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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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From the Fall of Constantinople to the Reign of Ivan the Terrible: A Summary of Russian History
Russia Symbol Introduction
Russia Symbol Prior to 1453
Russia Symbol The Period of Mongol Invasion and Rule, 1237–1480 
Russia Symbol Muscovy Emerges as a Power
Russia Symbol 1453–1584: Moscow Becomes the "Third Rome"
Russia Symbol Ivan IV Descends into Madness
From the Fall of Constantinople to the Reign of Ivan the Terrible: A Summary of World History
World Symbol
World Symbol
Special Features

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.

Russia Symbol The Habsburg’s Greatest Emissary to Moscow

The Habsburg’s Greatest Emissary to Moscow  
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Freiherr Sigmund von Herberstein (1486–1566)
Comentari della Moscovia [Commentaries on Muscovy]
Venice: Giovanni Battista Pedrezzano, 1550
NYPL, Rare Books Division

Sigmund von Herberstein was without a doubt the best and most popular expert on Muscovy in Europe – his Commentaries appeared in more than twelve editions in various languages in the 16th century alone. He was familiar with a Slavic language, so he could converse with the Russians after a fashion, and as a senior diplomat for the Habsburgs, he was afforded audiences with the highest authorities (Grand Prince Vasilii III; r. 1505–33, depicted here, was one of Herberstein’s hosts). He also possessed a sharp eye for ethnographic detail.

Herberstein provides one of the most comprehensive portraits of 16th-century Muscovite society and customs provided by an eyewitness, covering everything – geography, the postal system, customs, rites and ceremonies, social and gender status, and even coinage.

Herberstein's observations as to the depth of Muscovite attachment to Orthodox Christianity (and hostility to Roman Catholicism) were particularly insightful, as many in the west still considered reunification of the eastern and western churches, under the authority of the pope in Rome, a possibility.