Muscovite Chronicle Variants

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Chronicle Variants of the arrest of Ivan’s Uncles.

·        Daniilovich Dynasty

·        Iurii of Dmitrov, Andrei of Staritsa m. Evfrosinia, bore Vladimir.

·        Glinskii Clan

·        Mikhail L’vovich, Vasilii m. princess Anna Glinskaia, daughter Elena Glinskaia, regent.

·        Vasilii III m. Elena Glinskaia 1526, sons, Ivan IV & Iurii.

Question: Where were each of these texts found? Together, or separate places?

The Resurrection Chronicle

1526, Vasilii III marries Princess Elena Glinskaia of Lithuania

According to the Chronicle, in 1533, Iurii Ivanovich sends his scribe December 11 to prince Andrei, same day he is arrested, and as asks him to defect to him. Andrei tells the scribe that Iurii is loyal to the grand prince. The scribe continues and says the boyars had arrested Iurii and forced him to make an oath. So Andrei feigns sick when called for military duty by the grand prince. According to the chronicle Andrei was angry, at the grand prince and his mother, that he didn’t receive an alodial, as promised (then appanages) . Prince Andrei went to his home in Staritsa. He was coaxed to come back to Moscow, and he was arrested, and his retainers as well.

1.      Mikhail L’vovich Glinskii was arrested; accordingly gave the grand prince Vasilii (III) a poisoned drink while he was ill.

2.      Claims:

3.      Prince Andrei didn’t report to grand prince in Moscow .

4.      Sent doctor Feofil, he reported Andrei’s illness was light.

5.      Ivan and Elena doubt Andrei’s sickness.

6.      They send emissaries to spy on Andrei.

7.      Emissaries return, say new men with Andrei, “ those who found it expedient to do so said secretly that the prince was lying abed because he didn’t dare to go to Moscow.”

8.      “Prince Andrei himself, because of the reports of the wicked men, did not dare go to Moscow.

9.      Prince Vasilii Fedorovich Goluboi Rostovskii, a cavalryman of prince Andrei, send his own man Eremka secretly at night to Moscow form Staritsa to the grand prince’s boyar, to prince Ivan Deforovich Ovchina, with a report that prince Andrei would flee  in the morning, riding out alone.”

10.  May 2nd, after getting a warning, prince Andrie fled with his princess and son from Staritsa he went sixty versti toward the Novotozhskii district and the Bernov villages. Then prince Andrei went toward Novgorod’ “ He wanted  to occupy Novgorod”? [how can he do that?].

11.  Andrei, supposedly sent out proclamations to parishes, and service lands and he stated: “The grand prince is young, and the boyars rule the state, and who are you to serve” and if you come to serve me, I will be happy to bestow favors for you.” And various cavalrymen came to serve him.

12.  grand prince and Elena get the news they send out orders to fortify Novgorod, and “ the vice-regents lead all people to kiss the cross [ in loyalty to Ivan IV]; and if prince Andrei arrives ordered to do battle with him and to prevent him from setting a fire to the town. Prince Nikita was put in charge of Novgorod’s defense.

13.  Called prince Ivan Ovchina to help with his forces.

14.  Prince Andrei and Ivan Ochina met up in Tiukholi, about five versti from the Zaechkov post station; and before they went to battle. Andrei didn’t want to engage in battle. He sent a note to Ovchina asking for assurance he would not be arrested or placed in deep disgrace. And the grand prince did not advise Ivan, not having communicated with the grand prince, Ovchina gave prince Andrei assurance.

15.  together they both return to Moscow, and immediately Ivan Ovchina is put n deep disgrace, and they ordered prince Andrei arrested and imprisoned in the palace and they placed heavy iron shackles on him; and they placed his wife and son under guard in the Kremlin in Bersen Beklemyshev’s home.

16.  Grand prince and Elena placed punished the people with Andrei.  The boyars in deep disgraced, the cavalrymen executed. They ordered them to the square, where they tortured and flogged them with a knout in the square, then ordered them to be imprisoned. Some were hung along the road to Novgorod, so people could see what happens to others who revolt against Ivan IV.

17.  1538/39 There was enmity among the boyars. Prince Vasilii and prince Ivan Vasil’evichi Shuiskie against prince Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii. And in that quarrel the Shuiskie and the other boyars ordered the scribe of the grand prince, Fedor Mishurin, killed. In that same month Vasilii Vasil’evich Suiskii died, That same winter, February, Metropolitan Danill was removed form the metropolitanate by boyar Ivan vasil’evich [ Shuiskii] and his compatriots.

Theme: The grand princes forbid boyars to switch allegiances to other princes.

Not a good choice to defect.

Ivan cannot make orders at three years old.

1533, Vasilii III, Ivan’s father, dies; mother, Elena Glinskaia, regent.

Examining a text.

Note: How can the grand prince make decisions when he is only three years old?

1533/34 grand prince and  Ivan’s morther order the arrests of Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii, brother of Semen Fedorovich, and the arrest of prince Ivan Mikhaiovich Vorotynskii and his children, imprisoned with fetters and under guard. On August 19, prince Mikhail L’vovich Glinskii was arrested because he had given poison to grand prince Vasilii to drink during illness, and the grand prince died in that illness…”


1535/35 prince Iurii died in captivity. He was buried in the Cathedral of The Archangel Michael in Moscow. That same year was built a fortified town at Pronsk.


“Because of the devil’s instigation and the agitation of the wicked people at great disturbance arose: “

“..and at that time wicked people importuned and incited the grand prince against prince Andrei.”  (p3)

“and at that same time wicked people importuned and began to speak against prince Andrie to the grand prince saying prince Andrei wanted to defect.” (p4)

At war with Kasan, and planning the Kasan campaign.

“the grand prince and his mother grand princess Elena did not award him more towns to his appenage” (1536) At this time the prince was only three years old.

“Averring [to assert or affirm with confidence] that the grand prince wanted to arrest him.” (1536). \

“But those who found it expedient to do so said secretly….” (1537)
“ The grand prince is young, and the boyars rule the state, and who are you to serve? “And if you come to serve me, I will be happy to bestow favors on you.”

Mjm: My thoughts: this was made to make Ivan look better.

S The Vologda—Perm Chronicle


This chronicle ends in the year 1539; it is thought that is was written by a man contemporary to the events, probably in the 1540s or 1550s. It is named for the region around the cities of vologda and Perm, to which relate the bulk of the entries in the central part of the chronicle.l

1.      This is a short account, without words of ‘ wicked’ or ‘evil’ or ‘devil.’

2.      What differs from The Resurrection Chronicle are further illustrated demands set forth to Andrei by Ivan Obolenskie in the feild.

3.      Ivan Obolenskie vowed that his sovereign grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich would given him an alodial estates and would not compel him to go away, but he must pledge loyalty and serve the new sovereign. 

4.      Apparently the grand prince is only three or four years old, but can understand the world around him enough to make drastic political decision, highly unlikely.

5.      Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ ordered that prince Iurii Ivanovich and imprisoned

6.      Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ ordered that prince Mikhail L’vovich Glinskii be arrested and imprisoned.

7.      “Semen Fedorovich Bel’skii and Ivan Vasil’evich Liatskoi left the service of grand prince Ivan, leaving from Serpukhov and going to Lithuanian to 2 serve the Polish king and with them went many cavalrymen who were in the regiment of the grand prince.”

8.      Prince Ivan Vasil’evich ordered prince Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii arrested at Kolomna and he ordered prince Ivan Mikhailovich Vorotynskii arrested with his children at Moscow.

9.      1538/39 October 1538 grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich ordered the punishment with a death sentence his scribe Fedor Mishurin: he was beheaded by the prison.

10.  Ivan Vasil’evich  ordered Metropolitan Danill to be removed form the metropolitanate.

11.  Replaced with Ioasaf Skrypitsyn, abbot of the trinity-St Sergii Monastery.

“In the year 7042 // 1533/34. In the same month, on December 12, on the eighth day after the death of the grand prince, grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ arrested his uncle prince Iurii Ivanovich and imprisoned him in the keep in a palace in the rear courtyard. That same spring grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ ordered that prince Mikhail L’vovich Glinskii be arrested and imprisoned in the rear courtyard in the rear palace, where the grand prince’s cavalry storehouse, i.e., the livery, had been. In that same year prince Semen Fedorovich Bel’skii and Ivan Vasil’evich Liatskoi left the service of grand prince Ivan, leaving from Serpukhov and going to Lithuanian to 2 serve the Polish king and with them went many cavalrymen who were in the regiment of the grand prince. In that same year grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich ordered prince Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii arrested at Kolomna and he ordered prince Ivan Mikhailovich Vorotynskii arrested with his children at Moscow. And he exiled prince Ivan Bel’skii to Pereiaslavl’ Zalesskii, in fetters, but they imprisoned prince Ivan Vorotysnkii in Moscow in Bersen Beklemyshev’s home, while his sons were exiled to Dmitrov. “

1 Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei [Complete Collection of Russian Chronicles] , vol. 26 (Moscow, 1959) :315, 317—18.

2 King Sigismund I, simultaneously King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania; he ruled from 1506 to 1548.


Notes: How does Ivan IV make decisions at this young age?

Princess Elena consults with the boyars who go get Andrei Ivanovich. Brother of the grand prince Vasilii Ivanovich, and sends the order to go get him.


Here Andrei and his retinue want go to Great Novgorod.

To get him to come back, the send a message to give him an alodial estate, promised by Ivan Vasil’evich and Princess Elena. When he goes to Moscow to collect his estate, the grand prince ( he is too young to make orders) ordered for his arrest. Again, his retinue and his family are imprisoned.


The Chronicle of the Beginning of the Tsardom ( excerpts)

Said to have been written in the 1550s at the court by someone close to the events; it derives its name from the fact that it begins in 1533 with Ivan’s IV accession to the throne and ends in 1552 with the triumph Kazan’ campaign.1

1.      Accusations that Andrei would seize the state.

2.      Supposedly Boris Gorbatyi and Andrei Shuiskii plot conspiracies.

3.      The devil and evil are the culprits for all things that go bad. That evil supposedly enters the  boyars who state to Elena that unless she arrests prince Iurii the state cannot be strong.

4.      Thus the enemy the devil, who despises good, implanted this idea, for he know that if prince Iurii Ivanovich were not arrested, he himself would not be able to carry out his plans for robbery and bribery and murders.”And therefore, he compelled them [ the boyars], to this evil deed.”

5.      “And when the devil saw how they planned to fulfil his ideas, he [ the devil] entered into the mind of prince Andrei Shuiskii and made prince Andrei want to defect to prince Iurii Ivanovich.

6.      “Prince Andrei was a villan”

7.      Andrei Shuiskii also entertained wicked plans to the orthodox peasantry, but God quickly destroyed his plot.

8.      Here Prince Andrei goes to Ivan and Elena and says that prince Boris tried to persuade him to defect. (p3).

9.      Prince Boris Gorbatyi claimed that prince Andrei made false accusations against him. He said that it was prince Andrei that came to him and tried to persuade him to defect.

10.  result:  the grand princess investigated this, and found that prince Andrei had lied and prince Boris had told the truth, and she ordered prince Andrei to be imprisoned under guard in the fortress tower.

11.  Next the boyars tell Elena that if she wants her son to rule she needs to arrest prince Iurii.

12.  This one the grand princess gives the permission for the boyars to arrest anyone they think threatens the court and the grand prince.

13.  1534 December 11, arrested prince Iurii (Thursday) putting him in the Kremlin along with his boyars.

14.  Andrei’s boyars flogging account is similar to The Resurrection Chronicle.

15.  Prince Andrei called a ‘villain.’ (p.3)

16.  The devil compelled the boyars, it was the boyars ‘evil’ plans to make rumors, “evil ideas.” “ But the enemy the devil…placed in the boyars”(p1)

17.  1536/37 concerning the arrest of Andrei.

18.  That same spring by the instigation of the devil and the sedition of wicked men they provoked a great disorder and roused prince Andrei Ivanovich.

19.  The wicked men began to speak slander to prince Andrei Ivanovich.”

20.  The ‘wicked men’ supposedly told Elena and the grand prince that Andrei wanted to defect.

21.  Prince Andrei began to believe the wicked men…”(p5) to  leave his appanage, and that men from Novgorod would back him in any endeavor for the throne.

22.  Elena sent Bishops and some clergy to see Andrei and if Andrei didn’t believe them that she held no plans against him, then the grand prince would order his boyars to stand battle at Volok.

23.  The same as above about fleeing “…and prince Ivan, having met up with the men, went after the prince. And prince Ivan caught up with prince Andrei in Tiukhala and prince Andrei began to communicate with prince Ivan, seeking assurances from prince Ivan that the grand prince would not order him arrested and would not put him in disgrace.” (p6)

24.  “And prince Ivan Ovchina, not consulting with the grand prince, gave such assurance to prince Andrei…” and together they went to Moscow.

25.  Prince Andrei arrested, son and wife too.

26.  Andrei’s boyars dishonored, flogged and thrown into the fortress tower.

27.  Similar to The Resurrection Chronicle.

28.  This one has recording of the death of Elana

29.  Expanded section: Elana dies and Ivan Fedorovich  Ovchina Telepnev Obolenskii was arrested, imprisoned and starved to death.

30.  Concerning the killing of [scribe] Fedor Mishurin.

31.  At eight years old, the text goes on to describe how young Ivan makes a decision to free Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii and prince Andrei Mikhailovich Shuiskii from captivity. (p8)

32.  1538/39 the grand prince to gave boyar title to prince Iurii Golitsyn, and an okol’nichii title to Ivan Khabarov. And prince Vasilii and Ivan Shuiskie were not included in that counsel and for that reason they began to bear a great enmity and anger againt Metropolitan Daniil and prince Ivan Bel’skii and Fedor Mishurin.

33.  They [ who is they?] arrested prince Ivan Bel’skii and imprisoned him in prince Fedor Mstislavskii’s home and they dispersed his compatriots to various villages but they killed Fedor Mishurin, beheding him  in the prison on October 21 on Monday.

34.  1538/39 On the Sunday of the Prodigal Son Metropolitan Daniil was removed frm the metropolitanate because of the hatred of the grand prince’s boyars, of prince Ivan Shuiskii and others, because he had been united in counsel with prince Ivan Bel’skii; and they exiled the metropolitan from Moscow to his place of tonsuring, to the Joseph monastery.

35.  1541/42 grand prince prince Ivan Fedorovich Bel’skii was arrested without the grand prince’s knowledge by the order of the boyars. “ Apparently he was in good graces, and confidant and fist counselor of Ivan IV.

36.  The boyars killed Ivan Bel’ ski in prison without the knowledge of the grand prince.

37.  1543/44 on September 2 boyars quarrelld amoung themselves in from the of the grand prince and in from of the metropolitan in the Banquet Hall of the grand prince’s palace during a consultation.

38.  Fedor Semenovich Vorontsov was viciously beaten and removed from court by Prince Andrei Shuiskii and Kubenski and others, and he was assigned to some station beyond the Neglinnaia River to the home of Ivan Zaitson to serve in Kostroma along with his son Ivan. He was close to Ivan IV, and this was another enmity issue.

39.  1551/52 “that same autumn in November there was a great rainstorm and downpour and the ice broke up as if in a spring and much harm was done to the people. That same winter December 29 grand prince Ivan Vasil’vich of all Rus’ could no longer endure that the boyars were creating disorder and running unwillingly without the grand prince’s knowledge, that they had committed many murders through their own counsel with their like-minded compatriots by their own desires, and they had done many injustices to the land during the sovereign’s youth.”

40.  “And the grand sovereign ordered  their primary counselor prince Andrei Shuiskii seized and ordered him thrown to the dog-keepers. And the dog-keepers took him and killed him and dragged him towards the prisons opposite the Rizpolozhenie Gates in the Kremlin.”  (p12)

41.  1545/46 “… grand prince ordered prince Ivan Kubenskii, Fedor Vorontsov and Vasilii Michhailovich Vorontsov to be killed. They beheaded them on July 21 of Saturday. And he ordered Ivan Petrovich Fedorovich to be arrested and sent to Beloozero …”

42.  Mjm- I do not believe this one.


Chronicle attributed to Gubin Postnik

1.      This is a sober account.

2.      Postnik was a scribe in the court of the Kremlin from ca. 1452 to 1558.

3.      Again, the grand prince, only four years old is accredited with the order to arrest his uncle, Andrei Ivanovich.

4.      the boyars seized grand prince Vasilii’s brother prince Iurii Ivanovich of Dmitrov in Moscow, and his boyars and his scribes.

5.      “on August 3 prince  Semen F’edorovich Bel’skii and Ivan Liatskoi defected from service  from Serpukhov; they had done much harm to the Muscovite land”.

6.      And prince Andrei arrived at Moscow and grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich and grand princess Elena ordered him arrested.

7.      “And they remained in prison until the grand princesses’ death.

8.      “Andrei Ivanovicn died, [and after his death] they removed heavy iron shackles from the death body. And they buried him in the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael where disgraced princes are interred.” (p3)

9.      The flogging scene again.

10.  The cathedral of Archangel Michael where disgraced princes are interred, at the foot of his brother prince Iurii.

11.  grand prince arrested prince Ivan Ovchina Telepnev.

12.  On Octooer 21, 1538 the boyars seized the scribe Fedor Nishurin at prince Andrei’s court, they ripped his clothes from him until he was naked, and they led him to prison naked, and at the prison at that same hour they beheaded him.

13.  “1541—42 Also in May prince Ivan Shuiskii died, wearing the robes of a monk;” (p6)

14.  Ivan Petrovich Fedorovich was flogged while naked.., but God favored him, the sovereign did not order him executed because he had not spoken in disagreement with the sovereign.

15.  Ivan Mikhailovich Vorontsov was put to torture at Kolomna.

16.  “1546/47. On September 16 the grand prince with
his brothers, with prince Iurii and prince Vladimir, arrived at  the Monastery of the Lifegiving Trinity and St. Sergii on pilgrimage.” (p7)

17.  “I do not want to marry a woman from another country because I was left quite young after my father, the sovereign grand prince Vasilii III and my mother; if we imported for me a wife from another state, we would have somewhat different customs.” (p9)

18.  “…favor and called one to himself as grand princess, Anastasiia, the daughter of roman Iur’evich Zakhar’ich.”

19.  “ On February 3 on the Feast day of St. Semen the God—Receiver and of St. Anna the Prophet, there was happiness for the sovereign, true-believing Tsar and grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ and of all the Ruse land: our Sovereign married, taking for himself Anastasiia, daughter of Roman Iur’evich; the ceremony took place in the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed virgin.”

20.  And the “best men” of the Tsar were prince Dmitrii Fedorovich Bel’skii and Ivan Mikhailovich Iur’evich. And the grand princess’s “best men” were prince Ivan Ivanovich Pronskoi Turuntai and Mikhail Iakovlevich Norozov. And the “equerry” was prince Mikhail Vasil’evich dlinskii.

21.  On Feuruary 6 on the third day after the happiness of the grand prince, prince Ivan Fedorovich Mstislavskii was married, and the grand prince gave him marriage the daughter of prince Aleksandr borisovich Gorbatyi.


The Continuation of the 1512 Chronogragh



1.      Issues of redress. Issue of forgiveness of past deeds.

2.      1533/34 in September in the autumn grand prince Vasiiii went to the Trinity Monastery of the Miracle— worker Sergii on pilgrimage, and with him were his wife, grand princess Elena, and his children. And from there he was traveling on the bypass in Volok and at volok he fell ill.

3.      “And he returned to Moscow November 20, on a Sunday, ill, and he died in Moscow on St. Barbara’s feastday in the robes of a monk. And he was buried in the Cathedral of the Archangel Michael and he was named as a monk “Varlaam.” And his son grand prince Ivan assumed tne throne of Vladimir and Moscow and Novgorod and of all the Rus’…”

4.      Building a fortress:

5.      “1536/37 on October 8 by the order of our sovereign grand prince Ivan Vasil’evich of all Rus’ and his mother grand princess Elena, a fortified town was built at Pronsk and the engineer was Petr the Italian the Younger. That same year in May prince Andrei Ivanovich of Staritsa fled towards Great Novgorod not by his own choice, , and the grand prince placed nirn in disgrace and imprisoned him in a palace in the Kremlin. “

6.      “1538/39 in February the abbot of the Trinity monastery Ioasaf Skripitsyn was named metropolitan at Moscow.” (p2).

7.      “1544/45 the grand prince set out to Kolomna in campaign against his enemy the Crimean Knan Safa—Girey, and with him was his brother prince Iurii Vasil’evich.” (p3)

8.      And he stood at Kolomna on the riverbank, at the mouth of the Moscow River near Golutvin. And then at Kolomna he executed his boyars: prince Ivan Ivanovich Kubenskii, Fedor Semenovich Vorontsov and Vasilii Mikhailovich Vorontsov.

9.      “1546/47 In that winter, in January, the grand prince decreed that prince Ivan Ivanovich Dorogobuzhskii and prince Fedor Ivanovich Ovchinin Obolenskii were to be executed, by the order of prince Mikhail Glinskii and his mother princess Anna. And they placed prince Fedor on the wheel in the meadow across the Moscow River opposite the city, while they beheaded prince Ivan on the frozen river.”

10.  “And all the boyars petitioned to the sovereign tsar and grand prince so that the sovereign would bestow his favor them, so that he would not turn his heart against them and so that he would not put any of them into
Founder of the “Romanov” dynasty. “ (p4)

11.  “[He said] that befor he reached his maturity as Tsar coercion and bribery and great wrongs in the areas of landholding and of slaves and in many other areas had been done to the cavalrymen and peasants by them and by their men. And [he said that they should in the future not act like that, so that no coercion or bribery or wrongs whatsoever in any affairs would be perpetrated on the cavalrymen or peasants by them or by their men; and whosoever in the future should commit coercion or bribery or injustice, he shall be put into disgrace and shail be punished because of it by the tsar and grand prince.” (p4).

12.  “And no matter which cavalrymen and peasants began to petition against them and against their men about any affairs, [the boyars requested that] the sovereign would favor them by giving them and their men a trial with these cavalrymen and peasants.”

Work Cited

Selected passages from the “Hundred Chapters” (Stoglav), Church Council Protocols, trans. Jack E. Kollman, Jr.

Two sixteenth-Century Chronicle Accounts of Death Bed Scenes of Grand Princes, trans. Allison Katsev, 1989.






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