From the Celebrated Four-language Edition of the Nakaz. A major document of the Enlightenment, the Nakaz, or Instruction, composed by Catherine the Great served to guide the assembly summoned in 1766 to draft a new code of laws for the Russian Empire. Drawn from Montesquieu, Rousseau, and other Enlightenment thinkers, the Nakaz condemned torture and capital punishment and endorsed such principles as the equality of all before the law. Published in the principal European tongues, it proved to be a statement to the world as much as a practical legal text. The present edition contains the Russian, French, German, Latin, and two contemporary English translations, biographical notes, and a bibliography.
William E. Butler is the John Edward Fowler Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Vinogradoff Institute at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law and Emeritus Professor of Comparative Law at University College London; Academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Vladimir A. Tomsinov is the Head of the Chair of the History of State and Law, Moscow Lomonosov State University.