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The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia

The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia

Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 324
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  • Book Info
    The Growth of the Law in Medieval Russia
    Book Description:

    By examining the growth of legal institutions and concepts in Russia from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, Daniel Kaiser shows how the process of legal change reflects a gradual transformation of the political life, social relations, and accepted values of a traditional society.

    Originally published in 1981.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5559-9
    Subjects: Law, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Notions of Law and Legal Development
    (pp. 3-17)

    Despite the political and social turmoil which accompanied the decline of Kiev and the appearance of the Mongol overlords, the period which separated the thirteenth-century Russian code, the Expanded Russkaia Pravda, from the late fifteenth-century Muscovite code, the Sudebnik, was juridically stagnant, if one may judge from the surviving legal sources. While chronicle compilation continued with vigor in these centuries, few legal texts appeared to supplement our understanding of what must have been a period of significant social change. In addition to the dramatic political changes wrought by the growth of Moscow, there is evidence that the law itself underwent...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Sources of the Law
    (pp. 18-61)

    Many of the difficulties which attend the study of medieval Russian law are the result of ambiguities inherent in the texts which survive. Not only are the sources characterized by antique terms, but the regulations themselves are often couched in the most laconic grammatical structures which breed endless debates over origins and meanings. Historians who have successfully piloted a course through these difficulties are often trapped in quagmires of nationalism. The result is an historiography filled with exceptions and qualifications, a patchwork of guesses, surmises, and deductions which obscure the larger issues concerning the nature of juridicial institutions and conceptions....

  6. CHAPTER 3 Sanctions and the Law
    (pp. 62-93)

    As recent studies have shown, the appearance of formal sanctions is closely connected with the maturation of legal structures. Horizontal systems, not disadvantaged by the limits imposed upon large heterogeneous societies, may rely upon informal sanctions to regulate behavior. The relatively small size of the social grouping permits effective advertisement of behavioral norms, and at the same time, emphasizes the effect of deviance.¹ In this context the force of personalized public opinion monitors social norms, and a wide variety of informal actions censures unacceptable behavior.

    Blood revenge, carried out by kin of the aggrieved party, is representative of the earliest...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Development of Judicial Personnel
    (pp. 94-126)

    Vertical legal systems are impossible without the appearance of the third party: the judiciary and its pertinent assistants. Studies based on ethnographic data suggest that the development of a police presence is dependent upon a substantial division of labor and the growth of a money economy. A less clearly defined form of third-party presence, mediation, appears more frequently, and seems to evolve before police institutions, though not necessarily in conjunction with the latter. For example, the use of money shows a much more consistent correlation with societies that have official police enforcement than with societies where mediation remains the strongest...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Patterns of Evidence
    (pp. 127-163)

    The problem of identifying offenders and determining the bases of identification may be resolved in different ways corresponding to the type of legal structure from which redress is sought. As one might expect, under the dominance of customary norms testimony bears an informal character where it is demanded, and often is omitted altogether in questions of delict. Where used, testimony depends to a large degree upon the witness’s reputation in the community rather than upon questions of fact as construed in vertical legal systems. Community consensus suffices to determine the accuracy of an accusation and its retribution (revenge).¹ But this...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Medieval Russian Society and Legal Change
    (pp. 164-188)

    Medieval Russian legal development raises significant questions about early Russian society and its role in altering the law. On the one hand, the persistence of traditional legal formulations, especially outside the urban environments of Novgorod and Pskov, strongly suggests that the society which utilized that law was experiencing no fundamental changes to which the law had to respond. In fact, the thirteenth-century Russkaia Pravda, by comparison with the European so-called barbarian codes of the early Middle Ages, seems relatively antique and unaffected by principles of Roman law such as had altered Germanic law.¹ The comparison implies that late medieval Russian...

    (pp. 189-189)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 190-268)
    (pp. 269-274)
    (pp. 275-304)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 305-308)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 309-309)