Ivan the Terrible Essay

Submitted By jamesMay12345
Words: 1249
Pages: 5

Ivan the Terrible Ivan Vasilyevich IV, known to the world as Ivan the Terrible, was truly one of history’s greatest monsters. Upon the death of his father, Valili III in 1533, Ivan became the Grand Prince of Moscow. Ivan was granted this title at the age of three and held it until his death, however this is not the title for which he is most well known. At the age of 16, Ivan became the self-proclaimed Tsar of Russia, the first in Russian history. Throughout his reign as Tsar, Ivan became known for his agonizing personal life, his political successes as well as downfalls and most notably his volatile personality. Ivan believed he was next to God and as such wanted to ensure the continuation of his blood line. In this effort and on recommendation of the church, Ivan married Anastasia Romanov. It was said to be a happy marriage and that she was the love of his life. Together, Ivan and Anastasia had six children, only two of which survived infancy. The eldest surviving son, Ivan the fifth, being groomed as the chosen heir, was killed in a fit of rage by his father at age 27 during a confrontation over the beating of young Ivan’s pregnant wife at the hands of his father. The youngest, Feodor, was suspected to have certain mental deficiencies yet ultimately became Tsar upon Ivan’s death. In 1560, Anastasia died, believed to have been poisoned by a group of nobles. This sent Ivan into a terrible rage and shook his belief in God and men. In the following years, although the Orthodox Church only allowed a person three marriages, Ivan entered into seven and had several frivolous affairs. He loved no other like he loved Anastasia. In the year of his coronation, Russia was plagued by cancerous fires. Ivan, being caught up in his struggles with the boyars and search for a bride, felt that this was a sign from God to punish him for neglecting his people. As a result, Ivan became a Tsar dedicated to building a strong, autocratic Russia. Internally, he appointed an advisory council, created a national assembly and legislated reform within the government. He also instituted a new law code and regulations which kept the responsibilities of the aristocracy diminished. Being satisfied with his internal success, Ivan turned his sights to the small countries of what is now Western Russia, taking the first steps towards a vast and powerful Russian empire. The conquest of Kazan and Astrakhan were Ivan’s greatest triumphs as with them he united, for the first time, all of Russia under one banner. Ivan felt invincible! He looked to Livonia and found himself up against the Swedes, Lithuanians, Poles and Livonian Teutonic Knights in an epic battle which lasted 22 years destroying both the Russian military and economy. This defeat was certainly a blow to Ivan’s ego, but when combined with the death of his beloved Anastasia, Ivan’s psyche took the blow. He became ill both physically and mentally and exhibited truly psychotic behaviours in response to wrong-doings, no matter how small. Thus began his reign of terror. Ivan is most famously known for his cruelty, psychotic rages and complete lack of empathy. It is thought that due to Ivan’s brutal childhood he developed contempt toward all men and placed little value on human life and ethics. Upon the death of his father, Ivan became Grand Prince but being only three could not rule. So before he died, Valili 111 set up a council of advisors, boyars, to run the government and military affairs. This council soon found that Ivan’s mother, Elena was a force to be reckoned with. Within five years Elena was dead, presumably murdered, leaving Ivan an orphan and under the care of his nanny. The council feared the influence she may have over Ivan so they kidnapped her and placed her in a monastery. Ivan, other than the companionship of his deaf, mute brother, Yuri was alone and living in fear of the neglectful and at times abusive treatment by the Boyars.