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Domostroy: Why a book about Russian life has earned a negative reputation, and what is actually written in it
Domostroy: Why a book about Russian life has earned a negative reputation, and what is actually written in it
Domostroy is a monument of ancient Russian literature

Domostroy is a monument of ancient Russian literature, which was perceived by society in different eras in different ways. At one time, Domostroy was revered as a useful set of rules, following which people gained wealth, respect and family happiness. In the 19th century, the medieval treatise began to be accused of cruelty and unreasonable rudeness. And then they completely forgot, sometimes only mentioning the most impartial moments of punishment of servants and sluggish wives. But was the way of life proposed in Domostroy so cruel and dull, as it is commonly believed, and for what purpose was the great book slandered.

Domostroy - a book about Russian ideals

The book called Domostroy was published in the era of Ivan the Terrible - at the beginning of the 16th century. She was a complete encyclopedia of Russian life, covering all its spheres - religion, housekeeping, raising children, relations between spouses. Domostroy is imbued with the idea of ​​one-man management: the state is ruled by the tsar, and the family is ruled by the man. The texts were intended to structure not only family life, but also the functioning of the young centralized Russian state.

The compiler of the book - the confessor Sylvester, mentor of Ivan the Terrible, a native of wealthy merchants of Veliky Novgorod - used already existing works of both Russian and European origin to create a complete set of rules. These included "Izmaragd", "Chrysostom", "The Teaching and Legend of the Spiritual Fathers", "The Book of Christian Teaching", "The Parisian Master".

Rules for each family individually and society as a whole

Briefly summarizing the essence, we get the following maxim: the head of the family is responsible to the sovereign and God for himself and his household. And one of the suggested tools is "salvation by fear". Therefore, the head of the family strictly forbids the household to mess around, gossip, and also requires that an important condition be observed - to make any decisions with his knowledge and consent. But the author of Domostroi insists that it is necessary to teach with love and "exemplary instruction" ("not to beat on the ear, not on the eyes, not to hit under the heart with a fist, not to kick or with a staff, not to beat with anything iron or wooden …"). Of the 67 chapters, only one is devoted to the issue of punishment.

Much of the book is detailed advice on how to tailor a dress from scraps, store provisions for future use, keep track of the contents of cellars, donate to those in need, and even brew beer. In general, how to manage the economy in order to make good money, and not get into debt.

Conflict with Western ideology

When Domostroy was gaining popularity in Russia, Renaissance ideas flourished in Europe. Russian women worked tirelessly, constantly improving their everyday life, washing clothes, sweeping rooms. And Western women enjoyed their sensuality, beauty and prosperity. In European families with decent means, women did not do housework, but made beauty.

A Russian woman is always busy with preparations

By the 19th century, when the Russian people tried to imitate Europe in everything, the formerly popular Domostroy began to be severely criticized. The severity of morals, hierarchy and the need to constantly work - such principles were rejected by progressive society.

In democratic journalism, Domostroy began to be presented as a symbol of the bone past, as a cruel regulation limiting the creative and intellectual development of a person. They began to focus only on the physical punishment of wives and children, and the sections devoted to the spiritual and moral component were ignored. So the literary monument turned from a treatise on a life in love and prosperity into a manual on the technique of lashing. The democratic revolutionaries of the 19th century, in particular N. Shelgunov, referring to Domostroy, meant invariably bad things. If Domostroyevsky, then a rod, and certainly crushing ribs, forcing and compelling.

During the Soviet era, the source text became unavailable

The period of outright falsification of Domostroi, according to the historian A. Veronova, is associated with the construction of communism. Domostroy was deliberately distorted for the sake of ideology, pulling the most burning quotes out of context and showing them to impressionable readers. As a result, it was possible to create a negative image of the literary monument, and at the same time of the entire Orthodoxy in general. And most importantly, it turned out to convince people that progressive, sane citizens are entirely on the side of scientific atheism.

Domostroy is incompatible with scientific atheism

A person who once lived in medieval Russia on the orders of Domostroi was assessed by Soviet historians as a hoarding and useless element in a well-coordinated team.

Physical punishment and the principle of historicism

Today Domostroy has been rehabilitated, its text is freely available. It became clear that the set of rules regarding family life is not so overwhelming: you just need to maintain a sober lifestyle, cleanliness in the house and fidelity in marital relations, to instill in children respect for work and older family members. This is enough to not merit a whip.

Corporal punishment is a last resort

Corporal punishment did take place, but it should be remembered that we are talking about the Middle Ages, when physical violence in the family was regarded as a way to "teach". In Domostroy, beating a wife is, although permissible, but an extreme measure "for great terrible disobedience," in other cases it is recommended to teach with advice, to love and praise the wife. And if you really had to "learn with a whip", then you should do it in private.

If someone has a desire to follow the rules of Domostroi in the current 21st century, it is imperative to take into account the principle of historicism and remember that there is a criminal code.

Continuing the theme, a story about how families were created in Russia, who were refused marriage and when divorce was allowed.

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