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Word Count: 556
Ivan the Terrible was a cruel tyrant who never knew the meaning of moderation He drank too much laughed too loudly and hated and loved too fiercely And he never forgot anything Ivan was definitely smart and despite his cruelty his reign is known as one of the greatest rules in Russian history In Russia Ivan was called Grozny which has always been translated to the terrible but actually means the awesome Born in 1530 Ivan was only three when he inherited the Russian throne following his fathers death At the age of seven tragedy struck again when nobles of his court poisoned his mother By his early teens he was already displaying some of his uglier traits He would throw live animals from towers and appeared to derive pleasure from doing so Ivan was crowned Russias first Tsar at the age of 17 Three weeks later he married having chosen his bride in a national virgin competition Virgins over the age of twelve were brought to the Kremlin to be paraded before him He chose Anastasia the daughter of a minor noble and their marriage proved to be a very close one Ivan had huge ambitions for his new Imperial dynasty He launched a holy war against Russias traditional enemy the Tartars Showing no mercy to these Muslim people Ivans conquest of Kazan and later Astrakhan and Siberia gave birth to a sixteenth century personality cult glorifying him as the Orthodox crusader His wife Anastasia helped to hold his cruelty back but in 1560 she died He accused his nobles of poisoning her and became even more mentally unstable Recent studies have shown that there was over ten times the normal amount of mercury in her hair showing that she was murderedHe set up a bodyguard that has been described as Russias first secret police the Oprichniki as a religious brotherhood sworn to protecting Gods Tsar In reality they became marauding thugs ready to
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