A briefe Treatise of the great Duke of Moscouia his genealogie, being taken out of the Moscouites manuscript Chronicles written by a Polacke.
It hath almost euer bene the custome of nations, in searching out the infancie and first beginnings of their estate, to ascribe the same vnto such authors as liued among men in great honour and endued mankinde with some one or other excellent benefite. Nowe, this inbred desire of all nations to blaze and set foorth their owne petigree hath so much preuayled with the greater part, that leauing the vndoubted trueth, they haue betaken themselues vnto meere fables and fictions. Yea and the Chronicles of many nations written in diuers and sundrie ages doe testifie the same. Euen so the Grecians boasted that they were either Autocthones, that is earthbredde, or els lineally descended from the Gods. And the Romans affirme that Mars was father vnto their first founder Romulus. Right well therefore and iudicially sayth Titus Liuius: Neither meane I to auouch (quoth he) ne to disable or confute those thinges which before the building and foundation of the Citie haue beene reported, being more adorned and fraught with Poeticall fables then with incorrupt and sacred monuments of trueth: antiquitie is it to be pardoned in this behalfe, namely in ioyning together matters historicall and poeticall, to make the beginnings of cities to seeme the more honourable. For sith antiquity it selfe is accompted such a notable argument of true nobility, euen priuate men in all ages haue contended thereabout. Wherefore citizens of Rome being desirous to make demonstration of their Gentrie, vse to haue their auncestors armes painted along the walles of their houses: in which regarde they were so puffed vp, that oftentimes they would arrogantly disdaine those men, which by their owne vertue had attained vnto honour. In like sorte Poets, when the originall of their woorthies and braue champions was either vtterly vnknowen or somewhat obscure, would ofte referre it vnto their Gods themselues. So in these our dayes (to lette passe others) the Turkish Emperour with great presumption boasteth himselfe to bee descended of the Troian blood. Likewise the great duke of Moscouie, to make himselfe and his predecessours seeme the more souereigne, deriueth the beginnings of his parentage from the Romane Emperours, yea euen from Augustus Caesar. Albeit therefore no man is so fonde as to accept of this report for trueth, yet will wee briefly set downe what the Moscouites haue written in their Chronicles as touching this matter.
Augustus (beleeue it who listeth) had certaine brethren or kinsfolkes which were appoynted gouenours ouer diuers prouinces. Amongst the rest one Prussus (of whome Prussia was named) had his place of gouernment assigned vnto him vpon the shore of the eastern or Balthick Sea, and vpon the famous riuer of Wixel. This mans graund children or nephewes of the fourth generation were Rurek, Sinaus, and Truuor, who likewise inhabited in the very same places. Whereas therefore, at the very same time the Russians or the Moscquites without any ciuill regiment possessed large and spacious territories towards the north, the foresayd three brethren, vpon the perswasion of one Gostomislius the chiefe citizen of Nouogrod, in the yeare since the worldes creation (acording to the computation of the Greekes) 6370, which was in the yeare of our Lord 572, were sent for, to beare rule. And so ioyning their kinsman Olechus vnto them, and diuiding these huge countreys among themselues, they laboured to reduce the barbarous and sauage people vnto a ciuill kinde of life.
Sinaus and Truuor deceasing without issue, Rurek succeeded and left a sonne behinde him named Igor; who not being of sufficient yeres to beare rule, was committed vnto the protection of his kinsman Olechus. The sayde Igor begate of Olha daughter vnto a citizen of Plesco (who, after her husbande was slaine by his enemies, taking her iourney to Constantinople, was there baptized by the name of Helena) a sonne called Stoslaus, who fought many battels with the neighbour countreys. Howbeit at length Stoslaus was slayne by his foe, who making a drinking cup of his skull, engraued therupon in golden letters this sentence: Seeking after other mens he lost his owne. He left behind him three sonnes, namely Teropolchus, Olega, and Vulodimir. The which Vulodimir hauing slaine his two brethren, became sole gouernour of Russia, or (as the Moscouites call it) Rosseia, his owne selfe. This man beginning at length to loath and mislike the ethnik religion, and the multitude of false gods, applyed his minde vnto the religion of Christ, and hauing taken to wife Anna sister vnto Basilius and Constantinus Emperours of Constantinople, was together with his whole nation, in the yeare of Christ 988. baptized, and imbraced the Christian religion, with the rites and ceremonies of the Greeke Church, and his name being changed, he was called Basilius.
Howbeit Zonoras reporteth that before the time of Vulodimir, Basilius Emperour of Constantinople sent a bishop vnto the Russians, by whose meanes they were conuerted vnto the Christian faith. He reporteth moreouer that they would not be perswaded vnlesse they might see a miracle: whereupon the said bishop hauing made his prayers vnto almighty God, threwe the booke of the Euangelists into the fire, which remained there vnconsumed. And that by this miracle they were moued to giue credits vnto the doctrine of Christ, and to conforme themselues thereunto.
The sonnes of Vulodimir were Vuiseslaus, Isoslaus, Iaroslaus, Suatopolcus, Borissus, Glebus, Stoslaus, Vulzeuolodus, Stanislaus, Sudislaus, and Podius who died in his childhood. Amongst the residue all Russia was diuided by their father, who not being contented with their portions, but inuading each other, were most of them slaine by their mutuall contentions. Borissus and Glebus in regard of their holy conuersation were registred for Saints, whose feasts are euery yeere celebrated with great solemnitie vpon the twelfth of Nouember.
At length Iaroslaus only got the Souvereigne authoritie into his owne hands, and left behind him foure sonnes, Vvlodimir, Isoslauus, Weceslauus, and Vuszeuolodus.
The foresaid Vulodimir sonne of Iaroslaus kept his residence at the ancient citie of Kiow standing vpon the riuer of Boristhenes, and after diuers conflicts with his kinsmen, hauing subdued all the prouinces vnto himselfe, was called Monomachos, that is, the onely champion. This man (for I thinke it not amisse to report those things which their owne Manuscript Chronicles make mention of) waged warre against Constantine the Emperour of Constantinople, when he had wasted and ouerrun Thracia, being returned home with great and rich spoyles, and making preparation for new wars, Constantine sent Neophytus the Metropolitane of Ephesus and two Bishops, with the gouernour of Antiochia, and Eustaphius the Abbat of Ierusalem, to present rich and magnificent gifts vnto him; as namely, part of the crosse of Sauiour Christ, a crowne of gold, a drinking cup curiously made of Sardonyx stone, a cloake set all ouer with precious stones, and a golden chaine; commaunded them to salute him by the name of Czar (which name, as it may be prooued by many arguments, signifieth a king, and not an Emperour) and concluded a most inuiolable league of amity and friendship with him.
The foresayd Vulodimir begate Vuszeuolodus the second. This Vuszeuolodus lefte eight sonnes behind him, Miscislaus, Isoslaus, Stoslaus, Teropolcus, Weceslaus, Romanus, Georgius, and Andrew. The sonnes of George were Roseslaus, Andrew, Basilius, and Demetrius.
Demetrius begat George, in the yeere 1237. was slaine by one Bathy, a Tartarian duke, which Bathy wasted Moscouia, and subdued the same vnto himselfe. Since which time the Russians were tributary to the Tartars, and were gouerned by such dukes as they pleased to set ouer them. Howbeit the Tartars so greatly abused that authoritie, that when they sent their ambassadours vnto the prince of Moscouie, he was constrained to goe forth and meete with them, and (as Herbortus Fulstinius in his Polonian historie reporteth) to offer them a bason full of mares milke, and if they had spilt any whit thereof vpon their horses maines, to licke it off with his toung, and hauing conducted them into his princely court, to stand bareheaded before them while they sate downe, and with all reuerence to giue eare and attendance vnto them. But by what meanes they shooke off at the length this yoake of seruitude, I will forthwith declare.
About the same time almost all Polonia, and the dukedome of Silesia were ouerrun by the Tartars with fire and sword. Who hauing burnt Presla the chiefe citie of Silesia, and being come before the citie of Legnitz, they fought there a most cruel and bloody field, wherin was slain Duke Henrie himselfe being sonne vnto the most holy and deuout lady Heduice, with many others, whose monuments and graues be as yet extant in sundry places, and with an infinite multitude of common souldiers, insomuch that the Tartars filled nine great sackes with the eares of them which they had slaine. The Tartars to the end they might obtaine the victorie, presented vnto the view of our souldiers the portrature of a mans head placed by arte magique vpon a banner, wherein the letter X. was painted, which being shaken and mooued vp and downe breathed foorth a most loathsome stench, and strooke such a terrour into the hearts of our men, that being as it were astonished with the snaky visage of Medusa, they were vtterly daunted and dismayed.
From thence Bathy and his company with the same bloodthirstie intent marched into Hungarie, and had almost slaine king Bela the fourth, who together with his sonne escaping by flight did scarcely ridde themselues out of the enemies hand. And when the whole world almost was exceedingly terrified at the cruel inuasions of this most barbarous nation, at length Pope Innocentius the fourth sending ambassadours These ambassadours were Iohan. de Plano Carpini and Frier Benedict a Polonian. vnto Bathy obtained peace for fiue yeeres: but to forsake his heathenish superstitions and to become a Christian, he would by no meanes bee perswaded. For he was by the instigation of the Saracens infected with deuilish opinions of Mahomet, as being more agreeable vnto his barbarous rudenes, which euen vnto this day the Tartars do maintaine, like as the prophane Turkes also.
This Bathy had a sonne called Tamerlan, whome the Mosoouites call Temirkutla, who likewise, as it is recorded in histories, attained vnto great renoume. For he caried about with him in a cage Baiazet the Turkish Emperour being fettered in golden chaines, and made him a laughing stocke vnto all men.
Let vs now retume vnto the Russians. George being slaine, Iaroslaus his brother succeeded in his room, and left behinde him three sonnes, Theodorus, Alexander, and Andreas. Daniel the sonne of Alexander first established his royal seat in the citie of Mosco, and magnificently building the Castle which before time had been obscure, he tooke vpon him the title of the great Duke of Russia. He had fiue sonnes, namely, George, Alexander, Borissus, Ophonias, and Iohn. This Iohn succeeded his father, and because he continually caried a scrippe about with him to bestow almes, he was sirnamed Kaleta, which word signifieth a scrippe. His sonnes were, Simeon, Iohn, and Andrew. He gaue vnto his sonne Simeon the prouinces of Vvlodimiria and Moscouia: which Simeon deceasing without issue his brother Iohn succeeded, who begate a son called Demetrius. This Demetrius had seuen sonnes, namely, Daniel, Basilius, George, Andrew, Peter, Iohn, and Constantine. Basilius reigned after his fathers death. This man disinheriting his sonne whiche was called after his owne name; because he suspected his mother of adulterie, at his death surrendred his Dukedome vnto his brother George, who kept his nephewe a long time in prison. Howbeit at his death, though himselfe had two sonnes namely Andrew and Demetrius, yet being stricken perhaps with remorse of conscience, he bestowed the Dukedome vpon his nephew Basilius. Against whom his two cousins bearing a grudge waged warre, and at length hauing taken him by a wyly stratageme they put out his eyes. Notwithstanding the Boiarens (for so the Moscouites call their nobles) continued their duetifull alleageance vnto this their blinde Duke, whom for his blindnes they called Cziemnox, that is to, say, darke or darkened. He left a sonne behind him called Iuan Vasilowich who brought the Russian common wealth, being before his time but obscure, vnto great excellencie and renowme. Who that he might the better get all the superiority into his owne hands put to death so many sonnes and nephewes of the former Dukes as he could lay hold on, and began to take vpon him the title of the great Duke of Vvlodimiria, Moscouia, and Nouogardia, and to cail himself the Monarch or Czar of all Russia. He brought vnder his subiection two principall cities, namely Plesco being the only walled citie in all Moscouie, and Mouogrod [sic.], both of them being in regard of traffike most riche and flourishing cities, and hauing bin subiect vnto the Lithuanians for the space of 50. yeeres before. The treasure of Nouogrod was so exceeding, that the great Duke is reported to haue carried home from thence 300. carts laden with gold and siluer.
He also was the first man that waged warre against the Polonians and the Liuonians: against Polonia he pretended a quarell alleaging that his daughter Helena (whome hee had married vnto Alexander the great Duke of Lithuania, which was afterward king of Polonia) was euil intreated, and was withdrawen from the Greekish religion vnto the ceremonies of the Church of Rome. But against the Liuonians for none other cause, but onely for an incredible desire of enlarging his dominions. Howbeit what impulsiue causes of litle or no moment happened in the mean season, we will in another place more plainely declare. Notwithstanding he was very often and in diuers battels vanquished by Plettebergius the great master of the Dutch knights: but it is not to the purpose to stand any longer vpon this discourse.
He was married first vnto Marie the Duke of Tyuersky his daughter, and of her hee begate Iohn, vnto whom in his life time he surrendred his Dukedome, and married him vnto the daughter of Stephan the Palatine of Moldauia: which Iohn, after he had begotten his sonne Demetrius, deceased before his father.
Afterward Iuan Vasilowich aforesaide married a wife called Sophia being daughter vnto Thomas Palælogus, which is reported to haue had her dowry out of the Popes treasury, because the Moscouite had promised to conforme himselfe vnto the Romish Church. This Sophia being a woman of a princely and aspiring minde, and often complaining that she was married vnto the Tartars vassal, at length by her instant intreatie and continual perswasions, and by a notable stratageme she cast off that slauish yoke very much vnbeseeming so mighty a prince. For whereas the Tartarian Duke had his procuratours and agents in the Moscouites court, who dwelt in their owne houses built within the very castle of Mosco, and were eye witnesses of all affaires which were there performed: Sophia said she was admonished from heauen to builde a Temple in the selfe same place where the Tartars house stoode, and to consecrate it vnto Saint Nicholas. Being therfore deliuered of a sonne she inuited the Tartarian Duke vnto the solemne baptizing of him, and beeing come, shee requested him to giue her his house, and obtained it at his hands. Which house being razed and those Tartarians espials beeing excluded, the Tartars at length were quite bereaued and vtterly dispossessed of their authoritie which they had exercised ouer the Russians for many yeres, and could neuer yet recouer it; albeit they haue giuen sundry attempts. Of his wife Sophia he begate sixe children, namely, a daughter called Helena, and fiue sonnes, that is to say, Gabriel, Demetrius, George, Simeon, and Andrew.
The Dukedome of right appertayned vnto Demetrius the sonne of Iohn, which was the sonne of Vasilowich by his first marriage. Howbeit Sophia preuailed so with her husband, that neglecting his graund-childe Demetrius, hee bestowed his Dukedome vpon Gabriel his sonne.
Andrew the younger had a sonne called Vvlodmir, of whom Mary was borne, which in the yeere of Christ 1573, was maried vnto Magnus the Duke of Holst.
Gabriel hauing obtained the great dukedome of Russia, changed his name calling himselfe Basilius, and applied his minde to the atchieuing of high and great enterprises. For hee reduced a great part of the dukedome of Moscouie, which Vitoldus the great Duke of Lithuania helde in possession, vnder his owne iurisdiction, and wonne vpon the riuer of Boristhenes (which the Russians call Neiper) many cities and especially Smolensco, in the yeere of our Lord 1514. Hauing diuorced his first wife, hee begate of Helena daughter vnto Duke Glinskie, Iuan Vasilowich, which now this present 1580. reigneth as great Duke. He was borne in the yeere of our Lorde 1528. the 25. of August, sixe houres after the rising of the sonne. The great dukedome of Russia fell vnto the said Iuan Vasilowich in the fifth yeere of his age, hauing his vncle George for his great protector; being 25. yeeres of age, and being of a strong body and of a courageous mind he subdued the Tartars of Cazan and Astracan vpon the riuer of Volgha, carrying their Dukes and chieftaines into captiuitie.
But by what wayes and meanes (after the league which by the intercession of the most sacred Roman Emperour, continued from the yeere 1503. for the space of fifty yeeres, was expired) hauing renewed warres against Liuonia, hee brought that most flourishing prouince into extreame miserie, vsing for the same purpose a new pretense, and alleadging that it belonged vnto him by right of inheritance, I tremble to recount: and it requireth a large historie, which perhaps in time and place conuenient some more learned then my selfe will take vpon them to addresse.
He is exceedingly addicted vnto piety and deuotion, and doth oftentimes obserue very strict fastings and abstinence with his monks: and whereas the Russes in doing reuerence and adoration vnto God doe beate their foreheads against the ground, this Iuan Vasilowich with performing of the same ceremonie causeth his forehead to be ful of boines and swellings, and sometimes to be black and blew, and very often to bleed. He is much delighted with building of Churches and spareth no cost for that purpose. Whether therfore by nature, or (which hee pretendeth to bee the cause) by reason of his subiects malice and treacherie, he be so addicted vnto all rigour and cruelty, I dare not determine, especially sithens he hath not an illiberal or mishapen countenance, as Attila is reported, to haue had. Of his first wife which was sister vnto Mikita Romanowich, beeing nowe great steward of his houshold, he begate two sonnes, namely Iuan and Theodore. And albeit he was fiue times married, yet had he not one childe more.
Whereas this Iuan Vasilowich vpon certaine friuolous reasons calleth himselfe the naturall lord of Liuonia, I thought it not amisse to adde an Epistle hereunto, which was written by a certaine honourable man concerning the same matter.
S. All we which inhabite this Prouince with all seemely reuerence and submission of mind, do offer most humble thanks vnto the Emperors most sacred and peerelesse maiesty our most gracious lord, in that according to his fatherly affection which he beareth towards all Christendome, and for the good and commodity of this our distressed and afflicted countrey, which these many yeres hath bin in stead of a bulwarke against the inuasion of barbarous nations, he hath sent his ambassadors vnto the great duke of Moscouia. In regard of which his fatherly loue and great benefite vouchsafed on vs, wee are ready when occasion shall serue, to aduenture our liues and goods; praying in the meane season vnto Almightie God, who is the onely establisher and confounder of common wealths, to bring this excellent woorke, the foundation whereof is already laide vnto a prosperous conclusion. But as touching the title which the Moscouite maketh to this prouince, to say the very trueth, we greatly wondred and were astonished at the declaration thereof. For it is most apparent, not onely out of all ancient and credible histories, but euen from the experience and state of these regions, that the said title and allegations are fabulous and fained. For out of all auncient monuments, by what names soeuer they bee called (whereof there are diuers extant among vs) it cannot be proued by any mention, nor yet by any likelihoode or coniecture, that those things which the Moscouite affirmeth concerning the people which were gouernors of these regions in times past, and concerning the right and title of his ancestors vnto this prouince, are grounded vpon truth.
For it is not vnknowen by what meanes this prouince, partly through the industry of marchants, and partly by the benefite of nauigation, was first discouered: neither is it vnknowen howe the inhabitants thereof beeing wholly addicted vnto heathenish superstitions and idolatrie, were by the croised159 knights (who drew other knights professing the same order in Prussia to aide and accompanie them in this their enterprise) and that with great labour and difficultie, conuerted vnto the Christian faith: when as at the same time the Liuonians had no knowledge at all of the iurisdiction, religion, maners, or language of Moscouie: who had not onely no conuersation nor dealings with the Moscouites, but were estranged also from all other nations whatsoeuer: for leading a miserable, poore, barbarous, and heathenish life, in sauage maner among wilde beastes, and in the desert and solitary woods, they were vtterly ignorant of God and destitute of ciuil magistrates. Howbeit this kind of gouernment was peculiar vnto them, namely that all of one familie and society vsed a kinde of reuerence vnto their elders more then to any other, whom also, that their authoritie might be the greater, they called by the name of kings, and (albeit one of their families consisted of a 100 persons) they obeyed them in al respects, and after their rude and barbarous maner did them loyal seruice. At the very same time the Moscouites had receiued the religion, and the Ecclesiasticall ceremonies of the Greeke and Easterne Church, which religion they published and dispersed throughout all prouinces subiect to their dominion, vsing their owne proper letters and characters for the same purpose. Of all which things the Liuonians which very barbarously inhabited a lande beeing enuironed with Russia, Lithuania, Samogitia, Prussia, and the Balthic Sea, neuer heard any report at all. It is moreouer to be noted that neuer at any time heretofore either within the earth, or in other places of Liuonia, there haue bene found any monuments at all of the antiquitie or letters of the Russes: which verily must needs haue come to passe, if the Moscouites, Russes, or any other nations which vse the foresaid particulars, had borne rule and authority ouer the Liuonians: yea there had beene left some remainder and token, either of their religion and diuine worship, or of their lawes and customes, or at the least of their maners, language, and letters. This indeed we can in no wise deny, that euen in Liuonia it selfe, there haue bin in times past and at this present are many and diuers languages spoken by the people. Howbeit no one language of them all hath any affinity either with the Moscouian tongue, or with the tongues of any other nations. But whereas the Moscouite pretendeth that there hath been visually paide a pension or tribute vnto himselfe and his predecessours out of the whole prouince, it is as incredible as the former.
About the beginning of this tragicall warre, the Moscouite, to cloke his tyranny and ambition vnder some faire pretense amongst other of his demaunds, made mention also of a tribute which should be due vnto him out of the bishop of Dorpat his iurisdiction, whereof notwithstanding hee could neither bring any iust account, nor affirm any certainty: howbeit there is no man liuing to be found which either can tell of his owne remembrance, or from the relation of others, that any such tribute was euer paid vnto the Moscouite. What time therefore he referred al this negotiation vnto the master of the Liuonian order, and commanded him to get what knowledge hee could therof from the men of Dorpat, and vrged the tribute, saying if it were worth but one haire, that he would not remit it: at length it was found recorded in the ancient Chronicles of Dorpat, that beyond the memory of man, when the territory of Plesco contained nothing but woods and forrests for wilde beastes, that the peasaunts of the liberty of Dorpat called Neuhus, by the consent of the Russian borderers, enioyed Bee hiues in the said woods, and paid euery yeere in lieu thereof vnto the Russian gouernours, sixe shillings of Liuonian coine. But so soone as the Russians had felled the woods and had built townes and villages in their place, the saide pension ceased together with the trees which were cut downe. Wherefore the saide sixe shillings were neuer since that time either demanded by the Russes or paid by the Liuonians. These things which I knew concerning the causes of the Liuonian warres I thought good to signifie vnto you. Giuen the 22. of May, in the yeere of our Lord 1576.
159Croised: wearing the cross, Crusaders,
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