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Renaissance Prince

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Submitted By alaporta95
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How can a man, who played a part in the murders of 60,000 people, possibly be considered a “renaissance prince”? Those who ask this question are truly unaware of the definition of the said term. A ruler who is well educated, religious, and culturally diverse thoroughly qualifies for the title “renaissance prince”. Ivan the Terrible’s reign over Russian was full of contradiction, success and failure, but this has nothing to do with the unstable ruler being declared the aforementioned title. “Ivan himself characterized the “terrible” ruler” (Cherniavsky). Murdering thousands of people is most definitely a horrible thing to do, but doing so doesn’t disqualify a leader from falling under the definition of a “renaissance prince”. Ivan the Terrible’s interest in religion, culture, and education all help prove the point that the ruthless tsar was indeed, a “renaissance prince.”
As I mentioned earlier, being a “renaissance prince” had nothing to do with being a sane person, or having moral values. Religion played a major role in the definition of a “renaissance prince”, and coincidentally Ivan the Terrible was an extremely religious man. Ivan was a devout Christian, and had a huge adoration to God. Ivan ordered reforms to be made that would help further the growth of Christianity in Russia. Ivan would sometimes “go into fits of religious devotion, confessing his sins or banging his head against the floor with the same eagerness that he showed when slicing open live birds” ( He would also go to church and pray for the souls of the countless victims he murdered. “The image of the medieval rules was a consequence of his functions, and these, ideally, were quite simple - to render justice and defend the faith. His justice depended upon his closeness to God, and his defense of the faith upon his piety” (Cherniavsky). Ivan’s passion of religion not only helped unite Russia, but it also helps prove the fact that he is undeniably a “renaissance prince”.
Another trait of a “renaissance prince” was that a prince had to be well educated. Ivan the Terrible was an extremely intelligent, and skilled individual. Ivan was very smart when he was a young child, and he also loved to read. “The nineteen year-old ivan’s wisdom was certified by “Greek philosophers and Latin doctors” (Cherniavsky). At the time, it was not necessary for the elite to know more than how to read, and how write, but Ivan was literate in every sense of the word. Although he enjoyed doing strange things as a child, such as torturing, and killing animals, Ivan still gained an interest in literature and music. When Ivan grew older, people believed he was the most educated man in all of Russian. Ivan also had an extreme interest in the culture of Russia. His main goal as tsar was to ultimately make Russia powerful, and he did this in a vast number of ways. “He was responsible for centralizing the administration of Russia and expanding the boundaries of the Russian empire. He also established the empire in Siberia and promoted trade with various European countries, including England, France and Holland” ( Ivan’s ability to read and write, combined with a passion for Russian culture, confirm that he truly does have the core traits of a “renaissance prince.” As you can see, Ivan the Terrible surely fits the bill of a “renaissance prince”. Ivan holds all of the qualities needed to be considered a “renaissance prince”, and these traits all impacted his reign over Russia in one way or another. Although Ivan ruthlessly murdered thousands of people, his reign established the current Russian territory, and centralized government for centuries to come. Ivan’s interest in religion, education, and Russian culture provide us with the answer to a highly controversial question, that yes, Ivan the Terrible, was a “renaissance prince.”

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