By Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy's passionate and iconoclastic writings—on problems with religion, immortality, freedom, violence, and morality—reflect his highbrow look for fact and a faith firmly grounded in truth. the choice incorporates a Confession," "Religion and Morality," "What Is faith, and of What Does Its Essence Consist?," and "The legislation of affection and the legislation of Violence."
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Extra info for A Confession and Other Religious Writings
Novgorod's new alliance enabled him to proclaim a religious war, a sort of crusade. The campaign took in not only Novgorod proper but also the far north. By August 1471 all resistance was over. An unexpectedly hot summer, which dried up the intervening swamps, helped to accelerate victory - as did the inefficient resistance put up by the Novgorodians. Demoralized by famine and inflation, many could see no point in fighting a hopeless war against the Grand Prince of Muscovy. In the battle along the River Shelon, for example, a Muscovite force of some 4,000 or 5,000 men overcame a Novgorod force many times stronger in number.
On the other hand, one effect of the terror was of course to persuade the poorer serving gentry that the Tsar was the only worthwhile patron. It is central to later justifications of Ivan's rule that a strong aristocracy was, in some reprehensible sense, oppressing the state, perhaps to the extent of trying to introduce an oligarchal 'Lithuanian' constitution. Ivan enjoyed reminding Polish kings that he enjoyed his throne through the grace of God alone. There are reasons for believing that the Russian aristocracy was actually very weak in facing a determined autocrat.
The fact is that the Novgorod policy of manoeuvring between her two powerful neighbours could succeed only as long as the latter were in relative equilibrium. This was threatened by the growing power of Muscovy and by a crisis in the Orthodox Church. The decline of Byzantium had reached such proportions by the early fifteenth century that the Emperor John VIII and many of the leading clergy, including the Metropolitan of Moscow, decided that only with the help of the West could the Orthodox world be saved from the Turks.
A Confession and Other Religious Writings by Leo Tolstoy