Russian History: Andrie Kurbskii


  Welcome, Guest                        Michael Report  

[Contact, Search] World History - Yahoo! - Help

 : H O M E :  

 

 

 I N D E XBook of Life  Index  directory B I B L E Apocalypse Book of Revelationsdirectory W E B S> Internets  directory J O U R N A L  > Journal Directory directory G A L L E R Y >photo gallerydirectory W M D  > XLXXII  ARMAGEDON  directory G A M M A > gamma index 

Privacy  [Public]  


       

Correspondence

 
a    

Notes & Extracts:

Prince A.M. Kurbsky’s Historuy of Ivan IV, trasn., J.L.I. Fennel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).

 

(Alleged authorships) A. M. Kurbsky: First letter to Ivan IV.

Page 7) ; “for the latter too reproved the law-breaking king for his unlawful marriage. He [Herod] transgressed the law of Moses, but this one [Vasily] the law of the Gospel: What is the law of the Gospel?, debate continues today about Jesus Christ’s militancy passages where he in a general statement is asked about it and he points out he did not come to earth to bring peace but war. Does the writer(s) not understand the contradictions of the New Testament?  This also goes to show that the fumbled Bible passages in the texts, pointed out by Fennell, possibly meant that there was no access to one, and from either memory or letters with Bible quotes were used in its place.

Page 9-11) There will be some stereotype passages that usually show up from time to time (THOGPOM, 9-11) in different cultures and histories but with the exact same theme. Example:  The child harms little defenseless animals in a stupor of blood-lust. A child is exposed to lust(s) at a young age. The withholding of something deemed more horrible than to mention.

(See below examples:)The Romans (See Caligula historiography, supposedly the method for his madness related to the above stereotypes /the writer(s) same tactic used) and Mughals ( Prominent historical figure Akbar in the Mughal era, rumored killed small animals when a child – made up by Englishmen to try to justify the British occupation of India in the 19th  - 20th century, they tied this to Akbars fierce ways as an adult in administering the empire/ the writer(s) uses this tactic as well)  Is this really historically accurate or hogwash?

Page 9) “At that time our present Ioann [Ivan] was conceived and ferocity was born in transgression and concupiscence”: This is vitriolic; can we believe someone when they lose all consciousness in writing?

Page 9) But this too added still further to that evil beginning: he lost his father while very young—when about two years old (He also lost his mother a few years later): The similarities to the historiography of Caligula’s madness stems not only from the exposure to wanton lust at a young age as the writer(s) accuse here (See page 9 ‘lust’), but of his parents, and family members killed by the Caesar’s court officials when he was young, also leading to his madness. We can see similarities no? This is another stereotypical implication used as a tool to defame, note the phrase usage of “evil beginning.” Is this a constructive criticism? Does everyone who loses their parents become bad people?

Page 9) ref. wanton lust at a young age : “Flattering him and pleasing him in every enjoyment and lust” the enjoyment of lust: Roman historiography: After Caesar allegedly had Caligula’s family members killed he brought him to a secluded place and for the rest of his childhood until an adult he lived in lustfull decadence until he was an adult. This point was tied to his madness by the writer(s) to his actions later on as an adult, the same tactic that is being used here.

Page 11) “I will be silent on most things”: Does this try to implicate that worse horrors exist but the writer(s) will not divulge; another ploy to make things seem worse than what they accused already?

Page 11) Ref. Animal cruelty: “At first he began to spill the blood of dumb creatures, hurling them from lofty places (in their language: from porches or from the top stories of houses ) and to do many other unbefitting things as well, betraying in himself the future merciless will”: See notes for page 9, and Mughal (accusations against Akbar r. 1556-1605 ) 20th British Hist. Mongol/Mughal  rulers were evil because they killed animals as children. How can we trust history when it is written like this?

How do we know any of these actions of Ivan’s childhood happened, when there are no corresponding references?

What the writer(s) Claims as legitimate grievances were, long tours, and murders of friends, and family. The religiosity part I left out, because the writer(s) had no legitimate claim or knowledge of what was written in the Bible. Were the interpretations in the Middle Ages possibly complex, known by them only, and too hard to link to acclaimed biblical sources? What is know as the Church code and was describe as “ law of the Gospel?”  

 

(a)    the Writer(s) claim that Kurbsky had been sent into the military with long tours, and he missed his family as a result. A legitimate claim: The blame stems form Ivan’s constant need to expand the Russian realm and influence. Is this reasonable?

(b)   the Writer(s) claim that Kurbsky’s master was killed by the boyars or Ivan. I believe everything bad that went on is accredited to Ivan in this part of the correspondence. A back-lash or motive for writing this could be a legitimate grievance without calculating the moral relevance of accepting powerful positions, such as General, in which Kurbsky probably took pride in.

(c)    A questing arises as the timing for his departure: Did he in fact feel resentment because after returning from a victorious campaign in Lavonia, he came back to court and didn’t get a promotion he had hoped for?

(d)   History of Ivan: Page 157-9, non-Representation, against court law: could this be seen as a legitimate, but not personal, gripe? 

(e)    Kurbsly it said believed, according to Ivan’s letters, the some of the boyars were going to kill him? Why? Was it something he did on the field of war that got them angry at him? Ivan said these were just rumors?

 

Page 161 footnote) . Kurbsky letter, Sil’vester had been driven out. In the Ivan rebuttal letter, Ivan says Sil’vester’s departure was voluntary: so who are we supposed to believe? 

Page 76 footnote) 1525 First Court trial of Maksim the Greek who was born in Italy in about 1475. After spending ten years in the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos he was invited to Moscow by Vasily III in order to help with the translation of sacred books. […] He was put on trial (1525 and 1531) for his ecclesiastical views, which ran counter to those of the Josephian hierarchy,[…] What was the Josephian hierarchy?

Page 157) PROPHECY OF THE WRITERS OF KURBSKY:”all kinds of evil and cunning, the destroyers of their fatherland, still more of all the holy Russian tsardom! What good will this bring you? Soon you shall see the result of this deed upon yourselves and upon your children, and from generations to come you shall hear an everlasting curse!”

Ivan is stupid, apparently to stupid to rule correctly.

Page 157-9)// Accusations of special powers of influence of Ivan//  Now the tsar, having been made by the accursed ones to drink his fill of this deadly poison mixed with sweet flattery, and being filled with cunning, or rather stupidity, praised their counsel and loved them and drew them into friendship and bound them to him with oaths, taking up arms against the holy innocent men—and furthermore against all good men and against all who wished him well and who [were ready to] lay down their lives for him,

Page 157-9)// Trial without representation: Having written down the charges against these men they read them out in their absence;


Page 165) ACCUSATIONS OF AN ALCOLHOLIC […]This then, o tsar, is what you have received from your beloved flatterers who whisper in your ears: instead of your former holy fasting and restraint—pernicious drunkenness, with beakers pledged to the devil […]

 

Below are some accusations from supposedly Ivan in red.

II. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY |the Writer(s) blames Kurbsky for troubles in west.
Page 19 ) Lord. Furthermore, even the Lithuanian struggle began because of your treachery and malevolence and your inconsiderate carelessness.’
You, however, for the sake of your body have destroyed the soul and for the sake of short-lived fame have scorned imperishable glory: Did Kurbksy in fact kill women and children in his last battle of (Yuryev, see Jerome Horsey below/and questions) before he left back to Moscow to expect his promotion? Ivan blames Kurbsky for starting the war or the troubles with the west: Fennell only argues from the perspective of what is said in the letters, and not from other possible sources: Could Kurbsky’s action been, in part, seen as overbearing war tactics which got Livonia extremely angry? (ref. begin date to January 1558, Russia invaded Livonia) Jerome Horsey, calls it a “cruel slaughters” among other things: If so then how can Kurbsky reconcile his actions against the accusations he throws at Ivan for his cruelty? Did this, in fact, be a reason to affect a boyar to see Kurbsky as a maverick when he returned and right before he suspected the boyars of plotting to kill him?

 

Questions:

 

1)      Where were the letters found? What did contemporary sources say about their existence?

2)      Were the Chronicles available to whoever wrote these histories?

3)      Is it possible this came from a Russian monastery that heard gossip, knew what was going on in the realm, knew Russian history, had access to historical sources of Russia and wanted to make this appear as if it was these two people corresponding?

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1)     Is it possible that a dyaki wrote what Ivan verbally expressed for these letters? can clergy members be ruled out in helping Ivan correspond to Kurbsky, that is if we do not use Keenan’s argument?

2)     Are the correspondences between Kurbsky and Ivan the only place we get information on Ivan’s minority?

3) In January 1558 Prince Ivan Kurbsky invaded eastern Estonia (Yuryev), Did Jerome Horsey, call it a “cruel slaughters”: If so then how can Kurbsky reconcile his actions against the accusations he throws at Ivan for his cruelty?

4) Did Kurbsky master Latin after he defected? What is the significance, and where was it that he signed his name as an ‘x’ instead of spelling out his name in a court?

5) has there been a critical cross reference study between all sources, more specifically the Chronicles and the correspondence to see how much raw information of the history of the grand princes was already in the chronicles so that someone could make it appear as they were Kurbsky and Ivan? Or has this been ruled out?

On 30 April 1564 Prince Andrey Mikhailovich Kurbsky, a boyar and leading general of the tsar of Muscovy, deserted to the Polish-Lithuanian forces in Livonia. From the town of Wolmar he wrote the first of his five letters to the tsar, Ivan IV.  The ensuing correspondence between Kurbsky and Ivan IV has long been recognized as one of the most important historical documents of sixteenth-century Russia. Not only does it throw invaluable light on the complex character of the tsar, but it constitutes the most complete summing-up of that conflict between the autocratic ideals of the Muscovite grand princes and the conservative opposition of the boyars which characterized the political life of the Muscovite state in the sixteenth century. Yet few historians have undertaken an edition, let alone a critical analysis, of the text, and only once has the correspondence been translated into a foreign language.
The only two complete printed editions of the correspondence were undertaken by N. G. Ustryalov in the first half of the nineteenth century (three editions: 1833, 1842 and r868) and by G. Z. Kuntsevich in 1914. Based on these two editions, the admirable German translation of K. Stahlin appeared in 1921. In ‘95’ the Soviet historians, D. S. Likhachev and Ya. S. Lur’ye, produced an edition of Ivan’s first letter to Kurbsky, based on hitherto unpublished MSS., together with a translation into modern Russian and a critical commentary.
I have based my text primarily on the editions of ‘914 and 1951. For Kurbsky’s five letters to Ivan and Ivan’s second letter to Kurbsky I have taken the text printed by Kuntsevich with emendations from the critical apparatus of his edition. The text of Ivan’s first letter to Kurbsky I have based on the two MSS. edited by Likhachev and Lur’ye, with emendations from MSS. used by Kuntsevich. These two copies of the letter (P. and K.) are superior to those printed by Kuntsevich (Ar., To!. and Hist.), not only in clarity and sequence of composition, but also in fullness, containing passages not found in other MSS. (ix)

I
First epistle of Prince Audrey Kurbsky, written to The Tsar and Grand Prince of Moscow in consequence
of his fierce persecution


To the tsar, exalted above all by God, who appeared [formerly] most illustrious, particularly in the Orthodox Faith, but who has now, in consequence of our sins, been found to be the contrary of this. If you have understanding, may you understand this with your leprous conscience—such a conscience as cannot be found even amongst the godless peoples.’ And I have not let my tongue say more than this on all these matters in turn; but because of the bitterest persecution from your power, with much sorrow in my heart will I hasten to inform you of a little.


Wherefore, O tsar, have you destroyed the strong in Israel and subjected to various forms of death the voevodas given to you by God? And wherefore have you spilt their victorious, holy blood in the churches of God during sacerdotal ceremonies, and stained the thresholds of the churches with their blood of martyrs? And why have you conceived against your well- wishers and against those who lay down their lives for you unheard-of torments and persecutions and death, falsely accusing the Orthodox of treachery and magic and other abuses, and endeavouring with zeal to turn light into darkness and to call sweet bitter?’ What guilt did they commit before you, O tsar, and in what way did they, the champions of Christianity, anger you? Have they not destroyed proud kingdoms and by their heroic bravery made subject to you in all things those in whose servitude our forefathers formerly were? Was it not through the keenness of their understanding that the strong (F3)

 

II
Epistle of the Tsar and Sovereign to all his Russian Kingdom against those that violate the oath of allegiance, against Prince Andrej Kurbsky  and his comrades, concerning their treacheries


Our God, Tripersonal, who was from everlasting and is now, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, who has neither beginning nor end, in whom we live and move, and by whom tsars rule and the mighty make laws, and the conquering banner, the Holy Cross of the only-begotten Word of God—nor is this banner ever conquerable—was given by Jesus Christ, Our Lord, to the first tsar in piety, Constantine, and to all Orthodox tsars and upholders of Orthodoxy, and to the divine servants, by whose vigilance the Word of God was fulfilled everywhere. And as the words of God encircled the whole world like an eagle in flight, so a spark of piety reached even the Russian kingdom. The autocracy of this Russian kingdom of veritable Orthodoxy, by the will of God, [has its] beginning from the great tsar Vladimir, who enlightened the whole Russian land with holy baptism, and [was maintained by] the great tsar Vladimir Monomach, who received the supreme honour from the Greeks, and the brave and great sovereign, Alexander Nevsky, who won a victory  over the godless Germans, and the great and praiseworthy sovereign, Dimitry, who beyond the Don won a mighty victory over the godless sons of Hagar, [and autocracy was handed down] even to the avenger of evils, our grandfather, the Grand Prince Ivan, and to the acquirer of immemorially hereditary lands, our father of blessed memory, the great sovereign, […] (F13)

 

 

Below are some accusations from supposedly Ivan in red.

II. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY 19
Lord. Furthermore, even the Lithuanian struggle began because of your treachery and malevolence and your inconsiderate carelessness.’
You, however, for the sake of your body have destroyed the soul and for the sake of short-lived fame have scorned imperishable glory, and having raged against man, you have risen against God. Consider, wretch, from what heights and into what depths you have descended in body and soul! On you have come to pass the words: “from him. . . shall be taken away even that which he hath”. Is this then your piety, that you have destroyed yourself because of your self-love and not for the sake of God? Those who live there [i.e. in your new fatherland] and those who have understanding can understand your evil poison, how, desiring short-lived glory and wealth, and not in order to escape from death, you have done this deed. If you are just and pious as you say, why did you fear a guiltless death, which is no death but gain? In the end you will die anyhow! If you did fear a false death sentence against you owing to the villainous lying of your friends, the servants of Satan, then is your [plur.] treacherous intention clear from the beginning up to now. Why did you despise even the apostle Paul? For he said: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power ordained that is not of God.. . . Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.”4 Think on this and reflect, that he who resists power, resists God; and who resists God is called an apostate, which is the worst sin. And these words were said concerning all power, even when power is obtained by blood and strife. But consider what I said above, that I did not take my kingdom by rape; if you then resist [such] power, all the more so do you resist God. Thus, as elsewhere the Apostle Paul said (and these words have you too scorned):  “Servants, be obedient to your masters,.. . not with eye-service,

Both opening letters begin with heavy religiosity. According to Kurbsky’s first letter, he accuses Ivan of having placed him in the field, he was a general, for a long time, and he complained this kept him from seeing his family, and he justified Ivan’s aggressive foreign policy to fight his enemies as proof Ivan was no in the right religiously. If we are to believe the letter, we must understand that Kurbsky had personal reasons and connected them to his job and state. We can almost see a pacifist argument against a leader that believes force, war and commitment creates a stronger realm.

Ivan’s piety theme. He expresses Kurbsky’s fear of death, warning him he will die anyway: was this predicated upon Rumors in the boyar circles that he was about to be offed? Ivan tells him, it was only a false rumor, and he should not have reacted by running away: People were faling in the Kremlin, could Kurbsky’s fear have arisen because of this? 

Themes: If these were written by other people, how do we see a motive for the rhetoric, the story telling and arguments? First, Kurbsky attacks Ivan’s Orthodoxy, and Ivan defends and attacks Kurbsky’s piety. Second theme, Kurbsky attacks autocracy, and Ivan defends it: what were the competing ideologies in Lithuania or western Europe at that time that could be considered competing government ideas in regards to ruler-ship and the way a state runs its government?  

Absolutism argued by Kurbsky, and pacifism as God’ way. Whatever that means, it is not accurate according to the New Testament. Ivan argues for Absolutism, and the Church ordains it, and he is correct. Even though Orthodoxy was separate from the Roman Catholic Church, the Church understood Christianity, and Jesus’ words spoke of times to be militant and protect what is yours. How does Kurbsky rectify his aggression in the Yuryev slaughter to his theme in the correspondence? Does this mean he changed his mind and became a pacifist, or as suspected this was not written by him as Keenen proposes?

Page 43) Ivan waxes philosophic: This indicates more of a scholastic trained person than a Grand Prince. 

 

Page 45/Ivan to Kurbsky) “Or do you consider this to be “pious illustriousness”, namely for a kingdom to be ruled by an ignoremus of a priest, by evil, treacherous men, and for a tsar to be ordered about? And is this “contrary to reason and [betraying] a leprous conscience” for an ignoremus to be silenced, for evil men to be repelled and for a tsar, granted by God, to rule?”: The tsar’s authority to rule is granted by God, and I van explains that pacifism can not work to run a state when it has various ill-willed enemies.

 

Page 69) “ For in your devilish manner you decreed that traitors be loved—but in foreign lands they love not traitors” Ivan accused Kurbsky of hypocrisy.

Page 69) Kurbsky, here questions Orthodox religious practices, according to Ivan so Ivan responds with his reason as it was a tradition of grand princes, such as the tonsure of a grand prince, on his death bed: “Vasily, having exchanged the purple for the angel’s form, had left all that was perishable and the fleeting earthly kingdom and come to the heavenly [realm], to that everlasting eternity, to stand before the Tsar of Tsars and the Lord of Lords […]”(69)

Page 75 ) “[…] began to hand over our patrimony to our Lithuanian enemy—the towns of Radogoshch, Starodub, Gomel […]”: Could temper have been high on both sides of the Lithuanian side and the Russian side because of massive casulties in wars?, for instance, During the battle for Starodub the voevoda was captured and 13,000 of the inhabitants were killed?

Page 85) “divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand;” and how can one conduct military operations against an enemy if the kingdom be torn by fratricidal struggles?”: Here Ivan discusses why bodies falling to matters into his own hands; can we believe this is Ivan’s views, or the writer of this letter?

 

Page 85) “It is hard to assess the full extent of the influence of the ‘Ibrannaya Rada [duma]” or Chosen Council (the name given by Kurbsky in his History to Sylvester and his associates) on the tsar in matters of governmental policy” (foot 85)

 

 

 

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the term d’yak or “scribe” signified merely a personal servant who, by virtue of his ability to read and write, assisted his master in any matters connected with correspondence or finance. With the formation of Prikazy (ministries) and the centralization of the administration in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, however, the dyaki assumed a far more important role in society, becoming not only members of the various ministries, but even secretaries, ministers and Privy Councillors of the grand prince. (74-5 foot 3)

 

Prince A.M. Kurbsky’s Historuy of Ivan IV, trasn., J.L.I. Fennel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).

 

 

OPENING OF HISTORY The History of the Grand Princes of Moscow

 

The History of the Grand Prince of Moscow. That which we have heard from trustworthy people and that which we have seen with our eyes I have written down, pertinaciously importuned by
many, abridging it in as far as I was able.

 
Many times by many illustrious men I have been asked with great importunity: “how did these things happen to the tsar who was formerly so good and distinguished, who many times for the sake of his fatherland has had no care for his own health and who in war against the enemies of the cross of Christ suffers grievous labour and woes and countless toil, and who formerly enjoyed good renown from all?” And many times I remained silent, sighing and weeping, for I did not wish to answer. But afterwards, because of the frequent questions, I was compelled to say at least something about such occurrences as have happened, and I answered them: if I were to speak from the beginning and [to narrate all things] in turn, there would be too much to write—about how the devil sowed evil habits among that most excellent clan of Russian princes especially by means of their evil and sorcerous wives, just as among the kings of Israel—above all those wives whom they took in marriage from foreigners.’ But leaving aside all these things, I will say something about the present itself.2  As many wise men say: “a good beginning has a good end as well”. So too is the opposite true: evil ends with evil— especially the evil of free human nature defying the commandments of God with evil and altogether hostile intent. Grand Prince Vasily of Moscow to his many evil deeds committed against the law of God added this too (the writing and enu […]

rtry

 

(footnotes) for Sofia’s “sorcery”, Kurbsky’s accusation, repeated below (see pp. 256—7), may have originated in the report of one of the chroniclers who stated that in 1497, after a conspiracy against Ivan III’s grandson, Dmitry Ivanovich, had been brought to light, it was discovered that “women were coming to her [Sofia] with poisonous herbs”. (PSRL vi, p. 279; XII, p. 263.)
2 Or perhaps “about the present prince himself”, i.e. Ivan IV.

 

 

INTRODUCTION


The Historj of the Grand Prince of Moscow by Prince Andrey Mikhaylovich Kurbsky, which describes events in the reign of Ivan IV from 1533 to the early 1570’s, is the first attempt at a historical monograph in Russian. It was probably written in, or completed by, the summer of 1573,1 nine years after Kurbsky had deserted from Muscovy to Poland— Lithuania. Yet in spite of this considerable time-lag, many of the details of the first thirty years of Ivan’s life still remained fresh in Kurbsky’s memory and he was able to give a vivid and at times revealing picture of the first half of the tsar’s reign. The period of repression—from 1564 to i 573—is, of course, described from hearsay, and, as might be expected, is in places repetitive and unimaginative (see, for instance, the hackneyed descriptions of the moral virtues of most of the tsar’s victims).
As a historical source, Kurbsky’s Historj must be treated with extreme caution. Firstly, it is essential to bear in mind Kurbsky’s probable purpose in writing the work—namely to blacken the character of the tsar in the eyes of his Polish—Lithuanian and Russian readers (perhaps even to damage his chances as candidate for the Polish throne in 1573), posthumously to immortalize those “martyrs” who had suffered at the hands of the “tormentor”, and to glorify and exonerate the two figure- heads of the fifties, Adashev and Sil’vestr, whom he looked upon, albeit erroneously, as his ideological partisans, if only

 

 

1 Such is the opinion of the Soviet historian, A. A. Zimin (A. A. Zimin, Kogda Kurbsky napisal). Convincing as Zimin’s views are, it must be pointed out that Kurbsky mentions two incidents which occurred after 1573 (Khabarov’s execution, 1581, and Archbishop Leonid’s execution, 1575, see below, pp. 21 s, 247). It should also be borne in mind that there is a striking similarity between Kurbsky’s last three letters to Ivan, all written after 1578, and certain passages in the History. While it is possible that Kurbsky quoted from his History five or six years later, it would seem more probable that the letters and those passages of the History which are similar were written more or less at the same time.
(vii)

because the tsar had previously lumped them together with Kurbsky and the boyars.’ Secondly, it must be remembered that Kurbsky himself was not the best informed of historians. In the first half of his life his career, to judge from the only sources to mention him (the raryay and the chronicles), was confined to the army. The offspring of a junior branch of the appanage princes of Yaroslavi’, he appears to have been almost exclusively engaged in military affairs from the first mention of him as a minor commander in 1550 to 1564 when he defected. If he enjoyed any popularity or influence at court, it was only due to a tenuous relationship on his mother’s side with the tsaritsa Anastasia. We have no indication (apart from Kurbsky’s own assurances) that he was persona grata with the tsar or that he had anything to do with the political administration of the State during the years of the great reforms (the 1550’S), the heyday of his posthumously glorified heroes, Adashev and Sil’vestr. True he was appointed boyar in 1556, in other words he was made a member of the Boyar Council, the body of advisers whom the tsar consulted, in theory at least, on matters of home and foreign policy. But shortly after this the Livonian war began, and from 1558 to 1564 we find him again on almost permanent active service, fighting Livonians and Lithuanians and away from the intrigues of the Muscovite court.
And yet for all Kurbsky’s tendentiousness, for all his unreliability as a witness, for all his probable ignorance of affairs of state, his Historj is of capital importance to the modern historian. Firstly, it gives us a strangely true and sober picture of the age which often serves as a corrective to the more sensational descriptions given by foreigners, such as Taube, Kruse and Schlichting. Even though the writing may at times appear hackneyed and unsubtle—especially in the delineation of character—nevertheless Kurbsky’s History impresses the reader with its immediacy. It is the work of a contemporary, of a true

 

 

(Footnotes) ‘ It is interesting to note that Kurbsky himself made no mention of either Adashev or Sil’vestr in his first and second letters to Ivan. It is only in his last three letters (written 1578 and 1579) and in his History that Kurbsky took up the cudgels on behalf of the “blessed Sil’vestr” and the “angelic Adashev”, after Ivan in his two letters to Kurbsky had virtually portrayed them as the ringleaders of the aristocratic opposition.
(viii )

 

Muscovite: Kurbsky’s Muscovy is Muscovy described by a Muscovite, Secondly, it provides the modern historian with a large amount of factual detail, particularly as regards the lists of Ivan’s political victims: indeed much of his information can often be used as an additional check to other sources and in many cases it fills in useful gaps in our knowledge. Thirdly, Kurbsky’s History is invaluable for the light it throws on certain episodes in Ivan’s reign of which Kurbsky had expert knowledge, such as the capture of Kazan’ and the Livonian war, or on individuals whom Kurbsky knew personally, such as Feodorit the Enlightener of the Lapps. But above all the History is important as a document written by a representative of the boyar aristocracy, an opponent of autocracy, a conservative with a hankering after a return to the good old days of “appanage freedom”. Indeed one might say that the historian today can learn most from the very tendentiousness of the work. Even when distorting facts, Kurbsky sheds light on his viewpoint and on the viewpoint of that section of the community he professed to represent—the conservative opposition to the tsar.
In spite of the importance of the work, no edition has been undertaken since 1914 when the Imperial Archaeographical Conmittee edited the main bulk of Kurbsky’s writings in Volume xxxi of the Russian Historical Library (RIB). Before this, the only complete edition of the History was undertaken by N. G. Ustryalov (three editions: 1833, 1842 and i868). No translation of the History into English (or into any other language, as far as I know) has ever been published before. The present edition is designed as a companion volume to the Correspondence between Prince A. M. Kurbskj and Tsar Ivan IV of Russia 1564—1579 (C.U.P., 1955).
I have based the Russian text entirely on that of the ‘914 edition of Kurbsky’s works (RIB, vol. xxxi), in which four MSS., all of the late seventeenth century, were used for the Historj. Variants in the critical apparatus of this book are only given when the basic text (Ar.) is clearly at fault or where I have considered other readings of importance for the understanding of the text (for abbreviations in the critical apparatus, see below, p. xi). The orthography has been modernized (i.e.(x)

m replaced by e, i by u, 0 by l, and final z omitted; ü has been substituted for u, where necessary, to conform to modern usage).
As for the question of transliteration, I have used the “British” system of latinization advocated by the Slavonic and East European Review (see W. K. Matthews, The Latinisation of Cyrillic Characters, SEER, vol. xxx, no. 75 (June 1952), pp. 531—49); I have made one or two minor exceptions to this system: (i) e and e are always transliterated e (thus Elena, and not Yelena); (ii) the endings and -uü are always rendered by -y (Kurbs1y, posluzhiy, etc.); (iii) the “soft sign”, the letter b, is rendered by an apostrophe (2’aroslavl’); (iv) in the spelling of feminine names ending in -ya, the spelling -ia has been used throughout (Solomonia, Maria). As for place-names, where two or more versions of a particular place exist, I have kept as close as possible to Kurbsky’s usage (e.g. Derpt, rather than Russian Yur’ev or Estonian Tartu), indicating in brackets the other versions where I consider it helpful or necessary.
There are two glossaries at the end of the book—one of Russian words which are borrowed from foreign languages, mainly Polish, and which are not, for the most part, to be found in Sreznevsky’s dictionary; the other of common words of Russian, Tatar, Polish or Greek origin which have been used for convenience in the translation or the footnotes.
In conclusion I would like to thank the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press for their assistance in the publication of this book and those of my colleagues in this country who have helped me with various problems, especially Dr G. L. Lewis, Professor B. 0. Unbegaun and Mr J. S. G. Simmons of Oxford University, and Dr L. Lewitter and Dr T. Armstrong of Cambridge University.

OXFORD 1963

J. L. I. F.

Page 7) ; “for the latter too reproved the law-breaking king for his unlawful marriage. He [Herod] transgressed the law of Moses, but this one [Vasily] the law of the Gospel. Of his lay counsellors he was rebuked by Semen Kurbsky, from the kin of the princes of Smolensk and Yaroslavi’, about whom and about whose holy way of life not only is the Russian land aware,1 but also Herberstein, that eminent man, the great ambassador of the emperor, who was in Moscow and learned about it and bears witness to it in his chronicle, which he wrote in the Latin tongue when he was in the glorious city of Milan.” : What is the law of the Gosple, debate continues today about Jesus Christ’s militancy passages where he in a general statement is asked about it and he points out he did not come to earth to bring peace but war. Does the writer(s) not understand the contradictions of the New Testament?  This also goes to show that the fumbled Bible passages in the texts possibly meant that there was no access to one, and from either memory or letters with Bible quotes were used in place.

Page 9-11) There will be some stereotype passages that usually show up from time to time (THOGPOM, 9-11) in different cultures but with the exact same theme. The child harms little defenseless animals in a stupor of blood-lust. A child is exposed to lust(s) at a young age. The Romans( See Caligula, supposedly the method for his madness/Kurbsky same implied sense) and Mughals ( Prominent historical figure in the Mughal era, rumored killed small animals when a child, they tied this to his fierce ways as an adult/ Kurbsky uses this tactic as well) had vitriolic texts say the same thing about their young leader that grew in stature I history as Ivan IV has: Is this really historical writing or hogwash?

 

Page 9) “At that time our present Ioann [Ivan] was conceived and ferocity was born in transgression and concupiscence”: This is vitriolic; can we believe someone when they lose all consciousness in writing?

 

Page 9) But this too added still further to that evil beginning: he lost his father while very young—when about two years old ( He lost his mother a few years later): The similarities to the accusations of Caligula’s madness stems not only from the exposure to wanton lust at a young age as the writer(s) accuse (See page 9 ‘lust’), but of his parents, and family members killed by the Caesar’s court officials. This is another stereotypical implication used as a tool to defame, note the usage of “evil beginning”. Does everyone who loses their parents become bad people?

 

Pans ( boyars in Russian)

Ioann (Ivan)

Page 9) “Flattering him and pleasing him in every enjoyment and lust” the enjoyment of lust: Roman historiography: After Caesar allegedly had Caligula’s family members killed he brought him to a secluded place and for the rest of his childhood until an adult he lived in lustfull decadence. This point was tied to his madness later on as an adult, the same tactic that is being used here.

Page 11) “I will be silent on most things”: Does this try to implicate that worse horrors exist but the writer(s) will not divulge; a ploy to make things seem worse than what they accuse already? “. At first he began to spill the blood of dumb creatures, hurling them from lofty places (in their language: from porches or from the top stories of houses ) and to do many other unbefitting things as well, betraying in himself the future merciless will”: See notes for page 9, and Mughal (accusations against Akbar r. 1556-1605 ) rulers were evil because they killed animals as children. How can we trust history when it is written like this?

 

But as for what he used to do when he came of age, at about twelve or later,1 I will be silent on most things; however this I will relate. At first he began to spill the blood of dumb creatures, hurling them from lofty places (in their language: from porches or from the top stories of houses2) and to do many other unbefitting things as well, betraying in himself the future merciless will;3 for, as Solomon says: “a wise man regardeth the life of his beasts; likewise the foolish man beats them unsparingly”. 4 But while his tutors flattered him by allowing this and praising him, they taught the child to their own detriment. And when he came to his fifteenth year, he began to harm people. Gathering around him groups of youths and relatives of those above-mentioned counsellors, he rode with them on horseback through the squares and market-places and beat and robbed the common people, men and women, in- decorously galloping and racing everywhere. And in truth he committed real acts of brigandage and performed other evil deeds which it is not only unbefitting to relate, but shameful too; and all his flatterers would praise such behaviour, to their own detriment, saying: “0, brave and manly will this tsar be!” But when he came to his seventeenth year, then those same arrogant counsellors began to urge him on and through him to avenge their hostilities, one against the other. And first of all they killed a most powerful man, a very brave general and a man of great stock, who came from the kin of the princes of Lithuania, of the same family as King Jagiello of Poland, Prince Ivan Bel’sky by name, who was not only manly, but was great in intellect and versed in the holy scriptures.5
And after a short time he himself ordered a certain noble prince by the name of Andrey Shuysky, from the kin of the princes of Suzdal’, to be put to death.6 Then, after about two
According to the chronicles Ivan Fedorovich Bel’sky was seized in January 1542 (when Ivan was eleven, not seventeen) by a council of boyars “without the knowledge of the grand prince”. He was imprisoned in Beloozero and, again without the knowledge of the grand prince, put to death (PSRL xiii, pp. 140—1). Bel’sky was the great-great-grandson of Grand Prince Ol’gerd of Lithuania, the father ofJagiello.
Andrey Mikhaylovich Shuysky, the leader of the Shuysky faction, was imprisoned by Elena in 1533 for organizing the rebellion of Yury, the (page II)

 

Page 161) . Kurbsky letter, Sil’vester had been driven out. In the Ivan rebuttal letter, Ivan says Sil’vester’s departure was voluntary: so who are we supposed to believe?  

 

Page 76 ) 1525 First Court trial of Maksim the Greek who was born in Italy in about 1475. After spending ten years in the Vatopedi monastery on Mount Athos he was invited to Moscow by Vasily III in order to help with the translation of sacred books. He remained in Moscow for the rest of his life, interesting himself in such controversial questions as monastic landownership and the position of the Church vis-a-vis the State. He was put on trial (1525 and 1531) for his ecclesiastical views, which ran counter to those of the Josephian hierarchy, for “heretical” opinions and for treacherously conspiring with one Skinder, the sultan’s ambassador in Moscow. From 1525 to 1531 he was imprisoned in the Josephian monastery of Volokolamsk; after his second trial in I531 he was sent to the Tver’ Otroch’ monastery; in 1551 he was allowed to move to the Trinity monastery of St Sergy where he died in 1556. (J.L.I. Fenne History of Grand Princes, foot 2, p.76-7).

Page 157) PROPHECY OF THE WRITERS OF KURBSKY:”all kinds of evil and cunning, the destroyers of their fatherland, still more of all the holy Russian tsardom! What good will this bring you? Soon you shall see the result of this deed upon yourselves and upon your children, and from generations to come you shall hear an everlasting curse!”

 

Page 157-9)// Section of court and representation, justification//  Now the tsar, having been made by the accursed ones to drink his fill of this deadly poison mixed with sweet flattery, and being filled with cunning, or rather stupidity, praised their counsel and loved them and drew them into friendship and bound them to him with oaths, taking up arms against the holy innocent men—and furthermore against all good men and against all who wished him well and who [were ready to] lay down their lives for him, as though against his enemies ; and he gathered together and collected around him an exceedingly strong and great satanic host. And what did he then embark upon and do first of all? He summoned a council, including not only all his lay senate, but also all the clergy, that is to say he called for the metropolitan and the bishops of the towns, and to these he added certain very cunning monks, Misail Sukin, who had long been renowned for his iniquities, and Vassian Besny, who was rightly named “the Mad” [ Besny means “Possessed by the Devil” may have been an invented nickname of the writer(s) of this for Bishop Vassian Toporkov] , and others like them, filled with hypocrisy and all kinds of diabolical shamelessness and boldness; and he seated them near himself, listening to them with gratitude as they uttered false accusations against the holy men and said lawless things against the just with exceedingly great pride and contempt. And what was done at that council? Having written down the charges against these men they read them out in their absence; but the metropolitan then said in the presence of all: “It is right that they should be brought here before us so that the charges may be brought against them in their presence, for it is indeed right that we should hear what they have to say in reply.” And all the good men agreed with him and said the same thing. But those most pernicious flatterers shouted with the tsar: “It is not right, O bishop! These men are recognized evil-doers and great sorcerers, and they will bewitch the tsar and will destroy us if they come!” And so they were condemned in their absence. Oh judgement worthy of ridicule, still more, replete with calamity, passed by a tsar who was deceived by flatterers.The priest Sil’vestr, his confessor, was imprisoned by him and sent as far as an island in the Frozen Sea, to the monastery of Solovki in the land of the Korelian people, amongst the wild Lapps. And Aleksey was banished from his sight without judgement to the town of Fellin, which had recently been taken by us, and was governor there for a short time.2 But when the evil ones heard that even there God was helping him—several Livonian towns which had not yet been taken wanted to surrender to him because of his goodness, for even though he was in a calamitous position he served his tsar faithfully—then again in the tsar’s ears they added accusation to accusation, whisper to whisper, tissue of lies to tissue of lies against that just and good man. And straightway he ordered him to be taken away from there to Derpt and kept under guard; and two months later he fell into a fever. Having confessed and having taken the holy sacraments of Christ our God, he departed to Him. And when his accusers heard about his death they cried in the tsar’s ear: “Now your traitor has given himself deadly poison and has died.”

 

3 February his brother Daniil was sent to Livonia (ibid. p. 326) and in May 1560 he himself was sent as 3 i/c the Great Regiment to Livonia (ibid. p. 327; DRK, p. 222). After the capture of Fellin he was appointed one of the governors of the town (DRK, p. 225).
8 A marginal note reads as follows: “See, here is the fulfilment of that which was spoken by Chrysostom, for somewhere he said that all passions and human wickednesses are destroyed by life, whereas hatred will not be quenched even after death, as the hatred of the God-destroying Jews for our Christ Himself, for they knew that tissues of lies had been deliberately woven according to their great cunning, and they taught the soldiers to lie, saying:
‘Say ye, His disciples came.. .and stole Him away while we slept’, and so forth, and this saying is commonly reported among them unto this day [cf. (
159)


Page 165) ACCUSATIONS OF AN ALCOLHOLIC

[…]Sil’vestr and Aleksey has not yet departed!” And with other still more devilish words than these they abused many men who were sober and moderate in their good way of life and habits, and they put them to shame, pouring those accursed beakers on them, with which they did not wish—or were quite unable—to become drunk, and they threatened them with death and various tortures, in the same way as they destroyed many people a little later for this reason. 0, new idolatry, in truth, a pledge and an offering not to the statue of Apollo and others, but to Satan himself and to his devils! They brought not a sacrifice of oxen and goats led by force to the slaughter, but brought their very souls and bodies of their own free will, because of the love of money and the glory of this world—this they did in their blindness! And thus those most evil and accursed men first of all destroyed the pious and moderate way of life of the tsar! This then, o tsar, is what you have received from your beloved flatterers who whisper in your ears: instead of your former holy fasting and restraint—pernicious drunkenness, with beakers pledged to the devil […]

 

The History of the Grand Princes of Moscow, trasn., J.L.I. Fennel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1965).

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

3)     Is it possible that a dyaki wrote what Ivan verbally expressed for these letters? can clergy members be ruled out in helping Ivan correspond to Kurbsky, that is if we do not use Keenan’s argument?

4)     Are the correspondences between Kurbsky and Ivan the only place we get information on Ivan’s minority?

3) In January 1558 Prince Ivan Kurbsky invaded eastern Estonia (Yuryev), Did Jerome Horsey, call it a “cruel slaughters”: If so then how can Kurbsky reconcile his actions against the accusations he throws at Ivan for his cruelty?

4) Did Kurbsky master Latin after he defected? What is the significance, and where was it that he signed his name as an ‘x’ instead of spelling out his name in a court?

5) has there been a critical cross reference study between all sources, more specifically the Chronicles and the correspondence to see how much raw information of the history of the grand princes was already in the chronicles so that someone could make it appear as they were Kurbsky and Ivan? Or has this been ruled out?

 

http://www.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/kurbskyivan.html

 

 

 

 

 

((((((((((((((((

 

45
receive not, because ye ask amiss], that ye may spend it in your pleasures... . Draw nigh unto God, and he will draw nigh unto you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded... . Speak not one against another, brethren. He that speaketh against a brother, or judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law and judgeth the law: but if thou judgest the law, thou art not a doer of the law nor a judge. One only is the lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy: but who are thou that judgest thy neighbour?”
Or do you consider this to be “pious illustriousness”, namely for a kingdom to be ruled by an ignoremus of a priest, by evil, treacherous men, and for a tsar to be ordered about? And is this “contrary to reason and [betraying] a leprous conscience” for an ignoremus to be silenced, for evil men to be repelled and for a tsar, granted by God, to rule? For you will never find a kingdom which does not fall to ruin when ruled by priests. But what are you striving after? [To go the way of those] who, amongst the Greeks, destroyed their kingdom and became tributaries of the Turks? Do you counsel us too this destruction? May rather this destruction come upon your own head! To all the following are you likened, as the apostle writes to Timothy saying: “Timothy, my son, this know also, that in the last days perilous days shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own sçlves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce- breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good; traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away... . Led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, of no judgment concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.”3
Or do you consider this to be “light”,’ for a priest and overweening, cunning servants to rule and the tsar to be held in
Almost verbatim from 2 Tim. iii. i—.
See above, pp. 2 3: “endeavouring to turn light into darkness.”

IVPN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY

(((((((((((((((((((((((((

IX. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY 69
above—then, according to his guilt will be receive his punishment as well. And in other lands you yourself will see how evil befalls the evil man; there it is not the same as [it was] here! [i.e. during the “rule of the traitors”]. For in your devilish manner you decreed that traitors be loved—but in foreign lands they love not traitors; they punish them so that by this [their country] may be strengthened.
“Torments and persecutions and various forms of death” we have not conceived against anyone. And as for your mentioning “treachery and magic”—well, such dogs are executed in all countries. As for our “falsely accusing the Orthodox” of aught
—nay, but you are like unto the deaf adder, according to the prophet who says: “like the deaf adder stoppeth her ear[s] which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, for the charmed is charmed by the wise, for God hath broken their teeth in their mouth and hath broken the great teeth of the lions.” And if my accusations are false [lit, if I make false accusations]—who else then will bring the truth to light?2 According then to your devilish reasoning, you traitor, whatever they do, they cannot be exposed? But why should we falsely accuse these [traitors]? Is it because we hanker after [the old appanage] power of our vassals or after their tattered finery [lit, their miserable rags], or that we desire to satiate ourselves at their expense? Is not your reasoning ludicrous? The hare calls for a multitude of dogs, but against the foe [one needs] a multitude of warriors! How senseless were it, then, for one, having understanding, to execute his [true] subjects!
As I have said above, I will prove in the greatest detail what evil I have suffered from my youth even unto the present day. For this is clear (even if you were young in those years, yet none the less this you can know): when, by the decree(s) of God, our father, the great sovereign, Vasily, having exchanged the purple for the angel’s form,3 had left all that was perishable and the fleeting earthly kingdom and come to the heavenly [realm], to that everlasting eternity, to stand before the Tsar of Tsars and the Lord of Lords, I remained with my only (-begotten) brother
It was the custom of the Muscovite grand princes to accept the monastic
tonsure on their death-beds.

6

FC

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

 

II. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKV

85

divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand;” and how can one conduct military operations against an enemy if the kingdom be torn by fratricidal struggles? For how can a tree flower if its roots are dry? Likewise [is] this [the case] too: if there is not good order in the kingdom beforehand, how can wars be fought with bravery?2 For if a commander does not sufficiently strengthen his army, then he is conquered rather than conqueror. But you, disregarding all these things, praise bravery alone; and as for what bravery consists in, this you consider of no importance and you show yourself to be a man who not only does [not]3 strengthen bravery, but rather destroys it,4 for you are [as] nought: at home a traitor, in the field 5—bereft of reasoning; for you wish by fratricidal strife and by wilfulness to strengthen your bravery, which is impossible.
Now at this time that cur, Aleksey, your chief, was in the court of our kingdom during our youth, and I know not by what means he was promoted from batozhnik;6 but we, having seen such treachery on the part of our grandees, thus took him from the dung-heap and placed him together with the grandees, hoping for faithful [lit, straight] service from him.7 What honours and riches did I not heap upon him—[and] not only upon him, but also upon his family! Yet what true service did I get from him?8 Listen further. Afterwards, for the sake of spiritual counsel and the salvation of my soul, I took [into my service] the priest Sylvester, thinking that he, because of his ministry at the altar of the Lord, would have care for his soul; but he, having trampled under foot his priesthood vows and his ordination [and] all that [appertains] to service with the angels at the altar
surprisingly, no subject at hand. The clause “ja +e. . nhsaeBme” begins as a dative absolute but develops—quite illogically—into a gerundial clause.
8 Aleksey Adashev’s origins appear to have been humble. His father,
Fedor Grigor’evich, was promoted okol’nichy (a rank in the court hierarchy directly below that of boyar) in 1548, and boyar in 1553. Alcksey Adashev is first mentioned in 1547 as the tsar’s poslel’niA (keeper of the bed-chamber). Although he only reached the rank of okol’nichy in 1555, he appears to have won the tsar’s confidence and to have exercised a beneficial influence over him from the time of Sylvester’s appearance (see above, p. 24, n. 6). He was at once entrusted with the task of receiving and dealing with petitions to the tsar and later with important diplomatic functions.

((((((((((((((((((((((((((
II. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY

of the Lord, “which things the angels desire to look into,”’ where the Lamb of God is ever sacrificed for the salvation of the world and is never consumed,2 he, indeed, whilst still in the flesh, was deemed worthy [to perform] the Seraphic service with his own hands;3 and all this he trampled down in his cunning way; yet at first it seemed as though he had begun in a righteous manner, following the Holy Scriptures; [and] when I saw in the Holy Scriptures that it is right to submit to good preceptors without any consideration, then, willingly, but through ignorance, did I obey even him for the sake of spiritual counsel. But he was carried away by power like Eli the priest4 [and] began to form friendships5 as laymen do. Then we assembled all the archbishops and the bishops and all the holy synod of the Russian metropolitanate, and as for what befell us in our youth, the disgraces inflicted by us [lit, our disgraces] upon you, our boyars, and likewise too the hostility towards us and the misdemeanours committed by you, our boyars—for all these things did we ourselves publicly ask forgiveness before our father and interceder, Makary, Metropolitan of All Russia. And [to] you, or boyars, and to all our people did I grant [forgiveness] for your misdemeanours and [decreed] that henceforth all memory of them be obliterated; and so then did we begin to treat you all as [though you were] good men.6
But you did not abandon your first cunning habit[s], but returned again to your former ways and thus began to serve us with cunning counsel and false, and to do all things with scheming and not with simplicity. And so the priest Sylvester joined Aleksey too in friendship and they began to hold counsel in secret and without our knowledge, deeming us to be incapable of judgment;7 and thus did they begin to give worldly

 

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

 

6 Prince Dimitry Kurlyatev (or Shkurlyatev)-Obolensky was during Ivan IV’s minority a supporter of the Shuisky faction and was involved in 1543 in the attempt to remove the tsar’s favourite, Vorontsov (see above, p. 79, n. ). His co-operation with Sylvester and Adashev and his participation in the activities of the Izbranna)a Rada probably date from 1549 when he was elevated to the dignity of boyar. During Ivan’s illness in 1553 (see below, pp. 94—5) he absented himself from the palace under pretext of sickness and, it was rumoured, maintained secret communications with Prince Vladimir Andreevich. On the third day after the beginning of Ivan’s illness he turned up at the palace and was amongst the last to give the oath of allegiance to Ivan’s infant son, Dimitry At the beginning of the Livonian war (1558) he was given command ofan army but does not appear to have distinguished himself in the feild. In i6o he was forced by Ivan IV to accept monastic vows together with his wife and children and was subsequently murdered at the tsar’s behest. See below, pp. 190—1.

 

(Foot. 6 88-9)

(((((((((((((((((

 

II. IVAN IV TO PRINCE KURBSKY 91

of his begin to establish their evil counsel; not one position [lit, power] did they neglect in which they did not appoint their favourites, and so in all things did they achieve their desire. And after this did he and that confederate of his take from us the power given to us by our forefathers so that you, [who are] our boyars [only] by our grace [alone], might be honoured with the dignity of precedence.’ And all these things did they place in their hands [lit, power] and in your hands, as it suited you and as anyone of you desired; for that reason, then, did they strengthen [their positions] with friendships and when they had all things in their power entirely according to their will, then, without asking us aught, as though we did not exist, did they make regulations and take measures according to their will and to the desire of their advisers. Whenever we gave any good advice, they did not avail themselves of it ;2 but if thej were to give any refractory or corrupt advice, then were they acting for the common weal!
And so neither in external affairs nor in internal affairs,3 nor in the smallest and pettiest things (and [I refer to such things as] footware and sleeping)—was anything according to my will; but everything was done according to their desire, while we remained, as it were, a child. Now is this “contrary to reason” that I, having reached man’s estate, did not desire to be a little child? Likewise afterwards this too became a habit [lit, was established]: if we had at that time to contradict even one of the most insignificant counsellors, then all these [my words] were interpreted as impious, as is written in your calumnious epistle;4 but if any of his most inferior advisers were5 in their madness to utter haughty words to us, not as to a master or as to a brother, but as to the most inferior thing,6 then all these things too were reckoned to be pious; and whoever provided us with a little obedience or peace, to his lot fell persecution and torment. And should anyone annoy us in aught or cause us to suffer [lit, bring to us] any oppression, to his lot fell wealth, glory and honour.
I.e. neither in affairs of State nor in personal affairs.
A reference perhaps to the “iniquitous tissues of lies” which Kurbsky accused the tsar of weaving against him. See above, pp. 4-5. For this meaning of cocTaijl-lofT, see below, p. 105, n. 6.
1-1T0 (anyone) is usually followed by a singular verb; yet the verb here, lsauotiiaxv, is in the plural. 6 dative of ‘ITO.

 

/END OF LETTER

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prince Andrew Kurbskii
First Epistle to Tsar

http://www.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/kurbskyivan.html

 

1408 Vasily Patrikeev (Vassian, after his tonsure) was in fact the great- grandson of Patriky Narimuntovich, the Lithuanian prince who entered the service of Vasily I in 1408. His grandmother Maria was Vasily II’s sister and Ivan III’s aunt (his mother Evdokia Vladimirovna Khovrin was not related to the grand princely family). After a distinguished career in the service of Ivan III, Vasily Patrikeev fell from favour in 1499 together with his father Ivan Yur’evich, his brother Ivan Mynin Patrikeev and his brother-in-law Semen Ivanovich Ryapolovsky. The reasons for his disgrace are not known; “treason” is mentioned by one source. It may be that all four were involved in the dynastic crisis of 1497—9. Ryapolovsky was executed, but the three Patrikeevs, thanks to the intervention of the senior clergy, were spared. Vasily/Vassian was sent to the monastery of St Kirill in Beloozcro; he was later allowed to move to the hermitage of Nil Sorsky, and eventually to the Simonov monastery in Moscow where he evidently lived until his trial in 1531.
That Vassian Patrikeev openly rebuked Vasily III may be questioned. Kurbsky was probably influenced by a description of the second marriage of Vasily III written by one Palsy of the Ferapontov monastery (Ghten(ya, 1847, No. 8), who states that Vassian, when consulted by Vasily III on the possibility of a divorce, protested against the illegality of such action and that as a result he was put on trial together with Maksim the Greek. Vassian was clearly not arrested in 1525 nor did befall from favour until 1531 when he was tried shortly after the second trial of Maksirn. Maksim was first put on trial in the beginning of 1525, some ten months before the tonsure of Solomonia.
(J.L.I. Fennel History of the Grand Princes, foot 3, p.5-

 

http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm

WAR STATES OF EARTH



 


 
   
 

 
   

 

Direct corrections and technical inquiries to
Please direct news submissions to Here

 

Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Michael Johnathan McDonald