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[1462 A.D.} lings, like the nobles of other lands, and were defended by formidable retinues. The primate held a court superior in magnificence to that of the grand prince, and surrounded by boyars, guards, and all the luxuries of the east, he possessed almost unlimited power over life and death; he was the first person who was consulted on all questions of difficulty, and, as a means of exhibiting the supremacy of his station, he instituted public ceremonies, at which the princes assisted, holding the bridle of the ass on which he rode. This tendency of the church to outgrow the space wherein its roots were laid, was greatly forwarded by the fertilizing contributions which flowed in upon it from all quarters. Whenever a phenomenon in the physical world alarmed the superstitions of the people, the major part of the population bequeathed their wealth to the monasteries, with the hope of propitiating the favour of Heaven and securing happiness in the next world. The corruptions of the church of Rome had already crept into the administration of the Greek faith. The system of donations that prevailed in Papal Italy, where even the kingdoms of earth were bartered for the kingdom of heaven, had set an example of which the Russian clergy were not slow to avail themselves. It was, perhaps, a natural conclusion that the clemency of the Godhead could be purchased in a country where earthly justice and exemptions from punishments were sold for pecuniary considerations.
But the lenity and favour shown by the Tatars to the Greek clergy did not produce the effect upon which they calculated. The Tatars, accustomed to rule people of different religions, and possessing within themselves no ecclesiastical foundations, for their wandering mode of life prevented their priesthood from resolving itself into a corporation, viewed with comparative indifference the spreading institutions and growing strength of the church. They only contemplated in the honours and advantages they heaped upon it, the policy of gaining over to their side a powerful body of auxiliaries. But the indestructible spirit of Christianity shrunk from a union with the creed of the pagans; while the barbarous intolerance of the Tatars furnished a further motive to array the priests against the enemies of their religion and their country. They knew that in the grand princedom resided the sole power by which the Tatars were ultimately to be driven out of the land; they saw that to arm that power with sufficient means it was necessary to enrich its treasury, to enlarge its bounds, and to attract within the circle of its sway the allegiance of the whole of the Russian principalities; they perceived in the civil commotions that oppressed the empire a constant source of internal weakness, and they dedicated their energies and their influence to the one object of rendering the grand prince supreme. Mohammedanism assailed them on the one hand, and the papal church on the other: they wanted a rallying point of resistance against both; and they could only find it in the elevation of the throne to an imperial height. Hence, the clergy supported the principle of legitimacy, which by its consistency and perpetuity was calculated to promote the progressive ascension of the princely authority; and thus by degrees, and the inevitable progress of an active doctrine that survived through every obstacle, the church became blended with the state; and the policy of the priesthood, exercising its subtle influence governed and directed the motions of the civil jurisdiction.
CHARACTER AND AIMS OF IVAN
Ivan the Great, favoured by such auspicious dispositions on the part of the clergy, and by the rapid coherence of the principalities, ascended the
[1462 A.D.] throne in 1462, at the age of twenty-two. He was a man of great cunning and prudence, and was remarkable for indomitable perseverance, which carried him triumphantly to the conclusions of his designs in a spirit of utter indifference to the ruin or bad faith that tracked his progress. Such a man alone, who was prepared to sacrifice the scruples of honour and the demands of justice, was fit to meet the difficulties by which the grand princedom was surrounded. He saw them all clearly, resolved upon the course he should take; and throughout a long reign, in which the paramount ambition of rendering Russia independent and the throne supreme was the leading feature of his policy, he pursued his plans with undeviating consistency. But that policy was not to be accomplished by open and responsible acts. The whole character of Ivan was tinged with the duplicity of the churchmen who held so high a place in his councils. His proceedings were neither direct, nor at first apparently conducive to the interests of the empire; but the great cause was secretly advancing against all impediments. While he forbore to risk his advantages, he left an opportunity for disunion amongst his enemies, by which he was certain to gain in the end. He never committed himself to a position of the security of which he was not sure; and he carried this spirit of caution to such an extremity that many of the early years of his reign present a succession of timid and vacillating movements, that more nearly resemble the subterfuges of a coward than the crafty artifices of a despot.
The objects of which he never lost sight were, to free himself from enemies abroad, and to convert the princedom at home into an autocracy. So extensive a design could not have been effected by mere force of arms, for he had so many domestic and foreign foes to meet at once, and so many points of attack and defence to cover, that it was impossible to conduct so grand a project by military means alone. That which he could not effect, therefore, by the sword, he endeavoured to perform by diplomatic intrigue; and thus, between the occasional victories of his armies, and the still more powerful influence of his subtle policy, he reduced his foes, and raised himself to an eminence to which none of his most ambitious predecessors had aspired.
The powers against whom he had to wage this double war of arms and diplomacy were the Tatars and Lithuanians, beyond the frontier; and the independent republics of Novgorod, Viatka, and Pskov, and the princes of the yet unsettled appanages within. The means he had at his command were fully sufficient to have enabled him to subdue those princes of the blood who exhibited faint signs of discontent in their appanages, and who could have been easily reached through the widely diffused agency of the boyars; but the obstinate republics of the north were more difficult of access. They stood boldly upon their independence, and every attempt to reduce them was followed by as fierce a resistance, and by such a lavish outlay of the wealth which their commercial advantages had enabled them to amass, that the task was one of extraordinary difficulty. Kazan, too, the first and greatest of the Tatar cities, claimed a sovereignty over the republics, which Ivan was afraid to contest, lest that which was but a vague and empty claim might end in confirmed authority. It was better to permit the insolent republicans to maintain their entire freedom, than to hazard by indiscretion their transference to the hands of those Tatars who were loosened from the parent stock.
His first act, therefore, was to acknowledge, directly or indirectly, according to the nature of their different tenures, the rights of all his foes within and without. He appeared to admit the justice of things as he found them;
[1467-1472 A.D.] betrayed his foreign enemies into a confidential reliance upon his acquiescence in their exactions; and even yielded without a murmur to an abuse of those pretensions to which he affected to submit, but which he was secretly resolved to annihilate. This plausible conformity procured him time to prepare and mature his designs; and so insidiously did he pursue his purpose, that he extended that time by a servility which nearly forfeited the attachment of the people. The immediate object of consideration was obviously the Golden Horde, because all the princes and republics, and even the Poles and Lithuanians, were interested in any movement that was calculated to embarrass the common enemy. Ivan's policy was to unite as many of his enemies as he could against a single one, and finally to subdue them all by the aid of each other. Had he ventured upon any less certain course, he must have risked a similar combination against himself. He began by withholding the ordinary tribute from the khan, but without exhibiting any symptoms of inallegiance. He merely evaded the tax, while he acknowledged the right; and his dissimulation succeeded in blinding the Tatar, who still believed that he held the grand prince as a tributary, although he did not receive his tribute. The khan, completely deceived, not only permitted this recusancy to escape with impunity, but was further prevailed upon to withdraw the Tatar residents, and their retinues, and the Tatar merchants, who dwelt in Moscow, and who infested with the haughty bearing of masters even the avenues of the Kremlin.g
IVAN VASILIEVITCH MARRIES THE GREEK PRINCESS SOPHIA (1472 A.D.)
By completing the work of his predecessors in destroying the independence of the townships and the appanaged princes, Ivan created the empire of MosCOW. The form of government of this empire and all the outward surroundings of power were greatly influenced by the marriage of Ivan to Sophia, daughter of Thomas Palæologus, and niece of the last emperor of Byzantium, who brought to Moscow the customs and traditions of the Byzantine Empire. Ivan had lost his first wife in 1467, and two years later the question arose of his marriage with the Greek princess. Thomas Palæologus had retired with his family to Rome; the idea of finding a bridegroom for his daughter belongs to the Greek vissarion, one of the most zealous partisans of the union and at that time cardinal. The cardinal and pope had naturally in view the finding of a new champion against the then terrible Turks, and at the same time of bringing Russia into the union. The envoy sent to Moscow was a Greek by the name of Iuri, who said that Sophia had several suitors, whom she had refused because she did not wish to enter the Latin church. Ivan, after taking counsel with his mother and boyars, sent to Rome Karl Friazin (whose brother Ivan had been coiner of money at the court of Moscow) to see the bride and confer with the pope; the latter gave his consent and required that boyars should be sent from Moscow to fetch the bride; Friazin was sent for the bride and carried on the negotiations; finally in June, 1472, Sophia, accompanied by the papal legate, left Rome. She was met with honours at Pskov in November of the same year, and was afterwards greeted with like homage at Novgorod. When Sophia was drawing near Moscow, warm disputes arose in the grand prince's council as to whether it could be allowed that a Latin crucifix should be carried before the legate. The metropolitan declared that in the event of it being permitted, the pope's legate should enter by one gate and he at another: it is unbecoming to us to hear of such a thing, not to say witness it, for he who shows honour and love to another
religion offends his own; finally the legate had to enter without the crucifix. On the day of the entry the marriage ceremony took place (November 12), after which the legate presented his credentials and entered into a controversy with the metropolitan Philip, who called to his aid the scribe Nikita Popovitch. The chronicler says that being in despair of getting the better of the Russian scribes, the legate gave up the controversy, saying that he had no books with him.b
The marriage of the sovereign of Moscow with the Greek princess was an event of great importance in Russian history. Properly speaking, an alliance with the Byzantine emperors was not a novelty, and such marriages, excepting the first of them that of St. Vladimir - had no important consequences and changed nothing essential in Russian life. But the marriage of Ivan with Sophia was concluded under peculiar circumstances. In the first place, his bride did not come from Greece, but from Italy, and her marriage opened the way to intercourse between Muscovite Russia and the west. In the second place, the empire of Byzantium had ceased to exist, and the customs, political conceptions, the manners and ceremonies of court life, deprived of their original soil, sought a fresh field and found it in a country of a like faith Russia. As long as Byzantium had existed, although Russia adopted her entire ecclesiastical system, yet in political respects she had always remained purely Russian, and the Greeks had no inclination to transform Russia into a Byzantium; now, however, that Byzantium no longer existed, the idea arose that Greece ought to re-incarnate herself in Russia and that the Russian monarchy ought to be a continuation by right of succession of Byzantium, in the same degree as the Russian Church was by order of succession bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh of the Greek church. It happened opportunely that eastern Russia had freed herself from the subjugation of the Tatars precisely at the time when Byzantium was enslaved by the Turks, and there arose the hope that the youthful Russian monarchy, strengthened and consolidated, would become the chief mover in the liberation of Greece.
The marriage of Sophia with the Russian grand prince thus acquired the signification of a transfer of the hereditary rights of the descendants of Palæologus to the ruling house of Russia. It is true that Sophia had brothers who had otherwise disposed of their hereditary rights; one of them, Manuel, had submitted to the Turkish sultan, another, Andrew, had twice visited Moscow, but had not stayed there long, and had gone to Italy and sold his hereditary rights, first to the French king Charles VIII, and afterwards to the Spanish Ferdinand the Catholic. But in the eyes of the orthodox a transfer of the rights of the Byzantine monarchs to Catholic kings could not be regarded as lawful; and such being the case a far greater right was represented by Sophia, who had remained faithful to orthodoxy, who was the wife of an orthodox sovereign, who must become and did become the mother and ancestress of his successors, and who during her lifetime earned the reproaches of the pope and his partisans, who had been greatly mistaken in counting on her mediation to bring Muscovite Russia into the Florentine union.
THE GROWTH OF AUTOCRACY
The first visible and outward sign of the fact that Russia came to regard herself as a successor to Greece, was the adoption of the two-headed eagle, the arms of the eastern Roman Empire, which thenceforth became the arms of Russia. From that time much in Russia was changed and assumed a Byzantine likeness; the change was not effected suddenly, but proceeded dur
[1472 A.D.] ing the entire reign of Ivan Vasilievitch and continued after his death. In the court household the high-sounding title of czar was introduced, and the custom of kissing the monarch's hand. Court ranks were established also: master of the stables, master of the horse, and chamberlains (the latter, however, appeared only at the end of Ivan's reign). The importance of the boyars as the highest class of society fell before an autocratic sovereign; all became equal, all alike were his slaves. The honourable appellation of boyar was bestowed by the grand prince as a reward for services; besides the boyars there was also created a somewhat lower rank- that of the Iokolnitchi1 the commencement of the Russian hierarchy of ranks. To the time of Ivan Vasilievitch may also be attributed the establishment of bureaus (prikazi) with their secretaries and clerks. But most important and essential of all was the change in the dignity attaching to the grand prince, strongly to be felt and clearly visible in the actions of the deliberate Ivan Vasilievitch; the grand prince had become an autocratic sovereign. Even in his predecessors do we notice an approximation to this, but the first autocrat in the full sense of the word was Ivan Vasilievitch, and he became so especially after his marriage to Sophia. From that time all his activity was consistently and unswervingly consecrated to the strengthening of monarchy and autocracy.c
SUBJUGATION OF THE REPUBLICS
From the beginning of Ivan's reign there was no change in political policy; the old system of the gradual annihilation of the independent republican communities and appanaged princes continued, as well as the old waiting policy in regard to the Tatars, which was based on the exploitation of their internecine quarrels. Vasili had already prepared to deal the final blow to Novgorod, but had been prevented by the interference of Archbishop Jonas; and the inhabitants, remembering this, were in expectation of fresh action on the part of Moscow and sought support from other quarters. Such support could at that time be afforded them only by the grand prince of Lithuania, but it was difficult for the people of Novgorod to enter into relations with him, because such relations would have the signification of a betrayal of orthodoxy. This being well understood at Moscow, the rulers there hastened to forestall the danger: the grand prince wrote a letter to Archbishop Jonas, declaring to him that the Lithuanian metropolitan Gregory was a disciple of Isidore and a defender of the "unia," and that relations with him must not be entered into. In order to support the right on his side, the metropolitan of Moscow in the interests of Novgorod rejected the solicitations of the people of Pskov who wished to have a separate bishop; the grand prince himself left unheeded the insults shown to men of Moscow in Novgorod, and even the infringement of his ancient princely rights. Occupied in a war with Kazan, he only exchanged embassies with Novgorod.
Meanwhile the party in Novgorod which was hostile to Moscow became more and more rampant; the leaders of this party were the Boretski, the children of the dead burgomaster (posadnick). They were incited by their mother Martha, who as an "honourable widow" enjoyed great esteem; the Boretski were wealthy and had great influence in the vetché. At their instigation Prince Michael Olelkovitch, brother of Simon, prince of Kiev, was invited to come from Lithuania to Novgorod. Previously the Lithuanian princes that had been called upon to serve Novgorod had lived together