77% done with Peter the Great: His Life and World

Nice touch were we learn about Anne of Kiev who, nearly 1000 years previously, had been married to a Frenchman, Henry I, in a ceremony where she was able to sign her name to the marriage document but he, illiterate, could only scrawl an ‘X’. Kiev was far more civilized than France at the time, but now, even though the French countryside was filled with terrible poverty, Russia was the ‘backwards’ nation.