What was the difference between a serf and a serf?

What was the difference between a smerd and a serf?

There really was a difference: smerds and serfs in Russia from the 9th-10th centuries until the beginning of the 18th century, when new estates began to form, belonged to different strata of society, each with their own rights and obligations. This channel you don want­t to mute. Good articles, full news and #tourist bear!


Kholopywere one of the most numerous and disenfranchised feudal dependent estates. They could not own land, participate in the public life of the state, inherit property and were in the complete power of the master. This status had both rural and urban residents. It was passed from parents and acquired for debts, offenses and crimes. Rural serfs cultivated the land and performed the dirtiest work in the owners' house, city serfs could master the craft and work for the benefit of the master or be servants. There was a gradation within the estate: large serfs carried out more responsible tasks and led smaller serfs. combat serfs also stood out – they mainly consisted of the army and the prince's guards. They were the most privileged stratum compared to the rest.

Combat serfs also stood out – they mainly consisted of the army and princely guards.


Until the end of the 11th century, the name smerdcompared to a serf, it sounded proud: that was the name of all free peasants. They had the right to own land, livestock and tools of production. They went on military campaigns with their own weapons and served in the elite part of the princely army – the cavalry. From the 12th century, smerds began to slowly but surely turn into a dependent class, the process of enslavement of initially free people dragged on for centuries.

So from a certain point on, many researchers do not distinguish between smerds and serfs: both classes were dependent. In particular, for the murder of a representative of any of them, a fine was 8 times smaller than for the murder of a free person. Yet there was a significant difference between them. Smerds had some personal freedom – they were responsible for their misdeeds themselves, paid fines, had a partial right to inherit. The serf was originally the property of the master, as a thing. The feudal lord bore full responsibility for his life and actions: he could kill, donate, sell, or, conversely, make him rich, entrust important work to him, make him his attorney. But it is just as easy to punish cruelly at the slightest whim.

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