Simeon Ioannovich was the eldest son of the great Russian prince Ivan Kalita, born of marriage with Princess Elena, his first wife. The future sovereign of all Russia was born on the day of Saint Sozonta, 7 of September of 1316, thanks to which in some official papers that have come down to our times, he calls himself by that very name. From his father, Simeon inherited a practical mindset, and from the famous great-grandfather, Alexander Nevsky, - the gift of commander. But over the years, time itself has already increased its craving for tough and decisive methods of government.
Up until the death of his father, while still quite young, Simeon ruled in Nizhny Novgorod. Despite the documentary evidence of eyewitnesses to the funeral of Kalita, saying that "all the men of Moscow, princes and boyars" mourned the loss of their lord, it should be noted that during his lifetime Ivan Danilovich amassed a huge amount of both ardent enemies and simple detractors. His unbridled desire to expand his possessions, strengthen the power and enrich the treasury, accompanied by tough and sometimes frankly violent methods, led to the fact that after the death of 31 in March 1340, the whole of Vladimirskaya Russia opposed the ascension to the throne of Kalita's main heir - Simeon Ioannovich .
According to the testament, Ivan Kalita divided his possessions among his three sons. Kolomna and Mozhaisk departed to Simeon (as well as about twenty-four smaller towns and villages), Ivan received Zvenigorod and Ruza, and Andrei could freely command in Serpukhov. Kalita, the second wife of Ulyana, who bore him two daughters, Fedosya and Maria, singled out separate volosts. Ivan Danilovich, on equal terms, wisely passed over Moscow to all three sons, all of whom had their deputies there and received a third of the total share of the income, and the contract between the brothers was immediately after the funeral of the parent. However, soon the most capable and talented of all heirs, Simeon Ioannovich, managed to concentrate almost all power in the city in his own hands, continuing the policy of his father. Contemporaries characterized him as a self-righteous and strict ruler, a little resembling a father, who was more restrained and cautious in the conduct of affairs. It was for his rampant and love of freedom that the Grand Duke received the stories nickname - Proud.
The main person at that time, determining who should be deprived of power, and whom to put at the head of the principalities in Russia was the Tatar Uzbek Khan, keeping all the Slavic lands in submission. After the death of Kalita, the main contenders for his place - two Constantine, the princes of Tver and Suzdal, immediately rushed to the Horde with a petition. I went to bow to the khan and Simeon the Proud. Khan accepted him affably. It should be noted that during the considered historical period, the lords of the Horde changed their policy of conquest to a full and satisfying life, fueled by numerous tributes, as well as gifts collected from the conquered lands. If we consider the situation from this position, then it was difficult for anyone to compete with the capabilities of Simeon Ivanovich, in whose hands the principal principalities were actually located. After several months of deliberation and persuasion of Khan Simeon Ioannovich became the owner of the label, giving him the right to sovereignly own all the Russian lands and rule the rest of the princes. Getting the title of "Grand Duke of All Russia" also meant that he managed to rise above his father. The dedication ceremony took place in the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir on the feast of the Intercession of October 1, where Simeon was presented with the main symbol of the princely power - the Monomakh hat. By that time, the Moscow princedom was already quite a strong and formidable rival, and therefore the rest of the Russian princes, despite their disagreement with the decision of the Horde, could only bend their knees before the new ruler.
Ivan Kalita taught his son the basic secret of a Moscow politician who helped him out more than once - no matter what happens, with the Horde, as long as it has overwhelming force, you should be friends! Moscow never ran into open confrontation, unlike Tver. This allowed her to survive and retain power over the country. However, the world had to provide a specie. And Simeon Ivanovich collected it from the Russian lands in large numbers, punishing the disobedient. The Grand Duke traveled twice to the Horde during the life of his father. And after his death five more times. And always came back from there, having achieved his. His will and diplomatic gift, as well as rich gifts brought the world of Russia. During the reign of Simeon the Proud, neither the ruinous Tatar raids nor the Baskach violence were heard.
Simeon Gordom even managed to conclude a peace agreement with Veliky Novgorod, which is constantly in conflict with Moscow, which his father could not achieve. Novgorodians always felt like free people, the Tatars rarely came to their lands, and they didn’t want to pay for the welfare and lives of their neighbors, let the Russians like themselves Russians. Detachments of bandits-ushkuynikov attacked the city of the Grand Duke. Semyon Proud did not put up with this state of affairs. Apparently, the parties came to agreement only after the military confrontation that occurred around the city of Torzhok in the 1341 year.
Instead of respecting local customs and going to Novgorod the Great himself, Semyon Ivanovich sent boyars-deputies there. They captured Torzhok located nearby and began to collect tribute in it, oppressing the population and robbing the inhabitants. Novgorodians responded by sending a small army to return Torzhok and capture the grand dukes' governors, led by Mikhail Molozhsky. Their operation was a success, but such impudence completely angered Simeon, and he, with the support of other princes who kissed the cross to his loyalty, gathered a huge army in order to put the rebels on the spot. But on the approach to Torzhok, after joining Metropolitan Feognosta to the squad, the prince learned that rebellious local residents had seized power in the city. Novotorzhtsy did not receive the expected assistance from Novgorod, and the struggle with Moscow threatened them with major troubles. Therefore, the rebels drove the people of Novgorod out of their city, and the people of Simeon the Proud were released. In the 1346 year, this issue was finally put an end to when Archbishop Vasily from Novgorod, who arrived with the ambassadors in Torzhok, arrived at the conclusion of peace, according to which the ancient city still recognized the prince of Moscow as his lord and paid him and his deputies the due tribute . In turn, the prince issued them a letter, according to which he pledged to honor and observe the ancient charters of the Novgorod lands.
Little good Novgorod saw from the prince. For the peaceful end of the conflict, Simeon laid a heavy charge on the people of Novgorod who hit the townspeople with a “black” gathering. Remaining the title prince of Novgorod up to the 1353 year, Simeon the Proud for all the time of his rule spent only three weeks in it. The prince appeared here for the removal of decisions on particularly large lawsuits that his deputies could not solve on their own. With the assistance of the Grand Duke, Pskov was disconnected from Novgorod in the 1348 year, after which the Pskovs began to independently choose mayors and even agreed to take into account Simeon’s wishes regarding the candidates elected to the principality. And in 1348, the Swedish king Magnus burst into the Novgorod principality from the northwest with his army. The army of the Grand Duke already went to the aid of the Novgorodians, but then Simeon the Proud suddenly turned back to resolve issues with the Horde ambassadors who had arrived in Moscow. Instead, he sent his weak-spirited brother Ivan, who, either frightened by the enemy, or found it hopeless to fight him, and refused the case without rendering any help to the famous city. Realizing that there would be no support, the people of Novgorod gathered their courage and defeated the Swedes near Vyborg, concluding a profitable world with Magnus. Nevertheless, this story forever ruined Semen Ivanovich’s reputation among Novgorodians.
Other activities of the prince for the expansion of the Moscow possessions were the annexation of the lands of the Yuriev principality in the southeast, which had the most fertile lands and salt springs located on them. Northeastern borders Simeon was able to expand through the skillful use of internal contradictions, as well as constant civil strife, tearing the principality of Tver. The Grand Duke never missed the opportunity to participate in solving controversial issues and influence his authority on their outcome. Later, Simeon betrayed his daughter for the son of one of the Tver princes of the Kashinsky family, which also contributed to the strengthening of his power in this territory.
It should be noted that Simeon the Proud never saw his enemies in Novgorod, they were only residents of a disobeying principality and nothing more. The horde was not his opponent either, there was still very little power to fight the Tatars. Another enemy threatened Moscow - the Lithuanians, who at that time were seething with military fervor, fought in a row with all their neighbors, successfully seizing their lands. They constantly attacked Russian villages on the western borders, took Bryansk and Rzhev, and embarked on campaigns against the Tver and Ryazan principalities. Their prince Olgerd was an excellent commander who fought not so much by force as by skill. The substantial strengthening of Moscow and the strengthening of its power over other Russian lands caused its discontent. Gathering his courage, the Lithuanian prince decided to put Simeon the Proud in his place by force. He sent his army to Mozhaisk, but taking possession of the suburb, ran into the stubborn defense of the townspeople, forcing him to retreat. An additional impetus to such a step was, perhaps, the death of Father Olgerd Gedimin.
In the 1341 year, after the death of Khan Uzbek, the bloodthirsty Hanibek came to power in the Horde after killing two siblings. Olgerd decided to try his luck again and sent one of his relatives to the new lord asking him to come out against Moscow. Having learned about it in time, Simeon managed to persuade with a long persuasion the mercy of the newly-minded Khan, who was busy resolving internal problems, to his side and secure the extradition of a Lithuanian messenger to him. Such an outcome forced Olgerd to once again retreat from the initial venture to conquer the capital of Russia and even ask the Moscow prince to have mercy. In the end, peace was concluded with him, which, however, did not last long. After a long, consistent policy of conquest, the experienced commander Olgerd Gediminovich managed to get closer to the borders of the Moscow principalities. The dispute between perennial opponents was resolved by the Horde Khan himself, who made a decision ... again in favor of Simeon the Proud. Later in the 1349 year, in order to show each other their desire to cooperate, the princes even intermarried: Olgerd married the Moscow prince Ulyana Aleksandrovna, and the brother of the Lithuanian prince Lyubard married the Rostov princess, Simeon’s niece. It should be noted that it was the new family ties that determined the further development of events in the relations between the two warring parties. The final and unconditional leadership regarding the North-Eastern Russia Semen Ivanovich demonstrated in the 1351 year. Because of the obscure quarrel with Smolensk and Lithuania, Simeon the Proud gathered his regiments and set off to march on them. But now they were afraid to fight with him, Smolensk and Lithuanians preferred to buy the world with generous gifts.
Thus, skillfully using cunning, flattery and will, Simeon the Proud provided his principality with a life without wars and blood. Not a single action by Simeon was absolutely cruel or immoral, although the policy of that time constantly demanded from the ruler a violation of the norms of the usual morality of everyday life. This prince did a great deal, who never imprinted his name under a single sonorous act, accompanied by the spilling of blood and the death of thousands and thousands of soldiers. Only at the beginning of 1350, Simeon Proud, for strengthening the union with the brothers, concluded a well-known historical agreement with them, the initial lines of which state that they are all linked by blood, and the elder brother should be honored as a father. At the end it says: “Where I will mount a horse, there you will mount your horses with me. And if something unkind happens without my knowledge and without yours, then we will correct it together, but we will not keep hostility among ourselves. ”
The personal life of the Grand Duke also deserves attention, because it was marked by several scandalous cases. After the death of his first wife, the Lithuanian princess Aigusta, Simeon married the daughter of one of the Smolensk princes Eupraxia. What happened in their family life in fact became the cause of discord now it is hardly possible to find out, but a year after the wedding, Simeon sent the young wife to her father, ordering him to marry her again. The honor of the poor woman was saved by another marriage, from which the clan of Fomins princes was born. It should be understood that in those times divorces (especially in the highest circles of power) were categorically condemned by the church and the public. When the grand duke decided to marry for the third time, Metropolitan Feognost showed his disapproval. The new union of Simeon Proud with Tver Princess Maria Alexandrovna was already consecrated by the patriarch of Constantinople.
But no matter how Simeon was capricious, personal happiness did not bring him the desired fruit. In spite of the fact that the prince had six sons and one daughter, all the male descendants passed away in infancy. According to the testimony of the old primary sources, this extremely ruined the spirit of the prince, who completely lost interest in life and took the veil in the 1353 year. At this time, a deadly plague brought from India was raging in the country. It was a disastrous hurricane swept across Russia and got to Moscow. Preserved information to our times indicates that the terrible scale of the epidemic, for example in Glukhov and Belozersk, not a single person was left alive. The disease was extremely contagious, people died on the third day after the first signs appeared. The dead did not have time to funeral and bury, many fled from the dying, even close people. March 11 Metropolitan of All Russia Feognost died of the disease. After him, a few days later, the two sons of the Grand Duke, Semyon and Ivan, left.
26 April 1353 of the year only having entered, as a ruler, in full force, at the age of thirty-six, Simeon the Proud died suddenly. His life was cut short, like a horse stopped at a gallop. The will was written by him in a hurry, apparently the light was already fading away in the eyes of the prince. By this time, he did not survive a single son. There was only a faint hope for a pregnant wife, Maria, to whom he transmitted the entire Moscow patrimony. The perishing monarch hoped that power would eventually pass to his unborn son, who, by the way, did not survive. Also in his testament, Simeon the Proud wrote: “I order my brothers to live in peace, not to listen to dashing people, to listen to Father Alexei, as well as the old boyars, who wished our Father and us well. I am writing this to you so that the memory of our parents and our candle over the coffin will not go out ... ”. These lines indicate how well Simeon Ivanovich understood the need for strong ties between the prince, the boyars and the metropolitan, and how important it is to preserve the unity of secular power, political power and spiritual power in the country.
Thus, the entire responsibility for the further fate of the Moscow principality Simeon laid on his younger brothers - Ivan and Andrew. However, almost immediately after the commemoration, Andrei Ivanovich died. Despite the will of Simeon, who wrote off all the lands to his pregnant wife, the public did not allow the transfer of power into the women's hands of a childless Tver widow. The throne was adopted by the younger brother of Simeon, Ivan Ivanovich, who was called Red and who was ten years younger than the Grand Duke. In the history of our state, this person did not distinguish anything noticeable, and in the annals all references to him are accompanied by the words: meek, gracious, quiet and virtuous, which does not correspond to the image of proud and wayward Russian rulers. Unlike his elder brother, who was a born leader, Ivan Ivanovich found his happiness in the family, with great effort engaged in public affairs. Nevertheless, he survived the time of the pestilence and did not let the candlestick of the Moscow princely house go out.
For all the complexity of his character, Simeon the Proud honored the shrines of the Orthodox Church, contributing to their preservation and development. The beauty and pomp of the temples were closely watched, not sparing the means. During the reign of Semen Ivanovich in Moscow, stone construction began to revive, the art of monumental painting of churches was resumed. The Assumption and Archangel Cathedrals, as well as the Church of the Transfiguration, were painted by Greek and Russian craftsmen, and the bells were cast for the Moscow and Novgorod churches. It was during his time in the capital of our country that the icon business, jewelry, pottery and other types of crafts and arts began to develop, the rag paper replacing parchment first appeared on which his contract with the brothers, well preserved to our times, was captured. With the assistance of the Grand Duke, the monk Sergius of Radonezh, who was still unknown to anyone, founded the Trinity Convent near Moscow. Also created unique works of art, testifying to the rise of spirituality in Russia, one of which, unique in its artistic design, the Gospel-Apostle, belonged to the prince himself.
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