Forvm Romanvm: Ass. Prof. Dr Nina Kršljanin gave a lecture “The Žiča Charters: a turning point in the law of medieval Serbia”
On April 16th, 2021, Ass. Prof. Dr Nina Kršljanin gave a lecture “The Žiča Charters: a turning point in the law of medieval Serbia”. Putting these charters in the context of broader changes at the beginning of the 13th century (the raising in rank of the state and the church, creation of the Zakonopravilo (Nomocanon) of Saint Sava), she focused on the analysis of some key provisions from the second Žiča Charter. She spoke about the designation of the monastery of Žiča as the coronation place of Serbian kings and the subordination of the four most important royal monasteries directly to the archbishopric, as well as the provisions in the field of marital law – prohibition of arbitrary divorce (in the absence of canonically recognized reasons for divorce) and prohibition of marriage between in-laws (with one’s sister-in-law). Within this subject, she showed the importance of the state supporting these canonical norms with secular sanctions (high fines), pointed out the class character of punishment (where the higher estates, as wealthier, pay more fines), analyzed the pros and cons of the position of women in medieval Serbia and put forward some hypotheses about the legal consequences that would occur if someone could not pay a fine. In conclusion, she underlined the importance of these provisions as general, and not particular – because no later ruler until Emperor (Tsar) Dušan passed regulations for the entire territory of the state. After the lecture, an active discussion developed, mostly on issues of marital and criminal law.