A “New” Economic Document of the 15th Century from the Archive of the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius: Dating and Attribution

Alexei Frolov

Abstract


This article considers a document which has survived as an “inset” used during the restoration of act No. 221 (Documents of Socio-Economic History of North-Eastern Rus. Vol. 1). When it was published, it was dated back to the second half of the 16th century, and the toponyms mentioned in it correlated with the names of hamlet from different Russian regions which came to be owned by the Trinity Monastery of St Sergius at different times. Although the geographical position of the toponyms mentioned in the “inset” did not draw researchers’ attention, it gives us reason to reconsider the dating and attribution of the document. The author makes an attempt to localise the toponyms of the “inset”, which enables him to connect it to the settlement of Priseki in the Bezhetsk Upland. Judging by the handwriting of the document, it can be dated back to the 15th century. This does not contradict the history of the hamlet mentioned in the text, which came into the possession of the monastery according to a grant of 1440. The terminology of the document (“dezha”, “kerb’”) is archaic even for the mid‑15th century and reflects the peculiarities of the vocabulary of the upper Volga region and Novgorod lands. It is also important to interpret single words to be able to attribute the text of the “inset”. A comparison of the text of the “inset” with the Novgorod birch bark manuscripts and other sources of the 14th – 16th centuries reveals a circle of documents it could belong to. The results make it possible to treat it as an allocation of peasant payments for the benefit of the monastery. The “inset” is not only a valuable source on the organisation of the economy of the estate of the Lavra of St Sergius: it also contains new data for studying the first stages of state cadastral practices.


Keywords


Trinity Monastery of St Sergius acts; Bezhetsk Upland; country revenues; dating; attribution

References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.4.269

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