CLASS INEQUALITY IN THE PENAL LAW OF DUŠAN'S CODE
Differences in punishment of members of different classes are a frequent occurrence in the penal law of many mediaeval countries, including Serbia under Nemanjić rule. The paper analyses this phenomenon in Dušan's Code and the preceding charters and attempts to determine the basic principles of this differentiation. Despite stereotypes, they cannot be summed up as laxer treatment of the higher and stricter punishment for the lower classes. Firstly, in the cases of some crimes only members of certain classes are prescribed as offenders – be it due to legal or factual impossibility, or the likelihood of a member of a certain class to commit such a crime. As for those crimes that could be committed by all classes, it is shown on the examples of several crimes (abandoning one's spouse, murder, rape, insult by word or action...) that the nobility (vlastela) was indeed generally protected from those penalties that were considered shameful, but it also paid larger fines levied on property, so that fines would affect all offenders equally. Finally, in cases of crimes where the perpetrator and the victim were from different classes, Dušan's Code is greatly concerned with determining the penalty with regards to the significance of the protective object, particularly to class honour and the need to preserve peaceful relations between classes.