From the ancient times people regard a bell as a symbol of purification, protection and invocation against dark forces. From time immemorial bells serve as an obligatory attributes of different prayers and sacramental rites not only in Christianity.
Huge churches were called “voice of the Lord”. Long time ago a bell was a herald and called people together to general meetings. We can say, that it was both voice of the Lord and of people. Surely A. Herzen called his magazine “Bell” not accidentally.
Bell casting is a long, laborious process. Just that’s why bells became humanized in Russia: different parts of bells have the same names of parts like the parts of a human body-a tongue, a lip, ears, a shoulder, a crown. Bells were christened like people, they were given their own names. According to many stories bells were often treated like people, they could be punished, exiled, flogged. For example the first bell, which was exiled, was the bell of Uglitch, which people rang to announce the death of tsarevitch Dimitry 1593. It was very strange, that the bell was flogged and exiled to Siberia . together with the residents of the town. We can only sympathize with the bell, because his tongue was pulled out as a punishment. Nowadays this bell is in a museum of Uglitch.
There is an interesting fact, that there was a bell oath in the West. It was a real oath, affirmed with peal. People believed, that this oath was inviolable and terrible fate was waiting for a person, who broke the oath. The bell oath was taken more often and it was rated more highly, than the oath on the Bible. There was a stringent rule in some European countries, which forbad legal proceedings of criminal cases, connected with murders, without peal. In Russia people took also sometimes the public purifying oath, while bells were ringing, it was called Vasilyevsky oath. “ To go under bells”- people said about the oath, which was taken, when there was no evidence of crime or ways of excuse. The oath was obligatory taken in a church by peal and it was public. “I will take the oath by peal” says the Russian proverb. It reflects the old custom to stand under bells during the oath.
So a bell became not only an attribute of church and state ceremonials, but also their best adornment. Strength and beauty of its sounding is great! This qualities made peal a symbol of dedication of events, affirmation of protocols like by a signature or a seal. All people know, that there was a popular assembly in Novgorod. The residents were proud of peal in the Holy Wisdom Cathedral and in the old St. George's monastery. Undoubted the Assembly bell of Novgorod stood out against a background of the other bells. It called people to the popular assembly. The bell became a symbol of freedom and independence of the Novgorod’s republic. Historians say, that there was flourishing of the popular assembly as a political institute at the period of the second half of the 10th -11th century. Many annuals of Novgorod say, that people rang the bell because of different reasons, that is the evidence of variety of its using.
The bell called people together for solutions of state problems. When Novgorod was occupied by Ivan 3 and lost its freedom, the bell was sent to Moscow, where it hung with the other bells.
The legend of Kulikov’s battle tells about troops of Novgorod, which fought against Mamai. In this literary work they are inseparable from their bells. In that case bells are the symbol of independence and invincibility.