A mere mortal would not refer to himself as a god. But Ivan IV, Russia’s first Tsar, considered himself far superior to all others.
He was not alone in such thinking. After a famous battle, in which the Tsar and his forces defeated a longstanding enemy, the Russian people gave their leader a nickname. Translated into English, it means “terrible,” as in “dreaded” or “formidably awesome.” (Different interpretations, parenthetically, could have applied to the two halves of his reign.)
In this story about the legendary Tsar, meet Ivan the Terrible. Step back in time, to sixteenth-century Russia, to witness court intrigues, murder and other treachery. Learn how Russian nobles, called boyars, made life exceedingly difficult for the young prince and his brother. Take a virtual trip to Moscow to tour St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin.
Discover the calming effect his wife, Anastasia, had on Ivan - until she was killed. Learn why scholars believe her untimely death altered the course of history. See how recent scientific studies (on her remains, including her hair braid) prove she was poisoned (with mercury).
Discover how Ivan’s litany of terror and tears (in the second part of his reign) coexisted with his own madness. Learn how he killed his son (the crown prince) in a fit of rage over a senseless matter.
Examine primary evidence (from Queen Elizabeth's emissary) describing a man grown old before his time. Read how he treated himself (with a cauldron of boiling mercury) when aging brought constant pain which doctors could neither cure nor assuage. And ... learn what the Tsar did, near the end of his life, to attempt atonement for all the wrongs he had committed against his people.