Who is the man Bobyl and why no one wanted to marry him

(ORDO NEWS) — “Live as a bean” is not just a funny phrase that came from medieval Russia. In the 15th century, quite specific men were called beans, and no one wanted to marry them. Often bachelors died alone.

Modern men are also called beans. What does a person need to do to get an impartial nickname, and how do modern bobs differ from traditional ones?

Etymology of the word

Even the layman understands that the word “bobyl” is a borrowed one. It came into Russian from Swedish. In the Scandinavian countries, a bobyl is a wage worker without private property. Latvians and Romanians also called beanies people who do not want to work and live on the neck of society.

To live as a bean means not to show any interest in society. Bobyls were necessarily single and unsociable. For obvious reasons.

Neither stake nor yard

Bobyls in Russia were a very specific estate. If the peasant had the land on which he worked, then the bean had nothing. Instead, the beans performed certain work that guaranteed shelter and food. It is interesting that the bean also did not pay tax. The state maintained a “bobyl frill record” – a register of persons exempted from paying dues. The people called them “non-draughty”.

Bobyls could live in cities and villages, as long as there was work. For this reason, they took on any work. Sometimes beans became merchants or artisans. Sometimes they lived at monasteries and helped the ministers to equip the temples. Again, for shelter and food.

As soon as the bean had land, there was also a tax. However, even this bribe was special. “Bobylshchina” hit the pocket much less. For this reason, the peasants did not like beans. It is unpleasant to work and pay full tax when there is a poor and lazy, but cunning bean nearby.

Goal like a falcon

Bobyl means poor and unpromising. While the industrious peasant, covered in seventh sweat, cultivated the land, the bean lived under someone’s wing. No property, no dowry, so to speak. Not surprisingly, bachelors often died alone.

Moreover, no one wanted to communicate with the beans, even ordinary peasants. Human dislike made the “non-draught” unsociable, closed and withdrawn. Accepting the rules of the game, they behaved accordingly. From the bean one could often hear rudeness or a harsh word.

By the way, not only men became beans. Beavers are poor widows. Also, like the representatives of the stronger sex, the beans did not have land and worked for food. They married unpromising widows with absolutely the same reluctance.


Live like a bean

Beans are still found today. True, the definition has lost its class subtext. The nickname men get only for the way of life. However, they don’t want to marry beans, just like 500 years ago.

From the “non-draughty” of the 15th century, modern gloomy bachelors inherited isolation and unsociableness. It happens that beans live for years without female attention and communication with the opposite sex. As a result, building relationships with modern bobs is very difficult.

Psychologists note that such bachelors often have high self-esteem. The man is convinced that problems in communicating with the opposite sex are problems of the opposite sex. Sometimes bobyls “sort out” candidates, breaking off relations even because of minor shortcomings. In any case, “non-taxable” bachelors, both in the past and in the present, are not the best option for family happiness.

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The meaning of the word “bean”

Encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron


– a legal and everyday term, meaning for the most part a lonely and generally without allotment of a peasant. In the Western provinces B., or “kutniki” (actually kontniks, from the Polish kątnik, from kąt – corner), was a special category of state peasants, to which landless, homeless peasants belonged, who, due to their poverty, despite even some benefits from the government , consisting in the issuance of certain loans for the initial equipping and farming, could not enter the highest ranks established by lustration (see this next). Our legislation (the Holy Law, vol. VIII, part 1. The charter on the management of state-owned populated estates in the Western and Baltic provinces, appendix to article 9, paragraphs 82-90) indicates the need to reduce, if possible, the number of B. by issuing the above allowance, as well as destining lands for future allotment in the event that they become settled owners, and leaving such lands until this transition among the spare lands given for quitrent. In the same way, in the event that for the establishment of B. and the allocation of land to them, it turns out that with the estate of a sufficient amount of land, it has been established that this disadvantage must be averted by equalizing, allocating and resettlement of peasants in accordance with the rules decided on this in the establishment of the chambers of state property ( General Provincial Institution, Article 1934-1939). In the same charter, in addition, the rules for the temporary stay of B. in other villages for hired work and the procedure for recording the payment of state taxes, zemstvo duties and worldly expenses are indicated. On the allocation of land to beans and farm laborers in the landowners’ estates of the northwestern provinces. see Put on. About B. lips. Orenburg,

In the dictionary D.N. Ushakov

BOBYL, bobyl, male. (Region ). Poor, landless, homeless, lonely peasant. Lives as a bean. Remained bean-bobyl.

In the dictionary of synonyms

naked, homeless, proletarian, homeless, taxless, taxless, restless; without a son; single, bachelor, celibate, single, unmarried, unmarried; virgin; loner

Meanings in other dictionaries

  1. BOBYLS – BOBYLS – poor, sometimes homeless, feudal-dependent population in the Russian state 15 – early. 18th century Carried reduced feudal duties. With the introduction of the poll tax, they were equated with peasants. In a figurative sense – impoverished, homeless, lonely people. Big encyclopedic dictionary
  2. BEAN – In Rus. state-ve 15 – early. 18th century ch. arr. impoverished feudal-dependent people. From the 2nd floor. 15th c. appeared private owners. rural and mountains. B., engaged in agriculture, handicraft, petty trade or employed. B. did not carry state. Soviet historical encyclopedia
  3. Bobyls – Poor, sometimes homeless, feudal-dependent population in the Russian state of the XV – early XV1i1 centuries. carried reduced feudal duties. with the introduction of the poll tax, they were equated with peasants. Big Law Dictionary

Bobyls, kutniks and hulks – why they were not too favored

From the 15th to the beginning of the 18th century, peasants who did not have a plot of land were called bobs, and in Pomorie this word meant people who hunted in various crafts not related to agriculture.

In different places of the country, different names could be found to designate this category. For example, “kutnik”. And the beans, who had a hut and a garden, were called shacks. Bobyls, kutniks, khalupniks did not draw up title documents. Since they all had tax benefits, the people did not really like them and often called them idlers.

Depending on the place of residence, the beans were urban and rural. That is, some remained in the villages and worked for the landowners. By the way, when the bean wished to use someone else’s allotment for his own purposes, he was supposed to pay the land rent to the owner. The people gave him the apt name Bobylshchina.

Those beans who did not want to bend their backs on earth rushed to the cities in order to seek a better share, wealth and happiness. So they most often became small traders, engaged in some kind of craft, were hired as temporary labor.

Siberian beans had a special position. They were called “industrial people”. Such people tried to remain free. Often started a family. Historians talk about a record in the census dated 1680, which said that the beans have their own yards and are engaged in various crafts. And that from this year they fall into the category of citizens who must pay dues in cash.

To whom in Russia to live well?

Bobyls have appeared in Russia since the 15th century. These were the people who signed the “bobyl’s quitrent record” – a document that deprived them of their rights, but imputed to them a lot of duties, the fulfillment of which guaranteed food and at least some clothing. Consequently, the beans were very poor people who were practically hired into slavery.

Bobyls lived both in the countryside and in the cities. Representatives of this class were engaged in land work for hire, not disdaining small trade and handicrafts. They often lived at monasteries, where they cultivated church allotments. In order to use someone else’s land for their own purposes, they had to pay the owner of the allotment a special tax – bean farming.

Late 19th century postcard with a portrait of a bean

1 bobyl

At first, bobyls were only in the countryside, but then they appeared in cities. There they performed dirty work that did not require high qualifications, such as digging holes and trenches and carrying heavy loads. Sometimes they were entrusted with petty trade, and in some cases, the bean could even become an artisan. Often the bean lived at monasteries, cultivating the land and building. Sometimes they were allowed to use church lands for their own purposes, but a special tax was levied for this – bean farming. A person could not get rich on such conditions and worked only to somehow feed himself.

Village bean. Photo of the beginning of the 20th century

2 bobyl

Since the first mention of beans in documents of the early 16th century, everywhere they were written and talked about with contempt. These men have always been branded as a reveler, a bitter drunkard and a slacker, even if the bean led a measured peasant life without frills.

Most likely, the stereotype was formed due to the fact that the beans had tax breaks, which caused many to envy and dislike the “beneficiaries”. Until 1679, bobyls had to work out only half of the “tax”, that is, the totality of duties and payments. In the 17th century, bobs and bobs (single widows), who had their own house and household, were deprived of their privileges and forced to pay taxes on an equal basis with ordinary peasants.

Thanks to this, by 1718, the beans were no longer perceived as a special category, and they completely merged into the peasant class.

A special, slightly romantic image of a bean – a man without a family and with a minimum of obligations to society, attracted the attention of poets, writers and artists. The most famous image of a male bean can be considered a painting by the great Russian artist V.G. Perov “Guitarist-bobyl”.

It depicts a poorly dressed middle-aged man with a guitar, most likely drunk. On the table next to him is a bottle of wine and a half-empty glass. The picture is saturated with hopelessness and its hero evokes conflicting feelings – a mixture of pity and disgust. Sergey Yesenin also well described the life of the bean in his story “Bobyl and Druzhok”.

Chronology of events

The first chronicle mention of beans dates back to 1500. The main working population of the Russian lands treated them with contempt: they were considered parasites and revelers. A similar opinion about them was formed primarily because the bobs were given a tax “discount”. Until 1679, they worked out only half of the standard set of duties (taxes).

At the end of the 17th century, bobs and bobs (poor widows), who owned a private yard, were equated in terms of taxes with ordinary peasants. This measure turned out to be effective: in 1718, the bean estate became a full-fledged part of the peasant community.

Beans in art and literature

The bean phenomenon has attracted and continues to attract artists, writers and poets. The most characteristic example is the painting by V.G. Perov “Guitarist Bobbyl”, which depicts a wretched man in an old jacket and worn boots, playing the guitar. Next to him on the table is a bottle of alcohol and a half-empty glass. Sergei Yesenin described a no less pitiful picture in a word in the story “Bobyl and Druzhok”.


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