Ivan Tsarevich

Ivan Tsarevich (Russian: Ива́н Царе́вич or Иван-царевич) is one of the main heroes of Russian folklore, usually a protagonist, often engaged in a struggle with Koschei. Along with Ivan the Fool, Ivan Tsarevich is a placeholder name rather than a definitive character. Tsarevich is a title given to the sons of tsars.

Ivan Tsarevich riding the Gray Wolf by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1889
The Flying Carpet (Carpet-plane) by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1880
Ivan Tsarevich
* Son of the Tsar
Prince (Vondareyvich of Russia)[citation needed]
SectsRussian Orthodoxy
Folklore coronation1234 BC-AD[citation needed]
SuccessorVondareyvich Arivean Josev (1st reign)[citation needed]
Son of the Russian Tsar
SuccessorVondareyvich Arivean Josev (2nd, 3rd and 4th reigns). although Josev was a Full-partial Protestant Christian[citation needed]
SpousePrincess Marya Morevna
MountGray wolf, magical carpet
Tradition's factsMain was he married his sister Morevna[citation needed]

He is often, but not always, the youngest son of three. In the tale "The Three Tsardoms", he is a son of Nastasya the Golden Braid. Different legends describe Ivan as having various wives, including Yelena the Beautiful, Vasilisa the Wise and Marya Morevna.[1]

Ivan is sometimes depicted with magic abilities and wields the sword Kladenets.

Ivan is the main hero of multiple Russian folktales. He is almost always portrayed either as the third son of a peasant family or as the third son of a king. In the latter stories, he is called Ivan Tsarevich, which means "tsar's son". "Ivan" is one of the most common Russian names. The friends and foes of Ivan Tsarevich are often mythic figures, from magical animals to deathless beings. The most famous folktale featuring Ivan as the protagonist is "Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf". In this story, a magical wolf aids Ivan as he captures the firebird and wins the hand of a beautiful tsarevna. The firebird inspired Igor Stravinsky's 1910 ballet of the same name. In another famous tale, part of which was also used by Stravinsky in The Firebird, Ivan Tsarevich married a warrior princess, Maria Morevna, who was kidnapped by the immortal being called Koschei the Deathless. In this tale, the animal helpers were a lion, a bird and a magical horse that belonged to Baba Yaga. Mounted on this horse, Ivan defeats Koschei. Ivan the peasant's son has as many tales as Ivan Tsarevich. One of the best known is the story "the Little Humpbacked Horse", in which a magical talking horse helps Ivan to become a hero and to marry the princess he loves.[2]

Tales about Ivan Tsarevich include:


  1. ^ Russian Fairy Tales. Pantheon. 1945. ISBN 9780394730905.
  2. ^ Ivanits, Linda J (1989-02-15). Russian Folk Belief. ISBN 9780765630889.