From a small coastal village in what is now Poland, Sophie Augusta Fredericka traveled to Russia at the age of fourteen. Pius and idealistic, the young Sophie shed her cloak of innocence to become Catherine The Great. At the urging of her ambitious mother, Johanna, Sophie married Peter III, the only grandson of Russian legend, Peter I. After scandalous love affairs and the mysterious sudden death of her husband, Peter III, Catherine ascended the Russian throne. The most intriguing aspect of the story is the fact that Catherine had no moral or legal right to the Russian throne. During that era, the laws of succession were rigidly enforced. In Russia, there were three living heirs, each with a legitimate right to the throne; one of those heirs was her husband, Peter III, the grandson of Peter I, a giant in Russian history, known affectionately as The Father of Russia. Catherine was cautioned repeatedly that she would not be able to sidestep her husband, Peter III and Ivan VI (who was living but in prison), while at the same time ignoring the rights of her own son, Paul I. Highly placed members of the Russian aristocracy warned Catherine that the Russian people would take up arms against her solely for the fact that she was German, not Russian. The fact that Catherine was able to overcome so many obstacles to ascend the throne of Russia is a monument to her brilliance, strength and determination. Not only was she crowned Empress, her rule would last thirty years. Catherine's extraordinary success as a ruler has made her a legend in her own right.