Paul Vinogradoff

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Sir Paul Vinogradoff
Paul Vinogradoff.jpg
Born 18 November 1854 O.S.
Kostroma, Russian Empire
Died 19 December 1925(1925-12-19) (aged 71)
Paris, France
Occupation Historian, Educator
Nationality Russian (to 1918); British (from 1918)
Subject Medieval Europe
Notable works Villainage in England: Essays in English Medieval History
Spouse Louise Stang
Children Helen, Igor

Sir Paul Gavrilovitch Vinogradoff, FBA (Russian: Па́вел Гаври́лович Виногра́дов, transliterated: Pavel Gavrilovich Vinogradov; 18 November 1854 (O.S.) – 19 December 1925) was a Russian and British historian and medievalist.

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.[1]

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.[2]

In 1903 he was elected to the Corpus Professor of Jurisprudence in the University of Oxford, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1905. He received honorary degrees from the principal universities, was made a member of several foreign academies and was appointed honorary professor of history at Moscow.[1]

Upon the death of Maitland, Vinogradoff became the literary director of the Selden Society with Sir Frederick Pollock, a position he held until 1920. Vinogradoff was knighted in 1917.[3] His children and Vinogradoff were naturalized as British subjects in 1918.[4]

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


Writing in 1911, the anonymous author of Vinogradoff's biography in the Encyclopædia Britannica thought that 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.[1]

The 1911 author thought 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.[1]

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.[1]



As editor[edit]




External links[edit]