Peter the Great as a Crazy Monarch??

Famous people, History

Peter the Great as a Crazy Monarch??

It’s fairly rare that I comment in any depth about blog posts anywhere else. Everyone is entitled to their opinion afterall. This one about Peter the Great has just got me bouncing around wanting to punch a definition of ‘Interpretations’ though… 

The usually excellent Very Short History blog has compiled a list of ‘Top Ten Crazy Kings’. Fine, I like lists, particularly as they are really devisive and you can argue with them etc… though usually I can sort of see why someone or something would get onto a list.

In this case my jaw dropped when I saw their facebook update.

Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great are ‘no brainers’, but who else makes the list of history’s craziest kings (and queens)?

Peter the Great


Absolutely stunned. Now let’s have a look at what ‘crazy’ means…

  • Mad
  • Bonkers
  • Fruitcake
  • Illogical
  • Irrational

You get the drift…..

And lets try and apply those to Peter the Great. Little tip here for the author of the top ten crazy kings list – ‘THE GREAT’ is a bit of a clue that he wasn’t all that Crazy…

Mainly just to justify my love of Russian History, and possibly the fact that reading about him is one of my favourite pastimes here’s ten reasons why he wasn’t crazy – apart from at those mad week long parties and a few other occasions…

  1. Opened up Russia’s waterways creating an infrastructure that allowed commerce to prosper.
  2. Built some really big city that even the might of the Wehrmacht couldnt capture quite some time later.
  3. Once upon a time Russia had no navy, then Peter the Great demanded one.
  4. Sweden were a formidable and much feared fighting force: Peter swept them aside and exerted his own authority over huge swathes of land.
  5. Russia sort of became an empire under his rule, was really quite insignificant beforehand.
  6. Ok, a lot of issues with Russian involvement in this part of the world at the moment but Peter the Great was sort of responsible for Russian forces and the navy being in the Crimea in the first place. We may be regretting it at the moment but it was an outstanding military achievement.
  7. The Caucasus. Has all sorts of minerals and oils and stuff… and it wasn’t in Russian hands until, you guessed it, Peter the Great.
  8. Interacted with the West and utilised the best ideas and technologies to create growth in the Russian economy.
  9. Politically astute as a youth: just consider how he became the sole Tsar of Russia in the first place. Ruthless, yes. Crazy, no.
  10. Created the Preobrazhenskii and the Semeovskii guards units. Elite troops in a country that had previously fought along virtually feudal lines.

Don’t get me wrong, I know he did a few weird and wonderful things but how on earth can someone who oversees the transformation of Rus into the Russian Empire; drags it almost singlehandedly into the (then) modern world and turns a laughing stock of a nation into a major European power be considered crazy?

I do hasten to add that the site is actually very good and I heartily recommend visiting it and following them on facebook etc. Just didn’t like seeing on of the people who inspired me to love History being labelled as a nutter….

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