N. 4 – 2005 – Tradizione Romana



Alexei S. Kartsov

St.Petersburg State University


Russian Institute of Roman law at Berlin University


The article is devoted to one of the stages in the formation of Roman law studies in Russia, touching up a little-known aspect of Russian-German cultural relations.



When in March 1881 the Russian tsar Alexander II had been assassinated by a narodovolets’s bomb, his son ascended the swaying throne and faced the task to suppress the revolutionary mental ferment. Specifically it was necessary to curb the students becoming new fighters against the regime. The government understood it was hardly possible to achieve using just repressive means; a radical rebellion or a liberal opposition, terror or concealed anti-monarchical propagation would be leading the youth until young people acquire a strong immunity against such mood. In this respect the key role was meant for the character of knowledge given at Russian universities. Special attention was paid to higher law education. On the one hand the most part of state employees was recruited from those who had got law education. And on the other hand different legal courses introduced a close acquaintance with constitutional doctrines promoting critical perception of the autocracy.

In 1885 the state examination program was confirmed which was obligatory to pass to get a diploma for all the leavers of law schools. These rules considerably strengthened the part of Roman law. The government counted that Roman law studies would have a healing influence on the forming professional thinking, they would firmly establish the ideas of the value of a stable legal order (and accordingly the value of the state maintaining such an order); and the ideas of benefits of evolutional development of legal constitutions and norms without sudden and sharp leaps and etc. Besides these considerations there was understanding that with the spreading of judicial reform in the western provinces of the Empire (Poland, Ostzey region) judges having studied at Russian universities would face a vital necessity to make decisions on the national material law basis to a great degree resting on Roman norms. By the way, according to V.M. Nechaev’s correct remark, «imperfection of Russian Civil Law, lack of practical importance of accepted in Germany Roman law, the connection between necessary reforms in the sphere of Russian Civil Law and general questions of Russian political and public life rather directed lawyers’ attention <…> to the question of de lege ferenda than to the teaching of de lege lata. The mood appeared in Civil law literature strengthened young lawyers’ interest in socio-political subjects that was great itself due to the Russian standard of living. The surge of fresh scientific vigor in learning Roman and Civil law was reduced because of the negative influence of the situation. By the time the New University Code extending the study-hours of Roman and Russian law’s dogma came into its own there had been few scientists»[1].

So, having added the study-hours for Roman subjects the Code showed an acute lack of teachers. Maintaining the old way of preparation (when just one or two talented final-year students were kept at the faculty and then passed through a five-year preparation before they could give lectures) it was real to upset the new educational plan demanding to provide all the law schools with teachers of Roman law for a short time. And at the same time the rate of their preparation taking into account the mission’s significance on the subject couldn’t be fulfilled by lowering their qualifications.

Searching for the way out the experience of Nikolay I’s period was appealed to (the Nikolay’s epoch on the whole and in its features was specially esteemed by the conservative ideologists and politicians of 1880-s and by Alexander III himself). At that time half a century ago several young lawyers were sent to Germany to study under the guidance of the luminaries of German jurisprudence including Savingny, the professor of Roman law at Berlin University. Now the ministry of public education made up a plan to send some recent university leavers (according to the common rule they wanted to send those who had graduated from law schools and with some exception those who had studied at Classical Historical and Philological faculties) who had distinctive research capacities in Roman law studies in order to get a complete training at Berlin university. However in comparison with the period of 1830-s it was expected, first of all, to concentrate exclusively on Roman law and not to confine anybody to the once-sent group but to make these trips regular. We should mention that the ministry had a landmark for how to organize such a school for there was an Institute training teachers of Classical Philology for Russia at Leipzig University. 

Before addressing the tsar for this allowance minister Delyanov consulted M.N. Katkov, the distinguished conservative ideologist[2]. After the latter completely approved of the project deeply believing in the protective significance of Roman law as a university subject, the minister reported on the plan before Alexander III. Being a lawyer himself I.D. Delyanov pointed out the two moments determining the significance of Roman law studies for Russian universities. First of all, on its bases the law-governed nature of historical evolution of law is studied. Second, Roman law didn’t lose its practical usefulness and «served as a school for those who connected their lives with the judicial field. Everything put together made Roman law the first subject among different subjects of law faculties and caused that it appeared to be the main trial for our future lawyers in its history as well as in its system. And it should have an enormous part among subjects presented by law faculties like in the rest world». And, at last, Delyanov hoped that such a scrupulous study of Roman law in the conditions of close acquaintance with the research ways and methods could resuscitate and advance the subject of Russian law.

However «it’s a regret that the subject doesn’t get a proper attention, and due to the situation our universities have a lack of teaching staff on Roman law with only one professor giving lectures on such an important subject» and «there is little hope that our universities will be able to put everything in good order themselves training enough number of teachers».

Having made such an introduction the minister said the main point of the report: «I’ve got an idea to refer to one of the foreign universities, to Berlin University for example, since it’s famous for teaching Roman law. The professors- Dernburg, Eck and Pernice- agreed to take under their guidance those young people who had finished law courses at law faculties and Historical and Philological faculty and were chosen by the Ministry of education to be trained for the title of a professor of Roman law»[3]. The arguments being conducive the tsar gave his allowance for the plan.

According to the Edict (November 15, 1886) the temporary courses on Roman law were established (later they were called The Institute of Roman law at Berlin University). This school had been existing over 10 years and brought up the great number of Romanists and Civilians who made a great contribute to Russian science[4].

The two men became the heads at the Institute on the Russian side. A comrade of a minister of public education, a director of the Ministry’s Department, N.M. Anichkov, was responsible for the administrative and financial affairs. The educational part of the studies (curriculum, students’ complement, correspondence with Berlin professors) was managed by the head of the Ministry’s Academic Board, A.I. Georgievsky. That man belonging to the Katkov’s circle was known as a zealous supporter of the classical model of education. In 1830-s it was Georgievsky who turned out to be one of the “engines” of the School Reform of an adequate character. The professors were paid rather high salary. For example, E. Eck got 6000 marks a year (it included his administrative work as a head of the Institute). Students were paid 150 marks. The sum proved to be not sufficient. As it was reported by the minister of public education before the tsar «because of lack of money some grant-holders have to give lessons on Russian diverting attention from their studies», that’s why «it was desirable to increase the grants to 225 marks a month». Knowing that Alexander dislikes expenditures at the state treasury’s expense Delyanov offered to use the savings of Russian Philological Institute in Leipzig which was supposed to be closed in 1890[5]. The grants were increased. Besides that thanks to the ministry some students were allowed to have the grants received at their own universities in Russia[6].

The suitable candidates were recommended by the most authoritative Russian Romanists and Civilians. So, professors N.A. Kremlev and G.F. Dormidontov from Kazansky University recommended S.P. Nikonov and N. Kolotinsky[7]. A trustee of Kazan educational region wrote to Saint-Petersburg quoting them: «Nikolay Kolotinsky rewarded with the gold medal for his thesis “About Guarantee” deserves to be sent abroad in order to improve his knowledge. Since he doesn’t have his own means of subsistence it would be comfortable to send him at the treasury’s expense for studies at the school organized by the Ministry in Berlin»[8].

Prof. O. Meikov from Derpt University recommended V. Zeeler, P. Sokolovsky, B. Freze. Prof. N.L. Diuvernua from Petersburg University recommended D.D. Grimm. L.B. Dorn from the Imperial school of law (Saint Petersburg) recommended V.A. Yushkevich. At the same time Dorn paid his attention to the conditions necessary for successful studies of Roman law. In this respect, as Dorn tried to convince, the general higher school’s course should be supplemented with thorough learning of ancient languages as well as with modern languages – French, German – and with good knowledge of Ancient History. Saying about special legal courses there should be particular calling and love for the subject based on understanding of the greatness of immortal creations by Roman lawyers. V.A. Yushkevich’ s professor testified that he satisfied such requirements and that could be also confirmed, as Dorn added, by senator S.V. Pahman, a distinguished Russian Civilist, who knew Yushkevich as a student[9].

Two years later Prof. Dorn was asked to look for another worthy candidate. But Dorn wasn’t able to name anybody «since one of the four people who had passed an exam on Roman law to get a Master’s degree of Civil law was meant by Petersburg University to go on business trip abroad to study Byzantine law. The rest students who wanted to devote themselves to Civil law should have finished Master’s exam on Civil law and Legal procedure first». However L.B. Dorn says: «I hope I’ll be able to recommend a candidate for special studies of Roman law next year for this year the law-faculty declared a competition for the best work on Roman law (obligatio naturalis). It will show who has got abilities necessary to study Roman law, for example our present professors Azarevich and Efimov were left at the university thanks to their gold medals they had got for the papers on the problems of Roman law given by the law-faculty»[10].

Prof. Enghelman willingly shared his ideas on the requirements on training for the title of professor of Roman law[11]. And, at last, prof. I. Tabashnikov from Novorossiysk University (Odessa) recommended M.Y. Pergament[12].



At the same time some representatives of academic circles were negative about the Ministry’s measure. What’s more the most ill-will was displayed by the largest university centers of the Empire. The journal of Civil and Criminal law, the publication of Law society at Saint Petersburg university, wrote about the Institute’s activity just once. The article was reprinted from the Moskovskie vedomosty and had some lines above it: «The readers of our magazine will read the following lines with natural dismay». The reprinting had an editorial annotation: «On our side we can’t imagine the justification of the government’s expense and how it can be useful for Russian science and judicial practice»[13].

As to Kiev University, such an approach was evidently revealed by L.I. Petrazhitsky’s business trip. In the account of the final examination results at Kiev University in 1890 there was said: «At the exam there was also Mr. Petrazhitsky. His answer was especially remarkable for its dignity <…>. Being a student he managed to make a valuable contribute to translated legal literature, published a well-known text-book of Roman law “Roman legal system” written by Baron which he had translated from German. I consider it an honor to apply for Mr. Petrazhitsky and his trip to study at the state’s expense»[14] I.D. Delyanov appended the decision: «To allow if the university’s means can afford it». In the end L.I. Petrazhitsky was granted the Ministerial payment in the amount of 1500 rubles a year for two years. However in August 1890 a trustee of Kiev educational region reported to the Ministry: «The ministry informed us about Petrazhitsky’s trip with scientific aims after the examination in law studies by the letter (June 2, 1890). But there were not any instructions for his scientific studies. That’s why the dean of law faculty according to Prof. L.N. Kazantsev and P.P. Tsitovich’s words asks me to present my opinion of such instructions to the Ministry. At first, the reason for the trip is the studies of Roman and Civil law under the guidance of professors Bekker, Schreder and Regelsberger for the first year and three terms. For the second year and the last term we should send Petrazhitsky to Parisian or another French law-faculty. Second, the plan for the studies in Heidelberg or Göttingen can be made up best by the above-mentioned professors. Third, it is necessary to have the ministerial instructions where and when Mr. Petrazhitsky must sign the undertaking to serve for the trip’s grant»[15].

The final variant of the instruction which was given to Petrazhitsky appeared only in October. Its compiler, Prof. L.N. Kazantsev, found that since the business trip was fulfilled «for training for a Master’s exam on Roman and Civil law» the stipendiat «should devote the main attention to a serious well-founded and precise learning of Roman law and get acquainted with teaching methods and practical studies on Prussian and French Civil law, Common German and French remedial legislation and Trade law». The following lines easily convince that the professor from Kiev didn’t approve of the idea to study only at Berlin University. «During the winter term Mr. Petrazhitsky can take lessons from Prof. Bekker and Karloff in Heidelberg. In the summer term he should study Roman law under the guidance of Dernburg and Pernice in Berlin, and take lessons on Prussian Civil Law from Dernburg and Trade law from Goldschmidt. Next winter term Mr. Petrazhitsky must go to Göttingen to get acquainted with Prof. Pernice’s teaching methods and practical studies. Next summer term Mr. Petrazhitsky should go to France to get acquainted with teaching methods of Roman law at their schools and to study French Civil law at L’ Ecole de droit in Paris»[16]. The instruction had passed through the Academic Board which explained its agreement by saying: «The stipendiat can get acquainted with the science without which it’s impossible to speak about law education, and besides that he can get thorough knowledge in related sciences». However the last word belonged to the Minister and he didn’t like such disrespect for the Russian Institute’s priority. That’s why he ordered Petrazhitsky to start his trip in Berlin and stay there for at least two terms under a favorable guidance of the Institute’s directors – Dernburg, Eck and Pernice[17]

. By the way, Petrazhitsky without waiting for the instructions left for Germany and took lessons from Prof. Bekker in Heidelberg for the first term. Having received the instructions he went to Berlin but it turned out to be that the Institute’s management didn’t have any instructions from Saint-Petersburg concerning him. That’s why, as Petrazhitsky writes, «The management can’t allow me to study at the Institute due to the absence of special allowance. Prof. Eck addressed the Ministry and got a favorable for me reply. But at that time I couldn’t take lessons from the Institute’s professors. So, the considerable part of the term was lost for me in this respect»[18].

Prof. N.P. Bogolepov (Moscow University) displayed the brightest dissatisfaction with the Ministry’s policy in the question. First, N.P. Bogolepov used to get rid of the inquiries coming from Saint-Petersburg to recommend the leavers he wanted to keep at the Chair of Roman law and those who he didn’t regard as his students because, as he thought, they didn’t have special talents to study Roman law and so didn’t plan to leave them at the university. In his report about E.V. Passek (one of the first students who studied at Berlin) Bogolepov wrote that Passek didn’t study Roman law learning Civil and Trade law at the University. That’s why he didn’t acquire skills in the analysis of sources[19].

By the way the Ministry continued to demand to find new candidates. As it became clear that the whole matter didn’t concern a few people but it made up the system threatening to supersede the system of postgraduate training in Roman law cherished by Bogolepov, he wrote I.D. Delyanov a letter. The message is penetrated with anxiety which was common for some Russian professors regarding the studies with Berlin professors rather as evil than benefit. Bogolepov proved that Moscow University had a good system of training Romanists of high qualifications. What’s more he thought that it surpassed the Berlin system in its thorough and varied knowledge. «A candidate who’s left at the University for the training in Roman law should be prepared for a Master’s degree in Civil law. To get it he has to study not only History and Dogma of Roman law reading the sources but also to acquire thorough knowledge in Russian Civil law and one of the modern Civil laws (German or French) and their history in Civil legal procedure and Trade law». The range of subjects which doesn’t consist of Roman studies alone, as Bogolepov explains, is conditioned by formal rules in getting degrees as well as by the matter’s necessity. «To make a person focus on Roman law alone means to condemn a future professor to such a narrow outlook which will disable him to have precise knowledge of Roman law». So, the Russian system is longer than the German one. Bogolepov doesn’t conceal that the students staying at Moscow University «spend three-four years studying before they pass the Master’s exam; then they write the thesis for two or more years» and «after five–six-year training they can be allowed to teach Civil law». The Institute’s students didn’t have such courses. From Bogolepov’s point of view a person passing through Delyanov’s program will have thorough but elementary knowledge of Roman law: «He’ll be trained as a German student studying hard for six terms in Berlin for usually two years. The student uses its time to write his thesis. But if to compare him with our student studying for a Master’s degree he has to study much more to be able to teach Civil law at higher schools». “Of course”, Bogolepov adds, «I can’t judge of other universities’ needs in teachers of Roman law. May be they didn’t manage to prepare their Masters. In this case a young person with elementary preparation won’t be useless. But Moscow University doesn’t need the German supports. It provides its vacancies with Romanists and Civilians and sends young scholars to other higher educational institutions». As an example Bogolepov says about the University’s pupils, V.M. Nechaev and V.F. Deryuzhinsky, who became assistant professors of Novorossiysk University (Odessa) and Military and Law Academy (Saint-Petersburg). As to Roman law Bogolepov is satisfied with the present system when there is a professor in ordinary and two assistant professors at the chair whose training is not a difficult task for the university. He said of «Gusakov and Dorobets who brilliantly passed the Master’s exam and prepared test lectures with great success».

«The Institute can seriously damage the Russian School of Roman law with the center at Moscow university», Bogolepov thought. «We», as he writes proudly, «since 1870 have had a special program for a Master’s degree which is tested thanks to young people studying to pass a Master’s exam». Speaking of the objectives and methods a Master faces when he studies Roman law there is the tradition without which the independent school of Russian Romanists can’t originate and develop. Only the future years will show if our training methods and our students are good or not. But, anyway, our faculty has made necessary steps to increase the number of Romanists: «having found out teaching methods and the objectives during some years it has attracted a number of young people to study Roman law and some of them have passed the Master’s exam while others are preparing for it». That’s why Bogolepov was worried by the promise to appoint the Institute’s pupils on all the vacancies at the chairs of Roman law.

«The contest between those who studied at home and those who came back from Germany being unfair will destroy the Russian school of Roman law which has just started to give the first fruits. If teaching Roman law is in Berlin students’ hands our own “nursery” will inevitably die for there can’t be students wishing to work for five-six years if other young people who studied in Berlin for two years take the very vacancies they wanted to occupy studying at their Universities in Russia. In such conditions we’ll have to train professors of Roman law only abroad». In the letter which became the program against training of Russian Romanists abroad, Bogolepov made the conclusion which didn’t have any hint on compromise: «Your Grace, I ask you to be indulgent if you regard my opinion inappropriate on the question I wasn’t asked of. But I stand for my work’s interests I serve»[20].

The letter from Moscow discouraged the minister. He didn’t often meet the Ministry’s clerks (professors were included in the Ministry) with such frank expressions for they knew the official system of seniority. I.D. Delyanov asked to make inquiries of Bogolepov and got the following description: «Harsh, blunt but just»[21], On the other hand Bogolepov’s letter was sent to A.I. Georgievsky. The latter feeling stung by the professor’s attacks made the minister a note where he refuted Bogolepov’s considerations[22]. This fiery reproof’s echoes appealed to those who didn’t understand the great significance of Roman law on the whole as well as to those who were against the studies under the German Pandektists’ guidance also sounded in Delyanov’s letter to Bogolepov. Having explained the wrong position Bogolepov took in the question of the Institute Delyanov was curious and somehow maliciously asked what Bogolepov’s lectures were if he regarded Moscow training at least equal to Berlin one[23]. Bogolepov having sent the minister his course of lectures on Roman law understood that he hadn’t persuaded the authorities and he would have to send one of his students to Germany[24].

But even in this situation Bogolepov and the university’s authorities supporting him didn’t want to give up. The story happened with one of Bogolepov’s student, N. Dorobets, showed it clearly. Due to Bogolepov’s request the region’s trustee, count P. Kapnist, decided to convince the ministry to allow Dorobets to have free study-hours in Berlin and not to confine practical studies to Berlin[25]. The ministry agreed with the first request. But it’s clear that the Institute’s professors got used to the common order and student discipline couldn’t approve of a privileged position of one of the students. The story of Dorobets often appeared in the correspondence between the Institute’s director, E. Eck and its Russian supervisor, A.I. Georgievsky and in Georgievsky’s messages to the Ministry[26]. On the contrary, Kapnist and Bogolepov (who became a rector of Moscow University) protected Dorobets proving that the question was not about disregarding the studies at the Institute since «Dorobets is not a student but a lecturer» who could be free to form up his own system to improve his knowledge and skills which he found necessary[27]. The ministry having collided with such a persistent resistance gave up the second demand and allowed Dorobets to study at other universities including Parisian one[28].

Another Bogolepov’s pupil, S. Sabinin, even didn’t manage to go abroad. Although Sabinin was recommended and there was the instruction for his studies on Roman law in Berlin his departure was postponed. In March 1883 the Moscow educational region’s trustee, count P. Kapnist, sent a letter with the request to postpone Sabinin’s trip to the Russian Institute in Berlin for it would destroy his preparation for a Master’s degree[29]. In the end Sabinin didn’t manage to take lessons from Eck and Dernburg. The same situation was with another Bogolepov’s student, Volman[30].

In contrast to Moscow University Kiev University’s professors refrained from open manifestations against the Institute as well as from boycott. Without any difficulties St. Vladimir University’s students, A.M. Gulyaev, K.K. Dynovsky and I.A. Pokrovsky were sent to Berlin[31]. But as the future events will show the professors’ position can be explained rather by their expectancy than conciliation. When the first group came back to Russia from Berlin and started to pass the Master’s exam, one of the students, M.Y. Grebennikov was a failure. In his letter to A.I. Georgievsky he explained the failure by saying that the professor of Roman law regarded him a future rival and many other people had very little liking for the Berlin students[32]. Then Grebennikov appealed to the Ministry with a letter of complaint because of «hundreds of unworthy cavils» his unfair examiners made and because of «their doubts in the questions considered to be correct abroad» asking permission to sublet the exam at another university[33].  Delyanov faced the dilemma: if to satisfy Grebennikov’s requests or not. If the Ministry chooses to satisfy Grebennikov’s request he opposes himself to such a large university like the University of St. Vladimir (it could add the fuel to the flame of Moscow opposition led by Bogolepov). But the Minister’s truly eastern cunning turned out to be the talk of the town.

Taking into account that Grebennikov hadn’t shown brilliant results in Berlin Delyanov sent the student’s thesis presented to the examination commission (the manuscript of introductory lecture Cultural and Historical significance of Roman law) to Bogolepov to carry out an examination. The intention came up to his expectations. Moscow letter arrived fast and was full of crushing criticism[34]. The ministerial resolution was put on it: «Can’t be admitted to the place of assistant professor». And in the letter to the Kiev educational trustee about Grebennikov Delyanov reproduced some extracts from Bogolepov’s letter[35]. Now nobody could reproach the Ministry with blind partiality of the pupils of the foreign educational institution and with ignoring the opinion of some distinguished figures of Russian science which devoted their lives to the science of Russia.

The people sacrificed to please the Institute’s enemies couldn’t be helped even by the efforts of such an influential dignitary like count A.A. Bobrinsky. On Delyanov’s assignment his deputy, prince Volkonsky, sent the protector a letter under the stamp “In confidence”. It contained the reason explaining that it was impossible to satisfy the request which took the ministry out of the blow[36].

It stated that Grebennikov’s failure had the most negative effect on the Institute’s leavers. For instance V.A. Yushkevich first having applied for the permission to pass a Master’s exam at the University of St. Vladimir asked the minister to allow him to pass the exam at another university[37]. Although we know that in contrast to Saint Petersburg University Kiev University was ready to examine and give Yushkevich a Master’s degree in spite of his studies at the School of law where he couldn’t get the title of candidate of science. Only university leavers could get the degree; particularly those who finished the course of Historical and Philological faculty (like A.M. Gulyaev), passed the exam and wrote an adequate paper to get a degree of candidate of law.



In its activity Berlin Institute was far away from the urgent problems characterizing the internal political situation in the Russian Empire at the end of the XIX century. But despite that and even contrary to its great distance from Russia the Institute’s history was affected by at least the two difficult for the Empire questions- Ostzeyan and Polish.

The number of the students from Ostzey region who had finished Derpt University was rather considerable. And it’s understandable: the German linguistic environment was native to them and they were better prepared than many others to study Roman law at Derpt University. However when they had finished the Institute the grotesque picture was painted showing that Russian subjects sent abroad with the objective to make a better training at Russian institutions were not able to fulfill their duties due to their poor knowledge of the Russian language. The Ministry got some applications from Wilhelm von Zeeler and Ferdinand Tille to free them from teaching job for one term. For having finished the School and the university in the German language they still didn’t know Russian quite well. The application was supported by Prof. Eck[38]. We can say that the news of the linguistic problems suddenly revealed by the ready to teach lecturers of Russian universities caused the Institute’s supervisor’s sad feelings. But Georgievsky had nothing to do but to ask the Minister: «Unfortunately candidates von Zeeler, Sokolovsky and Tille having got their education at universities in German didn’t have a chance to master Russian in order to give lessons in it without difficulties. That’s why they ask to give them some time. I suggest that they should be taken on the Ministry’s staff and allowed to attend lectures at law-faculty of Petersburg university». It turned out that only P. E. Sokolovsky had enough time to learn Russian, the others Ostzeyans hat to study for another term (Georgievsky again appealed for them)[39].

The fear of such events casting a shadow on the very idea of the Institute (especially against the background of russofication in Ostzey region and the struggle against German cultural domination) made A.I. Georgievsky be more careful. And when a venerable Derpt professor I.E. Enghelman had recommended his ex-student, A.I. Fufaev, to go to Berlin A.I. Georgievsky in spite of the recommendations and a positive review of the candidate’s thesis written by professor V. von Goland sent the minister a letter supposing that Fufaev didn’t know Russian well. There was the instruction given to check the candidate’s knowledge[40]. The results came up to the bad expectations of the Academic Committee’s chairman.

The trustee of Derpt educational region reported: «Fufaev’s written work serves as incontestable evidence that the Russian person has forgotten his native language in the German milieu. It also serves as a general picture of the Derpt students’ attitude to the Russian language. Fufaev can’t be sent to the Russian Institute»[41].

There was the event connected with one of the Institute’s students, Polish Foma (Tadeush) Semiradsky. In 1880 he had finished the course at Leipzig Philological School and he worked as a teacher of the ancient languages at a grammar school before his trip to Berlin. In spite of his studying Roman law at the mature age, Semiradsky was good at the subject. We can say so according to the letter the author sent to I.D. Delyanov with the request to publish his work The significance of ratihabitio in the “Digest” in the journal of the Ministry of public education. At the same time Semiradsky said that the work was welcomed by Prof. Pernice. The minister asked Ludolf Borisovich Dorn to look at the work and say his opinion of its scientific quality[42]. But Dorn didn’t manage to do it for a Comrade of Minister of Internal Affairs, N.I. Shebeko, sent a notice that «Foma Semiradsky belonged to the criminal group of Polish young people in Berlin»[43]. I.D. Delyanov ordered to make inquiries about Semiradsky’s political reliability from the consul-general’s point of view. Some time later the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent a new note with the stamp “Secret”: «Foma Semiradsky is under guard in the 10-th pavilion of Warsaw fortress». The ministerial chief tried not to allow Semiradsky to compromise the Institute. «He must be excluded from the number of the students in Berlin and we should inform Georgievsky. Who recommended him? I don’t know him and have never seen him», N.M. Anichkov, a director of the Department, said in the resolution[44]. And still another letter was sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs under the stamp “Top secret”. I.D. Delyanov asked to answer his question: «What is Foma Semiradsky accused of?»[45]. In the reply under the stamp “In confidence” it was said of a secret group of Polish young people preparing politicians of social-democratic views in 1889-1890 in Berlin. The group gathered at Semiradsky’s flat (he was considered to be the head) where the members of the group read literature of social-democratic character. They had good relations with the central group with the help of Semiradsky who also collected donations for the group’s needs. Due to this answer being politically unreliable Semiradsky was excluded from the students with the prohibition to teach[46].

Later as soon as the question of sending this or that Polish or a Catholic was raised the ministry didn’t want to tempt fate and didn’t give the direct answer. For instance, when the trustee of Derpt educational region recommended a certain Vidzhga his candidate was refused as a catholic in the light of the doubts after Semiradsky’s story[47]. Some time later K.V. Korvin-Piotrovsky asked to send him to the Institute for studies at the same time emphasizing his patriotic activity (he published the brochure of Alexander III’s coronation, was a member of the group, Palestinian society, headed by the tsar’s brother, Great Prince Sergey Aleksandrovich and etc.)[48]. But A.I. Georgievsky having learned the Polish’s biography warned the minister against complying with the request of the Polish and Catholic. I.D. Delyanov put the resolution on Georgievsky’s letter: «Refuse without any hope in the future». After the second and the third request applied by Korvin-Piotrovsky who wanted to go to Berlin at his own expense (he didn’t understand that such a persistent thirst for knowledge for a forty years old Polish who had finished a grammar school in Austria seemed to be strange from Petersburg clerks’ point of view)[49]. I.D Delyanov resolved: «It is already late. The Institute is to be closed»[50].

Only the two Polish people, L.I. Petrazhitsky and V.A. Yushkevich, managed to finish the Institute. «Professors say I’m doing a tremendous progress and think it’s better for me to stay in Berlin for a year at least to complete my law education. I quite agree with them. I started writing a paper which would take a year and give me an opportunity to present my Master’s thesis when I return home. To complete the thesis and master endurance in a research work I need the help of all the professors of the Institute and especially the kind help of Prof. Eck», Petrazhitsky wrote to Saint-Petersburg with the request to allow him to stay in Berlin for another year[51]. But the term also appeared to be not enough for the student and he persuaded the minister to add another year. «Last year I published a book researching some special questions of Civil law about income. The most important results of my research together with quite a complimentary opinion of Prof. Dernburg had been published in a new edition of his Pandekts before my book was printed. Many other critics praised my book in their journals. The reason of my success is that I managed to find a general theory of income which was more correct than the old one accepted in the science. That’s why I studied a theory of income on the whole to develop and check my point of view in practice. I wanted to publish my work in two volumes. The first volume is ready for publishing and in the professors’ hands praising it a lot. I collected and worked up the largest part of the material for the second volume. Since in Berlin I have the most favorable conditions for my studies under the guidance of the professors and will do harm to my studies if I interrupt them on the half way of such an important and grandiose measure professors Dernburg, Eck and Pernice insist on my addressing the request to you to allow me to stay in Berlin. The professors also wrote their appeals in the report of the Institute’s achievements»[52]. Petrazhitsky had been studying in Berlin for the three years. Having arrived in Russia he became an assistant-professor and then a professor at law-faculty of Saint-Petersburg University where he lived till his departure to Warsaw in 1917.

V.A. Yushkevich was different from the rest students because he had finished a privileged school of law. Lawyers graduated from the school with a great rank but without a scientific title for they were prepared to work in practice but not as teachers. This circumstance supported by a hostile attitude the university students felt to lawyers and by his Polish origin let him down. In the first place V.A. Yushkevich was supposed to work at Derpt University. However Prof. O. Meikov who had been occupied the chair of Roman law for many years and several times had been chosen as a rector wrote a letter to the minister. He asked to appoint E.V. Passek instead of Yushkevich for D.D. Grimm was leaving for Petersburg to work at the school of law (by the way, Grimm was Meikov’s nephew) mentioning that Grimm and A.M. Gulyaev staying at the chair asked for the same[53]. The idea to appoint Passek was supported by the trustee of Derpt educational region, N.A. Lavrovsky. The conservative-slavophil thought that Yuriev University had to be the stronghold of Russian education spreading Russian cultural influence in German lands. That’s why an Orthodox and a Russian lecturer could be much more appropriate than a Polish and a Catholic. He tried to persuade those who had the last word. «I support Passek. Why to appeal for a lawyer and a Polish? You yourself said that it wasn’t fair to allow him to lecture at Saint-Petersburg University since he was not quite ready for this. Why to allow him to lecture in Derpt?» Lavrovsky wrote to M.N. Kapustin, his predecessor as a trustee of Derpt educational region. Although Kapustin was in charge of Petersburg region his opinion of different questions concerning Yuriev University was respected.[54] The letter Lavrovsky sent to Delyanov’s right hand, N.M. Anichkov, was of the same kind. «Why to appeal for a lawyer and a Polish? They in Derpt don’t know how to get rid of one Polish not saying of the two Polish people. We must draw a worthy Russian person but not an unworthy Polish lawyer how he is represented by his own comrades». In the end Passek had an appointment to Yuriev University instead of Yushkevich[55]. The irony of fate which Lavrovsky didn’t get to know as he died in 1899 was that he had paved the way for a liberal who was removed from his post of rector for connivance at revolutionary students in the future but at the same time he had taken actions against a firm monarchist whose death was mourned for even on the pages of “Russian Banner” (the organ of the radical right party –“Chyornaya Sotnya”).



In 1880-90-s the Institute was left by the first leavers. So, in 1890 A.I. Georgievsky informed I.D. Delyanov: «The Institute’s management notified me that von Zeeler, Sokolovsky, Passek, Gulyaev, Katkov and Tille had finished the course. They all are prepared, as the management guess, for teaching Roman law according to their scientific knowledge and written papers. The management say about von Zeeler, Sokolovsky, Passek and Gulyaev with special praise. The works presented by von Zeeler and Sokolovsky are so brilliant that they will make a valuable contribution to science being published.<…> Gulyaev, Katkov and Passek can be appointed on the vacancies of readers of Roman law. The former can get the appointment to Derpt University, the latter ones - to Moscow University»[56]. Since Passek’s Alma mater didn’t wish to accept its pupil due to Bogolepov’s position for Passek went cap in hand to the Germans Passek was appointed to work in Derpt, a more loyal to Berlin students university (it was renamed Yuriev University later).

M.M. Katkov was appointed by the minister to work at the Lyceum of Grand Prince Nikolay, an educational institution organized by his uncle’s (M.N. Katkov) efforts and intended to be the model of classical education. By the mid of 1890 the Institute had time to teach so many Romanists that the leavers of the first years started to recommend new candidates themselves. So, in the personal file of Benedict Freze there are two recommendations given by A.I. Georgievsky and the recent university student, A.M. Gulyaev[57]. But such an intensive addition of staff of educational institutions by new coming from Berlin Romanists caused serious difficulties with their provision of employment. The difficulties were redoubled by the fact that many universities objected to the appointment of Berlin students at their chairs. That’s why the promise given by the authorities on the Institute’s opening-day to appoint first of all those who had Berlin certificates wasn’t implemented.

We’ve got an appeal of Benedict Freze full of complaints. The ex-student wrote: «according to the order of His Imperial Majesty the Institute’s leavers are promised an immediate application but I can’t get the application for two years» and «I even didn’t get a grant as others»[58]. It’s interesting that Freze suffered a reverse to take a job of an assistant professor at a vacant chair of Ostzey law at Yuriev University. The reason is not a fobia to Berlin Romanists (there wasn’t such prejudice, as we said) but the inner struggle of the university clans. P. Pustoroslev, a dean of law-faculty and one of the professors of Roman law and E.V. Passek belonged to the group which refused the candidature of Freze. They weren’t careful of Freze’s poor qualifications but they were afraid that he would go along with the opposite party[59].

In October 1894 Alexander III died and expectations to get any leniencies flourished. But the organization of the Institute was regarded as a reactionary measure by many of those who hoped that a young tsar would be open for liberal trends. In this situation, as it often happens, the new authorities feeling an increased concern for popularity were oppressed by the Institute. Having understood such mood A.I. Georgievsky asked the minister to keep the Institute[60]. But Delyanov’s keen intuition he developed being a state clerk suggested different things. Understanding that the closure of the Institute can be presented as a step both liberal and patriotic and practically rational the minister decided to advance the tendency and to be the first one to suggest that the Institute should be closed. So he answered Georgievsky: «The Institute has fulfilled its objectives and that’s why its further existence will be just a burden for the state treasury»[61]. Having realized that there’s not a step back the Institute’s supervisor asked to give him some time till the spring of 1896 in order to inform the luminaries of Roman law six months before the closure. The minister didn’t object. In the end the question of the Institute’s library was raised[62].

It was decided to hand it over to the library of law-faculty of Kazan University, the most eastern university of Russia at that time[63].



The education at the Institute was carried out by the three luminaries of Roman law – Pernice, Eck and Dernburg[64].

Prof. Alfred Pernice read the course of History of Roman law at Halle University. His first serious work (Zur Lehre von. d. Sachbeschädigungen nach röm. Recht) was published in 1867 and five years later the first volume “Marcus Antistius Labeo” appeared. The development of History of Roman law (and, of course, History of Roman Civil Law) at the end of the XIX century was tightly bounded with the scholar. Pernice was considered to be the most distinguished scientist of the generation of Pandektists who came to replace the luminaries of Historical school, Savingy and Puchta concentrating his main efforts on a critical analysis of the sources to reveal the elements of classical Roman law. At the same time they were inspired with not cleaning of the legal institutions from “alluviums” solely but also with a moderate aim to reconstruct the actual genesis of law, contained in Corpus Juris Civilis and transferred due to the reception in so called common law of Germany.

In his fundamental research “Marcus Antistius Labeo” which proposed Pernice into the first numbers of German Romanists, he made an attempt to reveal the role of some Roman lawyers in the development of Roman law. Since the idea of the research was extremely broad (it was supposed to research the Civil law of classical epoch), and the realization was remarkably thorough Pernice didn’t manage to see it through. But even the volumes the author had time to publish became the essential part of the historical-legal treasury. For example the third volume (the last one) got a general acknowledgment as a model research in its method of work with the Roman sources.

In 1881 after a famous Romanist Bruns died Pernice (together with E. Eck) was invited to hold the chair of Roman law at Berlin University. Having moved to the capital Alfred Pernice became one of the editors of the main organ of German Romanists, a journal Zeitschrift d. Savigny Stiftung. From 1880 till 1890 on its pages he published some articles devoted to the main objective of his life – to the reconstruction of classical legal system. At the same time Pernice took an active part in the work of Berlin academy of science (he was chosen to be its member after Bruns’s death). In the academy’s reports his articles were published focusing on the peculiarities of the great Roman lawyer Ulpian’s literary style, sacral law and etc.

At the same time A. Pernice devoted himself to lectures and seminars on Roman law history. A Russian Romanist, V.B. Elyashevich (who attended Pernice’s classes) wrote: «They always were attractive for all those researching History of Roman law; devotion and love of the work together with his personal courtesy and amiability made the guidance of such a first-class scientist extremely fruitful and pleasant: a number of scientific works were made thanks to his personal influence and often to his initiative. <…>. All those who worked with Pernice (and a lot of Russian scholars) would always remember the teacher sympathetic and amiable, always ready to sacrifice his time and work and share his enormous knowledge and experience»[65].

The Institute’s work coincided with the difficult times for German Romanists. January 1 of 1900 was coming when the striking of the New Year chime would declare Pandekt law resting on the Roman base the dead law as German Pandektists spoke ironically and gloomily. In spite of a serious influence Roman law had on German Code Civil it was different from Pandekt legal technique and its conceptual vocabulary. The innovation of such a character couldn’t help but led to a considerable reduction of Roman studies. A lot of professors regarded the changes a step to the abyss waiting for the degradation of a world-wide known German law education and the destruction of scientific schools due to the changes in curriculums. Not saying that reduction of Roman law studies seemed to be a sacrilegious attempt to depreciate all their lives as well as their own teachers’ lives and their teachers’ teachers. For instance, the destruction of Roman studies caused by the Code was a very distressing event for Pernice. He complained: «Seminars on Roman law are said to be unnecessary». Instead of scientific research of the sources he had to confine himself to exegesis of the text. These studies being very important in the science were the special care for Pernice[66]. We can suppose that teaching at the Russian Institute organized specially to cultivate Roman legal knowledge was somehow a “vent” for the venerable Romanists for it could allay the sorrow for the lost significance of Roman law at the native universities.

The Russian Institute’s head, professor Ernest Eck, was considered to be the best teacher of Civil law n Germany. Having started his work in the academic field at the mature age Eck devoted all his energy to teaching young lawyers in Civil law and skills to use theoretical knowledge in cases. His personal long practical experience combined with his striking erudition and ability to expound the most complicated cases clearly and fascinating attracted hundreds of students from Europe into his lecture-hall. «At the public courses on the investigation of complicated cases in Civil law you could always meet him in a crowded lecture-hall among students just beginning to study law and grey-haired Berlin lawyers, public prosecutors and judges» as it is said in the obituary devoted to Eck[67].

A strong feature of Eck’s works (the list of his works was headed by Die sogenannten doppelseitigen klagen des römischen und gemeinen deutschen Rechts) was not only the originality of his concepts and the courage to frame hypotheses but also his enormous knowledge of Civil law combined with a clear and logical exposition. Eck had an ability of critical perception and scrupulous examination of this or that conception and obvious demonstration of its vulnerable features and advantages which could help to find its place in the general list of other achievements. That gift was embodied in Eck’s critical works on Roman and Civil law literature.

Eck’s didactic abilities were also great if we remember that in difficult times of transferring from the Prussian Land law to the German Code Civil it was Eck who was appealed to by German lawyers asking him to help them understand principles and typical features of the new Code. Trying to help Eck gave a course of lectures. Later it was published under the title Vorträge über das Recht des bürgerlichen Gezetzbuches (1898) being an example of a simple and thorough exposition of basic sources of the German Code Civil.

Owing to the amount of study-hours of Eck’s lessons (and due to his administrative work) students communicated with Eck oftener than with other professors. S.P. Nikonov said: «For us, Russians, Ernest Eck was very important for he was the teacher of the considerable part of our own professors, Civilians and Romanists who had finished their education at the Russian school at Berlin University which had been existing over ten years headed by Prof. Eck. Being extremely kind and tactful in communication, respecting his students’ opinion and thoughts he could make everybody who was under his guidance by his own example love and respect the science, do one’s work thoroughly and painstakingly without pernicious for the science superficiality and self-conceit. He was always sincerely happy to find out his students’ new scientific ideas and help them carefully with his instructions and criticism. He was serious and attentive listening to the students presenting him their “discoveries” and he pointed out the weak features of their statements and adoptions (often unintentionally taken from the old theories on the question), delicately and with subtle humor sparing his students‘ vanity and making them study their problems more thoroughly and carefully. Kind and justice weren’t abstract words for him»[68].

As the tutors of young Romanists E. Eck and A. Pernice were the natural complements of one another. Pernice was different from Eck in many things. If Eck’s fame was based on his unusual teaching talents, Pernice was more a scholar than a teacher. Being an extremely strong dogmatist Eck didn’t give historical courses and historical problems were presented weaker in his dogmatic courses. Pernice, vice versa, was devoted to the studies of History of Roman law[69].

But, anyway, the Institute’s most prominent professor, without any doubts, was Heinrich Dernburg. He started to teach Roman law at the beginning of 1850 having become a successor of Theodor Mommsen at the chair of Zurich University. Having returned to Germany in 1862-1873 he occupied the chair at Halle University and then headed the chair of Civil law at Berlin University till his death in 1908.

The trend of German Pandektistik which was connected with the name of Dernburg admitting Savingy and Puhta as the predecessors and their scientific achievements was considered to be free from the duty to fulfill everything presented by the luminaries of the Historical School.

Its representatives included people of different talents and personal character like Ihering, Dernburg, Bahr and Bruns. They all thought that the Historical school expounding the reception of Roman law in the “true” and «invariable by the later additions» form in reality rather destroyed the historical succession than strengthened it. So, Dernburg found the furious attacks of “the historians” at usus modernus of the XVIII century, at the large number of the institutions of not a Roman origin (just “dressed” in Roman clothes) but quite viable unjustified. When in his famous “System” Joseph Unger formed up the Austrian Civil law according to the canon which was propounded by Savingny and Puchta and directed to draw Pandekt law closer to Roman law the reproaches with the forced Romanization, compulsory interpretation of national legal institutions in the Roman way were heard not only in the camp of firm Germanists but in the camp of Pandektists as well. In the introduction of the first volume of the “Guarantee law” (Das Pfandrecht nach den Grundsatzen des heutigen romischen Rechts, 1860) Dernburg wrote: «If the old authors weren’t very scrupulous working with the sources, and if they were different from us with their inability to understand historical development of law, their practical understanding and tact were very important for life and justice. The Historical School brought us to the sources again, woke up the criticism and independence, the devices of any scientific success. At the same time, however, the first scientific tasks were missed: often law which must serve life and satisfy its needs appeared to be just collecting antiquity. Our aim is to avoid the unilateral development of different scientific trends. We should make up the system and develop the law proceeding from the natural living organism of law, from the agreement between the sides, from the concept of aequum et bonum but not from the empty dogmatism»[70]. At the end of the century he published his own course of Pandekt law and warned the students in the introduction “Inducement and assistance” (Anregung und Unterstutzung): «Pandekts mustn’t be dull dogmatism: the norms have their own two thousand year history. We should remember that we’re standing on the historical ground and talking of the work created by many generations. The supreme objective of university studies is to learn this idea»[71]. So it would be a mistake to look for corrections in Roman constructions inserted by the centuries (to adjust the fruits of Roman legal thought to the changed situation) and reject them in a fruitless and sometimes harmful attempt to endow modernity with Roman law institutions in their original kind.

Stilled in the crucible of German Pandektistik the Institute’s pupils appeared to be the supporters of progressive perception in their Motherland (especially in the sphere of contracted commitments). «The reception of Roman law was fulfilled thanks to the influence of Greek Orthodox clergy in the fields of family and hereditary law. But it didn’t touch up guarantee law, contract law and commitment law»[72]. P.E. Sokolovsky noticed hoping that it would happen in the recent future.

In Russia the pupils of Dernburg, Eck and Pernice stood for a great usefulness that Roman law brought being a subject and the problem for scientific research[73]. It can be proved by the opinion of the Institute’s leavers who became the teachers of higher educational institutions. Let’s give some examples.

P.E. Sokolovsky: «For my generation Roman law will not mean an archeological interest. We’ll study it not to say a technical word before the judge. Roman civil law should have an enormous practical significance being caput at fundamentum of our study-hours»[74].

I.A. Pokrovsky: «It’s true that the law’s fate and its significance for modern peoples of Western Europe are surprising only to an ignoramus. As a strange ghost it suddenly appears at Boston university, wins the minds, disperses in Western Europe and makes the peoples change their Civil mode of life according to its dictate somehow depriving the peoples of their own will. Germany obeys this law as a practical one. In other countries it dominates the public opinion and this idea is penetrating the legislature. It’s the basis of legal literature and teaching everywhere. This unconditional dominance had lasted for many centuries before there were attempts to part from Roman law and to be higher than it. People make a protest against it in the name of national law forgotten in the ardour of reception but Roman law maintained its position. New national Codes were created and introduced in France, Austria and Italy. It seems that with the process there was no any point to live for a out-of-date sepulchral law (from ignoramus’s point of view) but it was still in a judge’s considerations, in a scholar’s research and in a professor’s lectures»[75].

M.Y. Pergament: «As a firm Romanist I think and believe that without the help of Roman law there’s no a way out for a Civilians and Civil law. The theory of Civil law can be built up on the basis of Roman law; researching a great deal of institutions of Civil law we should always remember of our friends Romans; it’s very useful to get acquainted with the process of the development of Roman law and it’s very important to seek an insight into the legal laboratory if I can say so, of Roman mind»[76].

A.M. Gulyaev: «Thorough acquaintance with the theory of Civil law formed on the bases of the sources of Roman law gives a western lawyer great advantage in comparison with a Russian one. In Western countries jurisprudence is as old subject as theology and philosophy <…>. We have got the opinion of a complete originality of Russian law and the absence of any influence of Roman law on our civil law. This opinion formulated by such an authoritative statesman like Speransky seems to hold the development of our science of Civil law»[77].

V.A. Yushkevich: «Studying the current Civil law Roman law has the significance of the leading theoretical basis and the device of legal concept. Owing to a complete type of our Code and modern state of our science the method of learning home legislature is possible only due to the help of Roman law. The attempts to build up the system of modern Russian law resting on Russian law itself are insincere and still-born. German Civilians use the method of comparative processing of modern codification even in the situation when they have to deal with a much more perfect home legislative material than we do. And at last, the method of comparative processing of Russian civil law with Roman law is rational from the didactic point of view. Since our young lawyers get theoretical bases of civil law at the lectures of Roman law there is the connection between separate civil law subjects and we can achieve the unity of the studies»[78].

E.V. Passek: «Getting acquainted with Roman law we don’t learn the out-of-date and dead law as it may seem from the first sight but the living and functioning law. Without knowledge of Roman law it would be difficult to understand Russian law clearly and impossible to understand the law of Western Europe»[79].

M. Bobin: «The very parts of modern civil law rooted in the Roman basis are the most perfect <…> without overestimating its merits and exaggerating its defects we should study Roman law respecting the results of centuries-old work did by exceptionally gifted people»[80].

And at last, D.D. Grimm emphasized the importance to study first of all the part of Roman law which took root in Pandekt law since it was the law that presented a more elaborated system of civil law. The most important general questions of civil law were worked out mainly in its adapting to the law and on its bases. Owing to it a good acquaintance with the law is undoubtedly necessary for any lawyer[81].

The two new scientific titles were connected with the Institute’s activity - a Master’s degree and a Doctor’s degree of Roman law (Russian Romanists got the titles in Civil law earlier). A.I. Georgievsky had the idea to introduce the Degrees thanks to the appearance of many teachers with a first-class training in Roman law who weren’t ready to break with the studies of Roman law at the chairs of universities and special higher juridical educational institutions[82]. As the head of the Academic committee of the Ministry of public education he appealed to be the minister[83]. And soon the trustees of educational regions got the circular giving the universities the right to award a degree in Roman law[84]. At such presentations, as a rule, at least one of the opponents was from the “Berlin” students and in 1901 at the presentation of the dissertation “Sequestration in Civil law” the author of the thesis (S.P. Nikonov) and both of the opponents (D.D. Grimm, L.I. Petrazhitsky) were the ex-students of the Institute.

As we said, the idea to train Romanists and Civilians abroad for Russian universities wasn’t generally accepted in the academic circles.

Besides that the fuel into the fire was added by the above-mentioned article published in the “Moskovskie vedomosty”. It described the Institute as the place where young Russian lawyers could be cured from the malicious illnesses of their education introduced by their university teachers’ demagogy and ignorance. As anyone could expect the interpretation outraged those whose sins were to be cured by Berlin professors according to the “Moskovskie vedomosty”.

To fade this discontent Dernburg, Pernice and Eck had to send a letter to their Russian partners. It was published in the journal “Hochschulnachrichten”. The professors said that «an unknown correspondent of the Moscow newspaper confidently and naively passing his own idea off as though the Russian government’s intention is to strengthen family and marriage shaken by the home education doesn’t know anything of the Institute’s aims and the reason of its existence». Then Dernburg, Pernice and Eck «express their deep indignation of such an absurd fiction» and inform that «they’ve never got such instructions from the Russian ministry of public education. Due to the high standard of teaching Roman law not only Russia but even Italy sends their young scholars to Berlin and Russian students have such thorough knowledge that the studies with them are a real pleasure for German professors». In the conclusion the Institute’s leaders asked their Russian colleagues to be sure in their sincere respect hoping that «a strange prank of the “Moskovskie vedomosti” won’t destroy good relationships between the representatives of Russian and German science but on the contrary will tighten them»[85].

Although Russian legal press welcomed «these noble impulses» there still were many lawyers who were prejudiced against the Institute and transferred this opinion on scientific achievements of the Institute’s leavers. Some Civilians thought that the “Berlins” absorbed a scholastic spirit of German Pandektistik and confined themselves to dogmatic constructions and legal technical details and avoided the research of the problems of law against a broad historical, social and economic background. For example, from Prof. V.M. Nechaev’s point of view, who was closed to the social jurisprudence headed by S.A. Muromtsev, «it was a negative measure to send the groups of young people from different universities» to Germany to study exclusively «dogmatism of Roman law and read Roman sources: while other subjects were removed from the program. And even Vindscheid’s suggestion to study German national law in order to avoid unilateral studies wasn’t accepted». It’s understandable that Nechaev couldn’t admire the scientific achievements of this young growth: «this law school gave a number of works on Roman law written in the style of dogmatic German literature». Other Romanists, vice versa, thought that the “Berlins” were taught a simple interpretation of texts and didn’t have skills of dogmatic research - reconstruction and analysis of law constructions. When the Master’s thesis of the Institute’s leaver, M.Y. Pergament, devoted to the contractual forfeit and the problem of interest in Roman law and modern civil law was published a historian of Roman law, B.V. Nikolsky, wrote his opinion of Berlin school in his diary: «Not bad, even very good; but of course, it’s not a “flight” but just the fawning on the text. All the “Berlins” and Petrazhitsky most of all are exegetes, not dogmatics. Art and history are strange to them. Architecture doesn’t attract them. Their work is the clearing of the sources. And that’s all. From one text to another text. Pokrovsky is a more lively man but even his imagination serves only exegeses aims». But through the blanket of bitter words Nikolsky slipped of the tongue: «At least I’m glad to see a new good Russian book on Roman law. Our school of Roman law is growing». Nechaev also slipped of the tongue: «Some people of the new school managed to say originate fresh thoughts in the situation of growing old German dogma and start to the general tasks in learning law in its connection with cultural life»[86].

So even the people who didn’t have much liking for the Institute and its pupils had to admit a high standard of scientific works by the “Berlins”.



Only ten years later after the Institute’s closure the Ministry of public education had an idea to back the Institute to life. Probably the order of minister A.N. Shwarz to the universities and special law schools to inform the Ministry about the teachers who had studied at Berlin or Leipzig was connected with the idea.

According to the questioning the staff of practically all the universities (Kharkov, Petersburg, Kiev, Kazan, Novorossyisk, Tomsk universities) and Demidov lyceum included “the Berlins”. And the reply of Yuriev university was signed by its rector, E.V. Passek, the Institute’s leaver[87]. And only Moscow university proudly informed that were not any teachers from Leipzig or Berlin[88]. A.N. Shwarz summoned P.E. Sokolovsky from Berlin and appointed him to be a trustee of Kharkov educational region. Among the Institute’s leavers he and Wilhelm von Zeeler were the only students who managed to become professors of Roman law at Berlin University.

P.E. Sokolovsky persuaded A.N. Shwarz to back the Institute to life: «The state should always take care of training young scientists especially now when the destroyed personnel can’t assist their pupils’ scientific work. I think that the Ministry should send young scientists abroad and check their studies at special schools abroad. I could be useful in organizing such a school thanks to my numerous acquaintances in the scientific world of German and France». Sokolovsky didn’t believe it was possible to get a good training in Roman law in Russia: «To leave our young people preparing for their scientific work under the influence of ignorant and shameless charlatans at our universities is the best means to keep the disorder in the future. Our modern professors are the “Streltsy” of Peter the Great, not suitable army just rebelling and deprived of any future due to its inertness. We should break it all with the help of a new Preobrazhensky regiment»[89].

In 1910 the post of minister of public education was occupied by L.A. Kasso who got law education in Heidelberg and a Doctor’s degree of Civil law in Berlin. Kasso tried to back the practice of training future professors abroad to life. Having known about it German professors offered their services and gave advice how to back the Philological School at Leipzig to life[90]. There also was the idea to restore the Institute for lawyers similar to Berlin school. However these ideas were immediately attacked from the left and right groups. On the one hand the Duma’s liberal opposition made an inquiry at the minister with the questions how much was spent at the Institute’s needs, how many teachers were prepared, how many of them occupied the chairs in reality[91]. On the other hand the national circles were also against the “foreign nurseries” imagined by cosmopolitans and bureaucrats.

The First World War and 1917 buried the intentions to carry on with the activities of the Institute of Roman law at Berlin University.




[1] Nechaev V.M., The science of Civil and Roman law // Russia. Encyclopedia, Leningrad 1991, 845.


[2] Russian State Historical Archive (RSHA). 733-149-917-1/2. I.D. Delyanov’s letter to M.N. Katkov (1885).


[3] RSHA. 733-917-16/19. Count I.D. Delyanov’s report to Alexander III, 15 November 1886.


[4] The file of orders for the Ministry of public education т. Х, №337.


[5] RSHA. 733-149-917-353/355. I.D. Delyanov’s report to Alexander III (June 1889).


[6] RSHA. 733-149-917-254/255. E.V. Passek’s appeal.


[7] RSHA. 733-149-918-200/201. N.A. Kremlev’s letter to I.D. Delyanov (3 December 1890); RSHA. 733-149-918-272/273. the appeal for S. Nikonov.


[8] RSHA. 733-150-612-150/151. the head of Kazan’s educational region letter to I.D. Delyanov. (14 June 1890).


[9] RSHA. 733-149-917-167/168. Prof. L.B. Dorn about V.A. Yushkevich for I.D. Delyanov. (July 1888).


[10] RSHA. 733-149-918-181/182. Prof. L.D. Dorn’s letter to I.D. Delyanov (November 1890).


[11] RSHA. 733-149-917-284/288.


[12] RSHA. 733-150-613-917/198. The head of Odessa’s educational region about M.Y. Pergament’s business trip; Prof. I. Tabashnokov’s report about Pergament’s works on Roman law; RSHA. 733-150-613-204/205. The instruction and plan of studies on Roman law for Pergament; RSHA. 733-149-919-264/265. Novorossyisk’s appeal for Pergament and the report of his works.


[13] For the month (juridical chronicles) // The Journal of Civil and Criminal Law, St. Petersburg, 1893, №6, 186-189.


[14] RSHA. 733-150-612-.73-75. S. Shpilevsky’s (the head of juridical commission at the university of St. Vladimir) report to the head of Kiev’s educational region.


[15] RSHA. 733-150-613-11/13. the head of Kiev’s educational region report to I.D. Delyanov. (1 August, 1890).


[16] RSHA. 733-150-613-149. The instruction fulfilled by Prof. L.V. Kazantsev for L.I. Petrazhitsky’s studies (21 October 1890).


[17] RSHA. 733-150-613-259/261. The file from the order of Educational Committee of the Ministry of public education (7 January, 1891).


[18] RSHA. 733-150-614-106/107. L.I. Petrazhitsky’s appeal to I.D. Delyanov.


[19] RSHA. 733-149-917-153. Prof. N.P. Bogolepov’s characteristic about E.V. Passek.


[20] RSHA. 733-149-918-194/197. Prof. N.P. Bogolepov’s letter to I.D. Delyanov (21 November 1890).


[21] RSHA 733-149-919-135/136. Lavrentiev’s letter (an assistant of the head of Moscow’s educational region) to N.M. Anichkov (the director of the Department of Ministry of public education).


[22] RSHA 733-149-918-227/232. The note of the head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky to I.D. Delyanov (1890).


[23] RSHA, 733-149-918-261/263. I.D. Delyanov’s letter to Prof. N.P. Bogolepov.


[24] RSHA 733-149-918-283. Prof. N.P. Bogolepov’s letter to I.D. Delyanov.


[25] RSHA 733-149-918-220/221. The head of Moscow’s educational region’s report to I.D. Delyanov (December 1890).


[26] RSHA 733-149-918-284/285 The head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky’s note to I.D. Delyanov; RSHA 733-149-919-39 Prof. E. Eck’s letter to A.I. Georgievsky.


[27] RSHA 733-149-919-92. Moscow University rector’s (Prof. N.P. Bogolepov) letter to the director of the Department of the Ministry of public education N.M. Anichkov; RSHA 733-149-919-96/97. Moscow educational region’s head to the Ministry of educational region.


[28] RSHA 733-149-919-98. N. Dorobets’s appeal to the Ministry of educational region.


[29] RSHA 733-150-613-49/51; RSHA 733-150-614-166. N. Dorobets’s appeal to the Ministry of educational region.


[30] RSHA 733-149-920-79/80.


[31] RSHA 733-149-919-1. The head of Kiev’s educational region’s report to the Ministry of public education on I.A. Pokrovsky’s business trip; RSHA 733-149-919-6. The head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky’s note to I.D. Delyanov on I.A. Pokrovsky’s business trip.

RSHA 733-149- 919-316. I.A. Pokrovsky’s appeal to the minister of public education.


[32] RSHA 733-149-919-68/71. M.Y. Grebennikov’s letter to A.I. Georgievsky.


[33] RSHA 733-149-919-104/105. M.Y. Grebennikov’s appeal to the minister of public education.


[34] RSHA 733-149-919-114/118. Prof. N.P. Bogolepov’s report on M. Grebennikov’s works. (April 1892).


[35] RSHA 733-149-919-139/140. I.D. Delyanov’s letter to the head of Kiev‘s educational region.


[36] RSHA 733-149-919-176/178. A.A. Bobrinsky’s letter to I.D. Delyanov; RSHA 733-149-919-184/185. Count Volkonsky’s (an assistant of the minister of public education) letter to A.A. Bobrinsky.


[37] RSHA 733-149-919-46/47. V.A. Yushkevich’s appeal.


[38] RSHA 733-149-918-88. W. von Zeeler and F. Till’s appeal.


[39] RSHA 733-149-918-133/134. The head of the Scientific committee A.I. Georgievsky’s letter to I.D. Delyanov. (August 1890).


[40] RSHA 733-149-919-155/158. The dean of law faculty of Yuriev University Enghelman’s letter of A.I. Fufaev; Prof. V. von Goland’s report of A.I. Fufaev; A.I. Georgievsky’s letter to the Ministry of public education.


[41] RSHA 733-149-919-160/161. The head of Derpt educational region’s report to the Ministry of public education.


[42] RSHA 733-149-918-44. Stipendiat F. Semiradsky’s appeal to the minister of public education.


[43] RSHA 733-149-918-61/62 The assistant of the minister of internal affairs N.I. Shebeko’s letter to the minister (April 1890).


[44] RSHA 733-149-918-73. The assistant of the minister of internal affairs N.I. Shebeko’s letter to the minister (May 1890).


[45] RSHA 733-149-918-74. I.D. Delyanov’s letter to the assistant of the Minister of internal affairs N.I. Shebeko.


[46] RSHA 733-149-918-79/81. The assistant of the minister of internal affairs N.I. Shebeko’s letter to the minister of public education.


[47] RSHA 733-149-918-298/311.


[48] RSHA 733-149-920-83/88. K.V. Korvin-Piotrovsky’s appeal.


[49] RSHA 733-149-920-101.


[50] RSHA 733-149-920-104.


[51] RSHA 733-150-614-106/107. L.I. Petrazhitsky’s appeal.


[52] RSHA 733-150-614-172/173. L.I. Petrazhitsky’s appeal (May 1893).


[53] RSHA 733-149-918-384/385. Prof. O. Meikov’s letter to I.D. Delyanov.


[54] RSHA 733-149-918-386. The head of Derpt’s educational region N.A. Lavrovsky’s letter to the head of Petersburg’s educational region, M.N. Kapustin.


[55] RSHA 733-149-918-387. The head of Derpt’s educational region’s letter to the director of the Department of the Ministry of public education, N.M. Anichkov.


[56] RSHA 733-149-918-133/134. The head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky’s letter to the minister of public education.


[57] RSHA 733-149-920-6/7.


[58] RSHA 733-149-922-60. B. Freze’s appeal.


[59] RSHA 733-149-922-36/39. B. Freze’s appeal about a vacant appointment of a lecturer at Yuriev University; The Dean of law faculty at Yuriev university Prof. P. Pustoroslev’s report.


[60] RSHA 733-149-920-202/203. The head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky’s note to I.D. Delyanov.


[61] RSHA 733-149-920-199/200. I.D. Delyanov’s letter to A.I. Georgievsky. (19 July 1895).

Due to the audit which was made after the Institute’s closure by the Department of State check it was shown that the money was overspent. The correspondence on the question lasted from 1896 to 1903 (!).


[62] RSHA 733-149-920. The head of the Scientific Committee A.I. Georgievsky’s note to I.D. Delyanov (21 July 1895); I.D. Delyanov’s letter to A.I. Georgievsky.


[63] RSHA 733-149-920-224.


[64] At the beginning Prof. Eck taught History and Prof. Pernice - Pandekt law while Prof. Bernstein (the ex lecturer of Petersburg University) taught the course of Roman and family law who took a great part in the Institution’s organization. Then Eck, Pernice and Dernburg taught the courses of their own scientific interests. (Eck and Dernburg- of dogmatic character and Pernice – of historical one). RSHA 733-149-917-71/72. K.I. Berstein’s letter to I.D. Delyanov.; <L.B.> Russian legal school in Berlin // Moskovskie vedomosty, 1893, № 146, 5.


[65] Elyashevich V., To the memory of A. Pernice. //Law.-1901.- Art. 1736-1737.


[66] Ibid.


[67] Law. - St. Petersburg, 1901, 96.


[68] Nikonov S.P., Eck // Law.- St. Petersburg, 1901, 96.


[69] Elyashevich. A., Pernice // Law.- St. Petersburg, 1901, 1736-1737.


[70] Pergament M.Y., To the memory of Prof. H. Dernburg, St. Petersburg 1908, 5-6.


[71] Dernburg Heinrich, Pandekten, Berlin 1884, IV.


[72] Sokolovsky P.E., The significance of Roman law for modern peoples and its importance for Russia, Kiev 1891, 10.


[73] Other students managed to show their abilities in the field of Roman law before the Institution: L. Petrazhitsky translated the course of U. Baron, and M. Bobin - “Institutions” by Gai.

RSHA 733-149-920-106, 110/112. A.I. Georgievsky’s note to the minister of public education on Bobin’s characteristic; The note from the Journal of the Scientific Committee of public education.


[74] Sokolovsky P.E., The significance of Roman law for modern peoples and its importance for Russia, Kiev 1891, 10.


[75] Pokrovsky I.A., The necessity of Civil law in learning and teaching. The introductory lecture, Kiev 1896 (from the “University news”), 12-13.


[76] Pergament M.Y., To the question of the tasks of Roman law.// Law.- St. Petersburg 1899, 2075.


[77] Gulyaev A.M., About the attitude of Russian Civil law to Roman law. Introductory letter, Kiev 1894, 5.


[78] Yushkevich V.A., The necessity to teach Russian Civil law, Yaroslavl 1900, 8a.


[79] Passek. E.V., The aid to the lectures on History of Roman law, Yuriev 1906, 4.


[80] Bobin M., Individuality of Roman law. Introductory letter, Yaroslavl 1902, 17.


[81] Grimm D.D., Lectures on the dogma of Roman law for Baltic law, St. Petersburg 1893, 17.


[82] RSHA 733-149-918-227/232. The head of the Scientific Committee A.I.Georgievsky’s note to I.D. Delyanov (1890).


[83] RSHA 733-149-918-94. The minister of public education’s circular to the heads of educational regions (February 1891).


[84] Law.-1901.- St. Petersburg – 1050-1053.


[85] Gribovsky V., From foreign legal publishing // The Journal of Legal Society at St. Petersburg University, 1894, № 9, 74-75.


[86]. Nechaev V.M., Science of Civil law and Roman law // Russia. Encyclopedia, Leningrad 1991, 845; Nikolsky B.V., The diary // RSHA; Law. - 1899. - St. Petersburg - 2165-2172.


[87] RSHA 733-149-922-85, 89, 90, 93, 94, 95, 97, 98.


[88] RSHA 733-149-922-91. Moscow University Rector’s letter to the Ministry of public education (1907).


[89] RSHA 1672-1-622-2/20б. P.E. Sokolovsky’s letter (the head of Kharkov’s educational region) to the minister of public education, A.N. Shwarz. (6 November 1908).


[90] RSHA 733-149-921-99/100. E.F. Shtern’s letter to the minister of public education L.A. Kasso (1909).


[91] RSHA 733-149-921-51. The State Duma’s inquiry to the minister of public education L.A. Kasso (1911).