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Tales of the Capture of Pskov


Two accounts of the annexation of Pskov have survived, in the Pskov First (1547 compilation) and Pskov Third (1567 compilation) chronicles. The first account begins with a lament for Pskov: “O, most renowned of cities, great Pskov! Why do you mourn, why do you weep?” To which Pskov replies: “How can I not mourn, how can I not weep? A many-winged eagle did swoop down on me … and lay waste our land…” But further on this lament turns into a caustic description of the activity of the Moscow lieutenants (namestniks). “And as to the lieutenants, and their stewards and the secretaries of the grand prince, their truth, their promises, have flown up to heaven, and falsehood has begun to walk among them…” Later on it says that these lieutenants drank “heavily of Pskovian blood”, which is why all the foreigners chose to flee abroad; “only Pskovians have remained, but the earth will not open, and they cannot fly up to the heavens”. In the second account Moscow’s abuse of power is condemned even more strongly. Clearly challenging his fellow- countryman Philotheus, who extolled the realm of Muscovy as the Third Rome, the compiler of The Pskov Third Chronicle, compares it to the realm of Anti-Christ and writes: “That realm shall grow and the evil thereof increase.” 15