Ivan the Terrible
1533-1584 Tsar of Russia.
Ivan was the first crowned tsar of Russia. He centralized power and laid foundations to the tsardom as we know it today. His reign saw the massacre of the Russian people on an unimaginable scale.
When Ivan’s father Vasily III divorced his wife to marry Elena Glinskaya, the Patriarch of Jerusalem warned that his people would see fear and tears. Ivan, who was born in 1530, would come to be known during his own lifetime as Ivan the Terrible (Grozny).
Ivan came to the throne at the age of 3. His mother Elena acted as a regent. There was a constant struggle for power. She died in 1538, supposedly from poisoning.
Ivan had a volatile character, a combination of piety and sadism. He used to torture animals for amusement and drive around town beating up ordinary people.
In 1547, Ivan IV was crowned the first tsar of Russia by Metropolite Macari. A few weeks later, he married Anastasia Romanova, who had won a beauty contest.
After Anastasia’s death in 1560, possibly by poisoning, Ivan became exceedingly distrustful of his boyars. That lead to the period of the Oprichnina.
Despite having married seven times, he ended up with no proper heir. In 1582, Ivan murdered his son and heir Ivan in a fit of rage. The tsar had attacked his son’s pregnant wife, and when the son interfered, Ivan struck him down with his scepter. Later, he deeply regretted his deed.
The day of Ivan’s death had been foreseen by mystics who he had asked to foretell his future. He died in 1584.