The Tale of the Princes of Vladimir

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The Muscovite treatise alleged that Monomakh's Cap was an ancient relic from the Eastern Roman Empire

The Tale of the Princes of Vladimir (Russian: Сказание о князьях Владимирских) is an early 16th-century Muscovite treatise which propounds the conception of Moscow as the Third Rome.[1] The book traces the male-line descent of Muscovy's royal family not only from Rurik, but from a certain Prus, to whom his uncle, Emperor Augustus, gave the northern part of the world, which later came to be known as "Prussia".[2]

These claims to imperial heritage are further shored up by the story of Monomakh's Cap, a purported imperial crown which Constantine IX Monomachos of Byzantium is supposed to have presented to his grandson, Vladimir Monomakh, and which was used at coronations in Muscovy.

The Tale of the Princes of Vladimir has been attributed either to Dmitry Gerasimov or Pachomius the Serb, among other learned monks.[3] Similar ideas were expressed by Spiridon, Metropolitan of Kiev, in an epistle dating from about 1500.[2]

The treatise provided the ideological background for Ivan IV's coronation as the first Russian Tsar[4] and inspired Athanasius, Metropolitan of Moscow, to compile the famous Book of Degrees. The Tsar's place for praying in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin was decorated with a set of bas-reliefs illustrating The Tale.


  1. ^ Dimitrij Cizevskij. History of Russian Literature: From the Eleventh Century to the End of the Baroque. Walter de Gruyter, 1960. Pages 251–252.
  2. ^ a b Soviet Historical Encyclopaedia
  3. ^ Жданов И. Н., Повести о Вавилоне и "Сказание о князьях владимирских", СПБ, 1891.
  4. ^ Isabel De Madariaga. Ivan the Terrible. Yale University Press, 2006. Pages 32–33.

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