Peter I

Peter I
1. ("the Great"), 1672-1725, czar of Russia 1682-1725.
2. (Peter Karageorgevich), 1844-1921, king of Serbia 1903-21.

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born с 903
died Jan. 30, 969

Tsar of Bulgaria (927–969).

The second son of Simeon I, he inherited the throne on his father's death in 927. Early in his reign, Peter faced revolts by his brothers, which were suppressed, and he also endured raids by the Magyars, who crossed Bulgaria on their way to the Byzantine Empire. His reign, however, was generally peaceful, and he made important gains against the Byzantines, receiving the title emperor from them. He also forced the Byzantines to recognize the independence of the Bulgarian church, and he married the granddaughter of the Byzantine emperor Romanus I Lecapenus. In 965 war broke out with the Byzantines; Peter subsequently suffered a stroke and retired to a monastery, where he died two years later. Canonized by the Bulgarian Orthodox church, Peter was deeply religious and an active church builder. During his reign, the Bogomil heresy first appeared.
born July 11, 1844, Belgrade, Serbia
died Aug. 16, 1921, Topčider, near Belgrade, Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes

King of Serbia (1903–18) and of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) from 1918.

The son of Prince Alexander Karadjordjević, who was forced to abdicate in 1858, he lived with his family in exile. He fought with the French army in the Franco-Prussian War and with the Serbian revolt against the Turks (1875). After the assassination of Alexander Obrenović (1903), Peter was elected king of Serbia. He advocated a constitutional government and won recognition for his liberal policies. In World War I, he allied Serbia with France and Russia but was defeated by the Central Powers. In 1918 he returned to Belgrade and was proclaimed king of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.
Russian Pyotr Alekseyevich known as Peter the Great

born June 9, 1672, Moscow, Russia
died Feb. 8, 1725, St. Petersburg

Tsar of Russia (1682–1725).

Son of Tsar Alexis, he reigned jointly with his half brother Ivan V (1682–96) and alone from 1696. Interested in progressive influences from western Europe, he visited several countries there (1697–98). After returning to Russia, he introduced Western technology, modernized the government and military system, and transferred the capital to the new city of St. Petersburg (1703). He further increased the power of the monarchy at the expense of the nobles and the Orthodox church. Some of his reforms were implemented brutally, with considerable loss of life. Suspecting that his son Alexis was conspiring against him, he had Alexis tortured to death in 1718. He pursued foreign policies to give Russia access to the Baltic and Black seas, engaging in war with the Ottoman Empire (1695–96) and with Sweden in the Second Northern War (1700–21). His campaign against Persia (1722–23) secured for Russia the southern and western shores of the Caspian Sea. In 1721 he was proclaimed emperor; his wife succeeded him as the empress Catherine I. For raising Russia to a recognized place among the great European powers, Peter is widely considered one of the outstanding rulers and reformers in Russian history, but he has also been decried by nationalists for discarding much of what was unique in Russian culture, and his legacy has been seen as a model for Joseph Stalin's brutal transformation of Russian life.

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▪ duke or count of Brittany
also called  Peter Of Dreux,  byname  Peter Mauclerc,  French  Pierre De Dreux, or Pierre Mauclerc 
born 1190
died 1250, at sea en route to France

      duke or count of Brittany from 1213 to 1237, French prince of the Capetian dynasty, founder of a line of French dukes of Brittany who ruled until the mid-14th century.

      Married by his cousin King Philip II Augustus of France to Alix, heiress to Brittany, Peter did homage for the province in 1213 and assumed the title of duke, though he was considered merely a count by the French. He energetically asserted his authority over the Breton lands, annexing new fiefs to the ducal domain, granting privileges to the towns, and regularizing the administration.

      As guardian for his son, John I the Red, after Alix's death in 1221, Peter attempted to build up his own power against the day of his son's majority; he extorted concessions from the French regency in 1227 by means of rebellion. He transferred his allegiance from the French to the English king from 1229 until 1234, even though his predecessor, Arthur I, had been murdered by the English. But when John came of age (1237), Peter had to renounce Brittany and henceforth was merely count of Braine.

      Called Mauclerc (“Bad Clerk”) either because his early training for the church was abortive or because he quarreled continually with the episcopate, Peter spent much of his life under excommunication and was persuaded to go on a crusade (1239–40) in penance. In 1248 he went to Egypt on another crusade. Wounded in battle, he died on his way home.

▪ emperor of Russia
Russian in full  Pyotr Alekseyevich,  byname  Peter the Great,  Russian  Pyotr Veliky 
born June 9 [May 30, Old Style], 1672, Moscow, Russia
died Feb. 8 [Jan. 28, O.S.], 1725, St. Petersburg
 tsar of Russia, who reigned jointly with his half-brother Ivan V (1682–96) and alone thereafter (1696–1725) and who in 1721 was proclaimed emperor (imperator). He was one of his country's greatest statesmen, organizers, and reformers.

      Peter was the son of Tsar Alexis by his second wife, Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina (Naryshkina, Natalya Kirillovna). Unlike his half-brothers, sons of his father's first wife, Mariya Ilinichna Miloslavskaya, Peter proved a healthy child, lively and inquisitive. It is probably significant to his development that his mother's former guardian, Artamon Sergeyevich Matveyev (Matveyev, Artamon Sergeyevich), had raised her in an atmosphere open to progressive influences from the West.

Youth and accession
      When Alexis died in 1676 Peter was only four years old. His elder half-brother, a sickly youth, then succeeded to the throne as Fyodor III; but, in fact, power fell into the hands of the Miloslavskys, relatives of Fyodor's mother, who deliberately pushed Peter and the Naryshkin circle aside. When Fyodor died childless in 1682, a fierce struggle for power ensued between the Miloslavskys and the Naryshkins: the former wanted to put Fyodor's brother, the delicate and feebleminded Ivan V, on the throne; the Naryshkins stood for the healthy and intelligent Peter. Representatives of the various orders of society, assembled in the Kremlin, declared themselves for Peter, who was then proclaimed tsar; but the Miloslavsky faction exploited a revolt of the Moscow streltsy, or musketeers of the sovereign's bodyguard, who killed some of Peter's adherents, including Matveyev. Ivan and Peter were then proclaimed joint tsars; and eventually, because of Ivan's precarious health and Peter's youth, Ivan's 25-year-old sister Sophia was made regent. Clever and influential, Sophia took control of the government; excluded from public affairs, Peter lived with his mother in the village of Preobrazhenskoye, near Moscow, often fearing for his safety. All this left an ineradicable impression on the young tsar and determined his negative attitude toward the streltsy.

      One result of Sophia's overt exclusion of Peter from the government was that he did not receive the usual education of a Russian tsar; he grew up in a free atmosphere instead of being confined within the narrow bounds of a palace. While his first tutor, the former church clerk Nikita Zotov, could give little to satisfy Peter's curiosity, the boy enjoyed noisy outdoor games and took especial interest in military matters, his favourite toys being arms of one sort or another. He also occupied himself with carpentry, joinery, blacksmith's work, and printing.

      Near Preobrazhenskoye there was a nemetskaya sloboda (“German colony”) where foreigners were allowed to reside. Acquaintance with its inhabitants aroused Peter's interest in the life of other nations, and an English sailboat, found derelict in a shed, whetted his passion for seafaring. Mathematics, fortification, and navigation were the sciences that appealed most strongly to Peter. A model fortress was built for his amusement, and he organized his first “play” troops, from which, in 1687, the Preobrazhensky and Semyonovsky Guards regiments were formed—to become the nucleus of a new Russian Army.

      Early in 1689 Natalya Naryshkina arranged Peter's marriage to the beautiful Eudoxia (Yevdokiya Fyodorovna Lopukhina). This was obviously a political act, intended to demonstrate the fact that the 17-year-old Peter was now a grown man, with a right to rule in his own name. The marriage did not last long: Peter soon began to ignore his wife, and in 1698 he relegated her to a convent.

      In August 1689 a new revolt of the streltsy took place. Sophia and her faction tried to use it to their own advantage for another coup d'état, but events this time turned decisively in Peter's favour. He removed Sophia from power and banished her to the Novodevichy convent; she was forced to become a nun after a streltsy rebellion in 1698. Though Ivan V remained nominally joint tsar with Peter, the administration was now largely given over to Peter's kinsmen, the Naryshkins, until Ivan's death in 1696. Peter, meanwhile continuing his military and nautical amusements, sailed the first seaworthy ships to be built in Russia. His games proved to be good training for the tasks ahead.

External events
      At the beginning of Peter's reign, Russia was territorially a huge power, but with no access to the Black Sea, the Caspian, or to the Baltic, and to win such an outlet became the main goal of Peter's foreign policy.

The Azov campaigns (1695–96)
      The first steps taken in this direction were the campaigns of 1695 and 1696, with the object of capturing Azov from the Crimean Tatar vassals of Turkey (Ottoman Empire). On the one hand, these Azov campaigns could be seen as fulfilling Russia's commitments, undertaken during Sophia's regency, to the anti-Turkish (Russo-Turkish wars) “Holy League” of 1684 (Austria, Poland, and Venice); on the other they were intended to secure the southern frontier against Tatar raids, as well as to approach the Black Sea. The first campaign ended in failure (1695), but this did not discourage Peter: he promptly built a fleet at Voronezh to sail down the Don River and in 1696 Azov was captured. To consolidate this success Taganrog was founded on the northern shore of the Don Estuary, and the building of a large navy was started.

The Grand Embassy (1697–98)
      Having already sent some young nobles abroad to study nautical matters, Peter, in 1697, went with the so-called Grand Embassy to western Europe. The embassy comprised about 250 people, with the “grand ambassadors” Franz Lefort, F.A. Golovin, and P.B. Voznitsyn at its head. Its chief purposes were to examine the international situation and to strengthen the anti-Turkish coalition, but it was also intended to gather information on the economic and cultural life of Europe. Travelling incognito under the name of Sgt. Pyotr Mikhaylov, Peter familiarized himself with conditions in the advanced countries of the West. For four months he studied shipbuilding, working as a ship's carpenter in the yard of the Dutch East India Company at Saardam; after that he went to Great Britain, where he continued his study of shipbuilding, working in the Royal Navy's dockyard at Deptford, and he also visited factories, arsenals, schools, and museums and even attended a session of Parliament. Meanwhile, the services of foreign experts were engaged for work in Russia.

      On the diplomatic side of the Grand Embassy, Peter conducted negotiations with the Dutch and British governments for alliances against Turkey; but the Maritime Powers did not wish to involve themselves with him because they were preoccupied with the problems that were soon to come to a crisis, for them, in the War of the Spanish Succession.

The destruction of the streltsy (1698)
      From England, Peter went on to Austria; but while he was negotiating in Vienna for a continuance of the anti-Turkish alliance, he received news of a fresh revolt of the streltsy in Moscow. In the summer of 1698 he was back in Moscow, where he suppressed the revolt. Hundreds of the streltsy were executed, the rest of the rebels were exiled to distant towns, and the corps of the streltsy was disbanded.

The Northern War (Northern War, Second) (1700–21)
      When it became clear that Austria, no less than the Maritime Powers, was preparing to fight for the Spanish Succession and to make peace with Turkey, Peter saw that Russia could not contemplate a war without allies against the Turks, and he abandoned his plans for pushing forward from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. By the Russo-Turkish Peace of Constantinople (Istanbul, 1700) he retained possession of Azov. He was now turning his attention to the Baltic instead, following the tradition of his predecessors.

      The Swedes occupied Karelia, Ingria, Estonia, and Livonia and blocked Russia's way to the Baltic coast. To dislodge them, Peter took an active part in forming the great alliance, comprising Russia, Saxony, and Denmark–Norway, which started the Northern War in 1700. This war lasted for 21 years and was Peter's main military enterprise. In planning it and in sustaining it he displayed iron willpower, extraordinary energy, and outstanding gifts of statesmanship, generalship, and diplomacy. Mobilizing all the resources of Russia for the triumph of his cause, constantly keeping himself abreast of events, and actively concerning himself with all important undertakings, often at his personal risk, he could be seen sometimes in a sailor's jacket on a warship, sometimes in an officer's uniform on the battlefield, and sometimes in a labourer's apron and gloves with an axe in a shipyard.

      The defeat of the Russians at Narva (1700), very early in the war, did not deter Peter and, in fact, he later described it as a blessing: “Necessity drove away sloth and forced me to work night and day.” He subsequently took part in the siege that led to the Russian capture of Narva (1704) and in the battles of Lesnaya (1708) and of Poltava (Poltava, Battle of) (1709). At Poltava, where Charles XII of Sweden suffered a catastrophic defeat, the plan of operations was Peter's own: it was his idea to transform the battlefield by works of his military engineers—the redoubts erected in the path of the Swedish troops to break their combat order, to split them into little groups, and to halt their onslaught. Peter also took part in the naval battle of Gangut (Hanko, or Hangö) in 1714, the first major Russian victory at sea.

      The treaties concluded by Russia in the course of the war were made under Peter's personal direction. He also travelled abroad again for diplomatic reasons—e.g., to Pomerania in 1712 and to Denmark, northern Germany, Holland, and France in 1716–17.

      In 1703, on the banks of the Neva River, where it flows into the Gulf of Finland, Peter began construction of the city of St. Petersburg (Saint Petersburg) and established it as the new capital of Russia in 1712. By the Treaty of Nystad (September 10 [August 30, O.S.], 1721) the eastern shores of the Baltic were at last ceded to Russia, Sweden was reduced to a secondary power, and the way was opened for Russian domination over Poland.

      In celebration of his triumph, the Senate on November 2 (October 22, O.S.), 1721, changed Peter's title from tsar to that of emperor (imperator) of all the Russias.

The popular revolts (1705–08)
      The peasant serfs and the poorer urban workers had to bear the greatest hardships in wartime and moreover were intensively exploited in the course of Peter's great work for the modernization and development of Russia (see below Internal reforms). Their sufferings, combined with onerous taxation, provoked a number of revolts, the most important of which were that of Astrakhan (1705–06) and that led by Kondraty Afanasyevich Bulavin in the Don Basin (1707–08). These revolts were cruelly put down.

The Turkish War (Russo-Turkish wars) (1710–13)
      In the middle of the Northern War, when Peter might have pressed further the advantage won at Poltava, Turkey declared war on Russia. In the summer of 1711 Peter marched against the Turks through Bessarabia into Moldavia, but he was surrounded, with all his forces, on the Prut River. Obliged to sue for peace, he was fortunate to obtain very light terms from the inept Turkish negotiators, who allowed him to retire with no greater sacrifice than the retrocession of Azov. The Turkish government soon decided to renew hostilities; but the Peace of Adrianople (Edirne) was concluded in 1713, leaving Azov to the Turks. From that time on Peter's military effort was concentrated on winning his war against Sweden.

The Tsarevich Alexis and Catherine (to 1718)
      Peter had a son, the tsarevich Alexis, by his discarded wife Eudoxia. Alexis was his natural heir, but he grew up antipathetic to Peter and receptive to reactionary influences working against Peter's reforms. Peter, meanwhile, had formed a lasting liaison with a low-born woman, the future empress Catherine I, who bore him other children and whom he married in 1712. Pressed finally to mend his ways or to become a monk in renunciation of his hereditary rights (1716), Alexis took refuge in the dominions of the Holy Roman emperor Charles VI, but he was induced to return to Russia in 1718. Thereupon proceedings were brought against him on charges of high treason, and after torture he was condemned to death. He died in prison, presumably by violence, before the formal execution of the sentence.

The Persian campaign (1722–23)
      Even during the second half of the Northern War, Peter had sent exploratory missions to the East—to the Central Asian steppes in 1714, to the Caspian region in 1715, and to Khiva in 1717. The end of the war left him free to resume a more active policy on his southeastern frontier. In 1722, hearing that the Ottoman Turks would take advantage of Persia's weakness and invade the Caspian region, Peter himself invaded Persian territory. In 1723 Persia ceded the western and southern shores of the Caspian to Russia in return for military aid.

      The campaign along the parched shores of the Caspian obviously put a great strain on Peter's health, already undermined by enormous exertions and also by the excesses in which he occasionally indulged himself. In the autumn of 1724, seeing some soldiers in danger of drowning from a ship aground on a sandbank in the Gulf of Finland, he characteristically plunged himself into the icy water to help them. Catching a chill, he became seriously ill in the winter but even so continued to work; indeed, it was at this time that he drew up the instructions for the expedition of Vitus Bering to Kamchatka.

      When Peter died early in the following year, he left an empire that stretched from Arkhangelsk (Archangel) on the White Sea to Mazanderan on the Caspian and from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Though he had in 1722 issued a decree reserving to himself the right to nominate his successor, he did not in fact nominate anyone. His widow Catherine, whom he had crowned as empress in 1724, succeeded him to the temporary exclusion of his grandson, the future Peter II.

Internal reforms
      At the beginning of Peter's reign, Russia was backward by comparison with the countries of western Europe. This backwardness inhibited foreign policy and even put Russia's national independence in danger. Peter's aim, therefore, was to overtake the developed countries of western Europe as soon as possible, in order both to promote the national economy and to ensure victory in his wars for access to the seas. Breaking the resistance of the boyars (boyar), or members of the ancient landed aristocracy, and of the clergy and severely punishing all other opposition to his projects, he initiated a series of reforms that affected, in the course of 25 years, every field of the national life—administration, industry, commerce, technology, and culture.

The towns
      At the beginning of Peter's reign there was already some degree of economic differentiation between the various regions of Russia; and in the towns artisans were establishing small businesses, small-scale production was expanding, and industrial plants and factories were growing up, with both hired workers and serfs employed. There was thus a nascent bourgeoisie, which benefitted considerably from Peter's plans for the development of the national industry and trade. The reform of the urban administration was particularly significant.

      By a decree of 1699, townspeople (artisans and tradesmen) were released from subjection to the military governors of the provinces and were authorized to elect municipalities of their own, which would be subordinated to the Moscow municipality, or ratusha—the council of the great merchant community of the capital. This reform was carried further in 1720, with the establishment of a chief magistracy in St. Petersburg, to which the local town magistracies and the elected municipal officers of the towns (mayors, or burmistry; and councillors, or ratmany) were subordinated.

      All townspeople, meanwhile, were divided between “regulars” and “commons” (inferiors). The regulars were subdivided between two guilds (guild)—the first comprising rich merchants and members of the liberal professions (doctors, actors, and artists); the second, artisans (classified according to their vocations) and small tradesmen. A merchant belonged to the first or to the second guild according to the amount of his capital; and those who were also manufacturers had special privileges, coming under the jurisdiction of the College of Manufactures and being exempt from the billeting of troops, from elective rotas of duty, and from military service. The commons were hired labourers, without the privileges of regulars.

      Thanks to the reforms, the economic activity and the population of the towns increased. Anyone engaged in trade was legally permitted to settle in a town and to register himself in the appropriate category, and there was a right of “free commerce for people of every rank.”

The provinces and the districts
      In order to create a more flexible system of control by the central power, Russia was territorially divided in 1708 into eight guberny, or governments, each under a governor appointed by the tsar and vested with administrative, military, and judicial authority. In 1719 these guberny were dissolved into 50 provintsy, or provinces, which in turn were subdivided into districts. The census of 1722, however, was followed by the substitution of a poll tax for the previous hearth tax; and this provoked a wave of popular discontent, against which Peter decided to distribute the army regiments (released from active service by the Peace of Nystad) in garrisons throughout the country and to make their maintenance obligatory on the local populations. Thus came into being the “regimental districts,” which did not coincide with the administrative. The regimental commanders, with their own sphere of jurisdiction and their own requirements, added another layer to the already complex system of local authority.

The central government
      In the course of Peter's reign, medieval and obsolescent forms of government gave place to effective autocracy (absolutism). In 1711 he abolished the boyarskaya duma, or boyar council, and established by decree the Senate as the supreme organ of state—to coordinate the action of the various central and local organs, to supervise the collection and expenditure of revenue, and to draft legislation in accordance with his edicts. Martial discipline was extended to civil institutions, and an officer of the guards was always on duty in the Senate. From 1722, moreover, there was a procurator general keeping watch over the daily work of the Senate and its chancellery and acting as “the eye of the sovereign.”

      When Peter came to power the central departments of state were the prikazy, or offices, of which there were about 80, functioning in a confused and fragmented way. To replace most of this outmoded system, Peter in 1718 instituted 9 “colleges” (kollegy), or boards, the number of which was by 1722 expanded to 13. Their activities were controlled, on the one hand, by the General Regulation and, on the other, by particular regulations for individual colleges, and indeed there were strict regulations for every branch of the state administration. Crimes against the state came under the jurisdiction of the Preobrazhensky Office, responsible immediately to the tsar.

      A secondary purpose of Peter's Grand Embassy to western Europe in 1697 (see above The Grand Embassy) had been to obtain firsthand acquaintance with advanced industrial techniques, and the exigencies of his great war against Sweden, from 1700, made industrial development an urgent matter. In order to provide armaments and to build his navy (Russia had virtually no warships at all), metallurgical and manufacturing industries on a grand scale had to be created; and Peter devoted himself tirelessly to meeting these needs. Large capital investments were made, and numerous privileges were accorded to businessmen and industrialists. These privileges included the right to buy peasant serfs for labour in workshops, with the result that a class of “enlisted” serfs came into existence, living in specified areas and bound to the factories. The methods of other countries were further studied, and foreign experts were invited to Russia. The overall result was satisfactory: the army and the navy were supplied with their material needs; a great number of manufacturing establishments were founded (mainly with serf labour); the metallurgical industry was so far advanced that by the middle of the 18th century Russia led Europe in this field; and the foreign-trade turnover was increased sevenfold in the course of the reign.

The armed forces
      Peter established a regular army on completely modern lines for Russia in the place of the unreliable streltsy and the militia of the gentry. While he drew his officers from the nobility, he conscripted peasants and townspeople into the other ranks. Service was for life. The troops were equipped with flintlock firearms and bayonets of Russian make; uniforms were provided; and regular drilling was introduced. For the artillery, obsolete cannons were replaced with new mortars and guns designed by Russian specialists or even by Peter himself (he drew up projects of his own for multicannon warships, fortresses, and ordnance). The Army Regulations of 1716 were particularly important; they required officers to teach their men “how to act in battle,” “to know the soldier's business from first principles and not to cling blindly to rules,” and to show initiative in the face of the enemy. For the navy, Peter's reign saw the construction, within a few years, of 52 battleships and hundreds of galleys and other craft; thus a powerful Baltic fleet was brought into being. Several special schools prepared their pupils for military or naval service and finally enabled Peter to dispense with foreign experts.

Cultural and educational measures
      From January 1, 1700, Peter introduced a new chronology, making the Russian calendar conform to European usage with regard to the year, which in Russia had hitherto been numbered “from the Creation of the World” and had begun on September 1 (he adhered however to the Julian Old Style as opposed to the Gregorian New Style for the days of the month). In 1710 the Old Church Slavonic (Old Church Slavonic language) alphabet was modernized into a secular script.

      Peter was the first ruler of Russia to sponsor education on secular lines and to bring an element of state control into that field. Various secular schools were opened; and since too few pupils came from the nobility, the children of soldiers, officials, and churchmen were admitted to them. In many cases, compulsory service to the state was preceded by compulsory education for it. Russians were also permitted to go abroad for their education and indeed were often compelled to do so (at the state's expense). The translation of books from western European languages was actively promoted. The first Russian newspaper, Vedomosti (“Records”), appeared in 1703. The Russian Academy of Sciences was instituted in 1724.

      Beside his useful measures, Peter often enforced superficial Europeanization rather brutally; for example, when he decreed that beards should be shorn off and Western dress worn. He personally cut the beards of his boyars and the skirts of their long coats (kaftany). The Raskolniki (Old Believers (Old Believer)) and merchants who insisted on keeping their beards had to pay a special tax, but peasants and the Orthodox clergy were allowed to remain bearded.

The church
      In 1721, in order to subject the Orthodox Church of Russia (Russian Orthodox church) to the state, Peter abolished the Patriarchate of Moscow. Thenceforward the patriarch's place as head of the church was taken by a spiritual college, namely the Holy Synod, consisting of representatives of the hierarchy obedient to the tsar's will. A secular official—the ober-prokuror, or chief procurator—was appointed by the tsar to supervise the Holy Synod's activities. The Holy Synod ferociously persecuted all dissenters and conducted a censorship of all publications.

      Priests officiating in churches were obliged by Peter to deliver sermons and exhortations that were intended to make the peasantry “listen to reason” and to teach such prayers to children that everyone would grow up “in fear of God” and in awe of the tsar. The regular clergy were forbidden to allow men under 30 years old or serfs to take vows as monks.

      The church was thus transformed into a pillar of the absolutist regime. Partly in the interests of the nobility, the extent of land owned by the church was restricted; Peter disposed of ecclesiastical and monastic property and revenues at his own discretion, for state purposes.

The nobility
      Peter's internal policy served to protect the interest of Russia's ruling class—the landowners and the nascent bourgeoisie. The material position of the landed nobility was strengthened considerably under Peter. Almost 100,000 acres of land and 175,000 serfs were allotted to it in the first half of the reign alone. Moreover, a decree of 1714 that instituted succession by primogeniture and so prevented the breaking up of large properties also removed the old distinction between pomestya (lands granted by the tsar to the nobility in return for service) and votchiny (patrimonial or allodial lands) so that all such property became hereditary.

      Moreover, the status of the nobility was modified by Peter's Table of Ranks (Ranks, Table of) (1722). This replaced the old system of promotion in the state services, which had been according to ancestry, by one of promotion according to services actually rendered. It classified all functionaries—military, naval, and civilian alike—in 14 categories, the 14th being the lowest and the 1st the highest; and admission to the 8th category conferred hereditary nobility. Factory owners and others who had risen to officer's rank could accede to the nobility, which thus received new blood. The predominance of the boyars ended.

Personality and achievement
      Peter was of enormous height, more than six and one-half feet (two metres) tall; he was handsome and of unusual physical strength. Unlike all earlier Russian tsars, whose Byzantine splendours he repudiated, he was very simple in his manners; for example, he enjoyed conversation over a mug of beer with shipwrights and sailors from the foreign ships visiting St. Petersburg. Restless, energetic, and impulsive, he did not like splendid clothes that hindered his movements; often he appeared in worn-out shoes and an old hat, still more often in military or naval uniform. He was fond of merrymaking and knew how to conduct it, though his jokes were frequently crude; and he sometimes drank heavily and forced his guests to do so too. A just man who did not tolerate dishonesty, he was terrible in his anger and could be cruel when he encountered opposition: in such moments only his intimates could soothe him—best of all his beloved second wife, Catherine, whom people frequently asked to intercede with him for them. Sometimes Peter would beat his high officials with his stick, from which even Prince A.D. Menshikov (Menshikov, Aleksandr Danilovich), his closest friend, received many a stroke. One of Peter's great gifts of statesmanship was the ability to pick talented collaborators for the highest appointments, whether from the foremost families of the nobility or from far lower levels of society.

      As a ruler, Peter often used the methods of a despotic landlord—the whip and arbitrary rule. He always acted as an autocrat, convinced of the wonder-working power of compulsion by the state. Yet with his insatiable capacity for work he saw himself as the state's servant, and whenever he put himself in a subordinate position he would perform his duties with the same conscientiousness that he demanded of others. He began his own army service in the lowest rank and required others likewise to master their profession from its elements upward and to expect promotion only for services of real value.

      Peter's personality left its imprint on the whole history of Russia. A man of original and shrewd intellect, exuberant, courageous, industrious, and iron-willed, he could soberly appraise complex and changeable situations so as to uphold consistently the general interests of Russia and his own particular designs. He did not completely bridge the gulf between Russia and the Western countries, but he achieved considerable progress in development of the national economy and trade, education, science and culture, and foreign policy. Russia became a great power, without whose concurrence no important European problem could thenceforth be settled. His internal reforms achieved progress to an extent that no earlier innovator could have envisaged.

Leonid Alekseyevich Nikiforov Ed.

Additional Reading
Pis'ma i bumagi Imperatora Petra Velikogo, 11 vol. (1887–1964), contains Peter's correspondence as well as valuable documents on Russian history up to 1711. Biographies include M.M. Bogoslovskiĭ, Petr I, 5 vol. (1940–48, reissued 1969), a detailed study up to 1700; Ian Grey, Peter the Great, Emperor of All Russia (1960); M.S. Anderson, Peter the Great (1978); Alex De Jonge, Fire and Water: A Life of Peter the Great (1979); Robert K. Massie, Peter the Great: His Life and World (1980, reprinted 1991); and Henri Troyat, Peter the Great (1987; originally published in French, 1979), a popularized account. Peter's reign and the reforms he instituted are analyzed in Sergeĭ M. Solov'ev, Publichnyia chteniia o Petrie Velikom (1872, reissued 1984), by a famous Russian historian; B.H. Sumner, Peter the Great and the Emergence of Russia (1950, reissued 1972); Reinhard Wittram, Peter I, Czar und Kaiser, 2 vol. (1964), and Peter der Grosse: der Eintritt Russlands in die Neuzeit (1954); Ivan I. Golikov, Dieianiia Petra Velikago, 2nd ed., 15 vol. (1837–43), on his reforms; James Cracraft, The Church Reform of Peter the Great (1971); Alexander V. Muller (ed. and trans.), The Spiritual Regulation of Peter the Great, trans. from Russian (1972); and Evgenii V. Anisimov, The Reforms of Peter the Great: Progress Through Coercion in Russia (1993; originally published in Russian, 1989). J.G. Garrard (ed.), The Eighteenth Century in Russia (1973), provides a collection of essays on different aspects of the Westernization of Russia. Peter's military campaigns and his role as the founder of the new Russian army are explored in the works of a prominent Soviet historian, Evgeniĭ V. Tarle, Russkiĭ flot i vneshniaia politika Petra I (1949), also available in a German translation, Russisch-englische Beziehungen unter Peter I (1954), and Severnaia voĭna i shvedskoe nashestvie na Rossiiu (1958). Foreign relations are described by Leonid A. Nikiforov, Russko-angliĭskie otnosheniia pri Petre I (1950); and B.H. Sumner, Peter the Great and the Ottoman Empire (1949, reissued 1965).Xenia Gasiorowska, The Image of Peter the Great in Russian Fiction (1979), is a study of some 60 historical novels written since Pushkin's time. Nicholas V. Riasanovsky, The Image of Peter the Great in Russian History and Thought (1985), examines Peter's influence and how he has been perceived in Russia from 1700 to 1983.Works that put Peter the Great and his reign into historical perspective include Vasili Klyuchevsky, The Rise of the Romanovs, trans. and ed. by Liliana Archibald (1970; originally published in Russian, 1912); E.M. Almedingen, The Romanovs: Three Centuries of an Ill-Fated Dynasty (1966); John D. Bergamini, The Tragic Dynasty: A History of the Romanovs (1969), based on English- and French-language sources; Ian Grey, The Romanovs: The Rise and Fall of a Dynasty (1970); and W. Bruce Lincoln, The Romanovs: Autocrats of All the Russias (1981).Leonid Alekseyevich Nikiforov Ed.

▪ king of Aragon

born c. 1068, –74
died Sept. 28, 1104

      king of Aragon from June 1094. The son of Sancho Ramírez, the third in order of the historic kings of Aragon, Peter belonged to times anterior to the authentic written history of his kingdom; and little is known of him save that he conquered Huesca (1096) and Barbastro (1100) from the Moors of Saragossa. He was twice married but left no children and was succeeded by his brother Alfonso I.

▪ king of Portugal
byname  Peter The Just, or The Cruel,  Portuguese  Pedro O Justiceiro, or O Cruel 
born April 8, 1320, Coimbra, Port.
died Jan. 18, 1367

      king of Portugal from 1357 to 1367.

      The son of Afonso IV and his consort Beatriz of Castile, Peter was married in 1336 to Constanza of Castile; but she died in 1345, and Peter is chiefly remembered for his tragic amour with Inês de Castro (Castro, Inês de) (q.v.), whose death he savagely avenged after his accession to the throne. Even so, some of his acts, designed to curb abuses and to enhance the royal power, were of great importance: he reformed the administration of justice (1361) and did much to make the Portuguese church a national one by insisting on the beneplácito régio, that is, the royal approbation of all papal bulls or letters before they could be published in the kingdom.

      Although before he became king of Portugal he had advanced a claim to the Castilian throne (1354), he later helped Castile against Aragon (1358 and 1360). From 1363, however, he pursued a neutral policy. On his death he was succeeded by his son Ferdinand I.

▪ king of Serbia
born July 11 [June 29, Old Style], 1844, Belgrade, Serbia [now in Yugoslavia]
died Aug. 16, 1921, Topčider, near Belgrade

      king of Serbia from 1903, the first strictly constitutional monarch of his country. In 1918 he became the first king of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later called Yugoslavia).

      Born the third son of the reigning prince Alexander Karadjordjević (Alexander) (1842–58), Peter became heir to the throne on the death of his brother Svetozar (1847). After his father was forced to abdicate (1858), Peter lived in exile for the next 45 years. Educated in France, mainly at military schools such as the prestigious Saint-Cyr, he served as a lieutenant in the French Army during the Franco-German War and was decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honour for heroism. When the Serbs of Herzegovina revolted against the Turks in 1875, Peter organized a party of volunteers to assist them. Afterward he became an honorary senator in Montenegro (1883) and improved his dynastic ties by marrying Zorka, the first child of Prince Nicholas of Montenegro (1883).

      In 1903 the Serbian king Alexander Obrenović (1889–1903) was assassinated, ending the Obrenović dynasty, and Peter was elected king of Serbia. His reputation as a liberal (he translated John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty into Serbian in 1868) and his strong advocacy of constitutional government helped improve the political situation at home and win recognition abroad. Incapacitated by age and poor health, Peter named his heir, Prince Alexander ( Alexander I), regent on June 24, 1914. During World War I, after the defeat of Serbia by the Central Powers (Germany and Austria) in 1915, he took part in the retreat to the Adriatic, carried in a litter. At the end of World War I he returned to Belgrade, where he was proclaimed king of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (Dec. 1, 1918).

Additional Reading
A treatment of Peter's reign can be found in Wayne S. Vucinich, Serbia Between East and West: The Events of 1903–1908 (1954).

▪ prince-bishop of Montenegro
Montenegrin in full  Petar Petrović Njegoš  
born c. 1747, , Njegoš, Montenegro
died Oct. 18 [Oct. 30, New Style], 1830, Cetinje

      the great vladika, or prince-bishop, of Montenegro from 1782 to 1830, who won full independence of his country from the Turks.

      As successor to his saintly but inept uncle Sava, Peter became the reigning prince in theocratic Montenegro in 1782 and was consecrated bishop two years later. To cement relations with Russia, always a potential ally against the Turks, he visited Russia that same year. On his return he found his land was being overrun by the forces of the pasha of Scutari. Uniting his warlike clans, he drove the invaders out. War with the Turks flared up periodically, sometimes with, and sometimes without, a powerful ally such as Russia or Austria. In 1796 a second invasion by the pasha of Scutari led to a series of brilliant victories over the Turks, with Peter leading his men. The pasha was captured and beheaded, and by a treaty in 1799 Sultan Selim III was forced to recognize the independence of Montenegro. New territories were added, including Brda, recently settled by Serbs from Hercegovina, which was to double the size of Montenegro during Peter's reign.

      During the Napoleonic Wars, Montenegro became involved in the struggle between the Great Powers. When by the Treaty of Pressburg with Austria (1804) the French took over Dalmatia, Peter allied himself first with the Russians until 1807 and then with the British in 1813 to maintain Montenegrin occupation of the town and Gulf of Kotor. After the French left in 1813, the territory was annexed by Peter (October 1813), and Kotor became his capital for a year. At the Congress of Vienna (1815), however, the land was returned to Austria. In Peter's last years as ruler he was involved in more wars with the Turks (1819 and 1821) and in settling blood feuds among his mountaineers; his efforts further enhanced his reputation as a just prince.

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Universalium. 2010.

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