The Primary Chronicle dates the peace treaty to 945, but the mention of Roman’s name in the treaty indicates the year 944, as in December 944, Roman was overthrown by his sons, Stephen and Constantine, whom the new emperor Constantine VII promptly removed from power.
The treaty had two versions – one in Greek (not preserved) and one in Old Church Slavonic. As the conclusion of the Rus’-Byzantine War of 941-944, the treaty largely repeated the provisions of the earlier treaty of Oleg the Prophet with Byzantium of 911, but there were also some significant changes.
Main provisions and differences from Oleg’s treaty
To simplify perception, let us present the main points of the treaty in the wording of S.M. SolovievS. M. Solovyov, “Russian History”, volume 1. ch. 5:
- Previously, envoys wore golden seals, while guests wore silver ones; now they must show a letter from their prince, in which he must write that he sent a certain number of ships: this way, the Greeks will know that Rus has come in peace. And if they come without a letter, the Greeks will hold them until they deal with the Russes prince; if the Russes resist with armed force, they may be killed, and the prince should not demand compensation from the Greeks for this. If they flee back to Rus, the Greeks will report it to the Russes prince, and he will deal with the fugitives as he sees fit. This is a new restriction that is not found in the Oleg treaty.
- After the repetition of Oleg’s conditions on the place of residence and maintenance of Russian envoys and guests, the following article is added: a person from the Greek government will be assigned to deal with disputes between Russes and Greeks. Russes merchants who enter the city are not allowed to buy “pavoloks”Pavoloka – silk or paper fabric, in those days
considered a value and a subject of frequent bargaining
between the Rus and the Byzantines. for more than 50 zolotniki;“Yes, they don’t have a volost, buy more pavoloks for
50 spools.” According to Liutprand, foreigners were
forbidden to take the most expensive fabrics out of
Constantinople. – Karamzin, citing the testimony
of Liutprand himself (I, note 350), despite the fact
he translates the article of the agreement as follows:
her seal of her own ”(N. M. Karamzin, History of the
Russian State, vol. I, SPb. 1816, p. 152, p. 416,
note 350; PSRL, vol. I, issue 1, p. 49.).; all purchased furs must be shown to a Greek official, who will mark them. This restriction is not found in the Oleg treaty.
- According to the new treaty, the Russes were not allowed to winter at St. Mamy; this condition is also not found in the Oleg treaty. However, even in that treaty, the prince demanded that guests be provided for only 6 months.
- If a slave runs away from Rus or from Russes living at St. Mamy and is found, the owners have the right to take him back; but if he is not found, the Russes must swear, both Christians and non-Christians, according to their own laws, that the slave did indeed escape to GreeceAnother indication of the previous conditions on which
Igor reconciled., and then they will take the price of the slave – two pavoloks.
- If a Greek slave runs away to the Russes with stolen property, both the slave and the stolen property must be returned, and those who return them receive two gold coins as a reward.
- In case of theft, the thief on both sides will be strictly punished according to Greek law and will return not only the stolen property but also its value. If the stolen item is found for sale, then the thief must pay double the price. The Oleg’s treaty does not mention the punishment of the thief, only the return of the stolen property. In the Igor’s treaty, the Greeks give power to their law, which requires the punishment of the criminalHere I do not accept the reading of the Lavra, the
list: “According to the charter and according
to the Russian law,” because in Russian law
there is no punishment for a thief. Other lists have
only: “According to the charter of Gretsky” (PSRL,
vol. I, pp. 2J, 22. See also PSRL, vol. I, issue 1,
1826, stb. 50, 51.)..
- If the Russens bring Christian prisoners, they pay them 10 gold coins for a good boy or girl, 8 for an adult, and 5 for an old person or child. The Russes redeem their own prisoners for 10 gold coins. However, if a Greek buys a Russes prisoner, he takes the price he paid, kissing the cross as proof of fairness..
- The Russes prince has no right to fight for the region of Chersonesus and its cities; this country is not subject to Rus’.
- In case of necessity, both sides undertake to help with troops.
- If the Russes find a Greek ship stranded on some shore, they must not harm the people on board; otherwise, the offender is subject to Russes and Greek law. Here, again, Greek law is next to Russes law. The positive obligation of the Oleg’s treaty is replaced by a negative one – just not to harm the Greeks.
- The Russes must not harm the inhabitants of Chersonesus who catch fish in the mouth of the Dnieper River. The Russes cannot winter in the mouth of the Dnieper, in the Beloberezhye area, and near St. Eferia, but when autumn comes, they must return home to Rus’.
- The Greeks want the Russes prince not to allow the black (Danube) Bulgarians to fight the country of Chersonesus.
- If a Greek offends a Russ, the Russes must not execute the offender by self-government; the Greek government punishes him.«Ци аще ключится проказа никака от Грек, сущих под властью царства нашего, да не имать (да не имате) власти казнити я, но повеленьем царства нашего да примет, якоже будет створил»(PSRL, vol. I, pp. 2J, 22. See also PSRL, vol. I, issue 1, 1826, pp. 50, 51.). And this is followed by the condition that in the event of a murder, the relatives of the murdered person do not have the right to kill the murderer, but to keep him only so that later the government will have the opportunity to execute him by death: «Аще убьеть хрестеянин русина или русин хрестеянина и да держим будет створивый убийство от ближних убьеного, да убьють»
(ibid.). Whereas the Oleg Treaty explicitly states
that the killer must die on the spot..
The Text of the Treaty
The text of the treaty is given in the Tale of Bygone Years as follows:
«The list of the treaty concluded under the reign of the pious lords Roman, Constantine, and Stefan.
We, envoys and merchants of the Russes people, Ivor, envoy of Igor, the Grand Prince of Rus’, and common envoys: Vuestaf of Sviatoslav, son of Igor; Iskusevi of Princess Olga; Sludy of Igor, Igor’s nephew; Uleb of Volodislav; Kanitsar of Predslava; Shikhbern Sfandr of the wife of Uleb; Prasten Tudorov; Libiar Fastov; Grim Sfirkov; Prasten Akun, Igor’s nephew; Kary Tudkov; Karshav Tudorov; Egri Evliskov; Voist Voikov; Istr Aminodov; Prasten Bernov; Yavtyag Gunarev; Shibrid Aldan; Kol Klekov; Steggi Etonov; Sfirk…; Alvad Gudov; Fudri Tuadov; Mutur Utin; merchants Adun, Adulb, Iggivlad, Uleb, Frutan, Homol, Kutsi, Emig, Turobid, Furosten, Bruny, Roald, Gunastyr, Frasten, Iggeld, Turbern, Mone, Ruald, Sven, Styr, Aldan, Tilen, Apubexar, Vuzlev, Sinko, Borich, sent by Igor, the Grand Prince of Rus’, and by every prince, and by all the people of the Russes land. And they were charged with renewing the old peace, which had been broken for many years by the devil, who hates good and loves enmity, and establishing love between Greeks and Russes
Our Grand Prince Igor and his boyars and all the Russes people sent us to Roman, Constantine, and Stefan, the great Greek kings, to conclude a union of love with the kings themselves, with all the boyars, and with all the Greek people for all the years that the sun shines and the world stands. And whoever from the Russian side shall conceive of breaking this love, let those among them who have been baptized receive retribution from God Almighty, condemnation to destruction in the afterlife, and those among them who have not been baptized, let them have no help from God or Perun, let them not be able to defend themselves with their own shields, and let them perish by their own swords, arrows, and other weapons, and let them be slaves throughout their afterlife.”
Let the Grand Prince of Rus’ and his boyars send as many ships with envoys and merchants to the Greek land as they wish, according to the established protocol. Previously, envoys brought golden seals and merchants brought silver [seals], but now your prince has ordered to send letters to us, the kings. The envoys and guests they send should bring a letter stating that they have sent such and such number of ships, so that we may know they have come in peace. If they arrive without a letter and are caught by us, we will hold them under surveillance until we inform your prince. If they resist, we will kill them, and their deaths will not be avenged by your prince. If they escape and return to Rus’, we will write to your prince, and they may do as they wish. If the Russes come not for trade, they shall not take provisions. Your prince shall punish his envoys and those who come to our land so that they do not commit violence in our villages and country. And when they arrive, let them live near the church of Saint Mammon, and then we, the kings, will send someone to record their names, and they shall take the monthly tribute – the tribute of the envoys and the merchants’ tribute, starting from those from the city of Kiev, then from Chernigov, Pereyaslavl, and other cities. They shall enter the city through one gate only, accompanied by 50 unarmed men of the king’s retinue, and trade as much as they need before leaving. Our king shall guard them, and if anyone from the Russes or Greeks commits wrongdoing, he shall judge the case. When the Russes enter the city, they shall not cause harm and shall not have the right to buy cloths for more than 50 zolotniki. If someone buys such cloths, he shall show them to the king’s man, who will affix his seals and give them. Those Russes who depart from here shall take from us all they need for their journey and for their boats, as previously established, and return safely to their country without wintering near Saint Mammon.
If a servant runs away from the Russes, let them come for him to our kingdom. If he is found near Saint Mammon, they shall take him, but if he is not found, our Russes Christians shall swear on their faith, and non-Christians shall swear according to their law, and then they shall take their price from us, as previously established, two cloths per servant.
If any of our royal subjects, or citizens of our city, or any other cities flee to you and bring something with them, they should return it; and if what they brought is intact, they shall pay two gold coins for the capture.
If any Russes attempts to take anything from our royal people, they shall be severely punished; if they do take something, they shall pay double; and if a Greek does the same to a Russes, they shall receive the same punishment as the Russ.
If something is stolen from a Russes by a Greek or vice versa, not only should the stolen item be returned, but also its price. If the stolen item has already been sold, its price shall be returned twofold, and the thief shall be punished according to Greek law and the Russes law and statutes.
No matter how many Christian prisoners of our subjects are brought by the Russes, our people shall give 10 gold coins for a good youth or maiden and take them, and if they are of middle age, they shall give them 8 gold coins and take them. If they are old or children, they shall give 5 gold coins for them.
If the Russes are enslaved by the Greeks, and if they are prisoners, the Russes shall redeem them for 10 gold coins. If it turns out that they were purchased by the Greeks, the Greek should swear on the cross and take their price, whatever they paid for the captive.
As for the land of Cherson, the Russes prince has no right to wage war in those lands or any of its cities, and the land shall not be subjugated to you. However, when the Russes prince requests our warriors to fight, we shall give him as many as he needs.
And about this: if a Russes found a Greek ship, stranded on a shore in somewhere, no harm should be done to it. However, if someone takes something from it, enslaves someone on it, or kills someone on it, they will be tried under Russes and Greek law.
If Korsunian fishermen are saw by the Russes in the mouth of the Dnieper River, they should not be harmed.
Russians are not allowed to winter in the mouth of the Dnieper, on the White Coast, or near St. Elferiya; they must return home to Rus with the onset of autumn.
And about these: if black Bulgarians come and start fighting in the land of Korsun, we order the Russes prince not to let them in, otherwise they will cause harm to his land.
If a Greek, one of our royal subjects, commits a crime, you do not have the right to punish them, but they must be punished according to our royal decree.
If our Russ subject kills a Greek or a Greek kills our Russ subject, then the victim’s relatives should be detained the killer and killed him.
If the killer escapes and hides but has property, the relatives of the victim should take his property; if the killer is penniless and still on the run, they should search for him until he is found, and when he is found, he should be killed.
If a Rus strikes a Greek with a sword, spear, or other weapon, then the offender must pay 5 liters of silver according to Russes law. If the offender is penniless, then everything he own should be sold, including the clothes he is wearing. If there is still not enough to pay, he must swear an oath of their faith that he have nothing left, and only then will he be released.
If we, the kings, desire to have your warriors against our enemies, let us write to your grand prince, and he will send us as many as we wish. Then people in other countries will know the love that Greeks and Russens have for each other.
We have written this treaty on two charters. One is kept by us, the kings, with our names and a cross written on it, and the other has the names of your envoys and merchants. When our royal envoys depart, they should be escorted to the grand prince of Rus’, Igor, and his people. They will receive the charter and swear to truthfully uphold what we agreed and wrote on this charter, which bears our names.
Those of us who are baptized have sworn in the cathedral church, before the holy cross and this charter, to uphold everything written in it and not to violate it. If anyone in our country violates this, be they a prince or anyone else, baptized or not, they shall not receive help from God and shall be a slave in their afterlife, and they shall be slain by their own weapon.
Unbaptized Russes lay down their shields and bare swords, rings, and other weapons to swear that everything written in this charter will be upheld by Igor, all the boyars, and all the people of the Rus’ land for all future years and always.
If any prince or person, Christian or non-Christian, violates what is written in this charter, they shall deserve to die by their own weapon and be cursed by God and Perun for breaking their oath.
And if this faithful love is preserved for the benefit of Igor, the grand prince, let it not be broken as long as the sun shines and the whole world stands, in the present and in all future times»Tale of Bygone Years.
- S. M. Solovyov, “Russian History”, volume 1. ch. 5
- Pavoloka – silk or paper fabric, in those days considered a value and a subject of frequent bargaining between the Rus and the Byzantines.
- “Yes, they don’t have a volost, buy more pavoloks for 50 spools.” According to Liutprand, foreigners were forbidden to take the most expensive fabrics out of Constantinople. – Karamzin, citing the testimony of Liutprand himself (I, note 350), despite the fact he translates the article of the agreement as follows: her seal of her own ”(N. M. Karamzin, History of the Russian State, vol. I, SPb. 1816, p. 152, p. 416, note 350; PSRL, vol. I, issue 1, p. 49.).
- Another indication of the previous conditions on which Igor reconciled.
- Here I do not accept the reading of the Lavra, the list: “According to the charter and according to the Russian law,” because in Russian law there is no punishment for a thief. Other lists have only: “According to the charter of Gretsky” (PSRL, vol. I, pp. 2J, 22. See also PSRL, vol. I, issue 1, 1826, stb. 50, 51.).
- «Ци аще ключится проказа никака от Грек, сущих под властью царства нашего, да не имать (да не имате) власти казнити я, но повеленьем царства нашего да примет, якоже будет створил»(PSRL, vol. I, pp. 2J, 22. See also PSRL, vol. I, issue 1, 1826, pp. 50, 51.). And this is followed by the condition that in the event of a murder, the relatives of the murdered person do not have the right to kill the murderer, but to keep him only so that later the government will have the opportunity to execute him by death: «Аще убьеть хрестеянин русина или русин хрестеянина и да держим будет створивый убийство от ближних убьеного, да убьють» (ibid.). Whereas the Oleg Treaty explicitly states that the killer must die on the spot.
- Tale of Bygone Years