Muscovy RU04 Muscovy & the wider Russian History 16 th Century Terms to Muscovy  Mikhail Mikhaiovich Shcherbatov & S. F. Platonov, Ivan The Terrible

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Russia -- Sixteenth Century Terms in Relation to Muscovy

Sixteenth Century Terms Rus

16th Century Terms in Relation to Muscovy



S. F. Platonov, Ivan The Terrible


1. Mikhail Mikhaiovich Shcherbatov (1 733-1790) published his History of Russia from the Earliest Times in seven volumes that appeared between 1770 and 1791. His work was significant not only in that it was the first historical study in Russia to rely upon primary sources but also because it did not limit its investigation to the person of the monarch, but studied the role of the nobility in the development of the Russian state. Robert Yurievich Wipper (Vipper) (1859-1 954) was a Latvian monarchist who produced three editions of his work on the reign of Ivan IV. The first edition, written in 1922, was the version known to Platonov. Wipper’s subsequent versions, composed during World War II, relished the return to strong centralized authority realized under Stalin.

2. The great fire of 1626 originated in the commercial city (Kitaigorod) and spread to the Kremlin, where it engulfed many buildings used by the government and the Church, destroying archival material and other treasures.

3. Nikolai Petrovich Likhachev (1862.1936) specialized in Russian documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as genealogy, paleography and numismatics. His work on dating paper and watermarks was invaluable to the dating of Russian manuscripts.

4. N.P. Likhachev, Delo o priezde v Moskvu Antoniia Possevina (St. Petersburg, 1893), p. 60, table IV. (Platonov’s note)

5. Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Kurbsky (1528-1 583), to whom Platonov refers repeatedly, was a close adviser and associate of Ivan the Terrible. In 1504 Kurbsky abandoned the armies he was commanding in Livonia and sought asylum in Lithuania-Poland, claiming that Ivan was preparing his execution. From Lithuania Kurbsky began a correspondence with Ivan and also composed his History of the Great Prince of Moscow. Most of Platonov’s references to Kurbsky’s writings intend the latter work, which has been translated into English and edited by J.L.I. Fennell, Prince A.M Kurbsky’s History of Ivan IV (Cambridge, 1965). As noted in the introduction to his work, the authenticity of all of Kurbsky’s writings has been called into question.

6. Griazny-ll’in became one of Ivan’s favorites after the Tsar’s estrangement from Silvester and Adashev. Although Ivan’s letters rebuked him for his stupidity in allowing himself to be captured by the Tatars, Ivan secured his release by paying the ransom demanded.

7. Petr Alekseevich Sadikov (1891-1942) studied under Platonov, then composed a study of Ivan IV’s reign. Ocherki po istorii oprichniny (Moscow-Leningrad, 1950). Sadikov is best remembered, however, for his work on Russian history and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, concerning which he wrote more than twenty works.

8. The litsevoi svod is an illuminated manuscript created in Moscow in 1560-1 570, comprising more than 10,000 pages with 16,000 miniatures. It surveys history from the creation of the world to the second half of the sixteenth century.

9. Johann Taube and Elert Kruse were Livonian nobles who were captured by the Muscovite army during the Livonian War. Because of their education and experience, Ivan made them his ambassadors to Livonia and Denmark and later entrusted them with a military command against Livonia. When their attack on Dorpat ended in failure, Taube and Kruse, fearing Ivan’s displeasure, fled to Lithuania, where they wrote the above-mentioned letter on the persecution and terror mounted in Russia by the Tsar.

10. Giles Fletcher (1546-1611) served in Russia in 1588-1589 as an ambassador of Queen Elizabeth to the court of lvans successor, Feodor Ivanovich. His account of Russia, Of the Russe Commonwealth, is generally regarded the most important English description of affairs in Russia before the eighteenth century.

11. The term “boyar” designated members of the highest rank of the Muscovite service aristocracy. This title could be conferred on an individual only by the Tsar.

12. Although Ivan Ill had first used the title of Tsar, he had employed it only intermittently. Ivan IV began the customary use of this title, which now became perpetual.

13. In 1571 Prince Ivan F. Mstislavsky, one of Ivan’s chief advisers and leading field commanders, confessed to having betrayed Moscow by aiding the Khan of the Crimea, Devlet-Girei, during an attack across the Oka River. It is possible that those decapitated in 1574 had been involved in this treachery. Mstislavsky himself had escaped death by pledging to refrain from future treason and by providing three boyars who were to stand surety for his future actions.

14. Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin(1766-1826), Russian historian and novelist. His History of the Russian State in twelve volumes was left unfinished at his death and records Russian history only until 1613. Often criticized for its romantic approach to history, this work remains important because of its citation of many sources later destroyed by fires and other disasters.

15. In an attempt to escape censorship and police harassment perpetrated by the regime of Nicholas I, the Slavophiles met in literary salons and circles in Moscow, where they discussed the many issues that later became part of their nationalistic ideology. Seeking a comprehensive system of thought to explain Russian greatness, they particularly studied the evolution of Russian institutions and the important roles played in world history by Russian rulers.

16. Konstantin Sergeevich Aksakov (1817-1860) was one of the most important and talented members of the Slavophile school and devoted much of his writing to history and philology. Yury Feodorovich Samarin (1819-1876). renowned for his poetry, also developed Slavophile ideas in a number of philosophical and historical essays and devoted much energy to writing of and working for the emancipation of the serfs.

17. Nikolai Ivanovich Kostomarov (1817-1885) was a Ukrainian historian, professor at the universities of Kiev and St. Petersburg and the author of many historical works.

18. Count Aleksei Konstantinovich Tolstoi (18 17-1875) is the author of The Death of Ivan the Terrible and other works of historical fiction. His novel, The Silver Prince, is a vivid and exciting depiction of life in the days of Ivan IV.

19. Mark Matveevich Antokoisky (1843-1902) was a sculptor whose fidelity to historical detail and insight into the character of historical figures won him great renown. In 1870-1871 he produced in bronze the likeness of Ivan to which Platonov here refers. Ilia ElImovich Repin (1844-1930), the famous naturalist painter, produced his “Ivan the Terrible Kills His Son, Ivan” in 1885. Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov (1848-1926), who often painted historical scenes and episodes from Russian epic poetry, produced a portrait of Ivan that hangs in the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow.

20. Likhachev, op. cit., pp. 62ff. (Platonov’s note)

21. Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev (1820-1879) was professor of history at the University of Moscow. His History of Russia from the Earliest Times in 29 volumes is renowned as the most ambitious history of Russia ever produced.

22. Appanage (udel) was the term used to denote land held by independent Russian princes during the thirteenth-sixteenth centuries. Veche was a meeting or assembly of townsfolk. In some cities, such as Novgorod, the veche became powerful enough to de- termine the political life of the community. Both the appanage and the veche were, as Platonov indicates, obstacles to the consolidation
of strongly centralized government.

23. Konstantin Dmitrievich Kavelin (1818-1885) was professor of legal history at the University of Moscow and supported the view that the Russian state was not of popular origin but had been impressed upon apathetic masses by strong and far-seeing individuals. His historical views caused him to remain a staunch supporter of monarchy during his own times. 24. Konstantin Nikolaevich Bestuzhev-Riumin (1829-1897) was  professor of history at the University of St. Petersburg. He dis- avowed systematic interpretations of history and argued the role played in historical development by strong individuals and for- tuitous events and accidents.

25. Platonov’s claim here is untenable today. Both the financial system and the oprichnina are still subjects of controversy among historians, 26. Russians of Ivan’s day used the term the “Wild Field” to de- note the vast, largely unpopulated steppe that extended beyond the southern borders of the Muscovite state and separated Russian territory from the lands of the Tatars.

27. The service people (sluzhilye liudi), of which the boyar class  was preeminent, were the servitors of the Muscovite government.  They were charged with rendering military, administrative and other types of service for the state in return for compensation,  often in the form of landed estates.

28. Vasily Osipovich Kliuchevsky (1841-1911) is probably the most respected historian of the Russian state. A great stylist and
popular lecturer at the University of Moscow, he pioneered the sociological approach to the study of Russian history. His Course in Russian Histoiy in five volumes treats Russian history until the reign of Nicholas I.

29. Metropolitan Macanus not only provided Ivan with a strong education but also urged him to reform the Church and morals in Russia, encourage literary pursuits and promote the power and majesty of the office of Grand Prince.

30. Service tenure land (pomestie) was land given servitors in return for service to the state. The holding of such land was conditional and could be revoked by the government if the service tenure landholder (pomeshchik) failed to render service.

31. Patrimonial land (votchina) was owned outright by its lord. Unlike pomestie, it could be willed to descendants without the approval of the central authorities.

32. Deti boiarskie (literally, “sons of the boyars”) were a lower category of servitors in the Muscovite state. By the time of Ivan IV they bore much of the responsibility for rendering military service to the sovereign.

33. Aleksei Basmanov and Grigory Maliuta Skuratov were Ivan’s close friends and collaborators during the oprichnina. Silvester will be identified in later chapters.


1. The extreme northwest section of Russia that adjoined the White Sea and the Arctic Ocean was known as the Pomorie.

2. The Cheremisy were a people of Finno-Ugrian origin who settled the northwestern section of European Russia during ancient times.

3. The Mordvinians were another Finno-Ugrian people whose homeland stretched along the Sura River, southwest of Kazan.

4. The Zavolochie section of Novgorod’s settlements was the area that lay in the basin of the Northern Dvina River, north of Vologda and Ustiug.

5. Batu Khan led the Mongol invasion of Russia in the thirteenth century. Fear of later Mongol raids and punitive expeditions caused many Russians to migrate to new homesteads deeper in the forest zone, where forested wastes made Mongol incursions more difficult and less frequent.

6. The Russians called the territory liberated from the Khanate of Kazan the “Lower Reaches.”

7. Sophia Paleologos, who married Ivan III in 1472, was the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 she had converted to Catholicism and had lived in Rome as a ward of the Papacy until her marriage to Ivan.

8. Sophia was accompanied to Moscow in 1472 by a large contingent of courtiers, merchants, artists and churchmen who hoped to secure the reunion of the Latin and Orthodox churches, and other Westerners. Sophia was highly influential in introducing Moscow and its court to many aspects of Western and Byzantine culture, learning and manners.

9. The Grand Prince apparently adopted Western dress and certain Western customs. This imitation of the “heretical” Westerners seems to have been especially distasteful, if not scandalous, to native Russians.

10. Sviatopolk the Accursed (980?-1019) became Grand Prince of Kiev after a vicious civil war with his brothers, two of whom (the canonized saints Boris and Gleb) he put to death. He was said to have had “two fathers” because the chronicle records that his father, Vladimir, married his mother when she was already pregnant with Sviatopolk by another man.

11. Located forty miles northeast of Moscow, the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery, one of the most important in Russia, was famous for its miracles and popular as a place of pilgrimage for Russian noblemen and common folk alike.

12. Wealthy Russians often undertook to build a church in a single day when seeking favors from God. The desire to have the supplication answered as quickly as possible probably accounts for the speed with which the building was erected.

13. The term yurodivy (plural,yurodivye) was used in Russia to designate obviously insane or half-witted holy men (the so-called “fools in Christ”) who frequented public places or waited along roadsides to urge their fellow Christians to practice morality and cultivate devotion in their lives. Russians believed that the yurodivy had voluntarily surrendered his reason to God, in order to become a more perfect instrument of His grace.

14. The feast of the apostle Titus is celebrated on August 25, which was Ivan’s birthday. Hence the meaning of the prediction. In the opinion of St. John Chrysostom, Titus was the most clever of St. Paul’s disciples. Perhaps this explains the words “broad intellect.” (Platonov’s note)

15. That is, Vasily began to prepare a group of close and trusted advisers who would continue his policies and protect his family after his death.

16. Platonov here does not mean the so-called “boyar duma” but  a council (sovet) of handpicked individuals. The duma (or boyar  duma) was the council of prominent servitors who assisted the  Tsar in matters of legislation, administration and foreign affairs.

17. A state secretary (diak; plural, diaki) was a functionary in the Muscovite civil service who often served as special assistant to the boyars, acted as an official in various departments of the government or occasionally was appointed head of a department of state. The state secretaries have been called the “mainspring of the Moscow bureaucratic apparatus.” Many of them seem to have been of slave origin.

18. With the exception of Prince Andrei Mikhailovich Shuisky, who was imprisoned apparently for his role in the matter of the appanage Prince Yury. (Platonov’s note)

19. After the political disintegration of the “Golden Horde,” the large Mongol state that had dominated Russia from its capital at Sarai, three successor states emerged: the khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and the Crimea. The Khanate of the Crimea, which became a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, was politically more viable and militarily stronger than the other two khanates and posed a constant threat to Russia until the Crimea was absorbed into the Russian Empire by Catherine II in 1783.

20. Apparently the kennel keepers believed that Ivan wished them to murder Shuisky privately. Because of a mistranslation of this account from contemporary sources, many American histories of Russia have stated erroneously that Shuisky was thrown to the hunting dogs at Ivan’s command and was torn to pieces in their kennels. The Russian word in question is psar’ (plural, psari) and was originally used to designate servants who maintained the dogs in households of princes and noblemen. By Ivan’s day, however, the pcari were high-ranking courtiers who probably had nothing to do with the keeping of dogs and their kennels.

21. The Glinsky family had brought a detachment of militia servitors from Severia to Moscow to protect themselves against the mobs of the city. Twice before smaller fires in the city had impelled the inhabitants to seek scapegoats among the Glinsky clan. For their part, the Glinsky family feared, seemingly with good cause, that their enemies were setting fires deliberately to cause them embarrassment and trouble. In a letter to Kurbsky, Ivan recounts that the boyars poorly fed and clothed him and his brother, behaved impudently toward them (“Often I ate late, not by my own will”) and insulted the memory of his father. They also stole public money, gold, silver and furs and “did everything for their own gain.” These accusations were for the most part directed against the Shuisky clan. (Platonov’s note)

23. The Cheti Minei (literally, Monthly Readings) compiled by Macarius consisted of twelve large volumes of devotional and instructional material so arranged that religious reading was provided for each day of the month.

24. A namestnik (plural, namestniki) was a local official appointed by the Grand Prince or Tsar to serve as local administrator and judge in towns and their surrounding districts. As Platonov will explain later, these officials provided for their own maintenance and expenses by revenue derived, sometimes excessively and forcibly, from the local community.

25. An okol’nichii (plural, okol’nichie) was, in central and eastern Russia, a courtier of high rank in the Muscovite service aristocracy who often received lofty military, diplomatic, judicial and administrative appointments.

26. This family later won historical greatness under the name of Romanov. It was customary for members of each geneiation of this family to change their last name, patterning it upon the first name of the grandfather. First known as the Koshkin family, the clan was successively called Yuriev, Zakharin and finally Romanov.



I. Kitai-gorod was the “Walled City” section of Moscow, directly east of the Kremlin. its name derives from baskets, known as kity, which were filled with earth and used to reinforce the wall that surrounded this section. Here foreign merchants and traders had their markets and here much of the business of the city was conducted.

2. Zamoskovie (literally, the region beyond the Moskva River) was the term by which Russians designated the lands north and east of Moscow.

3. The intimate durna (blizhniaia dome) was the select group of high dignitaries upon whom the Tsar relied for the most personal and urgent advice. It can be contrasted with the durna “of all the boyars,” which was the general session of all the Tsar’s advisers.

4. We know the individuals who comprised the boyar duma of “all the boyars” and the intimate durna during those years. At that time the intimate boyars were Prince J.F. Mstislavsky, Prince V.1. Vorotynsky, I.V. Sherernetev “the senior,” Prince D.I. KurIiatev, M.Ya. Morozov, Prince D.F, Paleisky and Daniel Romanovich Yuriev-Zakharin. Of these oily Kurliatev belonged to the “chosen council.” (Platonov’s note)

5. According to Dal’, a batozhnik was a servant with a batog (stick) who walked before the train of the Tsar or the boy2rs and cleared the way. In the North the word meant an ecclesiastical watchman with a stick (according to Dal’). (Platonov’s note)

6. “Sochineniia kniazia A.M. Kurbskogo,” Russkaia Istoricheskaia Biblioteka, XXXI, pp. 28, 30, 55. (Piatonov’s note)

7. The Rurikids were, of course, the descendants of Rurik, who founded the ruling Russian dynasty. The Gediminovichi were descendants of princes who had accepted the political control of the Grand Prince Gedimin (or Gedymin) of Lithuania, who ruled the Principality of Lithuania from 1316 until 1345 and added much Russian territory to his state.

8. That is, Ivan addressed a council of bishops and other eminent churchmen, at which prominent boyars were present.

9. This important information can be found in a little known chronicle which has not been reprinted with care (Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei, XXII, pp. 528-529). This event of February 27, 1549 apparently gave rise to the legend concerning the Assembly of the Land of 1547 or 1550, when the Tsar was alleged to have solemnly delivered on the square a penitential speech to all people, promising them justice (see Karamzin, Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskago, VII, chapter III and notes 182 and 184). (Platonov’s note)

10. These charters (gramoty zhaloval’nye) were probably the Tsar’s official notification to the deti boiarskie that they would be immune from trial by the namestniki.

11. The Council was known as the Stoglav (Hundred Chapters) because its final pronouncements were issued in a work comprising one hundred chapters.

12. The first Sudebnik, or Code of Law, had been promulgated in  1497 and was largely a compilation of procedural rules. Ivan’s
Sudebnik of 1550 was much more ambitious and complex, dealing  heavily with matters of local administration.

13. Elders (starosty) were esteemed men selected by local communities. Sworn men (tseloval’niki) were officials who were designated to attend the courts convened by namestniki to ensure that justice was done. They pledged their impartiality and devotion to justice by kissing the cross; hence their title, which derives from the Russian word “to kiss.” Sots/cie were elected civil officials who served as judges or administrators in rural areas but whose main function was that of police. Fiatidesiatskie were elected officials charged with preserving order in local communities. They received their name (which originates from the Russian word for “fifty”) from their military counterparts, who commanded units of fifty men in the Muscovite army

14. A dependent town (.prigorod) was what we would today term  a suburb, a smaller urban area administratively subordinated to a  larger municipality.

15. The peasant communes (volosti) were communities that were semi-autonomous and administered by elected officers who regulated the use of common lands such as pastures, forests and sources of water, apportioned land to individual households and collected taxes and maintained law and order in the name of the sovereign.

16. Rural administrative districts (pogosti) were originally settlements in the North that contained at least one church, a marketplace and a cemetery (from which this term derives). By the end of the reign of Ivan IV the term meant fiscal and administrative units that had developed from these humble origins.

17. These charters (usravnve grarnoty) were patents of local self- government granted to communities by the Tsar upon petition.

18. In Ivan’s day the oezd resembled the modern notion of a county, an administrative-judicial unit that centered about a municipality.

19. Korrnlenie (literally, feeding) was the system by which namestnilci supported themselves, in lieu of salary, by appropriating part of the court fees, taxes and other revenue paid by the local popu lace.

20. A rural chief (volostel’) was the counterpart of the namestnik in rural regions, overseeing the peasant communes and also supporting themselves through kormienie.

21. Kormy (singular, korm) were specified payments, in kind or in money, demanded by namestniki for their maintenance. Customs duties (poshliny) were those revenues collected in compensation for providing any one of several official services for the local community. In theory, two-thirds of all funds collected by the namestnik were to be paid to the central government.

22. It was precisely this sort of plaintiff who came to the Tsar from  Pskov to complain of Prince Turuntai-Pronsky and whom the Tsar  brutally tormented in the village of Ostrovka during the spring of  1547. (Platonov’s note)

23. These were assessors [prisiazhnie] who derived their title from the fact that they were made to “kiss the cross that they would gather their revenue and profits in justice and without guile.” (Platonov’s note)

24. Favorite elders (izliublennye starosty) were elected officials who acted as local governors and judges in the courts.

25. Favorite heads (izliublennye golovy) were officials of local administration who collected taxes levied by the state.

26. Judges of the land (zemskie sudi) were local judges elected by the local populace. As part of lvan’s reforms they now assumed the judicial functions previously held by namestniki and volosteli.

27. Elders of the court (sudetskie starosty) were locally elected judges.

28. The good men (liudi dobrye) were wealthy, respected and supposedly uncorruptable men who were named to serve as jurors or assistants in courts on days of trial.

29. The guba was, after Ivan’s reforms, a criminal judicial district. The boundaries of each guba usually coincided with those of the local uezd (see note 19 of this chapter).


Provincial elders (zemskie starosty) were locally elected officers who were the administrative counterpart of the zemskie sudi in the judicial process (see note 26 of this chapter).

31. The district elder (gubnoi starosta) was an elected elder who served as criminal judge in his local district.

32. District office (gubnaia izba) designated the building in which offices of the district government were housed, as well as the entire apparatus of district government.

33. Town commissioners gorodoi’ye prikashchiki) implemented the decrees of the central authorities in their towns and oversaw arrests made by namestniki and volosteli, verifying their legality.

34. Census takers (pistsy) were common clerks who kept the census.

35. Census reviewers (dozorshehiki) kept the inventory of population and tax records, revised tax assessments and registered the ownership of lands and peasants.

36. Mestnichestvo was a highly complex system that determined the relative standing of each prince, boyar and servitor in the Muscovite court. Claims to service position were based upon each individual’s place in this system. Thus the Tsar was constrained by custom to observe this hierarchy when appointing military commanders, administrators and other officials. This system lasted until 1682.

37. Streltsy (singular, strelets) were infantry armed with arquebuses who comprised the first permanent regiments of the Muscovite army. Created by Ivan the Terrible, these military units were exempt from taxation and lived in their own communes, where they were allowed  to engage in trade, business and other lucrative occupations during
their free time.


38. The three-field agricultural system came into use in Russia at  the end of the fifteenth century and involved the rotation of crops  across three plots of land in succession.

39. The sokha (literally, plow) was a territorial unit that encom lecte passed tracts of farmland in rural areas and numbers of individual households in urban areas. The size of the sokha (plural, sokhi)  varied according to the quality of farmland or the income and  wealth of the townsfolk. For a clear definition of the limits of sokhi, see Richard Hellie, Enserfment and Military Change inMuscol’y (Chicago, 1971), p. 125.

40. The bolshoi dvorets was an institution that managed the extensive palace-owned lands and oversaw the taxing of their peasant  population. The bol’shoi prikhod later assumed some of its responsibilities The Taxation Chancelleries (cheti) were created during  the oprichnina to collect revenues formerly paid to officials who
had subsisted on kormienie.

41. Evgeny Evsigneevich Golubinsky (1834-1912) was perhaps Imperial Russia’s greatest historian of the Russian Church. His History of the Russian Church in two volumes is still considered the standard work on the subject.

42. The white clergy were the parish priests. Unlike the “black,”  or monastic, clergy they were allowed to marry. Their level of edu militar cation was often very low and their moral lives little better.  Mohammed II ( Mehmed II), who was Ottoman Sultan from 1451 to 1481  and captured Constantinople in 1453.

44. That is, the Volga Bulgars who did not accompany their fel wer low tribesmen to their new homeland on the Danube but founded their own state in the Volga-Kama basin.

45. The murzy and beki were princely and aristocratic lords who wished to preserve their immunities and independence by contending for control of the Khanate of Kazan.

46. That is, the Khanates of Astrakhan and the Crimea.

47. That is, the Volga River became the dividing line between the territory that remained under the control of Kazan and that which now came under the jurisdiction of the Russians.

48. 2,700 Russian captives were at once surrendered to the boyars in Kazan. According to Muscovite calculations, 60,000 men returned to Russia from the Khanate of Kazan through Sviazhsk alone, going “up the Volga”—and this did not count those who returned by other routes by going to Viatka, Perm and Vologda—”all going to their own places, to those places that were close to them.” (Platonov’s note)

49. The Nogai Tatars were a tribe of independent Tatars who controlled the area east of the Lower Volga and the basin of the Yaik (Ural) River.

50. According to Kurbsky, Ivan’s personal regiment, which he led in battle, numbered over 20,000 men.

51. Karamzin interpreted the word “Razmysl” as it was used in the chronicle as a common noun and explained that it meant a “foreign engineer.” In the dictionaries of Dal’ and Sreznevsky the word “razmysl” has several meanings, but none in the sense of “engineer.” It is most likely that “Razmysl” is a corruption of the family name “Rasmussen.” In 1602 the Danish envoy, Peter Rasmussen, was called “Petr Razmysl” in Moscow. (Platonov’s note)


If Yury had been capable, he would have been the main sup porter of his nephew, Dmitry. But Yury was irresponsible. Kurbsky flatly says of him that “he was without mind, memory or speech and, strange as it seems, had been born so.” Until his death in 1563 Yury is remembered for no accomplishment either in official records or in the chronicles. (Platonov’s note)


I. The Sech was the base of the Ukrainian Cossacks that developed during the second half of the sixteenth century on islands in the Lower Dnepr River

2. Ataman was the title accorded military commanders elected by the various Cossack communities.

3. Russians often referred to the Khan of the Crimea as the “Khan of Pereķop.”

4. Although the first Pseudo-Dmitry had envisaged such a campaign against the Tatars of the Crimea, subsequent political developments within the Muscovite state prevented him from undertaking this enterprise.

5. In 1687 and 1689 Golitsyn attacked the Crimean Tatars on the steppe and suffered great reversals, largely because his forces suffered from lack of water and supplies and were exhausted from the long distances they had marched during these campaigns.

6. Burkhard MUnnich vas military adviser to Peter the Great, then commander of the Russian armies under the Empress Anne. in 1739 he led a Russian army that invaded Moldavia, captured K.hotin, crossed the river Pruth and penetrated as far as Jassy.

7. In 1503 the Bishop of Dorpat had assumed an obligation to pay an annual tribute to the Grand Prince of Moscow.


8. The term “hetman” (which derived from the German Hauptmann)  was the title by which the supreme commander of the military forces of Lithuania and Poland was known,.


. Gosti (singular, gost’) were the richest and most privileged rank of merchants in Russia. They received their title from the Tsar and
served the government by collecting state revenue and regulating state commercial operations.


10. The Jagellonian dynasty ruled Poland, Bohemia, Lithuania and Hungary during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.


11. A pan (plural, pani) was a member of the feudal aristocracy of Poland and Lithuania. The pani held the most important positions of national and regional government and owned vast estates and large numbers of serfs.

12. The notion that Ivan caused 5,000 of the 6,000 inhabited households of Novgorod to become deserted must be abandoned. Novgorod quickly decreased in population because of the effects of the Livonian War. Yet there is no doubt that the massacre of  1570 claimed a great many victims and furthered the impoverish- ment of the region. (Platonov’s note)


13. The Votiaki were a Finnish tribe of the Permian group living primarily in the southeastern part of the Viatka region.

14. Stany (singular, Stan) were rural administrative units that were subdivisions of the uezdy in Muscovite Russia.

15. Long patrol riders (stanichniki) patrolled large areas of the steppe and alerted towns of impending danger. Short patrol riders (storozhi) rode about a smaller area and reported signs of danger to local control and observation posts.

16. The major fortified towns in this network were Briansk, Orel, Kromy, Novosil’, Livny, Elets, Voronezh, Oskol and Kursk. (Platonov’s note)

17. The Russian word for free settlers of this sort is zaimshchikj, which denotes individuals who occupied and cultivated previously unused land in uninhabited areas. Muscovite law recognized the right of ownership of such land by virtue of occupancy.

18. The Kirillov (St. Cyril) Monastery had been founded southeast of the town of Beloozero by St. Kirill at the end of the fourteenth century. The monks of this monastery drew the ire of the Tsar because of their great love for wealth, their neglect of religious and monastic duties and their immorality.

19. Marfa Sobakina died two weeks after her marriage to the Tsar. Three members of her family were executed and her uncle was banished by Ivan to a monastery. (Platonov’s note)

20. Robert Jacob was an English physician whom Queen Elizabeth
sent to Russia in 1581 at Ivan’s special request. Arnold Lenzei was
a Belgian doctor whose medical treatises were translated into Russian on orders of the Russian government.

21. On Bomel see S.F. Platonov, Moscow and the West, trans. and ed. by Joseph L. Wieczynski (Hattiesburg: Academic International Press, 1972), pp. 20-21; also Lloyd E. Berry and Robert 0. Crummey, Rude and Barbarous Kingdom (Madison, 1968), pp. 292-293.

22. Here Platonov briefly summarizes many of the themes which he develops in his masterful study, Moscow and the West.

23. Ivan seems first to have considered the idea of seeking refuge in England in 1567, when he sent a secret message through16 th Century Terms to Muscovy  Mikhail Mikhaiovich Shcherbatov to Queen Elizabeth, asking that each pledge asylum to the other in the event of a great domestic crisis. Elizabeth assured Ivan that “if any mischance might happen in his estate . . .

we do assure him, he shall be friendly received into our dominions.” Karamzin later affirmed that the idea of a flight to England was suggested to Ivan and promoted by Borne!, but there is no evidence for this contention. Indeed, Borne! first met the Tsar two years after Elizabeth’s offer of sanctuary m England. Ivan’s reason for considering emigration apparently was his fear that the oprichnina would create too niany enemies for him to destroy.


S. F. Platonov, Ivan The Terrible, ed., & trans., Joseph L. Wieczynski (Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International Press, 1974), notes.


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