Prince A. M. Kurbsky's History of the Grand Prince of Moscow describes the reign of Iran IV from 1533 to the early 1570s. Written probably in 1573, nine years after Kurbsky deserted to Poland-Lithuania, it is the earliest attempt at a historical monograph in Russian. It is a vivid and at times revealing eye-witness account of the first half of the Tsar's reign, and is important for its true picture of the age and for the amount of factual detail it provides. It is also valuable for the light Kurbsky throws on certain episodes in Ivan's reign at which he himself was present, such as the capture of Kazan and the Livonian War. Above all, it is important as a document written by a representative of the boyar aristocracy and an opponent of autocracy. Dr Fennell provides the Russian text, with a facing translation and full notes on historical and philological questions.
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