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Video lecture on Ivan the Terrible and his age

19 March 2013

March 19, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Moscow time will take place the regular video lecture of the Presidential Library "Knowledge about Russia." The focus of scholars, teachers and students, as well as the Internet audience, watching the lectures and discussion live on the website, will be the reign of Ivan the Terrible, one of the most controversially interpreted periods of the Russian history, associated with the reign, about which there is no opinion over the centuries.

As "the point of support" for that time lecturers chose 450th anniversary of the Book of Royal Degrees, one of the religious and literary monuments of the age of Ivan IV. Doctor of History, Professor, Department of History, Political Science and Law of the Russian State Humanitarian University, the President of Russia’s prize winner in the field of science and innovation for young scientists in 2012, for his contribution to the study of Old Russian book-learning of the 16th century Andrey Usachev will speak on the "Book of Royal Degrees in book culture of the age of Metropolitan Macarius." Doctor of History, associate professor of the Faculty of History of St. Petersburg State University, 2009 winner of the Makariev Prize, Alexei Sirenov will disclose the theme, "450th anniversary of the Book of Royal Degrees."

The 16th century in the history of Russian culture is associated with many important events such as the start of printing and drawing facial Chronicles. Notable among them is "The Book of Degrees of the Royal Genealogy," which was drawn up on the initiative of Metropolitan Macarius by tsar’s confessor Andrew (future Metropolitan Athanasios) between 1560 and 1563. Sources for the compilation of the "Book of Degrees" were various monuments and works of Russian literacy, "Lives of the Saints," "The Tale of the Princes of Vladimir," "Tsar’s genealogy book", various chronographs and chronicles. Compositionally, "Book of Degrees" is divided into 17 facets and covers the period from Vladimir Svyatoslavich to Ivan IV Vasilyevich inclusive. The material is built on the pedigree of grand dukes and using "hagiographic" language, which served the purpose of glorifying the royal power. With the same purpose the text specially focuses on the succession of grand dukes of Moscow to the Roman emperors through the grand dukes of Kiev. The first publication of the "Book of Degrees" was undertaken by G. F. Miller in Moscow in 1755.

The Book of Degrees is interesting mostly as an ideological literature, which strengthened the task set by Ivan the Terrible to identify his rule with the continuation of deeds of great Roman dictators.

In his lecture Doctor of Historical Sciences, professor of the Faculty of History of St. Petersburg State University, Vyacheslav Shaposhnikov will tell in detail about the age and personality of Ivan the Terrible.