Post Mongol Invasion Law

After the Mongol conquest of Russia was over, law seemed to change by putting a focus on a more civilized and fair society rather than “getting even” with another party.  The Pravada Russkaia was created in the eleventh century and is a long list of crimes and set fines to go along with them. There is little organization to this early Russian law code.

The courts are given much of the responsibility when determining which party is at fault, rather than a set list of fines, after the Mongol Invasion. It is the Prince who is always receiving money from the trials regardless. Before in the Pravada Russkaia, crimes such as murder and theft could sometimes be compromised with a fine, however in the Russian Sudebink of 1497 these deeds are all punishable by death. It is interesting to note that the Sudebink does has a “one strike” policy from some crimes such as in Article 10, where it denotes that a thieve is sometimes eligible for a different consequence, rather than death. There were many more references to the religion in the post-Mongol invasion texts. For instance, The Novgorod Judicial Charter states in Article 4a, that one always must “Kiss the Cross”. Also in Article 58 of the Sudebink it acknowledges that foreigners must also “Kiss the Cross”. The use of evidence was key in these trials. It is thought that the litigants had more power in determining the case rather the judge because they were responsible for gathering and presenting evidence.

Post-mongol era laws provided was much more advanced than before and had a goal of limiting corruption and crime, rather than just punishing it.


1.) How good was the value of one’s word? Because there was so much stress on evidence, case witnesses were used a lot. Was this a loophole in the system?

2.) In what ways did the mongols bring light to the issue of corruption? Considering how much of a social hierarchy the Mongols put in place, it was very important to be able to trust your superiors. Were Russian elites that bad?


2 thoughts on “Post Mongol Invasion Law

  1. It seems as though back in these times, religion played a significantly large role in Russian society, as it was a key foundation to Russian culture. To kiss the cross in an oath was something sacred, for lying under such an oath would be lying to the face of God, which would put one’s soul in peril. However, there most likely were some situations where people did not take the oath seriously, but for the most part, the kissing of the cross in front of others was something ensuring complete honesty from all parties.

  2. Within the Sudebnik, it continually emphasizes that no judge shall take any sort of bribe, as it would unquestionably taint the trial and the judicial process. Also, it is interesting to note that the judges were the boyars in the region. Therefore, they are still reigning over the lower class individuals, as well as being the judge in their disputes.

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