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The Eastern Slavic Political and Social Structure

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Chapter Summary

The onset of Vladimir's rule initiated a more complex and generally a less recognizable role for three ancient Eastern Slavic institutions, the military aristocratic commanders, and the urban popular assembly, in Kievan princely affairs. The Kievan Rus' scribes unquestionably accept the inauguration of Vladimir's sovereignty through conquest and again Jaroslav's elevation to solitary rule upon the demise of his brother. These circumstances evidence providential pleasure and conform to the annalists' acceptance of a biblical historiographic tradition, but Svjatopolk and Mstislav are excepted from this process and are not accorded divine acknowledgment. The Rus' writers approved with favor the Israelite perception that a royal king was the channel for divine blessings for his people. This fundamental principle further explains the Kievan princes' relationship to the Supreme Being and their maintenance of justice among their subjects.

Keywords: biblical historiographic tradition; Eastern Slavic; Jaroslav; Kievan princes; Kievan Rus; Vladimir



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