Ivan the Great of Moscow

Ivan the Great of Moscow

Ivan the Great of Moscow

Ivan the Great of Moscow

Excerpt

W hen Ivan succeeded his father in 1462 the unification of the Muscovite state, though by now a foregone conclusion, was by no means complete. By the end of Vasily's reign the hegemony of Moscow over the other Great Russian principalities and states had been confirmed. But the principalities of Tver', Ryazan', Rostov and Yaroslavl', as well as the free cities of Novgorod, Pskov and Khlynov (Vyatka), technically owed no allegiance to the grand prince. Furthermore, the Russian lands in the south-west along the Dnepr and the upper reaches of the Oka were politically outside the sphere of Moscow's influence. A brief survey of the various Russian principalities and states as well as their external neighbours will perhaps help to clarify the political situation at the beginning of Ivan's reign and put into true perspective the internal and external problems which faced the grand prince on his accession.

A glance at the map will show the territorial extent of the grand principality of Moscow in 1462 -- that is, of the lands under the direct control of the grand prince and the appanages of his brothers. Apart from the lands bounded by the Volga in the north and the Oka in the south (excluding the wedge formed by the principalities of Tver', Yaroslavl' and Rostov) the territory of the grand prince extended far to the north in the old principalities of Beloozero, Kostroma and Galich, and north-east along the Sukhona river as far as the junction of the Northern Dvina and the Vychegda rivers, and including the city of Ustyug. In the east his lands stretched on both sides of the Volga as far as the rivers Vetluga and Sura in the old principality of Suzdal' -- Nizhny Novgorod. In the south the boundary was more or less the Oka . . .

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