Author Topic: Empress Catherine II  (Read 153668 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #165 on: December 29, 2006, 02:39:55 PM »
i read somewhere that catherine, ever since the moment she arrived at the russian court she acted russian. for example, even before she was married, she contracted fever and doctors thought she was going to die. she called an orthodox priest for her last confession. everyone was impressed by that. and i'm sure elizabeth saw that catherine would know how to conquer her people's affection.

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

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

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

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

And Tsarina_Liz it is a fair statement to point out that from this distance in time it does seem moot at this point to mull over the paternity issue. Yet it is still an intriguing question.  If Paul wasn't Peter III's biological son, why did he accept him and not deny paternity?  This having been discussed before, adultery would have given Peter the much needed ammunition to oust his hated wife.  But he didn't.  And Paul spent very little time with his father, yet he displayed many of Peter's physical and psychological traits. It's cetainly an interesting question to ponder imo.  You are also correct that Peter the Great believed the Tsar should choose his own successor but by the time Elizabeth came to the throne, there were very few Romanovs of the blood left, therefore Elizabeth wanted to ensure that the succession passed smoothly without the coups and intrugues that went on after her own mother Catherine I died without male heirs, only female.  Which left the children from Peter's half brother Ivan.  Elizabeth above all wanted her father Peter's line to continue and perhaps in her convoluted way of thinking, since Peter III and Catherine WERE second cousins, it wasn't a stretch to take ANY offspring from Catherine and pass it off as a Romanov if indeed he wasn't. But to me, there is far too much that convinces me that Paul was definitely PeterIII's son.  Just my opinion though ;)

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #166 on: December 29, 2006, 02:45:36 PM »
I admit that I have never read Catherine's memoirs, from the book they are in, but I have read them recounted in books. I think she does seem to say that his paternity was that of Saltykov, but I don't think she may have known herself. It is more than likely that the marriage of Peter and Catherine was consumated, as he was given a woman who was supposed to be able to iniate him into such things, and this happened about the time she took up with Saltykov. So, she may not have known who the father was, because of that, but I think she sincerely believed that Saltykov was the father, as she didn't mention this out of spite I am almost sure. She was simply an honest person about such things in her memoirs, and I think she was just being honest about what she thought. Peter III's relationship with Elizabeth V was consumated, but they never had children. I don't know if he was capable of having kids or not, but the likelihood is we will never know. Just because Catherine believed something doesn't mean that it was true, or that it wasn't. But, she was his mother, and lived through those events.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #167 on: December 29, 2006, 03:41:14 PM »
I admit that I have never read Catherine's memoirs, from the book they are in, but I have read them recounted in books. I think she does seem to say that his paternity was that of Saltykov, but I don't think she may have known herself. It is more than likely that the marriage of Peter and Catherine was consumated, as he was given a woman who was supposed to be able to iniate him into such things, and this happened about the time she took up with Saltykov. So, she may not have known who the father was, because of that, but I think she sincerely believed that Saltykov was the father, as she didn't mention this out of spite I am almost sure. She was simply an honest person about such things in her memoirs, and I think she was just being honest about what she thought. Peter III's relationship with Elizabeth V was consumated, but they never had children. I don't know if he was capable of having kids or not, but the likelihood is we will never know. Just because Catherine believed something doesn't mean that it was true, or that it wasn't. But, she was his mother, and lived through those events.
I agree, Catherine did live through the events whereas we did not.  But Catherine was quite young when it was suggested she take a lover after no heir was in sight (purportedly suggested by Elizabeth herself)  In the book by Erickson, Saltykov was the one who took Catherine's virginity.  So if indeed this is true, she may have known who the father was. However, it IS conjecture.  But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.  (In addition to other factors ie: his tutor, her discounting him as a viable member of her advisors etc).  It must be noted that Peter III did not have children with any of his mistresses either which could have been from a number of reasons:  smallpox, foreskin too tight - the list goes on.  But as much as he hater her, Peter never denied Paul as the child of he and Catherine. nor did he deny little Anna - Poniatowski's daughter.  So this enigma has many sides.

ilyala

  • Guest
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #168 on: December 30, 2006, 02:17:36 AM »
Ilyala, the first count Bobrinsky married a woman from a baltic-german family, Anna Dorothea von Ungarn-Stenberg. They had three sons and one daughter who survived childhood. The boys were: Alexei, Paul and Vassily. The daughter was named Maria. After her husband´s death, Anna Dorothea Bobrinskaya opened a school for education of peasant´s children. This is a portrait of the lady:

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

Peter, the second son, married Julia Belinskaya.

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

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

Best regards


thank you yseult! you are a gold mine!

Offline AGRBear

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6611
  • The road to truth is the best one to travel.
    • View Profile
    • Romanov's  Russia
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #169 on: December 30, 2006, 01:51:34 PM »
Is there a complete list of Catherine II  "The Great's"  lovers?

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

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

And, who were the others not mentioned thus far?

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

ilyala

  • Guest
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #170 on: January 01, 2007, 03:03:48 AM »
it's supposed that she had more lovers that we don't know anything about. however, the other lovers were casual relationships. these were stable and acknowledged and they were recognized as partners.

Tsarina_Liz

  • Guest
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #171 on: January 03, 2007, 04:53:51 PM »
Peter's reasons for accepting Catherine's children (if they were indeed not his) have been talked about earlier to some extent, but I think we left out some thing (to the best of my recollection).  Perhaps Peter accepted the children, not only to save face etc., but also because it was easier for him to accept Catherine's children by others than actively try and conceive children with Catherine.  He hated and mistrusted her, having to go to her bed chamber on her regular basis would have been torture.  And no doubt Catherine would have preferred this lack of contact.  Gave her more freedom and kept her away from a man she loathed.  For as much as they detested each other they, in my opinion, reached an amicable enough solution. 

Offline Tsarfan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1848
  • Miss the kings, but not the kingdoms
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #172 on: January 03, 2007, 05:53:23 PM »
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

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

Tsarina_Liz

  • Guest
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #173 on: January 03, 2007, 08:27:55 PM »
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

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

Not that I recall.  It would have been a dangerous move, putting her and her child in danger and humiliating her husband.  Not to mention giving Peter one more reason to rid himself of her the moment he took the throne, which potentially endangered Catherine's plans for the throne.  Every one (in court) knew she was having an affair, but it was kept hush-hush.

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #174 on: January 04, 2007, 09:31:24 AM »
Well, Paul hated his mother for a variety of reasons, but although he was her heir, he was never much of a favorite of her. Elizabeth, empress at the time of Paul's birth took him away right after his birth, and tried to raise him. As well, he was born in turbulent circumstances, although he was certainly welcomed, as an heir was much needed. Both Peter and Catherine in his early years paid little attention to him, I think Peter was just happy to have an heir so he could go his own way, and Catherine was taking advantage of her new found freedom to have affairs, to do as she wished, now that the heir was produced. Catherine was always detached about her son, she was never that close to him, she always acted like he was just born because he was needed. She had such a passionate nature with her lovers, but was not the most maternal person. She was never close to her short lived daughter, or to her other son, although the circumstances of his birth/ paternity that hard. I think the nature of Paul's early years was such that it only encouraged him and Catherine not to get along.

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #175 on: January 04, 2007, 09:46:38 AM »
Well, she certainly had many lovers. I think some of these relationships defined her life, and some taught her early on about who she was, and what she wanted out of love. Some were very late affairs with younger men, where it seemed she was trying to regain her lost youth, although she didn't really succeed. But, in some ways she was an attractive lover to have even when she was older, and they were younger, and this was not only because of her position. She was always devoted to those she was involved with, and certainly experienced.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #176 on: January 04, 2007, 10:05:52 AM »
But it has been suggested that her disparaging remarks regarding Paul paternity were part of the reason he hated her so much.

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

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

Lori

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #177 on: January 04, 2007, 01:48:12 PM »
I don't think I could add any to those already named althought imo there were definitely more.  She was so stifled and repressed as a teenager, it seemed she was always trying to attain what she never had as a young woman, personifying it in a younger man.  As if her tastes experienced a sort of arrested development, though her experience certainly did not.

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #178 on: January 04, 2007, 04:41:51 PM »
I think it was after she bore an heir that she really let herself have lovers, but that before it was not because the desire was not there. It was, and her memoirs seem to say that. But, they were carefully watched by Empress Elizabeth, because they were supposed to be having an heir, so neither could have lovers. I think once she knew Empress Elizabeth was okay with her having lovers, she went in this direction. She knew she could not before, without getting into serious trouble, and you had to watch your back at the Russian court.  But, she was repressed indeed, whether it was more circumstances, or whether she just didn't know herself.

Offline Romanov_fan

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4611
    • View Profile
Re: Empress Catherine II
« Reply #179 on: January 04, 2007, 04:52:31 PM »
I thought I read that somewhere as well, but can't remember more either. I think he was, all through his mother's reign saving himself up, with venom for when it was his turn. But, he did at times give the impression of getting along with her. It was a relationship where there wasn't much love lost, yet maybe they loved each other in their own way. That seems doubtful though. Maybe that note was the final straw for him. I don't think Catherine had much of a relationship with her other son, although I think he eventually knew who his mother was. If anyone has more info on that, please post.