Peter also created spectacles for the general public. On his return from a military victory against the Turks in 1696, he staged a Roman triumph in Moscow, which included statues of Mars and Hercules, and himself dressed in a black German coat and breeches, a costume that would have mystified his subjects. Catherine the Great toured her empire on a trip organized by Grigory Potemkin, her lover and chief adviser. (The journey would provide the origins of the phrase “Potemkin village.”) Her entourage included fourteen carriages and 124 sleighs; when the ice melted on the Dnieper, the royal party moved on to “seven luxurious barges, each with its own orchestra, library and drawing room, painted in gold and scarlet, decorated in gold and silk, manned by 3,000 oarsmen, crew and guards and serviced by 80 boats.” It was designed to impress, and it did. One observer compared it to Cleopatra’s fleet.Via Harper's.
10 February 2018
The glory that was Romanov
From a review by Anne Applebaum of two new books about the Romanovs: