LAW -- Ulozhenie gosudariia tsariia Alekseia Mikhailovicha. [The Law Code of Tsar Alexis.] Moscow: Petchatnii Dvor, 1649.
2° (298 x 196mm). 337 leaves (of 340, without the three blank leaves as often). Printed in red and black throughout, manuscript titles in Russian and Slavonic added in the 19th century. Woodcut headpieces. (First leaf and last leaf re-margined in the 19th century, a few leaves repaired in the inside margin, some mostly marginal losses affecting a few words, some of these repaired, some with a few letters in manuscript, faint dampstaining throughout, some marginal soiling, and spotting.) Contemporary Russian calf, covers with blind-ruled border, front cover centred with blind tool, brass catches (rebacked and re-cornered in sheep, and new endpapers supplied, in the 19th century, now worn; lacking clasps and straps). Provenance: Count Dmitrii Nikolaevich Mavros (binding, stamp).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PRINTED RUSSIAN CODE OF LAW, and the most important piece of feudal legislation in Russia. The publication of this work was instigated by Tsar Alexis, second Romanov monarch of Russia, who received his tutelage from Boris Ivanovich Morozov before acscending the throne at age 16. Morozov initially took charge of state affairs, but a popular uprising in Moscow in 1648 caused Alexis to exile him. Alexis, agreeing to the rebellion's demands, convened an assembly which presented this new Russian law code on 3 October 1648. The code, ratified on 29 January 1649, legally defined serfdom, and therefore Russia's feudal system. The first edition was completed in less than two months, from 7 April to 29 May 1649, and by the end of the year three issues had appeared, differentiated by the number of blanks; the present example issued without blanks. Ivask records that the library of General Lieutenant Mavros, owner of this copy, in Vilnius comprised over 9000 books. Fekula 1740; Ivask III, p.24; Sopikov 1568; Zernova (1958) 216.