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Paul Vinogradoff

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Paul Vinogradoff
Born30 November [O.S. 18 November] 1854
Died19 December 1925(1925-12-19) (aged 71)
Resting placeHolywell Cemetery, England
CitizenshipRussian (to 1918); British (from 1918)
Louise Stang
(m. 1897, died)
Childrena son and a daughter
Parent(s)Gavriil Kiprianovich Vinogradov (father)
Yelena Pavlovna Kobelova (mother)
HonorsДоктор наук (Moscow, 1887)
D.C.L. (Oxford, Durham)
LL.D. (Cambridge, Harvard, Liverpool, Calcutta, Michigan)
Dr. juris (Berlin)
Doctor honoris causa (Paris)
Academic background
Alma materImperial Moscow University
Academic work
DisciplineHistory of Medieval Europe
Notable worksVillainage in England: Essays in English Medieval History

Sir Paul Gavrilovitch Vinogradoff FBA (Russian: Па́вел Гаври́лович Виногра́дов, romanizedPavel Gavrilovich Vinogradov; 30 November [O.S. 18 November] 1854 was a Russian and British historian and medievalist. He was a leading thinker in the development of historical jurisprudence and legal history as disciplines.[1]

Early life[edit]

Vinogradoff was born in Kostroma and was educated at the local gymnasium and Moscow University, where he studied history under Vasily Klyuchevsky. After graduating in 1875, he obtained a scholarship to continue his studies in Berlin, where he studied under Theodor Mommsen and Heinrich Brunner.


Vinogradoff became professor of history at the University of Moscow, but his zeal for the spread of education brought him into conflict with the authorities, and consequently he was obliged to leave Russia. Having settled in England, Vinogradoff brought a powerful and original mind to bear upon the social and economic conditions of early England, a subject which he had already begun to study in Moscow.[2]

Vinogradoff visited Britain for the first time in 1883, working on records in the Public Records Office and meeting leading English scholars such as Sir Henry Maine and Sir Frederick Pollock. He also met Frederic William Maitland, who was heavily influenced by their meeting.

Vinogradoff was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1897.[3]

In 1903 he was elected to the position of Corpus Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford, and held this position until he died in 1925.[4] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1905. He received honorary degrees from the principal universities (including D.C.L. from the University of Oxford in October 1902, in connection with the tercentenary of the Bodleian Library.[5]), was made a member of several foreign academies and was appointed honorary professor of history at Moscow.[2]

Upon the death of Maitland, Vinogradoff became the literary director of the Selden Society with Sir Frederick Pollock, a position he held until 1920. During World War I he gave valuable assistance to the British Foreign Office in connection with Russian affairs.[6] Vinogradoff was knighted in 1917,[7] and he and his children were naturalized as British subjects in 1918.[8]

In 1925, Vinogradoff traveled to Paris to receive an honorary degree; while in Paris, he developed pneumonia and died there on 19 December.


According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, published in 1911, Vinogradoff's Villainage in England (1892) was "perhaps the most important book written on the peasantry of the feudal age and the village community in England; it can only be compared for value with FW Maitland's Domesday Book and Beyond. In masterly fashion Vinogradoff here shows that the villein of Norman times was the direct descendant of the Anglo-Saxon freeman, and that the typical Anglo-Saxon settlement was a free community, not a manor, the position of the freeman having steadily deteriorated in the centuries just around the Norman Conquest. The status of the villein and the conditions of the manor in the 12th and 13th centuries are set forth with a legal precision and a wealth of detail which shows its author, not only as a very capable historian, but also as a brilliant and learned jurist."[2]

The article considered that almost equally valuable was Vinogradoff's essay on “Folkland” in vol. viii. of the English Historical Review (1893), which proved for the first time the real nature of this kind of land. Vinogradoff followed up his Villainage in England with The Growth of the Manor (1905) and English Society in the Eleventh Century (1908), works on the lines of his earlier book.[2]

In Outlines in Historical Jurisprudence (1920–22), Vinogradoff traces the development of basic themes of jurisprudence, including marriage, property, and succession, in six different types of society: the totemistic, the tribal, the ancient city state, the medieval system of feudalism and canon law, and modern industrial society.[9]


  • The Origins of Feudal Relations in Lombard Italy, 1880.
  • Villainage in England, Clarendon Press, [publ. 1887; trans. to English 1892].
  • The Teaching of Sir Henry Maine: An Inaugural Lecture, Henry Frowde, 1904.
  • The Growth of the Manor, George Allen & Company, 1911 [1st Pub. 1905].
  • English Society in the Eleventh Century, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908.
  • Roman Law in Medieval Europe, Harper & Brothers, 1909.
  • Essays in Legal History Read Before the International Congress of Historical Studies, held in London in 1913, Oxford University Press, 1913.
  • Common-sense in Law, H. Holt and Company, 1914.
  • Self-government in Russia, Constable, 1915.
  • Outlines in Historical Jurisprudence (Introduction and Tribal Law), Oxford University Press, 1920.
  • Outlines in Historical Jurisprudence (The Jurisprudence of the Greek City), Oxford University Press, 1922.
  • Custom and Right. Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard). 1925 – via Internet Archive.
  • The Collected Papers of Paul Vinogradoff, 2 Vol., Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1928.


As editor[edit]



  1. ^ Stein, Peter (23 September 2004). "Vinogradoff, Sir Paul Gavrilovich [Pavel Gavrilovich Vinogradov] (1854–1925)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36664. Retrieved 2 July 2024. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  4. ^ "Sir P. Vinogradoff: Lawyer and Historian". The Times: 18. 21 December 1925.
  5. ^ "University intelligence". The Times. No. 36893. London. 8 October 1902. p. 4.
  6. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Vinogradoff, Sir Paul". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 32 (12th ed.). London & New York: The Encyclopædia Britannica Company. p. 927.
  7. ^ "No. 30138". The London Gazette. 19 June 1917. p. 6047.
  8. ^ "No. 30505". The London Gazette. 1 February 1918. p. 1547.
  9. ^ Vinogradoff planned the work to be in at least three volumes, as Vol. III, centered around "The Mediaeval Jurisprudence of Western Christendom", was listed as "in preparation" in the opening of Vol. II.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]