Vira


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Vira

 

(also vera), in ancient Rus’ a monetary fine to be paid to the prince for the crime of murdering a freeman.

The origin of the term vira is in dispute. In accordance with Russkaia Pravda (the law code of Rus’), 40 grivny (an old monetary unit) were to be paid for murdering an ordinary freeman, and 80 was the fine for murdering a representative of the prince’s administration (an ognishchanin [household manager] or tiun [steward]). A half-vira (2Q grivny) was imposed for inflicting serious personal injuries and (in accordance with the Expanded Code) for killing an unfaithful wife. When the murderer was unknown, the obshchina-verv’, (peasant commune) in which the victim was found paid a special, “extraordinary” vira. This custom was widespread as late as the 16th century.

REFERENCES

Geiman, V. G. “Pravo i sud.” In Istoriia kul’tury Drevnei Rusi, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1951.
Drevnerusskoe gosudarstvo i ego mezhdunarodnoe znachenie. Moscow, 1965.
Zimin, A. A. “Feodal’naia gosudarstvennost’ i Russkaia Pravda.” In the collection Istoricheskie zapiski, vol. 76. Moscow, 1965.

S. M. KASHTANOV

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