Renowned for expanding Russian influence and dramatically altering the country’s political system, Ivan The Terrible ruled through brutal and extensive military campaigns.
The discovery of a weaponry arsenal near Moscow could give us a new understanding of the Tsar’s military plans.
The archaeological expedition by Russia’s Academy of Sciences found the private arsenal of a military commander during a rescue excavation dig near Zvenigorod.
"We've never encountered such finds in Moscow region before, neither in cities and especially not in small villages. If this rescue archaeology dig hadn't been undertaken, all this material would have been completely destroyed during the building of the Central Circular Highway," said the deputy director of the Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Asya Engovatova.
Items uncovered include helmets in leather boxes, kolchugs (a kind of armour), arrows, sabres and belts.
Given the stash was found in the former homeland of the famous Boyar family, a member of which included one of Ivan The Terrible’s top brass, archaeologists believe the cache of weapons could have been for a planned military operation.
"They are the typical military headgear of Russian knights—spherical helmets adorned with gold and silver. Similar helmets are on display in the Kremlin Armoury Museum, the Hermitage Museum, and the State History Museum," said Alexei Alexeyev, the scientific specialist in charge of the excavations.
"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. 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.”