Engineering An Empire

Season 1 Episode 8


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 20, 2006 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

At the height of its power the Russian Empire stretched across 15 times zones, incorporated nearly 160 different ethnicities, and made up one sixth of the entire world's landmass. What started as a few small principalities was shaped into an indomitable world power by the sheer force of its leaders. However, building the infrastructure of this empire came at an enormous price. As Russia entered the 20th century, her expansion reached critical mass as her rulers pushed progress at an unsustainable pace and her population reacted in a revolution that changed history. From the Moscow Kremlin, to the building of St. Petersburg, examine the architecture and infrastructure that enabled the rise and fall of the Russian Empire.moreless

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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (4)

      • In 1472, Ivan III married Sophia Paleologus, the niece of the last Emperor of Byzantium. Pope Paul II arranged their marriage.

      • Ivan the Terrible married seven times and even proposed to a lady in the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England

      • In 1698 Peter the Great issued a beard tax, to be paid by anyone refusing to cut off their old-fashioned Russian bears, in favor of a clean-shaven Western look.

      • Catherine the Great was the first leader to initiate a large scale inoculation program. In 1768 she immunized herself and her subjects against smallpox.

    • QUOTES (1)

      • Narrator: It was an empire that rose out of the ashes of barbarian conquest, straddled 15 time zones and swallowed one-sixth of the entire world's land mass. Fueled by 400 years of chaos the Russian Empire was forged by a lion's den of larger than life Czars, whose tyrannical designs were as colossal as the country itself. These visionaries would drive Russia's rise to greatness, adapting foreign technologies to seize power, capture territory and engineer and empire. But the same drive that fueled Russia's thirst for everlasting glory would ultimately devour its own people.

    • NOTES (1)

      • Commentators:

        William Brumfield
        Tulane University

        Cynthia Hyla Whittaker
        Baruch College

        William Sunderland
        University of Cincinnati

        Seymour Becker
        Rutgers University

        Mikhail Krom
        European University of St. Petersburg

    • ALLUSIONS (0)