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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


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Russia Symbol Drunkenness
Engagement Symbol Ivan the Terrible’s Punishment of Novgorod in 1570
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Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.



 Engagement Symbol    Ivan the Terrible's Punishment of Novgorod in 1570

Ivan IV's ruthless campaign to eliminate rivals to his rule and to Muscovy's hegemony also sought to intimidate those who remained. When rumors reached Ivan that the independent-minded Novgorod (which Ivan III [r. 1462-1505] had forcibly annexed in 1471) intended to break away from the tsardom, he inflicted particularly cruel punishment upon its population. The horrors of this period are aptly characterized in the following passage describing events in Novgorod.

Thereupon, the Orthodox Tsar and Grand Prince Ivan Vasilevich, lord of All Russia . commanded that the powerful boyars, the important merchants, the administrative officials, and the citizens of every rank be brought before him, together with their wives and children. The Tsar ordered that they be tortured in his presence in various spiteful, horrible, and inhuman ways. After many various unspeakable and bitter tortures, the Tsar ordered that their bodies be tormented and roasted with fire in refined ways. And the Tsar com­manded his nobles to bind the hands and feet and heads of these tortured and roasted human beings with fine ropes in various ways. He ordered that each man be tied to a sled, be dragged to the Volkhov bridge behind the fast-moving sleds, and be thrown into the Volkhov River (which bisects Novgorod) from the bridge. The Tsar ordered that their wives and children be brought to the Volkhov bridge where a high platform had been erected. He commanded that they be chained on the arms and legs and that the children be tied to their mothers and then be thrown from the platform into the waters of the Volkhov River. Meanwhile, the Tsar's men, the nobles and soldiers, moved about in small boats on the Volkhov River, armed with spears, lances, hooks, and axes. When the people, men and women of all ages, surfaced, they were stabbed by the soldiers with hooks, lances, and spears, or they were struck with axes. In a horrible manner they were submerged without mercy in the depths of the river, and abandoned to a terrible and bitter death.

Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles]. Vol. 3 (St. Petersburg, 1885). Excerpted from: Basil Dmytryshyn, ed., Medieval Russia: A Source Book, 900-1700. 2nd edition. Orlando, Florida: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973. Reprinted courtesy of Academic International Press.