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Sophia

SOPHIA

(16571704); regent to Tsars Ivan V and Peter I, 16821689.

The fifth daughter of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich and his first wife Maria Miloslavskaya, Sophia spent her youth in the terem, where her freedom was restricted, but she also came into contact with the new cultural trends of Tsar Alexei's later years. Many historians describe her as a pupil of Simeon Polotsky, but, although she was literate, there is no hard evidence that she studied with him. Those who regard Sophia as ambitious believe that she prepared for power during the reign of her brother Tsar Fyodor (r. 16761682) by attending his sick-bed and making political alliances, notably with Prince Vasily Golitsyn, whose lover she is said to have became. However, evidence of an intimate relationship, which would have seriously breached Muscovite moral codes, rests mainly on hearsay and rumor, as do Sophia's early political ambitions.

Following Fyodor's death in 1682, in the absence of mature males of royal blood, Sophia entered the political arena, as Muscovite conventions allowed royal women to do. She was motivated by the decision to make her half-brother Peter (b. 1672) sole ruler in preference to the elder, but physically and mentally handicapped, Tsarevich Ivan (b. 1666). Exploiting the Moscow militia's (musketeers') action to air grievances and take revenge on unpopular officers and officials in Peter's government, in May 1682 Sophia and her party were able to secure Ivan's accession as joint tsar with Peter. Most historians refer to Sophia as regent to her brothers, although she was never formally appointed as such. Even so, she was widely regarded as ruler and consolidated her authority by successfully quelling the continuation of musketeer unrest in 1682 during the period known as the Khovanshchina. She began to add her name to those of her brothers in royal edicts and to take part in public ceremonies and receptions, discarding some of the restrictions of the terem.

The dual monarchy required a new configuration of power at court in order to defuse tensions and achieve a consensus. Many additional men were promoted to boyar status. The ascendancy of the Miloslavsky clan was marginal, and by the late 1680s they lost ground to Peter's maternal relatives the Naryshkins and their clients. Sophia relied on Prince Vasily Golitsyn to spearhead both her foreign and her domestic policy, although later the

secretary Fyodor Shaklovity rose to prominence. The regime's crowning achievement was the 1686 treaty with Poland, which ratified the Treaty of Andrusovo (1667) in return for Russia's agreement to sever relations with the Ottoman empire and enter the Holy League, a stepping-stone toward Russia's ascendancy over Poland, achieved later in Peter I's reign. At home, efforts continued to maximize the fulfillment of service requirements and the payment of tax liabilities and to maintain law and order. Mildness in some areas, for example banning the cruel practice of burying alive women who murdered their husbands, was offset by savage penalties against Old Believers (edict of 1685). At the same time, developments in foreign policy forced the regime to relax restrictions on non-Orthodox foreigners, which annoyed conservatives. Russia offered sanctuary from persecution to French Protestants and made concessions to foreign merchants and industrialists to encourage them to set up businesses. In 1689 commercial treaties were signed with Prussia. Russia's first institute of higher education, the Slavo-Greco-Latin Academy, founded in 1685, also relied on foreign teachers.

Like many powerful women, Sophia has been accused of Machiavellian tendencies. Although there is no evidence that she intended Peter harm, she did adopt a highly visible rulership profile and began to use the feminine form of the title "autocrat" (samoderzhitsa ). She sponsored an impressive building program in the fashionable Moscow Baroque style and had her portrait with crown, orb, and scepter painted and reproduced in prints. Poets praised her, playing on the associations of her name (Sophia the Holy Wisdom). All this fueled fears that she planned to be crowned and spawned rumors of plots against Peter and his mother. Ultimately, her regime was undermined by the failure of two military campaigns against the Crimea in 1687 and 1689, leading to a standoff provoked by Peter's supporters. This time the musketeers' support for Sophia was lukewarm and did not quell her opponents. Some of her supporters were executed, and Sophia herself was banished to a convent. In 1698 the musketeers rebelled again. Rumors circulated that Sophia was the instigator, but the evidence was inconclusive. Nevertheless, Peter forced her to take the veil under the name Susannah. She died in the Novodevichy convent in Moscow in 1704.

See also: fyodor alexeyevich; golitsyn, vasily vasilievich; ivan v; peter i; streltsy

bibliography

Hughes, Lindsey. (1988). "'Ambitious and Daring Above her Sex': Tsarevna Sophia Alekseevna (16571704) in Foreigners' Accounts." Oxford Slavonic Papers 21: 6589.

Hughes, Lindsey. (1990). Sophia: Regent of Russia, 16571704. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Thyret, Isolde. (2000). Between God and Tsar. Religious Symbolism and Royal Women of Muscovite Russia. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press.

Lindsey Hughes

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Sophia

Sophia (sōfī´ə, Ger. zōfē´ä), 1630–1714, electress of Hanover, consort of Elector Ernest Augustus. She was the daughter of Frederick the Winter King and Elizabeth of Bohemia, who was the daughter of James I of England. In 1701, Parliament settled on her and her issue the succession to the English throne (see Settlement, Act of), and in 1714 her son, George I, became king of England. Sophia was noted for her wide intellectual interests.

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"Sophia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Sophia

Sophia female name. St Sophia was the legendary mother of three virgin martyrs, Faith, Hope, and Charity; she supposedly died three days after their death, while praying at their tomb. The legend originated in the Eastern Church, and can be understood as an allegory of Divine Wisdom (Hagia Sophia, see also St Sophia at saint) from whom proceed the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. Her feast day is 30 September.

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Sophia

Sophia (1630–1714) Electress of Hanover, granddaughter of James I and widow of the Elector of Hanover. Sophia was recognized as heir to the English throne by the Act of Settlement (1701), to ensure a Protestant succession and prevent the return of the Catholic Stuarts. When she died, her son, the current Elector, became king as George I.

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"Sophia." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Sophia

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