Author Topic: Empress Catherine II  (Read 88689 times)

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Offline investigator

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Empress Catherine II
« 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?
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
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Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #1 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.

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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #2 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.

Offline Glebb

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #3 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
The extravagances of Kings were beyond compare. They spent our money without counting.  But when they constructed such marvels, were they not putting our money aside for us?   - French saying  -- From Suzanne Massie's PAVLOVSK

Offline DOMOVOII

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #4 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?
A stand can be taken against an army of men, but no stand can be made against an invasion of an idea          V Hugo

Offline Namarolf

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #5 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...

Offline Silja

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #6 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 ;)

Offline DOMOVOII

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #7 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.  
A stand can be taken against an army of men, but no stand can be made against an invasion of an idea          V Hugo

Offline Sarai

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #8 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.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Offline Katya04

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #9 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?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2009, 10:47:27 PM by Alixz »

Dashkova

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #10 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.

Offline Katya04

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #11 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.

Sunny

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2004, 09:11:07 PM »
Ridiculous old myth, that just doesn't seem to go away.

Sunny

Offline Belochka

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #13 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
;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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Offline LisaDavidson

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Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #14 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.