Service, Landholding, and Dependent Labour in Kozlov District, 1675

  • Brian Davies


The fate of the middle service class odnodvortsy* of Muscovy’s southern frontier — their subjection to the soul tax and juridical equation with the state peasants — is by now well known. The term odnodvorets (single-householder) originally described a purely economic condition: the odnodvorets supported himself in military service without serf labour, even though as a member of the middle service class he had the right to own serfs. Most odnodvortsy had small economies. In the first half of the seventeenth century, the principal means by which state policy introduced or increased economic stratification among them was the act of ‘initiation’ (verstanie), by which a serviceman’s service capacity was graded and he was assigned the appropriate land and cash entitlement rates for his remuneration. Some households were richer than others in land, household labour, livestock and material inventory, but military chancellery policy was responsible only for their differentiation into initiated (verstanyi) and uninitiated (neverstanyi) conditions, and within the former condition, for their differentiation by land and cash entitlement rates (oklady) and actual pomest’e grants. Such differentiation occurred on an individual basis, according to appraisal of each man’s capacity. Otherwise, in the eyes of the state, the deti boiarskie odnodvortsy were an undifferentiated mass, having in common their lack of peasant labour and votchina land; they were subject to the same limited number of cash dues (post system money, captive ransom money, and so forth), and were not yet divided into separate permanent formations for regimental and town service (polkovaia sluzhba and gorodovaia sluzhba).


Service Class Service Formation Minimum Subsistence Landless Peasant Actual Grant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© International Council for Soviet and East European Studies, and Lindsey Hughes 1993

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  • Brian Davies

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