The Scarlet Robe

When Angélique Diderot was due to marry her long time fiance, her father’s dire finances threatened to ruin the day. Despite being Denis Diderot — the great French philosopher and co-founder of the Encyclopédie, one of the most comprehensive Encyclopedias of the time — he had lived in poverty for the majority of his life, and sadly  could not afford to pay for his daughter’s wedding.

Hearing of his plight, Catherine the Great of Russia, who enjoyed Diderot’s work, gifted the family the equivalent of £1,000 in exchange for his humble library — an extraordinary amount, reaching the equivalent of $150,000 today. Angélique was thus able to happily marry leaving her father with funds to spare.

With his newfound fortune, Denis Diderot decided to discard his old dressing-gown and treat himself to a new scarlet robe — a modest purchase.

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