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A. Lentin

In 1773, writes A. Lentin, the radical philosophe paid a difficult visit to his patroness in St Petersburg.

Catherine’s cordial relations with the greatest thinkers of her day were no mistake, writes A. Lentin, but an integral part of her statecraft.

A. Lentin profiles the lively, meddlesome friend of Catherine the Great, who returned to Russia from her western travels in the year 1782.

A. Lentin introduces Princess Dashkova. During the reigns of Peter III and Catherine II, the Russian Princess was a tireless intellectual and a seasoned western traveller.

‘The story of Charles XII,’ wrote Voltaire, ‘was entertaining; that of Peter instructive.’ A. Lentin describes a unique example of early modern Franco-Russian relations.

The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire appears to offer a paean to the civilised society of the Antonines. But Gibbon, as A. Lentin reveals, was well aware that it bestowed 'the benefits of order' without the 'blessing of freedom'.