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Article

Казус с Рогнедой: Сватовство Владимира в свете дохристианской правовой традиции Скандинавии

The Russian Primary Chronicle story of Prince Vladimir marriage proposal to Rogneda traditionally attracts reader’s attention by the emotional coloring, ethnographic details intercultural coincidences. With the evident and indisputable dramatic effect of the situation depicted in the Chronicle, there are a lot of concealed meanings, not all of them has been studied. Thus, the plot of this episode is rather built on Rogneda abusing Vladimir («не хочю розути робичича . но Ӕрополка  хочю») and on the subsequent revenge and return actions by Vladimir to the family ruling in Polotsk. Meanwhile, if consider this story not only as a most interesting and rather a complicated narrative, but also as a reproduction of the essence of some dialogue that took place in reality, then alongside with the abusive character of Rogneda’s remark, it is impossible to ignore its proper juridical aspect. The daughter of a settler in the first generation, she naturally uses juridical categories inherent to her former motherland. In the archaic Scandinavian law there was a special norm according to which a child born from a free man and slave woman (and, respectively, from a free woman and a slave) can not inherit the family property of his father, even if that would make the mother free and marry her. The Rogneda of the Chronicle acts quite in the tradition of her motherland, simplifying and aggravating some rather complicated life situation, to drive it to the understandable and peremptory situation in law: Vladimir as a son of the slave woman is not a heir of the family property either of the first or of the second order. In other words, from the Rogneda viewpoint he can not inherit this property even in the case of his brother’s death. Rogneda appears to be wrong considering Kiev a usual family estate and Vladimir — only the son of her free fellow countryman and a slave woman. The “groundlessness” of such position is, in some sense, a mark of the transition of the Rurikids from the status of clan to status of the dynasty, always living by somewhat altered rules of inheritance.