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Messages - CountessKate

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the gratuitous implied assumption that St. Petersburg in the 1900s was befert of any modern medical science

Obviously I did not express my meaning clearly!  I certainly neither wrote, nor wished to imply, that Russia in the 1900s was bereft of any modern medical science.  Rather, I questioned whether it was valid or helpful to make a comparison between a diagnosis made in the 1900s and a psychiatric definition of nearly 100 years later.  Did Dr Botkin study psychology?  It was a discipline very much in its infancy, there were few texts on the subject, and as Belochka indicates, these would have been in foreign languages.  There was no denigration implied in suggesting that Dr Botkin would have given a diagnosis in keeping with the most modern scientific opinions of his times.

Thus, given the above-medical analysis and taking into account Dr. Botkin's diagnosis of the Empress as acutely hysteric there is nothing to suggest that the Empress would have been the LEAST under control when Nicholas informed her of his abidcation.  

I think it is something of a stretch to take a dictionary definition of hysteria written nearly a century after a diagnosis and connect the two together to state it likely or even possible that a woman would have behaved in a certain way!  If Dr Botkin was known to have consulted any early russian works of psychiatry (if there were any) then their definition of hysteria might be some guide to what he was thinking when he define Alexandra as a hysteric.  Otherwise, would it not be more likely that he simply took the conventional 19th century view that women prone to emotional outbursts and acting (to the male mind) illogically, were hysterical, and no sophisticated psychological diagnosis was involved?  

The Hohenzollern / Re: Frederick II "the Great"
« on: August 22, 2005, 04:04:42 AM »
Frederick differed immensely from his family.  I like the fact that he pursued his own interests and kept up with them throughout his life

Actually, Frederick's mother, grandparents and ancestors further back were cultivated individuals and it was his father Frederick William who rather diverged from the mould.  Though if he hadn't been obsessed with creating a first-class army, Frederick would not have had the tools to launch his military career when he became king.  

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Personal World
« on: August 21, 2005, 12:51:20 PM »
I think colouring the hair with henna was something respectable Victorian and Edwardian women simply did not do, like putting on makeup - it was the sort of thing which marked a woman as being 'fast' and certainly not a gentlewoman.  Besides which, hair dye wasn't very subtle at that time so everyone could see what you'd done!

Queen Victoria was NOT fond of every family her daughters or grandaughters married into, in fact she particularly disliked the Romanovs as marital partners.  However, she liked to keep tabs on prospective spouses for her own huge family and the Battenburgs seemed prime marrying material, particularly since they had dark hair and good looks - she wanted to add dark-haired individuals into the gene pool!

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« on: August 13, 2005, 11:22:38 AM »
[o ok their engage ment got it thanks. i just think its quite remarkable that they didn't take any pictures.]

It's worth mentioning that as late as 1953 Queen Elizabeth II refused to let part of her coronation be filmed because she felt it was too sacrosanct for everyone to see.  Perhaps the Romanovs thought this about weddings.  The Windsor royal wedding participants were regularly photographed, but not the Hohenzollern, Hapsburg or Greek royal families.  The idea of weddings being such public occasions is really quite a modern phonomenon and they would probably have been horrified at the expectation we have nowadays of seeing the whole thing on t.v.

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