Wednesday, December 11, 2002
(to the tune of Good King Wenceslas)
(it may take some effort and creativity...)
"Zelenyi was of Moscow, fought for Blind Vasili
From Novgorod down to Kiev, until 1450.
Zavist was his faithful wife, bearing him fine sons, three.
When Ivan Bolshoi was crowned, Zelenyi gave loyalty.
Ivan searched far for a wife, decided on fair Sophie;
Related to the last Caesar, she was quite a trophy.
At this stroke he gained the crown, he was proclaimed Tsar,
Let all who love Russia know: he was our first gosudar.*
The Mongol Horde was keen to fight, to Moscow was their thrust.
Facing them was brave Ivan, armed with Western harquebus.**
Zelenyi scared the Mongols stiff, started their retreat.
Ivak met the Golden Horde, them he did defeat."
-from my final paper for the Russian history class
*gosudar means, approximately, "lord protector."
**Yes, I know harquebus rhymes with caboose, and not thrust. Call it poetic license.
Other info: Zelenyi and Zavist are made-up, and I don't think that either is even a real name. Vasili II ("the Blind") was the Grand Prince of Moscow who triumphed in the Russian civil war of 1430-1450. Ivan III ("the Great," or "Bolshoi" in Russian) was his son, and it was he who defeated the Mongol Golden Horde under Khan Akhmat at the Battle of the River Ugra. This battle is one of both my and my teacher's personal favorites, since both armies, after a brief skirmish, panicked and ran away from each other. During their retreat, the Golden Horde ran into the Nogai Horde under Khan Ivak, who killed their leaders and took over, leaving the Russians alone and thereby releasing them from Mongol control. Princess Sophie was the niece of the last Byzantine Caesar. Thus, Ivan III believed that he had the right to the title Caesar ("Tsar" or "Czar" in Russian), and had himself proclaimed as such.