Military arsenal of Russian noble from Ivan the Terrible’s era found in 16th century village


Ivan IV Vasilyevich, better known as Ivan the Terrible, had left his historical legacy as the ‘Tsar of All the Russias’ from 1547 AD until his death in 1584 AD. And while his epithet in English suggests a ‘terrible’ character, the complex personality of Ivan ranged in between a wide spectrum – from intelligence, devoutness to blood-thirstiness and possibly mental illness (in the later stages of his life). However beyond the psychological labyrinth of the man, the Tsar undoubtedly oversaw the conquests of many regions and kingdoms, including the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia; thus ultimately transforming his burgeoning realm into a 4,046,856 sq km empire. And this time around, archaeology has almost poetically caught up with the military legacy of Ivan the Terrible, with researchers being able to find various equipment that suggests a cache of military arsenal that was probably assembled for a campaign.


The find in question here was discovered outside Zvenigorod, an old town situated 18 miles west of Moscow, when a construction team was surveying the site for a future highway expansion. The exact location pertained to the 16th century village of Ignatievskoe, which was the native fief of the Dobrynins, a Russian noble boyar family. One of the members of this eminent family possibly belonged to an elite force of ‘thousand’ set up by Ivan himself in 1550 AD.


A Russian noble in action, in 16th century.

The subsequent excavation project unveiled over 60 buildings that made up the 16th century settlement. As for the military arsenal, the incredible cache was discovered in an underground storehouse that probably caught fire due its timber-lined construction. The range of untarnished equipment included belts, camp tents, sabers, arrows, gilded ear-pieces and even the famed spiked helmets (embellished with gold and silver) – all of which were stored inside designated leather boxes with special textile linings. In fact, the specific arrangement and storage of the boxes suggest that the arsenal was possibly prepared for a lengthy military expedition. As archaeologist Alexei Alexeyev, who led the excavation project, said –

This gives us a much better idea how a Russian noble would have prepared for setting out on a military campaign – each nobleman would have had his own arsenal in readiness.

He further added –

This excavation enables us to ‘see’ for the first time the preparations made by the noblemen who made up the officer corps elite of the Russian army at the time of the flowering of Muscovy as a Russian state.

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Source: Discovery News

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