Rominskyi Ye. V. Discussion questions of the treaty practice in the Kievan Rus

Rominskyi Ye. V. Discussion questions of the treaty practice in the Kievan Rus

Historical reality charges the legal science with difficult and challenging tasks. The legal science is primarily directed at the explanation of the existing realia and creation of the basis for improvement of the legislation. At the same time in certain historical periods the reality was radically different from the modern time. And the further we go from the modern time in the studies of the historic reality the more differences we see. This article addresses exactly such a problem.

Regulation of legal relations on the local level in conditions of the legislation particularism characteristic for the Middle Ages was usually carried out either through direct decision making by the lowest level representatives of the state administration system (creation of a local precedent), or based on a free treaty between the parties (local law-making treaties). The article addresses certain types of treaties that regulated the social relations on the local level, i.e. relations inside the clan, relations between clans and contacts between the representatives of different clans in the time of the Kievan Rus. The term ‘clan’ in this case is used as a synonym to the notion of ‘patronymia’.

Specific nature of the medieval local treaties, as well as their regional character has led to the fact that their texts are mostly not reflected at all in the archives of the central government authorities. As a result – they are extremely rare. We only have a general idea about many of such treaties. The objects of this research are those of these treaties, the texts of which are nonextant and can’t be reconstructed with the help of other documents.

The author reviewed the reports about treaties that regulated relations connected with the institution of slavery, and namely treaties regarding marrying a female slave, treaties regulating the status of ‘tiuny’ and ‘klyuchnyky’, as well as treaties of self-sale into slavery with a right of buy-out. Next, there was a review of reports about treaties regarding the labor relations between independent workers and employers. Facts were given that with certainty confirm the existence of such treaties which had been considered unlikely in such a historical period for a long time. Finally, reports about treaties between war prisoners and their capturers were analyzed. The records about them are extremely limited, therefore the version about such treaties stays unconfirmed.

Rather apart stands the problem of treaties between the members of one clan. Existence of such treaties as a traditional Slavic institution was noted by scientists a long time ago. At the same time before there have never been any attempts to combine these records with the material of the Kievan Rus era. Which has been done in this work within the general problem statement.

Vastness of such topic as the regulation of local legal relations through treaties doesn’t allow us to highlight all the nuances of such regulation in a short review. Therefore, this work acts rather as introductory for further research.

Key words: history of state and law, Kievan Rus, medieval law, sources of law, law-making treaty, Birch bark manuscripts, slavery.

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