Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Was Catherine the Great a Whore?

We're in the early stages of developing this blog. As will be evident to our non-existent readers, we're still learning how to do this thing correctly. We're experimenting with blog platforms, templates, colors, etc. We're also researching potentially useful blog gadgets and other related blogs that we could link up to. We admire and commend our non-existent readers for their patience and invite suggestions and feedback.



Reading the blog of a self-described sexpot recently (funkybrownchick.com), I thought that it might be wise to adopt a more interactive, flirtatious posting style. It works for the Sex and the City Crowd so why not with the Soviets. So while her posts provoke comments and encourage active readership with questions like: boxers or briefs, what do you make of interracial dating, when is it appropriate to go home with a man? We'll copy the format with: What's your favorite Soviet Union successor state? Who is your favorite revolutionary? Who was right, the so-called Westernizers or the Russian exceptionalists?

And perhaps there are more direct approaches to capturing Twitter and Facebook market share. Click here if you think Catherine the great was a whore.

Incidentally, Simon Sebag Montefiore doesn't think so. He admits Catherine was chronically in need of male company, and that she has at least 17 lovers in her time. But he stresses that she always thought she would stay in love with her official partners for the rest of her life, at least when she began the relationship. He also says that she was faithful to one person at the time, as far as we can tell, and with the obvious exception for her best friend and near co-ruler, Potemkin, who was apparently welcome to drop by her apartments at any time..

Of course, he's right to point to gender biases at work in Catherine's reputation among contemporaries and historians. Frederick the Great's misogyny, for instance, encouraged him to assume the worst, and spread the worst, about the Empress.

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