Byzantine Roman law studies in Russia within the framework of political ideologies
Legal scholarship is often presented as an objective impartial knowledge of what the law is or was. Yet the role of ideologies in its interpretation should not be underestimated, especially in writing and rewriting foreign and national legal history. Remarkable Byzantine studies in Russia, their rise, fall and revival, could be a good example to explore the relevance of beliefs and ideas of the scholars.
This paper investigates how the dominant ideologies have been continuously shaping the knowledge about Byzantine Roman law in Russian academia. It covers such issues as the intensity of studies, the understanding of law, the major topics, the pull of sources and the methods of their analysis, the main results of historical reconstruction during (1) 19th-century imperial Russia, (2) Soviet and (3) contemporary Russia.
Reconstruction of the ideological background of the major Russian Byzantinists should enable us to assess the validity of their vision of Byzantine Roman law and its relevance for the international Byzantine legal studies.