Few personalities from classical antiquity are more famous-yet more poorly understood-than Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. In the centuries since her death in 30 BC, she has been endlessly portrayed in the arts and popular culture, from Shakespearean tragedy to paintings, opera, and movies. Despite the queen's enduring celebrity, however, many have dismissed her as a mere seductress. In this major new biography, Duane Roller reveals that Cleopatra was in fact a learned and visionary leader whose overarching goal was always the preservation of her dynasty and kingdom. Roller's authoritative account is the first to be based solely on primary materials from the Greco-Roman period: literary sources, Egyptian documents (Cleopatra's own writings), and representations in art and coinage produced while she was alive. His compelling portrait of the queen illuminates her prowess as a royal administrator who managed a large and diverse kingdom extending from Asia Minor to the interior of Egypt, as a naval commander who led her own fleet in battle, and as a scholar and supporter of the arts. Even her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius-the source of her reputation as a supreme seductress who drove men to their doom-were carefully crafted state policies: she chose these partners to insure the procreation of successors who would be worthy of her distinguished dynasty.
Find out more about this lecture on Mary Washington's web site.
All lectures in the university's Great Lives series are held at 7:30pm, in Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, and are free and open to the public.
Find out more about Cleopatra by checking out these items from the library:
Antony and Cleopatra produced by Peter Snell (DVD)
Based on a play by Shakespeare, and adapted for screen and directed by Charlton Heston.
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare (book, eBook, and audiobook)
Cleopatra produced by Dyson Lovell (DVD)
This production is based on the book Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George.
Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce A. Tyldesley
A biography that reveals the true political genius of this beautiful and ill-fated queen.
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (book and audiobook)
Pulitzer Prize winning biographer brings to life the intriguing life of Cleopatra.
Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love and Politics in the Ancient World by Diana Preston
This book explores the life and times of a dynamic couple.