One of the most prevalent
rumors in history is also one of its most sexually taboo. Catherine the
Great became Empress of Russia in 1762 at the age of forty. Ask just
about anyone what they may know of Catherine the Great of Russia and
they will either take on that wonderfully oblivious blank stare, or tell
you she died while coupling with one of her horses.
Catherine had been married to Peter lll
and history tells us that they had for all intent and purposes, a
loveless marriage. There is ongoing debate about their being the best of
friends. However, Peter displayed unruly and often childish tendencies
in court and in the bedroom. He would beat his dogs for sport, and play
cruel and vicious practical jokes on the courtiers.
Unlike the playful tendencies which
most women would enjoy, according to historians, he suffered from a
“physical deficiency” which disabled him from amorous acts with his
wife. Accounts have pointed to his having what some have termed “an
ill-fitting cap”, meaning his foreskin was far too tight and he could
not get an erection. Others have said that this tightening around the
head of his penis inhibited the flow of oxygen to his brain, thus
explaining his behavior around the palace.
The marriage of the virgins lasted
seven years as virgins, until Elizabeth decided Catherine must give her
an heir. Considering that the goal for Catherine was to produce an heir,
Peter was fast turning out not to be the man for the job. Smallpox had
made him ugly in appearance and when they married he was seventeen and
not willing or able to have sex with his wife. When the time finally
came, he listened to bawdy stories from the men around him and decided
quite strongly that he had no appetite for sex at all. He would stay up
very late into the night playing with toy soldiers and having campaigns
on the coverlets of his and Catherine’s bed. Very often forcing her to
stay awake with him to play, causing her more consternation than any
wife should bear. Yes, certainly the type of character to which a woman
would be attracted. This is a man any woman would jump at the chance to
spend a night with. Women swoon for men who leave tiny toy soldiers
holding tiny bayonets under our bottoms just to gift us with the
exquisite joy of rolling over onto them during our sleep. A fetish I
don’t personally understand.
Empress Elizabeth, frantic for an heir,
forced the couple to spend monumental amounts of time together. This did
not sit well with Catherine. Finally, in 1752, after seven years of a
marriage to Peter without sex, the virgin Catherine was given a soldier
by Elizabeth and fell in love with him. She became pregnant and gave
birth to her son Paul whom Elizabeth then took from her to be raised.
Shortly after Catherine’s coronation, Peter died and instead of being
regent to Paul, she took the throne herself. She wasn’t a kind leader
and often displayed horrid tendencies toward the peasant and servant
classes. She also became very public about her sex life. Discretion not
being her finest suit. One of her ex-lovers, Grigori Potemkin, would
procure her young men from all ranks, mostly however soldiers of her
personal guard. Her ladies-in-waiting always tried her “toys” out
for her and if they passed muster, she took them to her bed. She was a
talented horsewoman (get those thoughts out this minute) and spent a
great deal of time working her personal stable with the help of her
guards and stable team.
It has been rumored since her death
that Catherine actually died from injuries resulting from having a horse
crush her while being strapped to its belly in an act of bestial
Her upheld reputation for complete
abandonment of principal and ethic, is not the case of her death.
Although my personal feeling is that human kind needs this kind of
outrageous remembrance if only to keep us aware of just how bizarre a
ruler can become when holding immense power. I won’t name names here
but I’m sure you get the picture.
Sexual innuendo and rumor serve the
greater population with the fodder to view leaders as human. (In many
cases as sub-human.) If figures of leadership fall into history with a
pristine past, what fun does that provide the people? What other topic
would the comedians focus on? Marie Antoinette said “let them eat
cake”. Au contraire Marie, let them eat delicious rumor and gossip.
The champagne of the rich is the water of the poor. If one of the royals
spits in the champagne, a headline will follow. Humans are by nature a
gossipy bunch. What we can’t live in our own lives, we’ll talk about
to our friends. History, now there is a ripe field full of luscious
growth for the picking. To pluck a snippet from history and reroute it
through the maze of the human communication network, leaves us with this
divine sense of knowing something naughty about someone dead. History is
a free paradise for fertile imaginations. Can they sue for slander?
Highly unlikely. Can they take it to the papers? Only if they use a
medium to do so. So we as human beings are safe to speculate and
cogitate over people like Catherine.
Granted, history is taken very
seriously by those historians who root about until they uncover the
uglier rumors of mediocrity that must eventually surface and grind out
the more exciting tidbits. Believe me, they don’t like it either.
History provides either excitement or mediocre tales. One is much more
fun to explore than the other.
The fact of the matter is, Catherine
died while sitting on the commode, of a massive stroke. Yes, you read
correctly. She died on the john. Immediate history even went so far as
to have her great girth and bountiful bottom break the commode causing
her bleeding injuries from which she supposedly died. This Russian
leader could not even leave the world that. No juicy fodder for the
quills of the historians. No tales (tails?) of bestiality did she leave
us with. No, Catherine died while pursuing bodily functions rather than
bodily passions. The horse story never held basis in fact.
The horse whom she was most fond of,
reveled in the fame for the remainder of his life. However, his heirs
and predecessors still snigger about their ancestor’s penchant for