The Traditional Ranks in the Petrine Epoch: Between Afterlife and Innovation

Keywords: Russian history, nobility, Peter I, Moscow ranks, promotion in rank, Tsar’s court, boyar lists

Abstract

The ranks and awards of Russian service elites and nobility have been a historiographical issue since the eighteenth century. G. F. Miller reflected on the psychology of the Tsar’s subjects, who asked Peter the Great to keep some of the old ranks during the introduction of new ones and described two such cases. Soviet historians of the 1980s discovered several appointments to the old ranks made in the early eighteenth century and registered in archival documents. These curious cases were interpreted by researchers as isolated exceptions or the result of the inertia of old practices. The study of mass historical sources has since led to the discovery of more than 1100 cases of this kind and provided different contexts in which these awards were granted. It was previously thought that Tsar Peter ridiculed the old ranks, giving them only to his jesters. Modern research on Peter’s innovations leads to a different view. For example, the introduction of the Hungarian dress and beard shaving was carried out in several steps, with backtracking. There has also been some oversimplification of the comparative pairs of epithets, such as “Muscovite-Imperial”, “old-new”, “ and “boyars-nobility”, which reflects nothing but the didactic attitudes of historians themselves. This article demonstrates that there was no dearth of official awards or withdrawal of the Duma ranks until the 1710s, at least. The introduction of The Table of Ranks did not abolish the ranks of “courtiers” (tsaredvortsy), as the earlier Muscovite ranks were called, which became the basis of the nobility. Peter I introduced several innovations to the traditional service hierarchy. Before the beginning of the Great Northern War, hundreds of the Tsarina’s stol’niki and court servitors were transferred to the Muscovite ranks, following which the Zhiletsky List continued being replenished for some years afterwards. The drama of ranks was aggravated by the enhanced status of the regular army ranks, which were outside the Moskovsky Spisok (the hierarchy of traditional ranks). The course of events was accelerated by the Tsar’s intention to implement European analogues of court and civil titles. Nevertheless, the popularity of the traditional ranks outside the army remained high. According to many sources, the traditional ranks of Muscovy were kept in check and re-registered throughout Peter’s reign. The Tsar’s decrees raised the status of military service. He sometimes approved petitions for the Duma ranks by several of his subjects and had his unique way of indicating the prospects for advancement to other petitioners. The low-level Muscovite ranks within the traditional hierarchy proved to be more stable than previously assumed. Muscovite ranks were not included in The Table of Ranks because the only rank of mass appointments by the early 1720s was that of a d’iak.

Author Biography

Andrey Zakharov

PhD (History), Associate Professor, Senior Researcher, Digital Humanities Laboratory, Chelyabinsk State University.

129, Bratyev Kashirinykh Str., 454001, Chelyabinsk, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-7827-8585

elural@yandex.ru

References

Ageeva, O. G. (2008). Imperatorskii dvor Rossii. 1700–1796 gody [Imperial Court of Russia. 1700–1796]. Moscow, Nauka. 380 p.

Anisimov, E. V. (2006). Verkhi russkogo obshchestva nachala Petrovskoi epokhi [Russian Elites of the Beginning of the Petrine Epoch]. In Pavlov, A. P. (Ed.). Pravyashchaya elita Russkogo gosudarstva IX – nachala XVIII v. St Petersburg, Dmitrii Bulanin, pp. 470–497.

Bogoslovskii, M. M. (1948). Petr I. Materialy dlya biografii [Peter the Great. Materials for Biography]. Moscow, OGIZ. Vol. 4. 514 p.

Bushkovitch, P. (2008). Petr Velikii. Bor’ba za vlast’ (1671‒1725) [Peter the Great. Struggle for Power (1671–1725)] / transl. by N. L. Luzhetskaya. St Petersburg, Dmitrii Bulanin. 604 p.

Crummey, R. O. (1974). Peter and the Boyar Aristocracy, 1689–1700. In Canad.-Am. Slavic Studies. Vol. 8. No. 2, pp. 274–287.

Crummey, R. O. (1983). Aristocrats and Servitors. The Boyar Elite in Russia, 1613–1689. Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press. 338 p.

Dosifei (1833). Letopisets Solovetskii na chetyre stoletiya, ot osnovaniya Solovetskogo monastyrya do nastoyashchego vremeni, to est’ s 1429 po 1833 god. [The Chronicle of the Solovetsky Islands for Four Centuries, from the Foundation of Solovetsky Monastery to the Present, from 1429 to 1833]. Moscow, Universitetskaya tipografiya. 177 p.

Grund, G. (1992). Doklad o Rossii v 1705–1710 gg. [Report on Russia in 1705–1710] / transl. by Yu. N. Bespyatykh. Moscow, St Petersburg, Institut rossiiskoi istorii. 138 p.

Kurakin, B. I. (1890). Gistoriya o Petre I i blizhnikh k nemu lyudyakh [History of Peter I and People Close to Him]. In Russkaya starina. Book 68. No. 10, pp. 229–260.

Lotman, Yu. M., Uspensky, B. A. (1992). Mif – imya – kul’tura [Myth – Name – Culture]. In Lotman, Yu. M. Stat’i po semiotike i topologii kul’tury v 3 t. Tallin, Aleksandra. Vol. 1, pp. 58–75.

Lukichev, M. P. (2004) Boyarskie knigi XVII veka: trudy po istorii i istochnikovedeniyu [Boyar Books of the 17th Century: Studies in History and Source Studies]. Moscow, Drevlekhranilishche. 538 p.

Medushevskii, A. N. (1982). Boyarskie spiski pervoi chetverti XVIII veka [Boyar Lists of the First Quarter of the 18th Century]. In Arkheograficheskii ezhegodnik za 1981 g. Moscow, Nauka, pp. 158–163.

Miller, G. F. (1996). Izvestie o dvoryanekh Rossiiskikh [The Message of the Russian Nobility]. In Miller, G. F. Sochineniya po istorii Rossii. Izbrannoe. Moscow, Nauka. 448 p.

NIA SPbII RAN [Scientific and Historical Archive of St Petersburg Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences]. Stock 83. List 1. Dos. 3762.

Pis’ma i bumagi imperatora Petra Velikogo [Letters and Papers of Emperor Peter the Great]. (1887–2003). Vol. 11. Iss. 2. St Petersburg, Gosudarstvennaya tipografiya. 743 p. Vol. 13. Iss. 1. Moscow, Nauka. 480 p.

Poe, M. T. (2004). The Russian Elite in the Seventeenth Century. 2 Vols. Helsinki, Acad. Scientiarum Fennica. Vol. 1. The Consular and Ceremonial Ranks of the Russian “Sovereign’s Court”, 1613–1713. 469 p.

Pokhodnyi zhurnal 1714 goda [Campaign Diary 1714]. (1913). St Petersburg, S. n. 160 p.

RGADA [Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts]. Stock 9. List 1. Dos. 9; Dpt. 2. List 4. Dos. 82; Stock 154. List 2. Dos. 68; Stock 199. Unified Repository. 130. Part 15. Dos. 3; Part 16. Dos. 6; Stock 210. List 1. Dos. 11. List 2. Dos. 36, 41, 43, 45, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58; List 3. Dos. 58, 60, 69, 70; List 8. Dos. 1098; List 17. Dos. 8; Stock 248. List 3. Book 95; List 12. Dos. 641; Stock 286. List 1. Dos. 5, 7; Stock 350. List 3. Dos. 1; Stock 1209. List 4/1. Dos. 4719/17.

Rummel’, V. V., Golubtsov, V. V. (1887). Rodoslovnyi sbornik russkikh dvoryanskikh familii v 2 t. [The Genealogical Collection of Russian Noble Families. 2 Vols.]. St Petersburg, Publ. by A. S. Suvorina. Vol. 2. 647 p.

Rybakov, B. A., Lurie, Ya. S., Serbina, K. N. (Eds.). (1977). Dvinskoi letopisets. In PSRL. Leningrad, Nauka. Vol. 33, pp. 148–221.

Semevskii, M. I. (1989). Tsaritsa Praskov’ia [Tsarina Praskov’ia]. Moscow, Kniga. 223 p.

Serov, D. O. (2011). Poslednie d’yaki: iz istorii reformirovaniya sistemy grazhdanskikh chinov Rossii v pervoi chetverti XVIII v. [The Last of the D’yaks: From the History of Reforms of the Civil Servants’ System in Russia in the First Quarter of the 18th Century]. In Ural’skii istoricheskii vestnik. No. 3, pp. 64–72.

Solovyov, S. M. (1995). Istoricheskie pis’ma [Historical Letters]. In Solov’ev, S. M. Sochineniya v 18 kn. Moscow, Mysl’. Book 16, pp. 353–404.

Zakharov, A. V. (2003–2020). Informatsionno-poiskovaya polnotekstovaya sistema “Boyarskiye spiski XVIII veka” [The “Boyar Lists of the 18th Century” Database]. Chelyabinsk. URL: http://zaharov.csu.ru/bspisok.pl (accessed: 01.05.2020).

Zakharov, A. V. (2009). Gosudarev dvor Petra I. Publikatsiya i issledovanie istochnikov razryadnogo deloproizvodstva [Tsar’s Court of Peter the Great. Publication and Research of the Razriadnyi Prikaz’s Sources]. Chelyabinsk, Izdatel’stvo Chelyabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. 447 p.

Zakharov, A. V. (2016). Komnatnye stol’niki Petra Velikogo: rekonstruktsiya sostava i prosopograficheskoe issledovanie [Komnatnye Stol’niki of Peter the Great: Reconstruction of the Group and Prosopography]. In Vestnik Permskogo universiteta. Seriya: Istoriya. No. 4, pp. 85–99.

Published
2021-04-04
How to Cite
Zakharov, A. (2021). The Traditional Ranks in the Petrine Epoch: Between Afterlife and Innovation. Quaestio Rossica, 9(1), 236–253. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2021.1.576
Section
Problema voluminis