Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Rulers Prior to Nicholas II => Topic started by: RomanovFan on July 19, 2005, 05:58:09 PM

Title: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: RomanovFan on July 19, 2005, 05:58:09 PM
What did he do during his short reign? And has it been proven that none Catherine II's kids were his, or was Paul I actually a Romanov?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: David_Pritchard on July 19, 2005, 11:23:22 PM
Emperor Paul I looked very much like his father Peter III, ugly in an unusual way. Paul also acted like his father, that is eratic, tyranical and obsessed with the military. There is little doubt that Peter III is the father since Catherine II was drawn consistently to attractive men rather than unattractive men.

DAP
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Mike on July 21, 2005, 09:48:35 AM
It seems like Catherine II did nothing to stop the rumours about Paul's paternity by Saltykov. They served her in two respects: to dissociate herself even further from purposefully slandered Peter III, on one hand, and to present the unloved Paul's rights to the crown as questionable, on the other.

Peter III apparently wasn't a brilliant ruler and a partularly attractive person, but he also wasn't dumb and evil as the official Russian historiography always painted him.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: David_Pritchard on July 21, 2005, 01:42:05 PM
Peter III is best remembered as a germanophile, a man who so wanted to impress his idol Fredrick of Prussia that he betrayed the Russian Army and signed a secret treaty with the Prussians on 25 February 1762 returning the Prussian lands captured in battle by the Russian Army at a great cost in lives.

This favor to the enemy of Russia seriously damaged Peter III's standing with the military and patriotic Russians. He set the stage for the coup d'etat that placed his wife Cathrine on the Throne.

DAP
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: cimbrio on July 28, 2005, 12:21:11 AM
God knows what would have happenned had Catherine  not stepped in! Russia would have been swallowed into Prussia maybe... I know he underwent surgery to get rid of his foreskin which was apaprnetly the reason he couldn't impregnate his wife...
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Elisabeth on August 02, 2005, 01:33:59 AM
The most important thing Peter III did during his short reign was to abolish mandatory service to the state for the nobility. Henceforth Russian noblemen were free to stay on their estates and pursue other interests rather than join the army or civil service. This measure was so popular that even Catherine the Great and her successors did not dare repeal it.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: cantacuzene on August 02, 2005, 03:12:30 AM
Quote
The most important thing Peter III did during his short reign was to abolish mandatory service to the state for the nobility. Henceforth Russian noblemen were free to stay on their estates and pursue other interests rather than join the army or civil service. This measure was so popular that even Catherine the Great and her successors did not dare repeal it.

Popular?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Elisabeth on August 02, 2005, 12:16:31 PM
Peter III himself was not popular (understatement) but this particular measure was. Prior to this, Russian noblemen, unlike their Western counterparts, had been required to enter into state service as soon as they reached maturity. Not surprisingly, they were happy to be free of this obligation, no matter how much they personally disliked Peter III himself.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: cantacuzene on August 03, 2005, 03:48:44 AM
Sorry. I referred to the word popular in the sense of accepted by people. I wondered if a measure only in favour of nobility could be called popular (but I am not english speaker). A 'medida popular' would be something in favour of slaves, the russian people. To add a privilege plus to the minority of aristocratics would'nt be popular in that sense, but worse, for servants hadn't no choice and the difference now became even bigger.It is not a progresist measure, but conservatrice, regressive, to reinforce the old regime, closed to change. But it depends. If we consider, as russian privilegiates, that they were the russian people and the rest animals, so the measure could be called popular. I think i mean an actual point of vue and you meant a contemporary one, isn't it? Thank you, Elizabeth
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: cimbrio on August 03, 2005, 04:44:01 AM
Medida popular = Popular measure (just helping, Cantacuzene) ;)
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Elisabeth on August 03, 2005, 07:32:07 AM
Quote
Sorry. I referred to the word popular in the sense of accepted by people. I wondered if a measure only in favour of nobility could be called popular (but I am not english speaker). A 'medida popular' would be something in favour of slaves, the russian people. To add a privilege plus to the minority of aristocratics would'nt be popular in that sense, but worse, for servants hadn't no choice and the difference now became even bigger.It is not a progresist measure, but conservatrice, regressive, to reinforce the old regime, closed to change. But it depends. If we consider, as russian privilegiates, that they were the russian people and the rest animals, so the measure could be called popular. I think i mean an actual point of vue and you meant a contemporary one, isn't it? Thank you, Elizabeth


Well, I meant the measure was popular with the elite, of course. But Peter III's measure was also important in a much wider sense, in that it freed the Russian nobility and gentry to pursue other interests than those serving the autocratic state, and these interests included (not always, but sometimes) reforming their estates along Western lines and trying to help (sometimes even freeing) their peasants.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Mike on August 03, 2005, 09:30:18 AM
In addition to abolishing the mandatory service of the gentry, Peter III made (or prepared to make) another changes:
- Abolished the fearsome Secret Chancery (re-established by Catherine II as the Secret Expedition);
- Declared the freedom of religion (revoked by Catherine);
- Ordered the persecutions of Old Believers to be stopped (resumed by Catherine);
- Freed the monastery-owned serfs;
- Permitted the gentry to travel abroad freely (canceled by Catherine);
- Introduced the publicity of court proceedings (canceled by Catherine);
- Ordered military and civil officials to be rewarded with orders and ranks only, but not with serfs (resumed by Catherine immediately upon the coup); and more.

No wonder that the coup was actually greeted by a few outside the circle of Guards officers headed by the Orlov brothers. It also explains why the Pugachev revolt (under the Peter III's banner) was so widely supported.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: kenmore3233 on August 03, 2005, 10:38:47 PM
Quote
What did he do during his short reign? And has it been proven that none Catherine II's kids were his, or was Paul I actually a Romanov?


Peter III, according to the best sources I know of, was probably not the embecile that many historians have depicted him as being. On the other hand, his behavior was erratic and his judgment was consistently poor, probably due to alcoholism, stress, and psychoemotional immaturity.

I have read that Peter was of at least average intelligence, and that he may even have been clever. Had Peter been sensible enough to leave matters of state to his ministers, and had he been wise enough to heed his ministers' counsel, he probably could have ruled successfully for a very long time.

An assessment of Peter's psychological condition may shed some light on why his life turned out the way it did.

Peter's early life circumstances in Germany were troubled, and these beginnings rendered him permanently fearful and easily overwhelmed by events going on around him.

Peter dealt with his early life stress by withdrawing into a private fantasy world of playing with toy soldiers, a pastime Peter indulged in, strangely, even years after his boyhood.

As an adult, Peter sought comfort through the excessive use of alcohol, and much of the time as tsar he was drunk, both privately and in court.

Also, Peter was under the influence of many ignorant, petty and manipulative people who influenced him for the worse. He picked his company unwisely, usually for no other reason than that these individuals gave him a false sense of confidence.

Everybody of course knows about Peter's bizarre and slavish infatuation with Frederick the Great, a fascination fueled by his intense dependency needs and his desire to feel protected.

All of Peter's psychological and personality faults were aggravated further by the stress he must have felt at having to play the role of monarch in the Russian imperial court, given that court's history of violence, internecine conflict and revolt against its rulers.

The overriding pattern in Peter's behavior is easy to see: it is called maladjustment.

It is no surprise then that Peter quickly alienated himself from those individuals who were the true brokers of power in the Russian capital, and his reign was thus a short one.

More than anything else, perhaps, it's best to say that Peter was a victim of history and circumstance. While still a teenager in Germany, he was selected to be the Russian tsarevich for reasons that were not of his doing. From that moment going forward, instead of passing his life as a sheltered German princeling who could do no harm to himself or others, his life spun hopelessly beyond his control.


Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: kenmore3233 on August 03, 2005, 10:58:24 PM
Quote
What did he do during his short reign? And has it been proven that none Catherine II's kids were his, or was Paul I actually a Romanov?


I remember two foolish things that Peter did as tsar, both of which were the proximate causes of his being overthrown and killed.

One was that Peter ended Russia's war with Frederick the Great on Frederick's terms, even though the Russian army, at great sacrifice, was decisively winning the war. Russia stood to greatly enhance its power and prestige as a result of this success, fruits of victory that were cheaply thrown away by Peter.

Second, Peter dispatched the Russian military against Denmark, for no other reason than that Denmark was engaged in a diplomatic row with Holstein, the small and insignificant Germany principality where Peter was from.

The Russian military elites were aghast at the idea of fighting Denmark for such petty reasons. A coup quickly ensued, and the order that the army and navy should attack Denmark was quickly remanded.

As for Paul, it is highly probable that he was Peter's son. Physically he strongly resembled Peter, and he displayed personality traits not unlike those exhibited by Peter.

There should be no doubt that Peter and Catherine procreated, even in spite of the fact that they despised each other. They were under very intense pressure from the empress Elizabeth to produce an heir to the throne; they had no choice except to comply with Elizabeth's demands.

That Peter was sterile, impotent, or physically incapable of fornicating should be regarded as nothing more than rumor that has no basis in historical fact.

Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: David_Pritchard on January 17, 2006, 06:52:24 PM
Quote
The most important thing Peter III did during his short reign was to abolish mandatory service to the state for the nobility. Henceforth Russian noblemen were free to stay on their estates and pursue other interests rather than join the army or civil service. This measure was so popular that even Catherine the Great and her successors did not dare repeal it.



1762 Ukaz of Emperor Peter III Freeing the Nobility from Obligatory State Service

All Europe, indeed the greater part of the world, knows what difficulties and effort that Peter the Great, wise monarch of immortal memory, Our dear sovereign grandfather and Emperor of all the Russias, had to expend in his efforts, solely with a view to bringing benefit and welfare to fatherland, to introduce into Russia advanced knowledge of military, civil, and political affairs.

To achieve this goal it was essential first to coerce the nobles, the chief body of the state, and convince them of the great advantages enjoyed by enlightened states over those countless peoples who are sunk in the depths of ignorance. Because the circumstances of the time then demanded extreme sacrifices from Russian Nobles, he [Peter I] did not show any mercy towards them, he forced them into military and civil service, and furthermore required noble youth to study the various liberal arts and also useful skills; he sent [some of] them to European countries, and, to achieve the same goal as rapidly as possible, established various schools in Russia itself.

It is true that in the beginning these innovations were burdensome and unendurable for the nobles, as they were deprived of peace, were forced to leave their homes, were obliged against their will to serve in the army or to perform other service, and were required to register their children. In consequence some nobles tried to evade these requirements, for which they were fined or even forfeited their estates, since they had shown themselves indifferent to their own best interest and that of their descendants. These demands, though burdensome in the beginning and accompanied by force, proved to be much advantage during the reigns of Peter the Great's successors, especially during the reign of Our dear aunt, Empress Elizaveta Petrovna, of glorious memory, who followed in the footsteps of her sovereign father, who supported the knowledge of political affairs and who, by her protection, extended much useful knowledge throughout Russia. We can look with pride at everything that has occurred, and every true son of the country will agree that great advantages have resulted from all this. Manners have been improved; knowledge has replaced illiteracy; devotion and zeal for military affairs resulted in the appearance of many experienced and brave generals; civil and political concerns have attracted many intelligent people; in a word, noble thoughts have penetrated the hearts of all true Russian patriots who have revealed toward Us their unlimited devotion, love, zeal, and fervor. Because of all these reasons We judge it to be no longer necessary to compel the nobles into service, as has been the practice hitherto. Because of these circumstances, and by virtue of the authority granted to Us by the almighty, We grant freedom and liberty to the entire Russian nobility, by Our High Imperial Grace, from this movement and forever, to all future generations. They may continue to perform service in Our Empire or in other European countries friendly to our State on the basis of the following rules:

1. All nobles who are presently in our service may continue as long as they wish or as long as their health may permit; those serving in the army may request release or furlough during a campaign or three months before a campaign; they should wait for release until the end of a war; those serving in the army may request release or retirement permits from their superiors and must wait for these permits; those serving Us in various capacities in the first eight ranks must apply for their release directly to Us; other ranks will be released by the departments for which they work.

2. At their retirement We will reward all nobles who serve Us well and faultlessly by promoting them to a higher rank, provided they have served at least one year in the rank from which they retired; those who wish to retire from military service and enter civil service, provided there is a vacancy for them, should be rewarded only if they have served three years in a given rank.

3. Those nobles who have retired or those who have terminated their military or civil service for Us, but who should express a desire to re-enter the military service, shall be admitted, provided they prove worthy of those ranks to which they belong and provided they will not be elevated to ranks higher than those of their co-servicemen who were equal in rank at the retirement; if they should be elevated in rank this should go into effect from the day they re-join the service over those who have retired and also make it possible for those who have retired from one service to join other services.

4. Those nobles who, freed from Our service, who wish to travel to other European countries should immediately receive the necessary passports from Our Foreign College under one condition: namely, that should ever a pressing need arise, those nobles shall return home whenever they are notified. Everyone should fulfill this request as soon as possible; those who fail to comply with it will have their property confiscated.

5. ... [on Russians who would serve in other states.]

6. By virtue of this manifesto, no Russian nobleman will ever be forced to serve against his will; nor will any of Our administrative departments make use of them except in emergency cases and then only if We personally should summon them; this rule also applies to the nobility of the Smolensk area. An exception to this rule is St. Petersburg and Moscow, where an ukaz of the Sovereign Emperor Peter I stipulated that some men from among the retired nobles should be made available for various needs at the Senate and at the [Heraldic] Office; We amend this Imperial rule by decreeing that henceforth there should be selected annually thirty men to serve in the Senate and twenty to serve in the Office. These men should be chosen by the Heraldic Office from among the nobles living in the provinces and not from those still in service. No one should be designated by name for this duty. Nobles themselves should decide who should be selected in the districts and provinces. Local officials should forward the names of those so selected to the Heraldic Office and also provide those selected with needed items.

7. Although, by this gracious manifesto we grant forever freedom to all of Our Russian nobles, except freeholders [odnodvortsy], Our fatherly concern for them as well as for their children will continue. These latter, We decree, should henceforth, whenever they reach twelve years of age, be reported to the Heraldic Office in districts, provinces, or cities or wherever is most convenient. From their parents or relatives who are bringing them up, information should be obtained about the level of the children's education up to the age of twelve and where they would like to continue their studies, whether within Our State in various institutions We have founded, in European countries, or, should the means of their parents allow it, in their own homes by experienced and skillful teachers. No nobleman should keep his children uneducated under the penalty of Our anger. Those noblemen who have under 1000 serfs should report their children to Our Cadet Corps of the Nobility, where they will learn everything befitting a nobleman and where they will be educated with the utmost care. Following his education each nobleman will assume his rank in accordance with his dignity and reward, and subsequently each may enter and continue his service as indicated above.

8. Those nobles who presently are in Our military service as soldiers or non-commissioned officers below the rank of oberofitser, that is, those who have failed to attain officer rank, should not be allowed to retire unless they have served twelve years in the army.

9. We grant this gracious act to all of Our nobles for eternity as a fundamental and unalterable law; by Our Imperial word We pledge to observe it in its entirety in the most solemn and irrevocable manner. Our rightful successors should not alter it in any way whatsoever, as their adherence to this decree will serve as an indispensable support for the autocratic throne of All Russia. We hope that in return for this act Russian nobles, realizing what great concern We have shown toward them and toward their descendants, will continue to serve Us loyally and zealously and will not withdraw from Our service; on the contrary, that they will seek the service eagerly and will continue it as long as possible, and will educate their children attentively in useful knowledge; those who will not perform any service will also lead purposeless lives and will not educate their children in any useful subject. Such people are not concerned with the general good, and We order all true sons of the Fatherland to despise and demolish them. We will not allow such people any access to Our court, nor will We tolerate their presence at public assemblies and festivals.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: kmerov on January 18, 2006, 03:47:57 PM
Quote
Emperor Paul I looked very much like his father Peter III, ugly in an unusual way. Paul also acted like his father, that is eratic, tyranical and obsessed with the military. There is little doubt that Peter III is the father since Catherine II was drawn consistently to attractive men rather than unattractive men.

DAP


I thought that the case wasn't so clear cut. I have read that Paul could have gotten his unusual look from the Saltykovs. Sergei Saltykov was considered handsome, but he was an exception in his family. Also the fact that Peter III never had any other children with his many mistresses.
The fact that Paul behaved like his father is not to say anything about his biological father, maybe just a good case-study for a psychologist.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Romanov_Fan19 on January 23, 2006, 02:32:54 PM
ive always thought   Peter III  Was a very interesting man
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Mischa on January 30, 2006, 11:42:32 PM
Well, I always wondered if Paul and Peter III resembled each other just because of inherited syphilis. This disease lets people look like pekineses. And so I think physical resemblance isn't a proof at all. And the as far as the psychical resemblance is concerned: Paul wanted Peter III to be his father. He would have been far better of wishing to descend from Saltykow, I think.

M.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: pers on January 31, 2006, 02:21:23 PM
If one reads the Memoirs of Catherine the Great, she mentions that Serge Saltykov's brother was extremely unattractive/retarded (I cannot remember the exact words).  Also, in her memoirs, she makes it look like Paul is the son of Saltykov and not Peter, due to the severe pressure she was put under by Elizabeth and that it might even have been with Elizabeth's blessing.

Well it is questionable as well whether that is not just for the sake of putting her in a better light.  It would be very interesting if DNA tests could be done on all these people's remains...
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: RomanovFan on February 01, 2006, 04:45:22 PM
Quote
It would be very interesting if DNA tests could be done on all these people's remains...


I think so too! :) But are there any remains left to test?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Romanov_Fan19 on February 01, 2006, 08:16:44 PM
For some strange  reason  I Think   Peter III Was Pauls Father :)
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Marc on February 10, 2006, 11:26:32 AM
Me too...
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: toddy on April 09, 2006, 12:04:43 AM
I think it is intiseresting that Peter III never questioned Paul's legitimacy. which he could have use to discredit his wife who he dispised
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ilyala on April 09, 2006, 02:45:50 AM
when exactly? when elizabeth was empress, if the adultery indeed happened with her blessing, there was not much to do. and i think he ruled way too little to do something then. remember he didn't even have time to start some sort of divorce proceedings that he wanted to (he wanted to send catherine to the monastery if i'm not mistaken). catherine got there first.

as for catherine, i've said this before: she had every interest to discredit her son. if her son was not paul's, he had no right for the throne other than the one she gave to him.(at that time if i'm not mistaken, the tsar could name his own heirs). because legally catherine was a mere german princess, while paul was the son of a tsar.  or maybe, if you wanna look of it from the personal perspective, maybe she hated peter that much that she simply couldn't stand the idea of having a son of his so she made paul out to be saltykov's son. either way, i wouldn't trust her diaries completely.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on April 10, 2006, 10:51:11 AM
Peter III was defintely more German than Russian. Left alone in Germany, he would have been fine, I think that's correct to state. But when he was autocrat of a huge, unruly Empire, that was a far cry from a tiny German state where he could have been eccentric had he wished, and no one would have cared. He wasn't mentally retarded, he just was backward a bit, and had some strange ideas. His childhood wasn't a good one, and that sometimes scars people. But the best source we have on him is Catherine's memoirs, and I would be sure she didn't want him thought of well, not that he would have been. He was way out of his element in Russia.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Baby_Julia on January 03, 2007, 02:36:36 PM
I want to do a presentation about catherine and peter and i'm very interested in the circumstances of his death.
maybe you can recommend me a website???

thank you!!!! :-*
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ilyala on January 04, 2007, 01:37:55 AM
http://www.nndb.com/people/581/000078347/ - this is a presentation on his reign, definitely a positive interpretation of all his actions. anna is named as his child and so is paul. the author believes catherine agreed to the assasination

Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: bell_the_cat on January 04, 2007, 04:12:25 PM
Who else could have done it?  ???
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 04, 2007, 04:37:13 PM
She did. But, she didn't want to look like she had done it, so officially it was an accident. She may not have hated her husband so much that she wanted to be rid of him, but she certainly knew that politically he had to go. There was no position for him, even in imprisonment. She could never have had lovers if he had lived anyway, and there would most likely have been factions that would have tried to free him for political purposes. She may have wanted his demise personally, but it was more in the political sphere that she had him killed.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 04, 2007, 06:26:20 PM
Personally, I doubt she ever said the order outright much less wrote it down - even in correspondance.  But the implications were there and surely she would have welcomed it.  I also think was Orlov and other supporters who realized how necessary a quick assassination was and pushed its importance onto her.  And she was all too willing to go along.  Assassination, at that point in her reign and despite her previous experience in Russia, seems too out of character.  Catherine desperately wanted the Russian throne, but she also wanted to bring Enlightenment to the people.  At the time of her ascension she was still too naive and forward-looking to conceive of something so brutal.  The assassination seems like something only the later, hardened Catherine was capable of.  But, again, that is not saying she was opposed to the idea when it was proposed.  She only lacked the necessary exposure and cultivated bile of her ancestors needed to formulate such a plan.   
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ilyala on January 04, 2007, 11:35:48 PM
if you want my personal opinion... we must remember that at the time of her accession, ivan 6th was still alive and soon afterwards he died. either catherine made sure she got rid of all of her opponents or someone did it for her.

i personally think she was in a situation of passive agreement. something like 'do it if you want to but if this goes out i know nothing of it'.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 06, 2007, 03:08:12 PM
I guess it is true that she did not so much order it as approve it. But in Russia, political murders of rulers that were no longer in power really didn't need approval, or an order. They usually happened anyway, like they were a natural concept, which they may have been for that society. Long term imprisonment usually ended in murder or untimely death anyway. But, even knowing that Catherine would approve was like there was an order.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 06, 2007, 08:16:25 PM
I guess it is true that she did not so much order it as approve it. But in Russia, political murders of rulers that were no longer in power really didn't need approval, or an order. They usually happened anyway, like they were a natural concept, which they may have been for that society. Long term imprisonment usually ended in murder or untimely death anyway. But, even knowing that Catherine would approve was like there was an order.

Survival of the fittest, really; killing off your rival makes perfect sense.  Europeans (France, UK, etc.) did it sneakily or through abstract political processes.  The Russians just didn't bother to hide it.  And, honestly, while it made the throne unstable it certainly added to the initial prestige of the victorious party something that would have been beneficial in such a cut throat court.   
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 07, 2007, 05:41:28 PM
That is very true. All the accounts I've read say that Catherine heard about what had happened and acted like she didn't know. Of course, I am sure people thought she did know, or at the very least thought she approved, which she did. But, if it hadn't happened because Catherine took the throne, it would have happened anyway because Peter III was too unpopular to not get murdered, or at least imprisoned by some faction. That's something that happened to his son years later. I think both of them alienated the wrong people, although both of them also had a relative involved in their death, who wanted the throne.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 09, 2007, 09:32:30 AM
One thing that particularly interests me regarding this point is the part the Imperial Guards played in many coups regarding the throne.  Bothe Elizabeth AND Catherine came to the throne this way.  Though Catherine indeed harbored the ambition she certainly required the support and loyalty of the guards to get her on the throne.  Whether or not she gave the outright order probably when her stability as Empress was at it's shakiest would have mattered very much in garnering her loyalty from the ordinary Russian people. 

Peter III was very unpopular anyway.  IMO, the Guards untertook this step of assassination to secure Catherine's position and she simply looked the other way.  Notably nobody was punished and many were very well rewarded afterward. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 10, 2007, 12:05:27 PM
One thing that particularly interests me regarding this point is the part the Imperial Guards played in many coups regarding the throne.  Bothe Elizabeth AND Catherine came to the throne this way.  Though Catherine indeed harbored the ambition she certainly required the support and loyalty of the guards to get her on the throne.  Whether or not she gave the outright order probably when her stability as Empress was at it's shakiest would have mattered very much in garnering her loyalty from the ordinary Russian people. 

Peter III was very unpopular anyway.  IMO, the Guards untertook this step of assassination to secure Catherine's position and she simply looked the other way.  Notably nobody was punished and many were very well rewarded afterward. 

When it comes to dethroning monarchs, the Guards Regiments are simply tools.  The brains are men like Gregory Orlov and his brothers, who formulate the plan and then wind up the toy soldiers.  It's dangerous, in my opinion, to give them too much credit because it undermines the power of the planners of the revolutions and coups.  But, yes, the Guard Regiments, are important in imperial history for their brute force and impressive effect on the population.  Catherine understood this, which is probably why she did not punish the men.  I personally believe she found the assassination abhorrent but realized that 1) it was necessary, 2) if she looked weak she would be treated as weak which meant her throne would be in danger, and 3) the Guard Regiments would lessen, although not remove, their support putting her in physical danger.  Catherine was playing the game when she rewarded the prison guards, but I caution against seeing it as an act of approval (IMO). 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 10, 2007, 12:38:21 PM
I think it was approval, because how else was she to get rid of Peter effectively without it being obvious? She did approve, even if she might not have wanted that known. But, everyone knew anyway, if they had any experience in Russian court politics. Why would she have found the assasination abhorrent? I would be curious why you think that- it intrigues me. I can't think of any reasons myself, but I like to see alternative points of view. I think she personally could have cared less, and politically very much desired it. But of course, it would have been stupid to have ordered it formally, because that could have come back to haunt her. She knew not to gamble like that, she was always very astute.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 10, 2007, 01:57:11 PM
One thing that particularly interests me regarding this point is the part the Imperial Guards played in many coups regarding the throne.  Bothe Elizabeth AND Catherine came to the throne this way.  Though Catherine indeed harbored the ambition she certainly required the support and loyalty of the guards to get her on the throne.  Whether or not she gave the outright order probably when her stability as Empress was at it's shakiest would have mattered very much in garnering her loyalty from the ordinary Russian people. 

Peter III was very unpopular anyway.  IMO, the Guards untertook this step of assassination to secure Catherine's position and she simply looked the other way.  Notably nobody was punished and many were very well rewarded afterward. 

When it comes to dethroning monarchs, the Guards Regiments are simply tools.  The brains are men like Gregory Orlov and his brothers, who formulate the plan and then wind up the toy soldiers.  It's dangerous, in my opinion, to give them too much credit because it undermines the power of the planners of the revolutions and coups.  But, yes, the Guard Regiments, are important in imperial history for their brute force and impressive effect on the population.  Catherine understood this, which is probably why she did not punish the men.  I personally believe she found the assassination abhorrent but realized that 1) it was necessary, 2) if she looked weak she would be treated as weak which meant her throne would be in danger, and 3) the Guard Regiments would lessen, although not remove, their support putting her in physical danger.  Catherine was playing the game when she rewarded the prison guards, but I caution against seeing it as an act of approval (IMO). 

Indeed.  Catherine well understood the ramifications.  And i do agree that she wasn't exactly approving. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 11, 2007, 07:29:08 PM
I think it was approval, because how else was she to get rid of Peter effectively without it being obvious? She did approve, even if she might not have wanted that known. But, everyone knew anyway, if they had any experience in Russian court politics. Why would she have found the assasination abhorrent? I would be curious why you think that- it intrigues me. I can't think of any reasons myself, but I like to see alternative points of view. I think she personally could have cared less, and politically very much desired it. But of course, it would have been stupid to have ordered it formally, because that could have come back to haunt her. She knew not to gamble like that, she was always very astute.

I am of the opinion that Catherine was still too naive to have ordered the death of Peter.  Also, at the time she was still very idealistic (or, as she would put it, "Enlightened") and I cannot see ordering or approving of a murder as being in harmony with her ideals.  I additionally think, and this is a shaky idea I realize, she was still some what under the sway of Elizabeth.  She saw how Elizabeth managed to hold onto the throne while keeping her rival alive and I do think Catherine may have seen this as her only option.  Catherine also was well versed in history and would have known how bloody but also extremely unstable the Russian throne was prior to her advancement.  While she always believed the Russians needed a firm hand, she was determined to be more docile and fair than her predecessors.  As I have said, the deliberate murder of Peter and subsequent shows of approval are definitely some thing I would expect from the later Catherine but not from young Catherine. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 12, 2007, 10:44:27 AM
Well, I think she may have been undecided, and not exactly known what her options were. She may have entertained the idea of keeping him alive, because I agree she was still under the sway of Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a very powerful figure still in her life, and certainly I can still see that swaying her. I maybe am confusing the later Catherine with the earlier Catherine, because it is easy to confuse her more well known persona with her what was like when young. The truth is, she wasn't sure of much. If you read about what she writes in her memoirs about the time just before she took the throne, ( not sure how long before), she seems to be uncertain of many things. And in Russia, issues with the monarchy like this were also very uncertain, and Catherine knew that.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 15, 2007, 05:03:12 PM
I think it was approval, because how else was she to get rid of Peter effectively without it being obvious? She did approve, even if she might not have wanted that known. But, everyone knew anyway, if they had any experience in Russian court politics. Why would she have found the assasination abhorrent? I would be curious why you think that- it intrigues me. I can't think of any reasons myself, but I like to see alternative points of view. I think she personally could have cared less, and politically very much desired it. But of course, it would have been stupid to have ordered it formally, because that could have come back to haunt her. She knew not to gamble like that, she was always very astute.

I am of the opinion that Catherine was still too naive to have ordered the death of Peter.  Also, at the time she was still very idealistic (or, as she would put it, "Enlightened") and I cannot see ordering or approving of a murder as being in harmony with her ideals.  I additionally think, and this is a shaky idea I realize, she was still some what under the sway of Elizabeth.  She saw how Elizabeth managed to hold onto the throne while keeping her rival alive and I do think Catherine may have seen this as her only option.  Catherine also was well versed in history and would have known how bloody but also extremely unstable the Russian throne was prior to her advancement.  While she always believed the Russians needed a firm hand, she was determined to be more docile and fair than her predecessors.  As I have said, the deliberate murder of Peter and subsequent shows of approval are definitely some thing I would expect from the later Catherine but not from young Catherine. 
Indeed, Catherine had a LOT of time to become well versed and educated in the ways of "bloody Russia".  In my opinion, in the beginning she idealized Elizabeth while mentally making notes of what NOT to do when her time came.  I believe this was a factor in taking her two eldest grandsons much in the way Elizabeth did with Paul.  Both women realized what happened to the poor infant Tsar Ivan and neither women wanted to take the chance that ANY children would be used as a catalyst for yet another coup by their detractors.  Perhaps this being the reason that Peter III's death was necessary, not particularly condoned but certainly Catherine would have realized her throne would never be stable while he was alive.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 16, 2007, 11:38:41 AM
I think that later, when Paul disliked Catherine, and after his mother's death made a great show about reviving the memory of his father, that one of the key factors there is how his father died. He might not have tried to resurrect Peter's memory like that, if Peter had not been murdered. He felt, I believe that Catherine was responsible for it, which wasn't wide of the mark in some sense. He did not like the way his father had died.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 16, 2007, 02:37:21 PM
Absolutely.  Since Catherine and Paul's relationship wasn't that great, it became easier to make a martyr/saint out of the father who was murdered.  Even without Catherine's approval of Peter III's murder, Paul certainly would have wanted to idealize a father who died in such a fashion and furthermore a father he never really knew.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 16, 2007, 02:48:33 PM
Peter after he was overthrown no doubt expected to be killed in some way, in the back of his mind I would think, as that is what happened to most in his sitiuation sooner or later. What is surprising is he didn't take steps to do something about Catherine earlier, because he was quite sick of her, he had an heir, and he wanted to marry his mistress Elizabeth V by all accounts, which he could have done under the existing marriage laws. It would have been easy to just divorce her, and put her in a convent, I would think, or something like that. It was Russia..., although perhaps he knew Catherine was rather shrewd to just be forced into the position he was eventually forced into.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 16, 2007, 03:10:54 PM
In the Erickson book "Great Catherine" there is a quote from someone who basically states that the Tsar was removed from the throne like a child being told to go to bed.  I found this quite in line w/Peter's character.  He never rebelled against Elizabeth.  Even though he was heir to the throne of Sweden as well.  He seemed to be dominated by strong willed women.  Even his mistress.  Quite frankly, i think he was scared to death of Catherine because of her intellect.  After their marriage he came to her often frantically when he had a problem, knowing she would help him out of it, and then declare it as his own idea. 

The book describes him almost as a simpleton as far as politics go.  His reliance on Fredrick of Prussia proved to be one of his many undoings in the eyes of the Russian people.  So he probably knew from experience, that Catherine far exceeded him as a political strategist.  He probably figured by quietly letting the throne pass to her, he would be allowed to leave unimpeded not thinking far enough ahead that in Russian, that simply would never have happened. He seriously misjudged the Absolute rule of the Tsar at that point in time.  I feel the throne was in the hands of the guards.  Catherine knew this and built up many loyalties, carefully planning for what she one day knew was to come.  I think she hoped his death wouldn't be a necessesity, but knew deep down it was going to come down to her or him.

I don't feel he was stupid, just in a situation he never wanted to be in, never had any experience or choice in and in taking it out on Catherine, he did away with would have been his best alliance.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 16, 2007, 05:35:53 PM
Agreed. He didn't realize a lot of things that you could not rule in Russia well in that era without knowing. He would have been much better off in Holstein, where his eccentricities would not have really mattered. I think he certainly was Catherine's enemy at the end ( not in a personal sense, perhaps), but he may never have really been her enemy, he may not have realized how estranged they were. However, it is quite clear that they were not getting along by that time, and really didn't communicate with each other. This could have been partly why Peter did not know what was going on with Catherine. He was convinced now that he was Czar, he could do more as he wished without being under Elizabeth's thumb. But, he didn't realize as a ruler in Russia in that era, you were never really free. He was never aware of who Catherine was, although he was afraid of her intellect indeed. He got along with her when they were younger when she was less savvy, and more on his level, as in when she first arrived in Russia.She played along with him, but if you read Catherine's memoirs, she seems to state even then, though it might only be hindsight, that she was beyond his level, and during the years that came after that, each day she was advancing beyond him. Those were the days when he wasn't scared of her intellect, but it didn't last.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 17, 2007, 02:48:58 PM
Even at the beginning of her relationship, Catherine outclassed Peter intellectually simply because she was a smart woman.  Peter never had a chance to establish the upper hand with her, which he might have done with a simpler woman.  The poor man was driven to misogyny, I do not think he was wired that way, which may help explain his attachment to Frederick the Great - Frederick was the strong, male role model he needed and desperately wanted to be.  His world was controlled by strong females, but in his fantasy life he was a great Emperor and sexual steed.  I also think Peter took advantage of the death of Elizabeth and assumed he was safe simply because he was on the throne.  That, of course, was a delusion.  As was his idea of throwing Catherine into a convent.  Her supporters would never have let that happen, and if Peter had tried the coup (for Catherine) probably would have taken place much sooner than it did.  Catherine had to realize how simple Peter was and how little power he actually had, how little he appealed to the Russian people.  I can't believe, when she took the throne, she perceived Peter as a real threat.  In my opinion, she probably thought imprisonment effective and humane.  For a ruler so focused on Enlightenment and reforming Russia, the last thing Catherine would have wanted was starting out her rule with blood on her hands.  She did not want to be like her predecessors.     
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 17, 2007, 03:32:04 PM
The convent idea was certainly a classic one. It was rather time honored in Russia, but Catherine was no Eudoxia Lupukhina who would let that happen to her, although even she found consolation in the walls of the convent later on. Peter would not have tried it, or maybe he didn't think he needed to. He really didn't know his wife that well, or Russian politics, and that combination was sure to be fatal to him. Catherine was more idealistic in her youth, but still, there was always the split between idealism and practicality in her nature. Peter was not a threat, but in the right hands he might have become one, and Catherine surely knew that.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 21, 2007, 08:09:59 PM
Agreed.  But could Peter have found the support he needed inside of Russia?  Or would he have turned to Prussia to legitimize his claim?  I doubt any Prussian ruler, or any European ruler for that matter, would take the time to put Peter on the throne especially considering the reputation was quickly cultivating.  Perhaps Catherine was banking on this, and realized that even if Peter did run away and attempt to return with a foreign (Prussian) army, all of Russia would be hers simply out of hatred for foreigners.  That said, Catherine considered his lack of influence in Russia and the idiocy of help coming from outside of Russia, and decided Peter was not a sufficient enough threat to warrant murder but was a pain enough to deserve imprisonment.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 22, 2007, 10:24:47 AM
Yes, had Peter attempted to seek the support of the Prussians, he would not have lasted a day in Russia. As out of the loop as he was, he might have tried to do this though. But, he didn't really need foreign help to cause Catherine trouble. In Russia, there were always people who were discontent with the Goverment and liked to make up plots. They could easily have used Peter as the focus of their plot, even if he didn't agree with it, and even if they really didn't want him on the throne just to satisfy what they wanted. It would have been best if he had been shipped off to Germany, but because of the fact he might try to get foreign help, that was never going to happen.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 22, 2007, 10:41:51 AM
Absolutely, it is also said that Frederick the Great expressly refused to meddle in the internal affairs of Russia. He was far to strategically minded to realize that after the coup while Peter was still alive (even wanting Peter III on the throne as a puppet) it would not be in Prussia's best interest to interfere in affairs of state knowing Peter's reputation, he also was quite aware of the loyalty Catherine had built around her.  He was also keenly aware that Peter reign in all possibility might not last and it wouldn't be prudent to make an enemy of Catherine. 

Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 22, 2007, 01:15:27 PM
Peter would have certainly have sought help from Prussia, indeed. But even to Prussia, he looked like he was out there, he was taking things too far in imitating Prussia, and that he wasn't a very astute ruler. Frederick the Great was astute, and he that Peter wasn't. Peter would not have believed that, but it was quite true. Catherine pretty much knew that Peter was a fool, but she certainly didn't want him to fall into the wrong hands. Peter would have taken anyone's help. Catherine no doubt wanted the best solution to the problem of Peter.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 22, 2007, 02:01:20 PM
Indeed.  During the coup and before his assassination, Peter tried to escape to Prussia, which was something anticipated by Catherine and was stopped at Kronstadt.  Even if he had achieved this, it is unlikely Fredrick would have rushed to put an idot on the throne.  He didn't mind Peter's mindless devotion to him, it stroked his huge ego.  But he did realize in the grand scheme of things what an albatross Peter would prove to be.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 22, 2007, 05:00:13 PM
That is true. I think Peter never realized much that went on about him, but pretty much lived in this mindless world, where he did as he wanted to, no matter what. He certainly had some inhibitions when he was under the thumb of Elizabeth, but still he was very unrealistic in what he expected from life, even as a Russian Ruler. In some ways, Peter was victimized, because he was cast in the wrong role, he should have stayed in Germany. The dynasty could not continue without him, even though in the end it was most likely Catherine that sustained the dynasty, through her having an heir that may or may not have been his, and through her reign. Peter did little for the Romanovs, other than play his dynastic role for which he was very unsuited, and be a symbol of continuation to the next generation, although the next generation was a while in coming with regards to his son. As well, the later Romanovs were more influenced by Catherine the Great's reign than anything to do with him.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 22, 2007, 05:08:44 PM
So true.  He certainly would have fared better in Holstein.  I think his contribution, like his son's were his genes. (i am of the believe he WAS Paul's father) so IMO that was his biggest role.  As the father of the next Romanov.  Remember, at that time there were very few left. Before Paul had his big family, the dynast almost died out.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 22, 2007, 05:23:25 PM
That is true about the dynasty. Without Peter, the dynasty could not have continued at the very least in a symbolic way. He had to be there as the official parent anyway of the heir. I have read divided opinions on who his father was, and I don't think I will ever be sure. But, Peter was an a key player in the life of his son, and influenced him, because Paul was so devoted to his memory. Peter is a sad figure.. in a later age, and in a country other than Russia, he might have gotten what he deserved, which was most likely not be a ruler at all, maybe to have a career in the army. But in Germany, he might have fared quite well. Catherine, on the other hand was from Germany, with no Russian blood, but she understood Russia better than him. He was half Russian, but didn't have much of Peter the Great in him.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ilyala on January 23, 2007, 06:01:07 AM
i'm not sure peter would have been a good army commander. he didn't seem to have the skills to create enough authority...
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 23, 2007, 06:37:57 AM
No Peter, no Catherine.  But then again I think any woman short of a simpleton could have taken the throne from Peter and been a successful regent...

As Imperial Angel pointed out, there were malcontents in Russia at the time who lived for making trouble for the government and ultimately for the Tsar(ina).  But I cannot see them being successul in raising a coup for Peter, much less a successful coup.  I look at the rise of the fake Peter later in Catherine's reign and how she managed to quash that uprising.  At the time of the fake Peter, she was, yes, an established monarch but she was also increasingly unpopular and grumbled against.  At the beginning of her reign, she was riding high on a wave of popularity, approval and military support as well as having the national hatred of Peter in her corner.  I cannot see her failing to quash any trouble from Peter or the malcontents at the early point in her reign. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 23, 2007, 11:16:28 AM
Indeed, she would certainly have been able to get rid of any attempted uprising. She knew that, but she most likely didn't want to take the risk that there would be any uprising. She took that risk if she let Peter live, and certainly if she sent him abroad. I think uprisings in Russia were more of a risk than abroad, because abroad they might be able to assess him, and know it wasn't worth it, but in Russia, there were people who would just have used him as a figurehead for whatever.

Catherine certainly knew she had the support of everyone against Peter, I think at all points of her reign. As well, if she had let Peter live, there might have have come a time when Paul would have possibly tried to get Peter out of prison and conspire against her. With the support of Paul, such things might have succeeded, because he was the legitimate heir. She might have seen that somewhere down the road, although she didn't know how much her son was going to become influenced by the father he never knew. Of course, if Peter had lived in imprisonment, he might have been harder for Paul to idealize him.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 23, 2007, 11:46:58 AM
. As well, if she had let Peter live, there might have have come a time when Paul would have possibly tried to get Peter out of prison and conspire against her. With the support of Paul, such things might have succeeded, because he was the legitimate heir. She might have seen that somewhere down the road, although she didn't know how much her son was going to become influenced by the father he never knew. Of course, if Peter had lived in imprisonment, he might have been harder for Paul to idealize him.
More than likely it would have only been one more reason to absolute abhorr his mother.  And no doubt, Peter would have been freed upon the death of Catherine by Paul.  Paul would not have any contact w/the imprisoned Peter just as nobody was allowed contact w/poor Ivan.  Therefore Paul would have idealized the only parent whom he couldn't get close enough to learn that this parent was just as bad as Catherine. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 23, 2007, 11:54:08 AM
Very true. Paul would indeed have had no contact with him, although perhaps after he became Czar, his idealization would have vanished a bit. If Peter had lived, then Paul would have had to reign in his shadow, although I suppose Paul would still have been Czar, because the country would most likely not have accepted Peter again. Paul would certainly have rehabilitated his father's memory though, as he in fact did when he came to the throne, only it was his dead father's memory, and no one cared. I think they might have cared more, negatively or positively if he had been living.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 23, 2007, 12:27:31 PM
Very true. Paul would indeed have had no contact with him, although perhaps after he became Czar, his idealization would have vanished a bit. If Peter had lived, then Paul would have had to reign in his shadow, although I suppose Paul would still have been Czar, because the country would most likely not have accepted Peter again. Paul would certainly have rehabilitated his father's memory though, as he in fact did when he came to the throne, only it was his dead father's memory, and no one cared. I think they might have cared more, negatively or positively if he had been living.
Most definitely, after being a political prisoner, no doubt Peter III would possibly have had followers left that were loyal to him, but more than likely it would have been to Paul's disadvantage to release Peter or rehabilitate him as his own popularity waned even before he took the throne.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 23, 2007, 04:42:40 PM
That's true. I think it would most definitely been to his disadvantage. He would have been forced to make a tough choice, and this makes me wonder if he would have idealized his father that much if he had had to deal with the practical realities of his father. He was free to idealize him as long as he was imprisoned, or as long as he was dead. But, face to face with his living father who might be a challenge to him, and a problem, idealism might have vanished. I think though, that Catherine never looked that far down the road.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 23, 2007, 05:14:30 PM
That's true. I think it would most definitely been to his disadvantage. He would have been forced to make a tough choice, and this makes me wonder if he would have idealized his father that much if he had had to deal with the practical realities of his father. He was free to idealize him as long as he was imprisoned, or as long as he was dead. But, face to face with his living father who might be a challenge to him, and a problem, idealism might have vanished. I think though, that Catherine never looked that far down the road.
Yes. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for her, that decision was made for her.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 23, 2007, 05:39:59 PM
She may have had more revenge on them if she had. If she had allowed Peter to live, or I should say circumstances had allowed Peter to live, then  she would have had to watch her back more. She certainly didn't want that, as she already had enough worries just as she came to the throne. But had Peter been allowed to live, Paul and Peter both might had to deal with some realities they might not have liked, in my opinion. That might have been better revenge than anything else, although not practical. Catherine always liked the most practical solutions to problems.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Tsarina_Liz on January 23, 2007, 07:53:31 PM
Catherine (possibly) could not order the murder of Peter.  Suppose Paul had decided, later in her reign when her popularity was waning, to stage his own coup.  Do you think she would have had the ability to treat her son like she (purportedly) treated Peter in order to both preserve her throne and keep the dangerous idiot from power?  I know the idea's out there, but I can't quite come up with an answer on my own.  I think she would have done anything to remove Paul and his threat, but at the same time I cannot see her destroying her own blood (given how important legacy and not DNA was to Catherine and, initially Elizabeth).
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 24, 2007, 09:43:31 AM
I also find it incomprehensible that Catherine would have had her own son killed. But also it's hard to apply values we have today to a woman who ruled 1/6th of the globe in the 18th century.  From this vantage point it certainly would seem abhorrent to us. 
But at a certain point, Catherine did become quite paranoid about keeping her throne and about the possibility of a coup by Paul. So since he already provided many more Romanovs to carry on the line, perhaps he was no longer of use, just as she once found herself in that situation.  I agree with you though and also  can't quite decide on my own if she would have gone so far as to have her own son treated the same way that Peter III was dispatched.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 24, 2007, 10:29:23 AM
I'm not sure. She certainly wished to keep her throne, and in addition, she clearly stated, although not in words her intentions for the future of the dynasty. She knew the throne had to pass to Paul, but it is clear that she wasn't in favor of it. She merely accepted it for what had to be. She was grooming her grandsons to really play the most important roles of the new dynasty. She clearly wanted Alexander to succeed her, but she realized that could never be, or at least it was unlikely. She might have known Paul would not last long when he ascended the throne though.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: James1941 on January 26, 2007, 06:21:19 PM
If Catherine had wanted to get rid of Paul so that Alexander would be the heir, there were plenty of ways to do it besides outright murder. In an age where medicine was medieval and disease carried away people by the scores, it would have been easy to slowly poison Paul and make it look like a wasting sickness. It had been done before. Of course, everyone would have suspected poison but they counldn't prove it unless she would have been so foolish as to let an autospsy be performed. And as many here have said, she wasn't foolish.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 28, 2007, 07:54:02 PM
I agree with that. But, I don't think she would have tried to remove him. She could control Paul well enough so that she didn't need to do him in, although she might have worried what the country would be like after her death. She had more issues with his father, whom she didn't poison, which she could have done, if she had wished to be more sophisticated. That is most likely the best evidence that she did not directly order Peter killed, because if she did, would she not do it in a more sophisticated way than it was done? Her son she no doubt had little affection for towards the end of her reign, but she did have the future of the country secure with her grandsons, and maybe she counted in them to do something if Paul was too much trouble, after her death.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 30, 2007, 05:35:35 PM
Indeed. Though there WERE rumours flying even to Paul's own ears of his mother's intentions to kill him, I feel Catherine was much smarter than that. I feel she didn't think his death as necessary as Peter's and she was noted for finding unnecessary execution distateful.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 30, 2007, 06:28:58 PM
Yes, both officially, and unofficially she did find execution not something she wanted. Was it not Empress Elizabeth who abolished the formal death penalty in Russia? At least, I thought she did.But, Catherine like to look enlightened, not like some Russian despot. She didn't want the monarchs she liked to look enlightened to in the western world to think she would order the execution of her husband, to make way for her to have the throne. Nor did she want the world to speculate about the mysterious death of her son and heir, which would have aroused quite a bit of attention, because he was the heir, and she was widely known. Her husband people already knew was a fool, and he had worn out his welcome, so people were less inclined to pay attention to his mysterious death. I think she might not have done anything to her son because she knew how his ''mysterious'' death would look.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 31, 2007, 10:36:32 AM
Yes, both officially, and unofficially she did find execution not something she wanted. Was it not Empress Elizabeth who abolished the formal death penalty in Russia? At least, I thought she did.But, Catherine like to look enlightened, not like some Russian despot. She didn't want the monarchs she liked to look enlightened to in the western world to think she would order the execution of her husband, to make way for her to have the throne. Nor did she want the world to speculate about the mysterious death of her son and heir, which would have aroused quite a bit of attention, because he was the heir, and she was widely known. Her husband people already knew was a fool, and he had worn out his welcome, so people were less inclined to pay attention to his mysterious death. I think she might not have done anything to her son because she knew how his ''mysterious'' death would look.
Indeed.  Empress Elizabeth was an autocrat but not a tyrant and Catherine DID learn from her while taking in her own education on an how an "enlightented" society should be.  And two deaths under her reign certainly would prove to the world that Russia was just as barbaric as ever.  Peter III was suspected to be Catherine's wishes but never proved and she certainly never got her hands dirty.  But Paul was a whole other story.  At one point her throne wasn't stable as it became and she knew she needed Paul as much as ever.  But besides politically needing him, I don't feel she thought killing him would solve anything.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 31, 2007, 01:09:45 PM
Yes, I agree. If she had truly thought his death would solve anything, then she might have been able to find some way to get rid of him. It would have been a risk to take, but even so, she was a person who was astute enough to know when to take a risk, and when not to, and she knew not to. She had Paul under her thumb to some extent, and beyond that she wasn't a weak monarch of the type you might be able to overthrow, which surely anyone who might have been tempted to support Paul against his mother would have known.I don't think Paul ever had much support before his reign or after.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 31, 2007, 01:56:52 PM
Yes, I agree. If she had truly thought his death would solve anything, then she might have been able to find some way to get rid of him. It would have been a risk to take, but even so, she was a person who was astute enough to know when to take a risk, and when not to, and she knew not to. She had Paul under her thumb to some extent, and beyond that she wasn't a weak monarch of the type you might be able to overthrow, which surely anyone who might have been tempted to support Paul against his mother would have known.I don't think Paul ever had much support before his reign or after.
Paul did have a small following, especially immediately after Peter III's death.  They had hoped he would "undo" some of Peter's "reforms" especially concerning religious matters.  Catherine knew this would be a problem.  And upon Catherine's coronation, he was well received by many of the crowd.  As well, some Russians felt they wanted a blood Romanov on the throne and not a German princess, which was why Catherine really did need Paul in the beginning.  Then as her reign became more secure, she simply found things to keep him busy and out of the way.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 31, 2007, 02:17:10 PM
Yes, I can see that, as he was the legitimate heir. They knew nothing of his personal qualities, and only of the place he held within the dynasty, as the one person with Romanov blood in his veins to carry on the dynasty, much as his father had once been. He was also more astute than his father, he didn't give the impression of being such a fool, and that was important if you wanted support. Catherine did try to keep him the background you are right, she just wanted him to support her reign,while he must have been okay with waiting.Maybe he knew it was dangerious to alienate his mother, as well. Peter was extremely complex in some ways, simple in others, and Paul was as well.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on January 31, 2007, 05:24:25 PM
Absolutely. Which is why I always lean towards Paul being the biological son of Peter III.  There were more shared qualities than differences.  But he wasn't the weakling that Peter was made out to be.  Catherine knew this and probably kept him in the background for this reason.  No interference.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on January 31, 2007, 07:08:15 PM
Indeed, Catherine knew what she could just keep him in the background, and encourage him to have heirs, and encourage him to to play the role for which she most likely thought he was most fit, as simply the gateway to the future of the Romanov dynasty. Catherine really never had to worry about Paul as she did about Peter, I suppose. If she had, she would have done what she needed to do. I think Paul was always a bit afraid of her as well, I think he he knew what his mother represented, and that perhaps he feared the fate of his father.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 01, 2007, 09:34:44 AM
I agree.  He hated her, but his fear of her kept him "in line" and Catherine knew this and used this.  When he did become bolder, she simply would send him and his wife out of Russia on some unimportant visit or journey just to keep him away from affairs of state. 

With Peter it was different, she had endured YEARS of abuse from this seriously fractured personality of a man.  By the time the coup was made, she had just about HAD it with him.  Whether or not she ordered his death, she certainly didn't miss him.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 11:11:01 AM
Yes, Catherine did have to endure more than was humanly called for by Peter. You can't really blame her for doing what she did, not that anyone did, except her son in later years. He wasn't very informed and was naive about the events of so many years before. You have to wonder how well informed on these events he really was. Perhaps his judgment would have been different if he had known the facts? As for Peter, Catherine did get the throne of Russia out of her marriage to him, but putting up with him for years of a marriage from hell that she tried to make work at first, for dynastic reasons if nothing else, was a heavy price to pay. She was merely a dynastic trophy married to him, and stuck with it. He was a victim in some ways, but she certainly was as well.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 01, 2007, 03:42:12 PM
I so agree that they both were victims.  Two young malleable teenagers to put on the mighty Russian throne as puppets for Emperer Frederick of Prussia, or so he thought.  What he got was a seriously mentally fractured boy who never matured and a very astute young woman who got the last laugh. ;)
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 01, 2007, 07:34:59 PM
Yes, and I think Empress Elizabeth realized who in the end might come out on top. She regreted choosing Peter as heir, I have read, but she didn't have much choice. She wasn't half as astute as Cathetine later on, but maybe she wanted Peter married to someone who would dominate him. Yet, she may not have known that fact of Catherine's personality when she first came to Russia. She wanted  her partly because she was related to her long dead fiance and because she was a suitable German princess. Peter seemed to get worse as he got older, or maybe that just made his immaturity all the more apparent. Or, possibly Catherine's growing astuteness just cast him in an even worse light.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 09:53:07 AM
Yes, and I think Empress Elizabeth realized who in the end might come out on top. She regreted choosing Peter as heir, I have read, but she didn't have much choice. She wasn't half as astute as Cathetine later on, but maybe she wanted Peter married to someone who would dominate him. Yet, she may not have known that fact of Catherine's personality when she first came to Russia. She wanted  her partly because she was related to her long dead fiance and because she was a suitable German princess. Peter seemed to get worse as he got older, or maybe that just made his immaturity all the more apparent. Or, possibly Catherine's growing astuteness just cast him in an even worse light.
I think Empress Elizabeth regretted her decision only later.  And no she wasn't half as smart as Catherine.  But she did have political saavy.  Something Catherine absorbed totally and built upon in her own reign later.  I think that Catherine was chosen because as you pointed out she was a neice of the dead fiance, suitable for marriage and in addition she and Peter were related and had already known each other, played together as children.  As Catherine grew up, Peter did not.  Peter's health had alot to do with his mental state.  Already frail, the smallpox episode possibly left him a little mad.  And as he aged his mental imbalance became worse.  But many situations sent him running straight to Catherine for advice.  The Empress knew who the brains really were and in the beginning felt threatened.  Which is why she probably took Paul.  So Catherine or anybody else would use him as a pawn or worse (llike poor infant Ivan).  But later, as she was more and more besotted by Peter, she admitted that her neice was truly an asset and her nephew was a moron.  She probably felt more secure in believing w/Catherine at his side, Peter might make a change for the better once he ascended the throne.  She could be very childlike and have childlike notions in spite of her popularity and political astuteness.  She was noted for wanting and getting her way all the time and if not having big temper tantrums. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 02, 2007, 02:06:20 PM
Yes, even in Catherine's opinion, I believe she and Peter could sympathize with each other a bit at first. They were both from Germany, and were in a foreign land where they were expected to please the dominating Empress, and they were cousins and all. They both felt a bit lost and were very young. But, after that small pox episode, that is when any hopes of a marriage that would be any good, or even a friendship like before went. I believe Catherine was quite surprised when she saw him after this how much he had changed. He had changed physically and mentally, but it was the mental change that really stayed.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 02, 2007, 02:25:57 PM
Yes. Catherine even admitted that the scars on his face didn't bother he.  Just his volatile temper and mental imbalance.  As well as his abusiveness towards her.  According to her memoirs she endured much physical abuse from him throughout most of the marriage especially when they were locked up until they produced an heir.  He blamed her and took it out on her that he was forced into that situation. He became very physical.  Obviously, their friendship ended and there really never was any physical attraction ever.  It was for this reason, later in her life Catherine did much for women who were in abusive relationships.  One account, she helped her daughter in law's sister? I believe to escape from her marriage w/her children and gave her help and asylum in Russia in rememberance of her own horrible marriage.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 11:02:54 AM
Yes, Catherine did do that. She was a compassionate person, and tried to be in Russia such a ruler, but her youthful idealism went early. I suppose it had to. For Peter III's mysterious death, she wasn't seen well in foreign courts. I suppose this was partly because she had had no time to prove herself, and she must have looked bad because she had no wise and enlightened reputation to fall back on at the time. But, it looked bad anyway. Rulers of foreign courts were not aware of all she had endured in her marriage to him, more than most dynastic marriages. I suppose they might not have cared. I think, because of the way he treated her, she must have additionally not cared about the way he died. Who could blame her?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 11:31:27 AM
Certainly in the beginning, Catherine was held accountable by most foreign courts.  However later in her life after ruling Russia for many years, the aging Catherine and old Frederick the Great forged an unsual relationship - an alliance of sorts.  Peter's old idol.
This is surely a testament to Catherine's diplomacy.  Something Frederick (and other ruling houses) must have realized never could have been under Peter. 

I don't believe anybody knew what she had endured until her memoirs were made public.  But you are right, in the beginning many did not care. She was young, a woman. Women had endured worse at the hands of husbands back then.  Plus she was a woman who gained the Russian throne through murder in their eyes and considered to be an insignificant German princess whose coup probably wouldn't last.

She more than likely was more concerned with how Peter's death was perceived by the Russian people first and then foreign leaders.  Which is why imo, she cared in a political capacity that he died (though she wasn't sorry), but wasn't concerned with the dynamics of it.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 05, 2007, 01:03:34 PM
Well, she had more to lose in Russia in regards to the way his death was percieved, mainly the throne. She would have cared more because of that. She must have known foreign rulers would only look on the manner of his death as typically Russian. As well, she might have known she could prove herself in time, as she did, and no one was going to remember her husband. Turns out, they did, but not as much as her. Her marriage did teach her quite a bit, although it was a hard school to learn in.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 05, 2007, 02:21:25 PM
Absolutely.  Very hard to say the least.  But imo Catherine the Great wouldn't have become the great educated enlightend ruler that she was known for, had she not had the opportunity to prepare and educate herself during those long lonely years of isolation under Elizabeth's thumb.  In that case, what she had to endure was the price she paid for what she was able to glean and take away from her experience to turn it into something positive.  After all, she was ambitious and knew she would have to be prepared even if Peter III HAD been a competent ruler, Catherine was determined to rule at his side.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 12:39:48 PM
Yes, she wanted to be an involved consort, not just one that had children and amused herself on the side, if she could. She just didn't want to stick with dynastic duties, even if she had been in a position to. Peter III certainly knew that Catherine was not just content with that in some ways, although in other ways he was clueless. He would have most likely done something about her even if she just wanted to remain quietly in the background. But, she acted first.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 01:55:15 PM
Peter III was clueless in a lot of ways.  In others he was just dimwitted, imo.  He was smart enough at least in the beginning to realize his intellectual limitations and ran to Catherine quite a bit for advice and support.  Even though he would turn it around later and make the advice seem like his own idea.  Which makes him every bit the bully and brute Catherine perceived that he was. 

After Elizabeth's death however things had changed quite a bit, and I think you put it so well. He absolutely WOULD have done something about her had she not had the opportunity and foresight to act as she did.  He waited until Elizabeth died to even begin his open campaign against her which speaks volumes.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 02:11:50 PM
When they were young, and first married, Elizabeth was certainly the greatest force in their lives. This pretty much continued throughout all the years of their marriage. Perhaps without the pressure she put on them to get along, and especially to have a heir, their marriage might have worked better. Yet, still Peter was clueless and not all there, while Catherine was more intelligent than many women before or since in her position.

As soon as Elizabeth was gone, Peter and Catherine both took control of their own destinies, which fitted because they were such different people. In the end, I feel that Elizabeth would have been okay with what Catherine did, yet during her lifetime appearances of who was heir, and everything had to kept up, with little way of saying Catherine really was much more suited to rule Russian than Peter. Maybe in the back of her mind, it would not have surprised Elizabeth, what actually happened.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 02:26:03 PM
In the end, I don't think it would have surprised Elizabeth at ALL.  She had already observed the sharp intellegence and saavy of her neice as well as calling Peter an absolute moron.

Catherine most certainly took control of her own destiny.  In some ways even before Elizabeth died.  But more importantly, though Peter did what he wanted as the new Tsar, there were forces behind him always controlling him yet making him think things were going as HE wanted them to. So in reality, he was never in control of his own destiny.  Pathetically, from the time of his birth the boy was a pawn on chessboard.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 02:37:52 PM
I have always thought even Peter's inexcusable actions in his marriage to Catherine have to be placed in the context of the fact he was forced to live a life as heir to the Russian throne for which he was not suited, and that he was very unhappy with. His mother died when he was young, and his father was not a positive figure in his life. Then again, Catherine was also forced into a position as his wife for which she was not suited to deal with, in terms of handling Peter. If he married at all, it should have been to a woman like Elizabeth V,later his mistress, who was much like him. Catherine was much more refined, and the marriage was a torment, but she made it out of the circumstances, whereas Peter just screwed up more and more in ever getting anywhere with his life. Circumstances used Peter, whereas Catherine used circumstances.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 02:50:05 PM
Circumstances used Peter, whereas Catherine used circumstances.
Well put!!!! ;)
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 07, 2007, 03:25:19 PM
In the end, I don't think it would have surprised Elizabeth at ALL.  She had already observed the sharp intellegence and saavy of her neice as well as calling Peter an absolute moron.

Catherine most certainly took control of her own destiny.  In some ways even before Elizabeth died.  But more importantly, though Peter did what he wanted as the new Tsar, there were forces behind him always controlling him yet making him think things were going as HE wanted them to. So in reality, he was never in control of his own destiny.  Pathetically, from the time of his birth the boy was a pawn on chessboard.

Indeed, it is what Elizabeth may have wanted, yet never felt she could make happen, she may have just not cared at the very end, because her life was obviously coming to it's close rather rapidly, she was so much in decline. She may have just thought to leave the problems of the future to the next generation. But, in the years before that, she would have even wanted it, that Catherine be more in charge than Peter. Peter the Great in Elizabeth's place might have wanted the throne passed to Catherine, if only as regent for Paul, but Elizabeth was not so assertive, or shrewd. Anyway, was the law about the monarch choosing their successor even in place then?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on February 07, 2007, 03:37:25 PM
Indeed, it is what Elizabeth may have wanted, yet never felt she could make happen, she may have just not cared at the very end, because her life was obviously coming to it's close rather rapidly, she was so much in decline. She may have just thought to leave the problems of the future to the next generation. But, in the years before that, she would have even wanted it, that Catherine be more in charge than Peter. Peter the Great in Elizabeth's place might have wanted the throne passed to Catherine, if only as regent for Paul, but Elizabeth was not so assertive, or shrewd. Anyway, was the law about the monarch choosing their successor even in place then?

The law of succession by birth began with Paul (Pauline Law) so I am assuming that the Monarch chose their own successor until Paul.  In essence that was why the throne was always unstable upon the death of the Monarch and how Elizabeth was able to achieve her coup.  In addition to keeping the descendants of Peter's half brother Ivan prisoner, she also chose to bring Peter III to Russia as the legitimate (??) heir of her sister Anna.  And grandson of Peter the Great.  And as far as Peter I goes, he truly loved his offspring from his second wife Catherine I.  So I would imagine he would have chosen the same if given the opportunity and Peter III may have been raised differently because of it.  But in true Russian fickleness, he COULD have done the exact opposite.  After all, he did have his own son killed for less.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 09, 2007, 01:09:43 PM
Yes, the fact of his son certainly points to how he regarded the succession. Elizabeth in contrast was more comfortable with the status quo, although she herself didn't come to the throne by strictly natural means, which supports the theory that she might have wanted what was best for Russia, and not just dynastically correct. Peter was sadly not suited by personality or upbringing to fulfill his dynastic obligations besides continuing the dynasty, by the birth of his son, so Catherine stepped in, although who knows what might have happened had he had a weaker wife. Things would have been worse.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: James1941 on February 09, 2007, 04:18:49 PM
Peter III is a perfect example of the dangers of hereditary monarchy. You are stuck with the character and physical attributes of the legal heir, no matter what they may be. Russia would have been better served if the reigning monarch could choose his heir, and even better if there was a consultative body (a Senate or whatever composed of the wisest men in the empire) to advise him/her on who to choose. And Paul restricted the gene pool even further by instituting the agnatic rule.
Or have a consitutional monarchy in which it really doesn't matter what the heir or the sovereign is like as they have no power to do much of anything. Bavaria is a perfect example. Otto, Ludwig II's successor and brother, was mad as a march hare, yet ruled until 1913 as king, some twenty odd years.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ilyala on February 11, 2007, 02:06:49 AM
Peter III is a perfect example of the dangers of hereditary monarchy. You are stuck with the character and physical attributes of the legal heir, no matter what they may be. Russia would have been better served if the reigning monarch could choose his heir, and even better if there was a consultative body (a Senate or whatever composed of the wisest men in the empire) to advise him/her on who to choose. And Paul restricted the gene pool even further by instituting the agnatic rule.
Or have a consitutional monarchy in which it really doesn't matter what the heir or the sovereign is like as they have no power to do much of anything. Bavaria is a perfect example. Otto, Ludwig II's successor and brother, was mad as a march hare, yet ruled until 1913 as king, some twenty odd years.

but the monarch could choose his heir. elizabeth chose peter. not a good choice, but a choice.

in those times, a monarch chose his successor: that's why we had catherine 1st, a lithuanian peasant turned into a reigning monarch and not peter 2nd right after peter the great's death. that's why we had ivan 6th succeed ana as tsar, when his mother had a better right.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on February 12, 2007, 10:50:40 AM
Peter III is a perfect example of the dangers of hereditary monarchy. You are stuck with the character and physical attributes of the legal heir, no matter what they may be. Russia would have been better served if the reigning monarch could choose his heir, and even better if there was a consultative body (a Senate or whatever composed of the wisest men in the empire) to advise him/her on who to choose. And Paul restricted the gene pool even further by instituting the agnatic rule.
Or have a consitutional monarchy in which it really doesn't matter what the heir or the sovereign is like as they have no power to do much of anything. Bavaria is a perfect example. Otto, Ludwig II's successor and brother, was mad as a march hare, yet ruled until 1913 as king, some twenty odd years.


 Yes, hereditary monarchy led to Peter III, yet it also led to Catherine the Great. Yet, I suppose that could have happened only in Russia, because in most countries, Catherine could not have gained the throne because the principle of hereditary monarchy would have been more strictly enforced than in Russia. It wasn't even strictly hereditary in Russia, after Peter the Great, in a straight line, because the throne went from one royal relative to another, albeit they were royal, by blood or marriage. That is hereditary monarchy, but not strictly. I suppose Peter was the only choice available to Elizabeth, because the alternative was worse, that is Ivan VI, etc.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ivanushka on March 20, 2007, 08:52:44 PM
Shortly before he was himself deposed, Peter III met the deposed Emperor Ivan VI at the Schlusselburg fortress.  I saw a painting of this meeting once, but have no idea who the artist was.  Does anyone have any idea?

I have to say that Ivan VI must have had about the worst life of any monarch in history!  He became Emperor at the age of 2 months, was deposed at the age of 16 months, was separated from his parents and siblings at the age of 4 and spent the remaining twenty years of his life in solitary confinement before being stabbed to death by his guards to prevent a rescue attempt! 

It must be one of the great question marks of Russian history as to what would have happened if the Empress Elizabeth had not deposed him and he had been allowed to grow up and rule.  For a start there would have been no Catherine the Great.  Perhaps the revolution would have come much earlier, or, if change in government had happened earlier, perhaps no revolution at all.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: scarlett_riviera on March 21, 2007, 05:21:43 AM
Ack, I agree. I can't believe they just let him waste away in a fortress, as though he weren't a human being! As for the painting, I haven't seen it. The only Ivan VI painting I saw was the one depicting his death and Mirovich's failed rescue attempt. Does anyone else have more info of him? According to this link: http://www.xs4all.nl/~kvenjb/madmonarchs/ivan6/ivan6_bio.htm (http://www.xs4all.nl/~kvenjb/madmonarchs/ivan6/ivan6_bio.htm), First, Ivan was imprisoned in Siberia, but later he was placed under strong guard in an isolated casemate of the island fortress Schl�sselburg in the Newa River. In this confinement, separated from his family, Ivan experienced neither sunlight nor conversation. He was dressed in rags and often hungry, and his wardens, escaping their boredom in drinking bouts, often ill-treated him. He never matured emotionally or mentally.
By 1762, when Peter III (1728-1762), Elizabeth's unsuitable successor, visited him, Ivan had become - likely through psychosocial deprivation - an idiot, a human vegetable. Peter III interviewed Ivan, possibly with the objective of naming him as his heir. The visit, however, showed that the pretender was in no shape for such a role. Ivan confided to Peter that he was not really Ivan, the man who had once been Tsar of Russia, but another man, an imposter; the real Ivan had been in heaven for years. Then Peter III sadistically ordered that if Ivan misbehaved by calling himself a Prince or angered his wardens, he was to be put in chains and beaten.


But according to Wikipedia, Peter III was sympathetic towards Ivan, and that Ivan was taught and able to read the Bible. Can anyone clear this up?
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Yseult on March 21, 2007, 07:00:37 AM
As far as I know, though instructions had been given to mantain the "nameless one" ignorant, he was taught to read and he was able to read the Bible. Not only Peter III wished to meet Ivan: empress Catherine II also went to the fortress to see the young who had courage enough to call himself "godusar". If I´m not wrong, Gina Knaus, in her bio on Catherine, states that Ivan was not an idiot or a insane man, althought the long years of seclusion had disturbed his equilibrium. Gina Knaus believed that if Catherine had found a fool and a mad man, she would be practical enough to release a poor man who never could have been a serious rival for the throne.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on March 23, 2007, 12:27:04 PM
He was always a reminder of a past that once was, but never had much of a chance to be. He was dethroned as an infant, and grew up in conditions that no doubt later rendered him unable ever to rule Russia or fit into normal life. He was very naive about the world, and things he would have known about had he grown up as other Romanovs did. He wasn't insane or an idiot, agreed, but he  didn't act as he would have had he grown up differently. I think whatever current ruler there was liked to see him just to see the relic of a bygone age, and no doubt to test if he truly was a challenge to their throne. Sometimes they may have had ideas about the succession as well, if they didn't like who was in line for the throne next. Peter III most likely did this, and perhaps others.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Vasaborg on September 27, 2007, 09:24:16 AM
Are there any portraits of Sergie Saltykov in existance? I would love to see if there is a resemblance between Peter III and him!
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: imperial angel on September 27, 2007, 10:06:14 AM
I believe that I have a seen a few in various biographies of Catherine the Great, or books about the Romanovs ( I've read too many!). I can't remember which ones though. I hope somebody who can will post a portrait for you to see. Based on what I've read and seen, it is my opinion that there is little resemblence. He actually seems to resemble his alleged father Peter III, more. But, who knows? I will see if I can locate any portraits of Sergei Saltykov to post or direct you to.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Vasaborg on September 27, 2007, 01:03:05 PM
Thank you so much, any help i would be very grateful for, i read in a historical novel that Peter III had a uncle named George, did you ever hear of this person? I have looked for information on him but could not find any.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: lori_c on September 27, 2007, 01:11:15 PM
Are there any portraits of Sergie Saltykov in existance? I would love to see if there is a resemblance between Peter III and him!

There is one in a biography of Catherine the Great called Great Catherine.  I am not sure of the Author - but that is the name of the book. Hope it helps a little. 

BTW,  Saltykov and Paul look  nothing alike if you judge from the portrait of Saltykov in that book.  But Peter and Paul have strong resemblance.
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: ivanushka on September 27, 2007, 01:17:32 PM
Thank you so much, any help i would be very grateful for, i read in a historical novel that Peter III had a uncle named George, did you ever hear of this person? I have looked for information on him but could not find any.

Yes, that uncle did exist.  He was actually more of second cousin to Peter, being the younger brother of Catherine the Great's mother, Johanna.  In fact, at one point, just before Catherine left for Russia, he was in love with her and wanted her to marry him!
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Vasaborg on September 27, 2007, 04:38:52 PM
Thanks everyone for all the information! you have really helped a lot!
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: victoriakin on December 29, 2009, 12:14:49 PM
In addition to abolishing the mandatory service of the gentry, Peter III made (or prepared to make) another changes:
- Abolished the fearsome Secret Chancery (re-established by Catherine II as the Secret Expedition);
- Declared the freedom of religion (revoked by Catherine);
- Ordered the persecutions of Old Believers to be stopped (resumed by Catherine);
- Freed the monastery-owned serfs;
- Permitted the gentry to travel abroad freely (canceled by Catherine);
- Introduced the publicity of court proceedings (canceled by Catherine);
- Ordered military and civil officials to be rewarded with orders and ranks only, but not with serfs (resumed by Catherine immediately upon the coup); and more.

No wonder that the coup was actually greeted by a few outside the circle of Guards officers headed by the Orlov brothers. It also explains why the Pugachev revolt (under the Peter III's banner) was so widely supported.

Readings that I have done concerning Peter III seem to give me the historical impression that he was, albeit not seen at the time, the first true egalitarian ruler of the modern eras, being quite liberal and wishing to see humanity served and honored amongst his people. There is a further study that I have conducted with viewpoints of contexts between Elizabeth who ruled prior to him, and her own entanglements of powers. In truth, the family that got mixed up with Czarena Catherine II, were the same who had enjoyed great priviledges and powers under Elizabeth, entirely unchecked, in fact. I researched, and discovered that it seems that likely the "coup-de'tat" was a savage betrayal with a financial purpose. The makers of the coins of the treasury had stripped the coins only half way and reminted existing with half the measure of silver, and pocketed the rest. Peter III was in their way. One such coin is held in the Yale University Library. I also do believe that all of Catherine II's children were born from him, and that the lies of his and hers not getting along are likewise a fiction enough to cover up the crimes. Of course, this is my own opinion after studying with a view of orientation, that Peter III was not as the books have painted him. I looked at the changes that he made and attempted to make. I further look upon the later alienation of the original criminals when she created the first set of codified laws of Russia. I perceived she to be of like mind with Peter III, rather than disconnected from his. History is a server of men who have tongues to wag it.

Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: CountessKate on December 30, 2009, 09:22:26 AM
Quote
Are there any portraits of Sergie Saltykov in existance? I would love to see if there is a resemblance between Peter III and him!

I've only ever seen one portrait reproduced, and only in black and white:

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://cache1.asset-cache.net/xc/2546256.jpg%3Fv%3D1%26c%3DIWSAsset%26k%3D2%26d%3D73036028D096E2AD0FE57FDFE02633BD&imgrefurl=http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/2546256/Hulton-Archive&h=594&w=481&sz=74&tbnid=ttpI4x8Z6FwIbM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=109&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dportrait%2Bof%2Bsergei%2Bsaltykov%2Blover%2Bof%2Bcatherine%2Bthe%2Bgreat&hl=en&usg=__FdljZRt_S-scql9402PMiULQNHQ=&ei=P2Y7S_PtPIb60wSEyuj0Aw&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=1&ct=image&ved=0CAsQ9QEwAA

I wouldn't actually say Paul looked like either Peter III or Sergei Saltykov very much, though around the eyes he had a strong look of Catherine. 
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: Ausmanov on November 13, 2013, 12:56:47 AM
WOW, is this an interesting thread, I plan to try and write a book on Peter III, I cant wait to read more
Title: Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
Post by: agordon2000 on December 15, 2013, 03:34:19 PM
There is an existing portrait of Saltykov at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:S.V._Saltykov.jpg .  Catherine the Great was not just attracted to good looking men but was married to Potemkin who was overweight, blind in one eye and never combed his hair. He was intelligent. As for the paternity of her son, she had every reason to state it was not Peter III who she probably had killed but no one knows the truth. She said before the small pox Peter III who she knew in Germany was good looking and bright.