German commercial community in Novgorod. The Skra of Novgorod and its Different Versions The earliest publication of the Skra was in 1828 in Copenhagen by H.George (V art. a higher occupancy was allowed. independent merchants. theft).George. De Scra van Nougarden. With the permission of the aldermen. When there were thirty merchants present in Novgorod. were fully-fledged members of the stevene. Copenhagen. the monastery of St. Junior merchants. together with a somewhat later edition by G.G. Their relationships were regulated in the Skra and the junior merchants were not without influence or status in the community. the keys were handed over for safe-keeping to the bishop of Novgorod or the abbot of St. Urkundliche Geschichte des Ursprunges der deutschen Hanse. A minimum occupation of six merchants and nine knechte was required to keep the church open (V art. the German population did not consist only of merchants and their limited number of knechte. Attendance at the stevene was compulsory and absentees were fined. Otherwise. 1830. who were not in the service of other merchants. Hamburg. was one of the oldest Russian monasteries and was located south of the city). N. the stevene tried serious criminal cases itself (esp.38.48 The most important 19th century study on the Skra was by F. Only independent merchants.278 Law in Medieval Russia other functionaries. Occasionally. Behrmann. Obviously. Riesenkampf ’s Dorpat dissertation on the 47 48 49 H.1-2. G. Behrmann. 1828. Various kinds of craftsmen are mentioned in the Skra.F.

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

After Novgorod had lost its independence and was incorporated into the empire of the Muscovy grand prince. All three were drafted in Novgorod. who in his Velikii Novgorod v XVI veke. Skra V) had disappeared from the church of St. but several new provisions were inserted during the following twenty years. was drawn up by the assembly of the Hanseatic cities. The fourth and fifth Skra. Berezhkov. 256-264. Its initial version was probably drawn up in 1373. 93-98. but the vast majority of the provisions were new. never regained its former economic vigour. . The latter. Kazakova. The fourth Skra contained a number of borrowings from Skra I. In 1541. 262-337 and also the article by the same author quoted in note 53. Even A.Peter where it was traditionally kept. further Riesenkampf. Skra VI was mainly a reworking of Skra V. see 128-138. The seventh Skra need only be mentioned as an epilogue to the history of the Court of St. op. designated as Skra IIIb. The fourth. a long period of controversy between the Hanseatic cities and Moscow ensued. op.. II and III. Pronshtein. especially the fourth and the fifth.280 Law in Medieval Russia shorter law. Its first article clearly explained the political and international circumstances of its enactment. tried very hard to argue that annexation by Moscow was a good thing for Novgorod. unlike their predecessors. Skra V incorporated almost the entire text of Skra IV. An important factor in the failure to 55 56 See. after its restoration in 1514.P. the remainder are new provisions. but had an additional number of about thirty articles. several German merchants were incarcerated by the prince and their goods were seized. does not succeed in demonstrating that it had a positive effect on Novgorod’s trade with Europe. it was completely destroyed and sacked. must have been appended subsequently.56 Several times during the 16th century the Court was occupied by the Russians.Peter in Novgorod.cit. Schlüter concluded from internal evidence that editorial work on Skra IV must have been begun after 1355 and completed before 1361. under the guidance of the envoys from the leading Hanseatic cities. fifth and sixth Skra are also closely related to each other. Skra IIIb is dated 1346. Khar’kov. Two of its nine articles are inspired by provisions from Skra IIIa. on this period. and especially from IIIa and IIIb. bear to a considerable extent the character of compilations and consolidations of previously enacted incidental decrees. with a few additions. a new text was drafted and approved by the council of Lübeck and the other German cities.Peter was closed in 1494. dated 1370 and 1371.117-119). As the text of the Skra (i. The Court of St. Three final provisions (arts. 1957.e.55 The conflict was finally resolved by the treaty of 1514. and then submitted for approval to the League.cit..

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

other German cities. by looking first at the second Skra. ok ene sal een knaepe des gheliken van syneme heren nycht scheeden.”) A similar rule is found in Skra II and II. the contract between master and apprentice could be terminated in case of illness of the latter. in Skra V. according to Skra II and III. The solution to this problem is best approached in a roundabout way. of course. then his master may not dismiss him for that reason. is missing in Skra IV. . or. The intervening texts of Skra II and III show clearly how this rule originated. he ene brenge ene weder. id ene sy myt willen synes heren. an apprentice shall equally not part from his master. his master may not dismiss him for that reason. If an apprentice suffers an accident or an illness. In other words. This innovation was generalized then.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. dar he ene nam. dar ene de here myt rechte mochte vorwysen. 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”). unless with the consent of his master. 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. Of these. not only watervart. This example has been given to demonstrate the mechanism of change and growth. It does not answer. In many cases this mechanism may explain the origins of particular provisions in the later Skras. Isset ok zaeke. beyond the specific case of illness. the new rule covers any voyage to Novgorod. 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. a master receives an apprentice for the voyage to Novgorod. but returns in Skra V in the following shape: “Vortmer dar een mesterman enen knapen entfeyt uppe de vart to Nougarden wart. and it would appear pointless to 57 See the works quoted in note 1.282 Law in Medieval Russia a valid reason to dismiss him. This connection has been firmly established by Frensdorff and Schlüter. he may not dismiss him. otherwise. If it would happen that the apprentice falls ill. another fifty-five provisions (arts. but must take him back from where he took him. which has contributed to the shaping of the subsequent versions of the Skra. he ene mach ene nych vorwysen. about forty and possibly a few more. dat deme knaepe zukedage to komen.1064). occasionally. moreover. provided both sides agreed to this. have undoubtedly been taken over from the written law of Lübeck.”) As can be seen. unless it is clear that he had a valid reason to dismiss him. id ene sy also merclike zaeke. Here we find after the almost unaltered copying of the text of the first Skra. umme dat mach ene syn here nycht vorwysen.” (“When.

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

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

with the treaty of 1269. he shall pay 3 verdings”). however. there are numerous parallels between the law of Lübeck and the Skra on this point. but difficult to prove. in which the extensive older literature is cited.V. because it occurs in all four sources mentioned. 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. 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. which provides: “Slet en man dhen andern an sin ore ofte an sinen hals. 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. all know a system of fixed fines for particular offences. also. 16-17. One of the obscurest questions concerning the relations between German and Russian law as reflected in the Skra is the tariff system of fixed fines. the system of the 1191 treaty is unmistakably based on the Russkaia Pravda. The older Russian laws such as the Russkaia Pravda. 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. In my opinion. Equally. Schlüter points to a parallel in Lübeck law where orslage is mentioned together with two other minor instances of violence against the person.64 There is a closer parallel.3 and 10). but none of them repeat what had already been regulated by the treaties. .1. Vol. S. which does not envisage this particular offence. Moskva.66 64 65 66 Schlüter. Russkaia Pravda. Cf. pulling or pushing somebody. (Short Pravda. See. 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. such as hitting with a fist or blunt object. de sal beteren anderhalven verding silveres […]” (“If a man hits another on the ears. Frensdorff. devoted an entire chapter to this subject. some influence of the Russian tariff system on the system of the Skra is probable. he schal eme beteren 3 verdhinge” (“If a man hits another on his ear or his neck. but contains similar formulas for related offences. 87. and the German laws on which the earlier Skras are based in good part. battery. Iushkov. etc. and inflicting injuries. This formula is also reminiscent of the Russkaia Pravda. the chapter on the Russkaia Pravda in this work. he shall pay one and a half verding […]”). 1950. arts. As mentioned before.The Skra of Novgorod 285 provisions on this subject. the basic Russian-German treaty of 1191. the various versions of the Skra.

Vol.V. 162-164. Cherepnin. This provision remotely resembles a provision from the Charter of Dvina Land from 1397. 443. in such a case the proceedings would be suspended until the councils of Lübeck and Visby would have ruled on the question in dispute. Again it is difficult to say with certainty what the origin of the respective provisions in the Skra (III arts. 321-386. op.10). On the Charter of Dvina Land see. article 66.Peter. The Laws of Rus’-Tenth to Fifteenth Centuries.286 Law in Medieval Russia Another example of a legal institution which is found in Lübeck law. 180-186. and (with Russian text) in Kaiser. 397-407. English translation in Vernadsky. Salt Lake City. op. 1951. Moskva/Leningrad. op. Medieval Russian Laws. are of an earlier.). the final version of which was probably enacted between 1462 and 1467. of which the first sentence provides: “And if any provision of customary law is missing in this charter.. Along with the many parallels in German law. Moskva. 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. Cherepnin. and also in D. Martysevich. op. 111-113 (also includes Russian text). the mayor may refer the matter to Lord Pskov [the traditional title of the city. Kaiser (ed.68 Several parts of this law. One of the provisions of Skra III which is not based on Lübeck law. 1948. New York.V. which for the first time introduced capital punishment in Russian law for theft. prescribes capital punishment for the thief who had already been banished (for previous thefts) from the Court of St. and in RZ II. 1947.67 A similar rule occurs in the Charter of Pskov (art. Russkie feodal’nye arkhivy XIV-XV vv. also. English translation in G.).. See.20 and 61) is. Then. 14th century origin. also.. also in I.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. followed by a translation into modern Russian. Cherepnin.cit. however. also in GVNP.8).” (Vernadsky’s translation. they should write to the council of Lübeck.. Pskovskaia Sudnaia Gramota.cit. as well as in the Skra is the requirement of two witnesses in certain law-suits. 87-105. 286-324 and in RZ I. . 144-146. in PRP II. Article 60 provided that if the German merchants in Novgorod were unsure about the existence of a certain rule.. 57-60. the decision of the latter would be incorporated in the Skra.cit. Vernadsky (transl.H. advising the insertion of a new clause accordingly. 69 Text of the Charter of Pskov.D. 408-447. 1992. art. and article 8 is usually considered as among these earlier elements. Article 68 addressed itself to uncertainty of the law in a specific lawsuit. at least for repeated theft. the Russkaia Pravda (Short Pravda. L. the case would be decided in Novgorod and the new rule inserted in the Skra.1. article 108 of the Pskov Charter comes to mind.cit. as “the Lord Novgorod”] at the city assembly.

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tiflis. . V. Kovalevskii.M. Khashaev & M.294 Law in Medieval Russia adjoining regions to the North. Kh. many of whom were able to maintain.S.I-2/1. Code du roi Georges V. “Adaty i sudoproizvodstvo po nim (Materialy dlia statistiki dagestanskoi oblasti)”.5. the Chechens and other “mountain peoples” (gortsy) being the best-known example. Kh. Pamiatniki obychnogo prava Dagestana XVIIXIX vv.2). Karst. V. Odessa.M. Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh. Commentaire. published several studies (including translations) on some of the major monuments of the medieval law of Armenia and Georgia. Moskva. Gidatlinskie adaty. a measure of political independence until they were gradually absorbed into the Russian empire in the course of the 19th century. Code d’Aghbougha. 1868 (repr. these studies concern customary law as it has been observed and described in recent times. F.M. Corpus Iuris Ibero-Caucasici. 1937.II-2/2. No.”. Vol.K. Band 1: Mittelarmenisches Rechtsbuch. 1956. 1959. II. Kh. 1992).2. M. 1-88. Vyp. Shunaev. Sempadscher Kodex. Vyp. Vol.M. Also. “Obychnoe pravo kak istochnik dlia izucheniia sotsial’nykh otnoshenii u narodov Severnogo Kavkaza v XVIII–nachala XIX v. 1939.K. French or German and have been cited below at the appropriate places. Makhachkala. 1934.1).V. 1938. Khashaev. Joseph Karst has made the most important contribution to the literature on the subject of Transcaucasian legal history. 1886. Dzh. “Prisiaga po obychnomu pravu osetin”.II-1/1. 2 vols. Alibekov. 1965. Codes médiévaux de la Géorgie. Strassburg. Moskva. Adaty kavkazskikh gortsev: Materialy po obychnomu pravu Severnogo i Vostochnogo Kavkaza. J. Leontovich. Vol. 1927. Kommentar. albeit precariously. Saidov. These are home to a bewildering variety of small nations and ethnic groups. Materialy po obychnomu pravu kabardintsev pervoi poloviny XIX v. Makhachkala. a professor at the university of Strassburg (as it then was). Karst. Khashaev. The Literature Among West-European scholars. Première section: Droit national géorgien codifié. 1948.7. Vol. Gardanov. 1873. 1935. Komarov. Sovetskaia Etnografiia. Vol.I-2/2. Sovremennyi obychai i drevnii zakon.I. 1960. 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.. Adaty kumykov. a description of the customary law of a small mountain tribe is a far cry from the official legislation of the Armenian and Georgian monarchs.II-2/1. Karst. (Vol. 2. M. 1882 (Vol. the aspect of legal history is minimal.. 1 2 A.1. Moskva. Sbornik svedenii o kavkazskikh gortsakh.2 The main legislative documents of Armenia and Georgia have been translated into English. Strasbourg: Code du Vakhtang VI. Code d’Aghbougha. in Verbindung mit dem grossarmenischen Rechtsbuch des Mechitar Gosch. Vol. Tiflis. Text und Übersetzung.1 However. Nal’chik. Kodeks zakonov Ummu-Khana avarskogo. Moskva. Bd. 1883. obychnoe pravo osetin v istoriko-sravnitel’nom izuchenii..I-1. J. 1905. Gardanov.

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

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

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

such as those of Dvin (551.5 An Armenian translation of 4 G. 607.G. entre droit canon et droit coutumier”. and Hromkla (1179). 719). Weitenberg’s (Leiden University) bibliographical help for this section. Kevorkian (ed. of which several versions are known. 1971 (quoted from A.4 Irakli was succeeded by his son Giorgi XII in 1798. until the Red Army put an end to it in February 1921.G. * 5 With grateful acknowledgment of Professor J.J. The first formal collection appeared under catholicos Yovhannes III (between 717 and 728). Tbilisi. Erevan. “Le droit médiéval arménien. Georgievskii Traktat [text]. Paris. Bozoyan. The early Christian period and the Bagratuni period produced mainly a body of ecclesiastical prescriptions which constituted an important source of later secular legislation. G. it had already de facto withdrawn from the USSR some months earlier. Worthy of mention are the canons of Saak Partev.298 Law in Medieval Russia for protection against the threat posed by Persian ambitions. kanonagirk’). and the Cilician Armenian kingdom (1080-1375). 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. 1983. Georgievskii traktat [commentary]. in R. Širakawan (862). the most important collections were published by V. Ecclesiastical rules were collected in books of canons (Arm. 5.S. the remote mountain region of Svanetia the last. 145-149). 2001. but annexed Kartlia-Kakhetia to the Russian empire. in 1859. Tbilisi. . the Russian government did not allow his eldest son David to ascend the throne. Kanonagirk’ Hayots. It was especially the latter which has left an impressive legal heritage. The Law of the Armenian Kingdoms* As indicated above. all-Armenian catholicos (the supreme head of the Armenian church) from 387-439. Upon the death of the latter two years later. Paichadze. and the resolutions of various Armenian church synods. 1983. Georgia regained its independence in December 1991 when the USSR was dissolved. Paichadze (ed. Ani capitale de l’Arménie en l’an mil. concluded the treaty of Georgievsk with Russia (1783).). Hakobian. The kingdom of Imeretia was annexed in 1810 and other parts of Georgia in the course of the 19th century. Manzakert (726). in which he renounced all links with Persia and recognized the Russian empress as his suzerain and protector.). Georgia became independent and retained this status precariously for another three years. At the end of the First World War.

was probably already available in the 9th century. As observed before. a connection can be made between a purely pastoral document and an explicitly legal enactment. Die armenischen Übersetzungen byzantinischer Rechtsbücher. II. the Armenian church continued to function as the political organization of the Armenian population under foreign 6 7 Bozoyan.6 A significant and interesting document from a later period is the Penitential of David of Sanjak (12th century). 147-148. There has been some debate whether major secular legislation from the Bagratuni era did exist but was lost. Louvain. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh and the Law Code of Smbat Sparapet can be regarded as the principal monuments of the Cilician Armenian kingdom.F. its very close connection with the Code of Smbat Sparapet justifies it being treated as such. although not. Scriptores armeniaci. 8 C.M. so the Code of Gosh was contemporary with the Cilician kingdom. Bozoyan. This Penitential was one of the sources for the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. Kaufhold. a law code from the Bagratuni era served as one of the sources for the Code of Mkhitar Gosh. or whether legal relationships in secular society were largely regulated by customary (unwritten) law during this period. discussing all kinds of sins (which often also constituted violations of the law).9 6. Moreover.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 299 the Byzantine collection of canon law. 1213) was active in Greater Armenia during the second half of the 12th century. was under Turkish rule at the time. “Grundriss der Geschichte des Armenischen Rechts”. 3-4. a law of that kingdom. Cf. 1997. I have not been able to consult H. J.XIX (1906). The Penitential of David of Sanjak. 17-18.7 This work was. in particular parts from the Byzantine Ecloga (726) and the Syro-Roman Law Code (see below). Franfurt a. Rechtswissensschaft. to be used in hearing confessions. 1961. 1. which again was the main source for the Law Code of Smbat Sparapet and. Vol. strictly speaking. Sonderabdruck.J. Nevertheless. Vol.. 9 . in this way. Karst. the Nomocanon (also existing in numerous versions). and the suitable penances to be imposed on penitents. Corpus scriptorum christianorum orientalium. Zeitschrift f. he contended that already during the Bagratuni era significant parts of major legislation from surrounding countries were available in Armenian translation. This area. vergl. Dowsett. 147. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh The learned priest (vardapet) Mkhitar Gosh (d.216-217. strictly speaking a mere guidebook to priests. On the Nomocanon generally. Armenia proper. see the section on Byzantine canon law in the chapter on “Roman Law in Medieval Russia”.8 According to Karst.

36. The Lawcode [Dastanagirk’] of Mxit’ar Goš.13 The principal sources of the Code of Gosh are the Pentateuch. GA. Isabella was first married off in 1221 to Philip.10 and the Code of Gosh was written with the strengthening of the Armenian courts as one of the avowed purposes. Thomson. The Code of Smbat Sparapet The author of this Code. the organization of the Code appears chaotic to a modern reader.1213). died out in the male line with Leo II (1187-1219). was then married to Isabella and accepted as king in 1226.1208) commander-in-chief of the army (sparapet. generally. 23ff. 1969. prince of Antioch. Khetum (b. according to its preamble. Leo’s daughter Isabella was only 4 years old and the kingdom was ruled by a regent. and a Latin version was in use among the Armenian diaspora in Poland. A. Amsterdam/Atlanta. A younger son of Konstantin Pail.12 The oldest copy extant dates from 1237.G. The Code of Mkhitar Gosh was used for centuries by the Armenian diaspora. Thomson. also known as the Mosaic laws in the terminology of the period (the Old Testament books of Genesis. Erevan.). He spent three years heading an Armenian delegation to the Mongolian great khan in Karakorum (1248-1250). 2000.15 As a result. Sempadscher Kodex. 350. . was Smbat. Konstantin appointed his elder son Smbat (b. 14. Thomson. In Georgia. Thomson. 21-22.11 Mkhitar Gosh began his work on the Code in 1184. Karst. elder brother of the Cilician king Khetum I (1226-1269). the most powerful nobleman in the country.W. The Rubenid dynasty which had ruled the Cilician kingdom since Ruben I (10801095). Exodus. The latter enjoyed considerable popularity with the Armenian population. Numeri and Deuteronomium). Leviticus.16 He served as commander-in-chief of the Armenian army for fifty years and died in battle in 1276. and the Penitential of David of Sanjak. R.300 Law in Medieval Russia domination. also known as gundstabl’. Band 2. a corrupted form of the French connétable or ‘constable’). Konstantin Pail. Philip fell out with the Armenian nobles and was killed in 1225. See. the Armenian collection of church canons (the Kanonagirk’). 20. a son of Bohemond. Cf. This resulted in the concurrent jurisdiction of the Muslim courts of the rulers and the jurisdiction of the Armenian bishops. 27-29. resulting in a Mongolian-Armenian 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 J.14 The system of the Code (the sequence of the sections) is based on the various sources used. Sukasian. Istoriia Kilikiiskogo armianskogo gosudarstva i prava (XI-XIV vv. 7. Thomson. a Georgian translation was used. The reasons given by Gosh for drafting his Code are discussed by Thomson.

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

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

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

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

118. Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger. Cf. until a more or less definitive version emerged in 468. Les sources du droit byzantin de 300 à 1453. 120. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. 16. München/Leipzig. 223-389. No.32 10. but much amended afterwards. Purtseladze indicates the major text editions and studies in Georgian. also. Kuropalates was the fourth highest rank in the official Byzantine hierarchy of the era. containing elements of Roman law and of native law of the area. Georgian text in Dolidze I. Institutionen. who sported the title of kuropalates. 29 It was initially adopted as a civil code when Greece became an independent kingdom in 1853. 116-118. Georgian text of the Law of Bagrat also in Dolidze I.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 305 of Harmenopoulos. It had first been given to the founder of the Georgian dynasty.31 These “Armenian” laws applied to the numerous Armenians living in the Georgian kingdoms.85. 30 Along with a Syrian (Aramaic) and Arabic version.34 and 27 28 Epitome Syntagmatis Matthaei Blastaris ad Hexabiblum Harmenopouli mutati.29 This code. Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/ Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. and the Syro-Roman code which existed in an Armenian version. W. 1964.27 The Hexabiblos (of 1345) was the last major work of Byzantine law and it continued to be in use during Ottoman times. see N. cf. The Armenian version was the basis of the Georgian translation used in Vakhtang’s collection. It was usually reserved for members of the imperial family. The place of Bagrat’s Law in comparative legal history is briefly discussed in the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings”.33 There were four early Georgian rulers by the name of Bagrat. 1985. Geschichte und System des Römischen Privatrechts. and once the 32 . was first drafted around 370-380. Cf. On p. discussed above. 1931. Historiae iuris graeco-romani delineatio. 136-137. Purtseladze. but is in fact of a much older date. 464-470. in areas which at one time had been part of the Byzantine empire. See. Zur Bedeutung des syrisch-römischen Rechtsbuches. 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. On the Syntagma of Blastaris and the Hexabiblos of Harmenopoulos. This law is preserved as a sequel to the Laws of Beka and Aghbuga (to be discussed below). 127-221. Ashot Bagrationi (786-826). Sohm-Mitteis-Wenger.28 The Armenian laws used by Vakhtang included the Code of Mkhitar Gosh.Selb. 16. 31 Others defend a date around 476-477. van der Wall & Lokin. The actual copy of the Syntagma used for the translations is still extant. van der Wall & J. 84-98. “Iz natsional’nogo zakonodatel’stva korpusa Vakhtanga VI”. Georgian text of the Code of Mkhitar Gosh and of the Syro-Roman code in Dolidze I. Purtseladze. for further references. 34 Russian translation and a short commentary in: D.4. München. Groningen. as a competitor to the legislation of Justinian. 1985. Lokin.30 It survived for a long time in the Near East. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. 33 Purtseladze. cf.

Purtseladze. of uncertain date. 35 36 Russian translation in D. imposed by the state. This is in stark contrast with the situation in Armenia where. “Iz natsional’nogo zakonodatel’stva korpusa VakhtangaVI”. the amount of sisxli depended on the victim’s social status: the king and the bishops at the top. Tbilisi. its personnel and property) attempts to integrate the church into the traditional system of monetary compensation. at 64-66. Georgian text in Dolidze I. 1986. The first part of the law (the provisions protecting the church. The general character of the law is reminiscent of the more or less contemporary Germanic laws (the leges barbarorum). The Canonical Laws35 A short law. the ultimate source of the Law of Bagrat is undoubtedly Georgian customary law. . Mushkelishvili (eds.). 59-72.36 It is obviously a church law and provides additional ecclesiastical punishment (usually excommunication) for a few serious felonies. Purtseladze. but probably from before the year 1100. Although the Law of Bagrat may have been preceded by legislation of earlier Georgian rulers which has been lost.D. Lordkipanidze & D. of which the overwhelming majority is devoted to the various payments due for all kinds of transgressions ranging from simple threats to homicide. The majority of scholarly opinion attributes the law to Bagrat I. 471-473. Ocherki istorii Gruzii. 1988.L. Social stratification is already quite outspoken. No. also. 314-315. blood) was still in use 900 years later. in one case. Tom II: Gruziia v IV-X vekakh. the church is protected through a system of draconic punishments. There are also a few provisions concerning inheritance law. M. Macne–Ekonomikisa de samartlis seria/Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. following the example of Byzantium. The term used for such payments (sisxli. the ordinary nobles (aznauri). rulers had assumed the title of king (mepe) of Kartlia. 87. The reason presumably is that lay people could fall back on their family or clan for protection. the chapter on “Law’s Beginnings”). Zakony Vakhtanga VI.1. or of the earliest layers of the Russkaia Pravda (see. The law consists of 62 provisions (according to the accepted numeration). 11. It also prescribes ordinary sanctions (the payment of sisxli or other indemnification and. blinding or amputation of hand or foot). in the Law Code of king Vakhtang.L. then the magnates (didebuli). About the first third part of the law contains special rules for the protection of bishops. Cf.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 was used as a secondary title. priests and church property. with the peasants (glexi) at the base of the pyramid.

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

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

Such questions are rarely discussed in medieval legal sources and this makes the Order of the King’s Court a particularly valuable document. The law resulted from a synod of West-Georgian bishops and presumably applied only to that part of the country. enacted by the All-Georgian catholicos. like its sister church in Armenia. No.47 The law purports to be an excerpt of the Byzantine Nomocanon. at 85. however. sisxli is mentioned only once in passing.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 309 etiquette of the court of the king of Georgia. the “chief secretary” (mc’ignobartuxucesi) or prime-minister. Georgian text in Dolidze I. neither was it very different from what was current in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. a position reserved for the archbishop of Chkondidi (therefore also called the Čqondideli). . with only a short revival under Giorgi the Brilliant. According to the preamble.1.46 15. the commander-in-chief (amirspasalari). The body of laws collected by Vakhtang VI also contained a general law.4. 84-98. Purtseladze in Macne–Ekonomikisa da samartlis seria/Izvestiia–Seriia ekonomika i pravo. the collection of Greek ecclesiastical law. and the “father-of-the-king” (atabagi). The Law of the Catholicos The golden age under queen Tamara was followed by centuries of disorder and foreign domination. and 1986. 391-397. who competed in status with the prime-minister. the chief treasurer (mečurčletuxucesi) or minister of finance. No. somewhere around the middle of the 16th century. it provides detailed information on the organization of the Georgian state. 59-72. together with the catholicos of Abkhazia. its chief officials and their different responsibilities. It is replaced by the severe penalties. 46 47 The king’s council consisted of three major officials. and three lesser ones: the chief constable (mandaturtuxucesi) or minister of internal affairs. common to Byzantine law. The presence and blessing of the All-Georgian catholicos lent it extra authority. The division of responsibilities between the chief functionaries of the king’s government may have been inspired by Byzantine and Persian models. The impact of Georgian law is therefore minimal. nothing that was not in the Nomocanon had been added. remained united and to some extent the catholicos stepped into the void created by the disappearance of the central state.L. Although it is not a law. The Georgian church. 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. 1985. at 59-63. and the chief marshal (msaxurtuxucesi) or minister of the royal household. Comments and Russian translation by D.

he will do a good and fitting deed.” The first five provisions of the Code are then devoted to various admonitions to judges. The last sentences are worth quoting: “Whoever thinks of something [new] and remembers it.310 Law in Medieval Russia 16. which recounts how the Code has been written with great care and which again admonishes judges and everybody else involved in its application. as effected by Vakhtang VI. seven times the value of the stolen property is added. 1980. presents an amalgam of quite diverse topics. 475-532. As debts may be based on a great variety of factors. By the time Vakhtang wrote his Code.17-97). Russian translation by D. The general character of the Code was conservative. Tbilisi. the eastern part of Georgia) in the beginning of the 18th century. French translation by Karst (see note 2). The next main part (arts. . The chapter on theft (arts.98-115) regulates partition. This explains the importance of the rules on partition. this chapter. To the sisxli (which. as before. not to the state.L.e. in accordance with tradition. testimony of witnesses.150-159) still used the payment of sisxli as the standard sanction. The tone of the preamble. In the older codes of Beka and Aghbuga and of Giorgi V. depended on the social status of the victim). partition was a much less prominent topic. Zakony Vakhtanga VI. its innovations reflected primarily the further development of traditional institutions. without any clear attempt at systematization.116-149). Articles 15-16 explain the complicated monetary system and then the first main part of the Code identifies a great variety of acts which lead to the payment of sisxli (arts. was the elaboration of a new and comprehensive legislation for the kingdom of Kartlia-Kakhetia (i. Only in case of theft from the treasury or from the church. Articles 6-14 deal with various kinds of evidence which may be employed to substantiate a claim: ordeals. Then a solemn conclusion follows. let him include it and write it down. 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. oaths. admission of guilt. and this is paid to the victim. Artsicles 160-168 regulate sales and the remainder of the first half of the Code (arts. It is addressed to the judges who have to use the Code. duels. the king or the catholicos will determine what the thief will have to pay. A longish second half follows (arts. to a modern lawyer.205-270).189-204) is taken up by sundry provisions. A chapter on debts constitutes the third main part (arts. It probably restates separate laws which were for some 48 Georgian text in Dolidze I. is didactic and moralising. The Law Code of Vakhtang VI48 The reason for the collection of old Georgian laws. Purtseladze.

Surguladze (ed.I. 8.Medieval Law in Transcaucasia 311 reason omitted in the first draft. or new legislation.). the kings of Kakhetia.50 However. the Code still portrays a thoroughly feudal society. The Code of Vakhtang VI continued to be applied in Georgia for some time and was translated into Russian. 17. Unlike the latter. of whom Irakli II was the most important (king of Kakhetia 1744-1762. appended to the first half of the Code. Giorgi XII) continued the family tradition. Bagrationta samepo saxli [The Royal House of Bagration]. M. the new handbook. based on a complicated social stratification (various ranks of princes. Dasturlamali The Law Code of Vakhtang hardly dealt with matters concerning the organization of the state. The drafters recall certain outstanding cases from the past and include the most desirable solutions in their new law. The provisions of the Dasturlamali are discussed extensively by Kekelia. It would seem that by the time the first draft of the Code had been completed. sud i sudebnyi protsess (Vtoraia polovina XVIII–pervaia polovina XIX v.). merchants. Tbilisi. Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. Tbilisi. not only the king himself.49 His sons were active as provincial legislators. Surguladze. a number of new questions had arisen and appropriate solutions were formulated as new rules. This defect was to some extent corrected by the promulgation. As in most traditional legislation.51 It is of special importance on account of the information it offers on the organization of the courts. . king of Kartlia-Kakhetia 1762-1798). at about the same time. and his grandsons Davit and Ivane (the sons of the last king of Kartlia-Kakhetia. Notwithstanding the time of its enactment. After Vakhtang. Kekelia. each drafting a law code. more or less along the lines of the 14th century Order of the King’s Court. M. was an official document. Drevnegruzinskie zakonodatel’stva. 1995. of a new handbook of court regulations. peasants and bondsmen). 1986.52 49 50 Cf. but also the queen and the royal princes took an active part in the administration of justice. the annexation of Kartlia-Kakhetia by Russia in 1800 deprived these projects of any practical significance. nobles. bearing the title of Dasturlamali. 51 Cf. the casuistic approach is prominent. 52 Only a Georgian text is available in the series of “Monuments of Georgian Law”. Tbilisi. I. the kingship of Kartlia eventually came into the hands of another branch of the Bagrationi family. Kartuli samartlis dzeglebi. 1970.

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

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

it also generally enjoyed a higher degree of legal protection by the state than in Georgia. 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.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.

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

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

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

....... 199n........................ 192.. 168... 206n........... 44. Ivan Iur’evich (of Novosil’-Odoev)................ 70.. 202 Igor (prince of Kiev) ......... 219n. Tver’ and Novgorod)............ S....xxiv...... 186 Iushkov............. 43n.. .......................... 69........... 220...................... 279n....173n.......xvii. 230 Ioann (bishop of Sarai).......................189....... 42n. 270 Iaroslav Iaroslavich (of Vladimir and Novgorod)..... 81n.... 192n.............203n.... 230 Ivan II Ivanovich (of Moscow)..193.A... 94n. 193 Ioann (metropolitan of Moscow)........... ..... 193......... 143 Iukho.... 102n....... .... 244n Iskusevi........................ 308n John the Scholastic...... 104. ..... 58n...... 185 Iziaslav Iaroslavich.151 J Javaxišvili...189ff...... 266 Ivan IV Vasil’evich......I............................ 175ff..... emp.. 79n.... 255.................. 151...... 123..... 41.)............. 186n............. 244ff............... 93n... 175n................................A... 147n......... 174n...................... 147.318 Ian Vyshatich....................188. 89n............202 Iaroslav Iaroslavich (of Tver’)..)....... 134n.. 82ff.................................. Ivan IV Ivanovich (of Riazan’)....... 36ff. 143........... 214n.......... emp. 40n.....57ff....311 Ivar............ D......... 93....................................... V............... 251 Ivan III Vasil’evich (of Riazan’).. 187.......... 171 Iziaslav Mstislavich (of Kiev)............. 297... 185 Igor (nephew of foregoing).... 248. .V... 194n.. 225..............H................207 Iaroslav Vladimirovich the Wise (Mudryi)....... Ivan Fedorovich (of Riazan’)........ 101...... 188n..... ..........................I..40................ 263........ 186 Iziaslav Vladimirovich (of Polotsk)... 305 Justinian II Rhinotmetes (Byz......... 230 Ivan I Danilovich Kalita (of Moscow)..................... 286n ......................... 197... 192n....... 71 K Kaiser............ xx................. 262n.. 54ff............104... 227 Ivan Vladimirovich (of Pronsk)...... 200..... .............. the Terrible (of Moscow).......67n... 46.... 190n..... ................ xxin Ingigerd.... 82...................... Ia........... 80n... 303n...... ........... I... ...................................................202ff....199n Iurii Dmitrievich (of Galich)...... 55 Ingvar Igor’evich (of Riazan’)..... E.. 55........ 213...... 188n..300n Isaev....................................... 89ff..... 114.. 221........................ 171... 199......... 143.............. 62n.......... 76......... 134n.256n Iurii Danilovich (of Galicia).........xxii...... 49ff. 193. 34n. 191ff......... 285n Law in Medieval Russia Ivan Aleksandrovich (of Smolensk)......... .......144n Ianin.. 123n..... 170n....167n..... Iaroslav Vsevolodovich (of Vladimir). 264n..81n. 230 Iaroslav Vladimirovich (of Novgorod)...... 95... 187.. 37n. 91. ............. ...... 199........... the Great (of Moscow).... 212n...171 Ilarion.. 230 Irakli II (of Georgia)... 76... 284n Iaropolk Sviatoslavich....... 266n..... 255n.. 205ff.. 220 Iurii Sviatoslavich (of Smolensk).......... 230 Ivane Bagrationi.............................. 215...... 67.................................. Joseph of Volokolamsk....... 205........ 230 Ivan Vasil’evich (of Serpukhov-Borovsk)..................184n........ 207n.......... 244n.... 208n........ 311 Isabella (of Armenia)............... 275n...... 71n... 152........ 35.............. 198........ 141ff..... 97n...... 199.......... 211. 244n.........213n. ................................. 85 Indova.... 229 Ivan Andreevich (of Mozhaisk).... 199 Ivan III Vasil’evich....... 229 Iurii Vladimirovich Dolgorukii. 265n........ 65ff......... 44.................... 225 Iurii Danilovich (of Moscow)... 52............124....................... 143 Igor Iaroslavich........... 230 Ivan Vasil’evich Gorbatyi (of Suzdal’).....199n..... 95n... 47.... I........ ................ 205ff.... 225ff............ 191........ 228..199n. 144n......................213n.......... 268n......... 162n.................171 Iaroslav Aleksandrovich (of Vladimir. xiii........ xixn Justinian I (Byz...... ........................197................ 60n..........A.............................

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

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

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

...... 258 Stephen (Byz............................................303n.... R.. ........... 51n... J.... .79 Thomas Aquinas........... R............... 308n.. 158........... 65ff.... A............ 171.. 35n........ Vasilii Iaroslavich (of Serpukhov and Borovsk)............................. P....... 81n.......... K..................W........ ..A.. 34n...V. R.............. E.. 186 Theodor Bestes... 213n........... Uzbek Khan.......... 226 Vasilii Iur’evich (of Suzdal’)... 303ff........ 181n Smbat Sparapet .. 65.............................. 108n............. 230 Vasilii II Vasil’evich the Blind ........... ... 199...... 57 Sviatoslav Iaroslavich............... 254n Sverki...................... 98ff.... 82.....M..............B.. 136n........................... S...63............N. xixn........ 33.. 162........ xviin............ 247ff..................I..... 245n Svidrigailo (of Lithuania).. 301n. 110n...........................xix.. 133... Valikonite......................... 86................ 46n............ 300n........ 213n.....xxii............. I.... 204....... 185 Sviatoslav Ivanovich (of Smolensk)........................ L........G........... L.... 214................. S................. 87n.............. 10 Skalník............................ 162n.. 60n.... 255n Law in Medieval Russia T Tacitus................... 231 Tobien...72n Vasilii I Dmitrievich (of Moscow)..... 270n Tiktin.................................. ............ M..... 124 Stalin.... 239 Sofiia Alekseevna (regent of Russia)... I...............256n Valk.............. . 143 Slusser....................................................G. 168. 192ff........ 37................................................................184n Stroev.... 195ff.........N.322 Simons............ 135.......... 147n...............25n Tassilo........................... . 79n.......21.... xiiin Sirks........ Coerd van..........56n Thorpe............. Ulug Mekhmet..... A.. I..................... 80n................................ 151.............. 11n...... R....... P......... 213n V Vakhtang VI........................................... xi.. Sviatoslav Igor’evich.................... 152n Speranskii........... Socrates...... N....................... B............... W...... 262n Tridat (Tiridates) III (of Armenia)..................... 181n Trunk........ xiiin Tunen.V........... I....... 34n........... 35...... 125n Sohm....... 171........................ 48n.. 185n Sviatopolk Iziaslavich..........................243n..... 174n.......... 170n Soloviev....................... M....................40n.... 38......................... 143 Sveinald ........... 107...... 40 Stephenson...144n Vasil’evskii....... 81.G...... 153n Variazhko......B.xiv...P.......................... 85n. M... M........... M.. 39n......................................127........34n Tokhtamysh........ 192.....7n.....143ff........ 262n.......143.. 305n Soidse..... 44....311n Svanhild..... Tamayo y Salmorán......152 Sviatopolk Vladimirovich... 212................. 85................. 311n Surguladze............................ 163 Tatishchev.. 230ff....... 92ff....... 239 Thomson.............. ..........I............68ff.....................................N.......... ........... 179................... 231 Tolochko.... 25. 81n......... emp.................... Sludi........................ 137n Stoliarova................191n... 26 Skrynnikov.... 302n Surguladze......... V......... 222...................................... 116ff.. 50.143......... 190ff................ 95ff......... 125n Timoshina...................M.......... V.......239n Sorlin........ 191ff.......... 299ff.................... 284n Tiuliak........ 225ff.....300n Thor (Germanic deity).................. 99 Sukasian...........A..............172n.......... see Zoidze Solov’ev..... I........... 93n........ 185 Sverdlov.).......................... 22n........ 43n.. 132ff................ 167................ 13.... 309ff.........251 Sofronenko..................173n.......................... 295 Triska. 197.............. C. 244n....... 124n Sophocles.. 169n....... 2240n Taidula.......... P.... 229 Szeftel............... 12n Tikhomirov....... 82ff....................... 136ff.. 75n................ Vasilii Iur’evich Kosoi (of Galich)...... 205..xxv Strube de Piermont............S..........V............... 248n.......270 U Ulpian.....36n.......... xx......... 229 Sviatoslav Ol’govich (of Novgorod)............... 197n........... A.......... R........ 253n......

....I............... ..14n Vitovt (prince of Lithuania)...229 Vuefast.... 167................ 44. 144...................................... I.... 51n.... 305n Walram (Land Marshal)....... 81n................. Vladimir Mstislavich (of Dorogobuzh). ........ 214....... 32 Zoidze.... 143 Vyshata... 207n Vladimir Sviatoslavich (St...... ....149n Zeus. 313 Zonares....... 66................15n.......... 144.......... S..xiv.... 224ff...........S........F.. Vladimir Andreevich (of Serpukhov)............. xixn Viacheslav Iaroslavich.. 221 Vasil’ko Rostislavich (of Terebovl’)....................V............. 295n... A.....151 Veen............ 229ff.......... 199. 10n Wal...... 123n.......................................... O.............................. 170....... 19n.......................298n Wenger....... R......... 48n..... 46n.. . 37n...... H..................... 9..... Vseslav Briacheslavich. 83......... 75n.................. 81n........307n Watling...........Index of Personal Names (of Moscow).................................... 173n....................... 171. 204....... 197.. 81n.. 272n Vladislav.14n Vilenskii...... 18n................ 143 Vliet. 177n.... N.127................................................ xvii.... 192ff......... 52n............... 23n..................................... .7....19n Venediktov.... 101n... 18..............190ff.... ......................B.................. 29n Volos (Slavic deity).............. B. S.... 41n............................... 194n.. K......41 Vorob’ev.151 Vsevolod Iaroslavich.. 130 Vernadsky................................ 36.J...... 214n................ 193 Vsevolod Mstislavich (of Novgorod)...... van der..... B... 156n.......................................................... 12. 151..E............................................................. ..M.... 198ff................. 305n Winckler...... 151ff......210 Visogast. V. ..... H.. 91 Žužek....... 194n. 86....... 73n..... xxn....... C... 286n Veselovskii... 171 323 Vsevolod Iur’evich Bol’shoe Gnezdo (of Vladimir).... 22n....... 266n............ 204...144n W Wagenvoort. 172n.................V. 303n.35.........7n.....72n Zernack...... 55.................................................... .xvii.... 266n.................xxii. E.............A. 43n......298n Z Zachariae von Lingenthal....... 72n....... 39... 273n Vsevolod Mstislavich (?) (of Smolensk).............. 244n... 208 Wardrop. 82.. A..................................... 135ff....... 244 Vladimir Vsevolodovich Monomakh......xxiii......... 215 Vladimirskii-Budanov.................239n Weitenberg.. 76n.. 272n Zimmer..................... 83........ 37. 240n Zimin.......................150n Vinke...........183n. 89n .............................F..... 42. K.... ..... 152n................. 70n................. 95n....... 149.............. Th........ 216n.................S........ xxin Vilkul............ 177n.......... 61n... G....256n Y Yovhannes III (Armenian catholicos)..........197.... 255n....... 187.. L.........................................191........59n Veenhof.............. 229 Wortman........ Heidenreich (Livonian Landmeister)................42n.......... 266n.......... 63... 142. 34n........... 271n... ............. 174n. 39n........... 8n.............. 46n. 207n....R. ................... . T................ 159.. xxv............ 47n............ van der.......... M......... 34n...... 200... 38n........186ff..171 Vidogast. 101n Wladyslaw Jagiello (of Poland).......... 82. 40n............................ 253ff............... 210.......... xixn.. 250... 196..... Vladimir)................................... 93....... J....... E...


.... ........ 105ff........ ............70-79..89ff........................305ff........... 298ff.. 105ff......... legal connections with....41ff..... 106 Boyar Duma......Peter (in Novgorod). 288ff........................ 68ff.. 96ff......... Dukhovnyi Reglament... 39ff.......... Beowulf epic......................................... 135..............76 Collectio tripartita........... 306........A.)....... 20 Communist Party of the Soviet Union....................... 309 Byzantium........ ...............xx blood feuds....................... 161.....................................295ff....... 16ff......251 boyars............... 174ff................. debt slavery....)................. 234 Declaration of Independence (U...... 256ff........38...................................1ff.........179ff.... 258...... ........... 267 chronicles....29.................. 30 Byzantine law.... 111ff.........xviii.... xiv............... 20...... Baltic cities............... xviii ff................ 124 Court Charter of Pskov.......... 116.......74 Enlightenment.160............................................. 64....... 108.. asega. 206ff..... 123... 66ff......... 306 D dan’........................ 87. 252ff...... 90... 270ff... 26ff..302 customary law.......... ................. 122 Bill of Rights (U................... 90 Collectio LXXXVII capitolorum. 163....................................................................12ff..... 8ff.... 70ff.................... 72ff..155.. 68..... 306 B Babylonian law................ 219 Basilika.... 94......... 97.. 99.........48 chernye liudi........S............................. 43ff................................ 55-56....... 88...... .... 286....... 137ff..... ...............79ff..................A. 265 brithemain........................... 80ff....242ff........... Laws of...... 89 Collectio LX titulorum..............131 Dasturlamali...... 267 basileus........ 19ff. xix archeology. 92................................. 264. 64ff....................................76........ 67ff................36 Catholicos......... 116ff......................... 233ff........... ............... ............ 211........... 155ff............................ 309 cheliadin. 52 aznauri...................... 70 Drevneishaia Pravda..... 164... 29ff...... 9ff.......76 collective liability......... 307ff................. 121 Court of St. Crusader states........ 299 Eisagoge....... 21..................... 244ff..... 185 due process.... 234 derbfine..................... 57ff....... 66......................... see ancient law Ecloga................. 123... .... Armenian church............... Balkan.................................305.......76.. 66ff...... 125ff....................235..... 80............. C capital punishment............. 90ff....................S............................ 256.....13........ .... 183ff... 21..54 ancient law.... Collectio XXV capitolorum........ 291 Court Law for the People.... xxv............. Law of .......... 108ff................... 312ff........... 18.. 295ff..... birchbark documents..... 87ff.......... 101 Bagrat Kuropalates.... 306 Digesta........... 198....34 Aethelberht.... Law of the............................................ ....Subject Index A Abridged Pravda.. Archeographical Commission........53................ Novgorod Chronicle church statutes.........................xvi........................... 83ff...................................... Collectio XIV titulorum...............250 dvor E early law................144ff. 188 Armenia.... 122ff.......... 169 didebuli.... 62ff........... Law of..................... Corpus Iuris Civilis... 161.. Beka and Aghbuga......................... 60........................................ 96....... Age of......140-145.....248ff................................................... see Oldest Pravda druzhina............73ff. 108..120ff..................11.63ff. see Primary Chronicle..140 bezchestie................................................. law of......... 108...... Armenian law. 92............... xxii............................ ................. 41ff...............311ff......... xvi ff.............................................. 20 Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen...... 76........................ 90 Collectio L titulorum........76....... 302ff....... 61............................ composition. relations with Russia........................ 159.................................... 61..... 121.. archives... 72 Capitulare de Villis............ 121....... 312ff.. chern’...................

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

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

Subject Index


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from the beginning (Latin)


see in rem


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


law-sayer (Frisian)


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

avant la lettre

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


noblemen (Georgian)


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


insult, injury


close relatives


nephew (son of one’s brother)


jurisconsults, legal experts (Old Irish)


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


title of patriarch of the Armenian and Georgian churches


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


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


“thousandman” (Greek), see tysiatskii

colluvies gentium

confluence of peoples (Latin)


loan for use (Latin)


imperial laws (Latin)

corpus alienum

foreign body (Latin)

Corpus Iuris Civilis

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


tribute (lit. “gift”)


extended patrilinear family of four generations (Old Irish)


magnates, great nobles (Georgian)


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


(Old Irish) honour-price


kind of fur (Novgorod Skra)


Law in Medieval Russia

Drevneishaia Pravda

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


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


member of druzhina


court, also house

editio princeps

main or basic edition of text

ex nihilo

from, or out of, nothing


(Old Irish) learned class of poets and bards


(Latin) state treasury


(Latin) theft


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


(Latin) spirit uniting and permeating gens


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


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


(dependent) peasants (Georgian)


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


Lord, sovereign, majesty

gradskie zakony

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


charter, document


also gridin, junior member of the druzhina, guard


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


basic monetary unit in Kievan Russia; pound


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


official in German Court in Novgorod (Skra)


court official, bailiff


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


Law Code of Chingis-Khan

Ikh Tsaaz

Law Code of the Oirat Mongols of 1640

in rem

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

in statu nascendi

in the process of being born (Latin)


unlawful action, injury (Latin)

inter vivos

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

Glossary of Russian and Foreign Terms



law-sayer (Latin)


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


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




cellar, storehouse (Novgorod Skra)


junior merchant (Novgorod Skra)


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


prince (etymologically related to “king”); also translated as

Knigi Zakonnye

“Law Books”, Russian collection, of Byzantine origin, of
which the Nomos Georgikos is the main component

koniukh staryi

senior stablemaster


Russian version of the Nomocanon

kormilets, kormilitsa

slaves or unfree persons (male/female), entrusted with care of


sedition, rebellion, treason



krestnoe tselovanie

“kissing the Cross”; standard form of oath in medieval Russia


Old Russian monetary unit


Byzantine title, traditionally borne by Georgian kings


(German) regional head of Teutonic Order


(Middle Low German) travelling to and from Novgorod by
land (Novgorod Skra); also watervart (by water), somervart
(during summer), wintervart, wakevart (by sleigh)

leges barbarorum

ancient laws of Germanic peoples, such as the Salic Law

leges speciales

special laws, in particular three Byzantine laws from the 8th

lóg n-enech

(Old Irish) honour-price


(from Oceanic languages) magical power, strength


(Georgian) chief constable, minister of internal affairs


(Georgian) chief secretary, prime minister


“sword-bearer”, court official, guard


(Georgian) chief treasurer, minister of finance


(Latin) medical expenses (in Frankish law)


(Georgian) king

Merilo Pravednoe

“Just Measure”, medieval Russian legal collection


Law in Medieval Russia


appointment system in Muscovy Russia


place or rank within family and among families
(see mestnichestvo)


village community; peace (treaty)

modus vivendi

intermediate arrangement between opponents


(Georgian) chief marshal, minister of the royal household


representative, lieutenant, of prince


(German) economy in which money plays a secondary role


(Greek) Byzantine collection of ecclesiastical and secular


new laws, in particular as fourth part of the Corpus Iuris


“hearth-man”, steward or other high official of the prince in
Kievan times


Horde (Turkic), division of Mongol empire


(Middle Low German) hitting somebody on the ear


paternal heritage, patrimony (also votchina)


“peace”, with all due respect to (Latin)


collection of excerpts of the classical authors of Roman
jurisprudence, as the major segment of the Corpus Iuris
Civilis; also known as Digesta


(Latin) head of the patrilinear family in Roman law

patria potestas

(Latin) power of the paterfamilias over the members of his

petitio principii

(Latin) about the same as “begging the question”


messenger, courier (of prince), collector of fines


prison (Novgorod Skra, from Russ. pogreb)


wergeld, blood money (Homeric Greek)


law, statute

pokon virnyi

law concerning the vira


winter circuit of the prince, in which tribute was collected


kind of fur (Novgorod Skra)


lieutenant (of prince); mayor (in Novgorod)

posadskie liudi

half-free townspeople in Muscovy Russia


storehouse (Novgorod Skra)

Pravda Iaroslavichei

the Pravda of Iaroslav’s sons

pravovoe gosudarstvo

law-governed state (translation of German Rechtsstaat)

Pravosudie metropolich’e Metropolitan’s Justice (medieval Russian legal collection)

“suburb”, subordinate town

collection tartaros (Greek) underworld tat’ba theft . among Russian princes) stevene (Middle Low German) assembly (Novgorod Skra) stog haystack stove (Middle Low German) dwellings (in Novgorod) sud court. field overseer sisxli (Georgian) blood (money).Glossary of Russian and Foreign Terms 333 principum placita “what has pleased the ruler”. statute (Low German). a series of provisions from the Zakon Sudnyi Liudem. as it should be rezana monetary unit in Kievan Russia riad(y) contract. coeval svod court procedure (in Russkaia Pravda). wergeld Skra law. found in some copies of the Russkaia Pravda schevenisse kind of fur (Novgorod Skra) sel’skii starosta agricultural official of the prince. plowland overseer Razriadnyi Prikaz government department in charge of keeping razriady razriad(y) mestnichestvo register recte (Latin) correctly. rarely: law sudebnik law code sverstnik(i) person of same age. following the reforms of Nikon in the second half of the 17th century ratainyi agricultural official of prince. local German law in Novgorod slovenin inhabitant of Novgorod (in Russkaia Pravda) smerdy dependent peasants solidus. basic legislative monument of Kievan Russia russkie stati “Russian articles”. decisions of the emperor. -i Frankish coinage somervart see lantvart Sovet Gospod Coun