Pantsyrni boyars. Impoverished nobles, free peasants, and liberated slaves in the 15th- and 16th-century Lithuanian-Ruthenian state who served in the grand duke's cavalry in heavy armor (pantsyr, from the German panzer). They lived on ducal lands and were exempted from taxes and other feudal obligations. Their status was between that of the petty gentry and that of the peasantry. In 1528 both the pantsyrni boyars and the putni boyars were officially abolished. Some were promoted to the status of petty gentry; others were demoted to that of state peasants. Both categories of boyars continued to exist unofficially until the end of the 16th century. At that time some of those stationed in Ukraine became registered Cossacks.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]