Aleksandr's legacy was a sorry one. At his death Novgorod had barely recovered from the census he had enforced on the city, and it was too early for the north­ ern towns of Suzdalia to have forgotten the suffering and humiliation inflicted on them by the tax-collectors. Had he lived longer and had he had time to ensure that the patent for the grand-princely throne remained securely in the hands of his children and did not pass to his brothers, then at least he might have strengthened the authority of the ruler of Vladimir. But he died too young, at the age of 43 ~ was he poisoned like his father is alleged to have been and as his brother Yaroslav may have been? All three died ‘travelling from the Tatars’ - and at the time of his death his eldest son Vasily, who had disgraced himself in the census affair of the winter of 1259-60 in Novgorod, seems to have been in some sort of political limbo from which he never emerged, while his second eldest, Dmitry, whom he groomed to take Vasily’s place, cannot have been more than in his early teens, if that, when placed on the throne’ of Novgorod in 1260 and put ‘in command’ of the Yur'ev expedition two years later1 (see above, p. 114). The only hope for a powerful Suzdalia lay in the breaking of the system of lateral succession and the creation of a strong family nest in which power could be transmitted from father to eldest son; and this Aleksandr had been unable to achieve. Apart from leaving the country in disarray and doomed to weak rule as long as the present system survived, Aleksandr also left north Russia in a state of greater dependence on the Golden Horde than when he acceded to the throne in 1252.