Basil I Dmitrevich - Encyclopedia


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BASIL I. DMITREVICH (1371-1425), son of Dmitri (Demetrius) Donskoi, whom he succeeded in 1389, married Sophia, the daughter of Vitovt, grand-duke of Lithuania. In his reign the grand-duchy of Muscovy became practically hereditary, and asserted its supremacy over all the surrounding principalities. Nevertheless Basil received his yarluik, or investiture, from the Golden Horde and was compelled to pay tribute to the grand khan, Tokhtamuish. He annexed the principality of Suzdal to Moscovy, together with Murom, Kozelsk Peremyshl, and other places; reduced the grand-duchy of Rostov to a state of vassalage; and acquired territory from the republic of Great Novgorod by treaty. In his reign occurred the invasion of Timur (1395), who ruined the Volgan regions, but did not penetrate so far as Moscow. Indeed Timur's raid was of service to the Russian prince as it all but wiped out the Golden Horde, which for the next twelve years was in a state of anarchy. During the whole of this time no tribute was paid to the khan, though vast sums of money were collected in the Moscow treasury for military purposes. In 1408 the Mirza Edigei ravaged Muscovite territory, but was unable to take Moscow. In 1412, however, Basil found it necessary to pay the long-deferred visit of submission to the Horde. The most important ecclesiastical event of the reign was the elevation of the Bulgarian, Gregory Tsamblak, to the metropolitan see of Kiev (1425) by Vitovt, grand-duke of Lithuania; the immediate political consequence of which was the weakening of the hold of Muscovy on the south-western Russian states. During Basil's reign a terrible visitation of the "Black Death" decimated the population.

See T. Schiemann, Russland bis ins 17. Jahrhundert (Gotha, 1885-1887).

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