Google+

Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Mysteries of Russian monarchs

Mysteries of monarchs

Mysteries of monarchs

Why did the eagle appear on the seal of Ivan III? Did Ivan the Terrible kill his son? The history of Russian monarchs is full of mysteries.

Who was Rurik?
Historians have not agreed on the fact who was Rurik. According to some sources, he could be a Danish Viking Jutland or Swede Eirik Emundarson. Is there a Slavic version of Rurik’s origin? The historian of the XIX century Stapan Gedeonov linked the name of Prince with the word “Rerek” (or “Rarog”), which meant falcon in Slavic tribe Obodrits. During the excavation of the early settlements of the Rurik dynasty many images of this bird were found.

Rurik

Did Svyatopolk kill Boris and Gleb?
Svyatopolk Damned was one of the main “anti-heroes” of ancient Russia. He is considered to be a murder of Prince Boris and Gleb in 1015. Folk etymology connects Svyatopolk’s nickname with the name Cain. However, his name was not removed from the list of generic names until the middle of the XII century.
Some historians, such as Nikolai Ilyin, believe that Svyatopolk could not kill Boris and Gleb, since they recognized his right to the throne. According to him, the young princes were victims of Yaroslav the Wise, who claimed to the throne of Kiev.

Where are the remains of Yaroslav the Wise?

Yaroslav the Wise

Yaroslav the Wise

Yaroslav the Wise, son of Vladimir the Baptist, was buried on February 20, 1054 in Kiev in the marble tomb of St. Clement.
In 1936, the sarcophagus was opened and there were a few mixed remains: men, women, and several bones of the child. In 1939 they were sent to Leningrad, where scientists from the Institute of Anthropology found that one of the three skeletons belong to Yaroslav the Wise. However, it remained a mystery who owned the other remains, and how they got there. According to one version, the only wife of Yaroslav, Scandinavian Princess Ingegerd, was in the tomb. But what about the child?
With the advent of DNA technology, Yaroslav’s remains – the oldest surviving remains of the Ruriks, had to “answer” a few questions. The main of which – was Rurik Scandinavian or Slavic?
On September 10, 2009 remains of the Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise were gone and there was a completely different skeleton. It turned out that there were the remains of women – two skeletons dated from very different time!
Who were the women? How did their remains appear in sarcophagus? Where are Yaroslav’s remains? It is still a mystery.

Why is Muslim ligature on the helmet of Alexander Nevsky?

helmet of Alexander Nevsky

Helmet of Alexander Nevsky

Arabic script (verses from the Koran) decorates the helmet of Alexander Nevsky. During countless tests and examinations, it was found that the helmet was forged in the East in the XVII century.
The helmet of Ivan the Terrible and other well-born persons of medieval Russia were decorated with the Arabic script.

Why did the eagle appear on Ivan III’s seal?

double-headed eagle

Double-headed eagle

The double-headed eagle in Russia first appeared on the state seal of the Grand Prince Ivan III in 1497. Historians almost categorically say that an eagle appeared in Russia thanks to Sophia Palaeologus, niece of the last Byzantine emperor and wife of Ivan III. But why the Grand Duke decided to use the eagle only two decades later, no one explains.
It is interesting that at the same times in Western Europe, the two-headed eagle came into vogue among alchemists. The authors of alchemical writings put an eagle on their books as a sign of quality. The double-headed eagle meant that the author received the Philosopher’s Stone, which could turn other metals into gold. The fact that Ivan III gathered around him foreign architects, engineers, doctors, who certainly practiced fashionable alchemy, indirectly proves that the king had an idea about the essence of “feathered” symbol.

Did Ivan the Terrible kill his son?

Ilya Repin. Ivan the Terrible kills his son, 1885

Ilya Repin. Ivan the Terrible kills his son, 1885

It is highly controversial fact that Ivan Vasilyevich killed his heir. In 1963 the tomb of Ivan the Terrible and his son were opened in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. Research had argued that Prince was poisoned. Interestingly, the same poison was found in the bones of his father. Scientists have concluded that the members of the royal family were victims of poisoners for several decades.
Ivan the Terrible did not kill his son. Version of the murder was based on the stories of the papal legate Antonio Possevino.
When the chief procurator of the Holy Synod, Konstantin Pobedonostsev saw the Repin’s famous painting at the exhibition he was outraged and wrote to Emperor Alexander III: “You cannot call this picture historical, it is pure fiction.”

Why did Ivan the Terrible move to the Alexandrovskaya Sloboda?
Tsar’s move to the Alexandrovskaya Sloboda became an unprecedented event in Russian history. In fact, it was the capital of Russia for almost 20 years. The best architects, painters, musicians also came to the Alexandrovskaya Sloboda. The first prototype of the conservatory was created there.

Where is the library of Ivan the Terrible?
According to the legend Ivan the Terrible took his library with him to Alexandrovskaya Sloboda. Another hypothesis says that Ivan hid it in the Kremlin. After the reign of Ivan the Terrible library disappeared. There are many versions of the disappearance. First: the priceless manuscripts were burned in a Moscow fire. The second: the library was taken to the West and sold piece by piece during the Polish occupation of Moscow. The third version: the Poles had really found the library, but ate it in the Kremlin because of hunger.

Why did Ivan the Terrible abdicate?
In 1575, Ivan the Terrible abdicated the throne and made Tatar Khan Simeon Bekbulatovich the ruler. His contemporaries did not understand the meaning of the change. There was a rumor that the emperor was afraid of the magician’s prediction. Magi told him that in that year Moscow tsar would die. Ivan even called himself “slave Ivashka”. Of course, Simeon was not a real king and ruled only for 11 months. Then Ivan came back and presented him with Tver and Torzhok, where Simeon died in 1616.

Was False Dmitry “false”?

False Dmitry

False Dmitry

We have already accepted that fugitive monk Grishka Otrepyev was False Dmitry I. The idea that “it was easier to save than to fake Dimitry” expressed the famous Russian historian Nikolai Kostomarov.
In fact, it looks very surreal that at first Dmitry was recognized by the mother, princes, nobles and after some time all of a sudden saw the light. And the prince himself was fully convinced in his naturalness. Was it schizophrenia or he had reasons?

Who murdered Tsarevich Dmitry?
If Dmitry died what caused his death? On May 25, 1591 Prince threw knives with other children and killed himself. They said it was an accident. However, the official version is still not satisfied the historians. The death of the last sovereign of the Rurik dynasty opened the way to the kingdom of Boris Godunov, which actually was a ruler of the country even during Fedor Ioannovich’s life. By that time Godunov had a reputation of “prince murderer”, but it did not bother him much. Through artful manipulation he still was elected the king.

Peter I was replaced?

Peter I

Peter I

Many Russian boyars thought that Peter I was replaced when he returned from Europe, where he spent 15 months. Attentive persons noticed that the king became taller and the size of his feet became much smaller. According to one version, Peter was bricked up in the wall and similar impostor was sent to Russia instead of the tsar. According to another – “the tsar was put into the barrel and launched into the sea”. There were also rumors that the tsar was replaced in his infancy.

Who was Paul I?
Emperor Paul I inadvertently continued the tradition of generating rumors around the house of the Romanovs. The rumors that the real father of Paul I was not Peter III but the first favorite of the Grand Duchess Catherine I, Count Sergey Saltykov, spread immediately after the birth of the heir. There was a folk legend about his birth. According to it, Catherine gave birth to a dead child and he was replaced by a “chukhonsky” boy.

When did Alexander I die?

Alexander I

Alexander I

There is a legend that Alexander I left the throne, falsified his own death and wandered in Russia under the name of Fyodor Kuzmich. There are some indirect evidences of the legend. So, the witnesses concluded that on his deathbed, Alexander was absolutely not like himself. In addition, for unclear reasons, the Empress Elizabeth Alexeevna, wife of the tsar, did not participate in the funeral ceremony. Famous Russian lawyer Anatoly Koni studied handwriting of the emperor and Fyodor Kuzmich and concluded that “the emperor’s letter and Fyodor’s notes were written by the same man.”