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A biography of ivan the terrible a russian tsar

Upon his father's death, Ivan formally came to the throne at the age of three, but his minority was dominated by regents. Initially his mother Elena Glinskaya acted as regent. Under her leadership Moscow successfully waged wars with Lithuania, the Crimean Khanate, and the Tatars. She carried out monetary reforms, introducing the smallest unit—kopeyka. She died, however, when Ivan was only eight it is rumored she was poisoned.

Ivan IV the terrible

She was replaced as regent by boyars feudal aristocrats one rank below the princes from the Shuisky family until Ivan assumed power in 1544. According to his own letters, Ivan customarily felt neglected and offended by the mighty boyars from the Shuisky and Belsky families. In one letter, he painfully recalls an episode when one drunken boyar put his dirty boots on Ivan's bed.

These traumatic experiences doubtlessly contributed to his hatred of the boyars and to his mental instability. Constant struggle among the boyars formed a suspicious, cruel character in Ivan. He was known to throw cats and dogs out of the Kremlin windows, among other cruel acts.

At the age of 13 he ordered that his mentor, boyarin Shuisky, be beaten to death.

Early life

Ivan was crowned tsar with Monomakh's Cap at the Cathedral of the Dormition at age 16 on January 16, 1547. On February 13, he married Anastasia Romanovna. Although she was from a less prominent family, she brought love and reconciliation in his life for a while and was dearly loved by him.

They had three sons—Fyodor future tsarIvan killed by Ivan IV in 1581and Dmitriy died in Uglitch of unknown causes —and three daughters, giving rise to the new dynasty of the Romanov's. Ivan revised a biography of ivan the terrible a russian tsar law code known as the sudebnikcreated a standing army the streltsyintroduced a new system of government prikaz, a prototype of state departmentsestablished a council of the nobles known as the Zemsky Sobor, or Chosen Counciland confirmed the position of the Church with the Stoglav Council of the Hundred Chapterswhich unified the rituals and ecclesiastical regulations of the entire country.

During his reign, the first printing press was introduced to Russia although the first Russian printers Ivan Fedorov and Pyotr Mstislavets had to flee from Moscow to Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Meanwhile, diplomatic relations with England, Belgium, and Holland were established. The German merchant companies ignored the new port built by Tsar Ivan on the river Narva in 1550 and delivered the goods still in the Baltic ports owned by Livonia.

Russia remained isolated from sea trade. Ivan formed new trading connections, opening up the White Sea and the port of Arkhangelsk to the Muscovy Company of English merchants. He also annexed the Kazan Khanate in 1552 and the Astrakhan Khanate to the east, thus transforming Russia into a multinational and multi-confessional state.

Ivan the Terrible

Basil's Cathedral constructed in Moscow to commemorate the seizure of Kazan Khanate. Legend holds that Ivan was so impressed with the structure that he had the architects blinded, so that they could never design anything as beautiful again. Other less positive aspects of this period include the introduction of the first laws restricting the mobility of the peasants, which would eventually lead to serfdom.

The beginning of dramatic change in Ivan's personality is traditionally linked to his near-fatal illness in 1553. Ivan suspected boyars of plotting to replace him on the throne with his cousin, Vladimir of Staritsa. In addition, during that illness Ivan had asked the boyars to swear an oath of allegiance to his eldest son, an infant at the time. Many boyars refused, for doctors deemed the tsar's health too hopeless to survive.

This angered Ivan and added to his distrust of the boyars. The year 1560 is traditionally marked as year of his mental and emotional breakdown. His beloved wife Anastasia Romanovna died after 13 years of marriage and Ivan blamed boyars for her death. Shortly after, his former supporters were, one by one, executed, exiled, or forced to flee, along with their families. Previously famous for his ascetic lifestyle, Ivan began to behave oppositely.

He hosted lavish feasts and orgies. To overcome opposition, Ivan threatened to resign in 1564.

  • This angered Ivan and added to his distrust of the boyars;
  • By heavy use of muskets, which were introduced to Russian troops only decades previous, and applying tactics that restricted mobility of the famous Tatar cavalry, Yermak crushed the outnumbering Tatar troops;
  • In one letter, he painfully recalls an episode when one drunken boyar put his dirty boots on Ivan's bed.

While boyar factions contemplated what to do, a biography of ivan the terrible a russian tsar population panicked and forced them to accept Ivan's conditions—demand for dictatorial power.

The next step was establishment of the Oprichnina. The Oprichnina was the section of Russia directly ruled by Ivan and policed by his personal servicemen, the Oprichniks. The whole system of Oprichnina has been viewed by some historians as a tool against the omnipotent hereditary nobility of Russia, the boyars, who opposed the absolutist drive of the tsar, while others have interpreted it as a sign of the paranoia and mental deterioration of the tsar. There followed brutal reprisals and mass murders of innocent people, including Metropolitan Philip and Prince Alexander Gorbatyi-Shuisky.

He supported Yermak's conquest of Siberia and adopted a policy of empire-building, which led him to launch a victorious war of seaward expansion to the west, only to find himself fighting the SwedesLithuaniansPolesand the Livonian Teutonic Knights. For 24 years the Livonian War dragged on, damaging the Russian economy and military while winning it no territory. Ivan's best friend and closest advisor, Prince Andrei Kurbsky, defected to Poland, deeply hurting Ivan. As the Oprichnina continued, Ivan became more mentally unstable and physically disabled.

In one week, he could easily pass from the most depraved orgies to prayers and fasting in a remote northern monastery. Because Ivan gradually grew unbalanced and violent, the Oprichniks under Malyuta Skuratov soon got out of hand and became murderous thugs.

They murdered nobles and peasants, and recruited men to fight the war in Livonia. Depopulation and famine ensued. What had been by far the richest area of Russia became the poorest.

  • Along with the heritage of world-famous people and great museums, there are many sights in Moscow, which are not so popular, but still very remarkable;
  • She declined the proposal but it was precisely at that time that Russia and England first began trading with each other;
  • New Haven, CT; London;
  • The 24-year-long Livonian War had proved fruitless for Russia, which was exhausted by the long struggle;
  • Harmonious beauty of finished forms;
  • Between thirty and forty thousand people were killed.

Ivan's murder of his son brought about the extinction of the Rurik Dynasty and the Time of Troubles. In a dispute with the Novgorod Republic, Ivan ordered the Oprichniks to murder the inhabitants of the city. All towns between Moscow and Novgorod were plundered.

Between thirty and forty thousand people were killed. However, the official death toll only named approximately 1,500 Novgorod nobles and 1,500 peasants. In 1581, Ivan beat his pregnant daughter-in-law for wearing immodest clothing, causing a miscarriage.

His son, also named Ivan, upon learning of this, engaged in a heated argument with his father which resulted in the son's accidental death. This event is depicted in the famous painting by Ilya Repin, Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on Friday, November 16, 1581 better known as Ivan the Terrible killing his son.

Ivan IV and his seventh wife Vasilisa Melentyevna In the late years of his reign Ivan turned his attention again to territorial conquest, this time in the eastern direction—Siberia. In 1577, 1650 troops under the leadership of Yermak crossed over the Ural Mountains.

  • Meanwhile Ivan the Terrible degenerated into a tyrant;
  • Russia was at first victorious and succeeded in destroying the Livonian knights, but their ally Lithuania became an integral part of Poland in 1569;
  • She was replaced as regent by boyars feudal aristocrats one rank below the princes from the Shuisky family until Ivan assumed power in 1544;
  • He had a hard childhood Ivan's father died in 1533, when the heir was only three years old;
  • At the end of this period even the leading oprichniki were killed.

By heavy use of muskets, which were introduced to Russian troops only decades previous, and applying tactics that restricted mobility of the famous Tatar cavalry, Yermak crushed the outnumbering Tatar troops. Within one year Siberian Khanate was conquered and Siberia became a part of Russia. Death and legacy Ivan died while playing chess with Bogdan Belsky on March 18, 1584, a date which had previously been prophesied for his death.

When Ivan's tomb was opened during renovations in the 1960s, his remains were examined and discovered to contain very high amounts of mercury, indicating a high probability that he was poisoned. A biography of ivan the terrible a russian tsar suspicion falls on his advisors Belsky and Boris Godunov, who became tsar in 1598. Three days earlier, Ivan had allegedly attempted to rape Irina, Godunov's sister and Fyodor's wife.

Her cries attracted Godunov and Belsky to the noise, whereupon Ivan let Irina go, but Belsky and Godunov considered themselves marked for death. The tradition says that they either poisoned or strangled Ivan in fear for their own lives. The mercury found in Ivan's remains may also be related to treatment for syphilis, which Ivan is suspected of having.

Upon Ivan's death, the ravaged kingdom was left to his unfit and childless son Fyodor. Sobriquet The English word terrible is usually used to translate the Russian word grozny in Ivan's nickname, but the modern English usage of terrible, with a derogatory connotation of bad or evil, does not precisely represent the intended meaning.

Grozny's meaning is closer to the original usage of terrible: Perhaps a translation closer to the intended sense would be Ivan the Fearsome. The Russian people gave Ivan this nickname after he seized Kazan.

See also Ivan the Terrible - the film by Sergei Eisenstein.

Early reforms

Translated by Joan Pinkham. First Tsar of Russia. New Haven, CT; London: ISBN 0716601001 External links.