Speaking about the collapse of the clan system and the formation of the communal-territorial structure of Ancient Russia, one must understand that this process was not one-time. It took quite a long period from the end of the XNUMXth to the end of the XNUMXth century, and possibly to the beginning of the XNUMXth century.
It was the community that was the most important factor, as in stories Russia-Russia, and in other European countries, and even in the United States, remaining so today. But the community has undergone a tremendous evolution, undergoing serious changes in different historical conditions. Between the community of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, equality is only in name, since the first is based on a consanguineous principle, and the second is based on an economic principle. And in the period we are considering, it was the genesis of the community that determined the changes from the pre-state structure to the state. But first things first.
The community of Ancient Rus, clan and neighboring, from the XNUMXth to the XNUMXth centuries was built not on an agricultural and economic basis, but on a kindred basis.
This was the case among the Germans before the worldwide migration of peoples, and in the early history of Ancient Rome, etc.
From the middle - the end of the XIV century, with the formation of a new period in the development of Russia and with the emergence of the peasant as an agricultural producer, communities began to regulate, first of all, agrarian relations, which was reflected in the documents (petitions) of this period.
And they were akin to the German mark community of the Western European Middle Ages.
A similar period among the Germanic peoples who seized the lands of the Western Roman Empire began in the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries, depending on the region.
The new political system, which has become ubiquitous in Russia, is known to most readers as the "republican" system of Novgorod. Without its registration, the historical progress, which we know about from the monuments of architecture and literature that have come down to us of that time, would have been impossible.
Everywhere in Russia, the city with the volost gradually became (instead of a tribe or tribal principality) a new territorial political unit, which, by analogy with Greek city-states, researchers called a city-state (I. Ya. Froyanov and historians of his school).
Any Russian city, regardless of the way it was formed, acquired or had such a structure. There were many descendants of the Rurikovichs, and they all found cities for themselves. You can see how some of the princes moved throughout Russia: from Novgorod to Tmutarakan. We repeat, the structure that we traditionally know from Novgorod has been present in all cities of Russia since the XNUMXth century.
An analogy can be drawn here with the formation of city-states of Indo-European peoples, primarily in ancient Italy and Greece. The city-state of Ancient Greece was formed by the Greek conquering tribes during the period of land capture and colonization.
Unlike the Germans of the period of the neighboring community of the XNUMXth-XNUMXth centuries, in whom the formation of pre-state institutions took place on lands belonging to the Roman civilization (synthetic theory), seriously cultivated, having a system of cities, fortresses and roads, scientific knowledge and Roman law!
The city-states of the Eastern Slavs, as political structures of the communal-territorial system, were formed along the paths of colonization, in the "deserts" - forests, where everything happened from scratch. And this is important to remember.
Merya and Slavic colonization
Using the example of the Finno-Ugric tribe Merya, we will consider the process of colonization and assimilation in the north-east of Eastern Europe. Merya was one of the participants in the "vocation of the Varangians", this tribe took part in Oleg's campaign to the south, Smolensk and Kiev. This tribal union occupied the territory of the Volga-Klyazmensky interfluve, the modern regions of Yaroslavl, Suzdal, Rostov. And the tribal center, Sarskoe settlement, was located on about. Nero.
Beaver paws. Items of pagan worship. IX-XI centuries Historical Museum of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery. Yaroslavl. Photo by the author.
The Slavs in these lands quickly arose fortified settlements, colonization was carried out by Slavic clans, mainly from the north-west. But from the land of the Krivichi, and from the south, there is a consolidation of newcomers. All Slavic "grads" are located on the territory densely populated by the merey. As archaeological data show, the Slavs did not initially mix with the Meray, but settled in separate villages. At the end of the 16th - beginning of the XNUMXth century, as the Slavic Rostov increased (XNUMX hectares of area), the Sarskoye settlement fell into decay.
And with the beginning of the 1071th century, the fortified Meryan settlements disappear (Sarskoye, Malo-Davydovskoye, possibly Tenkovskoye and Yakimanskoye settlements), the tribal structure is destroyed, the Meryas become tributaries or smerds, slaves-fisk of Suzdal (the excitement of smerds from Chud in XNUMX in the Suzdal land ), which leads to its disappearance or dissolution in the Slavic environment.
How was the community formed?
So, with the fall of the clan system, a neighboring community begins to form. How it is formed can be seen on the example of Novgorod.
Initially, the population in Novgorod was divided into city sides. Archaeological data show that the boyar landholdings or the possessions of the first clans had a clan, generic character.
In the period from X to XIV centuries. they occupied the same plots, and the territories between them began to be built up from the XI-XII centuries.
Since the 80s of the XII century, the city ends have been formed.
Near the ends there is a "hundredth" system. The centenary system is a clear sign not of a generic, but of a territorial-communal military organization. Centennial and Konchansk systems form a striped strip in the city.
Thus, in the XI-XII centuries. the formation of a territorial community takes place, where a neighboring community appears next to the tribal clans.
A similar structure was formed in ancient Rome of the same period, when next to the clan community, headed by the heads of clans, patricians, a neighboring community of plebeians was formed.
In the course of the disintegration of clan relations, somewhere she died under the blows of Russia, and somewhere the old nobility was modified. Large families united in a community (rope) outside the city, and in the cities in the streets and ends. The city and rural districts were a single and inseparable whole: there was no division into "peasants" and "townspeople".
Kiev at the beginning of the XI century became "a huge and rich" medieval city, in which there were 400 churches, 8 fairs, "and people - an unknown number." The city was inhabited not only by the Slavs, there were also Varangians from all over Scandinavia, merchants from different countries. But even such a very large city as Kiev was a “big village”. The agrarian primitive economy was absolute in this society.
So, new orders come to replace generic relations. And the tribe is being replaced by a volost, principality or city-state, to use the modern term. This process takes a long time.
The land was the property of the entire parish, as in ancient Rome... The princes and squads, as extraterritorial structures, did not have land ownership, but lived at the expense of military booty and income from tribute. Land ownership appears in the hands of princes only from the middle of the XIII century. The few land purchase transactions that we know with certainty are only evidence of land acquired for monasteries and churches.
The popular assembly of all free armed men or veche was a form of government for the entire volost or land, city-state or community, in modern scientific language, as before the entire tribe.
This period can be designated as the time of popular rule or veche and direct democracy. Gradually, it was with the growth of the importance and strength of the armed militia, warriors, that the city-state was strengthened and formed as a politically independent structure.
Only in such conditions could mass literacy of the population emerge, which we know from the Novgorod birch bark letters, testifying to the business, economic, everyday and even love correspondence of the townspeople. This phenomenon was not only in Novgorod, but everywhere and in all lands of Russia.
Veche, as the "highest form of government" of the city, did not have a permanent, established form. Life did not require such actions. And there was no need to “churn out laws” without stopping, as in our days. A veche or a meeting of all free people most often gathered on the most important problems, during periods of crisis caused by external threats or internal abuses, which is reflected in the annals when the "executive power" was lost and led management into a dead end.
The importance of the prince also changed, which from a representative of the Russian land, its governor, turned into an executive power that did not have supreme right.
In everyday life, management was carried out by the city's elected officials. The prince was the head of the army, the defender of the volost through his squad and "thousand" - the city militia, personally headed the courts.
In the conditions of continued colonization and the struggle for tributes between the principalities, the presence of public power with the prince at the head ensured success in the struggle.
New Russian outposts of colonization and defense against external threats are being laid. Under Prince Yaroslav (Yuri) the Wise in the XNUMXth century, the city of Yaroslavl in Volyn, Yuryev in Estonia (the modern city of Tartu), Yuryev on the steppe border, Yaroslavl on the Volga, on the border with the Finno-Ugrians were founded.
When Pskov fell under the control of Novgorod, the Novgorodians had the opportunity to collect tributes from the Estonian Chudi and Latgalians (Latvia). The tribute that had previously gone to Russia, to Kiev, passed to them. At the same time, Novgorod, Polotsk, Smolensk are fighting for tribute from the border Baltic and Finnish tribes. And Novgorod and Suzdal for tribute from the Finno-Ugric tribes. Many of these tributes used to go to Russia in Kiev.
The prince was provided with a "salary" at the expense of vire and sales (fines and fees), as well as tribute from other cities. Not without abuse by the "primitive" executive power.
With the development of the volost, the importance of the city militia as a combat unit increased. And this forced the princes to reckon more and more with the decisions of the townspeople.
In 1015, Yaroslav, in order to take revenge on the Novgorodians who had beaten the Varangian mercenaries, interrupted the Novgorod "deliberate husbands", as the Laurentian Chronicle reports, or "fought the best thousand," as the Novgorod 1st Chronicle concretizes. But, having learned about the threat from Kiev, he was forced to apply for military assistance to the veche.
In 1021, Mstislav Vladimirovich defeated his brother Yaroslav the Wise with the help of the tribal militia of the northerners, he could not take Kiev, because the Kiev community did not accept him, and he did not have the strength to cope with it.
Boris and Gleb. First Russian Saints. Icon. XIII century Kiev Museum of Russian Art. Kiev.
The task of the community was to have its own military and "executive power", to tie the prince to the volost. It often did not coincide with the views of the prince, who sought to find a better "table" for himself, to show courage in the war. A war that could also be contrary to the interests of the city.
This happened with the situation around the tribute from the Livs, the ancestors of modern Latvians, when the Germans founded their outpost in this land - Riga. Tribute from the Livs went to Prince Vladimir of Polotsk (d. 1216), and not to the community of Polotsk, and was a payment for the performance of his duties. At the critical moment of the German expansion, he was not supported by the townspeople, who did not see their advantage in the struggle for tribute from the Livs, and with the forces of one princely squad he could not resist the Livs and the military organization of the crusaders. This led to the loss of Livonia by the Russians in 1206.
A situation arose when the prince could conduct hostilities only with the support of the militia, without his participation it was impossible to achieve sensitive successes. The prince, sometimes in spite of the "row", evaded the performance of his duties as a judge, transferring this function to the tiuns, and often seriously abused his power. Gradually, in the course of the struggle, a mechanism is built up when the city community expels the princes, or, in modern language, refuses their services. It was defined by the expression "the path is clear."
Economic and social shifts
With the disintegration of the clan, with the emergence of a neighboring community, the process of separating a craft began, the division of labor began, but all these processes were just incipient. Written legislation is being created, it was a record of customary law and a record of changes taking place in Russia.
The monetary system of Russia, a system of measures and weights that bears a regional imprint, is being formed. There is credit and usury, interest rates, both trade and guest (long-distance trade) are developing, Russian trading posts appear in Constantinople, Crimea, guests reach the Middle East.
During this transitional period, on the one hand, many pre-class orders that came from the tribal period continue to play an important role. At the same time, the moments associated with property stratification are gaining momentum.
So, for the campaign of Yaroslav against Svyatopolk and Boleslav in 1025, Novgorodians "began to collect money from the husband for 4 kunas, and from the elders for 10 hryvnias, and from the boyars for 18 hryvnias," and when the tribute from the captured Kiev was divided, everyone received equal shares. The principle continues to work, when the power of bigger husbands is determined by how much wealth they distribute: the more, the more powerful the giver.
On the other hand, Prince Svyatoslav Yaroslavovich in 1075, who, unlike his ancestor Svyatoslav Igorevich, admired weapons and who despised gold, boasted of wealth to the German ambassadors, and received an answer from them:
“It costs nothing, because it lies dead. Better than this are warriors. After all, men will get more than that. "
In addition to free and non-free (slaves from foreign tribes), a number of semi-free categories appeared. For example, outcasts appear (people who have lost contact with the community), including among the princes.
With the disappearance of the protection provided by the clan, there appears a category of slaves from tribesmen - slaves. Before that, there was no such phenomenon as servitude in Russia. Prince Vladimir Monomakh (d. 1125) carried out a reform to limit interest and streamline the process of transition of a free person to slavery, servitude, due to debts.
The consequence of the emergence of the neighboring community was the formation and permanent formation of new volosts and city-states, fighting for their independence from the Russian land, headed by Kiev, with the older towns of the volost and among themselves. It was an endless "parade of sovereignties", and the growth of the princely family contributed to this.
The presence of a large number of military leaders was the most important condition for the emergence of early state or pre-state institutions, which is observed during this period.
The desire of the city-states to secede and leave both from under the authority of Kiev and from under their older cities was reinforced by the presence of princes with squads ready to lead the executive and judicial authorities in the cities.
The Christianization of the lands continues, and the growth of church building is caused by the desire of the city-states to have their own sacred centers. An attempt to get their own metropolitans is also connected with this movement. So, if Russia was able to get the Russian, and not the Greek, metropolitan from Constantinople, then other cities are trying to rebuild themselves from the spiritual hegemony of Kiev.
And this is evidenced by the defeat by the militia of the northern cities of St. Sophia itself in Kiev. This was not an act of blasphemy or the simple fury of the warriors who took the enemy city. The roots here are much deeper, in the mentality of the people of this period, when the temples of hostile cities were looked at, first of all, as their spiritual centers, the defeat of which destroyed the sacred protection, deprived the city of divine protection.
We also observe the strengthening of the community's ideological independence among other peoples. For example, in the Italian city-states of the early Middle Ages. But it takes place within a different social framework of the already class state in Italy.
All this contributed to the fragmentation of lands, naturally turning Russia into a conglomerate of volosts, lands or city-states, even completely microscopic.
To sum up. The unification of the Eastern Slavs into a super-union under the leadership of Russia led to the fall of the clan system and the transition to a neighboring community, the political form of which was the city-state.
The territorial-communal structure naturally led to the constant fragmentation of large political structures.
A system of direct, primitive democracy was only possible within a limited number of participating citizen citizens.
It was a natural process of sovereignty. And the complaints of the chroniclers about the former unity of the Russian land only misled many researchers, since this unity was conditional. And it disintegrated immediately with the fall of tribal isolation.
Because during this historical period and on such a vast, but scarce territory of resources, there were no mechanisms or systems of governance that could bring together all the Russian principalities. And there could not be such a goal: why do this?
Each Russian land independently coped with external military pressure, even with steppe raids, absolutely incomparable with the threats that arose after the Tatar-Mongol invasion.
How this process took place on the example of specific lands, we will consider in the next article.
List of historical sources and literature:
Laurentian Chronicle. PSRL. T. I. M., 1997.
Novgorod First Chronicle. PSRL. T. III. M., 2000.
Chronicle of Gallus Anonymous // Shchaveleva N.I. Polish Latin-speaking medieval sources. M., 1990.
Titmar of Merzebursky. Chronicles. Translated by I.V.Dyakonov. M., 2005.
Granberg Y. Veche in Old Russian Written Sources: Functions and Terminology. // The most ancient states of Eastern Europe, 2004. M., 2006.
Kotyshev D.M.On the written tradition of concluding land transactions in Ancient Rus: an epigraphic commentary // Eastern Europe in antiquity and the Middle Ages. XXVIII. M., 2016.
Laurentian Chronicle. PSRL. T. I. M., 1997. S. 140; Novgorod First Chronicle. PSRL. T. III. M., 2000.
Nasonov A. N. "Russian land" and the formation of the territory of the Old Russian state. M., 1951.
Neusykhin A. I. The emergence of the dependent peasantry in Western Europe in the VI-VIII centuries. M., 1956.
Ryabinin E.A.Finno-Ugric tribes in the structure of Ancient Russia. Publishing House of St. Petersburg University. SPb., 1997.
Froyanov I. Ya. Dvornichenko A. Yu. City-states of Ancient Rus. L., 1988.
Froyanov I. Ya. Ancient Russia. Experience in researching the history of social and political struggle. M., St. Petersburg. 1995.
Khrustalev D.G. Northern Crusaders. Russia in the Struggle for Spheres of Influence in the Eastern Baltic, XII-XIII centuries. SPb., 2018.
Yanin V.L. Medieval Novgorod. M., 2004.
To be continued ...