Alexander Nevsky
Since Mar 30, 1999

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Alexander Nevsky is not my real name. I chose this screen name because the life of Novgorod's legendary prince imparts a lesson in humility which I have long cherished.

Born and raised in the State of New York, I will die here too, if God wills. Wherever I wander on this earth, I am a stranger, except when my feet stand firm on my native New York soil.


The Tale of Alexander Nevsky

Born in AD 1220, Alexander Nevsky ruled Novgorod from 1236 to 1251. He is considered to have been one of the greatest of all Russian sovereigns.

In the year 1240, Nevsky led the Russians to victory against an army of Swedish invaders, defeating them at the Battle on Neva. He was twenty years old. Only two years later, Nevsky defeated the invading Teutonic Knights, in the dead of winter, in the so-called Battle of the Ice of Lake Chudskoe.

For these youthful feats, Nevsky has been enshrined in Russian hearts as their nation's savior.

But his story did not end on the ice of Lake Chudskoe. Russia soon faced an enemy more fearsome than any she had encountered before. Hordes of Mongol and Tatar horsemen from the East began riding onto the south Russian plains in 1223. Each year brought more of them. Russia's bravest knights melted before their onslaught.

The Mongols ruled with exceeding cruelty. Their leader Genghis Khan once said, "Man’s highest joy is in victory: to conquer one's enemies, to pursue them, to deprive them of their possessions, to make their beloved weep, to ride on their horses, and to embrace their daughters and wives."

Those who resisted suffered torture and death. But those who surrendered gained clemency. A Russian prince who opened his gates to the Mongols submitted to vassalage and taxation. But he and his people would be spared. They traded freedom for survival. In those dreadful days, every Russian prince faced this choice.

Ultimately, Alexander Nevsky had to face it too. In 1251, Russia's greatest liberator offered submission to the Mongol lord Sarai Batu and became his vassal. Nevsky was then thirty-one years old. He died at age forty-three in the year 1263, leaving future generations to ponder where cowardice ends and wisdom begins when the odds against you seem overwhelming.

Posted by the Freeper calling himself "Alexander Nevsky"
March 12, 2005