On September 9, 1928, Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy was born at Yasnaya Polyana estate, fourth child to Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy and Maria Nikolaevna (born Volkonskaya).
Tolstoy belonged to one of Russia's most ancient noble families. On the Tolstoy side, the family rose to prominence under Tsar Alexei I, due to a fortuitous marriage with the Miloslavsky clan (in-laws of the tsar). Five generations back, Count Pyotr Tolstoy (despite taking part in the streltsy rebellion against Peter I) became a close comrade in arms of Peter the Great. It was about him that Peter once quipped, “Head, oh head, were you not so wise, I would have ordered you chopped off long ago.” Lev Tolstoy’s grandfather on his motherÕs side, Nikolai Volkonsky, was a general under Catherine the Great. Volkonsky retired during the reign of Paul I and began renovating Yasnaya Polyana. TolstoyÕs father participated in the war of 1812 against the French and retired with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
After Tolstoy's father married Maria Volkonskaya, the Tolstoys settled at Yasnaya Polyana.
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