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Druzhina, Družyna or Drużyna ( , Druzhýna) in the history of early East Slavs and West Slavs was a detachment of select troops in personal service of a chieftain, later knyaz. Its original functions were bodyguarding, raising tribute from the conquered territories and serving as the core of an army during war campaigns. The druzhina organization varied with time and survived in one form or another until the 16th century.

The name is derived from the Slavic word drug (друг) with the meaning of "companion, friend". It is a cognate of the Germanic drottin (Proto-Germanic *druhtinaz) meaning "war band".

Archaeological excavations suggest that druzhinas existed in the region as far back as the 6th and 7th centuries.

Druzhinniks (members of the druzhina) served freely. At any moment any of them could leave one knyaz and join another one. Modern estimates of sizes of a druzhina match that of ibn Fadlan's: sizes varied, but never exceeded several hundred persons. During military campaigns a druzhina was a nucleus of the troops formed by means of a kind of levy.

A druzhina was paid by a knyaz, and received a share of military loot. For example Abraham ben Jacob who traveled in 961–62 in Central Europe describe that drużyna of Polishmarker Mieszko I has 3000 men who was paid by duke.

In the 11th and 12th centuries the druzhina separates into two layers: elder druzhina, also called better druzhina or fore druzhina, and younger druzhina. The elder druzhina consisted of knyaz's men (княжие мужи) who eventually became boyars. They held higher military and civil positions (posadnik, Voivode) and were advisors of a knyaz.

In addition to military service, druzhinniks of the younger druzhina (called otroki or gridni) ran errands for a knyaz and served as his bodyguards. Younger druzhina did not take part in knyaz's councils, with the exception of military ones, which had a very broad representation.

Manuscripts mention that elder druzhinniks had their own personal druzhinas.

When a knyaz died, his druzhina was inherited by his successor, who usually already had his own druzhina. This was usually a source of rivalry: the druzhina of the previous knyaz claimed experience, while the newcomers commanded the trust of the new leader.

Starting in the 12th century in northern principalities, a land-endowed military class had formed from druzhina.


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