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The Skra Of Novgorod: Legal Contacts Between Russia And Western Europe In The Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

For many centuries, the medieval Russian city of Novgorod housed an independent community of Hanseatic merchants, who had their own code of law, called the Skra. This chapter discusses the Skra against the background of contemporary Russian law. In German legal history, the Skra is usually viewed as an offshoot of the medieval law of Northern Germany and this view fits into the perspective of the Novgorod settlement as a distant outpost of the Hanseatic League. In Russian legal history, the Skra has not commanded much attention, primarily because it was regarded as German law. Both views tend to look at the Skra as a legal document operating in a kind of vacuum. The two legal spheres were able to agree on workable institutions and practices which allowed them several centuries of reasonably peaceful relations.

Keywords: German Court; Hanseatic League; Hanseatic merchants; Novgorod; Russian Law; Skra



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