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Ivan III of Russia

Ivan III of Russia

Overview
Ivan III Vasilyevich (22 January 1440, Moscow – 27 October 1505, Moscow), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 and "Grand Prince of all Rus" (Великий князь всея Руси). Sometimes referred to as the "gatherer of the Russian lands", he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 over the Rus, renovated the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

, and laid the foundations of the Russian state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

. He was one of the longest-reigning Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n rulers in history.


Ivan's parents were Vasily II and Yelena of Borovsk
Borovsk
Borovsk is a town and the administrative center of Borovsky District of Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located just south from the oblast's border with Moscow Oblast. It is situated on the Protva River, about southwest of Moscow.Population: 12,000 ....

.
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Ivan III Vasilyevich (22 January 1440, Moscow – 27 October 1505, Moscow), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 and "Grand Prince of all Rus" (Великий князь всея Руси). Sometimes referred to as the "gatherer of the Russian lands", he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 over the Rus, renovated the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

, and laid the foundations of the Russian state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

. He was one of the longest-reigning Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n rulers in history.

Background



Ivan's parents were Vasily II and Yelena of Borovsk
Borovsk
Borovsk is a town and the administrative center of Borovsky District of Kaluga Oblast, Russia, located just south from the oblast's border with Moscow Oblast. It is situated on the Protva River, about southwest of Moscow.Population: 12,000 ....

. He was co-regent with his father during the later years of his life until he turned 22 years old when Vasily, Ivan's father, died. Ivan tenaciously pursued the unifying policy of his predecessors. Nevertheless, he was cautious to the point of timidity. He avoided as far as possible any violent collision with his neighbors until all the circumstances were exceptionally favorable, always preferring to attain his ends gradually and circuitously. The Grand Duchy of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 had by this time become a compact and powerful state, whilst her rivals had grown weaker, a state of affairs very favorable to the speculative activity of a statesman of Ivan III's peculiar character. Before he died he made an impressive program for, centered around and directed by, Italian artists and craftsmen. His plan was able to make new buildings in Kremlin and the walls were strengthened and furnished with towers and gates.
Ivan III reigned for forty three years, dying on October 27, 1505 and he left his empire to his son Vasili
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

.

Gathering of Russian lands


His first enterprise was a war with the Republic of Novgorod, which had fought a series of wars stretching back to at least the reign of Dmitry Donskoi over Moscow's religious and political sovereignty more generally and over Moscow's efforts to seize land in the Northern Dvina
Northern Dvina
The Northern Dvina is a river in Northern Russia flowing through the Vologda Oblast and Arkhangelsk Oblast into the Dvina Bay of the White Sea. Along with the Pechora River to the east, it drains most of Northwest Russia into the Arctic Ocean...

 region more specifically. Alarmed at Moscow's growing power, Novgorod had negotiated with Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 in the hope of placing itself under the protection of Casimir IV
Casimir IV Jagiellon
Casimir IV KG of the House of Jagiellon was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1440, and King of Poland from 1447, until his death.Casimir was the second son of King Władysław II Jagiełło , and the younger brother of Władysław III of Varna....

, King of Poland and Grand Prince of Lithuania, a would-be alliance regarded by Moscow as an act of apostasy
Apostasy
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 from orthodoxy
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

. Ivan took the field against Novgorod in 1470, and after his generals had twice defeated the forces of the republic, at the Battle of Shelon
Battle of Shelon
The Battle of Shelon was a decisive battle between the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow under Ivan III and the army of the Novgorod Republic, which took place on the Shelon River on July 14, 1471. Novgorod suffered a major defeat and ended with the de facto unconditional surrender of the city...

 River and on the Northern Dvina
Northern Dvina
The Northern Dvina is a river in Northern Russia flowing through the Vologda Oblast and Arkhangelsk Oblast into the Dvina Bay of the White Sea. Along with the Pechora River to the east, it drains most of Northwest Russia into the Arctic Ocean...

, both in the summer of 1471, the Novgorodians were forced to sue for peace, agreeing to abandon their overtures to Lithuania and ceding a considerable portion of their northern territories, and paying a war indemnity of 15,500 roubles.
Ivan visited Novgorod Central several times in the next several years, 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). 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. Deserted by Casimir IV and surrounded on every side by the Moscow armies, that occupied the major monasteries around the city, Novgorod recognized Ivan's direct rule over the city and its vast hinderland in a document signed and sealed by Archbishop Feofil of Novgorod (1470–1480) on 15 January 1478.

Ivan disposessed Novgorod of over four-fifths of its land, keeping half for himself and giving the other half to his allies.
Subsequent revolts (1479–1488) were punished by the removal en masse of the richest and most ancient families of Novgorod to Moscow, Vyatka
Kirov, Kirov Oblast
Kirov , formerly known as Vyatka and Khlynov, is a city in northeastern European Russia, on the Vyatka River, and the administrative center of Kirov Oblast. Population: -History:...

 and other central Russian cities. Archbishop Feofil, too, was removed to Moscow for plotting against the grand prince. The rival republic of Pskov
Pskov Republic
Pskov, known at various times as the Principality of Pskov or the Pskov Republic , was a medieval state on the south shore of Lake Pskov. The capital city, also named Pskov, was located at the southern end of the Peipus–Pskov Lake system at the southeast corner of Ugandi, about southwest of...

 owed the continuance of its own political existence to the readiness with which it assisted Ivan against its ancient enemy. The other principalities were virtually absorbed, by conquest, purchase or marriage contract: Yaroslavl
Principality of Yaroslavl
The Principality of Yaroslavl was an eastern Slavic principality, which existed in 1218—1463.Its first independent prince was Vsyevolod Konstantinovich, who died fighting the Mongols on the Siti river, March 4th 1238. Yaroslavl had been sacked in February...

 in 1463, Rostov
Rostov
Rostov is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, one of the oldest in the country and a tourist center of the Golden Ring. It is located on the shores of Lake Nero, northeast of Moscow. Population:...

 was bought in 1474, Tver in 1485, Vyatka
Vyatka
Vyatka may refer to:*Vyatka River, a river in Russia*Vyatka, former name of the city of Kirov, Kirov Oblast, Russia*Vyatka Region, an informal name of Kirov Oblast of Russia*Vyatka Motor Scooter, a Russian copy of Italy's Vespa Motor Scooter...

 1489.

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
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, 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 duke instead of reverting, as hitherto, to the princes' heirs, put an end once and for all to these semi-independent princelings.

Ivan had 4 brothers. The eldest, Iurii died childless September 12 1472. He only had a draft of a will which said nothing about his land. Ivan seized it, much to the surviving brothers' fury. He placated them with some land. Boris and Andrei the elder signed treaties with Basil in February and September 1473. They agreed to protect each others' land and not have secret dealings with foreign states. They broke this clause in 1480, fleeing to Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. It is unknown if Andrei the younger signed a treaty. He died in 1481 leaving his lands to Ivan. In 1491 Andrei the elder was arrested by Ivan for refusing to aid the Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 against the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

. He died in prison in 1493, Ivan seized his land. In 1494 Boris died, the only brother able to pass his land to his sons Ivan and Fedor. However, their land reverted to the Tsar upon their deaths in 1503 and 1515 respectively.

There was one semi autonomous prince in Muscovy when Ivan acceded: Prince Mikhail Andreevich of Vereia, who had been awarded a Appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

 by Basil II
Basil II
Basil II , known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.The first part of his long reign was dominated...

. In 1478 he was pressured into giving Belozersk
Belozersk
Belozersk , known as Beloozero until 1777 , is a town and the administrative center of Belozersky District of Vologda Oblast, Russia, situated on the southern bank of Lake Beloye, from which it takes the name...

 to Ivan who got all of Mikhail's land on his death in 1486.

Domestic policy



The character of the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 of Moscow under Ivan III changed essentially and took on a new autocratic
Autocracy
An autocracy is a form of government in which one person is the supreme power within the state. It is derived from the Greek : and , and may be translated as "one who rules by himself". It is distinct from oligarchy and democracy...

 form. This was due not merely to the natural consequence of the hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

 of Moscow over the other Russian lands but to new imperial pretensions. After the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

, orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 canonists were inclined to regard the Grand Princes of Moscow
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

 as the successors by the Byzantine emperors. Ivan himself appeared to welcome the idea, and he began to style himself tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 in foreign correspondence.

This movement coincided with a change in the family circumstances of Ivan III. After the death of his first consort, Maria of Tver
Maria of Tver
Maria Borisovna of Tver was the first wife of Grand Prince Ivan III and daughter of Boris Alexandrovich of Tver....

 (1467), at the suggestion of Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II
Pope Paul II , born Pietro Barbo, was pope from 1464 until his death in 1471.- Early life :He was born in Venice, and was a nephew of Pope Eugene IV , through his mother. His adoption of the spiritual career, after having been trained as a merchant, was prompted by his uncle's election as pope...

 (1469), who hoped thereby to bind Russia to the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, Ivan III wedded Sophia Paleologue
Sophia Paleologue
Zoe Palaiologina , later changed her name to Sophia Palaiologina , Grand Duchess of Moscow, was a niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI and second wife of Ivan III of Russia. She was also the grandmother of Ivan the Terrible.- Biography :...

 (also known under her original Greek and Orthodox name of Zoe), daughter of Thomas Palaeologus, despot of Morea
Morea
The Morea was the name of the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece during the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It also referred to a Byzantine province in the region, known as the Despotate of Morea.-Origins of the name:...

, who claimed the throne of Constantinople as the brother of Constantine XI
Constantine XI
Constantine XI Palaiologos, latinized as Palaeologus , Kōnstantinos XI Dragasēs Palaiologos; February 8, 1404 – May 29, 1453) was the last reigning Byzantine Emperor from 1449 to his death as member of the Palaiologos dynasty...

, last Byzantine emperor. Frustrating the Pope's hopes of re-uniting the two faiths, the princess endorsed 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
Etiquette
Etiquette is a code of behavior that delineates expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a society, social class, or group...

 of Constantinople (along with the imperial double-headed eagle and all that it implied) was adopted by the court of Moscow.

Ivan's son with Maria of Tver
Maria of Tver
Maria Borisovna of Tver was the first wife of Grand Prince Ivan III and daughter of Boris Alexandrovich of Tver....

, Ivan the Young
Ivan the Young
Ivan Ivanovich was the eldest son and heir of Ivan III from his first marriage to Maria of Tver.Ivan's father empowered him to deal with most administrative and military affairs of the state in order to make ordinary...

, died in 1490, leaving from his marriage with Helen of Moldavia an only child, Dmitry the Grandson
Dmitry Ivanovich (grandson of Ivan III)
Dmitry Ivanovich was Grand Prince of Moscow between 1498 and 1502.Dmitry's parents were Ivan the Young, crown heir of Moscow, and Elena, daughter of Stephen III of Moldavia. After his father's death in 1490 he became heir presumptive of Moscowy...

. The latter was crowned as successor by his grandfather on 15 February 1491, but later Ivan reverted his decision in favour of Sophia's elder son Vasily
Vasili III of Russia
Vasili III Ivanovich was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1505 to 1533. He was the son of Ivan III Vasiliyevich and Sophia Paleologue and was christened with the name Gavriil...

 who was ultimately crowned co-regent with his father (14 April 1502). The decision was dictated by the crisis connected with the Sect of Skhariya the Jew
Sect of Skhariya the Jew
The Sect of Skhariya the Jew, much more commonly known as the Heresy of the Judaizers or Zhidovstvuyushchiye, was a sect that appeared in Novgorod the Great and Grand Duchy of Moscow in the second half of the 15th century and marked the beginning of a new era of heresy in Russia...

 as well as by the imperial prestige of Sophia's descendants. Dmitry the Grandson was put into prison where he died, unmarried and childless, in 1509, already under the rule of his uncle.

The grand duke increasingly held aloof from his boyars. The old patriarchal systems of government vanished. The boyars were no longer consulted on affairs of state. The sovereign became sacrosanct
Sacrosanct
Sacrosanctity was a right of tribunes in Ancient Rome not to be harmed physically. Plebeians took an oath to regard anyone who laid hands on a tribune as an outlaw liable to be killed without penalty...

, while the boyars were reduced to dependency on the will of the sovereign. The boyars naturally resented this revolution and struggled against it, at first with some .

It was in the reign of Ivan III that the new Russian Sudebnik
Sudebnik
Sudebnik of 1497 , a collection of laws, which was introduced by Ivan III and played a big part in the centralisation of the Russian state, creation of the nationwide Russian Law and elimination of feudal division....

, or law code, was compiled by the scribe Vladimir Gusev. Ivan did his utmost to make his capital a worthy successor to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, and with that object invited many foreign masters and artificers to settle in Moscow. The most noted of these was the Italian Ridolfo di Fioravante, nicknamed Aristotle because of his extraordinary knowledge, who built several cathedrals and palaces in the Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

. This extraordinary monument of the Moscow art remains a lasting symbol of the power and glory of Ivan III.

Foreign policy


It was in the reign of Ivan III that Russia rejected the Tatar yoke. In 1476 Ivan refused to pay the customary tribute to the grand Khan Ahmed
Akhmat Khan
Akhmat Khan was a khan of the Great Horde between 1465 and 1481.In 1465, Akhmat seized power in the Horde by rising against his brother Maxmud of Astrakhan, who had been its ruler since 1459. In 1472, Akhmat entered into alliance with the Polish king Casimir IV against Ivan III...

. All through the autumn the Russian and Tatar hosts confronted each other on opposite sides of the Ugra
Great standing on the Ugra river
The Great Standoff on the Ugra river The Great Standoff on the Ugra river The Great Standoff on the Ugra river ( in Russian, also (Ugorschina in English, derived from Ugra) was a standoff between the forces of Akhmat, Khan of the Great Horde, and the Grand Prince Ivan III of Russia in 1480, which...

, till the 11th of November 1480, when Ahmed retired into the steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

.
In the following year the grand khan, while preparing a second expedition against Moscow, was suddenly attacked, routed and slain by Ivak, the khan of the Nogay Horde, where upon 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
Russo-Kazan Wars
thumb|300px|[[St. Basil's Cathedral]] is a monument to the Russian conquest of Kazan in 1552.The Russo-Kazan Wars was a series of wars fought between the Khanate of Kazan and Muscovite Russia from 1438, until Kazan was finally captured by Ivan the Terrible and absorbed into Russia in 1552.- Wars of...

. With the other Muslim powers, the khan of the Crimean Khanate and the sultans of Ottoman Empire, Ivan's relations were pacific and even amicable. The Crimean khan, Meñli I Giray, helped him against the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and facilitated the opening of diplomatic intercourse between Moscow and Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, where the first Russian embassy appeared in 1495.

It was in Ivan’s reign that 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
Alexander I of Kakheti
Alexander I , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kakheti in eastern Georgia from 1476 to 1511. Alexander's pliancy and flexible diplomacy earned him security from the neighboring powers, only to be murdered by his own son George II "the Bad".- Biography :Alexander was appointed by his father...

, king of a small Georgian
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 kingdom of Kakheti
Kingdom of Kakheti
The Kingdom of Kakheti was a late medieval/early modern monarchy in eastern Georgia, centered at the province of Kakheti, with its capital first at Gremi and then at Telavi...

, 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.
From Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Matthias Corvinus of Hungary
Matthias Corvinus , also called the Just in folk tales, was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1458, at the age of 14 until his death...

, gun-founders, gold- and silversmiths and (Italian) master builders were requested by Ivan.

In Nordic affairs, Ivan III concluded an offensive alliance with Hans of Denmark and maintained a regular correspondence with Emperor Maximilian I, who called him a "brother". He built a strong citadel in Ingria named Ivangorod
Ivangorod fortress
Ivangorod Fortress is a Russian medieval castle established by Ivan III in 1492 and since then grown into the town of Ivangorod....

 after himself, which proved of great consequence to Russians in Russo-Swedish War, 1496-1499 the war with Sweden, which had been preceded by Ivan's detention of the Hanseatic merchants trading in Novgorod.

The further extension of the Moscow dominion was facilitated by the death of Casimir IV in 1492, when Poland and Lithuania once more 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 Russians that he attempted to save them by a matrimonial compact, and wedded Helena
Helena of Moscow
Helena Ivanovna of Moscow was a Grand Duchess of Lithuania and Queen of Poland as a wife of king of Poland Alexander Jagiellon.-Biography:...

, Ivan's daughter. But the clear determination of Ivan to appropriate as much of Lithuania as possible at last compelled Alexander in 1499 to take up arms against his father-in-law. The Lithuanians were routed at Vedrosha
Battle of Vedrosha
The battle on the Vedrosha River was a battle in the course of the Russo-Lithuanian war of 1500-1503 which ended with a decisive Russian victory and proved to be of strategic significance...

 ( 14 July 1500), and in 1503 Alexander was glad to purchase peace by ceding to Ivan Chernigov, Starodub
Starodub
Starodub is a town and the administrative center of Starodubsky District of Bryansk Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Babinets River , southwest of Bryansk. Population: 16,000 .-History:...

, Novgorod-Seversky and sixteen other towns.
  • Much information on Ivan III and his court is contained in Sigismund von Herberstein
    Sigismund von Herberstein
    Siegmund Freiherr von Herberstein, , was an Carniolan diplomat, writer, historian and member of the Holy Roman Empire Imperial Council...

    's Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii (1549).

Ancestry





External links