November 16, 1581
Alexandrov, Russia
Ivan the Terrible fatally beats his son Ivan Ivanovich

Ivan the Terrible had hoped for an heir to be born to his son (also named Ivan) quickly, and when his first daughter-in-law failed to conceive quickly, he had her sent to a convent. The same fate befell his second daughter-in-law as well. In 1518 a third wife was found for his son and she became pregnant in a short time.

On November 16 (sometimes cited as November 15), the elder Ivan became enraged by his daughter-in-law dressing, in his eyes, immodestly and beat her which caused her to miscarry. Her screams brought her husband who yelled at his father. The argument escalated with the Ivan the Terrible claiming his son was attempting a rebellion against him and eventually led to the elder Ivan striking the younger’s temple with his scepter. Ivan the Terrible immediately regretted the attack, threw himself on his son, kissed his face and attempted to stop the bleeding, and cried “May I be damned! I’ve killed my son! I’ve killed my son!” The younger Ivan lingered for a few days before dying on November 19.

Painting: “Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on Friday, 16 November 1581” by Ilya Repin.

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