Today I was thinking about some ye old famous people and how some of them have really cool names after their first names.

People like Alexander the Great, Attila The Hun, Greggy The Flamboyant etc…and although I know at least a little bit about some of them, one name I thought of completely made me draw a blank of who they were or what they did.

Catherine The Great.

So I thought I should at least take a stab at who she was and really, who better than to follow up my St. Valentine’s Day made-up guess than with her?

Some of you reading this may roll your eyes at my lack of historical figure knowledge and you may know who she is and what she did.  But you aren’t writing this blog so it doesn’t really matter now does it?

Anyway, so I present to you, gentle reader, my guess on who Catherine The Great was:

Ummm…she may have ruled England.  Or was it Russia?

Fuck.

This is going to be terrible.

Ok.  She ruled England.  I think.

I believe her real name was Catherine Ebay Monistat.

Born in 1642 to British Royalty in the town of Spleenlake (near modern day Liverpool.)

She was the only daughter of King Richard the Lion Hearted and Queen Mary the Turkey Neck.  She had an older brother named Ivan who she was always competing with for her parents attention.

Besides being the first and only recipient of a successful lion heart transplant, Richard was also crazy about his only daughter. He loved her so much that he gave her everything a future queen could ever want. But Catherine did not become a spoiled brat.  She was always kind and fair.

Her brother Ivan was obnoxious and rude and quite the opposite of Catherine. (Many scholars point to the fact that Catherine and Ivan set the precedent for the famous Goofus and Gallant cartoon that would appear centuries later in Highlight magazines.)

When Catherine was 20 something major happened. King Richard the Lion Hearted got ironically mauled to death by lions at a Siegfried and Roy type show in the Great Hall of his castle.

Ivan was the heir to the throne, but was out of the country at a month-long, drug-fueled rave near Prague.  With Ivan out of the country and no cell phone service available yet, the people became impatient.  Many began to call him Ivan The Irresponsible or Ivan The Jerk-Ass.  Eventually, he became known as he is still called today…Ivan The Terrible.

I believe actually, HE went on to rule Russia or something like that, but I digress.

In 1662, Queen Mary died from eating too much Fiddle Faddle, so with Richard dead and Ivan M.I.A., Catherine became ruler of England and was immediately adored by her people.

She was loved because she invented Casual Fridays and the English accent.  She ruled for many years and eventually died at the ripe age of 82. During her 62 year reign as queen, there were no wars and everything went really great. Hence her moniker.

Upon her death, Catherine was succeeded by her son John. He didn’t do such a good job ruling the country and became known as John The Not So Great.

OK that’s my guess on Catherine The Great.  Let’s see who she really was according to “Historians” and “Scholars.”

Catherine II (Russian: Екатерина II Великая, Yekaterina II Velikaya), also known as Catherine the Great, born 2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729, reigned as Empress of Russia from 9 July [O.S. 28 June] 1762 until her death (17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796). Under her direct auspices the Russian Empire expanded, improved its administration, and continued to modernize along Western European lines. Catherine’s rule re-vitalized Russia, which grew ever stronger and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe. Her successes in complex foreign policy and her sometimes brutal reprisals in the wake of rebellion (most notably Pugachev’s Rebellion) complemented her hectic private life.

Catherine took power after a conspiracy deposed her husband, Peter III (1728–1762), and her reign saw the high point in the influence of the Russian nobility. Peter III, under pressure from the nobility, had already increased the authority of the great landed proprietors over their muzhiks and serfs. In spite of the duties imposed on the nobles by the first prominent “modernizer” of Russia, Tsar Peter I (1672–1725), and despite Catherine’s friendships with the western European thinkers of the Enlightenment (in particular Denis Diderot, Voltaire and Montesquieu) Catherine found it impractical to improve the lot of her poorest subjects, who continued to suffer (for example) military conscription.[1] The distinctions between peasant rights on votchina and pomestie estates virtually disappeared in law as well as in practice during her reign.

In 1775 Catherine decreed a Statute for the Administration of the Provinces of the Russian Empire. The Statute sought to efficiently govern Russia by increasing population and dividing the country into provinces and districts. By the end of her reign, there were fifty provinces, nearly 500 districts, more than double the government officials, and they were spending six times as much as previously on local government. In 1785 Catherine conferred on the nobility the Charter to the Nobility, increasing further the power of the landed oligarchs. Nobles in each district elected a Marshal of the Nobility who spoke on their behalf to the monarch on issues of concern to them—mainly economic ones. In the same year, Catherine issued the Charter of the Towns which distributed all people into six groups in order to control the power of nobles and create a middle estate. Each of these charters had major flaws and Catherine seemingly could not gain the reform she had long desired for her country, after her death this was made even more obvious through her son Paul.


HAHAHAHAHA!   I’m stupid!  It WAS Russia.  Oh man, that’s hilarious.  I wasn’t close on ANYTHING!

Well, hopefully you learned something today my friends!  Also, it seems like all the Catherine’s I actually know really ARE great, so isn’t that amazing?

Theoretically yours,

Prof Dave

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