Fri . 19 May 2019

Treaty of Mozhaysk

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The Treaty of Mozhaysk also Moshaisk or other transliterations of Можайск was a Danish-Russian treaty concluded on 7 August 1562, during the Livonian War While not an actual alliance, the treaty confirmed the amicable Dano-Russian relation and obliged the parties to not support the other parties in the war, to respect each other's claims in Old Livonia, and to grant free passage to each other's merchants

By 1562, Frederick II of Denmark and Ivan IV of Russia were two of several parties claiming superiority rights in Livonia, none of whom was able to decide the conflict for themselves Instead of engaging in open war, Frederick II and Ivan IV preferred to uphold the long tradition of amicable Dano-Russian relations The treaty has been noted for the circumstances that a European great power met the Russian tsardom on equal footing, and that no prior military decision forced the parties to conclude it

In practice, the treaty was not wholly implemented This was in part due to Frederick II's limited engagement in Livonia, where his brother Magnus pursued his own policies In the subsequent war years, while not antagonizing Frederick II, Ivan IV would deal with Magnus directly, eventually making him king of Livonia as his vassal


  • 1 Livonia in 1562
  • 2 Interests of Frederick II, Ivan IV and Magnus
  • 3 Treaty
  • 4 Significance
  • 5 Sources
    • 51 References
    • 52 Bibliography

Livonia in 1562

In 1562, during the early stage of the Livonian War, the territory of the present-day states Estonia and Latvia then Terra Mariana or Old Livonia was contested between Sigismund II Augustus of Poland–Lithuania, Ivan IV "The Terrible", tsar of Russia, Frederick II of Denmark-Norway and Erik XIV of Sweden The Livonian Confederation had turned to Poland-Lithuania for protection in the 1557 Treaty of Pozvol, provoking the intervention of Ivan IV who, despite significant territorial gains and the important victory at Ermes Ergeme, was unable to subordinate all Livonia The bulk of the disintegrating Livonian Confederation was subordinated to Poland-Lithuania in the Treaty of Vilnius 1561, forming the duchies of Livonia and Courland and Semigallia With Reval Tallinn accepting Swedish superiority, also in 1561, Sweden had established a dominon in Estonia despite the protests of Frederick II, who claimed historical rights on the area and had already purchased the Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek in western Estonia

Robert I Frost has summarized the 1562 state of war as an "uneasy stalemate:" while Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Poland-Lithuania had staked overlapping claims, the local parties of the broken-up Livonian Confederation had at least preliminarily chosen sides and intense fighting had occurred between some of the respective armies, a stable solution was not in sight even if military engagements had waned

Interests of Frederick II, Ivan IV and Magnus

Frederick II focussed on his competition with Erik XIV of Sweden for hegemony in and around the Baltic Sea, which in 1563 culminated into the Northern Seven Years' War He had no ambitions to enter a conflict with Ivan IV of Russia, and despite a brief irritation in the context of Christian III's occupation of Ösel Øsel, Saaremaa in 1558, Dano-Russian relations were amicable and based on a mutual assistance pact of 1493, renewed in 1506 and 1517 Ivan IV likewise did not wish a conflict with Frederick II, as he was unable to reach an understanding with the other parties in the Livonian war, Sweden and Poland-Lithuania, and was pressed by Crimean Tartar invasions at his tsardom's southern frontier

Frederick II had an uneasy relation to his younger brother Magnus, Duke of Holstein, whom he established in Ösel–Wiek "to be rid" of him Yet, after Magnus arrived in April 1560, he immediately started to expand by purchasing the Courlandian Stift Pilten Piltene and the Estonian bishopric of Reval, and thus by 1561 found himself bankrupt, in conflict with the other parties claiming these territories for themselves, and without any sufficient military means Magnus turned to his brother's court in Copenhagen hoping that Frederick II would abandon his policy of minimal involvement and enter the Livonian conflict on his side Yet, Frederick II instead restricted Magnus to not conclude treaties without his consent anymore, obliged him to consolidate his finances by himself and assigned a governor for Ösel–Wiek who was to closely monitor Magnus' activities in Livonia


On 6 July 1562, a group of Danish envoys arrived at Ivan IV's court in Moscow The delegation was headed by Frederick II's hofmeister Eiler also Eller, Elias Hardenberg, and further included Jacob Brokenhusen, Jens Truelsen Ulfstand and Zacharias Vheling Negotiations lasted only a month, and the treaty was concluded on 7 August in Mozhaysk Можайск west of Moscow

While the treaty did not contain a new mutual aid pact,

  • Frederick II and Ivan IV agreed that neither one would support either Sweden or Poland-Lithuania,
  • both sides acknowledged and confirmed each other's spheres of interest in Livonia,
  • Ivan IV guaranteed Magnus of Holstein his Livonian possessions, and
  • merchants from Denmark and the Russian Tsardom were allowed free passage in both realms

The treaty did not contain an expiry date


In historiography, the Mozhaysk agreements are regarded as a highly significant treaty Hübner 1998 says that

"the high significance of this treaty, which has been called a 'milestone in European history,' for the Muscovite state was not only due to its contents, but also because a European great power was ready to conclude it on the basis of a completely equal status, without a prior military conflict forcing the parties to do so"

However, the parties were unable to draw practical advantages from the treaty Neither party was able to prevent Swedish forces from intruding and occupying part of their Livonian claims, the Danish and Polish kings agreed on mutual support against Sweden in the Northern Seven Years' War Ivan IV delayed the implementation of the free trade agreements and concluded a seven-year truce with Sweden in 1564 In the following years, Ivan IV focussed on Magnus of Holstein rather than Frederick II, establishing him as the king of Livonia under his vassalage



  1. ^ a b c d e Frost 2000, p 25
  2. ^ De Madariaga 2006, p 127
  3. ^ De Madariaga 2006, pp 129–30
  4. ^ Frost 2000, pp 25, 77
  5. ^ a b c d e Hübner 1998, p 317
  6. ^ a b c Hübner 1998, p 315
  7. ^ a b von Adelung 1846, p 231
  8. ^ von Adelung 1846, p 230
  9. ^ a b c d e Hübner 1998, p 318
  10. ^ Hübner 1998, p 318: "Die herausragende Bedeutung dieses Vertrages, der als ein 'Meilenstein in der europäischen Geschichte' bezeichnet worden ist, lag für den Moskauer Staat aber nicht allein in den Absprachen, sondern ebenso in der Tatsache, daß sich eine europäische Großmacht, ohne daß einer der Vertragspartner durch eine vorherige militärische Auseinandersetzung dazu gezwungen gewesen wäre, zu einem Vertragsabschluß auf der Basis vollständiger Gleichberechtigung bereitfand"
  11. ^ Hübner 1998, pp 319 ff


  • De Madariaga, Isabel 2006 Ivan the Terrible Yale University Press ISBN 0-300-11973-9 
  • Frost, Robert I 2000 The Northern Wars: War, State, and Society in Northeastern Europe, 1558–1721 Modern wars in perspective Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education ISBN 0-582-06429-5 
  • Hübner, Eckhard 1998 "Zwischen alle Fronten: Magnus von Holstein als König von Livland" In Hübner, Eckhard; Klug, Ekkehard; Kusber, Jan Zwischen Christianisierung und Europäisierung Beiträge zur Geschichte Osteuropas in Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit Festschrift für Peter Nitsche zum 65 Geburtstag Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte des östlichen Europa in German 51 Stuttgart: Steiner pp 313–34 ISBN 3-515-07266-7 
  • von Adelung, Friedrich 1846 Kritisch-literärische Übersicht der Reisenden in Russland bis 1700, deren Berichte bekannt sind in German 1 Saint Petersburg: Eggers 

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