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The Novgorod Republic (russian: Новгородская республика, Novgorodskaya respublika, ; orv, Новгородскаѧ землѧ, Novgorodskaę zemlę, lit=Novgorodian Land; la, Novogardia or russian: Новгородская Русь, Novgorodskaya Rus', lit=Novgorodian Rus') was a medieval Rus' state from the 12th to 15th centuries, stretching from the
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic ...
in the west to the northern
Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mounta ...
in the east, including the city of
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
and the
Lake Ladoga Lake Ladoga ( rus, Ла́дожское о́зеро, r=Ladozhskoye ozero, p=ˈladəʂskəjə ˈozʲɪrə or rus, Ла́дога, r=Ladoga, p=ˈladəɡə, fi, Laatokka arlier in Finnish ''Nevajärvi'' ; vep, Ladog, Ladoganjärv) is a Fresh ...

Lake Ladoga
regions of modern Russia. Citizens referred to their city-state as "His Majesty (or Sovereign) Lord Novgorod the Great" (''Gosudar Gospodin Veliky Novgorod''), or more often as "Lord Novgorod the Great" (''Gospodin Veliky Novgorod''). The Republic prospered as the easternmost port of the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
and its Slavic, Baltic and Finnic people were much influenced by the culture of the Viking-Varangians and
Byzantine people
Byzantine people
.


History

In the middle of the 9th century Nevogardas was a name used to describe Viking staging posts on the trade route from the Baltic Sea to the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
. There is a theory that in fact it was not Novgorod as misinterpreted by later chroniclers (as stated by
dendrochronology Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is the scientific method The scientific method is an empirical Empirical evidence for a proposition is evidence, i.e. what supports or counters this proposition, that is constituted by or accessib ...
, Novgorod was founded only in the middle of the 10th century), but Nevo Gardas – Viking settlements on Lake Ladoga, as in one of
Nestor Nestor may refer to: * Nestor (mythology), King of Pylos in Greek mythology Arts and entertainment * Nestor (Ulysses episode), "Nestor" (''Ulysses'' episode) an episode in James Joyce's novel ''Ulysses'' * Nestor Studios, first-ever motion pictur ...

Nestor
's chronicles from the 12th century he mentions a lake called "the Great Nevo", a clear link to the
Neva River The Neva (russian: Нева́, ; fi, Neva) is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the ...

Neva River
and, possibly furthermore, to Finnish ''nevo'' "sea" or ''neva'' "bog, quagmire". Evgeny Pospelov: ''Geographical Names of the World: Toponymic Dictionary''. Second edition. Astrel, Moscow 2001, p. 106 f. Novgorod was populated by various Slavic, Finnic and Baltic tribes that were constantly at war with one another for supremacy. However, these tribes came together during the beginning of the 9th century to try and form a negotiated settlement to end military aggression between each other. The
Novgorod First Chronicle The Novgorod First Chronicle (russian: Новгородская первая летопись) or The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016–1471 is the most ancient extant Old East Slavic, Old Russian chronicle of the Novgorod Republic, Novgorodian Rus'. I ...
, a collection of writings depicting the history of Novgorod from 1016 to 1471, states that these tribes wanted to "Seek a prince who may rule over us and judge us according to law." By transforming its governing institutions, Novgorod rejected its politically dependent relationship to Kiev. Novgorodian Rus' and its inhabitants were much influenced by the Viking culture and people. These cultural and ethnic Scandinavian imprint shaped later the society of Muscovite Rus' and whole Russia. In 882, founded the
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
, of which Novgorod was a part from then until 1019–1020. Novgorod Princes were appointed by the
Grand Prince of Kiev Grand Prince of Kiev (sometimes Grand Duke of Kiev) was the title of the prince of Kiev (Kyiv) and the ruler of Kievan Rus' from the 10th to 13th centuries. In the 13th century, Kiev became an appanage principality first of the Grand Duke of Vlad ...
(usually one of the elder sons). The Novgorod
boyars A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th ...
began to dominate the offices of
posadnik Posadnik (Cyrillic: ''посадник'', (literally: ''по-садник'' - ''pre-sident'') was the mayor in some East Slavic peoples, East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik (equivalent to a stadtholder, Burgomaster, burgomeist ...
and
tysyatskyA tysyatsky ( rus, тысяцкий, p=ˈtɨsʲɪt͡skʲɪj, " thousandman"), sometimes translated '' dux'' or '' herzog'', was a military leader in ancient Rus' who commanded a people's volunteer army called a ''thousand'' ( rus, тысяча, tys ...
, which until about the mid-12th century had been appointed by the grand prince in Kiev. In 1136, the Novgorodians dismissed Prince and over the next century and a half were able to invite in and dismiss a number of princes. However, these invitations or dismissals were often based on who was the dominant prince in Rus' at the time, and not on any independent thinking on the part of Novgorod. Cities such as
Staraya Russa Staraya Russa ( rus, Старая Русса, p=ˈstarəjə ˈrusːə) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, town in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Polist River, south of Veliky Novgorod, the administrative center of the oblast. ...
,
Staraya Ladoga Staraya Ladoga (russian: Ста́рая Ла́дога, p=ˈstarəjə ˈladəɡə) is a rural locality (a ''selo'') in Volkhovsky District Volkhovsky District (russian: Во́лховский райо́н) is an administrativeOblast Law #32-oz and ...

Staraya Ladoga
,
Torzhok Torzhok (russian: Торжо́к) is a town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the wo ...
, and
Oreshek Shlisselburg ( rus, Шлиссельбург, p=ʂlʲɪsʲɪlʲˈburk; german: Schlüsselburg; fi, Pähkinälinna; sv, Nöteborg) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, town in Kirovsky District, Leningrad Oblast, Kirovsky District of L ...

Oreshek
were part of the Novgorodian Land. According to some accounts, a vicar of the archbishop ran the city of Staraya Ladoga in the 13th century. The city of
Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov-ru.ogg, p=pskof; see also names in other languages) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds ...

Pskov
, initially part of the Novgorodian Land, had ''de facto'' independence from at least the 13th century after joining the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
. Several princes such as (ca 1240–1299) and (before 1117–1138) reigned in Pskov without any deference to or consultation with the prince or other officials in Novgorod. Pskov's independence was acknowledged by the Treaty of Bolotovo in 1348 (see
Pskov Republic Pskov ( la, Plescoviae), known at various times as the Principality of Pskov (russian: Псковское княжество, Pskovskoye knyazhestvo) or the Pskov Republic (russian: Псковская Республика, Pskovskaya Respublika ...
). Even after this, however, the
Archbishop of Novgorod The Novgorod and Staraya Russa Diocese (russian: Новгородская и Старорусская епархия) is one of the oldest offices in the Russian Orthodox Church. The medieval archbishops of Novgorod were among the most important ...
headed the church in Pskov and kept the title "Archbishop of Novgorod the Great and Pskov" until 1589. The Republic was the subject of political rivalry between
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...
and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...

Lithuania
on one side and the
Grand Duchy of Moscow The Grand Duchy of Moscow, Muscovite Russia, Muscovite Rus' or Grand Principality of Moscow (russian: Великое княжество Московское, Velikoye knyazhestvo Moskovskoye; also known in simply as Muscovy from the ) was a ...
on the other side in the 14th and 15th centuries. In 1389 the newly appointed Prince of Novgorod, Lithuanian prince
Lengvenis Lengvenis (''Simeon Lingwen'', born ca. 1360 – died after 1431; be, Лугвен-Сымон, Łuhvien; russian: Лугвений, Лугвен, Лугвень, Lugven(y), pl, Lingwen Semen Olgierdowicz) was one of the sons of Algirdas, Grand D ...
, paid homage from the Novgorod territories to Polish King
Władysław II Jagiełło Jogaila (), later Władysław II Jagiełło ()He is known under a number of names: lt, Jogaila Algirdaitis; pl, Władysław II Jagiełło; be, Jahajła (Ягайла). See also: Names and titles of Władysław II Jagiełło. (c. 1352/1362 ...
in
Sandomierz Sandomierz (pronounced: ; la, Sandomiria; ) is a historic town in south-eastern Poland with 23,863 inhabitants (2017), situated in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (Holy Cross Province) since 1999. It is the capital of Sandomierz County. Sandom ...

Sandomierz
, thus the Novgorod Republic became a fiefdom of the
Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland Historical political entities *Kingdom of Poland "Kingdom of Poland" ( Polish: ''Królestwo Polskie'', Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic br ...
. Novgorod troops under the command of Lengvenis took part in the
Battle of Grunwald The Battle of Grunwald, Battle of Žalgiris or First Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410 during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War The Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War, also known as the Great War, was a war that occurred b ...

Battle of Grunwald
(1410) on the Polish–Lithuanian side. In the 12th–15th centuries, the Novgorodian Republic expanded east and northeast. The Novgorodians explored the areas around
Lake Onega Lake Onega (also known as Onego, rus, Оне́жское о́зеро, r=Onezhskoe ozero, p=ɐˈnʲɛʂskəɪ ˈozʲɪrə Finnish language, Finnish: Ääninen, Veps language, Veps: Änine, Änižjärv) is a lake in northwestern Russia, on the te ...
, along the
Northern Dvina , image = dvina.jpg , image_size = , image_caption = Northern Dvina starts as the confluence of Yug River , image =Yug Podosinovets.jpg , image_size = , image_caption =The Yug in Podosin ...
, and coastlines of the
White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Vienanmeri, lit. Dvina Sea; yrk, Сэрако ямʼ, ''Serako yam'') is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast o ...
. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Novgorodians explored the
Arctic Ocean The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major s. It spans an area of approximately and is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some call it the Arctic Medit ...

Arctic Ocean
, the
Barents Sea The Barents Sea ( , also ; no, Barentshavet, ; russian: Баренцево море, Barentsevo More) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, ...
, the
Kara Sea The Kara Sea (russian: Ка́рское мо́ре, ''Karskoye more'') is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, salt water that covers approxim ...
, and the West-Siberian
river Ob The Ob ( rus, Обь, p=opʲ: Ob') is a major river in Russia. It is in western Siberia; and together with Irtysh forms the world's List of rivers by length, seventh-longest river system, at . It forms at the confluence of the Biya (river), Biya ...

river Ob
. Reaching the Ugrian tribes that inhabited the Northern
Urals The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a Mountain range, mountain range that runs approximately fr ...

Urals
was a goal of Novgorod the Great although relations were exceptionally difficult. The lands to the north of the city, rich with
fur Fur is a thick growth of hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular bi ...

fur
s, sea
fauna Fauna is all of the animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consume organic material, Cellular r ...
, salt, etc., were of great economic importance to the Novgorodians, who fought a protracted series of wars with Moscow beginning in the late 14th century in order to keep these lands. Losing them meant economic and cultural decline for the city and its inhabitants. Indeed, the ultimate failure of the Novgorodians to win these wars led to the downfall of the Republic. Soviet-era Marxist scholarship frequently described the political system of Novgorod as a "feudal republic", placing it within the Marxist historiographic periodization (
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property Property is a system of rights that give ...
feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the disc ...
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system A system is a group of interacting Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea o ...

capitalism
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communism
). Many scholars today, however, question whether Russia ever really had a
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centuries. Broadly defined, it was a way of structuring society ...
political system parallel to that of the medieval West.


Government

The city state of Novgorod had developed procedures of governance that held a large measure of democratic participation far in advance of the rest of Europe. The people had the power to elect city officials and they even had the power to elect and fire the prince. The Chronicle writer then goes on to describe a "town meeting" where these decisions would have been made, which included people from all social classes ranging from the Posadniki (Burgomaster), to the Chernye Liudi (literally, the black folks) or the lowest free class. The precise constitution of the medieval Novgorodian Republic is uncertain, although traditional histories have created the image of a highly institutionalized network of
veche Veche (russian: вече, pl, wiec, uk, віче ''viche'', be, веча ''vecha'', cu, вѣштє ''věšte'') was a popular assembly A popular assembly (or people's assembly) is a gathering called to address issues of importance to par ...
s (public assemblies) and a government of
posadnik Posadnik (Cyrillic: ''посадник'', (literally: ''по-садник'' - ''pre-sident'') was the mayor in some East Slavic peoples, East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik (equivalent to a stadtholder, Burgomaster, burgomeist ...
s (burgomaster),
tysyatskyA tysyatsky ( rus, тысяцкий, p=ˈtɨsʲɪt͡skʲɪj, " thousandman"), sometimes translated '' dux'' or '' herzog'', was a military leader in ancient Rus' who commanded a people's volunteer army called a ''thousand'' ( rus, тысяча, tys ...
s ("thousandmen," originally the head of the town militia, but later a judicial and commercial official), other members of aristocratic families, and the archbishops of Novgorod. Some scholars argue that the archbishop was the head of the
executive branch The executive (short for executive branch or executive power) is the part of government that enforces law, and has Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. In political systems based on the principle ...
of the government, although it is difficult to determine the exact competence of the various officials. It is possible that there was a "Council of Lords" (Совет Господ) that was headed by the archbishop and met in the archiepiscopal palace (and in the
Chamber of Facets The Episcopal Chamber (Chamber of Facets) is a 15th-century monument located in Novgorod Kremlin, Veliky Novgorod, Russia. It is an exceptional example of Gothic architecture in Russia, and included in the UNESCO World heritage list, along with H ...
after 1433). The (at least nominal) executives of Novgorod were always the
Princes of NovgorodThe Prince of Novgorod (russian: Князь новгородский, ''knyaz novgorodskii'') was the chief executive of Republic of Novgorod. The office was originally an appointed one until the late eleventh or early twelfth century, then became s ...
, invited by Novgorodians from the neighboring states, even though their power waned in the 13th and early 14th centuries.
Valentin Yanin Valentin Lavrentievich Yanin (russian: Валентин Лаврентьевич Янин; 6 February 1929 – 2 February 2020) was a leading Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country s ...
"Outline of history of medieval Novgorod.
It is unclear if the archbishop of Novgorod was the real head of state or chief executive of the Novgorod Republic, but in any case he remained an important town official. In addition to overseeing the church in Novgorod, he headed embassies, oversaw certain court cases of a secular nature, and carried out other secular tasks. However, the archbishops appear to have worked with the boyars to reach a consensus and almost never acted alone. The archbishop was not appointed, but elected by Novgorodians, and approved by the Metropolitan bishop of Russia. The archbishops were probably the richest single land-owners in Novgorod, and they also made money off court fees, fees for the use of weights and measures in the marketplace, and through other means. Another important executive was the Novgorod Posadnik, who chaired the
Veche Veche (russian: вече, pl, wiec, uk, віче ''viche'', be, веча ''vecha'', cu, вѣштє ''věšte'') was a popular assembly A popular assembly (or people's assembly) is a gathering called to address issues of importance to par ...
, co-chaired courts together with the Prince, oversaw tax collection and managed current affairs of the city. Most of the Prince's major decisions had to be approved by the Posadnik. In the mid-14th century, instead of one Posadnik, the Veche began electing six. These six posadniks kept their status for their lifetimes, and each year elected among themselves a chief Stepennoy Posadnik. Posadniks were almost invariably members of ''boyars'' – the city's highest aristocracy. The precise makeup of the
veche Veche (russian: вече, pl, wiec, uk, віче ''viche'', be, веча ''vecha'', cu, вѣштє ''věšte'') was a popular assembly A popular assembly (or people's assembly) is a gathering called to address issues of importance to par ...
is also uncertain, although it appears to have comprised members of the urban population, as well as of the free
rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in differen ...

rural
population. Whether it was a democratic institution or one controlled by the boyars has been hotly debated. The
posadnik Posadnik (Cyrillic: ''посадник'', (literally: ''по-садник'' - ''pre-sident'') was the mayor in some East Slavic peoples, East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik (equivalent to a stadtholder, Burgomaster, burgomeist ...
s, tysiatskys, and even the bishops and archbishops of Novgorod were often elected or at least approved by the veche. Tradespeople and craftsmen also participated in the political affairs of Novgorod the Great. The traditional scholarship argues that they were organized into five "
kontsy Кontsy ( rus, концы, p=kɐnˈtsɨ, plural of конец, "ends") were the five boroughs into which medieval Veliky Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also know ...
" (ends) – '' konets'' (конец; pl. концы) in Russian – i.e., the boroughs of the city they lived in; each end was then organized by the streets in which they lived. The ends and streets often bore names indicating that certain trades were concentrated in certain parts of the city (there was a Carpenter's End and a Potters' End, for example). The trade groups had '' sotnyas'' (сотни, or hundredmen) (see also
Ivan's Hundred Ivan's Hundred ({{Lang-ru, Иванское сто) was the first Russian guild, which existed in the 12th-15th centuries in Novgorod. Ivan's Hundred was an association of merchants, who gathered around the Church of Ivan the Forerunner (Церк ...
, thought to have been the first Russian
guild A guild is an association of artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functiona ...
, although there is no evidence of guilds existing in Rus' such as they were in, say, the Low Countries, Germany, France, or England). Like much of the rest of Novgorod's medieval history, the precise composition of these trade or crafts organizations is uncertain and they ought not to be confused with the much more organized guilds (or later unions) of Western Europe. It is quite possible that the "ends" and "streets" were simply neighborhood administrative groups rather than guilds or "unions". Street organizations were known to build churches in their neighborhoods and to have buried the dead of their neighborhoods during outbreaks of the plague, but beyond that their activities are uncertain. As for Ivan's Hundred, its exact nature is not known. It was organized around the Church of St. John the Forerunner on the Opoki, just north of the marketplace, and each member had to pay an entrance fee of a bolt of
Ypres Ypres ( , ; nl, Ieper ; vls, Yper; german: Ypern ) is a Belgian Belgian may refer to: * Something of, or related to, Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Euro ...

Ypres
cloth (from Flanders) to the archbishop. The tysyatsky arbitrated disputes between the members. Other than that, the activities of Ivan's Hundred is unknown. "Streets" and "ends" may have taken part in political decision-making in Novgorod in support of certain boyar factions or to protect their interests. Merchant "elders" are also noted in treaties and other charters, but only about a hundred of these charters exist. A half dozen date from the 12th century, while most are from after 1262. Thus it is difficult to determine Novgorod's political structure due to the paucity of sources. The prince, while his status in Novgorod was not inheritable and his power was much reduced, remained an important figure in Novgorodian life. Of around 100 princes of Novgorod, many, if not most, were invited in or dismissed by the Novgorodians. At least some of them signed a
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
called a ''r'ad'' (ряд), which protected the interests of the Novgorodian boyars and laid out the prince's rights and responsibilities. The r'ads that have been preserved in archives describe the relationship of Novgorod with twelve invited Princes: five of them from Tver', four from Moscow, and three from
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...
. First and foremost among the prince's functions, he was a military leader. He also patronized churches in the city and held court, although it was often presided over by his
namestnik A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix ''vice-'', meaning "in the place of" and the French word ''roy'', meaning "king". A ...
or lieutenant when he was personally absent from the city. The posadnik had always to be present in the court and no court decision could be made without his approval. Also, without the posadnik's approval the prince could neither give out Novgorod lands nor issue laws. Besides, the prince could not own land in Novgorod and could not himself collect taxes from the Novgorod lands. He lived from money given to him by the city. According to several r'ads, the prince could not extradite or prosecute a Novgorodian outside of the Novgorodian Land. The princes had two residences, one on the Marketplace (called
Yaroslav's Court Yaroslav's Court (russian: Ярославово Дворище, ''Yaroslavovo Dvorishche'') was the princely compound in the city of Novgorod the Great. Today it is roughly the area around the Trade Mart, the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Novgorod, St. ...
, after
Yaroslav the Wise Yaroslav the Wise or Yaroslav I; russian: Ярослав Мудрый, ; uk, Ярослав Мудрий; non, Jarizleifr Valdamarsson; la, Iaroslaus Sapiens. (c. 978 – 20 February 1054) was the Grand Prince of Kiev from 1019 until his death. ...

Yaroslav the Wise
), and another (Городище / ''Riurkovo Gorodische'') several miles south of the Market Side of the city. The administrative division of Novgorod Republic is not definitely known; the country was divided into several '' tysyachas'' (in the core lands of the country) and ''
volost Volost ( rus, во́лость, p=ˈvoləsʲtʲ; ) was a traditional administrative subdivision in Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. G ...

volost
s'' (lands in the east and north that were being colonised or just paid tribute). The city of Novgorod and its vicinity, as well as a few other towns, were not part of any of those.
Pskov Pskov ( rus, Псков, a=pskov-ru.ogg, p=pskof; see also names in other languages) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds ...

Pskov
achieved autonomy from Novgorod in the 13th century; its independence was confirmed by the Treaty of Bolotovo in 1348. Several other towns had special status as they were owned jointly by Novgorod and one of the neighbouring states. The leaders of Rus during the 15th century after the Mongol yoke had a serious decision to make. Either they could change from the Mongol style of ruling and lean towards a governance resembling Novgorod with its elections and full societal involvement, or they could continue to follow the Mongol style of ruling. Some examples of this form of governance can be seen in some of the court practices adopted by the new government. The practice of Chelobitie, literally meaning, to beat one's head against the ground. This was the way the great Khans demanded the Rus leaders come before them, and this practice was continued. The next and most striking similarity between these two systems of governments would be the emphasis on an autocratic, militarized state.


Economy

The economy of the Novgorodian Republic included
farming Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors su ...

farming
and
animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Ex ...
(e.g., the archbishops of Novgorod and others raised horses for the Novgorodian army), while
hunting Hunting is the practice of seeking, pursuing and capturing or killing wildlife Wildlife traditionally refers to undomesticated animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism ...

hunting
,
beekeeping Beekeeping (or apiculture) is the maintenance of bee Bees are flying insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey ...

beekeeping
, and
fishing Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ...

fishing
were also widespread. In most of the regions of the republic, these different "industries" were combined with farming.
Iron Iron () is a chemical element In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structure, properties, behav ...

Iron
was mined on the coast of the
Gulf of Finland The Gulf of Finland ( fi, Suomenlahti; et, Soome laht; rus, Фи́нский зали́в, r=Finskiy zaliv, p=ˈfʲinskʲɪj zɐˈlʲif; sv, Finska viken) is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea The Baltic Sea is an arm of the Atlantic ...
.
Staraya Russa Staraya Russa ( rus, Старая Русса, p=ˈstarəjə ˈrusːə) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, town in Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Polist River, south of Veliky Novgorod, the administrative center of the oblast. ...
and other localities were known for their
saltworks A saltern is an area or installation for making salt. Salterns include modern salt-making works (saltworks), as well as hypersaline waters that usually contain high concentrations of Halophile, halophilic microorganisms, primarily haloarchaea but ...

saltworks
.
Flax Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may ...

Flax
and
hop A hop is a type of jump. Hop or hops may also refer to: Arts and entertainment * ''Hop'' (film), a 2011 film * Hop! Channel Hop! Channel (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroa ...

hop
cultivation were also of significant importance. Countryside products, such as furs,
beeswax Beeswax (''cera alba'') is a natural wax Waxes are a diverse class of organic compound In , organic compounds are generally any s that contain - . Due to carbon's ability to (form chains with other carbon s), millions of organic c ...

beeswax
,
honey Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees Honey is a sweet, viscous food substance made by honey bees and some other Bee, bees. Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants (floral nectar) or from secretion ...

honey
, fish,
lard Lard is a semi-solid white fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemical Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. A sub-discipline of both chemistry and ...
, flax, and hops, were sold on the market and exported to other Russian cities or abroad. The real wealth of Novgorod, however, came from the fur trade. The city was the main
entrepôt An ''entrepôt'' (; ) or transshipment port is a port, city, or trading post A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory, was an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded. Typically t ...
for trade between Rus' and northwestern Europe. It stood on the northwestern end of the
Silk Road The Silk Road () was and is a network of trade routes connecting the Eastern world, East and Western culture, West, from the 2nd century BCE to the 18th century CE. It was central to the economic, cultural, political, and religious interactions ...

Silk Road
from
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and at the eastern end of the Baltic trade network established by the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=Modern German New High German (NHG) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language German (: , ) is a mainly spoken in . It is the most widely ...
. From Novgorod's northeastern lands ("The Lands Beyond the Portages" as they were called in the chronicles), the area stretching north of Lakes and Onega up to the
White Sea The White Sea (russian: Белое море, ''Béloye móre''; Karelian language, Karelian and fi, Vienanmeri, lit. Dvina Sea; yrk, Сэрако ямʼ, ''Serako yam'') is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast o ...
and east to the
Ural Mountains The Ural Mountains (; rus, Ура́льские го́ры, r=Uralskiye gory, p=ʊˈralʲskʲɪjə ˈgorɨ; ba, Урал тауҙары, ''Ural tauźarı'') or simply the Urals, are a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mounta ...
had so much fur that medieval travel accounts tell of furry animals raining from the sky. The Novgorodian merchants traded with
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: * Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland * Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by the Swedish langu ...
,
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
, and
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
cities. In early years, the Novgorodians sailed the Baltic themselves (several incidents involving Novgorodian merchants in
Gotland Gotland (, ; ''Gutland'' in the local dialect), also historically spelled Gottland or Gothland (), is Sweden's largest island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habita ...
and
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
are reported in the Novgorodian First Chronicle). Orthodox churches for Novgorodian merchants have been excavated on Gotland. Likewise, merchants from Gotland had their own St. Olaf church and trading house in Novgorod. However the Hanseatic League disputed the right of the Novgorod merchants to carry out sea trade independently and to deliver cargoes to the West-European ports by their own ships.


Society

More than a half of all Novgorodian privately owned lands had been concentrated in the hands of some 30–40 noble boyar families by the 14th–15th century. These vast
estates Estate or The Estate may refer to: Law * Estate (law), a term in common law for a person's property, entitlements and obligations * Estates of the realm, a broad social category in the histories of certain countries. ** The Estates, representative ...
served as material resources, which secured political supremacy of the boyars. The House of
Holy Wisdom Holy Wisdom (Greek: , la, Sancta Sapientia, russian: Святая София Премудрость Божия, translit=Svyataya Sofiya Premudrost' Bozhiya "Holy Sophia, Divine Wisdom") is a concept in Christian theology. Christian theology rec ...

Holy Wisdom
(Дом святой Софии, '' Dom Svyatoy Sofiy'') — the main
ecclesiastic In Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christianity and other traditions * Chris ...
establishment of Novgorod — was their chief rival in terms of
landownership A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, land, or real estate which is Renting, rented or leased to an individual or business, who is called a Leasehold estate, tenant (also a ''lessee'' or ''renter''). When a juristic person ...
. Its
votchina Votchina (russian: во́тчина) or otchina (о́тчина – from word ''Father'') was an East Slavic land estate (house), estate that could be inherited. The term "votchina" was also used to describe the lands of a knyaz. The term origi ...
s were located in the most economically developed regions of the Novgorod Land. The
Yuriev Monastery The St. George's (Yuriev) Monastery (russian: Юрьев монастырь) is usually cited as Russia's oldest monastery. It stands in 5 kilometers south of Novgorod on the left bank of the Volkhov River near where it flows out of Lake Ilmen. T ...
, Arkazhsky Monastery,
Antoniev Monastery The Antoniev Monastery ("St Anthony's Monastery", russian: Антониев монастырь) rivalled the Yuriev Monastery as the most important monastery of medieval Velikiy Novgorod, Novgorod the Great. It stands along the right bank of the V ...
and some other privileged monasteries are known to have been big landowners. There were also the so-called '' zhityi lyudi'' (житьи люди), who owned less land than the boyars, and unprivileged small votchina owners called '' svoyezemtsy'' (своеземцы, or private landowners). The most common form of labor
exploitation Exploitation may refer to: *Exploitation of natural resources *Exploitation of labour *Exploitation fiction *Exploitation film *Exploitation (film), ''Exploitation'' (film), a 2012 film *Sexual slavery and other forms of slavery *Oppression See al ...
— the system of
metayage The metayage ; es, mediería ; it, mezzadria . system is the cultivation of land for a proprietor by one who receives a proportion of the produce, as a kind of sharecropping Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural ...
— was typical for the afore-mentioned categories of landowners. Their
household A household consists of one or several persons who live in the same dwelling In law, a dwelling (also residence, abode) is a self-contained unit of accommodation used by one or more households as a home A home, or domicile, is a s ...

household
economies were mostly serviced by slaves (
kholop A kholop ( rus, холо́п, p=xɐˈlop) was a type of feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was a combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th centu ...
y), whose number had been constantly decreasing. Along with the metayage, monetary payments also gained significant importance by the 2nd half of the 15th century. Some scholars argue that the feudal lords tried to legally tie down the
peasant A peasant is a pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the tra ...
s to their land. Certain categories of feudally dependent peasants, such as '' davniye lyudi'' (давние люди), ''polovniki'' (половники), ''poruchniki'' (поручники), ''dolzhniki'' (должники), were deprived of the right to leave their masters. The boyars and monasteries also tried to restrict other categories of peasants from switching their feudal lords. However, until the late 16th century peasants could leave their land in the weeks preceding and coming after George's Day in Autumn, St. George's day in the autumn. Marxist scholars (e.g., Aleksandr Khoroshev) often spoke of class struggle in Novgorod. There were some 80 major uprisings in the republic, which often turned into armed rebellions. The most notable among these took place in 1136, 1207, 1228–29, 1270, 1418, and 1446–47. The extent to which these were based on "class struggle" is unclear. Many were between various boyar factions or, if a revolt did involve the peasants or tradesmen against the boyars, it did not consist of the peasants wanting to overthrow the existing social order, but was more often than not a demand for better rule on the part of the ruling class. There did not seem to be a sense that the office of prince should be abolished or that the peasants should be allowed to run the city. Throughout the republican period, the Diocese of Novgorod, archbishop of Novgorod was the head of the Orthodox church. The Finnic peoples, Finnic population of the Novgorod land was undergoing christianisation. The sect of Strigolniki spread to Novgorod from Pskov in the middle of 14th century, its members renouncing ecclesiastic hierarchy, monasticism and sacraments of priesthood, communion, repentance and baptism. Another sect, called the Sect of Skhariya the Jew, heresy of the Judaizers by its opponents appeared in Novgorod in the second half of 15th century and subsequently enjoyed support at the court in Moscow.


Foreign relations

During the era of
Kievan Rus' Kievan Rus' ( orv, , Rusĭ, or , , "Rus' land") or Kyivan Rus', was a loose federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a ...
, Novgorod was a trade hub at the northern end of both the Volga trade route and the "Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, route from the Varangians to the Greeks" along the Dnieper river system. A vast array of goods were transported along these routes and exchanged with local Novgorod merchants and other traders. The merchants of
Gotland Gotland (, ; ''Gutland'' in the local dialect), also historically spelled Gottland or Gothland (), is Sweden's largest island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habita ...
retained the Gothic Court trading house well into the 12th century. Later German merchantmen also established tradinghouses in Novgorod. Scandinavian royalty would intermarry with Russian princes and princesses.


Hansa, Sweden and Livonian Order

After the East–West Schism, great schism, Novgorod struggled from the beginning of the 13th century against Sweden, Swedish, Denmark, Danish, and German crusaders. During the Swedish–Novgorodian Wars, the Swedes invaded lands where some of the population had earlier Novgorodian raids into Finland, paid tribute to Novgorod. The Germans had been trying to conquer the Baltic region since the late 12th century. Novgorod went to war 26 times with Sweden and 11 times with the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. The German knights, along with Danish and Swedish feudal lords, launched a series of uncoordinated attacks in 1240–1242. Novgorodian sources mention that a Swedish army was defeated in the Battle of the Neva in 1240. The Baltic German campaigns ended in failure after the Battle on Lake Peipus, Battle on the Ice in 1242. After the foundation of the Vyborg Castle, castle of Vyborg in 1293 the Swedes gained a foothold in Karelia. On August 12, 1323, Sweden and Novgorod signed the Treaty of Nöteborg, regulating their border for the first time.


Mongol invasion and its aftermath

The Novgorod Republic managed to escape the horrors of the Mongol invasion of Russia, Mongol invasion because it was the only Rus principality to preemptively and peacefully submit to the Mongols. Instead of being formally conquered, the Republic paid a large bribe to Subutai in 1241, agreed to become a vassal, and later began to pay tribute to the Khan (title), khans of the Golden Horde. In 1259, Mongol tax-collectors and census-takers arrived in the city, leading to political disturbances and forcing Alexander Nevsky to punish a number of town officials (he cut off their noses) for defying him as Vladimir-Suzdal, Grand Prince of Vladimir (soon to be the khan's tax-collector in Russia) and his Mongol overlords. In the 14th century, raids by Novgorod pirates, or ushkuiniki, sowed fear as far as Kazan and Astrakhan, assisting Novgorod in wars with Muscovy.


Culture


Art and iconography

The Republic of Novgorod was famous for its high level of culture in relation to other Russian duchies like Suzdal. A great majority of the most important Eastern artwork of the period came from this city. Citizens of Novgorod were producing large quantities of art, more specifically, religious icons. This high level of artistic production was due to the flourishing economy. Not only would prominent boyar families commission the creation of icons, but artists also had the backing of wealthy merchants and members of the strong artisan class. Icons became so prominent in Novgorod that by the end of the 13th century a citizen did not have to be particularly rich to buy one; in fact, icons were often produced as exports as well as for churches and homes.Lazarev, Vzdornoc, and McDarby, ''The Rus Icon'', 48. However, scholars today have managed to find and preserve only a small, random assortment of icons made from the 12th century to the 14th century in Novgorod. The icons that do remain show a mixture of traditional Rus style, Byzantine art, Palaeologus-Byzantine style (prominent previously in Kiev), and Romanesque art, European Romanesque and Gothic art, Gothic style. The artists of Novgorod, and their audience, favored saints who provided protection mostly related to the economy. The Prophet Elijah was the lord of thunder who provided rain for the peasants' fields. Saint George, Saint Blaise, and Saints Florus and Laurus all provided some manner of protection over the fields or the animals and herds of the peasants. Saint Paraskeva Pyatnitsa and Saint Anastasia both protected trade and merchants. Saint Nicholas was the patron of carpenters and protected travelers and the suffering. Both Saint Nicholas and the Prophet Elijah also offer protection from fires. Fires were commonplace in the fields and on the streets of the city. Depictions of these saints retained popularity throughout the entire reign of the Republic. But in the beginning of the 14th century another icon became prominent in the city: the Virgin of Mercy. This icon commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Andrew of Constantinople, Andrew Yurodivyi and Epifanii. During this appearance, Mary prays for humankind. The art movement of Novgorod was essentially destroyed by Moscow after 1478, when a more uniform method for iconography was established throughout Russia.


Architecture and city layout

The Volkhov River divided the Republic of Novgorod into two-halves. The commercial side of the city, which contained the main market, rested on one side of the Volkhov. The St. Sophia Cathedral and an ancient kremlin rested on the other side of the river. The cathedral and kremlin were surrounded by a solid ring of city walls, which included a bell tower. Novgorod was filled with and surrounded by churches and monasteries. The city was overcrowded because of its large population of 30,000 people. The wealthy (boyar families, artisans, and merchants) lived in large stone houses inside the city walls, and the poor used whatever space they could find. The streets were paved with wood and were accompanied by a wooden water-pipe system, a Byzantine invention to protect against fire. The Byzantine architecture, Byzantine style (famous for large domes) and the Romanesque architecture, European Romanesque style influenced the architecture of Novgorod. A number of rich families commissioned churches and monasteries in the city. About 83 churches, almost all of which were built in stone, operated during this period. Two prominent styles of churches existed in the Republic of Novgorod. The first style consisted of a single apse with a slanted (''lopastnyi'') roof. This style was standard throughout Russia during this period. The second style, the Novgorodian style, consisted of three apses and had roofs with arched gables. This second style was prominent in the early years of the Republic of Novgorod and also in the last years of the Republic, when this style was revitalized to make a statement against the rising power of Moscow. The inside of the churches contained icons, woodcarvings, and church plates. The first known one-day votive churches, one-day votive church was built in Novgorod in 1390 to ward off a pandemic, several others were built in the city until mid-16th century. As they were built in one day, they were made of wood, small in size and simple in design.


Literature and literacy

Chronicles are the earliest kind of literature known to originate in Novgorod, the oldest one being the
Novgorod First Chronicle The Novgorod First Chronicle (russian: Новгородская первая летопись) or The Chronicle of Novgorod, 1016–1471 is the most ancient extant Old East Slavic, Old Russian chronicle of the Novgorod Republic, Novgorodian Rus'. I ...
. Other genres appear in the XIV and XV centuries: travel diaries (such as the account of Stefan the Novgorodian's travel to Constantinople for trade purposes), legends about local
posadnik Posadnik (Cyrillic: ''посадник'', (literally: ''по-садник'' - ''pre-sident'') was the mayor in some East Slavic peoples, East Slavic cities or towns. Most notably, the posadnik (equivalent to a stadtholder, Burgomaster, burgomeist ...
s, saints and Novgorod's wars and victories. The events of many bylinas – traditional Russian oral epic poems – take place in Novgorod. Their protagonists include a merchant and adventurer Sadko and daredevil Vasily Buslayev. Scholars generally believe that the Republic of Novgorod had an unusually high level of literacy for the time period. Archeologists found over one thousand birch-bark texts, all dating from the 11th to the 15th centuries, in towns dating back to the early Rus'. Roughly 950 of these texts were from Novgorod. Archeologists and scholars assume that fires destroyed a majority of Novgorod's written works and that about 20,000 similar texts still remain hidden in the city.Ianin, "Medieval Novgorod," 206. Novgorod citizens from all class levels, from boyars to peasants and artisans to merchants, participated in writing these texts. Even women wrote a significant amount of the manuscripts. This collection of birch-bark texts consists of religious documents, writings from the city's archbishops, business messages from all classes, and travelogues, especially of religious pilgrimages. The citizens of Novgorod wrote in a realistic and businesslike fashion. In addition to the birch-bark texts, archeologists also found the oldest surviving Russian manuscript in Novgorod: three wax tablets with Psalms 67, 75, and 76, dating from the first quarter of the 11th century.


Fall of the Republic

Tver#Grand princedom, Tver, Grand Duchy of Muscovy, Muscovy, and
Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no), is a country in the Baltic region The terms Baltic Sea Region, Baltic Rim countries (or simply Baltic Rim), and the Baltic Sea countr ...

Lithuania
fought over control of Novgorod and its enormous wealth from the 14th century. Upon becoming the Grand Duke of Vladimir, Grand Prince of Vladimir, Mikhail Yaroslavich of Tver sent his governors to
Novgorod Veliky Novgorod ( rus, links=yes, Великий Новгород, p=vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj ˈnovɡərət), also known as just Novgorod (russian: Новгород, lit=newtown, links=yes), is the largest city and administrative center of Novgorod O ...

Novgorod
. A series of disagreements with Mikhail pushed Novgorod towards closer ties with Muscovy during the reign of Yury of Moscow, Grand Prince George. In part, Tver's proximity (the Tver Principality is contiguous with the Novgorodian Land) threatened Novgorod. It was feared that a Tverite prince would annex Novgorodian lands and thus weaken the Republic. At the time, though, Muscovy did not border Novgorod, and since the Muscovite princes were further afield, they were more acceptable as princes of Novgorod. They could come to Novgorod's aid when needed but would be too far away to meddle too much in the Republic's affairs. As Muscovy grew in strength, however, the Muscovite princes became a serious threat to Novgorod. Ivan I of Russia, Ivan Kalita, Simeon of Russia, Simeon the Proud and other Muscovite monarchs sought to limit Novgorod's independence. In 1397, a critical conflict took place between Muscovy and Novgorod, when Moscow annexed the Dvina Lands along the course of the
Northern Dvina , image = dvina.jpg , image_size = , image_caption = Northern Dvina starts as the confluence of Yug River , image =Yug Podosinovets.jpg , image_size = , image_caption =The Yug in Podosin ...
. These lands were crucial to Novgorod's well-being since much of the city's furs came from there. This territory was returned to Novgorod the following year. Resisting the Muscovite oppression, the government of Novgorod sought an alliance with Poland–Lithuania. Most Novgorodian boyars wished to maintain the Republic's independence since if Novgorod were to be conquered, the boyars' wealth would flow to the grand prince and his Muscovite boyars, and the Novgorodians would fall into decline. Most of them didn't earn enough to pay for war. According to tradition, Marfa Boretskaya, the wife of Posadnik Isak Boretskii, was the main proponent of an alliance with Poland-Lithuania to save the Republic. According to this legend, Boretskaya invited the Lithuanian princeling Mikhail Olelkovich and asked him to become her husband and the ruler of Novgorod. She also concluded an alliance with Casimir IV of Poland, Casimir, the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. The prospects of changing allegiance in favor of the allied Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569), Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania caused a major commotion among the commoners. Janet Martin and Gail Lenhoff have recently argued that Boretskaya was scapegoated, probably by Archbishop Feofil (r. 1470–1480) in order to shift the blame from him for his betrayal of the terms of the Treaty of Yazhelbitsy, which forbade Novgorod from conducting foreign affairs without grand princely approval. While the extent of Boretskaya's role in the Lithuanian party is probably exaggerated, Novgorod did indeed try to turn to the King of Poland. A draft treaty, allegedly found among the loot after the Battle of Shelon River, was drawn up between Casimir and the Novgorodians. Muscovite authorities saw Novgorod's behavior as a repudiation of the Treaty of Yazhelbitsy and went to war against the city. The army of Moscow won a decisive victory in the Battle of Shelon River on July 1471, which severely limited Novgorod's freedom to act thereafter, although the city maintained its formal independence for the next seven years. In 1478, Ivan III of Russia, Ivan III sent his army to take the city. He destroyed the Novgorod veche, veche, tore down the Veche bell, the ancient symbol of participatory governance, civil society, and legal rights, and destroyed the book burning, library and archives, thus ending the independence of Novgorod. After the takeover, Ivan took 81.7% of Novgorod's land, half for himself and the rest for his allies. The Novgorod Chronicle which had been critical of Ivan III before the fall of Novgorod thus described the conquest in its aftermath, justifying it on the grounds of purported conversion of Novgorodians to the Catholic faith:Sixsmith, Martin. "Chapter 3." ''Russia: A 1,000 Year Chronicle of the Wild East''. New York, NY: Overlook Pr., 2012. 40. Print.
Thus did Great Prince Ivan advance with all his host against his domain of Novgorod because of the rebellious spirit of its people, their pride and conversion to Latinism. With a great and overwhelming force did he occupy the entire territory of Novgorod from frontier to frontier, inflicting on every part of it the dread powers of his fire and sword.


See also

*
Pskov Republic Pskov ( la, Plescoviae), known at various times as the Principality of Pskov (russian: Псковское княжество, Pskovskoye knyazhestvo) or the Pskov Republic (russian: Псковская Республика, Pskovskaya Respublika ...


References


External links


Infoplease: Novgorod HistoryThe fall of Great Novgorod
{{coord, 50.4500, N, 30.5167, E, source:wikidata, display=title Novgorod Republic, States and territories established in the 12th century 1136 establishments in Europe Subdivisions of Kievan Rus' Trading posts of the Hanseatic League Former Slavic countries 1478 disestablishments Russian city-states Former republics Fiefdoms of Poland