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.
→ 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.
Anastasia Romanov was the youngest daughter of Emperor Nicolas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia and the sister to Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Alexei. She was born 18 June 1901, and was murdered on 17 July 1918. About ninety years later, the last of the four grand duchesses’ bodies was found, and through DNA testing and rigorous scientific research, the myths that persisted that one of the sisters escaped was finally and conclusively proven false.
With the new musical Anastasia now out, it is important to remember the real young woman be hind the mythology and legend, who died a brutal death at only seventeen.
“ Once upon a time runs the fairy tale. For Anastasia..she was born into a lavish world of palaces and liveried servants, gold braided courtiers and sleek yachts, loving parents and a devoted family-everything necessary to the traditional, heartwarming conclusion. For Anastasia, though, there would be no happy ending; her fairy tale went horribly awry, its peaceful promise shattered by war and revolution. In its place arose a new tale that gave resonance to the meaning of her name, in which hope triumphed over despair and desire transcended brutal reality.” - The Ressurection of the Romanovs by Penny Wilson and Greg King
“Anastasia, the youngest daughter, destined to become the most famous of the children of Nicholas II, was a short, dumpy, blue-eyed child renowned in her family chiefly as a wag. When the saluting cannon on the Imperial yacht fired at sunset, Anastasia liked to retreat into a corner, stick her fingers into her ears, widen her eyes and loll her tongue in mock terror. Witty and vivacious, Anastasia also had a streak of stubbornness, mischief and impertinence. The same gift of ear and tongue that made her quickest to pick up a perfect accent in foreign languages also equipped her admirably as a mimic. Comically, sometimes cuttingly, the little girl aped precisely the speech and mannerisms of those about her. Anastasia, the L’Enfant terrible, was also a tomboy. She climbed trees to dizzying heights, refusing to come down until specifically commanded by her father.” - Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
Who is the Chevalier d’Eon exactly? I've never heard of them.
Short answer: the love of my life
Long answer: Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée d'Éon de Beaumont (5 October 1728 – 21 May 1810), or Chevalier d'Éon, was a French spy, diplomat and soldier. She appeared publicly as a man for 49 years, then identified (and dressed) as a woman for the rest of her life.
Among other things, she fought the Seven Years’ War,
infiltrated the court of Empress Elizabeth of Russia, stole invasion documents from Louis XV while spying for him, and did fencing matches until she was 68 years old. Yeah. I said 68 years old. Here she is, on the right, fighting a duel:
So basically she’s all kinds of amazing and I love this spy/diplomat/soldier/fencing champion transgender grandma with all my heart.
Queen Nefertiti was more than the iconic pretty face. She and her husband shook shit up in ancient Egypt when they decided to change the religion, art and culture for the first time in the three thousand year old run of static Egyptian culture. (FOR THREE THOUSAND YEARS ANCIENT EGYPT STAYED THE SAME!!) Nefertiti, while being beautiful, was her husband’s equal and had elevated power. She was one of the only examples of being represented as a strong and loving Queen and Mother in Egyptian art work. Hell yeah.
Empress Wu Zetian was empress of early imperial China. She was, in fact, the FIRST woman to become emperor of China. She started out as the previous emperor’s favorite concubine, then his favorite wife and then a stand-in for her young son after he died…and then she said “fuck y'all i’m running this shit now” and made herself empress of China.
Catherine the Great started out as timid german princess marrying the next emperor of Russia who wouldn’t have sex with her and wanted to play with toy german soldiers all day. Luckily she knew from the start that she just wanted Russia’s crown. After battling for power in Russia’s royal court she managed to flip the table and claimed the Russian throne-even while her husband was still emperor. Of course she managed to murder him, crown herself empress and then proceed to lead Russia into its golden age.
I did all this research on royal women in history because I was tired of seeing Marie Antoinette and Cleopatra being celebrated again and again and again when there is obviously all these other great sassy and stylish Queen Bees that exist in our history. Then I created three illustrations to celebrate these bad ass ladies and the culture they thrived in.