Domostroi, Ch. 24-38

Chapters 24-37 of the Domostroi deal with how the people of the household should live their lives. Men of their household must live a christian lifestyle and treat all of their responsibilities with care. If a man is not able to help those in need or commits crimes against the state, he will bring, “… his soul to destruction and his house to disgrace.”1 Rulers must be fair to their people and not be selfish in all of their decisions they makes.… Read the rest here

Domostroi ch. 1-11

During the reign of Ivan IV, the Domostroi was written. The book is a guide on the rituals of mundane life of the time period followed by those in the upper strata of society. It details the proper way of living as a Christian, as a good citizen, and as a human being. Throughout the first few chapters, we noticed reoccurring themes.

Being a household manual, it would make sense that the Domostroi would mention God, as the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church was ubiquitous in this time period.… Read the rest here

Ivan’s Insecurities

Ivan “The Terrible” during his later reign, seems to be pretty catastrophic for Muscovite Russia.  The creation of the oprichniki was his way of getting rid of anyone that could threaten his rule.  This group became extremely problematic, as they had unrestricted authority wherever they went.  There required garb of black further linked them to a sort of “Unholy” group that was linked to Ivan, not the church.  The oprichniki were able to steal property and money from the zemskie people without any punishment.  … Read the rest here

Maniacal or Misunderstood?

No one likes to be misunderstood; however, sometimes we cannot control how people perceive our actions. The two short readings on Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) present two contrasting narratives about his character and manner of rule. The first document is the account of Heinrich von Staden – a foreigner who served Ivan IV. The account describes Ivan’s seemingly unrelenting and unrestrained violence. He sacked prosperous cities, burned and looted churches, let his henchmen run wild, and killed countless kin.… Read the rest here

How Terrible was Ivan the Terrible?

Ivan the Terrible is a very complicated ruler to label as simply “a good guy” or “a bad guy.”  Both good and overlapped throughout his life, coming up at different times, but I don’t believe one is more prominent than the other.  Even more interesting and important to remember is all of Ivan’s personal troubles while he was young and how they could have possibly affected his future as Tsar.

Ivan was successful in bringing change to Russia, although it can be difficult to view his rule as a reformation rule.  … Read the rest here

The Psychology of Ivan IV

As a young child, Ivan IV was a victim of the same caprice and cruelty that would later characterize his own reign. After his mother’s “haughty and arbitrary” 1)  regime, the young Ivan lived under chaotic boyar rule where “imprisonments, exiles, executions, and murders proliferated.”2  The boyars who had served Ivan as an autocrat while his mother was alive became neglectful and cruel of the young heir in his private life. Ivan seized his rule at age 13 and insisted that he be crowned as tsar (rather than Grand Prince) at age 16.… Read the rest here

Ivan IV, the Confused Puppy

The regime of Ivan IV was not terrible as his epithet might scream. Ivan’s reign was filled with rather level-headed ideas of the time such as more control over your kingdom and personal safety from enemy assassins. His creation of the district elders in cities and later other parts of the country made complete sense. Criminals needed to be punished without every petty crime involving the Prince. Ivan increased the amount of justice served in Rus’ and the communities in which these elders resided were happy to be rid of crime.Read the rest here

Evaluation of Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible (1533-84) began his rule in 1547 at a young age and during the first half of his reign he and his administration made great strides toward reform in the Muscovite lands. In 1564, however, his health starts to decline and so does his power to rule. He separated his administration into people who he could trust, and it is possible that he became mentally paranoid, and a second administration run by boyar elite and nobles.… Read the rest here

Ivan the Terrible questions:

Questions about the Ivan IV readings:

What was the significance of the oprichniki’s “brushes or brooms tied on the ends of sticks”?  When does this look like?

Why did Ivan kill everyone and plunder instead of taking over the lands to become more of a monarch of sorts?

On page 153 (second paragraph), it states Ivan accepts all the petitions that were being maintained for the oprichniki.  What was his motivation to do this?  Did he suspect foul play was involved?… Read the rest here

Questions on Ivan Groznyi

After reading the first-hand account of Heinrich von Staden, here are the questions I have:

  1. How often did Ivan IV ride out with the Oprichniki?
  2. Why did he allow for the burning of churches if he was a holy man?
  3. Why were all the places he slept all burned afterward?
  4. On pg. 153 it mentions “Aleksei [Basmanov] and his own son [Fedor], with whom the Grand Prince indulged in lewdness were killed.”  What exactly does von Staden mean by “lewdness?”  Was he implying that Ivan IV was bisexual?
Read the rest here