Rus Articles Journal

Why Russia is called the third Rome?

All of us got used that Russia is called the third Rome, without thinking of that from where this name originates. I asked about it my many acquaintances, but nobody could answer me this question distinctly. Strangely enough, do not teach it at school though these data are buttressed up quite concrete historic by facts.

So how it happened so what Russia began to be called by the third Rome? In the middle of the 15th century from the extensive Roman Empire there was only Byzantium which was called the second Rome, with the capital in Tsargrad - Constantinople.

The two-headed eagle was Konstantin Paleologa`s coat of arms - when he died during fight, it was identified on boots with eagles. After capture by Turks of Constantinople on May 29, 1453 the Byzantine empire fell, and the family of the emperor Konstantin XI Paleologa ran to Europe.

His niece Zoya who was born in 1455 got on education to the Pope Sikst IV who decided to marry her to the Moscow prince Ivan III with the purpose to impose to Russia Catholicism. For this purpose the girl was even renamed on orthodox custom into Sofya and put in order matchmakers to Ivan III - to suggest it to marry the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor.

Ivan III who succeeded to the grand-ducal throne in 1462, thought few years whether it is worth accepting the proposal of the father. Besides the Moscow metropolitan Philip was categorically against this marriage. But, when Ivan everything is agreed, this union had absolutely unexpected consequences …

In - the first, Sofya on the way to Moscow began to emphasize zealously the Orthodoxy, visiting all churches and being put to icons so about any Catholic influence on Russia there could not be also a speech. In - the second, she brought with itself a rich dowry, including library, a throne of the Byzantine emperor, several valuable icons and presented them to the Moscow temples.

And in - the third, the most important - it, the only heir of the Byzantine empire, transferred to the spouse the rights of the Byzantine sovereigns and the coat of arms - a two-headed eagle who was added with the coat of arms of Moscow - Georges the Victorious`s image. Having got married to Sofya in 1472, Ivan III got big advantage: it began to be considered as not just grand duke Moscow, and concerning the Byzantine empire that incredibly raised and strengthened his authority not only in Russia, but also in Europe.

“The main action of this marriage was the fact that Russia became more known in Europe which honored in Sofia the tribe of ancient emperors Byzantine and, so to speak, provozhdat it eyes to limits of our fatherland“, - the historian N. Karamzin told about Sofia Paleolog, the grand duchess Moscow.

The grand duchess Sofya developed rough activity in Moscow, having reconstructed the Kremlin for what invited the famous architects from Italy. Together with the spouse she accepted foreign ambassadors that was not accepted in those days, and tried to arrange government on the Byzantine sample.

Position of Russia became complicated the fact that it still rendered tribute Mongol - to Tatars, and the khan of the Golden Horde was considered as the Russian tsar. Historians claim that the grand duchess Sofya played not the last role that in 1478 Ivan III refused to pay a tribute, supporting him and strengthening in opinion that it now - the successor of the great empire, Russia - the third Rome and that is more useless to incline before Tatar - the Mongolian yoke.

Opposition of the Moscow principality and the Horde khan Ahmet became result of it that led to Ivan III`s victory and made him the autocrat who united Russian lands around Moscow.