He dictated--er, ruled in Russia in the middle ages, specifically the mid-fifteen hundreds. He was on the throne during part of the time Queen Elizabeth I was ruling in England, and even proposed marriage to her several times, though she was sensible enough not to agree.
Ivan had a fascinating and tragic childhood, which is why he grew up to be a fascinating and horrible adult. His life was full of violence and tragedy; his reign full of dichotomies. For example, his reign was actually a golden age in Russia in terms of trade and their economy. However, he terrorized and murdered many of his subjects. He is called Ivan the Terrible, and when you hear his history, you'll probably think it's a fitting name. Yet, the "terrible" part of his name doesn't mean anything negative. Rather, it's more about being in awe. His people revered him.
So why did I do this little contest about Ivan, you ask? My second novel, slated for release in Fall of 2013 from Jolly Fish Press, is the first installment of a trilogy that takes place during Ivan's reign. Click here to read the press release.
Is this a subject that interests you? Would you like to know more about it?