The scientific-practical Law Journal
“Almanac of Law” Volume 13 (2022), 291-296 p.
Rominskyi Y. V. The question of peace in medieval domestic international and inter-principal treaties
Solving the current problems of our time is impossible without turning to history. Today, in times of great war, millions of eyes are directed forward, to the unknown post-war future. Without pretending to be able to give any principled advice to contemporaries, the publication introduces how their medieval ancestors stopped wars, concluded peace treaties and organized post-war life.
The Middle Ages of Ukraine are mainly associated with the activities of the East Slavic state formations headed by princes from the Rurik dynasty. Thanks to historical chronicles (so-called Litopys or Letopis) and European archives, a lot of information about peace treaties has been preserved, as well as a certain number of originals or copies of peace treaties of the 10th-14th centuries. Practically all of them are currently published and put into scientific use. Such treaties cover the relations of East Slavic state formations with each other, as well as with other states and state formations: steppe hordes, neighboring kingdoms, church military orders, independent bishoprics and self-governing cities.
From the available historical sources, we learn about the principle of the current treaty, which was that not only in the event of a declaration of war, but also in the event of a change (death, deprivation of power) of the signatory of the treaty (prince, king, khan, Grand Master of the order, etc.), peaceful relations were suspended until the moment of concluding a new contract or the time of sending ambassadors with the proposal of such a contract. There is no agreement – there is no peace, because there is no one who guarantees this peace. This gave rise to the practice of renewing old treaties without revising them, which was based on the principle of respect for antiquity common to all of medieval Europe.
Another principle on which all peace treaties were based is the forgetting of previous grudges. Any conflicts that occurred during the war, during the period of validity of the previous treaty or during the time between the end of the previous treaty and the conclusion of the new one (the so-called rozmir’ya) were to be resolved during the conclusion of peace and in the future there was no need to mention them. Demands to return to consideration of previous conflicts were considered a violation of the treaty and the beginning of war. The Eastern Slavic legal worldview left no room for discussion: there is a time of war (rozmir’ya) and there is a time of peace, which creates a new legal space and should not be burdened by previous conflicts.
The article also highlights information about the possibility of temporary peace agreements, the practice of armistice, the possibility of arbitration, the procedure for compensation to the affected population, the participation of princely people in the contractual process, etc.
Key words: East Slavic state formations, Kyivan Rus, Old Rus, Medieval Law, Old Rus Law, law-making treaty, International treaty, Source of Law, Legal history.
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