Table of contents:
- Ascension monastery
- We now know what Ivan the Terrible's relatives looked like
- Not all women of Rurikovich were healthy
- Ivan the Terrible was really surrounded by poisoners
In the nineties, Russia became actively interested in its pre-revolutionary past, trying to see how it looks not through the optics of scientific Marxism. It was then that scientists began to study the "women's cemetery of the Kremlin" - an ancient necropolis where women from the families of Moscow princes and tsars were buried. Until then, the historical value of their graves was ignored.
Ascension monasteryThe convent was founded after the death of Dmitry Donskoy by his widow, Princess Evdokia. She also became the first noble Russian woman who was buried on the territory of the future Ascension necropolis. By the middle of the eighteenth century, about seventy princesses, princesses, queens and princesses, as well as several other persons, were buried there.
In the seventeenth year, after the revolution, all its inhabitants were expelled from the monastery, and in the twenty-ninth year they destroyed it in order to build a Military School. Before the demolition, the architects hastily measured the buildings and rewrote the graves, and this helped the scientists a lot later in the nineties. Nevertheless, all the same, many bodies were left without the possibility of identifying them, especially since they were hastily transferred to the Archangel Cathedral. And yet, the necropolis told the scientists a lot.
We now know what Ivan the Terrible's relatives looked likeIn the 2000s, forensic expert Sergei Alekseevich Nikitin was able to reconstruct the appearance of several women who were once buried at the Voznesensky necropolis using the surviving skulls: Ivan the Terrible's mother Elena Glinskaya, Grozny's third wife Martha Sobakina, his grandmother Sophia Paleologue, his first mother-in-law Elder Iuliania and bride-in-law. In addition to them, the appearance of the last Rurikovna, the girl Marya Staritskaya, and the founder of the Ascension Monastery, Evdokia Dmitrievna, were also restored. For reconstruction, both Gerasimov's technique and more modern techniques were used (which allow, for example, to accurately restore the shape of the nose and ears, the presence of epicanthus, and the hairline).
Long red hair was found in Glinskaya's grave, and her appearance can be called typical Baltic, despite the fact that Elena was half (by her mother) Serbian. She was very pretty, tall (she had an extra vertebra) and would be considered beautiful in our time. Most likely, Grozny, contrary to the image to which we have become accustomed from childhood, had red or reddish hair, like his mother.
Greek woman Sophia Palaeologus turned out to be the owner of one of the Mediterranean types. Outwardly, she is very similar to her grandson, which makes the rumors unfounded that Glinskaya gave birth to a son from her lover. In addition, according to the bones, it was possible to establish that she had a slight excess of male hormones - most likely, the queen had antennae and bushy eyebrows. Marya Staritskaya, a descendant of Sophia, is very similar to both her and Grozny.
Martha Sobakina turned out to be, as expected, a very beautiful young woman. Irina Godunova outwardly turned out to be “simpler”. Elder Juliania is distinguished by a large nose, which suggests that the first, beloved, wife of the Terrible had such a feature. Evdokia Dmitrievna has soft facial features, which is consistent with the description of her character.
Not all women of Rurikovich were healthyDespite the origin, Marya Staritskaya has signs of rickets - it seems that she was undernourished and did not walk around the garden a lot. Irina Godunova had problems with the musculoskeletal system and, in addition, a poorly developed pelvis due to which she could not bear children. It is unclear whether she has congenital skeletal problems or a consequence of an illness suffered in childhood - a genetic analysis could tell about this. As for Sophia Palaeologus, she was a very strong woman who, nevertheless, suffered from osteochondrosis - which means that she could be bothered by pains in the head and neck. It is unlikely that this made her character softer.
Ivan the Terrible was really surrounded by poisonersAs you know, Ivan Vasilyevich constantly thought that his loved ones were being secretly killed by adding poison, and his mother fell the first victim of the poisoners. Analysis of the perfectly preserved hair of Elena Glinskaya showed that the tsar was right - they have an amazingly high concentration of mercury. Of course, this metal was used both in cosmetics and in medicines, but its amount in Glinskaya's hair is such that we are hardly talking about slowly poisoning with some kind of eyeliner or laxative.
Equally terrible is the concentration of mercury (as well as arsenic and lead) in the dark blond braid of the first wife of the Terrible, Anastasia Romanova, whom many boyars did not like for her influence on the tsar. As you know, after the wedding with her, he became calmer and abandoned sadistic fun - and after her death he broke loose and turned into that Terrible that we know. It is interesting that the clothes in which the queen is buried are also impregnated with poison. Perhaps the poison was not fed to her, but her clothes were saturated with them so that the queen could “breathe”.
The nine-year-old Maria Staritskaya was definitely poisoned, along with her father, a cousin of Ivan the Terrible. Only this was done not in spite of Grozny, but on his order - he dealt with possible competitors for the throne. But no poison was found in the remains of Martha Sobakina, although Grozny was sure that his young wife, who died two weeks after the wedding, had been poisoned. However, it is possible that the poison was of plant origin - you cannot recognize it by modern means in the ancient remains.
A piece of the brain is preserved in the skull of Irina Godunova. His analysis also showed a high content of lead, mercury and arsenic (especially lead) in tissues, but in such doses that, apparently, they entered the body from drugs. Apparently, the queen, who had gone into a nun, tried to relieve joint pain with ointments based on lead and other minerals.
The development of science in general has dispelled many old ideas about what historical figures were. Red-haired Ivan the Terrible, the strange head of Nefertiti, blue-eyed Pushkin: What celebrities from the past really looked like.