Order of Judas for Hetman Mazepa

First, a little history ... By the beginning of the 18th century, the Swedish Empire was the dominant power in the Baltic Sea and one of the leading European powers, which was not to the liking of many of its neighbors. In 1697, fifteen-year-old Charles XII ascended the throne of Sweden, and the young age of the monarch gave rise to the Danish-Norwegian kingdom, Saxony and Russia, counting on an easy victory, to realize their territorial claims to Sweden, and in simple words, by the right of the strong to "squeeze out" part of the Swedish lands in their favor.

However, the Swedish king Charles XII, as it turned out, had an outstanding talent of the commander, and since the beginning of the war the Swedes quickly won a series of important victories, so the Danes quickly decided to sign a peace agreement, abandoning their claims.

On February 2, 1706, Swedish troops inflicted a crushing defeat on the Saxon army, forcing the main instigator of the war, the Elector of Saxony (the Polish king August II), renounced the throne in favor of the supporter of the Swedes, Stanislav Leszczynski, who broke the alliance with Russia.

So Russia, which, by the way, declared war on Sweden the last, was left alone in the war with the army of Charles XII ... 2 years remained until the Battle of Poltava, during which a lot has changed.

An equally young and ambitious opponent of the Swedish king, the Russian tsar Peter I, continued military operations, hoping to "cut through" the country so much needed access to the Baltic Sea. Realizing that it was beyond the power of Russia to become a great power alone, Peter the Great relied heavily on his loyal companions-in-arms who held important government posts and had known the tsar since childhood. But among them was his own Judas ... named Johann Mazepa.

When the young Peter I ascended the Russian throne in 1689, the Cossack hetman Mazepa saw his chance to "go out into the people" and once again used his gift to charm the people in power. Having gained confidence in the tsar, the hetman constantly gave advice to the young monarch in Polish affairs, and over time a close personal friendship arose between them. For 20 years, Mazepa has become one of the richest people not only in Little Russia, but also in Russia, the owner of 19, 654 households in Ukraine and 4, 117 households (about 100, 000 souls in total) in southern Russia.

Interestingly, since 1689, Peter received denunciations against Mazepa, talking about his betrayal. But he did not want to believe the denunciations, the informers were punished, and the tsar's trust in the hetman only grew. Moreover, in 1700, the Cossack hetman received from the hands of the tsar the Order of St. Andrew the First-Called, the second in Russian history.

Despite the confidence shown, Mazepa secretly went over to the side of the Swedes and agreed to provide the troops with fortified points in Severshchina for winter quarters, undertook to deliver provisions, to win over the Zaporozhye and Don Cossacks, even the Kalmyk khan Ayuka, to the side of Karl. In the fall of 1708, Tsar Peter invited Mazepa to join the Cossacks with the Russian troops at Starodub. Mazepa, fearing exposure, fled with the Cossack treasury and the 3000th army to the Swedish camp. Later, he was joined by a part of the Zaporozhye army under the command of the koshevoy ataman Konstantin Gordienko in the amount of up to 7 thousand people.

To say that Tsar Peter was angry is to say nothing. By his order, 3 regiments were moved to the Sich under the leadership of Menshikov, and on May 11, 1709, the Zaporizhzhya Sich was taken and destroyed, and 156 atamans and Cossacks were executed and hanged on rafts, which were launched down the Dnieper to the fear of others. In addition, the residence of Hetman Mazepa, the city of Baturin, was taken and destroyed. According to various sources, about 15 thousand people were killed during this campaign.

On June 27, 1709, the Swedish troops were finally defeated by the Russian army near Poltava, and Karl and Mazepa fled south to the Ottoman Empire.

And on July 11, 1709, Field Marshal and His Serene Highness Prince A.D. Menshikov, fulfilling Peter's instructions, sent the following order to Moscow:

"Upon receiving this, immediately make a coin of silver weighing ten pounds, and on it command to carve Judas on the aspen of the hanged man and below thirty pieces of silver lying with them a sack, and back and the inscription against it:" Cursed the son of the pernicious Judas the hedgehog chokes for money. " for that coin, having made a chain of two pounds, send it to us by courier mail immediately. "

This was the "Order of Judas" weighing five kilograms of silver, specially established to reward the accursed Mazepa. The most treacherous, vicious and vilest of Russia's enemies, becoming the first cavalier of the new order, had to wear it until the last days of his life.

Unfortunately, this award never found its hero. The Ottoman Empire refused to hand over Mazepa to the Russian authorities. Although the tsarist envoy to Constantinople, Peter Tolstoy, was ready to spend 300, 000 efimks for this purpose, which he offered to the grand Turkish vizier for assistance in extraditing the former hetman. Mazepa died on September 22, 1709, rumored to have taken poison from despair.

Subsequently, the Order of Judas was carried by Prince Yuri Fedorovich Shakhovskoy at the All-Drunken, All-Sane and Extravagant Cathedral of Peter I. The gift was with a hint, because the ancestors of the prince did not differ in loyalty to the royal dynasty, constantly participating in various riots and conspiracies. The prince served the king faithfully and, as eyewitnesses testify, he never parted with this award. In 1711, Shakhovskoy was appointed to the newly created post of the chief gewaldiger, that is, the head of the entire military police of Russia.

The last news about the "order" dates back to the time of Empress Anna Ioannovna, when it became an attribute of court jesters.