Guimon T. V. Community names in the First Novgorodian Chronicle and the territorial structure of the Novgorodian Land (1115–1272)

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Tags: Annals, Old Rus, the Middle Ages, community names, the Novgorodian Land, Finno-Ugric peoples, tribes, the First Chronicle of Novgorod, Commentarii / Articles

Title of the article

Community names in the First Novgorodian Chronicle and the territorial structure of the Novgorodian Land (1115–1272)

Authors Guimon, Timofey Valentinovich — State Academic University for Human Science, Moscow, Russia, Doctor in History, Senior Researcher, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In the section Commentarii / Articles
Year 2015 Issue 2 Pages 134-151
Type of article RAR Index UDK 9.94 Index BBK 63.3(2)4
Abstract There are only few written sources which present direct information on the territorial structure of early Rus, and in this situation the evidence of the Rus chronicles (annals) is of primary importance. In particular, it is interesting to study from this point of view the annalistic usage of community names ― those of ‘tribal’ entities, dwellers of cities and towns (‘the Kievans’, ‘the Novgorodians’), etc., those entities being often presented in the annals as actors. The paper is dedicated to an analysis of the usage of such community names inside the Novgorodian Land (‘the Novgorodians’, the dwellers of districts or Novgorod, the dwellers of towns subordinate to Novgorod, the Finnish-speaking ‘tribes’, ‘all the Novgorodian Land’) in the text of the First Novgorodian Chronicle for 1115–1272. The author follows the functions in which such communities can act: it is shown that in most of the cases the community names designate collective actors, and only rarely the meaning is ‘some members of the community’. A community can act as an army, as a
political body (which can, for example, invite or depose a prince), as a side in a conflict; it can be away from the city (as ‘the Novgorodians’ in 1211 and 1217, and ‘the Pskovians’ in 1213), etc. The following structure of the Novgorodian Land can be deduced from the analysis of the annalistic usage of the community names: the Land consists of Novgorod, the leading city (inside which, in turn there are ‘sides’, ‘ends’, and ‘streets’ which also can act in events), several subordinate towns (Pskov, Ladoga, Torzhok, Rusa, Luki, Volok Lamsky [?]) and three Finno-Ugric ‘tribes’ (the Vods, the Izhora, and the Korela). The status of the towns and the ‘tribes’ seems to be similar in many respects, as well as the character of references to them in the annals. Such uneven structure (towns and ‘tribes’) was characteristic not only for the Novgorodian Land: in the Chernigov Land there were the Vyatichi next to towns; similar is the position of the Golyad in the Smolensk Land. No rural community names are used in the Novgorodian annals, though a few times we meet geographical terms designating large areas. The question of administrative status of rural periphery of the Novgorodian Land must be answered on the base of other data: in the annals the Land is made up only of towns and ‘tribes’.
Keywords Novgorod, Old Rus, the Middle Ages, community names, the Novgorodian Land, Finno-Ugric peoples, tribes, the First Chronicle of Novgorod, annals
Full text version of the article. Article language English
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