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Sophia Paleologue

From Academic Kids

Zoe Palaiologina (? - April 7, 1503), Grand Duchess of Moscow, was the niece of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI and second wife of Ivan the Great.

Together with her brothers, she was taken to Rome after the fall of Constantinople and Morea, the latter being her father's demesne. In Rome, her Greek name Zoe was changed to Sophia. In 1469, the Pope offered the Russian monarch to marry her in order to unite the Orthodox and Catholic churches. The widowed Russian prince married unattractive and haughty Sophia at the Dormition Cathedral on November 12, 1472. The cardinal Bessarion, sent by the Pope to Moscow, however, didn’t succeed in his mission.

Over the years, Sophia started to wield great influence on her aged husband. It is thought that she was the first to introduce the Kremlin to grand Byzantine ceremonies and meticulous etiquette. The idea of Moscow as the Third Rome evidently pleased her. Shortly before her death she persuaded her husband to pass the throne to her son Basil, rather than to Ivan's grandson Dmitry, as had been planned earlier. fr:Sophie Paleologue it:Sophia Paleologina de:Sophie Palaeologina

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