16 Nov: Ivan vs Ivan

Why did Ivan The Terrible kill his son, Ivan? Ever since the day he supposedly brought a sceptre crashing down upon his head – 16th November, 1581 – this question has divided people. Did he suspect his son of a plot to overthrow him? Was he sexually assaulting his daughter-in-law? Was the whole tale dreamt up as a Catholic plot?

It’s a controversy that remains a live issue in Russia, resulting in Ilya Repin’s iconic painting ‘Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan’ being vandalized not once, but twice; and a campaign, supported by no less than Vladimir Putin, to restore Ivan’s reputation as, um… ‘Ivan the Not-So Terrible’?

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the various theories surrounding this much-debated event; question if an arthritic quinquagenarian was capable of such physical brutality; and expose Ivan’s lesser-known poetic qualities… 

CONTENT WARNING: graphic descriptions of murder

Further Reading:

• ‘What Was So Terrible About Ivan the Terrible?’ (HowStuffWorks, 2020): https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/ivan-terrible.htm#:~:text=The%20boyars%20were%20clannish%20landowners%2C%20upper-crust%20types%20who,It%20was%20a%20sign%20of%20things%20to%20come.

• ‘Russia’s first monument to Ivan the Terrible inaugurated’ (The Guardian, 2016): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/14/russias-first-monument-to-ivan-the-terrible-inaugurated

• ‘Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan’ (The Canvas, 2019):

#Russia #1500s