Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Rulers Prior to Nicholas II => Topic started by: investigator on February 07, 2004, 06:59:32 AM

Title: Empress Catherine II
Post by: investigator on February 07, 2004, 06:59:32 AM
What sort of a woman was she?  Historians have payed more attention to her love life than her achievements.  And how did she die?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: BobAtchison on February 10, 2004, 03:16:33 PM
In the fall of 1796 Catherine was living at the Winter Palace.  Her last day dawned dark, cold and snowy.  As was her habit she rose early and had an extremely strong cup of coffee (distilled from a pound of beans), received a few people (including Platon Zubov) and she then went into her dressingroom.  After a while, when she did not come out her maid and valet went in.  They didn't see her anywhere so they went up to the door of her private toilet.  When there was no response to their calls and scratches on the door they opened the door slowly.  There, to their horror, they saw Catherine had fallen and was lying on the carpet senseless.  With great difficulty due to her girth they managed to extract her from the constricted space of her toilet and carried her out onto the floor in front of her bed. Later they placed her onto a mattress from a sofa.  She never regained consciousness.  Catherine died on November 6, 1796 with her son Paul his wife and children in the room with him.

Bob
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LisaDavidson on February 22, 2004, 10:47:30 PM
Catherine was certainly a complex person whose character cannot be described in a few short words. Like many women, her achievements are discussed less than her personal life. She was certainly a remarkable ruler for any age and a person of strong appetites.

Her son Paul was not an effective ruler, and their relationship was complex as well, and not a positive nor a very loving one.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Glebb on May 06, 2004, 10:11:11 PM
 8).

The Memoirs of Princess Dashkova (Duke University Press) is very interesting read.

Providing valuable insights into politics and aristocratic life of Catherine's court, Dashkova's memoirs tell the story of a a Russian princess who was a playwright, author, President of the Academy of Sciences, and founder and Director of the Russian Academy.  She played an important role in the coup that brought Catherine to the throne, and she was one of the first women in Europe to hold public office
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: DOMOVOII on May 14, 2004, 10:11:01 AM
Hi to all, From what I've read on the great lady surely the question of the legitimancy of the subsequent heirs to the throne is entirely unfounded. Her son Paul was from "the other side of the blanket" and therefore the Romanov line ended with Elizabeth surely....or am I wrong. I seem to remember reading in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra that Nicholas was only by a tiny fraction (1 in 300 parts?) Russian. Making Alexeii 1 in 600?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Namarolf on May 14, 2004, 01:03:37 PM
That depends on what you may or may not accept as "Russian blood". Are we talking about nationality or ethnicity? I guess many Russians, born in Russia, children and grandchildren of Russians, have a lot of Viking or Tartar blood, and I don't think that make them "less" Russian. Considering how peoples have moved from here and there, who can say "I am 100% Russian" (or Nigerian, or Peruvian, or Chinese... not to mention Americans).
The question of Paul's legitimacy is a hard one... actually it was Catherine who in some writings stated he was not Peter III's son. Of course, that may be true... but I still wonder about some details, such as the following:
1) Catherine never showed love nor affection for Paul. If he was the son of a man who provided her love and confort (and sex!) when she was still married to Peter III, it would have been expected quite the contrary: to love and cherish a boy who could remind her of one of the few persons who treated her as a normal, young loving woman. However, she behaved toward Paul the way she would have done to a child by Peter, a man she despised and who behaved like a rascal to her.
2) Catherine, a German princess with no connection to the Romanovs, was not a legitimate ruler - denying Paul's legitimacy would have been a way to say "Oh, ok, I am not the legitimate ruler, but Paul has no better claim, since he is not the son of the Tsar"
3) Catherine was not Miss Universe, but was an attractive young woman, and Saltykov, the alleged father, was a good looking man. Poor Paul was anything but handsome... where did he got his looks from? Peter III ...? Not to talk about their mental balance...

Of course, only DNA could have cleared the point...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Silja on May 14, 2004, 02:20:11 PM
Hi,

The point made about appearance is however not really relevant. Very often very handsome parents have rather plain children and vice versa ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: DOMOVOII on May 14, 2004, 04:21:25 PM
Paul, when born assured Catherine's place at court, even if Elizabeth took  maternal control, which has surely to be the most probable cause for Paul's resentment of his own Mother, "She isn't here- she doesn't care" attitude.
In the early days of the coup,Paul as the closer link in the chain was what made him a direct threat, to her (Catherine's) and his own future, it being easier to side-line a minor as opposed to figure with connections, and support of a regiment or two.  
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Sarai on June 08, 2004, 12:03:59 PM
Quote
I seem to remember reading in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra that Nicholas was only by a tiny fraction (1 in 300 parts?) Russian. Making Alexeii 1 in 600?


I found the exact passage that you are referring to. It says that, according to calculations made by Maurice Paleologue, Nicholas was 1/128th Russian and Alexei was 1/256th Russian. This dilution of Russian in the blood was due to the many intermarriages of Tsars with German (mostly) and Danish women.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Katya04 on August 04, 2004, 08:35:21 PM
 :-[

I had a prof. once who told us a tale about her dying because a horse was being lowered onto her for very embarrassing reasons and the hoist broke and the horse crushed her. She was found on the floor unable to move or speak and then died. But recently someone told me this is not true, that she died on the toilet like Elvis. She had a stroke and fell in the floor naked but there was no horse. That story was started back then by Polish nobles she had stripped of their power to humiliate her memory in all of Europe. What is true?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Dashkova on August 04, 2004, 08:39:51 PM
Geez., Katya, just what sounds more plausible to you? I'm no big fan of Katherine, but this sort of question is a little bit ridiculous.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Katya04 on August 04, 2004, 08:45:37 PM
I admit I used to believe it, my professor did and he was very into Russia. The thing that doesn't make sense is how they'd get a horse and hoist inside, but then again those palaces were huge. A lot of weird stuff went on in those days. No, I guess I don't believe it anymore. Just wanted to hear some feedback from you guys on what you may have heard on this.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Sunny on August 04, 2004, 09:11:07 PM
Ridiculous old myth, that just doesn't seem to go away.

Sunny
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Belochka on August 04, 2004, 10:52:36 PM
Quote
:-[

I had a prof. once who told us a tale about her dying because a horse was being lowered onto her for very embarrassing reasons and the hoist broke and the horse crushed her. She was found on the floor unable to move or speak and then died. But recently someone told me this is not true, that she died on the toilet like Elvis. She had a stroke and fell in the floor naked but there was no horse. What is true?


Katya04,

Sorry to contradict your professor, but he was wrong, Catherine did not die on her 'water closet'.

Whilst working with her secretaries in the morning, she excused herself to go the water closet. After her unusually long absence, her valet and maid found her splayed on the carpet behind the door. With some effort her unconscious body was moved into her bedroom onto a mattress on the floor where she succumbed to a massive stroke, some 36 hours later.

Reference: Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great Isabel de Madariaga 2002, pp 577 - 8
;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LisaDavidson on August 05, 2004, 12:21:24 AM
You need to keep in mind that Catherine was an independent, self-actualized woman in an age when all of us, royal or not, were expected to be submissive baby makers. A great deal of mythology exists about Catherine and her sexuality because she did not fit into that 18th century mold. More power to her, I say, and notice the gender of the people telling these stories.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Greg_King on August 05, 2004, 04:34:11 AM
Quote
You need to keep in mind that Catherine was an independent, self-actualized woman in an age when all of us, royal or not, were expected to be submissive baby makers. A great deal of mythology exists about Catherine and her sexuality because she did not fit into that 18th century mold. More power to her, I say, and notice the gender of the people telling these stories.


And I think it important to note, too, that these stories were largely spread by those surrounding Paul I, in an on-going attempt to discredit Catherine and blacken her accomplishments.

The best refutation (and for that matter, the best biography of Catherine) is in John T. Alexander's biography of the Empress, where he discusses this fable at great length.

Greg King
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovFan on August 07, 2004, 04:51:51 PM
Quote
Hi to all, From what I've read on the great lady surely the question of the legitimancy of the subsequent heirs to the throne is entirely unfounded. Her son Paul was from "the other side of the blanket" and therefore the Romanov line ended with Elizabeth surely....or am I wrong. I seem to remember reading in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra that Nicholas was only by a tiny fraction (1 in 300 parts?) Russian. Making Alexeii 1 in 600?



I've thought about that before, myself.  Nicholas II's mother was Danish, making him half Danish, but was Alexander III full-blooded Russian or no? Because if he was, that means Nicholas would've been half Russian, making Alexei and the girls a quarter Russian, quarter Danish and half German from their mother, Alix.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Robert_Hall on August 07, 2004, 05:43:25 PM
There has not been a Russian spouse in the reigning line since Peter III, Catherine II's ill-fated husband. Even his father was German & I am not sure what his mother, Anne, was. HER father was Peter I [the Great] & is mother- Catherine I, I am not sure of. I have read so many stories of her origins, I do not know what the consensus is now.
Cheers,
Robert
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Belochka on August 09, 2004, 10:18:58 PM
Ekaterina I was the daughter of a Lithuanian peasant called Samuel Skavronskii who fled to Livonia (Swedish province). Martha Skavronskaya was born in Ringen located near the city of Dorpat.

RomanovFan is correct in stating that Nikolai II was half- Russian but by birth only, because his father Alexander III was born in SPb.  

However if one traces the ethnicity of the Romanov Family from Peter I up to Nikolai II, then there is very little Russian blood remaining, having been diluted through the centuries by both Germanic and Danish Royal families.

Peter the Great was the last full-blooded Russian Emperor.  ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on August 10, 2004, 11:27:52 AM
Quote
...
The question of Paul's legitimacy is a hard one... actually it was Catherine who in some writings stated he was not Peter III's son. Of course, that may be true...


Since so many of you are so well versed on this subject,  who is on the list of possible father's of Peter III?

AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Katya04 on August 10, 2004, 12:58:45 PM
Thanks for your information and responses!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Olga on August 11, 2004, 08:19:15 AM
Peter III Fyodorovich's father was Karl Friedrich, Duke of Holstein Gottorp. His mother was Anna Petrovna, Grand Duchess of Russia, who was a daughter of Peter I Alexeevich.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on August 11, 2004, 11:41:19 AM
Thanks Olga.

Now,  what I meant to ask was,  "Since so many of you are so well versed on this subject, who is on the list of possible natural  father's of Paul I?"  

AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Louise on August 11, 2004, 11:49:01 AM
Ah, the tricky question of who the daddy is. The official father is of course Peter III. The probable and most likely father is Segei Vasilyevich Saltykov, a chamberlain of Grand Duke Peter.

Louise
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on August 22, 2004, 09:11:58 PM
Did Catherine II ever state in any diary or letter that Segei Vasilyevich Saltykov was Paul I's father?

It seems like I remember reading Cath. II never revealed  Saltykov was the father.

I don't recall seeing any portraits of Saltykov either...

What was Saltykov's fate?  I remember he was sent off to Sweden after Paul I was born....  Then I think he returned but then what happen to him.  Did he and his wife have any children?  If Saltykov did have children with his wife, what happen to his children, who would have been Paul I's half sisters/ brothers.....?  

Was there anyone else who might have been Paul I's natural father?

AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovFan on September 05, 2004, 05:34:00 PM
Quote
What sort of a woman was she?  Historians have payed more attention to her love life than her achievements.  And how did she die?


Catherine (Ekaterina) II 'The Great' was born as Sophie Augusta Freidrica, Princess of Prussia (I think) or Germany at least. She was taken from her homeland and brought to Russia by the current Tsarina. Then the Tsarina brought her nephew over from Prussia (a distant Romanov relative from the Holstein line) Peter III. They hated each other and he hated Russia and everything Russian, at least that's what history tells us, and after giving birth to at least 2 of Peter's children (this uncluded a son), she had him killed. Catherine II had several lovers that she was with during her marriage to the Tsar Peter III. I don't know if there were any children from these affairs though.  She was supposed to have restriced punishment of the surfs in 1875 to being less cruel and harmful to them, but by doing this she may have given the nobles more power over them. She gained territory for Russia, making it a larger country, imported musicians, architects,ect. from other countries to modernize Russia.  She died from natural causes in November, 1796.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 05, 2004, 11:21:52 PM
Goodness, Leslie, there are a couple of things in your post that need to be corrected:

1. CTG was a Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst. There was no Germany as a nation state during Catherine's time. She was a very minor German princess when she was brought to Russia.
2. Empress Elizabeth brought her nephew who would become Tsar Peter III to Russia before CTG's arrival.
3. Her nephew was not a "distant Romanov". Other than the Empress, he was the only remaining descendant of PTG. It was decidedly the Empress' choice that Peter's line continue on the throne. (Though her sister had married an Oldenberg prince.)
4. Catherine did not have Peter killed after he fathered two children. She had to wait until Elizabeth died. After Peter III became Tsar, Catherine overthrew him with a coup d'etat.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: terence on September 09, 2004, 07:04:07 PM
I no this is a dumb thing to ask but what color was  Catherine's hair white or black i get contradicting descriptions
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LisaDavidson on September 09, 2004, 11:38:37 PM
I believe Catherine's hair was dark when she was younger. She lived in an age where people wore wigs, and so she also wore them - in the light or white color you have seen.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Belochka on September 11, 2004, 01:24:42 AM
There are images of Ekaterina as a young Empress with very long dark brown hair which she decorated with what appear to strings of pearls. There is also a painting of her with long flowing curled dark brown hair which supports her regal Crown.

When she rode a horse, she chose to wear male attire. I have a colored image and a separate drawing of her wearing her dark hair drawn back into a pony-tail tied with a black silk bow. This particular hairstyle originated in the Prussian Army.

Catherine apparently was fashion conscious, and believed it was her duty to dress splendidly as an Empress should. With maturity she chose to wear powdered wigs. According to fashion starch not talcum powder was applied to the hair, even if it was real.  :D

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovFan on September 19, 2004, 09:17:52 PM
Quote
Goodness, Leslie, there are a couple of things in your post that need to be corrected:

1. CTG was a Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst. There was no Germany as a nation state during Catherine's time. She was a very minor German princess when she was brought to Russia.
2. Empress Elizabeth brought her nephew who would become Tsar Peter III to Russia before CTG's arrival.
3. Her nephew was not a "distant Romanov". Other than the Empress, he was the only remaining descendant of PTG. It was decidedly the Empress' choice that Peter's line continue on the throne. (Though her sister had married an Oldenberg prince.)
4. Catherine did not have Peter killed after he fathered two children. She had to wait until Elizabeth died. After Peter III became Tsar, Catherine overthrew him with a coup d'etat.


Oops....well, that's just bits and peices of what I remember from the 'RUSSIA: Land of the Tsars' history channel series....I guess they were a little off. It's hard to tell what's true with history and what's not sometimes because each person, book or tv program says something a little bit different from the others.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: James_Davidov on November 04, 2004, 12:33:49 AM
I found a beautiful old copy of a biography 'Catherine The Great' by Ian Grey.  I think it swidely published, anywaz, its fairly extensive and written informatively...everything anyone would want to know is there........its was the first time i encountered the whole Orlov issue?>>?>>>was it really the House of Orlov instead of the House of Romanov????? :o

here is the account of her death from the last chapter

"On the morning of 6 November 1796 she rose at her usual hour.  She saw Zubov for a short time and then gave various instructions to her secreteries.  In the midstt of this work she broke off to retire breifly to her private inner chamber, and there, seated on the commode, she has a stroke.  Her valet , uneasy at not being summoned for so long, finally entered to find her lying on the floor.  She was unconcious and, despite the efforts of her doctors who were immediately summoned, she did not revive.
The Grand Duke and his family, her ministers and courtiers assembled in her bedchamber for the last vigil, and the city was muted by the news that the Empress was dying.  At her bedside her grandchildren to whom she had given so much love and care were in tears, as were most of the court.  The Grand Duke, however, had no tears to shed for the mother who had always spurned him and had deprived him of his throne for so many years.  It was even rumoured at court that the Empress had been on the point of excluding him from the succession and making her grandson, Alexander, her heir.  As they waited around the bed, it seemed possible that she might regain her senses and by a last testament displace her son, but he was saved this final humiliation at her hands.  Catherine did not regain conciousness and some thirty hours later died.
Thus, suddenly and unexpectedly, ended a reign of magnificence and triumphs, which complelled the admiration and at times the alarm of the whole civilized world."


phew :P that took ages to write out, lol
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: James_Davidov on November 04, 2004, 01:26:41 AM
I am positive that whilst watching a documentry, which mentioned the rumoured death, they traced its roots to Prussian or Polish soldiers.....I'm not sure which, whatever army they were at or had been at war with I guess, anyway, It is the type of thing soldier would have come up with.  Anyway, Catherine was was an old woman at the time of her death, a horse having been dropped on her would have killed her straight away, but she lay on her death bed for i think a day.  Anyway, it could also be contributed to her love of riding, but this was a form of escape, particularly during her hostile marriage with Paul, besides, as everyone knows, she had many lovers, she didn't need a horse!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Olga on November 04, 2004, 02:18:06 AM
Quote
The point made about appearance is however not really relevant. Very often very handsome parents have rather plain children and vice versa ;)


That's very true. Look at Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LisaDavidson on November 04, 2004, 03:21:16 PM
As to the paternity of Paul I, it should be noted that legal paternity rested with Peter III. He was Catherine's only legal husband, and thus the legal father of Paul I and his sister.

Catherine and others may speculate as to Paul's biological paternity, which is an entirely separate issue. This would not change the name of the House which is Romanov Holstein Gottorp.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: The_Ferret on November 15, 2004, 02:51:55 AM
She was a hypocrite who talked about freedom while enslaving the majority of people. She let the vicious gangster Potemkin rob the treasury blind while people starved.

She murdered her husband and killed the boy-pretender Ivan.

When the peasantry rose up in desperation under the great freedom fighter, Pugachev, she sent her thugs to murder and pillage the peasant people. They impaled people and put their heads on pikes as a lesson.

She finally croaked while sitting on the toilet. Word was she was depressed about her grand daughter's marriage to a Swedish price.

Good riddance.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: isayhello2u on December 03, 2004, 11:29:24 AM
Catherine the Great was said to have owned a necklace
made of about 30 large black pearls

I was wondering if there is any information on how or when she aquired it.  

Im interested in knowing if any or part of the pearls came from the Spanish, or had a Spanish connection
or a connection to Mexico.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Annie on December 03, 2004, 03:00:13 PM
Is that the one Zenaida Yussoupov loved so much and took into exile but Felix sold in Paris? (not talking about La Pelegrina/La Peregrina but the entire necklace Felix mentions in his book)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: isayhello2u on December 04, 2004, 10:11:48 AM
Im not sure as I don't know any of the necklaces history
other than Catherine was said to have worn such a necklace

I am pretty sure though  there was only one such necklace
in the world  in the 1700's

Black pearls at the time were the rarest in the world with only two known sources.  

the gulf of  California (sea of Cortez)
off of  mexico's western coast
(which was spanish & is now part of mexico)

and the south pacific island area of  Tahiti
Tahiti was only discovered in the mid 1700's  

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Elisabeth on December 04, 2004, 03:38:51 PM
I know that Mary, Queen of Scots had a famous necklace of black pearls. Elizabeth the Great of England, who was herself enormously fond of pearls, acquired it after Mary's execution. As far as I know, Elizabeth also inherited La Peregrina from her sister, Queen Mary, upon her death in 1558.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Annie on December 05, 2004, 11:29:45 AM
Zenaida's black pearl necklace did belong to Catherine the Great.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: isayhello2u on December 05, 2004, 12:00:20 PM
with the information you gave I was able to find out
yes the necklace was the same one that Felix sold in Paris.
How did Catherine Aquire it?

The pelegrina (or incomparable) Pearl once  owned and worn by Princess Zenaide Youssoupov   was found  100 yrs after
The Peregrina (the wanderer)  
The Peregrina was kept by spain until
the time of Napoleon where it wandered through
french and english hands until being purchased as
a gift for the american actress Elizabeth Taylor.  

Neither the Pelegrina nor the Peregrina were Black pearls.
they were more grey or silver.

Mary Queen of Scott's necklace  probably was not even close to the same size or quality as Catherine's
The gulf of California  the first source of True black pearls was not discovered  until 1533.
The first official spanish attempt at pearl diving in this area was in 1595. It was so remote and difficult to travel that the area was never fully mapped until 1700.  
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on March 30, 2005, 12:42:57 AM
Her hair was dark brown , but in the lot of portraits when she was about 30 years old, her hairs looked as silver ones.
It is because of  a fashion those times to put a lot of the flour ( powder) on the hair.
For such purpose the women took old furniture ( old clothe's case) , took the case's ceiling off and used it like a shower cabin with flour instead of water.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Belochka on March 30, 2005, 08:09:58 PM
I believe hikaru, that we both concur on this matter! ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Alexandra on April 25, 2005, 08:49:47 PM
This child, although given the honorary patronymic Petrovna, was almost certainly the child of Catherine's liaison with Stanislaus Poniatowski, 'le beau Polonais,' of whom she writes in her Memoires. With childhood disease rampant everywhere,  and infant mortality rates quite high, it seems likely that the little Anne died of one or another fever in March, 1759. Catherine does not mention her, although she must have felt some pain at the loss of this daughter.
I have never seen a portrait of this child, although some exist of Grand Duke Paul in childhood. Since Catherine was extricating herself from the rather sticky coils of Poniatowski's fervent devotion to her, she may not have kept much in the way of mementoes from their liaiason. It was also unusual, in this period. to paint a  child quite that young (although cf. Mme Vigee-Lebrun's  studies of Marie Antoinette and her children). If anybody finds one, please post it! - thanks!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Macedonsky on April 26, 2005, 06:06:39 AM
(http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y31/macedonsky/anna.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Alexandra on May 04, 2005, 09:43:12 PM
Someone actually gave her a hairpiece made of real silver hair. To me, it looks like a ravelled steel wool pad, but the ringlets aren't bad!

Stanislaus Poniatowski calls her hair black; her own mother saw it as light brown; the portraiture suggests a kind of chestnut or auburn. Despite the mode for powdering, the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, her predecessor but one, got the notion to dye her own light hair black. She believed this black hair was the height of fashion in the French court. The story is told that she then couldn't get the dye and powder out, shaved her head, and ordered her ladies to do likewise. Caterine was exempted from the decree, since her hair fell out quite a few times when young (illness and fever do that) and was just growing in nicely.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: TJ Jones on May 05, 2005, 11:27:51 AM
I read somewhere that she was not beautiful but, her light hair contrasted her very thick and dark brows and made her look very interesting. I forget the source of this information.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on May 08, 2005, 09:19:14 AM
didn't catherine also give birth to an orlov child?  :-/
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on May 08, 2005, 11:59:40 AM
It was a son. His name was Count Bobrinsky.
Now his wonderful two grand , grand ........sons are going to be diplomats.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on May 09, 2005, 12:00:53 PM
who are those?  ???
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: grandduchess_42 on May 12, 2005, 06:25:42 AM
yeah i heard that to. i wonder y she didn't like let it all down? :o
(http://[left]http://www.saint-petersburg.com/images/history/catherine_the_great.jpg)[/left]
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Elisabeth on May 15, 2005, 01:39:37 PM
Quote
Despite the mode for powdering, the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, her predecessor but one, got the notion to dye her own light hair black. She believed this black hair was the height of fashion in the French court.


I read in Zoe Oldenbourg's biography of the young Catherine that the reason Elizaveta dyed her hair black was in order to match the Russian standard of beauty as described in Russian fairy tales: skin white as snow, hair dark as a raven's wing. This makes more sense to me than the idea that black hair was a French fashion - at a time when Frenchwomen powdered their hair to appear lighter. Blondes were always more fashionable in the West than brunettes.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on May 15, 2005, 08:36:16 PM
I had never heard of the desirability of white skin expressed in Russian fairy tales.  Was that the reason that Boyar women up until Peter I's time blackened their teeth?  The purpose of that custom has always eluded me.  (I tried it on my dog.  Didn't make her look any better.)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Elisabeth on May 16, 2005, 08:41:32 AM
I didn't know boyars' wives blackened their teeth, how bizarre! (I hope your dog recovered from the experiment.) Do you know what they used?

There's a peasant expression in Russian, "krov' s molokom" to describe a beautiful complexion. Literally it means "blood with milk." It's only applied to women. This was probably the standard of beauty Elizaveta aspired to (in my previous post I think I mixed up "krov' s molokom" with Snow White!).
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on May 16, 2005, 09:21:00 AM
They actually did blacken their teeth, although I have no idea what they used.  Peter barred both the blackening of teeth and the wearing of beards among the residents of St. Petersburg as part of his westernization campaign.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Michelle on June 10, 2005, 07:41:36 PM
Does anyone have a picture of her?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on June 10, 2005, 09:33:01 PM
I know that Japanese blackened the teeth till the beginning of the 20th century but never heard about russian boyars (will check).
Always in Russia highly esteemed the teeth like pearls ( it means no black).
In Japan as well as in Asia women blackened the teeth when they married. It was the sign of the marriage.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on June 10, 2005, 10:35:50 PM
I cannot remember where I saw the reference to blackened teeth, hikaru, as it was some years ago.  I did a google search, and this was the closest I came:

"As part of the Mongol Golden Horde, Russia's political and social attitudes toward women changed.  By the time Moscow arose in the 14th century as successor to the Mongols, female royalty had fewer rights and opportunities than in ancient Kiev.  Women were now entirely excluded from all influence on government affairs.  Nor was there any royal romance or chivalry as in Western Europe.  The daughters of the ruler were locked up in a special section of the palace called the terem, or tower chamber.  There they sat, richly clothed and decorated, their teeth painted black according to the royal custom of the time . . . ."

No source was given for this information.

This indicates an oriental origin to the custom, in line with your comments about Japan.  And maybe the custom eventually spread from royal women to boyar women?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: rskkiya on June 11, 2005, 09:34:57 AM
Quote
They actually did blacken their teeth, although I have no idea what they used.  Peter barred both the blackening of teeth and the wearing of beards among the residents of St. Petersburg as part of his westernization campaign.

  The notion of  "blackened teeth" may well have come to represent upper class values and a sign of sensuality.

  Or maybe it was a sign that such rich attractive women could afford to eat a lot of sugar? After all today the "attractive" women are generally considered the thin or fit women who can afford to work out  - while poorer people are heavier due to their diets rich in snack foods and heavy carbs...

Sorry to go off topic.
rs
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: kenmore3233 on August 04, 2005, 12:16:25 PM
Quote
:-[

I had a prof. once who told us a tale about her dying because a horse was being lowered onto her for very embarrassing reasons and the hoist broke and the horse crushed her. She was found on the floor unable to move or speak and then died. But recently someone told me this is not true, that she died on the toilet like Elvis. She had a stroke and fell in the floor naked but there was no horse. That story was started back then by Polish nobles she had stripped of their power to humiliate her memory in all of Europe. What is true?


The horse legend, although delightfully salacious, is definitely untrue.

Catherine died from some illness that I cannot remember. The illness manifested itself very quickly, and she spent her final days bedridden. If my memory serves me correctly she was in a coma during her final hours.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on August 04, 2005, 12:42:37 PM
She died of insult.
The reason were nerves .  She excited a lot when a Sweden prince cancelled the marriage ceremony with her beloved grand-daughter because of the religion problem. The Prince denied to sign a contract in the last moment , when all preparation were finished and the ceremony had to begun. Guests are gathered . It was awful.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Christopher on August 04, 2005, 07:05:02 PM
Unfortunately, I heard the same horse myth years ago from my Russian History Professor....Makes you wonder how many people are perpetuating that myth.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: kenmore3233 on August 04, 2005, 08:20:17 PM
Quote
Unfortunately, I heard the same horse myth years ago from my Russian History Professor....Makes you wonder how many people are perpetuating that myth.


My information is drawn from a biography of Catherine titled "Catherine the Great", by Zoe Oldenburg. It was published in the 1940s.

I'm sure that any biography of Catherine will give you enough data to dispel the horse myth.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on August 05, 2005, 09:29:54 AM
I , in russia, never heard  about the horse myph .
As for the WC -  she died in that room so
it was Pushkin , who wrote quite funny , quite dirty satirical  verse about it.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Romanov on September 09, 2005, 06:44:45 PM
Does anybody have information abou the realationship between Vigee le brun and Empress Catherines familys?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Elisabeth on September 11, 2005, 12:44:38 PM
Fascinating question, Romanov. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I was under the impression that Marie-Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun only came to Russia during the reign of Paul. At least, she has much to say about him in her memoirs, whereas I don't recall her saying anything about Catherine (?).

If you haven't read them, Vigée-LeBrun's memoirs are an excellent source for this period. They're incredibly interesting and amusing, full of vignettes of the French court under Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and of the Russian court of Paul and Maria Feodorovna.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on September 17, 2005, 02:38:55 AM
Catherine did like the portrait of her two grand daughters painted by Vigee le Brun.
She said that two girls look like a monkeys.
So Catherine did not like the Vigee Le Brun who  did not
spend a lot of time in Russia  for this.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: bell_the_cat on September 26, 2005, 02:40:19 AM
The memoirs of Mme Vigée Le Brun are online at:

ftp://http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/lebrun/memoirs/memoirs.html
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lancashireladandre on October 06, 2005, 02:11:09 AM
Madame Vigee-Lebrun spent over 5 years in Russia leaving in 1801. Even then the main reason for her depature seems to have been the marriage of her idolised daughter Julie to Nigris a union she feared-rightly so -would end in disaster. Having put on a brave face despite the distress.  She determined to go back to western Europe. She is thought to have been starting a portrait of Catherine (who had greeted her warmly when she first arrived in St P) when the Empress died.Lada Nikolenko wrote a very interesting article with a catalogue of the russian portraits many years ago. Unfortunatey I don't remember the details except it could have been for the Gazette de Beaux Arts.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lancashireladandre on October 06, 2005, 09:51:09 AM
Catherine the Great's black pearl necklace was among a collection of historic  pearls taken out of Russia by Zenaida Youssoupoff when she fled with her family in the entourage of the Dowager Empress.There was a multi strand rosy pink pearl necklace with a huge ruby &brilliant clasp and another historic black pearl the Azra and the splendid Pelegrina (the last of the famed Youssoupoff gems to be sold by Felix in 1952).Within a short time of settling in Rome, Zenaida (whose charity was legendary)was in need of cash.She entrusted the Marie Antoinette earrings and the black pearls to Felix who after many adventures enroute sold them to Cartier in New York. They were then purchased by Mrs Peter Goelet Gerry. The wife of the senator from Rhode Island she  had previously been the widow of the Vanderbilt who had built the lovely Biltmore in North Carolina.Zenaida managed to hang onto the Azra and Pelegrina till her death in 1939. In 1935 she even lent them to an exhibition in London.The Azra was bought by Lydia Lady Deterding the wife of the founder of Shell Oil who already owned the Polar star. Lady D later lost the pearl at a reception in Paris being held for Princess Margaret !!!!!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 21, 2005, 02:38:19 PM
For anyone interested, BBC2 (UK and Ireland) are showing a documentary on Catherine II 'the Great' tonight, October 21 at 9pm local time.

Just thought I'd let you guys know!  :)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Svetabel on October 21, 2005, 03:06:36 PM
Well, don't forget to tell us more about  this documentary  ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 21, 2005, 06:26:05 PM
It was a docu-drama, and part 2 will be next week.

I was quite impressed. It was very good, making liberal use of Catherine's memoirs and being completely fair, not making her out to be either a saint or an ogre.

A really interesting point was a comment Catherine made in her memoirs, that a woman whom the Empress Elizabeth had sent to watch over her, gave her a long talk about being faithful etc to her husband, but then told her that some circumstances would warrant infidelity - that is, Elizabeth was so desparate for a Russian heir she virtually gave Catherine permission to mother a child by her lover!  :o

Of course, we don't know for sure that Peter wasn't the father of Paul, since he wasn't impotent, as he had other mistresses.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: PssMarieAmelie on October 22, 2005, 09:01:40 AM
*sigh* Again, I wish I was in the UK....look at the first part of my sig...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 22, 2005, 12:54:47 PM
LOL, I am most certainly not in the UK, but I saw it.  ;D
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on October 22, 2005, 02:57:55 PM
i read in various places, not only that paul was saltykov's child, but that catherine took saltykov as a lover at empress elizabeth's suggestion... so even if it's true or not, it certainly is more than just an assumption on bbc's part. we can consider it a rumour, if you want. but it's a rumour that is being considered by more than one historian
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: PssMarieAmelie on October 23, 2005, 06:58:26 AM
Quote
LOL, I am most certainly not in the UK, but I saw it.  ;D



Sorry, but I can't help making typos/forgetting things. Tis part of my nature. One of the things that makes me unique and special. 8)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 23, 2005, 07:08:44 AM
Quote
i read in various places, not only that paul was saltykov's child, but that catherine took saltykov as a lover at empress elizabeth's suggestion... so even if it's true or not, it certainly is more than just an assumption on bbc's part. we can consider it a rumour, if you want. but it's a rumour that is being considered by more than one historian


Yes, and the extracts this show used from Catherine's memoirs certainly indicate that!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on October 23, 2005, 03:14:39 PM
of course, considerring that catherine did try more than once to prove that paul was not peter's son, she would have had to find some excuse for her cheating on her husband. sure, her husband being the way he was was a pretty good excuse but having the royal sanction was even better. so you can't judge the situation 100% by catherine's testimonial.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: veu on October 24, 2005, 12:40:51 PM
We are fans of Catherine The Great!!!
Anyone has pics about her???
Thanks!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 28, 2005, 01:51:08 PM
Don't forget to watch Part 2 tonight, if you can!  :)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on October 28, 2005, 02:35:25 PM
can't :(
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 28, 2005, 02:45:52 PM
Quote
can't :(


I'll be sure to make a concise report then.  ;D
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 28, 2005, 04:43:23 PM
Great concluding episode covering Catherine's relationship and possible marriage to Potemkin, her expansions of Russian territory and her later years. :)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Svetabel on October 29, 2005, 08:58:55 AM
Quote
Great concluding episode covering Catherine's relationship and possible marriage to Potemkin, her expansions of Russian territory and her later years. :)


Was mentioned in the documentary that Catherine had  a daughter from Potemkin? Her name was Elizaveta Grigorievna Temkina.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Prince_Lieven on October 29, 2005, 09:00:14 AM
It mentioned an illegitimate daughter, I think, but that was while Empress Elizabeth was still alive - could such a baby be Potemkin's child?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Svetabel on October 29, 2005, 09:13:48 AM
Catherine had more than one illegitimate children. Her daughter Anna (1759) was a child of Stanislaw Ponjatowskiy (King-to-be of Poland). Count Alexey Bobrinsky (1762) was a son of Catherine anf Count Grigoriy Orlov. And Catherine gave a birth to a daughter in the beginning of the 1770s, this was Elizaveta Temkina,who reached a great age and was well-informed about who were her parents...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: hikaru on October 30, 2005, 12:25:58 AM
The portrait of Ms. Temkina by Borovikovsky is in the Tretiyakov Gallery.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Helen_Azar on November 05, 2005, 05:55:45 PM
Here is a short biographical article with some pictures of Catherine:

http://www.geocities.com/mushkah/CatherineGreat.html


Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Caleb on November 06, 2005, 07:52:09 PM
For me, I'm not a fan of hers, but I must admit she was a very interesting woman.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Romanov_Fan19 on November 06, 2005, 11:17:17 PM
Im a fan and i also think she was an interesting woman
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Fay on November 14, 2005, 09:20:25 AM
Can someone tell me what is this outstretched hand of hers meaning, if anything? ???
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Shvibzik on November 25, 2005, 12:47:03 PM
While I'm not necessarilly a fan of Catherine, I too believe she was very interesting.  I've also looked around a lot and I couldn't find any paintings of Catherine as a younger woman.  I know she was a minor princess before she married Peter, but after she married him, didn't she have any portaits painted of her?

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 25, 2005, 02:03:18 PM
i saw some some... she was very pretty when she was young... can't remember where though... try a google image search...

the book i have, 'russian tsars chronicle' has a painting of catherine, peter and paul together... probably while elizabeth was still alive
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 26, 2005, 01:35:09 AM
i found the pic of catherine and peter on the internet. it's kind of small, but you'll get the idea:

(http://mmarttravel.com/images/catherine3.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 26, 2005, 01:41:56 AM
here's another (unfortunatly small) picture, this one supposedly painted in 1738, when she was a grand duchess:

(http://www.raile.com/2318ebd0.png)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: David_Pritchard on November 26, 2005, 01:56:34 AM
Quote
here's another (unfortunatly small) picture, this one supposedly painted in 1738, when she was a grand duchess:

(http://www.raile.com/2318ebd0.png)


Catherine was a Grand Duchess of Russia from 1745 until 1761. She would have been a nine year old princess in Anhalt in the year 1738.

David
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 26, 2005, 01:59:30 AM
 :-[

that's what it said on the website (since i'm not so documented on catherine's grand duchess years, i couldn't check).

they probably got the year wrong. she doesn't look nine year old to me
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: David_Pritchard on November 26, 2005, 03:46:23 AM
Quote
:-[

that's what it said on the website (since i'm not so documented on catherine's grand duchess years, i couldn't check).

they probably got the year wrong. she doesn't look nine year old to me



Dear Ilyala,

I have found that there is quite a lot of incorrect information on the Internet when it comes to Russian history. It seems to me that most of this is due to the Wikepedia site. These entries are not reviewed for accuracy. Other free Internet encyclopedia sites then take the incorrect Wikepedia entries for their own causing the further desemination of the incorrect history. There have been times when I have come upon a single incorrect Wikepedia entry in over 25 different forms on 25 different web sites. Be very careful where you get your facts on the Internet.

David
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 26, 2005, 08:22:52 AM
most of the historical facts i believe in come from books. generally are stuff that i read in more than one book, and i like to read different opinions from people who have different points of view to find out what they have in common. i am no expert in catherine the great, she's not one of my favorite subjects, what i know is generally what everyone knows. of course there are many mistakes on the internet, but i tend to think that the internet is a good source of information anyway, even if not the most reliable
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 26, 2005, 01:12:39 PM
(http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b375/auersperg22/Cath1.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 26, 2005, 01:14:09 PM
(http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b375/auersperg22/Cath2.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 26, 2005, 01:15:20 PM
(http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b375/auersperg22/Cath3.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 26, 2005, 01:15:51 PM
Something close...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: David_Pritchard on November 26, 2005, 02:14:02 PM
Marc,

Thank you for the early portraits of Ekaterina while she was a Grand Duchess of Russia.

I am curious about the second portrait that you posted, in the upper right hand corner of the portrait are the words von Anhalt-Zerbst and above this are the words von Rußland and above this is the name Katherina is this a portrait of painted shortly before her marriage to Grand Duke Peter when she received the title of Grand Duchess of Russia or shortly after her wedding when the von Anhalt-Zerbst might still have relevance?

David
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 28, 2005, 07:37:59 PM
I would also like to see Anhalt-Zerbst period portrait if there is any...obviously the second portrait was done after the marriage since it is written ''Großherzogin von Rußland'' witch means Grand Duchess of Russia in German,so...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: David_Pritchard on November 28, 2005, 09:19:26 PM
Actually the entire inscription appears to me to be

auf Deutsch: Groß Herzogin Katharina v. Rußland und
v. Anhalt Zerbst


and in English: Grand Duchess Ekaterina of Russia and
of Anhalt Zerbst


David
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on November 29, 2005, 07:59:00 AM
maybe they wanted to point out that she was not russian of origin...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Marc on November 29, 2005, 10:12:10 AM
I don't see very well this,but just maybe this was not wriiten ''and'' but ''Großherzogin Katharina von Rußland geb.(from geborene-with means born) von Anhalt-Zerbst''...but still I would like to see her Anhalt-Zerbst period portrait!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: kmerov on November 29, 2005, 02:21:11 PM
This is b/w, but she was still Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst when it was painted.
(http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/kmerov/IF%20of%20Russia/youngkat2.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: kmerov on November 29, 2005, 02:25:35 PM
And a portrait of the Empress Catherine.
(http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/kmerov/IF%20of%20Russia/empressk2.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on January 07, 2006, 05:51:39 AM
In The Chinese Palace at Oranienbaum, author Will Black states that Catherine had a "secret" child by Grigory Orlov.  There has been speculation over the years that her children who were ostensibly sired by Peter III might have had different paternities, but I have never heard of a "secret" child.

Has anyone ever encountered such a report elsewhere?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Grand Duke on January 24, 2006, 06:11:10 PM
Quote
Word was she was depressed about her grand daughter's marriage to a Swedish price.


If I was such a bad ruler, I would be depressed too.  :-/
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on February 04, 2006, 06:30:30 PM
Catherine II and Pagachev

Quote
[size=18]Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachev[/size], born in 1740 or 1742 and executed in 1775, was a pretender to the Russian throne who led a great Cossack insurrection during the reign of Catherine II. Alexander Pushkin wrote a remarkable history of the rebellion; and he recounted some of the events in his novel Captain's Daughter (1836).

(http://img449.imageshack.us/img449/4840/180pxpugachyov3yg.jpg)

Pugachev, the son of a small Don Cossack landowner, married a Cossack girl, Sofia Nedyuzheva, in 1758, and in the same year participated in Seven Years' War as part of the Cossack expedition to Prussia under the command of Count Zakhar Chernyshev. In the first Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), Pugachev, now a Cossack khorunzhiy (corresponding to the regular army rank of podporuchik, or junior lieutenant), served under Count Peter Panin and participated in the siege of Bender (1770).

Invalided home, Pugachev led for the next few years a wandering life. More than once the authorities arrested and imprisoned him as a deserter. In 1773, after frequenting the monasteries of the Old Believers, who exercised considerable influence over him, he suddenly proclaimed himself tsar Peter III and organised the insurrection of the Yaik Cossacks which ignited the flames of a full blown insurrection in the lower Volga region.

Insurrection 1773–1774

The story of Pugachev's strong resemblance to the murdered tsar Peter III, whom his wife, the future empress Catherine II, had overthrown in 1762, comes from a later legend. Pugachev was a Don Cossack and deserter of Catherine's Imperial army. Pugachev told the story that he and his principal adherents had escaped from the clutches of Catherine, and had now resolved to redress the grievances of the people, give absolute liberty to the Cossacks, and put Catherine herself away in a monastery.

Under the guise of Peter III, Pugachev built up his own bureaucracy and army which copied that of Catherine's. Some of his top commanders took on the pseudonyms of dukes and courtiers. Zarubin Chaika, Pugachev's top commander, for example, took the guise of Zakhar Chernytsev. The army Pugachev established, at least at the very top levels of command, also mimicked that of Catherine's. The organizational structure Pugachev set up for his top command was extraordinary, considering Pugachev defected as an ensign from Catherine's army. He built up his own War College and a fairly sophisticated intelligence network of messengers and spies. Even though Pugachev was illiterate, he recruited the help of local priests, mullahs, and starshins to write and disseminate his "royal decrees" or ukazy in Russian and Tatar dialects. These Ukazy were copied, sent to villages and read to the masses by the priests and mullahs. In these documents, he begged the masses to serve him faithfully. He promised to grant to those who followed his service land, salt, grain, and lowered taxes, and threatened punishment and death to those who didn't. For example, an excerpt from an Ukaz written in late 1773:

"From me, such reward and investiture will be with money and bread compensation and with promotions: and you, as well as your next of kin will have a place in my government and will be designated to serve a glorious duty on my behalf. If there are those who forget their obligations to their natural ruler Peter III, and dare not carry out the command that my devoted troops are to receive weapons in their hands, then they will see for themselves my righteous anger, and will then be punished harshly." (Pugachevshchina vol. 1 document 7 author's translation from the Russian).
From the very beginning of the insurgency, Pugachev's generals carried out mass recruitment campaigns in Tatar and Bashkir settlements, with the instructions of recruiting one member from every or every other household and as many weapons as they could secure. He recruited not only Cossacks, but Russian peasants and factory workers, Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvash. Famous Bashkir hero Salavat Yulayev joined him. Pugachev’s primary target for his campaign were not the people themselves, but their leaders. He recruited priests and mullahs to disseminate his decrees and read them to the masses as a way of lending them credence.

Priests in particular were instrumental figures in carrying out Pugachev’s propaganda campaigns. Pugachev was known to stage “heroic welcomes” whenever he entered a Russian village, in which he would be greeted by the masses as their sovereign. A few days before his arrival to a given city or village, messengers would be sent out to inform the priests and deacons in that town of his impending arrival. These messengers would request that the priests bring out salt and water and ring the church bells to signify his coming. The priests would also be instructed to read Pugachev’s manefestos during mass and sing prayers to health of the Great Emperor Peter III. Most priests, although not all complied with Pugachev’s requests. One secret report of Catherine’s War College, for example, tells of one such priest, Zubarev, who recruited for Pugachev in Church under such orders. “[Zubarev], believing in the slander-ridden decree of the villanous-imposter, brough by the villianous Ataman Loshkarev, He read it publicly before the people in church. And when that ataman brought his band, consisting of 100 men, to their Baikalov village, then that Zubarev met them with a cross an with icons and chanted prayers in the Church; and then at the time of service, as well as after, evoked the name of the Emperor Peter III for suffrage.” (Pugachevshchina Vol. 2, Document 86. Author's translation)

With his army and the coordination of his generals, Pugachev was able to overtake much of the region stretching between the Volga River and the Urals. Pugachev's greatest victory of the insurgency was the Taking of Kazan.

The popular interpretation of the insurgency was that Pugachev's men followed him out of the desire to free themselves from the oppression of Catherine's reign of law. However, there are documents from Pugachev's war college and eye witness accounts that contradict this theory. While there were many who believed Pugachev to be Peter III and that he would emancipate them from Catherine's harsh taxes and policies of serfdom, there were many groups, particularly of Bashkir and Tatar ethnicity, whose loyalties were not so certain. In January of 1774, for example, Bashkir and Tatar generals led an attack on the City of Kungur. Pugachev's troops suffered from a lack of food and gun powder. Many fighters deserted including one general who left the battle and took his entire unit with him. One general wrote in a report to his superior, V. I. Tornova, "For the sake of your eminence, we humbly request that our Naigabitskiaia Fortress is returned to us with or without a detachment, because there is not a single Tatar or Bashkir detachment, since they have all fled, and the starshins, who have dispersed to their homes, are presently departing for the Naigabanskaia fortress." (Dokumenty i Stavki E. I. Pugacheva, povstancheskikh vlastei i ucherezhdenii, 1773-1774. Moskva, Nauka, 1975. Document number 195. Author's translation)

The Russian government at first made light of the rising. At the beginning of October 1773 it simply regarded Pugachev as a nuisance, and offered a mere 500 roubles as a reward for the head of the troublesome Cossack. At the end of November it promised 28,000 roubles to whosoever should bring him in, alive or dead. Even then, however, Catherine, in her correspondence with Voltaire, affected to treat l'affaire du Marquis de Pugachev as a mere joke, but by the beginning of 1774 the joke had developed into a very serious danger. Reports were being received, saying that all the forts on the Volga and Ural had now come into the hands of the rebels. The governor of Moscow reported great restlessness among the population of central Russia. The governor of Kazan, Fon Brandt, also reported massive amounts of unrest and insurrection amongst those in the outlying provinces. Pugachev's forces captured Kazan early on in the insurgency. Pugachev's troops, mostly Bashkir and Tatar regiments reduced most of its churches, monasteries, and factories to ashes, and all who refused to join Pugachev's army were either maimed or publicly executed.

Defeat

General Peter Panin thereupon set out against the rebels with a large army, but difficulty of transport, lack of discipline, and the gross insubordination of his ill-paid soldiers paralysed all his efforts for months, while the innumerable and ubiquitous bands of Pugachev gained victories in nearly every engagement. Not until August 1774 did General Mikhelson inflict a crushing defeat upon the rebels near Tsaritsyn, when they lost ten thousand killed or taken prisoner. Panin's savage reprisals, after the capture of Penza, completed their discomfiture. On September 14, 1774 Pugachev's own Cossacks delivered him up when he attempted to flee to the Urals. Aleksandr Suvorov had him placed in a metal cage and sent to Moscow for a public execution, which took place on January 10, 1775.

Bibliography

N. Dubrovin, Pugachiev and his Associates (Rus.; Petersburg, 1884)
Catherine II., Political Correspondence (Rus. Fr. Ger.; Petersburg, 1885, &c.)
S. I. Gnyedich, Emilian Pugachev (Rus.; Petersburg, 1902).
"Dokumenty stavki EI Pugacheva, povstancheskikh vlastei i uchrezhdenii, 1773-1774 gg."
AN SSSR, In-t istorii SSSR, TSentr. gos. arkhiv drev. aktov (Rus. Moscow, 1975.)
Pugachevshchina. Moskva : Gosizdat, 1926-1931.



Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: don on February 19, 2006, 03:43:47 PM
In America, I think it safe to say, Catherine II is the best known and most admired of all the Russian rulers.  The legacy of architecture alone sets her apart from the others.  This websight, after all, is entitled ALEXANDER PALACE.  And I can say without reservation that the most beautiful building I have ever seen is this palace when viewed from enough distance to minimize the ravages of time and neglect that it has suffered.  
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on May 09, 2006, 10:27:39 AM
Catherine the Great was never a beauty; but she was faintly pretty when young. She was however sexually alluring, regardless of looks. She was also a very intellectual woman, and lived an interesting life. She was very intelligent, and while I don't admire her, I think of her as interesting. She was quite a woman.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovFan on August 11, 2006, 02:34:50 AM
Catherine the Great's mother. Was she really as nasty and mean as we think? Why was she this way? D.O.B., D.O.D., Looks, and what was her husband like? How old was he? What other children did she have besides Sophie (Catherine) and Elizabeth Ulrike, the empress' goddaughter?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yseult on August 11, 2006, 04:17:56 AM

I think that Johanna Elisabeth was so far away from being a nice and gentle woman. Daughter of Christian Augustus von Holstein-Gottorp and his wife Albertina von Baden-Durlach, Johanna belonged to a family that could lay claim to the crown of Sweeden. Added to this, her brother Karl August died of smallpox, unexpectedly, at St Petersbourg in 1727, when he was bethroted to russian grand duchess Elisabeth Petrovna.

Johanna Elisabeth felt that she deserved a brilliant marriage, but the lack of dowry condemned her to marry Christian Augustus von Anhalt-Zerbst. Christian was so much older that Johanna, a minor german princeling, general at the Prussian service and merely obscure military commandant at Stettin. Johanna soon became so bored with her provincial way of life. Everytime that she could, she ran away to visit her parents settled in the courts of Hamburg, Brunswick, Kiel and even Berlin.

She was really insatisfied with her low position. She always remembered to everyone that she was high ranked than her husband.

I believe she was not a lovely wife, neither a tender mother. As far as I know, Johanna showed a measure of maternal feelings towards her male children, Wilhelm Christian and Friedrich August, but not towards her female children...Sophie (later Catherine II), Auguste Christine and Elisabeth Ulrike. When she was with her elder daughter Sophie, she showed herself emotionally cold...and abusive, both emotionally and phisically abusive.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Bernardino on August 15, 2006, 10:19:45 AM
Your story remembers me of Queen Charlotte Joaquina of Portugal...Born to be a strong King, she was a woman married to a man she thought was weak, so she kind of hated him and conspired polically against him...of course those who hated Charlotte everytime they went to a tavern increased the number of purported lovers of the Queen  >:(...I don't say she had none...but I think most rumours were just propaganda...

Portugal was no Anhalt-Zerbst, and Charlotte could have done much, but while her apparently weak husband was alive she was under control...Some described King João VI as a worthless man, but he seems to have been a good sovereign in an extremely difficult time for Portugal and Europe...he was radically tolerant and enjoyed general respect, but his sons were a different matter...

Ooops forgive me...We are talking about Catherine the Great's mother... :-\ ...At least Johanna Elisabeth had a daughter that was indeed a phenomenon for the time...and maybe an unrepeated one...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on August 30, 2006, 05:46:29 PM
Thankfully, Catherine the Great was not much like her mother. Had she been, she would scarcely have been great. I think that Johanna Elizabeth was indeed unsatisfied with her way of life, in backwater courts. She wanted something bigger and better, and yet when she got it for a while, in the form of the Russian court, she coudn't handle it as any biography of Catherine the Great attests. She wasn't a nice women, although perhaps her longing for a better life, or a more interesting one made her sour in part.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: russianlover76 on December 12, 2006, 11:37:14 PM
What happen to Catherine the great kids and is there any pictures of her kids?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 13, 2006, 06:15:42 AM
the only official child she had was paul 1st, who looked like this:
(http://www.nndb.com/people/263/000078029/pavel2.jpg)
(more pictures on him in his own thread)

she also had a daughter, anna, that was probably orlov's daughter. anna died aged 2.

since i'm not at home, i don't have my books with me, but one of them mentioned a son by potemkin (as far as i remember, i might be wrong on the father) and it also included a picture. i don't know what happened to him. i'll get back at this at home.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 13, 2006, 08:38:49 AM
Anna was most likely Poniatowski's daughter. He was her second? lover, and became king of Poland later. She did die at age two, and no depictions of her survive, to my knowledge. As for her other son, this was Count Alexei Bobrinsky, and he was Orlov's son. I have never seen a portait of him, but since he basically was a member of the Russian nobility and lived a fairly long and successful life, I don't know why there would not have been some portrait of him. If you have one post it.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Lisa on December 13, 2006, 08:59:04 AM
Here is Bobrinsky at the Hermitage Museum:
in a masquerade costume (http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/4843/c45drdtqz5evpw40y3qh0.th.jpg) (http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=c45drdtqz5evpw40y3qh0.jpg)

as a child 1769 (http://img206.imageshack.us/img206/3024/k2r40avmcsn7lflth3si2.th.jpg) (http://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=k2r40avmcsn7lflth3si2.jpg)

Don't he look like his mother?...

His page on wikipedia (with a portrait as a child) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Bobrinsky
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 13, 2006, 12:07:57 PM
Anna was most likely Poniatowski's daughter. He was her second? lover, and became king of Poland later. She did die at age two, and no depictions of her survive, to my knowledge. As for her other son, this was Count Alexei Bobrinsky, and he was Orlov's son. I have never seen a portait of him, but since he basically was a member of the Russian nobility and lived a fairly long and successful life, I don't know why there would not have been some portrait of him. If you have one post it.

yeah  :-[ *blush*
i knew something... just that i mixed up the fathers  ;D

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 13, 2006, 12:21:31 PM
I mix up things as well. Anyway, thanks so much for the portraits, I always wondered what he looked like. He is indeed very much like Catherine in looks, and much more so than his half brother Paul. He was rather good looking. I think he was a more stable character than Paul, but then they had different fathers, and most important of all, very different upbringings.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 15, 2006, 02:00:17 AM
does anyone know what happened to him? did he marry, have children?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 15, 2006, 08:14:04 AM
 I believe he lived a pretty normal life. As far as I know he married and had children, because I have read he had descendants.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 16, 2006, 03:59:53 PM
i would be curious to know about those descendants and the place they occupied at the russian court (it must have been quiet a peculiar position)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Svetabel on December 17, 2006, 02:50:34 PM
i would be curious to know about those descendants and the place they occupied at the russian court (it must have been quiet a peculiar position)


They were high nobles at the court and nothing else. Some of them were statesmen and scientists.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 17, 2006, 08:05:15 PM
I am not sure to what extent their ancestry was acknowledged. I agree that they were merely nobility and not much was made of their background. Dynastically, they didn't matter being only Catherine's descendants. having no Romanov blood. Bobrinsky was born in secret as Peter, Catherine's husband watched a house burn. This was staged to distract Peter, who liked to watch burning houses from wondering what was going on and finding out that his wife had carrried her lover's child in secret nine months. Anna wasn't Peter's child, but she was officially said to be so. Bobrinsky was always a secret from Peter. One book I read claimed that Orlov and Catherine had a second son together, although I don't know if that's true.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 18, 2006, 02:07:00 AM
was poniatowski already catherine's lover before peter died?

i wonder if paul is peter's child. if he wasn't, would it have been that hard to claim alexei was also his? i'm sure peter would have not minded it since he agreed to with anna...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 18, 2006, 09:53:05 AM
Yes, Poniatowski was a lover of Catherine before Orlov ( during Peter's life time), and Anna was their child. I think the reason Peter couldn't have been prevailed upon to accept Alexei as his son was that by that time he and Catherine were very estranged. At the time of Anna's birth, they were not so much, although the whole court knew who Anna's father was. As for Paul, he was a special case, because a male heir was much needed, and no matter WHO his father had been, he woud still have been called Peter's child. Catherine was supposed to have a male heir, and questions of paternity were conventiently overlooked. But, then again, he might have been Peter's child, as they were supposed to be trying for a male heir at this time, and Peter's issues had supposedly been dealt with. Who Paul's father was is a mystery, but dynastically that didn't mattter. Alexei wasn't needed, and as well Peter at that moment in time most likely had no further tolerance for his wife, and wouln't have have accepted the child, and Catherine knew that.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Helen_Azar on December 18, 2006, 01:41:59 PM

i wonder if paul is peter's child.

IMO, there is a good chance that he wasn't. But that was never really talked about, back then, after the  revolution, or even now! Russians seem very uncomfortable with the idea of this possibility, and don't like to discuss it! I wonder why....

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on December 18, 2006, 02:04:27 PM
Well, they did  throw a big tercentenary bash for the Romanov dynasty in 1913.  It would be somewhat embarrassing to acknowledge the dynasty had lost its last trace of Romanov blood around the halfway point.  In fact, even assuming Russian paternity for Paul (be it by Peter, Saltikov, or some other nobleman), it has been calculated that Nicholas II was only 1/80th Russian.  In fact, he was overwhelmingly German in lineage . . . and quite possibly no Romanov at all.

The whole mystique of the House of Romanov, Autocrats of Russia by the Will of God -- which the Orthodox Church is trying to buff to a high polish these days -- is actually built over a bramble thicket of 18th-century palace coups and adultery.  I know God is said to work in mysterious ways, but this is one round-about route for Him to have taken.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Helen_Azar on December 18, 2006, 02:16:22 PM
Well, I can certainly understand their reticence about the subject while the Romanov dynasty still existed, but now?? While I was in Russia, I tried to engage a few guides in a conversation about this very real possibility, but none of them would "bite". Each of them got very uncomfortable, even annoyed with me, when I brought it up. It was almost as if they did not even want anyone asking such questions, i.e. whether it was possible that Catherine's son may not have been Peter the Great's's biological grandchild... I would have thought it would have been a fun topic to discuss, especially since the Romanov dynasty is no more...But they always did love Peter the Great, even after the revolution, so maybe it has something to do with that. And perhaps the Russian people are just very tired of having their history rewritten over and over and over....  ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 18, 2006, 03:18:41 PM
Most biographies of her mention this, and seem to say he wasn't Peter's child. This is a very central argument in them, but when it comes to reality, perhaps it is harder to say, and speak about. I really don't know myself, because Paul resembled Peter in some ways, and not very much in others. Also, circumstances at the time of his birth make it likely that he was S. Saltykov's child, but then again, it is said that Peter III was maybe the father for other reasons. Peter III always regarded him as his son ( maybe because he had to?), and Paul most defintely thought Peter was his father.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 18, 2006, 05:24:25 PM
How would it have looked if Peter hadn't accepted Paul?  The court would have regarded him as a cuckold, his wife as a whore and Elizabeth would have been infuriated.  Peter was doubtless an idiot, but even he realized that it was in his best interest to recognize the boy. 

Catherine would probably have relied on Peter to play along.  Sure, she was better liked than her husband - but she was still a foreigner and forever dancing on thin ice.  Remember, too, that she had Elizabeth's implicit permission to sleep with Saltykov and an implied guarantee the child would be regarded as legitimate.  What purpose would she have to sleep with Peter any longer?   
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 19, 2006, 02:12:13 AM
wouldn't the same logic apply to the following children?  ::)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: CountessKate on December 19, 2006, 04:22:47 AM
We only have Catherine's assertion, long after the event, of Elizabeth's (and indeed, Peter's) implied consent to her adultery.  While Elizabeth would not have been keen on a scandal, she was proud of her heritage as the daughter of Peter the Great and I have always had some doubts as to whether the situation between Catherine and Peter seemed so genuinely desperate at the time that Elizabeth would have agreed to see the child of a fairly low-level courtier and a princess of Anhalt-Zerbst as heir to the throne. Would Peter's failure to have children with his wife or his mistresses at that stage have seemed a good reason to allow his wife to be impregnated by someone else?  Catherine's implication in her memoirs that Peter was not Paul's father served the argument that (1) she was not doing him out of his rights to the throne and (b) she didn't allow her son's father to be murdered.  I suspect that at the time, she covered her bases and Peter had some reason for believing Paul to be his son.  After all, there were plenty of examples in the past of royal wives who had been punished severely for adultery - Sophia Dorothea of Celle springs to mind - and however much Catherine was in love with Saltykov, she simply couldn't afford to give the Empress or her husband a clear reason to repudiate her later on.  My feeling is that the 'permission' from Elizabeth and the actual fathering of Paul are much more ambiguous than Catherine portrayed.  Later on, when Paul's position was firmly established, and she and Peter had come to a modus vivendi with their various lovers, Catherine could take a risk and have Anna publically, acknowledged as Peter's child - but an illegitimate child when she and Peter were at odds and he had the power to behave in a very ugly manner indeed, was a risk she couldn't run (and besides, it put her in a poor light as contender for the throne). 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 19, 2006, 09:34:55 AM
Indeed, it is very hard to say. Peter never had any children with his mistress Elizabeth Vorontsova. He loved her very much, despite the fact she was really ugly, and he wanted to get rid of Catherine to marry her, and then ascend the throne. Surely it might have been useful to have children with her, because that child would be undoubtedly his, even if not legitimate. It would prove he could beget children. But, perhaps he saw that as a threat to Paul, when there were doubts as to whether he was legitimate or not. He knew Paul kind of kept his position with his aunt Empress Elizabeth stable. Paul was the heir, therefore there was no pressure on Peter to have anything to with a wife ( Catherine) whom he destested. Having an illegitimate child of his own with Elizabeth Vorontsova might have challenged Paul, and therefore his own position. There might have been more doubts about Paul's legitimacy. Or maybe that's far fetched. I agree that Catherine did have reasons for how she portrayed Paul's paternity in her memoirs, we just don't know if those reasons outweighed the truth or not.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 19, 2006, 12:04:18 PM
There's more evidence than simply Catherine's memoirs.  Specifically, Elizabeth's actions and reactions.  She was no idiot when it came to Peter and his inability to fulfill his relationship with Catherine.  She also detested him and probably took pity on Catherine.  Any female ruler is in peril when she lacks a legitimate heir, Peter was not truly legitimate because he was not Russian born.  But "his" son, born and raised in Russia by the Empress, would have served to secure not only Elizabeth's position but also Peter's.  And Elizabeth probably realized this needed child would not biologically come from Peter.  Besides, even at that time Catherine was considered a better potential ruler than her husband.  Any child that came from her would have been valued.  Furthermore, Elizabeth had an iron grip on her court and kept an absurdly close eye on Peter and Catherine.  She (and indeed the whole court) would have known if Catherine was sleeping around and if Elizabeth had been displeased (or had she wanted an heir only from Peter), she undoubtedly would have continued locking Peter and Catherine together.  The fact that she removed her spies from Catherine's circle and stopped forcing Peter and Catherine together is proof, in my opinion, that she approved of the adultery.  Remember, too, that Elizabeth was highly strung and not afraid to punish those who went against her.  If Catherine had been having an affair Elizabeth considered illicit or damaging, Catherine would undoubtedly have incurred the royal wrath and paid heavily.

As for Elizabeth's pride in her Romanov heritage, while she loved being the daughter of Peter III if she had any sincere intention of preserving her father's line she would have married and produced her own heir instead of plucking a distant relative out of obscurity.  She willingly and knowingly did not produce her own biological heir.  By the time Catherine started sleeping with Saltykov, Elizabeth probably realized the true Romanov line would end with her because of her poor decision - making Peter her heir.  It would have been enough for her to have been the last blood Romanov (she probably got some kicks and pride out of it), because in spirit the Romanov line would always continue.  And that seems to have mattered most.

And then look at Peter's actions.  He never struck out at any of Catherine's lovers, never sought to humiliate them or have them removed (at least until they had served their purpose and gotten him another heir).  He could even be friendly with them, and indeed they were good and well liked men regardless of rank (some were even quite popular, much more so than Peter).  And Catherine never flung them in Peter's face, never actively sought to cuckold him.  Catherine and Peter seemed to have worked out a truce, realizing that while they could not have children together, they could at least create a makeshift, stable family for the sake of the empire. 

There were no secrets in the Russian Court.  Everyone would have known Saltykov was Paul's father.  But there was no opposition or scandal.  Only acceptance.         
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 19, 2006, 04:41:29 PM
Indeed, Eilizabeth's reactions do point to the fact she accepted the sitiuation of Catherine and her lovers. It also says that she was willing to accept any children of Catherine's by lovers as Peter's children. Of course, this would have to be done anyway, for Catherine's reputation. But, Elizabeth did basically say that she could have lovers. By the time Catherine and Orlov were involved, before Bobrinsky's birth, Peter was on the throne was he not? Therefore, she didn't have Elizabeth's protection anymore, hence the need for secrecy. By that time, Peter detested her, and did not hide it. He might have not liked her earlier lovers, I feel, because he he wasn't in a position were he could say anything against them, so maybe he just put on a  good face. He pretty much had to accept Paul's legitmacy for his own position, and therefore the rest of it as well. Paul never understood the complex circumstances that he and the rest of the Romanov dynasty from then on were born in. He thought Peter was his father, or perhaps wanted to believe it was so, because it made things less complicated.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 19, 2006, 09:19:55 PM
Certainly the first couple of affairs Catherine had were condoned, but you are right to point out some of her liasons took place after Peter took the throne.  Perhaps, by this time, she had grown rather indifferent and stubborn (which, given her personality, is not out of the question).  Peter, also, peaked in cruelty towards her and Catherine was under intense psychological and occasional physical abuse.  Affairs, while dangerous, may have been a form of release.  Personally, I see them as a sign that Catherine knew how secure her position really was.  Peter may have huffed and puffed but Catherine, while rightly terrified, had to realize how popular she and her children were and that Elizabeth kept her with Peter for a reason - to act as the real ruler.  Had Peter acted to remove Catherine upon taking the throne, she may have risen up against him much earlier than she did.  Certainly many courtiers would have been outraged, and maybe even appalled at the thought of Peter ruling without Catherine as consort. 

Could, then, her affairs as consort have been (at least partly) attempts to flip the switch for her coup?  A little out there, but I don't think it's an impossible possibility.

I also think Paul knew about his paternity, some one would have inevitably whispered it in his ear, but it was politik to recognize Peter.  And it certainly helped that recognizing Peter incensed Catherine (no love lost between mother and son).         
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: gogm on December 19, 2006, 10:50:12 PM
I'm a late poster to this interesting thread!

In reading this board, I came to realize just how German the Romanovs were, especially Hessian. I believe this was used by the Bolsheviks against the IF, especially Alexandra. It is very interesting to think that every "Romanov" from Paul onwards wasn't Romanov at all and, of course, very German.

The Turner movie about Catherine emphasized her strange husband, but made no mention of her authorized liaisons. In fact the movie portrayed her as being brought to Russia to function as a brood mare and nothing more. Catherine had to act because she had no biological role. Apparently she did have some other roles than brood mare and Elizabth appreciated Catherine more than Turner's movie suggested. Catherine must have been very impressive!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 20, 2006, 12:20:02 PM
Catherine I think at this point knew that it was okay to have affairs, and that she could. Maybe she had them as a form of defiance, I don't know. I think it was more that she knew she could have them, that it was okay, because earlier, before the birth of Paul, she and Peter had been watched over with an eagle eye by his aunt Elizabeth. They were supposed to be concieving an heir, and there were years of bareness, then it was okay for her to have an affair with S. Saltykov, and shortly thereafter, she was pregnant. However, it is said around the same time that Peter was gotten over his inhibitions as it were, and thus was ready to try to concieve an heir with Catherine. Perhaps he did, who knows? But, he never had any other kids, so one wonders. As for Paul, I think that he did want to believe that Peter was his father, although he had heard the rumours.He may have insisted the more on Peter being his father, perhaps just because doubt existed.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on December 20, 2006, 05:55:32 PM
There's more evidence than simply Catherine's memoirs.  Specifically, Elizabeth's actions and reactions.  She was no idiot when it came to Peter and his inability to fulfill his relationship with Catherine.  She also detested him and probably took pity on Catherine.   

I think your whole premise of Elizabeth's understanding of Catherine's predicament and tolerance of her behavior is spot on.

Elizabeth herself was born out of wedlock to a peasant woman who only later was to marry Peter the Great.  And this peasant woman succeeded Peter as ruler of Russia, based not on her birth, but on her ability and on the exigencies of the situation at the time Peter died.  So I think it quite likely that Elizabeth had a very good understanding that the effective wielding of power is much more about ability and circumstance than about birth.  A passionate woman who wore her feelings on her sleeve but was yet capable of great subtlety of thought, Elizabeth does not strike me as the sort to get all uptight about the fine points of blood lineage when there is real work to be done.  (Remember that her father quite likely caused the death of his son and heir in order to prevent him from reversing Peter's westernization policies and instead passed his throne to a Lithuanian peasant woman whom he felt would preserve his legacy.)

Also, Catherine II was the niece of the man who had gone to Russia to marry Elizabeth but who was carried away by smallpox before the wedding took place.  So, far from being an obscure princess of inconsequential birth, Catherine was brought to Russia by an Empress Elizabeth who knew her family personally and apparently was prepared to like and support her from the beginning.

Put all this together, and the picture you paint of Elizabeth's and Catherine's mutual understanding of each other has a compelling logical coherence.

This is the core of the contrast between the great rulers of Russia of those who failed to grasp their mission.  Peter, Elizabeth, and Catherine II all understood that it takes talent and fortitude to run an empire -- and when the bloodline doesn't produce those traits, other measures must be taken.  Compare that to Nicholas II and Alexandra, who were fatally determined that their hopelessly-ill son Alexei must rule Russia and that any political risk was warranted to ensure that none but the direct male descendant of the tsar be the next to sit on the throne.  By putting the empire in the service of the dynasty rather than by putting the dynasty in the service of the empire, Nicholas contributed to the destruction of both empire and dynasty.  It is a mistake that none of his great 18th-century forebears would have made.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 20, 2006, 08:17:33 PM
Tsarfan - thanks for bringing up Elizabeth's mother because she obviously played an important role in this drama.  I know Elizabeth was extremely proud of her (maternal) peseant heritage, do you think this played a part in her acceptance of the similarly low-born Catherine as well?  Perhaps created a sense of solidarity?   

Also, I am unfortunately far from well informed about Elizabeth.  Was she ever legitimized by Peter?   
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on December 21, 2006, 07:13:06 AM
The Turner movie about Catherine emphasized her strange husband, but made no mention of her authorized liaisons.

If you mean the made-for-TV movie Young Catherine, there is actually a wonderful scene filmed (albeit anachronistically) on the terrace of the Cameron Gallery where Catherine is seeking the advice of her friend and counsellor, the British Ambassador Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams (perfectly played by Christopher Plummer).

Catherine and Peter were being held under virtual house arrest by Empress Elizabeth in an attempt to produce a pregnancy.  With that prospect fading into hopelessness, Catherine's noble "hostess" begins to hint at "other means" for begetting a child.  Perplexed, Catherine approaches Sir Charles to see if he reads the signals the same way.  Sir Charles summarizes the possibilities:  either Elizabeth has given up on getting an heir from Catherine and is now looking for an excuse to banish or imprison her, or Elizabeth is so desperate for an heir that she will provide the air cover for Catherine to get impregnated by someone other than her husband.  Quickly tallying the pros and cons, including the growing recognition that Catherine's obvious abilities have given her a popular reputation as a necessary counterweight to a very flawed Grand Duke Peter, Sir Charles guesses that Elizabeth wants an heir . . . and that she wants it from Catherine more than from Peter.  He so advises the delighted Catherine, who scampers off to find her gorgeous Count Orlov.  (It's a great scene from a woefully-underrecognized movie that only gets the possible lover wrong.  In fact, for dramatic and time reasons, the movie compresses Catherine's several affairs from that period of her life into the one character of Count Orlov.)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on December 21, 2006, 01:20:49 PM
Also, I am unfortunately far from well informed about Elizabeth.  Was she ever legitimized by Peter?   

She was, and he openly acknowledged her, raising her in his court as his daughter.  However, the fact that she was illegitimate at the time of her birth was used by her enemies and was one of the impediments to France's accepting her as the wife of Louis XV, which Peter had proposed.

Elizabeth's reign, bracketed by the reigns of Peter "the Great" and Catherine "the Great", has always received relatively little attention.  However, recent scholarship has begun to recognize it as far more substantive than popular wisdom holds.  In its own way, her ability to stay afloat during the potentially-hazardous reign of Empress Anne and her bloodless coup to supplant Ivan VI and cut off his mother's aspirations to remove Peter's lineage permanently from the line of succession was as impressive as Catherine II's more-famous coup twenty years later.

In some ways, Elizabeth was the last of Russia's larger-than-life monarchs who lived and ruled with a wild abandon that, paradoxically, endeared them to Russians.  The vast scales and the exuberant decorative excesses of the Winter Palace and the Catherine Palace were her creations.  (In fact, Catherine II later painted over much of the exterior gilding of the Catherine Palace, finding it too expensive to keep in pristine condition.  And, although noted for her architectural interests, Catherine II's construction projects never approached the scales of what Elizabeth erected.)

While contemporaries probably would not have seen it this way, the passing of the throne from Elizabeth to Catherine II (forgetting Peter III's brief stint) was something of a watershed in Russian dynastic history.  Russian tsars up through Elizabeth had periodically shown gargantuan appetities in terms of violence, sexuality, lust for power, and byzantine fiscal excess.  Russian tsars after Elizabeth began to become progressively more "Germanized", with growing bourgeois instincts, a more pronounced craving for cozy domestic settings, a more metered zeal for displaying wealth, and -- while still sure of their autocratic right to rule -- more restraint in using extreme means.  Ivan the Terrible could murder his boyars.  Peter the Great could torture the Streltsy and see his own son abused to death.  Elizabeth could throw the young Ivan VI into a dungeon for life.  From Catherine II onward, these things began to become less tenable as weapons of policy.  Few transitions occur instantly in history, and Catherine II was still up to the burden of seeing her husband killed and keeping Ivan VI in prison.  Even Alexander I managed to countenance the murder of his father (although the cancer of remorse ate at him throughout his life, contributing to the legend -- and possible truth -- that he faked his death to abandon the throne).  But, within a few years of Catherine II's death, the capacity for household violence seems permanently to have passed out of the Romanov dynasty.  Where the 18th century in Russia had been the rule of lions, tigers, bears -- and the occasional squirrel -- the 19th century in Russia became the rule of burghers.

I've never been really sure what to make of this transition and when it occurred.  How much was the influence of Peter's westernization policies?  How much of the French Revolution?  How much the shift from Russian tsars marrying Russians to marrying western royals (of which the numerous German states were the most prolific purveyors)?  How much the fact that the Romanov bloodline probably ended with Elizabeth?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: W. on December 21, 2006, 01:52:45 PM
I got great painting

Pietro Antonio Rotari
Verona 1701-1762, St.Petersburg
Portrait of Catherine the Great in mourning
oil on canvas
76,5 by 55cm

(http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r264/kraf79/1095-8-.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: W. on December 21, 2006, 02:00:23 PM
and here is one russian artists painting- Catherine II is on that wery old- i think its made on year she died

(http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r264/kraf79/1095-2-.jpg)

(http://i146.photobucket.com/albums/r264/kraf79/1095-3-.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on December 21, 2006, 02:23:48 PM
This last painting is one of the most amazingly candid portrayals I have ever seen of a monarch.  I get the sense of looking unobserved into the eyes of a woman who once ruled a large portion of the world's affairs . . . and has the clear sense of having done it long and well -- and at considerable cost to others.

Do you have any more information about the painting or the artist?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: W. on December 21, 2006, 02:55:33 PM
hello

My onlyest information is, that artist is unknown and we found this pinting from europa.

on that time was normal painting style to paint illusion, not realistic seeing- but I think this artist is onlyest Catherine II time painter, who didnt have academik "honesty" and painted as he saw.

I live in former soviet union region, in Estonia and at the moment we have great exhibition in Estonian Art Museum
"portraits from Russian court"

there is lot of paintings what all world is not saw and I promise I will scan some new and interesting pics for you all.


w greetings:

kraf
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 21, 2006, 07:39:30 PM

While contemporaries probably would not have seen it this way, the passing of the throne from Elizabeth to Catherine II (forgetting Peter III's brief stint) was something of a watershed in Russian dynastic history.  Russian tsars up through Elizabeth had periodically shown gargantuan appetities in terms of violence, sexuality, lust for power, and byzantine fiscal excess...Where the 18th century in Russia had been the rule of lions, tigers, bears -- and the occasional squirrel -- the 19th century in Russia became the rule of burghers.

I've never been really sure what to make of this transition and when it occurred.  How much was the influence of Peter's westernization policies?  How much of the French Revolution?  How much the shift from Russian tsars marrying Russians to marrying western royals (of which the numerous German states were the most prolific purveyors)?  How much the fact that the Romanov bloodline probably ended with Elizabeth?

Certainly the French Revolution had a huge impact on the attitudes of monarchs.  It would have been a terrifying thing for Catherine and her successors to realize how fragile their power really was and how much they relied on the millions beneath them.  Especially in the case of Russia where the rich were an insanely small minority and many boyars lived on lands far from 'civilization', meaning they were vulnerable to the peasants (unfortunately, the peasants never realized how powerful they really were until 1905).  Russia was a land of barbarity at the turn of the 18th century, forgive the expression, and was constantly seething.  If the legendary Versailles could fall, so could the Winter Palace.  And, of course, you are right to bring up the influence of foreign (ahem, German) brides.  They destroyed the purity not only of the blood lines, but also the culture.  They civilized the wilderness.   

Catherine was the beginning of the new wave of ruler, but she still lived an excessive life compared to many other monarchs.  Privately, however, she was something of a prude.  She liked beauty, but valued English simplicity.  Rumors, though, constantly floated around court about her financial and sexual excesses.  It's interesting to wonder, personally, if she encouraged them in order to paint herself as a traditional Russian monarch - blood, sex, power and jewels.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 22, 2006, 10:12:10 AM
In reading this board, I came to realize just how German the Romanovs were, especially Hessian. I believe this was used by the Bolsheviks against the IF, especially Alexandra. It is very interesting to think that every "Romanov" from Paul onwards wasn't Romanov at all and, of course, very German.

actually, if paul wasn't fathered by peter he was almost certainly fathered by a russian noble, 90% saltykov. he was more russian as saltykov's son than as peter's son. peter was half german and a great fan of all things german.

also, interesting point about elizabeth's mother, indeed. i have always been fascinated by the destiny of the lithuanian peasant who became tsarina of russia.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on December 26, 2006, 10:58:52 AM
I don't believe Paul resembled in look or held any character traits of  Saltykov or any of the other Russians who have been suggested.

I don't recall where I saw a portrait of Saltykov but that was my thought when I saw it.

AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 27, 2006, 10:05:15 AM
I don't believe Paul resembled in look or held any character traits of  Saltykov or any of the other Russians who have been suggested.

I don't recall where I saw a portrait of Saltykov but that was my thought when I saw it.

AGRBear

one thing that would suggest peter rather than saltykov as a more likely father is the looks. saltykov was supposed to be a handsome man while peter wasn't. paul himself was again not very handsome.

on the other hand, it wouldn't be the first case of a not so handsome son of a handsome man and saltykov was supposed to be the exception rather than the rule in his family as far as handsomeness goes.

unfortunately we don't know (or i don't know) enough about saltykov to judge his personality and how much of it paul resembled.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 27, 2006, 11:03:47 AM
I think with Elizabeth's reign, people so often focus on her rather lurid private life, and what she was like in that, and not so much on her actual rule. Most books cover her lovers, entertainments, and clothes, and jewels, and the excessive and vain parts of her personality. Certainly, she was Peter the Great's daughter in other respects than her lovers and carousing, and she ruled a fairly stable Russia. Catherine the Great was like Empress Elizabeth in many ways, but she was more of an intellectual, and less lazy. If anything destroyed the potential of Elizabeth, it was the laziness. But, I think she knew what to do when it came to the dynasty, if indeed that was done in regards to Paul's birth, although who knows? Certainly, Catherine was rather low born, but she wasn't the daughter of a peasant woman, although I agree that Elizabeth was proud of it. But, I don't think that was a bond between them. I think instead, they had similiar personalities, and that Elizabeth perhaps saw in Catherine the potential to be what she had never become, through indolence as much as anything else. Elizabeth as more than she she is often written about, but I think she realized more opportunity in Catherine, and for Catherine.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 27, 2006, 01:13:38 PM
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on December 27, 2006, 01:29:57 PM
I think with Elizabeth's reign, people so often focus on her rather lurid private life, and what she was like in that, and not so much on her actual rule. Most books cover her lovers, entertainments, and clothes, and jewels, and the excessive and vain parts of her personality. Certainly, she was Peter the Great's daughter in other respects than her lovers and carousing, and she ruled a fairly stable Russia. Catherine the Great was like Empress Elizabeth in many ways, but she was more of an intellectual, and less lazy. If anything destroyed the potential of Elizabeth, it was the laziness. But, I think she knew what to do when it came to the dynasty, if indeed that was done in regards to Paul's birth, although who knows? Certainly, Catherine was rather low born, but she wasn't the daughter of a peasant woman, although I agree that Elizabeth was proud of it. But, I don't think that was a bond between them. I think instead, they had similiar personalities, and that Elizabeth perhaps saw in Catherine the potential to be what she had never become, through indolence as much as anything else. Elizabeth as more than she she is often written about, but I think she realized more opportunity in Catherine, and for Catherine.

Most definitely, Elizabeth ruled a fairly stable Russia.  She was eccentric, but also extremely mindful of the coup that brought her to the throne, knowing how it may happen to her which contributed greatly to these "eccentricities" Example:  sleeping in a different room every night, going on long pilgrimages and never staying in one place very long.  Though not as educated as Catherine, she was innately intelligent.  And though and Autocrat, never considered a tyrant.  Much like Catherine was when she followed.  IMO, Catherine and Elizabeth saw much of themselves in each other.  And though wary of her in the beginning, Elizabeth did want to treat Catherine as the daughter she never had.  After Catherine proved herself worthy of this, even over Peter III, Elizabeth changed in her attitude toward Catherine immensely. 

I also agree Elizabeth was rather lazy and spoiled and liked to be considered as such.  Catherine herself was used to getting her way after she became Empress. 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 28, 2006, 04:43:07 PM
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.

Yes, although she was German, she became more Russian than anything else. She never would have fit in that well in her native land, whereas in Russia her temproament fitted right in. She was lucky she made that marriage, because although she wasn't related by blood to the dynasty, and her child might not have been either, she was more Romanov than many of the Romanovs. Elizabeth must have seen this, although she certainly saw more personal things in Catherine as well. Peter the Great had the principle that he could choose his successor, no matter who was next in line for the throne. Just the same, Elizabeth may not have cared about Paul's paternity, just as long as there was an heir. She was choosing the succession, even over blood. In her heart, Elizabeth must have realized that Catherine and her son after was more suited to the succession than her own nephew was, and the way she often treated Catherine confirms it.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on December 28, 2006, 05:27:29 PM
As distant as we are from the reign of Catherine the Great, it's probably not wise to fixate on who the father of Paul I was.  I personally think Saltykov was his father, and he looks like his mother (especially when comparing him to the drawing of her while still Princess of Anhalt-Zerbst posted here earlier as reply #34).  But there is a probability Peter managed to consumate the marriage successfully. 

Catherine mentioned the non-Romanov paternity of Paul in her memoirs, written some time after the beginning of her reign.  Some have speculated this was to spite Peter and his memory but I simply cannot see the logic in this.  Peter was long gone, although his ghost would never completely disappear, having died a horrible death possibly with the consent of his wife.  Catherine would spend her reign battling the grumblings of the Muscovites etc. who would always hate who ever was on the throne, and therefore would naturally express their preference for the dead Tsar over the Tsarina.  Given attitudes and ideological threats such as these, it does not make sense to me that Catherine would spread a rumor that (at the time of the memoirs) would further destroy her image and make Peter a martyr.  And while I understand she was not fond of her eldest child, I cannot see her undermining his future (even for the remote chance he could be disposed and his son placed on the throne).  Like Elizabeth, Catherine was not fond of her actual heir but of her grandchild and would not have risked his future by creating a scandal. 

Any thoughts?   
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yseult on December 29, 2006, 07:10:29 AM
does anyone know what happened to him? did he marry, have children?

Ilyala, the first count Bobrinsky married a woman from a baltic-german family, Anna Dorothea von Ungarn-Stenberg. They had three sons and one daughter who survived childhood. The boys were: Alexei, Paul and Vassily. The daughter was named Maria. After her husband´s death, Anna Dorothea Bobrinskaya opened a school for education of peasant´s children. This is a portrait of the lady:
(http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e56/vanozzacatanei/AnnaBobrinskaya.jpg)

Alexei, the elder son, became second count Bobrinsky. He married countess Sophia Samojlowa. After a brief career at the court, he settled with his family in Bogoroditsk, where he established one of the first russian sugar refineries.
A portrait of Alexei second count:
(http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e56/vanozzacatanei/AlexeiBobrinsky.jpg)

Peter, the second son, married Julia Belinskaya.

Vassily, the third son, married three times. The first wife was the princess Lydia Gortschakova.
This is a portrait of Vassily:
(http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e56/vanozzacatanei/Vasily.jpg)

Maria, the daughter, married prince Nikolai Gagarin, murdered in 1842.

Best regards
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on December 29, 2006, 02:39:55 PM
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.

Yes, although she was German, she became more Russian than anything else. She never would have fit in that well in her native land, whereas in Russia her temproament fitted right in. She was lucky she made that marriage, because although she wasn't related by blood to the dynasty, and her child might not have been either, she was more Romanov than many of the Romanovs. Elizabeth must have seen this, although she certainly saw more personal things in Catherine as well. Peter the Great had the principle that he could choose his successor, no matter who was next in line for the throne. Just the same, Elizabeth may not have cared about Paul's paternity, just as long as there was an heir. She was choosing the succession, even over blood. In her heart, Elizabeth must have realized that Catherine and her son after was more suited to the succession than her own nephew was, and the way she often treated Catherine confirms it.

To be sure, Catherine wasn't related by blood to the Romanovs.  But Elizabeth was betrothed at one time to Catherine's uncle, her mother Johanna's brother through the Holstein family, and would have married him had he not died before the wedding could take place. This could have imo been one reason she never "formally" took a husband.   And Elizabeth admitted that she saw much of her ex beau in Catherine which was a factor in choosing Catherine as Peter's bride. (this comes from Carolly Erickson's book Great Catherine)  IMO this was probably why it didn't matter about Paul's paternity.  In addition to requiring a male heir, had Elizabeth herself married Johanna's brother, she  may have produced offspring from the Holstein line and in her mind, perhaps coming from Catherine it was not so very different than if she herself had bore the child. 

And, though German, Catherine by the time she ascended the throne considered herself a native Russian.  According to the book, when she spoke of my grandmother or my family she was referring to the Romanovs not the Anhalt Zerbst line. 

Also In the book, Elizabeth is noted for saying something to the effect that she was thankful her neice was not moronic like Peter.  So yes, I believe she did realize that Catherine was more suited to the role of leading the country and as Catherine proved this more and more, Elizabeth eventually ignored Peter's petty outbursts and complaints about his wife.

And Tsarina_Liz it is a fair statement to point out that from this distance in time it does seem moot at this point to mull over the paternity issue. Yet it is still an intriguing question.  If Paul wasn't Peter III's biological son, why did he accept him and not deny paternity?  This having been discussed before, adultery would have given Peter the much needed ammunition to oust his hated wife.  But he didn't.  And Paul spent very little time with his father, yet he displayed many of Peter's physical and psychological traits. It's cetainly an interesting question to ponder imo.  You are also correct that Peter the Great believed the Tsar should choose his own successor but by the time Elizabeth came to the throne, there were very few Romanovs of the blood left, therefore Elizabeth wanted to ensure that the succession passed smoothly without the coups and intrugues that went on after her own mother Catherine I died without male heirs, only female.  Which left the children from Peter's half brother Ivan.  Elizabeth above all wanted her father Peter's line to continue and perhaps in her convoluted way of thinking, since Peter III and Catherine WERE second cousins, it wasn't a stretch to take ANY offspring from Catherine and pass it off as a Romanov if indeed he wasn't. But to me, there is far too much that convinces me that Paul was definitely PeterIII's son.  Just my opinion though ;)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on December 29, 2006, 02:45:36 PM
I admit that I have never read Catherine's memoirs, from the book they are in, but I have read them recounted in books. I think she does seem to say that his paternity was that of Saltykov, but I don't think she may have known herself. It is more than likely that the marriage of Peter and Catherine was consumated, as he was given a woman who was supposed to be able to iniate him into such things, and this happened about the time she took up with Saltykov. So, she may not have known who the father was, because of that, but I think she sincerely believed that Saltykov was the father, as she didn't mention this out of spite I am almost sure. She was simply an honest person about such things in her memoirs, and I think she was just being honest about what she thought. Peter III's relationship with Elizabeth V was consumated, but they never had children. I don't know if he was capable of having kids or not, but the likelihood is we will never know. Just because Catherine believed something doesn't mean that it was true, or that it wasn't. But, she was his mother, and lived through those events.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on December 29, 2006, 03:41:14 PM
I admit that I have never read Catherine's memoirs, from the book they are in, but I have read them recounted in books. I think she does seem to say that his paternity was that of Saltykov, but I don't think she may have known herself. It is more than likely that the marriage of Peter and Catherine was consumated, as he was given a woman who was supposed to be able to iniate him into such things, and this happened about the time she took up with Saltykov. So, she may not have known who the father was, because of that, but I think she sincerely believed that Saltykov was the father, as she didn't mention this out of spite I am almost sure. She was simply an honest person about such things in her memoirs, and I think she was just being honest about what she thought. Peter III's relationship with Elizabeth V was consumated, but they never had children. I don't know if he was capable of having kids or not, but the likelihood is we will never know. Just because Catherine believed something doesn't mean that it was true, or that it wasn't. But, she was his mother, and lived through those events.
I agree, Catherine did live through the events whereas we did not.  But Catherine was quite young when it was suggested she take a lover after no heir was in sight (purportedly suggested by Elizabeth herself)  In the book by Erickson, Saltykov was the one who took Catherine's virginity.  So if indeed this is true, she may have known who the father was. However, it IS conjecture.  But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.  (In addition to other factors ie: his tutor, her discounting him as a viable member of her advisors etc).  It must be noted that Peter III did not have children with any of his mistresses either which could have been from a number of reasons:  smallpox, foreskin too tight - the list goes on.  But as much as he hater her, Peter never denied Paul as the child of he and Catherine. nor did he deny little Anna - Poniatowski's daughter.  So this enigma has many sides.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on December 30, 2006, 02:17:36 AM
Ilyala, the first count Bobrinsky married a woman from a baltic-german family, Anna Dorothea von Ungarn-Stenberg. They had three sons and one daughter who survived childhood. The boys were: Alexei, Paul and Vassily. The daughter was named Maria. After her husband´s death, Anna Dorothea Bobrinskaya opened a school for education of peasant´s children. This is a portrait of the lady:

Alexei, the elder son, became second count Bobrinsky. He married countess Sophia Samojlowa. After a brief career at the court, he settled with his family in Bogoroditsk, where he established one of the first russian sugar refineries.
A portrait of Alexei second count:

Peter, the second son, married Julia Belinskaya.

Vassily, the third son, married three times. The first wife was the princess Lydia Gortschakova.
This is a portrait of Vassily:

Maria, the daughter, married prince Nikolai Gagarin, murdered in 1842.

Best regards


thank you yseult! you are a gold mine!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on December 30, 2006, 01:51:34 PM
Is there a complete list of Catherine II  "The Great's"  lovers?

In one of my books THE LOVES OF CATHERINE THE GREAT by Nikolaev and Parry p. 253 is the list considered to be the top 12 lovers:

Sergei Vasilievich Saltykov
Count Stanislas Augustus Poniatowki
Prince Gregory Gregorievich Orlov
Alexander Semyonovich Vasilchikov
Prince Gregory Alexandrovich Potemkin-Tavrichesky
Count Peter Basilievich Zavadorsky
Semyon Gavrilovich Zorich
Ivan Nikolaievich Rimsky-Korsakov
Alexander Dmitrievich Lanskoy
Alexander Petrovich Yermolov
Count Alexander Matveievich Dmitriyev-Mamonov
Prince Platon Alexanrovich Zubov

And, who were the others not mentioned thus far?

AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on January 01, 2007, 03:03:48 AM
it's supposed that she had more lovers that we don't know anything about. however, the other lovers were casual relationships. these were stable and acknowledged and they were recognized as partners.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 03, 2007, 04:53:51 PM
Peter's reasons for accepting Catherine's children (if they were indeed not his) have been talked about earlier to some extent, but I think we left out some thing (to the best of my recollection).  Perhaps Peter accepted the children, not only to save face etc., but also because it was easier for him to accept Catherine's children by others than actively try and conceive children with Catherine.  He hated and mistrusted her, having to go to her bed chamber on her regular basis would have been torture.  And no doubt Catherine would have preferred this lack of contact.  Gave her more freedom and kept her away from a man she loathed.  For as much as they detested each other they, in my opinion, reached an amicable enough solution. 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarfan on January 03, 2007, 05:53:23 PM
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

Did Catherine make any public remarks regarding Paul's paternity during Peter's lifetime?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 03, 2007, 08:27:55 PM
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

Did Catherine make any public remarks regarding Paul's paternity during Peter's lifetime?

Not that I recall.  It would have been a dangerous move, putting her and her child in danger and humiliating her husband.  Not to mention giving Peter one more reason to rid himself of her the moment he took the throne, which potentially endangered Catherine's plans for the throne.  Every one (in court) knew she was having an affair, but it was kept hush-hush.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 04, 2007, 09:31:24 AM
Well, Paul hated his mother for a variety of reasons, but although he was her heir, he was never much of a favorite of her. Elizabeth, empress at the time of Paul's birth took him away right after his birth, and tried to raise him. As well, he was born in turbulent circumstances, although he was certainly welcomed, as an heir was much needed. Both Peter and Catherine in his early years paid little attention to him, I think Peter was just happy to have an heir so he could go his own way, and Catherine was taking advantage of her new found freedom to have affairs, to do as she wished, now that the heir was produced. Catherine was always detached about her son, she was never that close to him, she always acted like he was just born because he was needed. She had such a passionate nature with her lovers, but was not the most maternal person. She was never close to her short lived daughter, or to her other son, although the circumstances of his birth/ paternity that hard. I think the nature of Paul's early years was such that it only encouraged him and Catherine not to get along.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 04, 2007, 09:46:38 AM
Well, she certainly had many lovers. I think some of these relationships defined her life, and some taught her early on about who she was, and what she wanted out of love. Some were very late affairs with younger men, where it seemed she was trying to regain her lost youth, although she didn't really succeed. But, in some ways she was an attractive lover to have even when she was older, and they were younger, and this was not only because of her position. She was always devoted to those she was involved with, and certainly experienced.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on January 04, 2007, 10:05:52 AM
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

Did Catherine make any public remarks regarding Paul's paternity during Peter's lifetime?

I do remember reading, though not sure at this time what source, of the existence of a Note found among Catherine's papers after her death addressed to His Imperial Highness The Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich, my dear son.  And he supposedly was so enraged by what was in the papers that he had them sealed until after his death and every Tsar until Alexander II sealed them after learning their contents upon coming to the throne. (After this, it was general knowledge anyway among the family) Supposedly whatever was in the "Notes" was the last straw and what enraged Paul to the point of absolutely wanting his mother's memory obliterated.  If anybody else knows of this, please help.

Lori
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on January 04, 2007, 01:48:12 PM
I don't think I could add any to those already named althought imo there were definitely more.  She was so stifled and repressed as a teenager, it seemed she was always trying to attain what she never had as a young woman, personifying it in a younger man.  As if her tastes experienced a sort of arrested development, though her experience certainly did not.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 04, 2007, 04:41:51 PM
I think it was after she bore an heir that she really let herself have lovers, but that before it was not because the desire was not there. It was, and her memoirs seem to say that. But, they were carefully watched by Empress Elizabeth, because they were supposed to be having an heir, so neither could have lovers. I think once she knew Empress Elizabeth was okay with her having lovers, she went in this direction. She knew she could not before, without getting into serious trouble, and you had to watch your back at the Russian court.  But, she was repressed indeed, whether it was more circumstances, or whether she just didn't know herself.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 04, 2007, 04:52:31 PM
I thought I read that somewhere as well, but can't remember more either. I think he was, all through his mother's reign saving himself up, with venom for when it was his turn. But, he did at times give the impression of getting along with her. It was a relationship where there wasn't much love lost, yet maybe they loved each other in their own way. That seems doubtful though. Maybe that note was the final straw for him. I don't think Catherine had much of a relationship with her other son, although I think he eventually knew who his mother was. If anyone has more info on that, please post.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 04, 2007, 06:14:50 PM
Well, Paul hated his mother for a variety of reasons, but although he was her heir, he was never much of a favorite of her. Elizabeth, empress at the time of Paul's birth took him away right after his birth, and tried to raise him. As well, he was born in turbulent circumstances, although he was certainly welcomed, as an heir was much needed.

Good point.  Catherine's children were never really hers, they were the emotional and dynastic property of Elizabeth.  Catherine was just the brood mare.  Just as Catherine owned and adored her grandchildren.  Remember, too, that at the time Catherine bore Paul she was in an increasingly tense and dangerous situation and really had to spend all of her time simply surviving the Russian Court.  Even had she wanted to lavish attention on him, her energies were needed elsewhere.  And not, in the long run, for her own survival but also her children's. Catherine may have been distant and emotionally icy, but she had her reasons.  On the flip side, perhaps one of the reasons she adored her grandchildren so much is that she could.  By the time they were born she was relatively stable and the country runningly more or less smoothly and she had the option of romping about.  Pity her poor daughers in law, however, for they became the brood mares... 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on January 05, 2007, 10:58:19 AM
I thought I read that somewhere as well, but can't remember more either. I think he was, all through his mother's reign saving himself up, with venom for when it was his turn. But, he did at times give the impression of getting along with her. It was a relationship where there wasn't much love lost, yet maybe they loved each other in their own way. That seems doubtful though. Maybe that note was the final straw for him. I don't think Catherine had much of a relationship with her other son, although I think he eventually knew who his mother was. If anyone has more info on that, please post.

I think i read that they were close  until Paul was about 8.  Also, his tutor had a very bad opinion of Catherine and her way of life and the tutor influenced Paul very much.  Though Catherine was converted to Orthodoxy and practiced it in public, her views were not very devout.  Conversely, Paul through his tutor, grew up to be a very devout Orthodox Christian which also influenced his later views of his mother.  But the biggest things seem to be her leaving him out of affairs of state to forced retirement at Gatchina and the rumours whispered behind his back about his paternity.  He also heard of rumours of his mother wanting him dead.  These things only reinforced what the tutor had already drilled into his head.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 06, 2007, 03:04:49 PM
I have always felt that Catherine sort of used Paul as heir to get the throne. He was really the heir, because he officially at least, had Romanov blood, and was the recognized legitimate son of Peter III. So, when Peter was dead he was the next heir. Of course, during his minority someone had to rule. When Catherine took the throne, she may have made it look like she was only ruling for his minority, and I am sure many people thought that. But, she ruled long past that, and he never got his fair chance at the age he should have. She never recognized him as ruler, true, during the years of his minority which was usually done even when the person was not actually ruling, due to their age. This might have been the first tip off. But, of course, by the time he was of age, she was there to stay. He may have resented that, as he got older, and perhaps his links to his father were important to him in part because it reinforced his claim to the throne, although he would have never dared voice that in her lifetime.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 06, 2007, 08:21:17 PM
I have always felt that Catherine sort of used Paul as heir to get the throne. He was really the heir, because he officially at least, had Romanov blood, and was the recognized legitimate son of Peter III. So, when Peter was dead he was the next heir. Of course, during his minority someone had to rule. When Catherine took the throne, she may have made it look like she was only ruling for his minority, and I am sure many people thought that. But, she ruled long past that, and he never got his fair chance at the age he should have. She never recognized him as ruler, true, during the years of his minority which was usually done even when the person was not actually ruling, due to their age. This might have been the first tip off. But, of course, by the time he was of age, she was there to stay. He may have resented that, as he got older, and perhaps his links to his father were important to him in part because it reinforced his claim to the throne, although he would have never dared voice that in her lifetime.

Interesting perspective.  Catherine did indeed, upon a closer look, use Paul.  He was a tool, a stepping stone to the throne.  That, then, makes me wonder if Catherine did indeed love her son but distanced herself emotionally because she knew she would have to use him (rather mercilessly) to secure the throne.  And that, when she did obtain the throne, she would constantly have to rebuff his hereditary rights and influence in order to keep the throne.  A lack of emotional attachment would have made it easier to push him into the background, to undermine his popularity and power. 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 07, 2007, 04:56:27 PM
That's a good point, I agree exactly. Catherine I think in her memoirs does seem to say she loved her son when he was taken away from her at birth, and that the only reason that she did not have more contact with him when he was young was because of Elizabeth, who treated him as the child she never had (as far as we know). She must not have remembered that when she took away Paul's older sons and raised them like her own children. Of course, in her case she had had children, but one son she never had any contact with due to circumstances, and the other was Paul, with whom her relationship was complicated. She might have been trying to make up for what happened to her, but that kind of shows how she could be. She would say she would make reforms, but then she would forget her youthful idealism, and bend to circumstances. Taking away her two oldest grandsons seems like that again. Of course, M. F., Paul's wife had other children later, so it never effected her as much as it perhaps did Catherine.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 10, 2007, 12:13:11 PM
That's a good point, I agree exactly. Catherine I think in her memoirs does seem to say she loved her son when he was taken away from her at birth, and that the only reason that she did not have more contact with him when he was young was because of Elizabeth, who treated him as the child she never had (as far as we know). She must not have remembered that when she took away Paul's older sons and raised them like her own children. Of course, in her case she had had children, but one son she never had any contact with due to circumstances, and the other was Paul, with whom her relationship was complicated. She might have been trying to make up for what happened to her, but that kind of shows how she could be. She would say she would make reforms, but then she would forget her youthful idealism, and bend to circumstances. Taking away her two oldest grandsons seems like that again. Of course, M. F., Paul's wife had other children later, so it never effected her as much as it perhaps did Catherine.

Well put.  This makes me wonder, also, if both Catherine and Elizabeth were acting in their grandchildren's best interest by removing the children from their parents at birth.  Neither Peter III and Paul would have been ideal role models, and the younger the children the more impressionable they were.  It may seem cruel, whisking away the children from their loving mothers, but it may have prevented a considerable amount of damage.  Imagine how much worse Paul would have been if he had been raised within the constant presence of his Peter.  Elizabeth was probaby terrified the child's first words would be praise for Prussia!  Catherine probably felt the same way, and chose to ignore any negative memories she personally had of her own seperation.  Both Elizabeth and Catherine wanted the children raised in their image, and unfortunately both of them failed miserably. 

"She would say she would make reforms, but then she would forget her youthful idealism, and bend to circumstances."  You nailed her personality! 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 10, 2007, 12:54:36 PM
I guess I have always thought that it was negative to take them away, but in the case of Paul, he might not have paid much attention by Catherine anyway. She had lovers during those years, was quite estranged from her husband, and she was getting more interested in political stuff. She might not have paid him any worthwhile attention. Peter would indeed have been a bad influence, and I don't know how much he would have been around. He always regarded Paul as his son though. I think Elizabeth was too near the end of her life and reign and also involved in her own pleasures to give Paul much good attention either. He was very wanted, but not given what he needed to be a very good person, or future ruler. I think he was always confused.

Catherine did want to make her grandsons in her image, and wanted one to rule Russia, and the other to rule from Constantinople, hence his name, Constantine. Elizabeth may have wished to protect Paul from his parents, or she may have wished to guard the precious future heir that came at such seemingly great cost. It's hard to know, and maybe she wanted him to take her as an example. I think she most wanted to keep him away from his father though. But, in spite of everything, he did take the kind of views his father had had so long ago when he came to the throne. Of course, he was more intelligent and able, but all that got lost in the influence of his past.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Caleb on January 10, 2007, 04:52:15 PM
Wouldn't such indescreet affairs encurr the wrath of the Orthodox Church particularly because Exodus 20:14 says "Thou shalt not commit adultery?"
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 10, 2007, 06:03:17 PM
I think they just ignored it. After all, she was Empress of Russia, and she could do anything she wished, since she was an autocrat. They certainly knew she had authority over them, and did not wish to arouse her wrath, although they must have disaproved. But, after all she was not the first Russian monarch to have such indiscreet affairs as you call them. Empress Elizabeth and Peter the Great were scarcely paragons, they had many lovers, and Peter was married. Empress Anna as well was like this. But, they got away with it, although the Orthodox church did not like Peter because of other reasons, his westernizing Russia, basically.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: James1941 on January 26, 2007, 06:06:57 PM
The Bible says one shouldn't do a lot of things, but the members of the Orthodox Church did them anyway.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on January 28, 2007, 04:22:19 AM
the bible says we shouldn't do a lot of things but all the churches do them anyway.

if you check out any religion you will see many contradictions between its base books and teachings (the bible, the kuran, etc.) and what is really happening. not to mention that the whole attitude the christian church had in the middle ages is miles away from what jesus preached.

the church had a way of wanting to meddle in affairs of state. of wanting earth power as well as spiritual. that tended to get in the way of the christian preachings. it still does.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 28, 2007, 08:08:01 PM
The earlier Romanovs may not have been the greatest paragons of family life ( in contrast to the later ones, Alexander III and his family, and Nicholas II), yet Peter the Great and his son Tsarvitch Alexei were what you might call religious. This goes for Tsarvitch Alexei specifically. He simply saw no contradiction between his rather wild private life, and his religious side. Peter the Great was more conventionally religious, although he did enjoy making fun of the church to some extent. Catherine the Great was not religious at all, from what I have read. I'm sure she didn't care.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on January 29, 2007, 12:04:48 AM
i'm sure pope alexander 6th himself didn't think there was anything wrong with being a 50 year old pope that has a teenage mistress openly living with him and his daughter either... he probably thought, hey but i do my job as a pope, i'm religious, god loves me!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 29, 2007, 04:36:18 PM
In general, I think Catherine just thought her private life was her business. As an autocrat, she could make the public affairs of the country her private business, so after that you know that she certainly regarded such things as her having lovers as far from the business of the church. Even before her, the Russian court along with its rulers, was one of the most licentious courts in Europe. Catherine wasn't setting the tone, she was merely going along with a grand tradition of Russian monarchs.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ilyala on January 29, 2007, 11:54:27 PM
in my opinion, catherine was one of the least sinning monarchs out there. i have expressed this opinion on the windsor board too: i would rather have a head of state that sleeps around but does the job right than a pious head of state who leaves the country a mess.

unfortunately, i can say that my statistics show that most pious heads of state were not very effective as heads of state. they were just pious. catherine did her job well and considering the circumstances i think her lovers can be cast aside when judging her. actually, in accordance to our times' values, she'd be just a single mother who's having a social life.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on January 30, 2007, 09:16:04 AM
Indeed, I agree. Catherine was one of the more effective Russian monarchs, as was Peter the Great, who was not always the most pious of rulers at times. Catherine was more sedate than him of course, in such things as not throwing  drunken parties, or inflicting cruel punishments. But, they are both good examples of rulers whose private lives and ruling were pretty much two different things, whatever the nature of their private life.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ivanushka on June 01, 2007, 07:14:30 AM
I agree that Johanna could have been a better mother to Catherine the Great, particularly in early childhood.  That said, the only option to princesses in those days was to make the grandest match possible and in that matter at least, Johanna achieved a major result!  As soon as Catherine was able to walk and talk her mother dragged her round the German courts, allowing her to see and be seen, all with a good marriage in mind.

I think Johanna felt all her life that fate had denied her the opportunity to shine and Catherine suffered because of that.  However, I think that in the build up to Catherine's marriage the two of them did grow closer and both were very upset at their parting.  The two of them did correspond as much as they could once Johanna left Russia (I think Empress Elizabeth tried to forbid correspondence between them) and I suspect that they could have ended up being friends once Catherine was an adult and a mother herself.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on August 21, 2007, 12:27:39 PM
This child, although given the honorary patronymic Petrovna, was almost certainly the child of Catherine's liaison with Stanislaus Poniatowski, 'le beau Polonais,' of whom she writes in her Memoires. With childhood disease rampant everywhere,  and infant mortality rates quite high, it seems likely that the little Anne died of one or another fever in March, 1759. Catherine does not mention her, although she must have felt some pain at the loss of this daughter.
I have never seen a portrait of this child, although some exist of Grand Duke Paul in childhood. Since Catherine was extricating herself from the rather sticky coils of Poniatowski's fervent devotion to her, she may not have kept much in the way of mementoes from their liaiason. It was also unusual, in this period. to paint a  child quite that young (although cf. Mme Vigee-Lebrun's  studies of Marie Antoinette and her children). If anybody finds one, please post it! - thanks!
I find it interesting that Peter III did not deny paternity for little Anna either.  Perhaps because of the money each parent received whenever a child was born?  Money definitely served the interests of both parties and both were constantly in debt.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: imperial angel on August 21, 2007, 04:12:56 PM
I think it was just easier for him to accept paternity, in my opinion, even though he certainly knew he wasn't the girl's father, and he was not. I think the money certainly had something to with though, I agree, that's a very good point. All in all, he had more advantages than disadvantages to gain when he accepted paternity, which must be why he did it. I suppose had she lived in to her mother's reign and to grow up, as Paul did, and when her supposed father was dead, she would still have been identified as his daughter, but I am sure it would just have been for the sake of appearances, nothing more. It never became more of a question, because she died so young.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on August 21, 2007, 04:38:19 PM
True.  And also, the Empress accepted the child as Peter's whether she truly believed it or not, and it doesn't seem likely he would go against her.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: ivanushka on August 23, 2007, 07:23:33 AM
I'm sure I remember reading in some biography of Catherine that Paul did question the paternity of baby Anna.  Though he didn't make any public denials of paternity I think he was heard to remark to more than one courtier words to the effect that "I don't know how my wife gets pregnant because it's certainly nothing to do with me."  I agree that it was easier for him to not make a big deal about it as he received money and anyway the birth of another child helped stabilise the dynasty.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: lori_c on August 25, 2007, 12:16:20 AM
True enough.  But the Empress accepted the child as legitimate .  Knowing the truth or not she snatched little Anna just as she did Paul, both bearing Paul's patronym.  As has been stated with Paul's birth,This would have been seen as a legitmate heir and had Peter denied either, he could have gotten rid of Catherine quite easily.   They detested each other and he was looking for a reason to either send her to a convent or prison so he could be with his mistress.  Was it fear of the Empress' wrath and his loss of the throne that made him not deny his children?  Obviously, he KNEW Orlov's child was not his, but by that time the Empress had passed and Catherine hid the child in secret.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on October 14, 2009, 07:36:44 PM
Perhaps a silly question, but I was looking her portrait which she is ridding a horse and I noticed that
her hair was very long... Do you know it's lenght?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on October 15, 2009, 10:59:56 AM
Hello Alzbeta!

Just for curiosity, which portrait do you mean?, the only portrait of Catherine II on horseback that I know is that one by Vigilius Ericksen... http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/04/2007/hm4_2_222_0.html

Do you mean that one or another?...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on October 15, 2009, 01:07:08 PM
Yes, you're correct, i'm reffering to this painting, her hair looks very long, I think that it
may be at the level of her waist, but I'm not sure.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 02, 2010, 02:37:48 PM
At horseback
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/CatherineHorse.jpg)
Cartoon of her
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/CartoonKat.jpg)
Tsarina of Russia
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/Yekaterina.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 02, 2010, 02:45:52 PM
As an old lady
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/OldKaterina.jpg)
Ekaterina
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/CatalinaLaGrande.jpg)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/TsaritsaYekaterina.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 02, 2010, 02:46:35 PM
Ekaterina
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/CatalinaII.jpg)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/TsarinaRussia.jpg)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/ImperialYekaterina.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: TimM on June 16, 2010, 10:18:27 PM
For some reason my high school history teacher believed that old wives tale about Catherine dying while, *ahem*, trying to get it on with a horse.

Really, how could anyone believe that, it isn't even physically possible.  Any see that episode of Friends in which Chandler posts on Ross's alumni page that Ross cloned a dinosaur and was having sex with it?  Ross, when he found out, told Chandler that it would be physcially impossible (still it was a funny episode).  The same would be the same for a horse and a human.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 17, 2010, 01:24:50 PM
I read that it was only simply a rumour...
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/RoyalLadies/catalina.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: TimM on June 17, 2010, 03:37:58 PM
Which some people thought was true for some reason.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: CountessKate on June 17, 2010, 04:18:53 PM
For some reason my high school history teacher believed that old wives tale about Catherine dying while, *ahem*, trying to get it on with a horse.

Really, how could anyone believe that, it isn't even physically possible.  Any see that episode of Friends in which Chandler posts on Ross's alumni page that Ross cloned a dinosaur and was having sex with it?  Ross, when he found out, told Chandler that it would be physcially impossible (still it was a funny episode).  The same would be the same for a horse and a human.

Powerful women who did not bother to conceal their love lives were very rare in the eighteenth century, and Catherine, with her steady succession of lovers, was always a prime target for prurient stories.  That she had effectively the same sort of serial relationships with (increasingly younger) men as a male ruler might have had with women, was sufficient for her contemporaries to think she was capable of anything - orgies, bestiality - though as far as I know, she wasn't accused of being a lesbian unlike Marie Antoinette.  In fact, she was a pretty straightforward hetrosexual woman who tended to be faithful for the duration of a relationship until towards its end - very much in a modern way, but deeply incomprehensible to her contemporaries.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: TimM on June 17, 2010, 04:23:05 PM
Sounds like the garbage the tabloid rags print against the modern royal families.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on June 18, 2010, 04:05:49 AM
Effectively, modern day tabloid didn't invent nothing of new, it's just a repetition of something that has always existed...and perhaps, the rumors of the past were even more cruel than the rumors of today.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 21, 2010, 01:57:05 PM
Catherine, her son Pavel interoducing her his new bride, the future Empress Maria Feodorovna
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Queens/Maria.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on July 02, 2010, 02:56:42 PM
Cartoon of the Empress
(http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv226/KaiserinAlzbeta/Palace/EkaterinaRussland.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on July 13, 2010, 03:11:38 PM
The Empress wearing a kokoshnik
(http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv226/KaiserinAlzbeta/VictorianLadies/Katerina.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: AGRBear on October 24, 2010, 11:15:53 AM
http://english.ruvr.ru/tag_3924648/2010/07/

New statue of Cath. II in Zerbst


AGRBear
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on October 25, 2010, 12:57:41 PM
The empress
(http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv226/KaiserinAlzbeta/VictorianLadies/CatherineIIRussia.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: violetta on January 24, 2011, 06:35:06 AM
The last Polish King Stanislaw August Ponyatovski was ead over heels in love with Empress Catherine. In fact, she was the Grand Duchess then. It was a feeling that he had for her till the end of his life.

His love for the future Empress was expressed in his diaries. Though a romance with the wife of the heir to te throne was dangerous for Ponyatovskiy he was not scared because, in his own words", "my entire existence was devoted to her. this devotion surpassed the extent of feeling that other people feel in similar circumstances".

This is how S.A.Ponyatovski describes Catherine:

She was 25. While she was recovering from her first childbirth her beauty was in full bloom...Black hair, exquisitely wite skin, big blue expressive eyes....Her mouth encouraged you to kiss her, her arms and shoulders were absolutely perfect. she was of medium height, she was walking gracefully, but her manner of walking was also full of dignity.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: violetta on January 24, 2011, 06:50:15 AM
They became lovers in December 1855 but had to part quite soon.Ponyatovski  had to go home  where his mother repeatedly express her dissatisfaction with this romance. Catheirne turned to the Chancellor Bestuzhev to bring Ponyatovski back to St. Petersburg. "Please be sure, - she wrote,  - I will keep turning to you until I get what I desire:.

Ponyatovski came back, and in December 1857 their daughter Anna was born. She died when she was 2.

Ponyatovski had to leave again due to political problems. He was not to come back any more. Catherine did suffer but her sufferings were soon superceded by the forthcoming changes in court. Empress Elizabeth was feeling worse and worse so Catherine was really worried about her position after her husband inherit the throne. After the death of Empress Elizabeth, Ponyatovski offered to come to comfort her. After Catherine had overthrown Peter III Ponyatovski gave her a lot of pieces of advice. And constantly reminded her that he was still deeply in love with her. Catherine ignored his letters:she was polite but  didn`t respond to is feelings. At last she decided to state openly that it was all over:

You don`t read my letters with enough attention...You tell me how desperate you are but don`t you know that every sensible person has to accept what life brings? I can`t and won`t explain anything. Let me repeat again: I can`t respond to your feelings. Good-bye. Let me asure you that I will think about you warmly but I`ll solve my own problems myself.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: violetta on January 24, 2011, 06:54:00 AM
It was Catherine`s idea to make Ponyatovski Polish king. He , however, didn`t crave for  power. If he had had a choice, he would have chosen Catherine instead of the crown. According to his wish, coronation took place on St. Catherine day.

 
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: violetta on January 24, 2011, 07:04:48 AM
(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/August_Poniatowski-1.jpg)

S.A. Ponyatovski
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: shepherd on March 19, 2012, 04:38:24 PM
I am a descendant of Catherine II and Count Orlov, and I have a question that my daughter asked: How tall was Catherine the Great?  Accounts in books do not agree.  They say that she was short, medium, and tall.

A google search leads to a web page that says that she was 5'9".  I don't believe this, because this seems extraordinarily tall for the era.

Can anyone help with this?  Thanks so much in advance.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on March 20, 2012, 12:26:54 AM
I am a descendant of Catherine II and Count Orlov, and I have a question that my daughter asked: How tall was Catherine the Great?  Accounts in books do not agree.  They say that she was short, medium, and tall.

A google search leads to a web page that says that she was 5'9".  I don't believe this, because this seems extraordinarily tall for the era.

Can anyone help with this?  Thanks so much in advance.

 Hello, "shepherd," and welcome to the Forum!  I find your stated descent fascinating - i.e. "descendant of Catherine II and Count Orlov....."  
 For clarification, to which of the Counts Orlov brothers are you referring?  Apart from the rather ubiquitous family legends that tend to run and multiply over time within families' so-called "oral histories," have you any supporting authorative, extant, PUBLISHED documentation of the formative liaison, et seq., that leads specifically to you from the 18th century?  There is already a thread here on the Forum re the "Orlov Family." I should think that the "Orloff Family Archives" of the various branches (most likely able to be easily found, but in Russian) would potentially be most help/informative, but perhaps you have already sought out some of these sources?
  As to the height of the Empress, I am certain that it would have been a bit variable with her age at any given time.  I have personally seen the Coronation dress, etc, of the Empress in the collections of the Moscow Kremlin, which is rather wide and grand, thereby tending to distort the impression of one's actual height.  I frankly was MUCH more impressed by the "Orlov Diamond" in the Imperial Regalia kept at the "Diamond Fund," again, at the Moscow Kremlin. If you have not had the opportunity to visit there, I would most certainly recommend such a trip/visit, especially if there exists this descendancy with your family history.                                              Regards,  Alexsandr Pavlovich.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: shepherd on March 20, 2012, 12:13:04 PM
Thanks very much for your interest.  There is a family genealogy for the Bobrinskoy family in a footnote in the Bobrinsky Wikipedia site.  I am listed there near the bottom (George Shepherd).  My grandfather was George Bobrinskoy, and he grew up on an estate near Toula.

Any further ideas on how tall Catherine was?  My daughter, Sophie, is somewhat short, and she wants to know whether Catherine was short too.

Thanks for the help.

George
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on March 20, 2012, 05:22:33 PM
Thanks very much for your interest.  There is a family genealogy for the Bobrinskoy family in a footnote in the Bobrinsky Wikipedia site.  I am listed there near the bottom (George Shepherd).  My grandfather was George Bobrinskoy, and he grew up on an estate near Toula.

Any further ideas on how tall Catherine was?  My daughter, Sophie, is somewhat short, and she wants to know whether Catherine was short too.

Thanks for the help.

George

  I appreciate very much your kind and timely response with the professionally detailed geneaological information.
  Likewise, I do wish you luck in ascertaining the +/- height measurements of the Empress Catherine II.  While existing/displayed period dresses of hers may give a "ballpark" estimate of a moment in time, one has to consider added visual illusion influences of varying heights of the shoes worn, the height of any formal hair styles, etc.            
                                                                                                       Best regards,  AP.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on April 16, 2012, 12:58:34 PM
Modern painting, a proud grandma. Empress Catherine II and grandson Alexander
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/DarlingSissi/babushka.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Russian Art Lover on April 29, 2012, 05:18:46 PM
Thanks very much for your interest.  There is a family genealogy for the Bobrinskoy family in a footnote in the Bobrinsky Wikipedia site.  I am listed there near the bottom (George Shepherd).  My grandfather was George Bobrinskoy, and he grew up on an estate near Toula.

Any further ideas on how tall Catherine was?  My daughter, Sophie, is somewhat short, and she wants to know whether Catherine was short too.

Thanks for the help.

George

How interesting! Unfortunately, I have no information on her height. But I do know that she was tone deaf!
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: LauraO on December 19, 2015, 05:25:03 AM
I was wondering if there's any accessible archive of Catherine's diary, or any good text which compiles this, either in text form, or online. Thanks.
Title: Does anybody know Catherine II's lineage to Rurik Dynasty please?
Post by: kensnowelk on November 30, 2016, 06:08:57 PM
Hello. I am a lifelong ardent student and fan of Imperial Russia and the Romanovs and all Russian related history and also a longtime genealogist as a strong hobby and area of research. My question which has perplexed me for years is, does anybody out there know of any source or person(s) or references, etc. that would help me find the WRITTEN LINEAGE from Catherine II the Great to a ruler from the Rurik Dynasty? I have seen and heard many times and places that she is indeed a Rurik royal line descendent. I'm also particularly intrigued because of all the back and forth discussions on the paternity of Paul I and Catherine II or an other as many have stated. THUS the RURIK full connection lineage would be all the more important in my humble opinion as it would be the PRIMARY Russian royal connection to later Romanovs. I for one feel 9and hope0 that Peter II WAS Paul I's father but if not- or either way- I would be GREATLY thankful to anyone who could help me here. @@ Also if you wish - please feel free to send any info or hopeful leads to me email if Ok which is kensnowelk@hotmail.com.    Thank you!
Title: Re: Does anybody know Catherine II's lineage to Rurik Dynasty please?
Post by: JGP on November 30, 2016, 09:52:14 PM
Pedigree of Catherine II (the Great), Empress of Russia 1729-1796
The origin from Rurik (c. 835-879), the prince of Novgorod; see hyperlink below

http://russia-today.narod.ru/past/des_rur/ru_ek2.htm
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: agordon2000 on February 26, 2017, 11:52:08 AM
She was obviously bright and self serving. Her morganic husband Potempkin said the key to getting along with her was to give her lots of compliments. He is well known for setting up Potempkin villages, that is cleaning up Russia and even setting up fake villages when she went on tour. She understood politics. Her power depended on the support of nobles since she was a foreigner and had no right to the throne. So she read a lot and learned Russian well. She sympathized with philosophy of the enlightenment but in the end did nothing against the interests of her patrons. What she did was to expand the territory of Russia greatly by adding a third of Poland which mean Ukraine and Belarus and beat the Ottoman Empire for the first time gaining access tot he Black Sea. She hated Jews and there were none in Russia. When she took Poland suddenly she had millions of them so devised 'the Pale" areas where they could live and made trade   very hard for them. During the American Revolution she refused twice to help England as she wanted direct trade with the colonies and yet did not want to encourage the rights of commoners in Russia. She named herself the Great after Peter but the title stuck as she increased the size and strength of Russia. Her son hated her guts and declared n woman could rule again when he was in charge (he was assassinated but the ruling stuck). I do not like her but many do.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: pers on March 31, 2017, 01:50:51 PM
At some point I read about Catherine's eating and drinking habits.  She ate little. 

I recall she was fond of thick soured milk and also that she drank her coffee extremely strong (whatever that might mean by 18th century standards). The piece I read was that she once gave some of her coffee to a footman/valet and that the poor man passed out from caffeine overdose... Can anyone confirm this story or where I might have read it - It was definitely in a biographical book on Catherine.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine II
Post by: Joanna on September 27, 2017, 09:43:41 AM
What is truth or fantasy about the dresses of the Empress of Russia?

https://winterpalaceresearch.blogspot.ca/2017/09/catherine-greats-wardrobe.html

Joanna