Sebag-Montefiore divides his history of the Romanovs into three Acts. Act II, which self began reading over the weekend, is called The Apogee, c. 1700 – 1800.
Instead of chapters, there are “Scenes.” Below is an excerpt from Scene 2: The Empresses.
- Golitsyn, the grandson of Regent Sophia’s minister, had secretly converted to Catholicism to marry an Italian girl and, as a punishment, (Empress) Anna ordered him to abandon the wife and serve as her cupbearer . . . Golitsyn’s speciality was to dress as a hen and sit on a straw basket nest for hours clucking in front of the court. After mass on Sundays, Golitsyn and the other fools sat in rows cackling and clucking in chicken outfits.
More scenes of depravity to follow.