Boris Panchenko

Panchenko, Boris Amfianovich


Born in June 1872 in St. Petersburg; died in the spring of 1920. Russian Byzantine scholar; scientific secretary of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople.

Panchenko wrote a number of works on the study of Byzantine sources, including On the “Secret History” of Procopius (1897). His Catalog of Lead Signets, a work in sphragistics, was published in the collection Proceedings of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople (1902, vol. 8, fasc. 3; 1904, vol. 9, fasc. 3; 1908, vol 13). Panchenko’s most important study was Peasant Property in Byzantium (ibid., 1904, vol. 9). This work used the Byzantine agrarian code and documents from the 11th through 15th centuries as the basis for a reexamination of the theory put forth by E. Zachariä von Lingenthal and V. G. Vasil’evskii that a system of communal ownership originating with the Slavs was predominant in Byzantium. Panchenko demonstrated that there was no periodic redistribution of land in

Byzantium and that peasants, even those who were not independent, had proprietary rights over their plots. In denying the existence of a commune in Byzantium at any time, Panchenko drew criticism from many other Byzantine scholars, including P. Mutafchiev, a Bulgarian historian and Panchenko’s contemporary. E. E. Lipshits, a later Soviet historian, also criticized Panchenko on this point.


Siuziumov, M. Ia. “Nauchnoe nasledie B. A. Panchenko.” Vizantiiskii vremennik, vol. 25. Moscow, 1964.