Love history of Ivan the Terrible
In the presence of many people Ivan IV called the Terrible was crowned on the 16th of January in 1547 to the chime of the bells and boyars’ gold coins.
“Most of features Ivan got by nature, – Kazimir Valishevsky wrote in his book. – It gave him despotic, irritable temper, fervid… imagination and… astute mind. But his character was unbalanced, he often ran to extreme…”
Ivan was 3 years old when he became Grand Prince after the death of his father Vasily (Basil) III. At first, the country was ruled by his mother Elena Glinskaya (for 5 years), then, the power turned out in boyars’ hands. The Shuiskies and the Bel’skies ruled Russia for 9 years. At last, at the age of 16 Ivan IV, a descendant of the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor Konstantin XI Sophia Paleolog, was crowned.
There was a special order of electing the bride in Byzantine. At first, elections were held in districts where “the accordance instructions” had been sent: the girls must be definite centimeters in height and have definite features. Then, the candidates came to the tsar for review, and he chose only one of the girls, the others were let off with peace and presents.
So, after celebrating the 16th birthday Ivan exclaimed about his desire to marry. Notifications, which informed about girls’ assemblage for choosing a tsar’s bride, were sent immediately: “when you receive these notifications, those, who have daughters, must come to the town to our deputies for review… Those, who conceal daughters and don’t come to the deputies, will be in great disgrace and will be sentenced to death”. (Soloviov)
Ivan had chosen Anastasia (she was born about 1530) and was very happy in marriage with her. They had been living together for 13 years. It is written about their marriage in the book “The Description of 13 Marriages of Grand Russian Princes and Tsars”, which was published in Moscow in 1785. Prince Dmitry Bel’sky and Boyar Ivan Yur’ev were invited by Grand Prince; Prince Ivan Pronskoy and Vasily Tyuchkov with their wives were invited by Princess Anastasia, but Vasily couldn’t come because of hurting himself while riding. His wife came alone. Mihailo Morozov was also there.
The name Anastasia means “raised from the death”. Ivan’s bride, the daughter of okolnichy and voevòde Roman Zaharin-Koshkin, was a descendent of the well-known boyar of the beginning of the 14th century Andrey Kobila. After her father’s death, the girl was educated by relatives. Her brothers – Daniil and Nikita – served at Ivan’s court.
In 1549 tsarevna Anna was born. A church in the name of Ioakim and Anna was found in her honour. But a year later tsarevna died. In 1551 Maria was born, but she also died soon. The son, who was born in 1553, was named in memory of Dmitry Donskoy, he was christened a Troitsky monastery. Leaving the wife before the Kazan’ campaign, Ivan allowed Anastasia to show mercy to disgraced people and give freedom to prisoners. After returning Ivan the Terrible fell ill. When he got better, Ivan IV, his wife and their son Dmitry went to the Kirillovo-Belozersky monastery to pray about tsar’s convalescence. On the way back tsarevich Dmitry died (according to another version he drowned). In 1554 tsarevich Ivan was born, then – tsarevna Evdokiya (she died at the age of 3), then – tsarevich Fiodor.
Anastasia gave birth to 6 children, but only 2 of them (Ivan and Fiodor) survived. The elder son got married for 3 times. Evdokiya Saburova, Praskov’ya Solova (they were immured in the monastery) and Elena Sheremet’eva were his wives. In the fit of anger Ivan the Terrible struke his son with such force that he died (1581). The younger son married Irina, the sister of Boris Godunov, but they didn’t have children because of his disease.
After the birth of the 6th child Anastasia began to ill. At 5 p.m. on the 7th of August in 1560 Anastasia died. Millions of people grieved. A chronicler wrote that she “set Ioann on the right path and led him to different virtues”. Eighteen years later Ivan IV wrote in his letter to Kurbsky: “Why did you part me from my wife? If I hadn’t been bereft of <her>, there weren’t murderous victims.”
After Anastasia’s death Ivan IV married Temrukovna, who was christened by the name of Maria, but she died soon. Marfa Sobakina, the daughter of a merchant from Novgorod, was Ivan’s next wife. Two weeks passed after their marriage when she was poisoned.
Asking the church for permission to marry again, Ivan said that Anastasia was poisoned and argued that other wives were poisoned, too.
In 1572 Ivan the Terrible married again. Anna Koltovskaya, the daughter of one of tsar’s close dignitary, became his wife. Soon she was accused of participation in conspiracy and was immured in Tihvinsky monastery by the name of Dar’ya. She died in 1626.
Soon the concubines Anna Vasil’chikova and Vasilisa Melet’eva followed her. Anna Vasil’chikova was killed; Melet’eva was immured in the monastery. Ivan the Terrible had several illegitimate sons from his lovers (by the way, Maria Dolgorukaya was among them, but she didn’t please him and was drowned in the river called Sera).
In 1580 Maria Nagaya, the daughter of the boyar Fiodor, became the wife of Ivan the Terrible. Three years later tsarivich Dmitry was born.
In 1584 (in March) Ivan IV made his will where Tsar Fiodor was his heir. He also inscribed Prince Ivan Shuisky, Prince Ivan Mstislavsky and such boyars as Nikita Yur’ev, Boris Godunov, Bogdan Bel’sky, in the Regent Soviet. Ivan the Terrible bequeathed Uglich to tsarevich Dmitry and his mother Maria Nagaya. On the 18th of March in 1584 Ivan IV died.
According to another version, there was another man (or even several persons) instead Ivan the Terrible since 1550s. After the capture of Kazan’ Ivan fell ill, but didn’t get better. He became a yurodivy, a mentally diseased person. It is known that at the beginning of 1550s yurodivy Vasily (in Greek Vasily means “tsar”) appeared in Moscow. In 1557 yurodivy Vasily (Ivan IV) died. Pokrovsky Cathedral was called the Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed. As to Russian throne, at first, Regent Soviet ruled the country (the sons of Ivan and Anastasia were little at that time), then the reins of government passed in the hands of Ivan’s IV son Ivan. It is known for certain only that the destiny of all wives of Ivan IV the Terrible was very hard.