Monday, November 2, 2009

Ivan the Terrible

Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Russian: Ива́н Четвёртый, Васи́льевич​ (help·info), Ivan Chetvyorty, Vasilyevich), known in English as Ivan the Terrible (= inspiring fear) (Ivan Grozny Russian: Ива́н Гро́зный​ (help·info)) ( 25 August 1530, Moscow – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584,[1] Moscow) was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533. The epithet "Grozny" is associated with might, power and strictness, rather than poor performance, horror or cruelty.[2][3][4] Ivan oversaw numerous changes in the transition from a medieval nation state to an empire and emerging regional power, becoming the first Tsar of a new more powerful nation, acknowledged as "Tsar of All Russia" from 1547.
Ivan is described in contrary terms: intelligent, devout, and impulsive by some; given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness by others. One notable outburst resulted in the death of his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich (although this version is supported mainly by foreign authors of that time and those Russian historians who quote them; the exact cause of his death is still disputed), and resulted in the passing of the Tsardom to the younger son: the arguably mentally retarded[5] Feodor I of Russia. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost 1 billion acres, growing during his term at a rate of approximately 50 square miles a day.[6]
The Tsardom of Rus' (Russian: Царство Русское) was the official[7] name for the Russian state between Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar (Emperor) in 1547 and Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721. The name originated from the fact that it contained all of the Rus lands that were at the time free of foreign states' domination. This new name was recognized by England in 1554 and by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilan II in 1576.[8] To this day some Western sources refer to this state as Muscovite Russia[9] or Muscovy, the term originally applied in Western and Central Europe to its medieval predecessor, the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Diverse researchers consider the propagation of this term in Western Europe as a result of political interests and active diplomacy of Poland[7][8], the strongest international power in Northern-eastern Europe at the dawn of the Early Modern era.

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