Terrible Fate

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. So thrilled was Ivan with the work of the project's architects, Postnik and Barma, that -- in order to ensure that neither would ever build anything more beautiful -- he had them both blinded.

[Ivan selected each of his wives from a pool to which every noble in his realm was required, on pain of death, to send his single daughters. The maidens, sent to Moscow where they slept 12 to a room, were individually inspected by Ivan before he made his decision. When she learned of his choice, one prospective wife became mortally ill and died before the marriage could be consummated.]

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