Today I will tell you about some other fundamental, institutional shifts and achievements of the thirteenth century, in particular, about what the Magdeburg Law is.

The practice of granting kings privileges to knights was rapidly spreading. At the same time, the process of formation of the bourgeois (urban) class, the formation of workshops — the basis of European civilization development — was actively developing. The rights of citizens were officially enshrined in the so-called “location” certificates based on the norms of the Magdeburg Law.

Here it is important to explain, but briefly, although clearly, what is it, the Magdeburg Law?

So, the Magdeburg Law, which is already in the XIV century. “imposed” on the existing norms of customary law, which operated in large territories that form the modern Ukraine, in itself – this is “feudal city law, which arose in the XII-XIII centuries. in the German city of Magdeburg and operated in most medieval cities in Germany.

The cities that received it were granted self-government, tax and judicial immunity, land ownership, privileges for crafts and trade, and almost complete exemption from feudal duties. It also established the procedure for electing city authorities, their functions, basic norms of civil and criminal law, rules of justice and taxation, determined the activities of merchant associations, craft workshops, trade procedures, etc…

In fact, this is the generic name of a complex of legal sources that were used at different times in local governments and city courts of different European countries.” (Here and further I quote: Reznikov A. Into. Magdeburg Law: Ukrainian Variations on the Theme of European Traditions (historical and legal essay). — Lugansk: RVV LSUIA. — 2007. — 207 p.)

In the Ruthenian lands, the Magdeburg Law began to be introduced (although the beginnings date back to the end of the XIII century) in the time of “By the Grace of God of the King of the lands of Krakow, Sudomirska, Sieradska, Polish, Dobrianska, Zmorska, Ruska, master and grandfather of the eternal lands of those owners, the freedom-loving king”, the last king of the Piast family, Casimir the Great (1333-1340).

In general, “it was provided to hundreds of cities, towns and villages: only in Galicia and only in the XIV-XV centuries. There were more than 400 such settlements.” At the end of the XVI century. The Magdeburg Law extends to the Left Bank, primarily in the cities founded by the Vishnevetsky princes, although the forms of self-government here were somewhat limited. The extreme geographical point of distribution in the east is Poltava, the extreme chronological one is 1758. (Novgorod-Seversky).

And now attention: it is this circumstance that determines and limits the political and legal understanding of the term “Ukraine” in space: the territories east of Poltava were not “Ukraine” then, since they developed in a different political and legal tradition, the norms of which are incompatible with the norms of the Magdeburg Law. The basic, fundamental principles of the latter, which mentally separate it from Moscow legislation, are, first of all, the following:

  • people are the subject, not just the object of law;
  • all who adhere to the state religion are equal before the law;
  • The source of the law is elected authorities.

The Magdeburg Law provided the local population with universal institutions, which partially operate in the modern Ukrainian state. This is primarily local self-government, as well as magistrates as an administrative and judicial body and the right of the population to their own court and formal equality of people before the law.

Conclusions. The most important factors of political stability of communities, amazing survivability of state organisms were the principles:

  1. “There are no states without rights”!
  2. Kings/princes become not so much absolute private owners of their possessions as custodians of legal order.

Compare: Constitution of Ukraine, Art. 102: “The President of Ukraine is the head of state and acts on its behalf. The President of Ukraine is the guarantor of state sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine, observance of the Constitution of Ukraine, human and civil rights and freedoms”.

Such things, kids, dear boys and girls. Don’t forget — you only have a penny, I’m pleased with it. Map to support the project — 5363 5423 0778 1303.

To be continued anyway.

Casimir the Great. Headstone.

Історик, телеведучий, заслужений журналіст України, доктор історичних наук. Веду авторський телеграм-канал.