Catherine wasn’t called “The Great” for nothing. Though she was one of the most enlightened women in the world, behind closed doors was a very different story. In the end, Catherine earned her title through blood, lust, and ultimate betrayal—and her scandalous rise and legendary fall is one for the ages. Learn more about one of history’s most ruthless empresses.
Catherine the Great Facts
1. Her Name Was Completely Different
The future Catherine the Great of Russia had surprising beginnings. For one, her name wasn’t really Catherine—and she wasn’t really Russian. She was born the German Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst on May 2, 1729 to Prince Christian and Princess Johanna. But great women aren’t born, they’re made…and Catherine quickly showed how far she’d go for power.
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