Moscow: Pechatny dvor, 1649. Item #605
342 leaves. 29x19 cm. 18th century boards with modern spine, the block is well preserved with occasional restoration of the margins and the soiling of the pages.
A milestone work, one of the most important Russian books of pre-Peter the Great period. The Law Code that was in use for almost 200 years (till the 1830s). Although the book printing has started in Moscow in the 1550s, the majority of books produced were issued for the use of the church. The books of secular nature were printed less than a dozen prior to 1700. ‘Ulozhenie’ is probably the best-known of them.
The law system before the publishing of this code was quite chaotic with more than 900 acts regulating the life of the country, often contradicting each other. Most of those acts were created to be applied to exact cases and situations and didn’t have universal usage. It was very important to develop the basis of the rights that could be applied in Moscovia. Moreover the ‘Salt Riot’ of 1648 in Moscow proclaimed that the code of laws is badly needed. As a result of all that ‘Zemsky sobor’ [i.e. the assembly of the land] was called. The commission for the development of the new code was formed then, led by count Nikita Odoevsky.
The project of ‘Ulozhenie’ was read in two chambers - one consisted of tsar Alexey and Boyars’ council, the other consisted of the delegates from the different social classes. It’s important to note that all the delegates of the Sobor have signed the scroll of the project, after which it was processed for printing.
The result was the first Russian law system. It has stated the tsar as the absolute power. Most of historians agree that Ulozhenie has juridically started the serfdom in Russia. The death penalty was used as a punishment in 60 cases. The principles of ‘Domostroy’ dominated the family law. Ulozhenie has determined the future evolution of Russia for centuries to come.