The Iroslav Statutes

In addition Pravda Russkaia law code, the Iroslav Statutes were also written at approximately the same time period in the 11th century. The Iroslav Statues, however, focus more on offences dealing with social issues, particularly those that involve women in some fashion.  These laws thus help determine how prominent a role in society gender played was well as sexual behavior among men and women, as well as societies social values.

With a vast majority of these statutes dealing with women, a number of conclusion can be drawn about their place in society.  It can immediately be determined that women of no power, i.e. peasants and slaves, were not deemed very valuable to the general populace.  Statute 3 states that in a boyar’s wife is raped, then the offender must pay 5 grivnas.  If the woman is not related to a boyar, then the punishment is only 1 grivna.  This shows how little women were valued, as even a woman of stature had a meager fine of 5 grivnas.  However, statute 4 states that a boyar must pay a massive 300 grivnas for “throwing out his wife” (50).  Comparatively, if a peasant man does the same crime, he must only pay 1 grivna.

Religion also played a sizable role in the creation of these statutes.  The largest statute, by far, is that describing the reasons in which a man may divorce his wife (but not a wife from her husband).  These 6 causes are heavily influenced by Christianity including the wife “goes to the pagan dances either in the day or at night” (53).  Another statute that in driven by religion is statute 48, which states priests, nuns, and monks may not be publicly intoxicated.

There are a number of interesting similarities and differences between the Iroslav Statutes and the Pravda Russkaia.  One similarity is that of the specific mentioning of arson, which carries a rather substantial fine in both documents.  Another similarity is that of the usage of almost exclusively fines for the reparations of the crimes.  Both of these also utilize the grivna currency.  One interesting difference with the fines however, is that the Iroslav explicitly states that a portion of the fine is to be paid to the metropolitan.  This state fine is exclusive to the Iroslav Statutes, as it is not stated whether all, some, or no amount of money is to be paid to the state within the Pravda Russkaia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *