→ Elizabeth I of Russia nursing Sophia Frederike back to health: “Her doctors failed to diagnose her illness and became alarmed by her condition, but the princess of Zerbst (Sophia’s mother) seemed unconcerned, when Sophia’s condition worsened, she refused to help the nurse who was attending her, lest the girl were suffering from smallpox (…). Sophia became so ill that a message was sent to inform the Empress of the princess’ condition. Without a moment of hesitation or a thought for her own health and appearance, the empress hastened back to Moscow. Her swiftest horses were harnessed to her carriage, Elizabeth drove back there at break-neck speed. On arrival she sprang from the carriaged and hurried to Sophia’s bedside. She found the girl unconscious, though alive. taking her in her arms, she ordered Lestocq to examine and bleed her. The treatement answered. On regaining consciousness, sophia was astonished to find herself held by the Empress. Her life remained in danger for seventeen more days. During her recovery, Elizabeth scarcely left her. Her devoted nursing undoubtedly saved Sophia’s life. The incident increased the Empress’s affection for the girl”. Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, Tamara Talbot Rice.
In Russian history only 3 monarchs earned title “The Great”:
Ivan the Great (Ivan III of Russia)
(1440-1505)of the House of Rurik, (years of reign: 1462-1505), a Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Rus’. Referred to as the “gatherer of the Rus’ lands”, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde over the Rus’, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of what later became called the Russian state. His second marriage to Sophia
Palaiologina, a Byzantine princess and niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI,
brought Byzantine ceremonial and traditions to the Russian court. Moscow came to be referred to as the Third Rome with Moscow being seen as the true successor to Byzantium and, hence, to Rome. Grandfather of the infamous Ivan IV of Russia (Ivan the Terrible), first Tsar of All Russias.
Peter the Great (Peter I of Russia) (1672-1725) of the House of Romanov, (years of reign: 1682-1725), first Emperor of Russia.
One of Russia’s greatest statesmen.
Through a number of successful wars he expanded the country into a much larger empire that became a major European power. He led a cultural revolution based on The Enlightenment, created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the country. He established the city of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and moved the capital there from its former location in Moscow.
Shortly after, St. Petersburg was deemed Russia’s “window to Europe.”
After Peter’s death his second wife, Catherine, became the first female ruler in Russian history as Catherine I, Empress of Russia, though her reign lasted only 2 years. Their daughter, Elizabeth, also would ascend the throne as Empress and rule for 20 years. Peter’s reforms made a lasting impact on Russia and many institutions of Russian government trace their origins to his reign.
Catherine the Great (Catherine II of Russia) (1729-1796) of the House of Romanov, (years of reign:1762-1796), Empress of Russia, the most renowned and the longest-ruling female monarch of Russia.
The country was revitalised under her reign, expanding rapidly by conquest and diplomacy,
larger and stronger than ever as one of the great powers of Europe.
Catherine reformed the administration of Russian guberniyas, and many new cities and towns were founded on her orders. She built new hospitals and schools, introduced a new legal code, and supported religious tolerance. Empress requested the construction of many academic buildings, for example, the first public library was made by her command. An admirer of Peter the Great, Catherine saw herself as his political heiress and continued to modernise Russia along Western European lines while pursuing her country’s interests.
She enthusiastically supported the ideals of The Enlightenment, and was an enthusiastic patron of literature, arts and education. She presided over the age of the Russian Enlightenment, a period when the Smolny Institute, the first state-financed higher education institution for women in Russia, was established. The period of Catherine the Great’s rule, the Catherinian Era, is often considered the Golden Age of the Russian Empire.