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Historiographic aspects of the analysis of social legal status of various categories of Anglo-Saxon society


44, Nekrasovskiy, Taganrog, 347928, Russia, tel. 371-652 Senior Lecturer.

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The analysis of a legal status of social groups of an era of the early Middle Ages appeared in sight of the English historians of the right before their colleagues on the continent. Legal status practically of each social group or the use of any given term in sources were a subject of disputes which description has huge literature.

Social structure, early Middle Ages.

Veronica S. Nazarova


The analysis of a legal status of social strata of an epoch of the early Middle Ages has appeared in sight of English historians of the right before their colleagues. A legal status practically each social group or the use of this or that term in sources were a subject of the disputes which description has the huge literature.

Social strata, early Middle Ages.

The analysis of a legal status of social groups of an era of the early Middle Ages appeared in sight of the English historians of the right before their colleagues on the continent. A variety of sources, their bilingualism, extremely unstable terminology of the Anglo-Saxon Truths and diplomas repeatedly generated scientific discussions. Legal status practically of each social group or the use of any given term in sources were a subject of disputes which description has huge literature which simple transfer much more would exceed the volume of the real work. Therefore here we will stop only on the top historiographic trends in studying social legal status of various categories of Anglo-Saxon society.

The outstanding English historian F. Sibom who published the sensational book "English Rural Community" in 1883 became the pioneer in studying the matter. In the main thing the basis of the concept of the author is as follows: during Tacitus's era the Germans had a patrimonial system which finally strengthened in England after Anglo-Saxon gain. The community of this period was not community of free holders, but community of serfs (community of serfs) - litas in Kent and kerl in Wessex. The English history, across Siby, began with "general dependence of bulk of the population", and nobility (erla), receiving from the king of grant in bokland which Sibom understood as full alienation of the earth with the right of the free order it, became lords of estates, already then forming the basis of economic structure of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms [1. P. 8-12].

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It is easy to notice that this construction which received the name of the manorial theory in science is directed both against the classical Markovy theory of Maurer-Mejna, and against provisions of the so-called "Strasbourg school" (V. Vit - is silent, F. Gutmann) in that their part where it was said that the statement of a manorial system was followed nevertheless by basic change of social structure of early medieval society [2. Page 12-14]. For Sibom such problem did not exist: at him the Roman slavery developed into bondage directly.

Absolutely differently P.G. Vinogradov approached the solution of this problem. In the works he placed emphasis on prevalence of a group of privates free about-shchinnikov-kerlov during the early period of Anglo-Saxon history. Royal grants of the earth in bokland represented, according to Vinogradov, only the fiscal privilege and did not turn the patrimonial and sluzhily nobility into land owners in the true sense of the word. P.G. Vinogradov refers emergence of a manorial system at the right time after Norman gain. Thus, dividing authorship of the manorial theory with Sibom, he sharply divorced the last in interpretation of terms of establishment of a manorial order. The history of early medieval England "cannot be explained from initial slavery and the landowner power", - P.G. Vinogradov wrote [3. Page 259].

The similar look was developed along with P.G. Vinogradov by the representative of the critical direction in the English history of the right F. Metland [4. P. 201]. It stopped the main attention on understanding history of the use of the terms designating various categories of the Anglo-Saxon population and determination of their legal value.

The specified two directions in studying a question had the continuation and in the twentieth century. Line F. Siboma K. Stefenson and U. Corbett, P.G. Vinogradova - his pupil F. Stanton and R. Hodgkin who much made useful where the excessive criticism of Metland affected in a decomposing way historical and legal material continued.

From the middle of the 20th century the monographic studying the problem interesting us almost stops, but the saved-up actual data allowed to pass to the special researches devoted to the concrete analysis of a legal status of various social groups of Anglo-Saxon society. G. Loyn's works are especially allocated in this regard [5. P. 124].

Prior to the beginning of the 90th years of the twentieth century there are some more general works on history of the Anglo-Saxon period where problems of social stratification and its legal reflection in sources are considered only in the most general plan from the positions close to the direction as which ancestor P.G. Vinogradov acted [6. P. 12].

The domestic historiography considerably concedes English-speaking by the number of works and has very peculiar character: the majority of researches is devoted to economic history of an Anglo-Saxon era, and some articles of A. Gurevich directly concern interesting us topics [7. Page 61-83].

In interpretation of social stratification of Anglo-Saxon society the domestic researchers considerably disperse: A. Gurevich saw a basis of a public legal order of Anglo-Saxons in a group of small watchinnik, introducing the ideas, close G. Zelingeru and G. Caro, though without denying the fact of existence of free community in & УП-&УШ centuries with all that it implies from it legal consequences [8. Page 336-337]. Bokland, according to Gurevich - the state act fixing legally privileged position small watchinni-

the k dominating in the legal and economic relations over dependent communities. On the contrary, M. Sokolova developed the look similar to P. Vinogradov's theory [9. Page 97-107]; in the same course also brilliant work of K. Savelo is sustained [10. Page 22].

In general, in the social and legal research covering so extensive and difficult questions remain - and still long time there will be areas open for study. Without applying for generality at all, it is represented extremely interesting to try to analyze a public and legal order of Anglo-Saxons in VTI-Vin of centuries from the historiographic point of view. It allows to shed light on the general nature of this peculiar society of an era of the early Middle Ages, having presented process of legal formation of such concepts relevant today in a historical retrospective as property and freedom.


1. Seebohm F. The English Village Community. L., 1883.
2. Wittich W. Die Grundherrschaft in Nordwestdeutschland. Tubingen, 1896; Gutmann F. Die Sociale Glitederung der Bayern zur Zeit des Volksrechts. Strasburg, 1906.
3. P.G. Vinogradov. Researches on the social history of England in the Middle Ages. - SPb., 1887.
4. MaitlandF. Domesday Book and Beyond. - Cambridge, 1897.
5. Loyn H. R. Gesiths and Thegns in Anglo-Saxon England from the Seventh to the Tenth Century//English Historical Review. Vol. CCLXXVIII. - L., 1955.
6. LaingL. Anglo-Saxon England. - L., 1989.
7. A.Ya. Gurevich. Anglo-Saxon folkland and drevnenorvezhskiya odal//Middle Ages. Issue 30. - M, 1967.
8. GutnovaE.B. Historiography of history of the Middle Ages. - M, 1985.
9. M.N. Sokolova. England estate before Norman gain//the Middle Ages. Issue 32. - M, 1969.
10. K.F. Savelo. Early feudal England. - L., 1977.

Nazarovo Veronika Sergeyevna

Institute of Technology of federal public educational institution of higher professional training Southern Federal University in Taganrog E-mail:

347928, Taganrog, Nekrasovsky Lane, 44, ph. (8634) 37-16-52 senior teacher of department of the theory of the right.

Nazarova Veronika Sergeevna

Taganrog Institute of Technology - Federal State-Owned Educational Establishment of Higher Vocational Education "Southern Federal University"


44, Nekrasovskiy, Taganrog, 347928, Russia, ph. 371-652 Senior Lecturer.
Jesse Cuthbert Kristopher
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