in medieval Russia, individuals engaged in the transcription and compilation of manuscripts; in particular, scribes who copied manuscript books (knizhnye pistsy); also master icon painters and manuscript illuminators (ikonnye pistsy). In the 18th century the term pistsy became a designation for minor government officials.
Documents of the 13th through 15th centuries mention pistsy and opishchiki (surveyors), who inventoried land. From the end of the 15th to the beginning of the 18th century, the pistsy were official agents sent out to survey land and determine boundaries between holdings. They were responsible for drawing up pistsovye knigi, land surveys, censuses, and other registers and for adjudicating land disputes.