(armored boyars), a category of sluzhilye liudi (military service class) in the 16th through 18th centuries in Vitebsk, Polotsk, and other voevodstva (territories under a military governor) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later of the Rzecz Pospolita (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth). The pantsirnye boiare derived from the pantsirnye slugi (armored servitors), who served as heavy-cavalry troops in the 16th through early 18th centuries. Unlike the slugi, who were only freed from other obligatory state service during wartime, the pantsirnye boiare were not subject to any of the obligations imposed by the state on the tiaglye krest’iane (service-bound peasants). In the 17th and 18th centuries they were drawn into peacetime service as police forces and couriers.
In the 16th century the pantsirnye boiare had a social status intermediate between that of the tiaglye krest’iane and that of the szlachta (gentry). They owned land and peasants, but their legal capacity was limited. In the 17th and 18th centuries the pantsirnye boiare were a privileged group of peasant servitors. After the unification of eastern Byelorussia with the Russian Empire in the late 18th century, the status of the pantsirnye boiare approached that of the Ukrainian cossacks and the Russian odnodvortsy (state peasants who could own land).
REFERENCEPokhilevich, D. L. “Krest’iane-slugi v Velikom kniazhestve Litovskom v XVII-XVIII vv.” In the collection Srednie veka, fasc. 21. Moscow, 1962.
S. M. KASHTANOV