― Her name was Sophia Frederica Augusta. She was a minor eighteenth century German princess of the minor eighteenth century duchy of Anhalt-Zerbst. In the normal course of things she would have married a minor German prince, lived a minor German life and passed into history, minor and unnoticed. But destiny had another path and another name for Sophia. She became Ekaterina. She became Catherine, Empress of all the Russias, known as ‘the Great’ even in her own lifetime. ∙ Catherine [...].