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Ivan I

IVAN I, called Kalita, or Money-Bag (d. 1341), grand duke of Vladimir, was the first sobiratel,or" gatherer "of the scattered Russian lands, thereby laying the foundations of the future autocracy as a national institution. This he contrived to do by adopting a policy of complete subserviency to the khan of the Golden Horde, who, in return for a liberal and punctual tribute, permitted him to aggrandize himself at the expense of the lesser grand dukes. Moscow and Tver were the first to fall. The latter Ivan received from the hand of the khan, after devastating it with a host of 50,000 Tatars (1327). When Alexander of Tver fled to the powerful city of Pskov, Ivan, not strong enough to attack Pskov, procured the banishment of Alexander by the aid of the metropolitan, Theognost, who threatened Pskov with an interdict. In 1330 Ivan extended his influence over Rostov by the drastic methods of blackmail and hanging. But Great Novgorod was too strong for him, and twice he threatened that republic in vain. In 1340 Ivan assisted the khan to ravage the domains of Prince Ivan of Smolensk, who had refused to pay the customary tribute to the Horde. Ivan's own domains, at any rate during his reign, remained free from Tatar incursions, and prospered correspondingly, thus attracting immigrants and their wealth from the other surrounding principalities. Ivan was a most careful, not to say niggardly economist, keeping an exact account of every village or piece of plate that his moneybags acquired, whence his nickname. The most important event of his reign was the transference of the metropolitan see from Vladimir to Moscow, which gave Muscovy the pre-eminence over all the other Russian states, and made the metropolitan the ecclesiastical police-superintendent of the grand duke. The Metropolitan Peter built the first stone cathedral of Moscow, and his successor, Theognost, followed suit with three more stone churches. Simultaneously Ivan substituted stone walls for the ancient wooden ones of the KremT, or citadel, which made Moscow a still safer place of refuge.

See S. M. Solov'ev, History of Russia (Rus.), vol. ill. (St Petersburg, 1895); Polezhaev, The Principality of Moscow in the first half of the 14th Century (Rus.) (St Petersburg, 1878).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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