Author Topic: Emperor Peter III, life and death  (Read 53782 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #75 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #76 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.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #77 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #78 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.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #79 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #80 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. ;)

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #81 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #82 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. 

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #83 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #84 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.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #85 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?

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #86 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.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #87 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.

Offline lori_c

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 687
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #88 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.

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Emperor Peter III, life and death
« Reply #89 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.