Much of what we know about the colourful Russian middle ages comes from legal sources: the treaties of Russian-Scandinavian warlords with the Byzantine emperors, the gradual penetration of Christianity and Byzantine institutions, the endless game of war and peace among the numerous regional princes, the activities of Hanseatic merchants in the wealthy city-republic of Novgorod, the curious relationships between the Mongol conquerors and Russian rulers and church dignitaries, etc. And, at the even further fringes of medieval Europe, there were the Christian kingdoms of Armenia and Georgia, squeezed between the Islamic empires of Iran and Turkey, but each possessing their elaborate and original legal systems. A discussion of more general questions of legal history and legal anthropology precedes the treatment of these various topics.
Ferdinand Feldbrugge is Professor Emeritus of East European Law at Leiden University. From 1973 to 1998, he was director of the Institute of East European Law and Russian Studies and the editor of the
Law in Eastern Europe series and of the
Review of Central and East European Law. He served as Special Advisor Soviet and East European Affairs (“Sovietologist-in-Residence”) to the Secretary-General of NATO from 1987 to 1989 and as President of the International Council for Central and East European Studies from 1995 to 2000.
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