Great Novgorod in the 10th-12th centuries

Novgorod was founded among forests on the banks of the Volkhov River. With the formation of the Kiev state Novgorod land was included in its composition. At the end of the X century. Novgorod became the second largest city in Russia after Kiev. Through it was a well-known trade route “from the Varangians to the Greeks”, that is from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.

Already at the beginning of the XI century. Novgorodians wanted independence, but their prince Yaroslav the Wise took the Kiev throne, and Novgorod’s dependence on Kiev was preserved. The prince of Kiev usually sent for the management of the city his son or appointed deputy – the posadnik and the leader of the militia – tysyatsky.

In 1136 Novgorod was freed from the power of Kiev, and a boyar republic was proclaimed in the city. The Novgorodians themselves began to invite the prince of their choice, concluding with him an agreement according to which the prince had to defend the

city from enemies, not to start a war without permission of the veche and not to have his own land holdings on the territory of the republic. The judicial functions of the prince were also limited. In the event of a breach of obligations, Novgorod drove the prince out of the city. Consequently, the prince, in fact, was a mercenary military commander, he simply served the republic.

Administratively, Novgorod was divided into two parts. On the western bank of the Volkhov towered the Cathedral of St. Sophia, so the side was named Sophia. It consisted of three ends and a detinets. On the eastern bank of the river was the Trade Side, which consisted of two ends. Five districts of the city were subordinated to five volosts, to which the Novgorod land was divided. Novgorod also managed some cities – “Novgorod suburbs”, the most important of which were Pskov, Izborsk, Staraya Russa, Ladoga.

The supreme legislative body was a city council. Usually it was attended by 300 representatives from the most respected and wealthy boyar families. Over time, their number has grown to 500 people. The Veche gathered

on the Trading side at the call of the “veche” bell and decided questions of war and peace, the conclusion of contracts with the princes, the approval of laws, the election of high officials: the bishop, posadnik and tysyatsky. In the hands of the bishop, the spiritual and secular power was concentrated: the city treasury, the supreme church court, foreign policy. Posadnik headed the executive branch. He called the veche and carried out his decision. The closest assistant to the posadnik was a thousandth, who commanded the city militia.

In the Novgorod Republic, agriculture was developed, but unfavorable soil and climatic conditions could not meet the needs of its inhabitants. This encouraged the population to engage in fishing: hunting for fur and sea animals, fishing, salt extraction, and trade. Novgorod purchased grain from the inhabitants of the south-eastern regions of Russia. Novgorod merchants sold fur, wax, honey, fish, lard, flax, hops to other cities of Russia and abroad. They conducted an active trade with the countries of Western Europe, primarily with the Hansa. Thanks to trade and crafts, Novgorod quickly became rich.

The Novgorodians loved and were proud of their native city. They called him Lord Novgorod the Great.

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Great Novgorod in the 10th-12th centuries