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Stratum Plus. 2001-2002. №6

P. V. Sovetov

Crime and Punishment (Essays on History of Common Law and Legislation in Medieval Moldavia)

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Pages: 26-151

The author analyses a vast corpus of Moldavian rulers’ acts, as well as Vasile Lupu’s Code of 1646, and thus studies various aspects of common law and legislation of the feudal Moldavia. He shows development of the concept of crime and punishment in the medieval law. He brings convincing evidence to prove that appearance of the Code in 1646 was a natural result of the country’s social-economic processes. It was not a blind compilation of European legislative codes of the time, but rather an obvious outcome of legislative activities of this Moldavian ruler. Though the local legislators did make a good use of P. Farinazzi’s Treaty, it was not a simple borrowing, but rather an acceptance combined with creativity and based on the achievements of the local juridical thinking. The author managed to detect doubtless independence of this legislative product of the Code’s compilers, who managed to reconcile the important legal norms that would survive in Moldavia for long.
The Code had an apparent discriminatory nature, which exactly met the interests of the boyars. The principles of criminal law it confirmed acquired a wide spread and underlay the judicial system of the feudal Moldavia in XVII-XVIII centuries. Besides the legislative confirmation of already long existing system of punishment, the Code of 1646 introduced some innovations, which were the local product. Introduction of a cruel and deterrent system of punishment for the vassal peasants supported interests of all layers of nobility and the ruler. Like many other legislative codes of the time, the Code confirmed both de facto and formal inequality of people regarding determination and application of the system of punishment. However, unlike in Russia and Lithuania, deprived of their privileges were the serving gentry. Vasile Lupu’s Code is a monument to power of the Moldavian boyars and to weakness of the serving gentry; it reflects the fight of the boyars, who did not keep back their oligarchic aspirations, with the authority of the ruler, who tried to keep his dominating position.


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