Ivan IV

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Ivan IV, often called by his nickname Ivan the Terrible, ruled from 1533- 1584, the longest reign in Russian history (Carmichael, 41). His nickname "grozny" in Russian actually means "the awesome" not "the terrible" (Milner- Gulland, 65).

Ivan IV was the grandson of Ivan the Great, and the son of Vasily III, who died when Ivan was three years old leaving him the throne (Wallace, 77). His mother, Yelena Glinskaya, ruled as the regent with the boyars' influence until 1538 when she died from poisoning (Miliner Gulland, 65). Boyars feuding over the throne were constantly disturbing the palace. Ivan and his deaf-mute brother Yuri (Kvenjb) went hungry and without adequate clothing in their palace in which murders and abuse became common (Wallace, 77). When Ivan was thirteen years old and began to grasp his power he ordered the arrest of Prince Andrew Shuisky, a boyar of one of the two main feuding families, and had him thrown to a pack of starved hunting dogs (Wallace, 78).

In 1547 Ivan began to rule more independently. He was 17 years old and crowned himself Grand Prince of Muscovy and czar, derived from the Roman Caesar, of all Russia (Dersin, 8). This was the first time in Russian history that the title czar was used more than just casually (Carmichael, 43). He also announced that he was going to marry Anastasia Romanovna who had a calming effect of him (Wallace, 82). They were wedded on February 3, 1547 (Bobrick, 80) and remained married for 13 years. Anastasia bore him six children, however only two of them survived through infancy (Kvenjb).

Ivan the Terrible had shown signs of mental instability since he was a young child. For fun, he would throw small animals out of the Kremlin tower windows (Wallace, 77), and pluck...