Art: Masters of Gold

Peter the Great. Father of the Fatherland and Emperor of All Russia, spent most of his reign (1682-1725) trying to imitate the culture of the West, but he also kept a cold eye on the East. In Siberia great bands of plunderers were digging up the tombs of a civilization that had disappeared from the pages of history by the 4th century A.D. The looters were after gold, and the tombs were rich in that. Being a practical man, Czar Peter simply gave orders that the looters be looted in turn. Soon plaques and buckles were pouring into the imperial coffers....

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