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The legislative activity of Yaroslav the Wise was primarily aimed at describing the judicial rules and systems of punishments in criminal and ecclesiastical law.

Only two of the most significant documents have survived to the present day – Ancient Truth(Truth of Yaroslav the Wise) and Church Statut. Both documents are not original, and their exact dating is difficult. These documents are among the main written sources of Ukrainian and Russian law.

“Yaroslav the legislator” (lithograph by B. A. Chorikov, 1836)
“Yaroslav the legislator” (lithograph by B. A. Chorikov, 1836)

Ancient Truth

Ancient Truth is the earliest part of the Russian Law. According to the Novgorod First Chronicle of the Younger Redaction, it was issued to the Novgorodians by Prince Yaroslav the Wise in 1016. Later, it was included in the first 18 articles of the Short Edition of the Russian Law and represents its first part. In a modified form, these articles later became part of the Spacious Edition.

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“Reading to the people of Russian Truth in the presence of Grand Duke Yaroslav” (A. Kivshenko)
“Reading to the people of Russian Truth in the presence of Grand Duke Yaroslav” (A. Kivshenko)

Church Statut

The main significance of the Church Statut of Yaroslav the Wise lies in the division of ecclesiastical and secular judicial jurisdiction, as well as the inclusion of cases decided jointly by representatives of both authorities in the composition of the church court.

The Statut, while retaining monetary fines, also provides for some morally-corrective punishments, such as epitemia and arrest near the church house, which was likely associated with forced labor for the church.

Scheme “The Church Statut of Yaroslav the Wise”
Scheme “The Church Statut of Yaroslav the Wise”

Section “Yaroslav the Wise”

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Опубликовано: 27.02.2023
Изменено: 28.02.2023