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03 January 2022

Muscovy Crown in Polish Kings` Treasury, 17th–18th cent. (on the origins and fate of the regalia)

Slovene. International Journal of Slavic Studies
Muscovy Crown in Polish Kings` Treasury, 17th–18th cent. (on the origins and fate of the regalia)

The paper concerns the so-called “Muscovy crown” (“corona moscoviae”) of Polish kings that existed in the 17th century. This insignia emerged in Rzeczpospolita during the Russian Time of Troubles, having until then belonged to the Tsar's treasury in Moscow Kremlin. The adherents of False Dmitry I took it in 1606, upon which it turned up in possession of King Sigismund III and his heirs. It appears that the “Muscovy crown” was made in England for Tsar Ivan the Terrible as a symbol of the Astrakhan Khanate, which had been annexed by the Russian State in 1556. Contemporary evidence from various sources, including diplomatic ones, points to the possibility of the crown being delivered as a token of strengthening trade relations between Moscow and London, where the Moscow company was functioning in this period. The crown was not taken as a gift, it was bought for a large sum. The article includes a detailed survey of English, Polish and Russian sources, both primary and indirect, while looking into the mode of use of such insignia at the court of Russian Tsars and grand princes. The article also mentions, together with Monomach's cap and the Kazan cap, both of which are now kept in the Moscow Kremlin, the now-lost first Siberian and Astrakhan caps, the latter of which is identified with the object of study. The crown is also compared to the Eastern and Western jewelry traditions of the time. The article is prefaced with a brief narration of the circumstances in which the insignia had got the name it was since called in Polish historical writings. The author concludes with a hypothesis on why this crown and other similar to it were commissioned from foreign jewelers. This question, however, demands further research, as does the character of the insignia's use at the court of Polish kings.

Source: Alexander V. Lavrentyev (2018) “Muscovy Crown” in Polish Kings’ Treasury, 17th–18th cent. (on the origins and fate of the regalia). Slovene. International Journal of Slavic Studies. 7(1): 93-114

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