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Ivan III of Russia

Ivan III
Sovereign of all Russia
Portrait in the Tsarsky titulyarnik, 1672
Grand Prince of Moscow and all Russia
Reign28 March 1462 – 27 October 1505
PredecessorVasily II
SuccessorVasily III
Born22 January 1440
Moscow, Grand Duchy of Moscow
Died27 October 1505(1505-10-27) (aged 65)
Moscow, Grand Duchy of Moscow
FatherVasily II of Moscow
MotherMaria of Borovsk
ReligionRussian Orthodox

Ivan III Vasilyevich (Russian: Иван III Васильевич; 22 January 1440 – 27 October 1505), also known as Ivan the Great,[note 1][1][2][3] was Grand Prince of Moscow and all Russia from 1462 until his death in 1505.[note 2][8][9][10][11][12][13] Ivan served as the co-ruler and regent for his blind father Vasily II before he officially ascended the throne.

He multiplied the territory of his state through conquest, purchase, inheritance and the seizure of lands from his dynastic relatives, and laid the foundations of the centralized Russian state.[14][15][16] He also renovated the Moscow Kremlin and introduced a new legal code.[17][18] Ivan is credited with ending the dominance of the Tatars over Russia;[19] his victory over the Great Horde in 1480 formally restored its independence.[20][21]

Ivan began using the title tsar,[22] and used the title tentatively until the Habsburgs recognized it.[23] While officially using "tsar" in his correspondence with other monarchs,[24][25] he was satisfied with the title of grand prince at home.[26] Through marriage to Sophia Palaiologina, Ivan made the double-headed eagle Russia's coat of arms, and adopted the idea of Moscow as the third Rome. His 43-year reign[27] was the second-longest in Russian history, after that of his grandson Ivan IV.

Early life

Ivan Vasilyevich was born on 22 January 1440 into the family of Vasily II, the grand prince of Moscow, and Maria of Borovsk,[28] the daughter of an appanage prince and a granddaughter of Vladimir the Bold.[29]

The first time Ivan is called heir and grand prince in treaties between his father and other Russian princes is in a treaty with Ivan Vasilyevich of Suzdal dating from 1448 or 1449.[30] The title of grand prince is not included in a treaty with Casimir IV of Poland dating from 13 August 1449, but appears again in treaties with Vasily Yaroslavich of Serpukhov in the early 1450s.[30]

Ivan had four brothers: Yury, Andrey Bolshoy ("the big"), Boris, and Andrey Menshoy ("the little").[31] In the same will that Vasily II had given Ivan III the grand principality, his brothers were awarded appanages.[31] Yury was given Dmitrov, Mozhaysk and Serpukhov, Andrey Bolshoy was given Uglich, Bezhetsk and Verkh and Zvenigorod, Boris was given Volokolamsk, Rzhev and Ruza, while Andrey Menshoy was given Vologda.[31]


Territorial expansion and centralization

Ivan's rule is marked by vastly expanding the territory and his control of Muscovy. As part of the successful "gathering of the Russian lands",[16][32][33][34] Ivan brought the independent duchies of different Rurikid princes under the direct control of Moscow,[35][36] leaving the princes and their posterity without royal titles or land inheritance. It was during Ivan's reign that the emergence of a centralized Russian state occurred following a period of feudal fragmentation, with Moscow at its center.[37][38][39][40]

Following a war with the Novgorod Republic in 1456, due to Novgorod's support of the rebellious Dmitry Shemyaka against Vasily II in his civil war, Moscow began to gradually seize land in the northern territories that were formerly under Novgorodian control for the next decade and half due to a desire for luxury furs in the area.[41] This led to a struggle with Novgorod for the Russian fur trade, and thus, an economic rivalry for fur, land and trade ports.[41][42] Some Novgorodian boyars were opposed to Moscow as a result, while others pursued a pro-Moscow policy in the hopes that good relations could reduce disruption in east-west trade, while Novgorod was also dependent on the Russian lands to its southwest for important imports such as grain.[41] Some Novgorodians were also attracted to Moscow due to it being the center of Russian Orthodoxy as opposed to Lithuania, where Catholicism was dominant and its culture was being increasingly polonized, though some Novgorodian clergy adopted a pro-Lithuanian policy for political reasons due to fears that embracing the grand prince of Moscow would eventually lead to the end of Novgorod's independence.[41]

Ivan's destruction of the Novgorod veche, painting by Klavdy Lebedev (1889)
Expansion of Moscow from 1300 to 1505

By 1470, with the pro-Lithuanian faction being dominant,[41] the Novgorodian boyars questioned Ivan's sovereignty over the city-state as their prince.[43] Novgorod negotiated with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and requested Casimir IV to send them a prince.[41] This led to Mikhailo Olelkovich, Ivan's cousin, to be accepted as the new prince,[44][45] though he would step down as prince shortly after.[41] Ivan saw the actions of Novgorod as a cause for war,[46] and he also called it an act of apostasy from Orthodoxy (in part, because Poland and its monarchs were Catholic).[47] Ivan led his troops to Novgorod where his army defeated the Novgorodians at the Battle of Shelon on 14 July 1471.[46][43] Ivan then had the four leaders of the anti-Moscow faction in Novgorod executed,[46][43] including the son of Marfa Boretskaya, an influential boyar woman who had played a leading role in the faction.[46] In a peace treaty signed on 11 August 1471,[43] Novgorod agreed to abandon its overtures to Lithuania and to cede a considerable portion of its northern territories, while paying a war indemnity of 15,500 rubles.[48] Novgorod also had to recognize Moscow's claims to territories to the east of the Northern Dvina which they had been struggling over.[46] Ivan took a promise of allegiance from Novgorod, but left its system of government in place.[16]

For the next six years, pro-Moscow and anti-Moscow factions in Novgorod competed with one another.[46] Ivan visited Novgorod several times during this period, persecuting a number of pro-Lithuanian boyars and confiscating their lands. In 1477, two Novgorodian envoys, claiming to have been sent by the archbishops and the entire city, addressed Ivan in public audience as gosudar (sovereign) instead of the usual gospodin (sir).[49] Ivan at once seized upon this as a recognition of his sovereignty, and when the Novgorodians repudiated the envoys (indeed, one was killed at the veche and several others of the pro-Moscow faction were killed with him) and swore openly in front of the Moscow ambassadors that they would turn to Lithuania again, he marched against them. Surrounded by Ivan's army, Novgorod ultimately recognized Ivan's direct rule over the city and its vast hinterland in a document signed and sealed by Archbishop Feofil of Novgorod (1470–1480) on 15 January 1478.[50][46]

Ivan dispossessed Novgorod of more than four-fifths of its land, keeping half for himself and giving the other half to his allies.[51] Subsequent revolts (1479–1488) were punished by the removal en masse of the richest and most ancient families of Novgorod to Moscow, Vyatka, and other cities. Many merchants, landholders, and boyars were replaced with loyalists who came from Moscow.[52] The Novgorod veche and its elected offices were also abolished.[16] Archbishop Feofil was also removed to Moscow for plotting against the grand prince.[53] The rival republic of Pskov owed the continuance of its own political existence to the readiness with which it assisted Ivan against its old enemy. The acquisition of Novgorod alone nearly doubled the size of his realm.[16] Soon after the formal annexation of Novgorod, Ivan assumed the title of sovereign of all Russia (gosudar vseya Rusi); the title reflected his achievements in uniting the Russian lands but also implied claims to other territories inhabited by the East Slavs which were under the control of the Lithuanian grand dukes, and would later lead to conflict with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.[54]

Variant of the Theotokos of Bogolyubovo showing Metropolitan Jonah, Vasily II and Ivan III leading the classes of society, early 16th century

Other principalities were eventually absorbed by conquest, purchase, or marriage contract: the Principality of Yaroslavl in 1463, Rostov in 1474, Tver in 1485,[16] and Vyatka 1489.[48] Ivan also increased Moscow's dominance over Pskov, with his son and successor Vasily III formally annexing it in 1510.[55] Prince Mikhail Andreyevich of Vereya, who had been awarded an appanage by Vasily II, was pressured in 1478 into giving Belozersk to Ivan, who received all of Mikhail's land on his death in 1486.[56] Some princes from the Upper Oka region, who had been under Lithuanian rule, left Lithuanian service and joined the Muscovite court in the 1480s, including the Vorotynskys, Odoyevskys, Gorchakovs, and others.[57] A peace treaty signed on 5 February 1494 legalized the acquisitions.[57] Moscow also subjugated several Finno-Ugric tribes to the east of Vyatka in the late 15th century, some of whom had fled eastward as far as the Ob River, but by 1500, they were all paying tribute.[46]

Whereas his father Vasily II followed the custom of dividing the realm between his sons, seeing this as a cause for weakness and instability, Ivan consolidated his exclusive control over Muscovy during his reign.[16] Ivan's refusal to share his conquests with his brothers, and his subsequent interference with the internal politics of their inherited principalities, involved him in several wars with them, from which, though the princes were assisted by Lithuania, he emerged victorious. Finally, Ivan's new rule of government, formally set forth in his last will to the effect that the domains of all his kinsfolk, after their deaths, should pass directly to the reigning grand prince instead of reverting, as hitherto, to the princes' heirs, put an end once and for all to these semi-independent princelings.[48]

Ivan had four brothers. The eldest, Yury, died childless on 12 September 1472. He only had a draft of a will that said nothing about his land. Ivan seized the land, much to the fury of the surviving brothers, whom he placated with some land. Boris and Andrey Bolshoy signed treaties with Vasily in February and September 1473. They agreed to protect each other's land and not to have secret dealings with foreign states; they broke this clause in 1480, fleeing to Lithuania. It is unknown whether Andrey Menshoy signed a treaty. He died in 1481, leaving his lands to Ivan. In 1491, Andrey Bolshoy was arrested by Ivan for refusing to aid the Crimean Khanate against the Golden Horde. He died in prison in 1493, and Ivan seized his land. In 1494, Boris, the only brother able to pass his land to his sons, died. However, their land reverted to the tsar upon their deaths in 1503 and 1515 respectively.[58]

Domestic policy

Depiction of Palm Sunday procession with Ivan III and his family, including his son Vasili and grandson Dmitry, on a shroud belonging to Elena Voloshanka, c. 1498.[59]

The character of the government of Moscow changed significantly under Ivan III, taking on a new autocratic form, as Moscow increased its hegemony, but also to new imperial pretensions. After the fall of Constantinople, Orthodox canonists were inclined to regard the grand princes of Moscow, where the Metropolitan of Kiev moved in 1325 after the Mongol invasions, as the successors of the Byzantine emperors.[60] Ivan himself appeared to welcome the idea, and he began to use the title of tsar in foreign correspondence, meaning caesar.

The adoption of Byzantine symbolism and its ceremonial style in effect allowed for the Muscovite grand prince to claim the powers of that of a Byzantine emperor. Russian ruling circles were already well aware of Byzantine traditions, including the court, hierarchy, and symbolism, due in part to most of the Kievan metropolitans and clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church having been Greeks.[61] The Russians had also long called the Byzantine emperor tsar, and had known of the South Slavic writers who gave the title to their most successful rulers.[62] A Serbian monk who had arrived in Moscow in the early 1440s helped to provide the foundation for the title, having composed a "chronograph" which included the prophecy of a "Russian" clan coming to rule in Constantinople.[62] He also referred to the Muscovite grand prince as the "Orthodox tsar and autocrat" following the Council of Florence.[62]

This movement coincided with a change in the family circumstances of Ivan III. After the death of his first consort in 1467, Maria of Tver, and at the suggestion of Pope Paul II in 1469, who hoped thereby to bind Moscow to the Holy See, Ivan III wedded Sophia Palaiologina (also known under her original name Zoe) in 1472, daughter of Thomas Palaeologus, despot of Morea, who claimed the throne of Constantinople as the brother of Constantine XI, the last Byzantine emperor. Frustrating the Pope's hopes of reuniting the two faiths, the princess endorsed Eastern Orthodoxy. Due to her family traditions, she encouraged imperial ideas in the mind of her consort. It was through her influence that the ceremonious etiquette of Constantinople (along with the imperial double-headed eagle and all that it implied) was adopted by the court of Moscow.[63] Ivan combined the double-headed eagle with his emblem of St. George slaying the dragon;[62] his family seal became and remained a symbol of the Russian tsars until the monarchy was abolished in 1917.[64] Ivan's marriage would add to Moscow's prestige after the Russian Orthodox Church had earlier declared itself autocephalous in 1448, and a native metropolitan was installed in Moscow.[64] The transformation to absolutism was supported by the Russian Orthodox Church, which benefitted from Moscow's increased international standing, with the doctrine of Moscow as the "third Rome" beginning to emerge.[64]

The Palace of Facets (1487–91) was commissioned by Ivan to Italian architects
The Dormition Cathedral by Fioravanti laid claim as the mother church of all Rus'.[65]

Ivan's son with Maria of Tver, Ivan Ivanovich, whom he had designated as his heir and was made co-ruler in 1471,[66] died in 1490, leaving from his marriage with Elena of Moldavia an only child, Dmitry Ivanovich.[67] Ivan attempted to secure his title for his successor,[68] and the latter was crowned as successor by his grandfather on 15 February 1498,[67] but later Ivan reverted his decision in favor of Sophia's elder son Vasily, who was ultimately crowned co-regent with his father on 14 April 1502.[69] The decision was dictated by the crisis connected with the Sect of Skhariya the Jew, as well as by the imperial prestige of Sophia's descendants. Dmitry was put into prison, where he died, unmarried and childless, in 1509,[70] already under the rule of his uncle. His successor Vasily was made co-ruler in 1502, and during Vasily's reign, he would expand the usage of the title of tsar in all matters.[69]

The grand prince increasingly held aloof from his boyars, who were a barrier to the transformation to absolutism.[64] As a result, he gradually reduced the boyars' economic and political powers.[64] He granted estates called pomestie to a new noble class in exchange for military service and other conditions, allowing him to build up a centralized army and create a counterbalance to the boyars.[64] The old patriarchal systems of government vanished. The boyars, who would meet in a council known as a boyar duma, were no longer consulted on state affairs. The sovereign became sacrosanct, while the boyars were reduced to dependency on the will of the sovereign. The boyars naturally resented this revolution and struggled against it.[48]

It was in the reign of Ivan III that the new sudebnik, or law code,[64] was compiled by the scribe, Vladimir Gusev. The death penalty was mandated for rebellion or sedition, which was a more severe penalty compared to that of the earlier Russkaya Pravda.[64] It restricted the mobility of peasants, also requiring an exit fee to be paid to the landlords, which were in the interests of the new noble class.[64] Ivan therefore laid the groundwork for serfdom, which would negatively impact Russia's development in the following centuries.[64]

Ivan did his utmost to make his capital a worthy successor to Constantinople, and with that object invited many foreign masters and artificers to settle in Moscow. Ivan's most notable construction was the rebuilding of the Kremlin in Moscow. The most noted of these architects was the Italian Ridolfo di Fioravante, nicknamed "Aristotle" because of his extraordinary knowledge,[63] who built several cathedrals and palaces in the Kremlin, and also supervised the construction of the walls of the Kremlin.[71] These include the Dormition Cathedral and Palace of Facets. Construction of the Ivan the Great Bell Tower also started in 1505, which was completed after his death.[64]

Foreign policy

Gold ducats of Ivan III from 1471–1485

Moscow played an increasingly visible role in international affairs as it established diplomatic relations with the Crimean Khanate and the Republic of Venice in 1474, the Kingdom of Hungary in 1482, the Holy Roman Empire in 1489, the Kingdom of Denmark in 1493, and the Ottoman Empire in 1496.[57] The outline of Russian foreign policy for the next several generations was shaped during Ivan's reign, where his successors would continue to struggle with Poland and Lithuania over the territories of the East Slavs, while a more differentiated policy was pursued towards the Muslim khanates, with attempts at subjugating the Khanate of Kazan and neutralizing the Crimean Khanate.[57]

In 1476, Ivan refused to pay the customary tribute to Ahmed Khan, and in 1480, Ahmed Khan launched an invasion of Russia.[57] Throughout the autumn, the Muscovite and Tatar hosts confronted each other on opposite sides of the Ugra River until 11 November 1480, when Ahmed retreated into the steppe.[72][73] In traditional Russian historiography, it is marked as the end of the "Tatar yoke" over Russia.[74][21] In the following year, Ahmed Khan, while preparing a second expedition against Moscow, was suddenly attacked, routed and slain by Khan Ibak of the Nogai Horde, whereupon the Golden Horde suddenly fell to pieces. In 1487, Ivan reduced the Khanate of Kazan, one of the offshoots of the Horde, to the condition of a vassal state, though in his later years, it broke away from his suzerainty. With the other Muslim powers, the khan of the Crimean Khanate and the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, Ivan's relations were peaceful and even amicable. The Crimean khan, Meñli I Giray, helped him against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and facilitated the opening of diplomatic relations between Moscow and Constantinople, where the first embassy appeared in 1495.[48]

Ivan III tearing the khan's letter to pieces, an apocryphal 19th-century painting by Aleksey Kivshenko
The 1488 Hungarian legation in the court of Ivan III

The Christian rulers in the Caucasus began to see the Russian monarchs as their natural allies against the Muslim regional powers. The first attempt at forging an alliance was made by Alexander I, king of a small Georgian kingdom of Kakheti, who dispatched two embassies, in 1483 and 1491, to Moscow. However, as the Russians were still too far from the Caucasus, neither of these missions had any effect on the course of events in the region. In 1488, Ivan sought gun founders, master gunners for siege cannons, gold and silversmiths, and Italian master builders from King Matthias Corvinus.[75][76][77]

In his dealings with the Habsburgs, Ivan was offered the title of king (rex) if he would join the alliance against Turkey, but he rejected such offers and continued his own policy, laying claim to the Kievan legacy and adopting the title of autocrat (samoderzhets), sovereign (gosudar) of the Russian land, and grand prince of Moscow and all Russia.[32][64] Beginning in 1484, Ivan began to use the title of tsar in his foreign correspondence with secondary powers in Europe including the Livonian Order.[32] At times the title was translated as imperator, such as in a 1493 treaty with Denmark where Ivan was called "domino Johanne totius Rutzie imperator".[78] Ivan also began insisting on the title to the Habsburgs in 1489,[79] and he continued to portray himself to his subjects and foreign states as the Orthodox emperor.[80] Whenever was possible in diplomatic situations, Ivan and his representatives would refer to him as tsar.[80] According to Isabel de Madariaga, had the title of Russian monarchs continued to be translated as rex, Russia's assimilation into the ranking order of states in Europe would have been much easier.[81]

In Nordic affairs, Ivan concluded an offensive alliance with John of Denmark and maintained regular correspondence with Emperor Maximilian I, who called him a "brother". He built a strong citadel in Ingria, named Ivangorod after himself, situated on the Russian-Estonian border, opposite the fortress of Narva held by the Livonian Confederation. In the Russo-Swedish War, Ivan unsuccessfully attempted to conquer Vyborg from Sweden, but this attempt was checked by the Swedish garrison in Vyborg Castle led by Lord Knut Posse.

Ivan deemed Moscow to be the legitimate heir to the territories that formerly belonged to Kievan Rus', leading to wars with Lithuania,[82] including skirmishes in the late 1480s and early 1490s.[83] The further extension of his dominion was facilitated by the death of Casimir IV in 1492, when Poland and Lithuania once again parted company. The throne of Lithuania was now occupied by Casimir's son Alexander, a weak and lethargic prince so incapable of defending his possessions against the persistent attacks of the Muscovites that he attempted to save them by a matrimonial compact, wedding Helena, Ivan's daughter. But the clear determination of Ivan to appropriate as much of Lithuania as possible finally compelled Alexander to take up arms against his father-in-law in 1499. A full-scale war broke out in 1500.[84] The Lithuanians were routed at the Battle of Vedrosha on 14 July 1500, and in 1503, Alexander was glad to purchase peace by ceding Chernigov, Starodub, Novgorod-Seversky, and sixteen other towns.[48][note 3] However, Smolensk remained in Lithuanian hands, though Ivan's son Vasily III would take the city in 1514.[85]


Ivan III on the "Millennium of Russia" monument in Veliky Novgorod

Ivan conquered or brought under his control the lands of "Great Russia", leading to Russian historians to call him the "gatherer of the Russian lands".[86] Ivan therefore arguably became best known for his consolidation of Muscovite rule; his contemporaries and later historians saw Ivan as a skilled politician who was consistent and efficient in the construction of a unified and autocratic Russian state.[43] His predecessors had increased Moscow's territory from less than 600 square miles (1,600 square kilometres) under Ivan II (r. 1353–1359) to more than 15,000 square miles (39,000 square kilometres) at the end of Vasily II's reign. It remained for Ivan III to absorb Moscow's old rivals, Novgorod and Tver, and establish virtually a single rule over what had been appanages. Although the circumstances surrounding the acquisitions varied, the results were basically the same: former sovereign or semi-autonomous principalities were reduced to the status of provinces of Moscow, while their princes joined the ranks of the Muscovite service nobility.

After the death of his first wife in 1467, Ivan married Sophia (Zoë) Palaiologina in 1472, a Byzantine princess and niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI, who was killed in battle in 1453. The Vatican sponsored the marriage in hope of bringing Moscow under the sway of the Pope and of establishing a broad front against the Turks, a goal that failed. From Ivan's point of view, the marriage fitted well into the general trend of elevating the Muscovite ruler.

Engraving by André Thevet, 1575

Following his second marriage, Ivan developed a complicated court ceremonial on the Byzantine model and began to use the title of "tsar" and "autocrat".[64] Also during the reign of Ivan and his son, Vasily III, Moscow came to be referred to by spokesmen as the third Rome. Philotheos, a monk from Pskov, developed the idea of Moscow as the true successor to Byzantium and, hence, to Rome.

An impressive building program in Moscow took place under Ivan, directed primarily by Italian artists and craftsmen. New buildings were erected in the Kremlin in Moscow, and its walls were strengthened and furnished with towers and gates. In 1475, Ivan III established the first cannon foundry of Russia in Moscow, which started native cannon production.[87]

The British historian J. L. I. Fennell emphasizes Ivan's military and economic success, as well as his success in centralizing control over local rulers; however, he stated that his reign was also marked by cultural depression, lack of freedom, and isolation from the West.[88]

During Ivan's reign, "the Russian state was consolidated, Russian territory tripled in size, trade expanded, and Western contacts shaped society".[37] Tatar rule formally ended and Ivan elevated the principality to a sovereign nation, leading to him to be called "Ivan the Great".[37] Ivan died on 27 October 1505, and was succeeded by his son, Vasily III.[37]


In the 1480s, during his consolidation of territories, Ivan III had the following title: "By the Grace of God, the Great Sovereign of the Russian land, Grand Prince Ivan Vasilyevich, Tsar of all Russia, Vladimir, and Moscow, and Novgorod, and Pskov, and Yugorsk, and Vyatka, and Perm, and others".[note 4][89]

At the beginning of the 1490s, he also had the following title: "Ivan, by the Grace of God, Sovereign of all Russia and Grand Prince of Vladimir, and Moscow, and Novgorod, and Pskov, and Tver, and Yugorsk, and Perm, and Bulgar, and others".[note 5][90]


Following his marriage to Sophia Palaiologina, Ivan combined the double-headed eagle with his emblem of St. George slaying the dragon.[62]

Obverse of Ivan III's seal in 1489 with St. George slaying the dragon Reverse of Ivan III's seal in 1489 with the double-headed eagle

Marriages and children

1.By Maria of Tver

2.By Sophia Palaiologina

See also


  1. ^ Russian: Иван Великий.
  2. ^ Also rendered as Sovereign of all Rus' (Russian: Государь всея Руси).[4][5][6][7]
  3. ^ Much information on Ivan III and his court is contained in Sigismund von Herberstein, Notes on Muscovite Affairs (1549)
  4. ^ "Божиею милостью великий осподарь Русские земли велики князь Иван Васильевич, царь всеа Русии, Володимерськи и Московски и Новгородски и Псковски и Югорски и Вятски и Пермськи и иных".
  5. ^ "Иван Божией милостию государь всеа Руси и великий князь Владимирский, и Московский, и Новгородский, и Псковский, и Тверской, и Югорский, и Пръмскы, и Болъгарский и иных".


  1. ^ Boguslavsky 2001, p. 455.
  2. ^ Polovtsov 1897, p. 193: "Iоаннъ III Васильевичъ, великiй князь всея Руси, называемый такъ же иногда Великимъ [Ioannes III Vasilyevich, Grand Prince of all Rus', sometimes also called the Great]".
  3. ^ Kort 2008, p. 24: "For his achievements as a whole, however ruthlessly he went about realizing them, with considerable justification he is called Ivan the Great".
  4. ^ Pape 2016, p. 72: "...под самый конец жизни великий князь стал пользоваться новым, расширенным титулом, а именно «царь и государь всея Руси» [ the very end of his life the Grand Prince started to use the new extended title, i.e. “Tsar and Sovereign of all Rus'”]".
  5. ^ Letiche & Pashkov 1964, p. 97: "...Ivan III, “the Sovereign of all Rus”...".
  6. ^ Pape 2016, p. 71: "Иоанн, Божьею милостью царь и государь всеа Руси и великий князь Володимерский [Ioannes, by the Grace of God Tsar and Sovereign of all Rus' and Grand Prince of Vladimir]".
  7. ^ Filjushkin 2006, p. 173: "Литва признала титул Ивана III государь всея Руси, что и было зафиксировано в перемирной грамоте [Lithuania recognized the title of Ivan III, sovereign of all Rus', which was stated in the peace treaty]".
  8. ^ Auty & Obolensky 1976, p. 92, In the last quarter of the fifteenth century Ivan III added to his title of Grand Prince of Moscow just three words – 'and All Russia'.
  9. ^ Millar 2004, p. 688, grand prince of Moscow (1462–1505), sovereign of "all Russia" (from 1479).
  10. ^ Pape 2016, p. 66: "...cum illustrissimo et potenti domino, Johanne, tocius Rutzsie imperatore, magno duce Volodimerie, Muscouie, Nouogardie, Plescouie, Otpherie, Yngærie, Vetolsy, Permie, Bolgardie etc. [...with the most illustrious and powerful sovereign, Ivan, tsar of all Russia, Grand Prince of Vladimir, Moscow, Novgorod, Pskov, Tver, Yugra, Vyatka, Perm, Bolgar etc.]".
  11. ^ Kort 2008, p. 27-28: "In 1493 Ivan added the title “Sovereign of All Russia”".
  12. ^ Filjushkin 2008, p. 278: "1462–1505 Ivan III Vasilievich, Grand Prince, Sovereign of all Russia".
  13. ^ MacKenzie & Curran 2002, p. 115.
  14. ^ Letiche & Pashkov 1964, p. 97: "Under Ivan III, “the Sovereign of all Rus”, the lands around Moscow were united and the foundations of a centralized state in the form of a feudal monarchy were begun".
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Kort 2008, p. 24-25.
  16. ^ Letiche & Pashkov 1964, p. 97: "the foundations of a uniform state legislation (The Sudebnik [Code] of 1497 were laid)".
  17. ^ Kort 2008, p. 28: "In 1497 Ivan issued a new law code called the Sudebnik".
  18. ^ Letiche & Pashkov 1964, p. 97: "During his reign Russia's dependence on the Tatar khans ended".
  19. ^ Kort 2008, p. 24: " 1480, Ivan officially declared Russia independent of the Golden Horde".
  20. ^ a b Kort 2008, p. 26: "...Ivan formally restored Russian independence by renouncing all allegiance to the remnant of the once-mighty Golden Horde".
  21. ^ Kort 2008, p. 27: "During the 1480s Ivan began referring to himself with the Russian word czar, which means Caesar".
  22. ^ Crummey 2013, p. 96: "Ivan, however, was the first prince of Moscow to apply the title to himself in official documents. As was his custom, he proceeded cautiously, at first using it only occasionally in dealings with obvious inferiors. The pretensions of the Habsburgs stimulated him to take a risky step; beginning in 1489, he insisted on calling himself tsar in negotiations with them".
  23. ^ Bushkovitch 2021, p. 53.
  24. ^ Pape 2016, p. 69: "Так, датский текст, как уже показано, называет Ивана III tocius Rutzsie imperator, т. е.«царь всея Руси» [In this way, the Danish text, as it has been already shown, calls Ivan III tocius Rutzsie imperator, i.e. “tsar of all Rus'”]".
  25. ^ The Foreign Quarterly Review 1829, p. 166: "Become independent autocrat, the humble title of grand-duke was no longer suited to his dignity: he assumed that of Tsar in his correspondence with other potentates, but at home he was satisfied with the ancient designation".
  26. ^ The Foreign Quarterly Review 1829, p. 166: "After a splendid reign of forty-tree years, this great monarch transmitted the sceptre to his son Vassilly, who perseveringly trod in the footsteps of his father, and died in 1534".
  27. ^ Payne & Romanoff 2002, p. 434.
  28. ^ Historical Genealogy (in Russian). Zerkalo. 1993. p. 55.
  29. ^ a b Bushkovitch 2021, p. 47.
  30. ^ a b c Bushkovitch 2021, p. 50.
  31. ^ a b c Riasanovsky 2005, p. 65.
  32. ^ Stevens 2013, p. 28, First, Ivan and his heir, Vasilii III, 'gathered the Russian lands'. This phrase, 'gathering the Russian lands', speaks to Muscovy's further ambitions as well as describing actual achievement.
  33. ^ Wortman, Richard S. (31 October 2013). Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy from Peter the Great to the Abdication of Nicholas II - New Abridged One-Volume Edition. Princeton University Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4008-4969-7.
  34. ^ The Foreign Quarterly Review 1829, p. 165: "Moscow in time became the acknowledged head of the other principalities, many of which, either by conquest, or in default of succession, were permanently incorporated with it".
  35. ^ Stevens 2013, p. 28, Still, most Russian-speaking principalities near Moscow that retained any claim to independence... were annexed... before the end of Ivan's reign.
  36. ^ a b c d Hamilton 1995, p. 166.
  37. ^ Bushkovitch 2012, p. 37.
  38. ^ Bushkovitch 2021, p. 48, "Ivan III in his own time already had the reputation of the builder of the Russian state... The consolidation of Russia as a state was not just a territorial issue, for Ivan also began the development of a state apparatus...".
  39. ^ Millar 2004, p. 687, Under Ivan III's reign, the uniting of separate Russian principalities into a centralized state made great and rapid progress.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g Moss 2003, p. 90.
  41. ^ Paul 2007, p. 131-170.
  42. ^ a b c d e Millar 2004, p. 687.
  43. ^ Crummey 2013, p. 88.
  44. ^ Stone, Daniel Z. (1 July 2014). The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386-1795. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0-295-80362-3.
  45. ^ a b c d e f g h Moss 2003, p. 91.
  46. ^ Paul 2007, p. 261.
  47. ^ a b c d e f Bain 1911, p. 88.
  48. ^ Paul 2007, p. 264.
  49. ^ Paul 2007, p. 268.
  50. ^ Pipes 1995, p. 93.
  51. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26.
  52. ^ Paul 2007, p. 267.
  53. ^ Millar 2004, p. 688, Ivan III assumed the title of the sovereign of all Russia... reflect the achievements of the grand prince in uniting the Russian lands, but it also implied claims to the rest of the territories with eastern Slavic population.
  54. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26: "Ivan satisfied himself with tightening the noose around Pskov, leaving the final task of strangling it completely and annexing it to Moscow to Vasily III, his son and successor, who dutifully completed the job in 1510".
  55. ^ Ostowski 2006, p. 224.
  56. ^ a b c d e Millar 2004, p. 688.
  57. ^ Ostowski 2006, p. 222-223.
  58. ^ Flier, Michael; Rowland, Daniel (13 May 2022). Medieval Russian Culture, Volume II. Univ of California Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-520-35920-8.
  59. ^ Bain 1911, pp. 88–89.
  60. ^ Riasanovsky 2005, p. 64, "The Russians, for their part, had long been calling the Byzantine emperor tsar, and his capital, Constantinople, Tsargrad... most of the Kievan metropolitans, as well as some other clerics of the Russian Church, were Greeks. In other words, the Russian ruling circles and ecclesiastical intelligentsia were well aware of the Byzantine court...".
  61. ^ a b c d e Riasanovsky 2005, p. 64.
  62. ^ a b Bain 1911, p. 89.
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Kort 2008, p. 26-30.
  64. ^ Franklin & Widdis 2006, p. 172.
  65. ^ Bushkovitch 2021, p. 51, "Grand Prince Ivan had not only given his son the grand princely title while he was still a minor and made him a co-ruler, but also marked the event with a ceremony in the main cathedral of Moscow".
  66. ^ a b Fennell 1960, p. 2–4.
  67. ^ Riasanovsky 2005, pp. 65–66.
  68. ^ a b Riasanovsky 2005, p. 66.
  69. ^ Bogatyrev 2007, p. 283.
  70. ^ Shvidkovskiĭ 2007, p. 81-82.
  71. ^ Bain 1911, p. 88: "All through the autumn the Russian and Tatar hosts confronted each other on opposite sides of the Ugra, till the 11th of November, when Ahmed retired into the steppe".
  72. ^ Filjushkin 2008, p. 31-32: "The first mass use of hand-held pischals in a field battle was in 1480, when the army of the Great Prince Ivan III stood against Akhmat Khan's Great Horde troops near the River Ugra. The Tatars tried to make a forced crossing of the river but were kept off the fords by archery and pischal fire".
  73. ^ Millar 2004, p. 688.
  74. ^ Monter 2006, p. 81.
  75. ^ Nemeth 1996.
  76. ^ Szendrei 1905, p. 137–146.
  77. ^ Oresko, Gibbs & Scott 1997, p. 356.
  78. ^ Crummey 2013, p. 96.
  79. ^ a b Crummey 2013, p. 134.
  80. ^ Madariaga 2014, p. 21.
  81. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26: "In the course of its expansion, Lithuania had conquered a huge swath of territory that formerly belonged to Kievan Rus, including Kiev itself. As far as Ivan was concerned, Moscow was the legitimate heir to all these territories, not non-Russian, Catholic Lithuania, and he was determined to enforce that right".
  82. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26: "He began with a drawn-out series of skirmishes in the late 1480s and early 1490s".
  83. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26: "...concluded with a full-scale war from 1500 to 1503".
  84. ^ Kort 2008, p. 26-27: "However, the city of Smolensk, Ivan's main target, remained beyond his reach; it was left to his son Vasily III finally to take Smolensk in 1514".
  85. ^ Moss 2003, p. 88, "Ivan III (1462–1505) and his son, Vasili III (1505–1533), completed Moscow's quest to dominate Great Russia. Of the two rulers, Ivan III (the Great) accomplished the most, and Russian historians have called him 'the gatherer of the Russian lands.'".
  86. ^ Hosking 2001, p. 91: "The first cannon foundry was set up in Moscow in 1475".
  87. ^ Fennell 1961, p. 354: "These may indeed be called the works of a great ruler. Yet it should never be forgotten that militarily glorious and economically sound though his reign may have been, it was also a period of cultural depression and spiritual barrenness. Freedom was stamped out within the Russian lands. By his bigoted anti-Catholicism Ivan brought down the curtain between Russia and the west. For the sake of territorial aggrandizement he deprived his country of the fruits of Western learning and civilization".
  88. ^ Filjushkin 2006, p. 196.
  89. ^ Filjushkin 2006, p. 199.
  90. ^ Payne & Romanoff 2002, p. 435.


  • Ostowski, Donald (2006). "The Growth of Muscovy, (1462–1533)". In Perrie, Maureen (ed.). The Cambridge History of Russia. Vol. 1. pp. 222–3.
  • Payne, Robert; Romanoff, Nikita (2002). Ivan the Terrible. New York City: Cooper Square Press. ISBN 978-0815412298.

Further reading

  • Fennell, J. L. I. Ivan the Great of Moscow (1961)
  • Grey, Ian. Ivan III and the unification of Russia (1964)
  • Ostowski, Donald. "The Growth of Muscovy, (1462–1533)" in Maureen Perrie, ed., The Cambridge History of Russia (2006) vol. I pages 213–39
  • Paul, Michael C. "Secular Power and the Archbishops of Novgorod up to the Muscovite Conquest," Kritika (2007) 8#2 pp:131–170.
  • Soloviev, Sergei M. and John J. Windhausen, eds. History of Russia. Vol. 8: Russian Society in the Age of Ivan III (1979)
  • Vernadsky, George, and Michael Karpovich, A History of Russia vol. 4 (1959).

Primary sources

Regnal titles Preceded byVasili II Grand Prince of Moscow 1462–1505 Succeeded byVasili III
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Ivan III of Russia
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