Rus' Khaganate - Government

Government

Writing in 922, Ibn Fadlan described the Rus' ruler (like the Khazar khagan), as having little real authority. Instead, political and military power was wielded by a deputy, who "commands the troops, attacks enemies, and acts as his representative before his subjects." The supreme king of the Rus', on the other hand, "has no duties other than to make love to his slave girls, drink, and give himself up to pleasure." He was guarded by 400 men, "willing to die for him ... These 400 sit below the royal throne: a large and bejewelled platform which also accommodates the forty slave-girls of his harem." Ibn Fadlan wrote that the Rus' ruler would almost never leave his throne and even "when he wants to go riding his horse is led up to him, and on his return the horse is brought right up to the throne." Ibn Rustah, on the other hand, reported that the khagan was the ultimate authority in settling disputes between his subjects. His decisions, however, were not binding, so that if one of the disputants disagreed with the khagan's ruling, the dispute was then resolved in a battle, which took place "in the presence of the contestants' kin who stand with swords drawn; and the man who gets the better of the duel also gets the decision about the matter in dispute."

The dichotomy between the relative powerlessness of the nominal ruler and the great authority of his subordinate reflects the structure of Khazar government, with secular authority in the hands of a Khagan Bek only theoretically subordinate to the khagan, and it agrees with the traditional Germanic system, where there could be a division between the king and the military commander. Moreover, some scholars have noted similarities between this dual kingship and the postulated relationship between Igor and Oleg of Kiev in the early 10th century (compare Askold and Dir in the 9th century). The institution of separate sacral ruler and military commander may be observed in the reconstructed relationship between Oleg and Igor, but whether this is part of the Rus' Khaganate's legacy to its successor-state is unknown. The early Kievan Rus' principalities exhibited certain distinctive characteristics in their government, military organization, and jurisprudence that were comparable to those in force among the Khazars and other steppe peoples; some historians believe that these elements came to Kievan Rus' from the Khazars by way of the earlier Rus' Khagans.

Read more about this topic:  Rus' Khaganate

Other articles related to "government":

Zuiderzee Works - Birth of The Project
... was an ardent supporter, an engineer and later government minister, whose 1891 plan formed the basis for what were to become the Zuiderzee Works ... became Minister of Transport and Public Works in 1913, the government started working on official plans to enclose the Zuiderzee ... salt water inlet The Dienst der Zuiderzeewerken (Zuiderzee Works Department), the government body responsible for overseeing the construction and initial management ...
Sarajevo - Administration - Municipalities and City Government
... Each operate their own municipal government, united they form one city government with its own constitution ... The city government also has a judicial branch based on the post-transitional judicial system as outlined by the High Representative's “High Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils” ... Local communities have a small role in city government and are intended as a way for ordinary citizens to get involved in city government ...
Politics Of The Republic Of Macedonia
... representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system ... Executive power is exercised by the government ... Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament ...
Hungary - Economy - Hungarian Economy Today
... Total government spending is high ... below investment grade, because of mounting financial-sector funding pressures and the general government debt which is of 81% of GDP (2010) ... health care reform, tax reform, and local government financing are being addressed by the present government ...

Famous quotes containing the word government:

    ... until both employers’ and workers’ groups assume responsibility for chastising their own recalcitrant children, they can vainly bay the moon about “ignorant” and “unfair” public criticism. Moreover, their failure to impose voluntarily upon their own groups codes of decency and honor will result in more and more necessity for government control.
    Mary Barnett Gilson (1877–?)

    [In government] the problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect.
    James Madison (1751–1836)

    I feel a sincere wish indeed to see our government brought back to it’s republican principles, to see that kind of government firmly fixed, to which my whole life has been devoted. I hope we shall now see it so established, as that when I retire, it may be under full security that we are to continue free and happy.
    Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)