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Kagan – A Ruler’s Title in Early Eleventh-Century Kievan Rus’? Ilarion’s “On Law And Grace” as a Historical Source

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There is no consensus among scholars about whether Ilarion used the term kagan as a title or as praise in his sermon “On Law and Grace.” His work is the only narrative source regarded as contemporary, and it allows some conclusions to be drawn concerning the semantics and functions of the word kagan in eleventh-century Kievan Rus’. Historical methods of criticism do not provide a definitive answer to the question either, but the final conclusion supports the views of those who argue that Vladimir I and Iaroslav the Wise had themselves addressed as kagan. By using this title they conveyed that they surpassed other princes in authority and ruled the country with full powers.

Affiliations: 1: Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest, Hungary


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