Ivan the Terrible was actually
IV, or Ivan Vasilyevich. If you
are Russian, you will probably call him
Grozny, which means Ivan the Terrible.
When Ivan was 16 years old, he became the first czar of Russia
Ivan the Terrible — His Strengths
Despite his cruelty, Ivan the Terrible improved Russia's governmental
administration and contributed to the nation's culture.
Ivan was also a skillful writer with a talent for biting sarcasm. He was
eager to maintain political relations with Europe and was a devout
adherent of the Orthodox Church.
Because of its Orthodox religion, after Constantinople, Moscow
became the Third Rome. Its ruler was referred to as czar
(from the word caesar).
Ivan IV the Terrible —
Ivan was a member of the
Ivan's grandfather was
Ivan III the Great.
Ivan's father was the
Grand Duke Vasily III of Moscow. His
mother was Yelena Glinskaya. Ivan's mother died in 1538, allegedly by poison.
Ivan's spouse was
Anastasia Romanovna. They married in 1547 and she died in 1560. Ivan
seemed especially off-balance after Anastasia's death. He then
married six more times, disposing of unwanted wives quickly.
children were Ivan and
Fyodor (by Anastasia). He later had six more children by his
various other wives.
And in Ivan's time the map looked like this:
RUSSIA IN EUROPE
Click map to enlarge
How Ivan Became
Ivan suspected conspiracies everywhere and eventually announced he
would abdicate because of the lack of loyalty around him.
He was only willing to continue to rule under two conditions:
he would be allowed to deal with alleged deserters at his
Second, he would be permitted to possess pieces of land
throughout Russia that were exclusively under his control.
These terms were accepted, and Ivan launched his reign of terror. He
hired a large personal army, the oprichniki, and all
potential traitors were cruelly executed. Ivan retreated and left
the daily duties to his dubious executives.
This infamous corps of
bodyguards was finally dissolved after the Tartars sacked Moscow in
Ivan was angered by the way his pregnant daughter-in-law had dressed
herself. When Ivan began to beat her, her husband Ivan Jr. came to her
rescue. The fight escalated and father Ivan killed his son — and
successor — Ivan.
Thus Fyodor later became Ivan's successor.
When Fyodor died without an heir in 1598, the Time of Troubles
began and lasted approximately 15 years.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE AND HIS SON IVAN ON NOVEMBER
Efimovich Repin, Oil on canvas, 1885
The Livonian War
The Livonian War (1558 - 1583) was provoked by Ivan who desired to
possess Livonia (modern Estonia and Latvia) with its access to the
Russia fought Lithuania, Poland and Sweden but was defeated. It had
to refrain from all claims on Livonian territories. The financing of
this lengthy war seriously strained Russia's economy.
And here is a map of the Baltic 1560 -
THE BALTIC 1560 - 1661
Click map to enlarge
Tartars were a constant threat to Russia. Ivan captured their city Kazan
in 1552 and later Astrakhan in 1556.
ST. BASIL'S CATHEDRAL
St. Basil's Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece
with nine towers built on Red Square.
It was completed in 1561 to honor military victories over the
Tatars. Tradition says that Ivan had the architects blinded so
that they could never again design a building so beautiful.
However, when Ivan was distracted by the Livonian War, the Tartars came back
with a vengeance and burned Moscow to the ground, decimating the
number of inhabitants from 200,000 to 30,000. The year? 1571.
And here is
the Terrible's timeline.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE
Click to enlarge