Today, it’s hard to believe, but just two centuries ago such a simple thing as glasses, was almost indecent, and nearsighted or farsighted Muscovites could not go out, equip your eyes. How and why portable optical instruments fell out of favour — in the material

a Ban on glasses in fact acted not only in Moscow — most Russian nobles with poor eyesight were compelled to move cautiously, and met a friend for a long time to squint. Allowed to have binoculars, but the glass was allowed to attach to the eye, to show and immediately hide it in your pocket. It was during the reign of Paul I (1796-1801).

During his reign, he managed to conduct some major reforms, to combat all that was done his mother, whom he hated. He became Emperor after the death of Catherine II, he first adopted the act of succession, whereby the crown of the Russian Empire were inherited strictly from father to son. When it was the weakened position of the nobility and improve the situation of the peasants, had taken some steps to centralize power.

Fearing the contagious example of the French revolution thundered shortly before his accession, Paul banned all French: books, clothing, language and even borrowing from it, included in Russian. He directed the nobles, the men to change and hair to get rid of the sideburns and slick your hair back, collecting in the tail.

Why the glasses fell out of favor is unknown. Perhaps the Emperor did not like when he looked too closely, and many of his contemporaries described his appearance as not very pleasant. Maybe the people hiding behind the glasses, he suspected conspirators. Paul I was a child, when his father, Peter III was killed, and all his life he was afraid to suffer the same fate. However, all efforts were in vain: in 1801 Paul I was the victim of a conspiracy — he was killed in his own bedroom.

Another version — the ban was introduced at the request of the wife of Paul I, Maria Feodorovna, which was short-sighted. Most likely, she was unpleasant to see at the court of the people with glasses. None of the members of the Romanov dynasty has never appeared in glasses or binoculars for the public. There is not a single portrait in which the Royal lady was depicted with an optical instrument, — by default, it was believed that the ruler must possess a clear vision.

People who do not belong to the Royal family, also some time could not wear sunglasses. To wear them at home was possible, but to appear like this in public was considered indecent — like cornrowing others. The freedom of wearing the optical device at the court could, however, be earned, as did Egor Kankrin, the Minister of Finance of Russia in 1823-1844 years. With portraits Yegor Frantsevich looks at us with the naked eye, but still the poems of Vladimir Venediktov, has long served as the Minister Secretary:

Listens to all points will raise to the forehead,

it seems like the idea has in the form of two rays

out Of the blue, obliquely elevated eyes…

Perhaps the main adherent of the ban was Ivan Gudovich, the Moscow commander-in-chief and Manager for the civil part, in the years 1809-1812. Field-Marshal-General, in 1789 recapture the Turkish fortress hadzhibey (the site of which was built Odessa), mastered the fortress of Anapa in 1791 and conquered the Caspian coast of Dagestan, and in the office of the mayor preserved the military severity.

Contemporaries remembered that the points brought Gudovich in a real fury: he doesn’t just enforce rules, but rather brutally intervened in the private lives of Muscovites. Ivan could stop the carriage, seeing a passerby with glasses, and the demand to remove the hated object with the nose. According to legend, he forbade to wear glasses even at home.

And yet he somehow didn’t like the carts, drawn by three horses. “The persecutor points and troickoe harness” — that was the nickname he went down in history.

the Echoes of Paul’s ban on the wearing glasses we can hear, for example, in “Eugene Onegin”, written in the years 1923-1930. Describing the appearance of your character at the theatre after the start of the play, Pushkin writes:

All slams. Onegin enters,

Goes between the chairs legs,

Double binoculars scosese leads

To Lodge a stranger to the ladies.

the Poet was just one phrase, to show the impudence of a young rake: he views women, arming the eye. The gesture is to toss a hand with binoculars and look closely at someone was considered a daring challenge.

by the Way, during his studies of Pushkin in the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum pupils were forbidden to wear glasses. In particular, it recalled later, the poet and publisher Anton Delvig, adding: “…But all the women seemed wonderful to me!”

his most famous portrait — the figure of Valerian Langer, made in 1830 — Delvig, however, looks at us through his glasses. Wore glasses at the time and Alexander Griboedov — he depicted them for two Pushkin drawings made during the life of the playwright and diplomat, and all the posthumous portraits created according to the descriptions of friends.