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Wylye Valley Decorative & Fine Arts Society
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07 November 2017Catherine the Great: Empress of All the Russias 1762-1796

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Catherine the Great: Empress of All the Russias 1762-1796
Rosamund Bartlett
Tuesday 07 November 2017

Catherine ll is one of only two Russian rulers who is referred to as "The Great".  These lectures tell the remarkable story of how an obscure German princess, Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst, fended off accusations of murder and illegitimacy and rose to become one of the most illustrious monarchs in history.  Along the way she transformed the Russian Empire, which by the time of her death in 1796, was the largest the world had ever seen since the fall of Rome, into one of the great powers of Europe.  She created a brilliant court (forging notable links with Enlightenment France), and she led a scandalous personal life, taking a succession of ever younger lovers.  She was a ruthless despot and a peerless collector of art: the enormous Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg is a lasting testament to her legacy.