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Posadnik

POSADNIK

A term meaning "mayor," the leading political figure of Novgorod and Pskov.

In Novgorod the posadnik was second only to the archbishop, the symbolic ruler of the city. The term derives from the verb posaditi, to sit, and reflects the practice of Kievan princes who "sat" their representatives, often family members, as princes of Novgorod.

Toward the end of the tenth century the Novgorodian posadnik was separated from the governing prince, and after 1088 was chosen by a veche (assembly or gathering). Following Novgorod's independence from Kiev in 1136, princely power slowly declined as princes had to share their authority with the mayor. The boyar elite of Novgorod and Pskov dominated the office of mayor.

At first only one mayor in Novgorod was chosen for life. In the fourteenth century a collective mayoralty developed (posadnichestvo ) consisting of six mayors, one for each of the five districts (two from Prussian Street), and one who served as Lord Mayor (stepenny posadnik ). In 1354 the term of Lord Mayor was shortened to one year, and after 1387 the office rotated among Novgorodian borough mayors. In 1416 and 1417 the term was reduced to six months, while the number of borough mayors increased to eighteen. In 1423 the borough mayors grew to twenty-four, and in the second half of the fifteenth century to thirty-four. Current and former Lord Mayors, together with the chiliarch (the leader of a thousand men or troops) and sitting borough mayors, comprised Novgorod's Council of Lords. The mayoralty disappeared with the fall of Novgorod to Moscow in 1478.

See also: boyar; novgorod judicial charter; nov gorod the great; veche

bibliography

Langer, Lawrence. (1974). "V. L. Ianin and the History of Novgorod." Slavic Review 33:114119.

Langer, Lawrence. (1984). "The Posadnichestvo of Pskov: Some Aspects of Urban Administration in Medieval Russia." Slavic Review 43:4662.

Lawrence N. Langer

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