Ultimo aggiornamento: 13 maggio 2021
Scheda a cura di: Frison F., Sevastyanova O.
The book elucidates different ways to conceptualize the formation and functioning of the Novgorod Republic, illuminating their indisputable relevance, strength and limitations as well as proposals for new approaches. In the nineteenth century the image of Medieval Novgorod played the same role within Russian culture as the Aurea saecula (Golden Age) in European culture. Novgorod's veche-system was understood as a symbol of the people’s original freedom and equality.During this time, Novgorod ceased to be regarded as a republic ruled by people, but a boyar republic. The modern approach introduced in the book proposed to speak of Novgorod Republic as a mixed government in a Polybius and Montesquieu sense.Novgorod was as a blanket that different princely dynasties wanted to pull on their side. It was a key point on the trade river routes opening a way to the West. This route served as an axis around which the Russian state was formed. To get hold of the supreme power over Russia for the pretenders was not possible without securing control over Novgorod. Grand princes were trying to prevent the establishment of the local princely dynasty in this key place as it would hinder the control over the state forming axis. According to this view it was exactly the prince’s policy that prompted a creation of a sort of aristocratic government in Novgorod, which could be dependent on their power and allow them to keep the city under their direct control. In contrast to the previous concepts of veche as an assemble opposed to princely power, it was proved to be a much more pro princely assembly or cohort used by the pretenders to get rid of their opponents. It becomes evident that the development of Novgorod “freedoms” was conditioned by the constant existence of the opposition to the grand prince from other princely clans.