Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Rulers Prior to Nicholas II => Topic started by: ilyala on August 26, 2005, 03:40:27 AM

Title: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: ilyala on August 26, 2005, 03:40:27 AM
she had an interesting life, from servant to courtesan to tsarina, to empress... i thought it would be nice to start a topic on her :)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: grandduchess_42 on September 11, 2005, 07:15:29 PM
pictures of Peter I and Catherine I.

(http://wilnitsky.at/pictures/14223a.jpg)

close ups

(http://wilnitsky.at/pictures/14223b.jpg)
(http://wilnitsky.at/pictures/14223c.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on April 11, 2006, 11:52:50 AM
Certainly, she did. It seems that not many how are interested because no one has ever posted to this. Her husband is famous, and so is her life story. I actually think there is a great deal about her most books. She was a somewhat self indulgent woman, not interested in power, and of no great political ability. She did reign, but although she didn't do any harm, I'm not sure she did any good either. She was pretty, in a dark way, judging from the oft seen portrait of her in that blue dress. She was a satisfaction to Peter the Great, though, and that's saying alot. Does anyone else have anything to say?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Robert_Hall on April 11, 2006, 12:42:07 PM
I may [have something to say about her] after I read FIVE EMPRESSES by Anisimov.  I have run out of time however, as I leave soon for my UK/Russia visits and have too many books to carry as it is- stay tuned !
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: bell_the_cat on April 11, 2006, 03:06:21 PM
Apart from the fact that she made it to Empress in the first place (as an ex-peasant), her reign was pretty unspectacular. It was really Menschikov who ruled during her reign.

She had been lucky not to have been sent to a convent or worse the year before, as Peter suspected her of an affair with William Mons. I don't think she would have been Empress at all if it hadn't been for Peter's unexpected death.

Like all the Empresses she was rather overweight .... and I believe she drank!

Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: ilyala on April 12, 2006, 04:20:18 AM
i read that peter had many violent crisis (epilepsy?) and that she was the only one who could calm him down. she went with him at war, stayed in his tent...

she came to the throne through menshikov who influenced the guards into showing her support. the guards shut up the dolgorukys when the succession was discussed and so she got it. she was very vengeful towards evdokia, peter's first wife, who was moved into a dark cell in the schulsselburg fortress. the power was indeed in the hands of menshikov while catherine enjoyed the pleasures of wine and food and, not in the least, the conjugal ones (with menshikov).

catherine wanted her daughter elisabeth to inherit her, but the public was on peter 2nd's side. menshikov convinced catherine to approve peter's marriage to his daughter, maria (one can only guess what immense power he had over her). she died of fever on the 6th of may 1727
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on April 12, 2006, 08:30:48 AM
Yes, like many of the female rulers of Russia atferward, she enjoyed lovers, drink, and dissipation. Her husband was about the same however. She was also overweight, although she had a beauty that can be seen in portraits of her younger years. One can see why she was raised from a peasant, to Czar's wife, to Empress in her own right by Peter the Great-and he was hard to please! I think she had no political ability, that's true, nor any interest in such things. She spent much of her short reign partying, to use a more modern term.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 04, 2006, 02:26:39 PM
I felt surprised while I was checking the board searching for threads focused on Martha Skavronska, later Ekaterina Alexeyevna, later tsarina Ekaterina I of Russia. I only have found a very brief thread about this woman, and it amazes me because she was the first female sovereign of the empire and also the mother of a great empress, Elisabeth Petrovna.

Her story is fulfilled with interesting and intriguing episodes. He knew little about her childhood and early youth. He knew little about her career before the first meeting with Peter the Great. He can speculate about her relationship with Alexander Danilovich Menshikov, but also with Willem Mons. She was a clever and good-hearted woman, the only one who could managed well with such a difficult man and husband as Peter was with her strength, her common-sense and her devotion to him.

She was, at the first, Martha Samuilovna Skavronska. Her father, the lithuanian peasant Samuil Skavronsky, had two wives, Dorothea Hann and Elisabeth Moritz. It seems clear that Elisabeth Moritz gave him five children: Martha, Karl, Theodor, Anna and Christine. When Samuil and Elisabeth died, the children were under the care of their relatives. Very soon, Martha was sent to the home of a lutheran priest, Ernst Glück, at Marienburg. She was, essentially, a home servant. But when she reached the first youth, she had became a pretty and vivacious girl. And Mrs Glück was fearful that the girl could caught the eye of her husband or, maybe, her elder son. So, Martha was engaged -perhaps married- to a swedish dragon, Johannes Raabe. Their conjugal life ended in eight years...when russian forces captured Marienburg. Martha Skavronska became a servant of the russian military chief Boris Sheremetev.

Later, she became servant of prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov. It is said that Alexander and Martha were lovers, but I really doubt it. By this time, he was madly in love with Darya Mikhailovna Arseyevna, who, with her sister Varvara, belonged to the house of tsarevna Natalya Alexeyevna, sister of Peter the Great. As Massie states in his wonderful bio on Peter, it could be that Menshikov entertained the nights with a beautiful and attractive lithuanian servant while he made courtship to Daria, but there´s no evidence about an intimate relationship between the prince and the humble girl.

At Menshikov´s house, Martha met for the first time Peter. The servant caught the eye of the sovereign, and he ordered: "When I go to bed, you, beauty, take a candle and light the way". This was the beginning of a long-standing relationship. He firstly married her secretly, and, a few years later, took place a public wedding after the Pruth campaign, when she had borne him five children. Martha, who had became Ekaterina Alexeyevna, was solemnly crowned empress-consort on the 7th of May 1724. She wore a crown with no fewer than 2564 precious stones.

Whitin a few months of her triumph, she was threatened with utter ruin by the discovery of a supposed liaison with her gentleman of the bedchamber, a very handsome but also very unscrupulous man named Willen Mons. Willen was the brother of two fascinating women: Anna, former mistress of Peter the Great, who has to be tsarina but fell from grace because her sovereign discovered she was involved with a prussian ambassador, and Matryona, by her marriage Matryona Balk, lady in waiting and friend of Ekaterina. It´s strange, but Ekaterina has as her favourite lady in waiting the sister of a mistress of Peter, and as her supposed lover the brother of a mistress of Peter. Willen was executed with great cruelty, Matryona was exiled for years at Siberia and Ekaterina did not speak with Peter for several months. But, at the end, the imperial couple was reconciled.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 05, 2006, 07:01:36 PM
Yes, Catherine attracted Peter the Great, although she really was no beauty. But she was a strong woman who could hold her own with him, and live his lifestyle, and that mattered more to him. Such a woman was rather unusual, and Catherine did have a sensous, earthy beauty. That appealed to him as well, but I think it was more personality. She liked to have fun, and did briefly when she was Empress after his death, to a great degree. But she enjoyed being his wife as well, theirs was a love match.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: ilyala on November 06, 2006, 03:05:02 AM
whatever her relationship with menshikov - it continued after peter died. menshikov was pretty much in charge of everything when catherine ruled. she wasn't a very good tsarina - she didn't care for anything other than her own well-being. but i suppose that could be explained through her long years of literally serving peter.

it was said that peter wanted to discard her when he died and marry his then-mistress maria cantemir. if he did, though, he never had the chance cause he died.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 06, 2006, 03:56:27 AM
Correct me if I´m making a mistake, Ilyala, but I think that the flirtation between Peter and beautiful Marie Cantemir, the elder daughter of the moldavian voivode Dmitri Cantemir by his first wife Kassandra Cantacuzena, was a very brief story. Marie caught the eye of Peter, and, of course, it was a good deal of gossip about the tsar divorcing the luthenian wife to marry thirdly with the Cantemir girl. Ekaterina must have been felt worried enough about Marie Cantemir, because very soon after the coronation, she obtained the best triumph over her younger rival: Marie was forced to entry in a convent.

I was thinking how strange is the fortune´s wheel. Natalia Balk Lopukhina, the daughter of Feodor and Matryona Balk, so the niece of Anna Mons and Willem Mons, became the relentless enemy of Elisabeth Petrovna. She was involved in the famous Lopukhina Conspiracy and she had a very hard punishment. By the way, Smaragda Cantemir, younger half-sister of Marie Cantemir (she was born from the second wife of the voivode, Anastasia Trubetska), married a prince Galitzine and became one of the best friends of Elisabeth Petrovna.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: ilyala on November 06, 2006, 04:04:43 AM
i must confess i don't know how strong the flirt was between peter and maria. i understand she was pregnant at some point and that she miscarried and that had it been a boy that would have been a bit of a challenge to catherine (her sons died very young - simmilar problem to england's henry 8th). but whatever peter's intentions were, the rumours did exist.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 06, 2006, 08:37:12 AM
I think after that woman miscarried, Peter had no further interest in her. It was even whispered that Catherine had somehow caused the miscarriage to happen, and perhaps, although that might have been rather hard. I think Peter was mostly interested in this mistress from the standpoint of the succession, and once his chance to have a son by her passed by, he was not so interested.It seems to have been a passing fancy. As for Catherine, she wasn't a very good Empress, as she spent her time having fun, and wearing herself out, while other people ruled the country. But her personality and abilities didn't suit being an Empress.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 06, 2006, 02:52:20 PM
As for Catherine, she wasn't a very good Empress, as she spent her time having fun, and wearing herself out, while other people ruled the country. But her personality and abilities didn't suit being an Empress.

Your judgement on Ekaterina as empress seems very hard! ;)

We must remember her origins and her upbringing. She was only a daughter of very humble people...some sources states that both her father and her mother were runaway serfs, and another sources states that her father was gravedigger. And she was raised up in the home of the great pastor Glück, but she was "the servant". She remained illiterate.

The only woman who was strong and energetic enough to catch hold of imperial power in Russia before Ekaterina, was Sophia Alexeyevna. And Sophia was not a typical princess of her times...she broke up the rules of the terem, she turned into pieces the traditional seclusion of the women, because she had been an uncommon child and her father allowed her to receive the same education than her brothers Alexei, Semion and Feodor. Sophia spoke fluently not only russian, but also polish and latin, and she enjoyed herself writting. She had character and all the trainning of a good prince, not of a gentle princess ;)

Of course, Ekaterina was not this kind of woman. She was good-hearted, always cheerful, compassionate, and with a good deal of common sense. She began her reign with a only idea in her mind...to leave the power laying with all the men who have served Peter the Great, from Menshikov to Tolstoy. I think she made a good choice.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 06, 2006, 04:41:43 PM
Well, I think Catherine was a good wife to Peter the Great, and most likely the only one who could have been in that role. She could keep up with him, and have many children, and be in general as much a woman as she could be, but also very tough too. If she was not tough, she would not have lasted very long in her role as Peter the Great's wife, and she knew how to handle him, which was very difficult. She had courage, for sure. She just did not have the abilitity to translate the qualities that made her a good consort to Peter the Great into a good Empress. She left the power structure alone, which was good, but she also completely ignored the country, and had lovers and threw parties. Catherine the Great had many lovers, but she always kept in top of her duties to the country. One can't blame Catherine I for having fun after her husband's demise though, and you are right, she had no background that would have made her a good Empress, even though she made a good consort.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 06, 2006, 05:04:53 PM
Catherine II was more in the way of Sophia Alexeyevna, I think. Remember she was born princess of Zerbst, daughter of one of the minor princelings of her time, but also daughter of a woman who was a social climber, who liked so much the court intrigues and who always wished to touch the power with her fingers...Johanna of Holstein-Gottorp. And Johanna had a good pedigree, no one can deny it. Overshadowed by his ambitious mother, a cold and abussive mother to little Figchen, Sophia became a strong-willed and energetic girl. She was educated and she worked hard enough to improve her upbringing when she went to Russia as bride of a tsarevich. She knew well that her groom has to be tsar and she herself has to be tsarina. And she played her role of an truly orthodox russian princess...she, a german princess, baptised in the lutheranism! I´m really amazing with this woman.

But if the second Catherine could catch the power when she was not a russian and not a romanov, when were alive three men of romanov lineage -her husband, her son and young tsar Ivan VI...-, she followed the line traced by the first Ekaterina. In fact, Martha Skavronska, daughter of lithuanian peasants probably catholics, became empress authocrat when was alive the grandson of her husband, later Peter II. Ekaterina broke up the rules.

By the way, I´m interesting in all the Skavronski. I know that after the death of Peter, when Ekaterina was proclaimed tsarina authocrat, she ordered to search for her brothers and sisters. The elder brother, Karl, was working in a stable at Courland, but she never felt ashamed of this, and she was proud to offer her brother a good position in Russia. She gave a chance also to her brother Theodor, and to her sisters, Anna and Christine.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: ilyala on November 07, 2006, 01:39:42 AM
it's admirable that she didn't forget about her family. i think she was in her own way an admirable person.

i also think peter 2nd's exclusion to the throne before catherine has something to do with the fact that alexei had an appalling relationship with his father. peter 1st probably was not very pleased with the idea of being succeeded by alexei's son. i wonder why he chose catherine and not one of his daughters, say... future tsarina elizabeth?
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 07, 2006, 02:49:16 AM
The bio on Peter by Massie states that Peter was writting "Give it all to..." when he felt unable to end the paragraph, so he ordered his daughter Anna Petrovna to came to his bedroom, but in a few seconds he was dead. Anna Petrovna found her father dead, he never could dictate her his last will.

I always supposed that Peter was to choice his daughter Anna Petrovna. She was the elder daughter and she was married, so she could give birth to the next generation of the imperial lineage. Elisabeth Petrovna was too young, a beautiful and mischievous girl. Natalia Petrovna was alive, but she was a child. Peter didn´t show tenderness to his grandson and grandaughter, Peter Alexeyevich and Natalia Alexeyevna.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 07, 2006, 11:29:40 AM
Yes, indeed, Catherine the Great and Catherine I are not really a very fair comparison. They had very different abilities and backgrounds, and they each did the job of Empress in their own way, and I suppose if you factor in different personalities and all that, then it is far from a fair comparison. I believe that Catherine I most likely did the best with things as she could, granted her background and abilities. I do think she was a great consort, just that she wasn't really suited to be Empress.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 07, 2006, 04:33:33 PM
I agreed with you, Imperial_Angel. I usually agreed with you, by the way ;)

I think that the death of Peter was a shock for Ekaterina, but the worse came when her little daughter Natalia, aged seven, was dead a month after the father. I always believed that Ekaterina really was a motherly woman. She had lost seven children before this daughter, but she had been supported by Peter. Of course, she felt pain and grieve for every lost children, but when she loose Natalia, she was alone to carry on her anguish.

She really was fond of her daughters Anna and Elisabeth...
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: bell_the_cat on November 07, 2006, 04:49:51 PM
It's a romantic story, the story of Catherine I and her humble origins. Unfortunately she spent most of her reign in an alcoholic haze! It's difficult to judge with such a short reign, whether she would have been a good  Empress or not, but on balance, I think not. She was lucky to survive the Mons affair (think - Henry VIII!!), mostly due to Peter's bad health. Both were heavy drinkers, by the way.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 07, 2006, 04:50:13 PM
Yes, she had many children, but many did die. I think all this was traumatic for you are right, although she was a strong woman, and may have accepted it as people did, as part of living in that time. She was also strong in the fact that she was Peter the Great's wife, and obviously had a very strong role there, if nothing else. But, she had son after son who didn't live, and that must have been hard. She bore Peter many heirs, but none came to the throne. She may just have gotten lost after Peter's death, and not have known what she should do-just my thoughts, although she was wise to leave the then current goverment in place.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yseult on November 07, 2006, 05:19:57 PM
It's a romantic story, the story of Catherine I and her humble origins. Unfortunately she spent most of her reign in an alcoholic haze! It's difficult to judge with such a short reign, whether she would have been a good  Empress or not, but on balance, I think not. She was lucky to survive the Mons affair (think - Henry VIII!!), mostly due to Peter's bad health. Both were heavy drinkers, by the way.

Well, I think you´re true when you say that she was lucky to survive the Mons affair. I agreed with Massie, who states in his bio on Peter that there was not a sexual relationship between the handsome Willen and Ekaterina. She could have been felt atractted by her gentleman of the bedchamber...but she had forty years, she was not a romantic or a foolish girl, she was a woman with a good deal of common sense. But, of course, Ekaterina was fond of both Willen and his sister Matryona, so she overlooked they were selling their influence to those who wanted to access the emperor or the empress. She played with fire...and she was burned at the end. Willen suffered a very cruel death while Matryona, with ten or eleven beats of knut, was banished from court, exiled in Siberia. Ekaterina loose at the same time Matryona and Willen.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: imperial angel on November 08, 2006, 08:55:54 AM
It is hard to know about this relationship, etc. I think it is possible they weren't lovers, as Catherine might have known how Peter the great would react to that, I would think. He would not have anything to do with his once mistress Anna Mons after finding out about her infidelity. Surely Catherine knew that would be a dumb thing to do, I would think. But, she was a very brave woman, and not very inhibited as her short reign proved, so maybe she thought she could get away with something or thought she would could be lovers with him, and it would not hurt. Both she and Peter did drink, but that didn't prevent Peter from accomplishing much.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 01, 2009, 07:38:50 PM
The tsarina

(http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/pics/catherine-visits.JPG)
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pzICWg_Xk24/R1gUvTbQwVI/AAAAAAAAAbw/2xeZDPSWSh8/s400/446px-Catherine_I_of_Russia_by_unknown.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: gogm on June 01, 2009, 11:28:55 PM
Please see the following for a collection of images of the 1700s Tsaritsa:

http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/560093558VjgqEN (http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/560093558VjgqEN) .
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 02, 2009, 06:06:32 PM
Please see the following for a collection of images of the 1700s Tsaritsa:

http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/560093558VjgqEN (http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/560093558VjgqEN) .

Nice images :-)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: violetta on June 04, 2009, 03:53:07 AM
Peter loved his wife so much that he founded a residence in Tallin and called it EKATERINENTAL in her honour(Estonian name KADRIORG). it was founded in july  1718. in the main hall there are letters E and P symbolizing Peter and Ekaterina. When Peter I died the palace wsn`t ready yet. here we go with the min hall

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1627.jpg)

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1629.jpg)

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1631.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: RomanovsFan4Ever on June 04, 2009, 04:53:01 AM
Absolutely wonderful!...

A photo of the exterior of Kadriorg: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kadriorg1a.jpeg
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: violetta on June 04, 2009, 06:22:19 AM
kadriog palace


(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1726.jpg)

(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1734.jpg)


a picture of ekaterina I in a special room containing portraits of the imperial family.sorry,the picture is dim because it was dim in the room and using flash wasn`t allowed


(http://i719.photobucket.com/albums/ww199/vitavioletta/kadriog/DSCN1669.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 29, 2009, 08:18:57 PM
It's an amazing place, he must loved her a LOT :-)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 09, 2010, 01:11:16 PM
The Empress
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Royalty/Ekaterina.jpg)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Royalty/EmpressKaterina.jpg)
With her husband on the Neva
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Royalty/NevaRiver.png)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 09, 2010, 01:24:24 PM
Ekaterina I (http://www.portrets.ru/38.10.html)
Click here! (http://www.tonnel.ru/?l=gzl&uid=274)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Royalty/EkaterinaRussia.jpg)
With a black servant? (http://content.foto.mail.ru/mail/yakovleva.larisa/3237/i-3243.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: Yelena Aleksandrovna on June 09, 2010, 01:36:04 PM
Miniature of Peter the Great's family (http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/03/hm3_6_2a.html)
(http://i601.photobucket.com/albums/tt94/KaiserinCharlotte/Royalty/FamilyPeterI.jpg)
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on December 15, 2013, 07:21:49 PM
Marta Skavronskaya was married for 8 days and not years to a Swedish army trumpet player. She liked her brother Karl and brought the others to Russia after the death of her husband because her sister Christine hd made a public petition in her name and she rounded up her, her sister Anna and brother Theodore and put them on an estate Strelna, twenty miles from St. Petersburg and never went to see them. It can be concluded that with the exception of Karl who had a large house near her own and was brought to Moscow in 1723, the others were brought there to shut them up though she made them aristocrats and educated their children.

She was the child of runaway serfs from Belarus and Latvia. She was born in Vishki Latvia and was very lucky. Her parents died of the plague. She was raised by an aunt who brought her to a clergyman and he brought her to his supervisor the famous theologian Ernst Gluck. They raised her as a ward and arranged her marriage to Johann Kruse. After eight days the Russians invaded and at 18 became the mistress of the field General, then the head of the Russian forces in the West and then Menshikov took her knowing the Tzar would like her.

She was mistress to the Tzar, which was a job in and of itself. He slept with everyone in the world. He loved and trusted her. She was described as beautiful when young, and later by a German diplomat as having lost any trace of beauty but being very graceful and gentle. Her reputation was that she was a moderating influence on the Tzar.

Finally she did not sleep with Mons but was involved in a corrupt scheme in which he and his sister charged to talk to her and she took bribes to introduce people to Peter. She hid the money from Peter in Holland. When he found out he had fought a life long battle against corruption. He was furious at this betrayal and he turned to Maria Cantimir in that time. He canceled the accounts of Marta and for three months they did not talk. Then they made up. Maria did not get put in a convent, but after the death of Peter, Marta threw her out of the palace, she had been a lady in waiting, and she never married but ran a literary salon.

Catherine continued the work of Peter and though she drank and had lovers, did a very good job. Whatever he would have wanted she did.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 18, 2014, 09:15:46 PM
Certainly, she did. It seems that not many how are interested because no one has ever posted to this. Her husband is famous, and so is her life story. I actually think there is a great deal about her most books. She was a somewhat self indulgent woman, not interested in power, and of no great political ability. She did reign, but although she didn't do any harm, I'm not sure she did any good either. She was pretty, in a dark way, judging from the oft seen portrait of her in that blue dress. She was a satisfaction to Peter the Great, though, and that's saying alot. Does anyone else have anything to say?

She built bridges in St. Petersburg and started the academy of science. She was supportive to the Cossacks which her husband was not.  She was quite enthusiastic about the navy and army. In short she completed everything her husband wanted and did quite well. The court was filled with corruption but so it was before her. Her reign was only 27 months long before she died. It has been said she did quite well till the last 6 months.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 18, 2014, 09:24:42 PM
Apart from the fact that she made it to Empress in the first place (as an ex-peasant), her reign was pretty unspectacular. It was really Menschikov who ruled during her reign.

She had been lucky not to have been sent to a convent or worse the year before, as Peter suspected her of an affair with William Mons. I don't think she would have been Empress at all if it hadn't been for Peter's unexpected death.

Like all the Empresses she was rather overweight .... and I believe she drank!



Dear Bell the Cat,  To begin with Russians thought fat was beautiful. He described her as flashy but still beautiful.  She drank, and he drank and they had fun doing it. She was his pal. He did not suspect her of having an affair, he found out she was taking bribes for access to him and William Mons and his sister were selling access to her. She was a mistress and a wife and a very good one, but Menshikov was a ruler. He was also a little crazy, very corrupt even for Russia and got himself sent to Siberia.




Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 18, 2014, 09:37:42 PM
i read that peter had many violent crisis (epilepsy?) and that she was the only one who could calm him down. she went with him at war, stayed in his tent...

she came to the throne through menshikov who influenced the guards into showing her support. the guards shut up the dolgorukys when the succession was discussed and so she got it. she was very vengeful towards evdokia, peter's first wife, who was moved into a dark cell in the schulsselburg fortress. the power was indeed in the hands of menshikov while catherine enjoyed the pleasures of wine and food and, not in the least, the conjugal ones (with menshikov).

catherine wanted her daughter elisabeth to inherit her, but the public was on peter 2nd's side. menshikov convinced catherine to approve peter's marriage to his daughter, maria (one can only guess what immense power he had over her). she died of fever on the 6th of may 1727

She did not have sex with Menshikov but she did with all the members of the cabinet from Devier to Yaguzhinsky and drank a lot. But as Massie said she did what Peter did and what else could she do? She was illiterate.  She was terrified of Eudoxia not vengeful. The conservatives wanted her on the throne.  Elizabeth did come to power in 1740 but as you said Menshikov wanted his daughter to marry Peter II who was related to all the big families.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 18, 2014, 09:42:45 PM
Yes, like many of the female rulers of Russia atferward, she enjoyed lovers, drink, and dissipation. Her husband was about the same however. She was also overweight, although she had a beauty that can be seen in portraits of her younger years. One can see why she was raised from a peasant, to Czar's wife, to Empress in her own right by Peter the Great-and he was hard to please! I think she had no political ability, that's true, nor any interest in such things. She spent much of her short reign partying, to use a more modern term.

Ok first of all Peter slept with everyone in the world after he met her so she had to have been extraordinary for him to want to marry her. He did not need to. I think her lovers and dissipation was her being lost.  She was the perfect mistress and never thought of ruling. But she still did her job of keeping all 'activities' in her own chamber and doing very good public relations work.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 18, 2014, 09:50:47 PM
I felt surprised while I was checking the board searching for threads focused on Martha Skavronska, later Ekaterina Alexeyevna, later tsarina Ekaterina I of Russia. I only have found a very brief thread about this woman, and it amazes me because she was the first female sovereign of the empire and also the mother of a great empress, Elisabeth Petrovna.

Her story is fulfilled with interesting and intriguing episodes. He knew little about her childhood and early youth. He knew little about her career before the first meeting with Peter the Great. He can speculate about her relationship with Alexander Danilovich Menshikov, but also with Willem Mons. She was a clever and good-hearted woman, the only one who could managed well with such a difficult man and husband as Peter was with her strength, her common-sense and her devotion to him.

She was, at the first, Martha Samuilovna Skavronska. Her father, the lithuanian peasant Samuil Skavronsky, had two wives, Dorothea Hann and Elisabeth Moritz. It seems clear that Elisabeth Moritz gave him five children: Martha, Karl, Theodor, Anna and Christine. When Samuil and Elisabeth died, the children were under the care of their relatives. Very soon, Martha was sent to the home of a lutheran priest, Ernst Glück, at Marienburg. She was, essentially, a home servant. But when she reached the first youth, she had became a pretty and vivacious girl. And Mrs Glück was fearful that the girl could caught the eye of her husband or, maybe, her elder son. So, Martha was engaged -perhaps married- to a swedish dragon, Johannes Raabe. Their conjugal life ended in eight years...when russian forces captured Marienburg. Martha Skavronska became a servant of the russian military chief Boris Sheremetev.

Later, she became servant of prince Alexander Danilovich Menshikov. It is said that Alexander and Martha were lovers, but I really doubt it. By this time, he was madly in love with Darya Mikhailovna Arseyevna, who, with her sister Varvara, belonged to the house of tsarevna Natalya Alexeyevna, sister of Peter the Great. As Massie states in his wonderful bio on Peter, it could be that Menshikov entertained the nights with a beautiful and attractive lithuanian servant while he made courtship to Daria, but there´s no evidence about an intimate relationship between the prince and the humble girl.

At Menshikov´s house, Martha met for the first time Peter. The servant caught the eye of the sovereign, and he ordered: "When I go to bed, you, beauty, take a candle and light the way". This was the beginning of a long-standing relationship. He firstly married her secretly, and, a few years later, took place a public wedding after the Pruth campaign, when she had borne him five children. Martha, who had became Ekaterina Alexeyevna, was solemnly crowned empress-consort on the 7th of May 1724. She wore a crown with no fewer than 2564 precious stones.

Whitin a few months of her triumph, she was threatened with utter ruin by the discovery of a supposed liaison with her gentleman of the bedchamber, a very handsome but also very unscrupulous man named Willen Mons. Willen was the brother of two fascinating women: Anna, former mistress of Peter the Great, who has to be tsarina but fell from grace because her sovereign discovered she was involved with a prussian ambassador, and Matryona, by her marriage Matryona Balk, lady in waiting and friend of Ekaterina. It´s strange, but Ekaterina has as her favourite lady in waiting the sister of a mistress of Peter, and as her supposed lover the brother of a mistress of Peter. Willen was executed with great cruelty, Matryona was exiled for years at Siberia and Ekaterina did not speak with Peter for several months. But, at the end, the imperial couple was reconciled.



Willem Mons was not executed with great cruelty and the night before the execution Peter told Willem that he really did not want to do it but he was taking bribes to see his wife and everyone was on the list.  He had fought a battle against corruption in Russia and then found she was part of it. The rest were rumors from the ambassadors. Matryona was whipped, her children demoted and her husband told he could remarry, but it was shortly before the death of Peter the Great and she was called back when he died. The sentence was lighter than originally anticipated because Marta begged.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:20:55 PM
whatever her relationship with menshikov - it continued after peter died. menshikov was pretty much in charge of everything when catherine ruled. she wasn't a very good tsarina - she didn't care for anything other than her own well-being. but i suppose that could be explained through her long years of literally serving peter.

it was said that peter wanted to discard her when he died and marry his then-mistress maria cantemir. if he did, though, he never had the chance cause he died.

Catherine did not sleep with Menshikov after the death of Peter though she did sleep with the other members of the cabinet. He did not want to discard her for Maria Cantemir as he and his wife made up after having a long talk but he did turn to her during their 3 month fight.  It has been written that he reign was very good until she was ill for the last six months. Menshikov was a very good administrator, but a horrible person. She was very careful about public relations to the end and died as a result of leading the blessing of the waters celebration in the cold. Her promiscuity and drinking after the death of her husband were done in private.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:24:40 PM
Correct me if I´m making a mistake, Ilyala, but I think that the flirtation between Peter and beautiful Marie Cantemir, the elder daughter of the moldavian voivode Dmitri Cantemir by his first wife Kassandra Cantacuzena, was a very brief story. Marie caught the eye of Peter, and, of course, it was a good deal of gossip about the tsar divorcing the luthenian wife to marry thirdly with the Cantemir girl. Ekaterina must have been felt worried enough about Marie Cantemir, because very soon after the coronation, she obtained the best triumph over her younger rival: Marie was forced to entry in a convent.

I was thinking how strange is the fortune´s wheel. Natalia Balk Lopukhina, the daughter of Feodor and Matryona Balk, so the niece of Anna Mons and Willem Mons, became the relentless enemy of Elisabeth Petrovna. She was involved in the famous Lopukhina Conspiracy and she had a very hard punishment. By the way, Smaragda Cantemir, younger half-sister of Marie Cantemir (she was born from the second wife of the voivode, Anastasia Trubetska), married a prince Galitzine and became one of the best friends of Elisabeth Petrovna.



Marie Cantemir did not go into a convent. She was the last mistress of Peter the Great and in her old age had an intellectual salon. She never married. However Peter was not seriously thinking of getting rid of Catherine I though she threw her out of the palace after Peter's death.

Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:29:11 PM
As for Catherine, she wasn't a very good Empress, as she spent her time having fun, and wearing herself out, while other people ruled the country. But her personality and abilities didn't suit being an Empress.

Your judgement on Ekaterina as empress seems very hard! ;)

We must remember her origins and her upbringing. She was only a daughter of very humble people...some sources states that both her father and her mother were runaway serfs, and another sources states that her father was gravedigger. And she was raised up in the home of the great pastor Glück, but she was "the servant". She remained illiterate.

The only woman who was strong and energetic enough to catch hold of imperial power in Russia before Ekaterina, was Sophia Alexeyevna. And Sophia was not a typical princess of her times...she broke up the rules of the terem, she turned into pieces the traditional seclusion of the women, because she had been an uncommon child and her father allowed her to receive the same education than her brothers Alexei, Semion and Feodor. Sophia spoke fluently not only russian, but also polish and latin, and she enjoyed herself writting. She had character and all the trainning of a good prince, not of a gentle princess ;)

Of course, Ekaterina was not this kind of woman. She was good-hearted, always cheerful, compassionate, and with a good deal of common sense. She began her reign with a only idea in her mind...to leave the power laying with all the men who have served Peter the Great, from Menshikov to Tolstoy. I think she made a good choice.

I agree completely.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:38:15 PM
Well, I think Catherine was a good wife to Peter the Great, and most likely the only one who could have been in that role. She could keep up with him, and have many children, and be in general as much a woman as she could be, but also very tough too. If she was not tough, she would not have lasted very long in her role as Peter the Great's wife, and she knew how to handle him, which was very difficult. She had courage, for sure. She just did not have the abilitity to translate the qualities that made her a good consort to Peter the Great into a good Empress. She left the power structure alone, which was good, but she also completely ignored the country, and had lovers and threw parties. Catherine the Great had many lovers, but she always kept in top of her duties to the country. One can't blame Catherine I for having fun after her husband's demise though, and you are right, she had no background that would have made her a good Empress, even though she made a good consort.

She did not ignore the country. She said she would lead the army, built forts and insisted ships be built. She kept up the appearance of strength so the neighboring countries would not attack and built the science academy. She built the first bridges in St. Petersburg and defended the interests of her son in law. She kept doing her duty to her country, which was public relations with  the army and Cosscks, as well as the regular people, and kept her drinking and sleeping with men behind closed doors. Menshikov was the administrator after Peter died but she did put down stakes on certain issues. She continued doing what she had always done but now Menshikov replaced Peter.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:46:19 PM
Catherine II was more in the way of Sophia Alexeyevna, I think. Remember she was born princess of Zerbst, daughter of one of the minor princelings of her time, but also daughter of a woman who was a social climber, who liked so much the court intrigues and who always wished to touch the power with her fingers...Johanna of Holstein-Gottorp. And Johanna had a good pedigree, no one can deny it. Overshadowed by his ambitious mother, a cold and abussive mother to little Figchen, Sophia became a strong-willed and energetic girl. She was educated and she worked hard enough to improve her upbringing when she went to Russia as bride of a tsarevich. She knew well that her groom has to be tsar and she herself has to be tsarina. And she played her role of an truly orthodox russian princess...she, a german princess, baptised in the lutheranism! I´m really amazing with this woman.

But if the second Catherine could catch the power when she was not a russian and not a romanov, when were alive three men of romanov lineage -her husband, her son and young tsar Ivan VI...-, she followed the line traced by the first Ekaterina. In fact, Martha Skavronska, daughter of lithuanian peasants probably catholics, became empress authocrat when was alive the grandson of her husband, later Peter II. Ekaterina broke up the rules.

By the way, I´m interesting in all the Skavronski. I know that after the death of Peter, when Ekaterina was proclaimed tsarina authocrat, she ordered to search for her brothers and sisters. The elder brother, Karl, was working in a stable at Courland, but she never felt ashamed of this, and she was proud to offer her brother a good position in Russia. She gave a chance also to her brother Theodor, and to her sisters, Anna and Christine.

The first generation of the Skavronskaya family with the exception of Karl were brought to Russia to an estate 20 miles from St Petersburg and Catherine I never went to see them. They were restricted to the estate. This leds one to think she was only trying to shut them up as her sister Christina had made a public petition and she and her husband were described as stupid drunks. Her brother Karl however was brought to St Petersburg 2 years before and hidden on the estate of Menshikov. After the death of Peter the Great she built him a large house near her own. It seems she was very fond of him.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:48:43 PM
it's admirable that she didn't forget about her family. i think she was in her own way an admirable person.

i also think peter 2nd's exclusion to the throne before catherine has something to do with the fact that alexei had an appalling relationship with his father. peter 1st probably was not very pleased with the idea of being succeeded by alexei's son. i wonder why he chose catherine and not one of his daughters, say... future tsarina elizabeth?

He did not choose anyone. It is thought he would have appointed his daughter Anna but died saying leave all to.....  The appointment of his wife was arranged in a palace coup by the 'New Men."
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:54:43 PM
It's a romantic story, the story of Catherine I and her humble origins. Unfortunately she spent most of her reign in an alcoholic haze! It's difficult to judge with such a short reign, whether she would have been a good  Empress or not, but on balance, I think not. She was lucky to survive the Mons affair (think - Henry VIII!!), mostly due to Peter's bad health. Both were heavy drinkers, by the way.

Ok first of all she did not survive the Mons affair due to the bad health of Peter. After three months of not speaking they finally talked at the request of their daughter and after a few hours of crying on her knees they made up. She was not unfaithful she had participated in corruption and accepted bribes for her influence which infuriated Peter when he found out. Her reign was said to be good until the last six month when she was very ill.
Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 08:57:39 PM
It's a romantic story, the story of Catherine I and her humble origins. Unfortunately she spent most of her reign in an alcoholic haze! It's difficult to judge with such a short reign, whether she would have been a good  Empress or not, but on balance, I think not. She was lucky to survive the Mons affair (think - Henry VIII!!), mostly due to Peter's bad health. Both were heavy drinkers, by the way.

Well, I think you´re true when you say that she was lucky to survive the Mons affair. I agreed with Massie, who states in his bio on Peter that there was not a sexual relationship between the handsome Willen and Ekaterina. She could have been felt atractted by her gentleman of the bedchamber...but she had forty years, she was not a romantic or a foolish girl, she was a woman with a good deal of common sense. But, of course, Ekaterina was fond of both Willen and his sister Matryona, so she overlooked they were selling their influence to those who wanted to access the emperor or the empress. She played with fire...and she was burned at the end. Willen suffered a very cruel death while Matryona, with ten or eleven beats of knut, was banished from court, exiled in Siberia. Ekaterina loose at the same time Matryona and Willen.


She did not ignore them selling influence - she was part of it. She sold her access to Peter and kept her money in accounts in Amsterdam. Peter was furious.



Title: Re: Empress Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great
Post by: agordon2000 on November 29, 2014, 09:01:37 PM
It is hard to know about this relationship, etc. I think it is possible they weren't lovers, as Catherine might have known how Peter the great would react to that, I would think. He would not have anything to do with his once mistress Anna Mons after finding out about her infidelity. Surely Catherine knew that would be a dumb thing to do, I would think. But, she was a very brave woman, and not very inhibited as her short reign proved, so maybe she thought she could get away with something or thought she would could be lovers with him, and it would not hurt. Both she and Peter did drink, but that didn't prevent Peter from accomplishing much.

It is thought Willem was in love with Anna not her mother. Catherine was however involved in he and his sister's corruption scheme. This was never a matter of infidelity, this was a rumor of diplomats in the court. But Peter had fought corruption all his life and then found his closest companion was part of it.