While not all of The Great is historically accurate, there are some storylines that are. The beard law storyline is something to pay attention to.
certainly played fast and loose with history. That was the intention from the start. The promo for the series in the very beginning made it clear that it wouldn’t be historically accurate all of the time. It was satire.
Well, there were some elements of the story that were accurate to history. What may surprise you is that the beard tax storyline was somewhat accurate.
The Great’s beard tax storyline
You may remember that there was a point in the show where Count Rostov was ordered to shave off his beard. There are some comments of taxes and how a beard is against the law.
Well, it turns out that Peter I, also know as Peter the Great, did create a beard tax. He initially wanted to outlaw beards, but beards were extremely important to some religions, such as the Orthodox Jews. Instead, Peter decided to create a tax, which would be a different amount depending on your position in society.
In the end, Catherine the Great would overturn the taxes. She would make it so that beards were fine to have again. This is something that we see hints of in The Great.
You see, she tries to help with the situation against her husband, but Peter III orders for the beard to be shaved off. Orlo, who is the one who has to shave Count Rostov’s beard, decides after that to side with Catherine in the coup to overthrow Peter. It is the beginning of the end for Peter III of Russia.
Of course, not everything we see on the screen is true, but there were laws against beards. It was Catherine who changed it.
The Great is available to stream on Hulu.