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Russian monarchs and their quirks: 4 bright antics


A good monarch is always distinguished by an inquiring mind. And it’s good for the people if this mind goes to useful things. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many rulers, remembered by the reforms, were also extravagant, trying to have fun, as you like. And if Fortune turned away from the country completely, then the ruler was not capable of anything except antics.

Emperor Paul I, although he loved to play war, was quite safe, unlike other monarchs. Once Pavel conceived maneuvers. He and the detachment had to attack the fortress, and the defenders had to hold out until 12 hours. For an hour and a half before an hour X poured rain. The emperor ordered the gates to be opened, but the commandant flatly refused to admit the autocrat, remembering the order. Exactly at 12, the emperor was in a fortress and with angry rebukes fell upon the commandant. But he showed Paul his own order. The emperor had no choice but to thank the sturdy colonel for the exact execution of the order. The colonel immediately became a major general, but was immediately exposed to the continued downpour.

King of Prussia Frederick William I ruled the country from 1713 to 1740. And in general, his rule was harmless enough. From childhood, Frederick loved spending time with soldiers. His life and military science were more interesting to him than anything else. The main goal of his life was to make the Prussian army the strongest in Europe. The goal soon turned into an obsession, which resulted in the creation of a detachment of the Potsdam Giants. It included all the highest and strongest soldiers of Prussia.

To staff his beloved unit, Friedrich Wilhelm even took mercenaries, and neighboring kings, in order to maintain friendship with Prussia, sent their “dylds” to serve there. The highest soldier in the squad was Irish mercenary James Kirkland. His height was 2 meters and 17 centimeters.

Friedrich Wilhelm did not shy away from selection: he forcibly bred tall people, married shorties, and brought them together with their like. I even came up with a car for stretching people, but I was afraid to use it. The squad of giants never entered the battle. The Poles were too easy a target for bullets. The detachment was needed for another: the king simply liked to watch them march. By the way, the growth of Frederick William I himself was equal to 160 centimeters.

This may sound unexpected, but Ivan Vasilievich, one might say, was one of the first to make an April Fools' joke. On April 1, 1575, he abdicated and seated on the throne the baptized Tatar prince Simeon Bekbulatovich, a descendant of Genghis Khan. The masquerade lasted almost a year. All this time, Grozny turned to Simeon mockingly and respectfully: “Sovereign Grand Duke Semion Bekbulatovich of all Russia Ivanets Vasiliev with his children, with Yvanets and Fedorets, they beat people.”

In fact, of course, although all this was arranged with humor, fear was at the root of such an act. It’s just that Ivan IV was predicted that this year the Tsar of Moscow would die, so he made a castling, returning a year later. From other taunts on subjects, the latter had a cold blood in his veins. For example, the boyar Golokhvostov, the formidable king executed, tied to a barrel of gunpowder. After setting fire to the wick, Ivan Vasilievich explained to everyone that in this way he helped the negligent boyar to fly faster into the sky.

However, he was not always so cruel. Ivan IV was very fond of favoring those close to him with the royal cup, from which they naturally could not refuse. And the next morning, the scribes gave the unfortunate to read what they had said and done drunk.

The emperor of Rome, Gaius Julius Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula, did not place Roman citizens at all. The greatest fame was brought to him by the love of the horse Incitat. Of course, the horse did not take part in Caligula's orgies in the brothel, which was once the palace of the Roman emperors.

But Incitat has become an important part of the political life of the empire. So Caligula made his stallion a citizen of Rome and a senator. For the horse, special senatorial clothing was sewn, and the senator himself always stood at meetings in the best possible place. Once Caligula instructed the legionnaires to build a three-kilometer-long floating bridge so that he could ride over it on Incitat. In addition, Caligula was going to build a magnificent palace for his favorite, but he did not manage to realize his dream, because he was killed by the conspirators.

Niece of Peter the Great knew a lot about sophisticated amusements. For example, she was very fond of dwarfs. "Carla" gave her a lot of pleasure. But in the eighteenth century it was no surprise to anyone. It was just as familiar as punishing guilty noblemen by demotion as jesters.

One of such unlucky people was Mikhail Alexandrovich Golitsyn, in “buffoonery” - Kvasnik. The surname-nickname was given to the prince by the nature of his professional activity: he poured kvass to the tsarina and her guests. And in his free time, he hatched eggs in a basket, like other jesters. The nobleman fell into disgrace for adopting Catholicism, the religion of his second wife, whose story ends in a secret office. One way or another, for the third time, the well-born Mikhail Kvasnik needed to marry the thirty-year-old ugly Kalmyk-cracker Avdotya Ivanovna Buzheninova, who really wanted to get married. Perhaps, if you knew what awaits her first wedding night, she would change her mind.

The winter of 1739/40 was unusually cold. The temperature did not rise above minus 30. The queen ordered to build an ice house on the Neva for the young. He was surrounded by six ice cannons and two mortars. And absolutely working. Just before the entrance to the house, two statues of dolphins, spitting with burning oil, were installed. At the gate stood pots with branches on which the birds were sitting. On the right side of the house stood a life-sized elephant with a Persian upstairs and two Persians nearby. All the figures, of course, were made of ice. According to eyewitnesses, during the day the elephant blew four-meter jets of water, and at night - similar jets of burning oil. Some claimed that the elephant sometimes "gave out" and alcohol.

Anna Ioannovna convened a couple of representatives of all the peoples of Russia for the wedding of her favorite jesters. The holiday was a great fun for the empress. Especially the passage of the wedding procession, led by the newlyweds, housed in an iron cage, placed on an elephant. They were followed by representatives of small and large nationalities of Russia, some on camels, some on deer, some on oxen, and some on dogs.

After the ball, Michael and Avdotya were locked in the icy bedroom, putting guard. In the morning, the newlyweds left the house half dead. The queen was pleased.

Peter I and the dwarfs

Peter I can be called the most eccentric Russian emperor. From an early age he liked the midgets and during his reign it became the norm for noble families to contain a dwarf as a jester.

Peter brought this whim to an absurd extreme. Sometimes he forced to bake a stripped dwarf in a pie, so that during the meal he would jump out of the pie: frightened everyone present and amused the ruler himself.

Peter I often arranged weddings to dwarfs, and sometimes even made attempts to breed them. Once he married a royal jester on a dwarf that served with the queen. They gathered all the midgets of the country to the celebration, dressed them in elegant clothes in European fashion, made them dance, entertaining all the guests. Peter was incredibly happy then.

Catherine II and her erotic collection

Rumor has it that Catherine had an office that was equipped with indecent painting furniture, adjacent to her rooms in the Gatchina Palace. This room was decorated with erotic paintings and a large number of erotic sculptures.

This collection was lost, but the catalog and photographs taken by German officers during the Second World War were preserved. There is also an opinion that this office was in Peterhof.

Alexander II and his humor

Once, Alexander II drove through a small town and decided to attend a service in the church. The church was full that day. Then the policeman began to disperse those who came to the service with cuffs and shouts:

The emperor laughed and said that since then he is aware of how respect is taught in the country. After a while, she still said one phrase that became winged:

"It’s easy to rule Russia, but it’s pointless."

Alexander III and its roots

The penultimate ruler in the Romanov dynasty was called the Peacemaker, because during his reign the Russian Empire did not know military operations. In addition, he preferred everything that was originally Russian, let go of his beard and worried that there were many Germans in the royal family.

Some time after the coronation, Alexander invited his close associates and asked them a question: who was born of Paul I. In response to the fact that his great-great-grandfather was most likely Sergey Saltykov incredibly pleased the governor and he exclaimed:

"Thank God! So, I have at least a little Russian blood! ”


Probably the richest Russian statesman in terms of shares. However, in many of his quirks, John IV repeated the “experience” of both his ancestors and the Roman emperors (like Caligula and Nero). Perhaps the most unprecedented and original act can only be called the refusal of the crown of the "kingdom of Moscow" in favor of Kasimov's guest worker Simeon Bekbulatovich. Simeon was married in the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin - as it should be for Moscow sovereigns. Grozny himself, according to the chronicler, moved "to Neglinnaya on Petrovka, on Orbat, against the Kamenny Bridge, it was old, and Ivan the Moscow was called ... But he simply went as a boy, and in the winter the charioteer was deaf ... And how did he come to Grand Duke Simeon, and he will sit far away, like the boyars, and Simeon the great prince will sit in the royal place. ” Under the name and with the coat of arms of Simeon Bekbulatovich, state decrees and awards were issued. And Grozny himself wrote in petition to Simeon: “Sovereign Grand Duke Simion Bekbulatovich of all Russia Ivanets Vasiliev with his children, with Yvanets, and with Fedorts they beat him with a brow.” In petition Ivan the Terrible asks the sovereign to welcome him and show his mercy, and to "sort out people" - to review the monetary and local salaries of service people. A year later, John Vasilievich played enough, took his crown back, and sent Simeon “for good health” to Tver.

Alexey Mikhailovich. The struggle for national sobriety

Tsar of All Russia, the second monarch of the Romanov dynasty, was called the Silent. Felts because of the soft nature, felts because of the love of silence, or because of the love of falconry, where silence is welcome. By the way, more than anything, Alexei I loved the falconry (he even composed "Laying the Falconry Way"). Alas, the tsar got rather noisy people in control. Having survived, in between hunts, salt and copper riots, the king decided to take up the fight against noise with all seriousness. March 15, 1647 by royal decree, the inhabitants of the Solovetsky Monastery were forbidden to keep "drunken drink" in their cells. In 1649, patriarchal and royal letters were sent to the diocese prohibiting the holding of "drunken drink" in all monasteries. Among the proposals prepared by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich for the Council of Russian Clergy on February 9, 1651, the last paragraph 13 reads: “But the priestly and monastic ranks from sobriety and sobriety would not have kept not only in church, but in the world, many worldly ones people are seducing. " In 1652, in order to reduce drunkenness among the common people, a kabat reform was prepared and carried out by royal decree. People really began to drink less, but the noise did not decrease.

Peter I. Shaving Beards

Regarding shares, he will give odds to Ivan the Terrible. The main soil for the royal tricks was the trip of Peter abroad. After a tourist experience, the monarch hastily remade Russia into a "civilized" country. Exactly four days after his return, he issues a decree: “On the wearing of a German dress, on the shaving of beards and mustaches, on walking around the schismatics in the garments indicated for them”: “I want to transform the secular goats, that is, citizens, and the clergy, that is, monks and priests. The first, that they would be Europeans in good without beards, and others, that they, though with beards, in the churches would teach parishioners Christian virtues in the way I saw and heard pastors studying in Germany. ” Having finished with facial hair, Peter began to experiment with time. Russian citizens asleep on December 31, 7207, woke up on December 1, 1700. That is, 5500 years were irretrievably lost. Well, in 1722, Peter got to the very institute of succession in Russia, issuing the Decree on succession to the throne, in which he abolished the ancient custom of transferring the throne to direct descendants through the male line, but allowed the appointment of any worthy person as the heir by the will of the monarch. This innovation then responded for a long time with “palace coups”.

Elizabeth the Great. Stylist experience

The great empress, daughter of Peter I, was sometimes not inferior to her father in her eccentricities: especially when it came to the vegetation on the body. So, in 1747, Elizabeth issued a decree known as the “hair establishment”. According to the decree, all the court ladies had to have their hair cut. For a while, while new hair grows, women had to wear “black disheveled wigs” in order to wear until they grew their own. City ladies were allowed to leave their hair by decree, but wear the same black wigs on top. The reason for the appearance of the order was the fact that the empress could not remove the powder from her hair and decided to dye it black. However, this did not help and she had to cut her hair completely and wear a black wig.

Paul I. Prohibition of the word "club"

The Russian emperor and the master of the Order of Malta dreamed, like Don Quixote, of reviving chivalry, idolized Prussia and could not stand the British and French. This dislike resulted in a ban on vests, “round hats” and the word “club”. In addition, Paul took up the reform of the Russian language: some words were withdrawn from official use and replaced with others. So, among those seized were the words “citizen” and “fatherland” (replaced by “layman” and “state”, respectively), but a number of Paul’s linguistic decrees were not so transparent - for example, the word “detachment” was changed to “detachement” or “team”, “execute” to “execute”, and “doctor” to “healer”.

Then, alien to pair dancing, the emperor tabooed the waltz. And enthusiastic about industrial design, he introduced strict standards on the carts of drivers, as a result of which most of the Moscow coachmen were forced to "bomb" outside of St. Petersburg.

Fads and antics of Russian monarchs

They say that any power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts completely. Russian rulers of different eras were not an exception to this rule, and they can not even be called ascetic people even with a stretch. A lot of historical jokes have been preserved about Russian tsars and tsaritsas. Here is some of them.

Peter the First and the Carls

Emperor Peter I is one of the most eccentric Russian rulers.

Peter even tried to breed dwarfs. More than seventy dwarfs, mostly poor peasants, were brought from all over Russia to the wedding of the tsarist jester Yakim Volkov and the dwarf serving with the tsarina. They were dressed in specially tailored outfits of European styles, drank drunk with wine and forced to dance to entertain those present. The emperor was very pleased.

Catherine II and the collection of erotica

According to rumors, the office, furnished with custom-made furniture with frivolous carvings, adjoined the personal chambers of the empress in the Gatchina Palace.The room was filled with the best examples of erotic painting and sculpture, and some exhibits were delivered from the excavations of Pompeii.

According to the official version, the collection was destroyed in 1950. The catalog, released in the 30s, and several photographs taken by German officers during the Second World War have been preserved. There is a version that the secret office was located not in Gatchina, but in Peterhof, and can still be found.

Ivan the Terrible and the Fake Tsar

In 1575, Ivan IV unexpectedly abdicated and declared that from now on he would become a simple boyar Vladimir of Moscow. He transferred the throne to the baptized Tatar Simeon Bekbulatovich, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. Simeon was officially married to the kingdom in the Assumption Cathedral, and Ivan settled on Petrovka. From time to time, the retired king sent petitions to Simeon, in which Ivanets Vasiliev signed.

Over the 11 months of Simeon’s reign, Ivan returned to the treasury with his hands all the lands previously granted to monasteries and boyars, and in August 1576 he also suddenly regained the throne. Relations Simeon with subsequent kings developed extremely unhappily. Boris Godunov ordered to blind him, False Dmitry I forced him to go to the monastery, Vasily Shuisky sent to Solovki. The burial place of Simeon is under the foundation of the house of culture of the Likhachev Plant, at the place where the necropolis of the Simonov Monastery was once located.

Alexander II and his sense of humor

One day, Alexander the Second, passing a small provincial city, decided to attend a church service. The temple was crowded. Upon seeing the emperor, the local police chief began to clear his way among the parishioners with punches and shouts: “With respect! With trepidation! ”Alexander, having heard the words of the police chief, laughed and said that he now understood how people in Russia are taught humility and respect. Another ironic phrase attributed to Alexander II: “It’s easy to rule Russia, but it’s pointless”.

Alexander III and genealogy

The penultimate emperor, nicknamed the Peacemaker (with him, the Russian Empire did not participate in wars), loved everything Russian, wore a rich beard and hardly put up with the fact that the imperial family actually consisted of Germans. Soon after the coronation, Alexander gathered the closest courtiers and asked them who actually was the father of Paul I. The historian Barskov replied that, most likely, Alexander’s great-great-grandfather was Count Sergei Vasilyevich Saltykov. “Thank God!” The emperor exclaimed, baptizing. - “So, I have at least a little Russian blood in me!”

Elizaveta Petrovna and female vanity

Possessing a mild nature by nature, the daughter of Peter the Great did not make concessions only in fashion and beauty. No one was allowed to copy the style of clothing and the style of the Empress's hairstyle or to appear at a reception in a dress that was superior in luxury to Elizabeth's dress. At one of the balls, the empress herself cut off the ribbons and hairpins of the wife of Chief Ombudsman Naryshkin with her hair on the pretext that her hair remotely resembled the royal.

Once the court hairdresser after the ball could not wash and comb the hair of Elizabeth, clinging to hairdresser's drugs. The empress was forced to cut her hair. Immediately the court ladies were ordered to shave baldly and wear black wigs until the cancellation of the order. Only the future Catherine II, who had recently suffered a disease and had lost her hair, avoided shaving her head. Moscow ladies were allowed not to shave their heads, provided that they hide their hairstyles under black wigs.

Paul I and official zeal

Since childhood, Pavel Petrovich was addicted to strict order, military uniforms and maneuvers. Alexander Suvorov, according to rumors, was removed from command of the army due to statements about the inappropriateness of a German powdered wig on a Russian soldier and uncomfortable boots with buckles. Once Paul conducted a training siege of the fortress, the defenders of which were ordered by all means to hold out until noon.

Two hours before the end of the exercises, the emperor, along with the regiments besieging the fortress, fell under heavy rain. The commandant of the fortress was ordered to immediately open the gate and let Paul in, but he flatly refused to obey the order. The emperor got wet through. Exactly at twelve o'clock the gates opened, and Paul, bursting into the fortress in anger, fell upon the commandant with reproaches.

He calmly showed the emperor with his own hand a signed order. Pavel had no choice but to praise the colonel for his diligence and discipline. The commandant immediately received the rank of major general and was sent to carry the guard under the continuing rain.

Alexander I and honesty

In the last years of his life, Alexander the First was a very God-fearing person. On Christmas Eve, making a pilgrimage trip, the emperor briefly stopped at the post station. Entering the hut of the station warden, Alexander saw the Bible on the table and asked whether the warden often reads it.

He assured the king that very often. Having sent, under some pretext, a caretaker from the room, the emperor put five hundred-ruble notes (gigantic money for those times) between the pages of Scripture and soon left. Twelve days later, at Baptism, Alexander returned to Petersburg through the same station.

Seeing the book in the same place, the emperor again asked the caretaker whether he had read the book since they saw each other. The caretaker again warmly assured him that he had read, and more than once. Alexander leafed through the Bible - bills were in place. He scolded the caretaker for deceiving and ordered the money to be distributed to orphans.


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