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Medieval Novgorodian World Viewpoint in Election by Drawing Lots

Hwang, Sung-Woo 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Novgorod was one of the most important cities in medieval Russia. It served as one of the strategic space in trade routes from Baltic sea to Black sea. And so Novgorod became one of the wealthiest cities in Russia during the Middle Ages. In 1156 Novgorodians dismissed their prince, kniaz. From then they had elected their prince by themselves in veche, or city-assembly of Novgorod. Novgorod's veche itself chose not only prince, but also posadnik(mayor), tysiatskii(military commander), bishop, archbishop. This unique method continued to the end of Novgorodian independence in 1478. After Moscow principality took control of the Novgorod, this tradition disappeared. The important is that veche enabled it to select their leaders. However, the reason for calling Novgorod as democratic state is that it is not veche, but their mental mechanism. Taking account of the facts, that all the citizens in Novgorod took part in election, and bishop or archbishop were chosen by drawing lots, Novgorodians had kept in mind the principle 'isonomia,' that is to say all are equal before the law. In the long run, despite of medieval limitation that veche is thought to have considered of the major landholders in the Novgorodian lands except for slaves in the city, we can consider medieval Novgorod as democratic state.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.