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Grand Duke Vladimir resting with his entourage (Druschina), by Viktor Wasnezow , 1848

Druzhina ( Russian дружина , also Drushína or Drushine ) is called the personal army or the bodyguard of a Russian prince in the Middle Ages .


The Druzhinas originally emerged from the oath communities of the Varangians who sailed the rivers of Eastern Europe. In the medieval empire of the Kievan Rus , each prince had his own Druzhina as a warrior retinue. In addition, the Druzhina took over numerous functions of rulership and administration in Russia, in particular the collection of taxes, which in the west were filled by the feudal system and the lower nobility. Sometimes the ruler consulted with his followers about government or war plans. The ruler had to provide for them and maintain their benevolence.

There were two different followers: the elderly and the younger ones. From the Starschaja Druzhina ( elderly retinue = superior Druzhina), to which mainly the great nobles with their own retinue and their own estate belonged, the term boyars became common from the middle of the 12th century . The younger followers hired themselves as warriors for the prince and were looked after by him. The following of the prince was able to expand in larger campaigns to include all free men, the so-called Opoltschenije . Since the middle of the 12th century, the two terms merged more and more. The following of the princes was not a specifically Slavic phenomenon in the early Middle Ages, but also existed in other parts of Europe.

Further use

In Russian, a gathering of people is also called Druzhina. A member of a drushina is Druschinnik called.

Combat units of the SD , formed from Russians as part of the Zeppelin company , were also referred to as Druzhins .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Article in Meyers Großes Konversationslexikon , Volume 5. Leipzig 1906, p. 224 Retrieved on May 18, 2011
  2. a b Article ( Memento from May 4, 2013 in the web archive archive.today ) in the Small Encyclopedic Dictionary Brockhaus and Efron . Retrieved May 18, 2011
  3. a b c Article in the Encyclopedia Britannica . Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  4. Article дружина in PONS Retrieved on May 18, 2011.
  5. ^ Zeppelin company . In: Der Spiegel . No. 47 , 1992 ( online ).
  6. http://members.tripod.com/~marcin_w/index-Gil.html

Web links

Commons : Druzhina  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files