Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

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University of Oklahoma Press, 2006 - Literary Collections - 345 pages

Who was Cleopatra? Who is Cleopatra? Viewed as both goddess and monster even in her own lifetime, she has become through the ages saint and sinner, heroine and victim, femme fatale and star-crossed lover, black and white. A protean figure, Cleopatra defies categorization.

Cleopatra’s life story, gleaned from contemporary sources, is powerfully intriguing: Married four times, she seduced two of the most powerful men in Rome (Julius Caesar and Marc Antony), became the sole ruler of Egypt, gained legendary status for her lavish banquets, and chose to die rather than endure disgrace as the prisoner of Octavian, Caesar’s heir.

This fascinating sourcebook documents what we know of the historical figure and also shows how she has evolved through the lens of interpretation. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, the volume consists of a series of readings about Cleopatra—historical, literary, and documentary—extending from ancient times to the twentieth century, from the European Romantics to the Afro centrists, and from Middle English to modern Arabic.

In her introductions to the readings, Prudence J. Jones provides helpful information about the sources, placing them in historical and cultural context. She includes passages both familiar and unfamiliar, some not easily found in translation. Suitable for classroom use, Cleopatra: A Sourcebook reveals a multitude of Cleopatras, raising as many questions as it answers about one of history’s most captivating figures.

 

 

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"Evil woman," the moment I saw such a term used for Cleopatra, I knew this book was trouble, written by a Roman enthusiast, I'm assuming.
It was as if time ticks backward, and now we are back to the
recession of Augustus, the era of pruny, old men who wrote in order to defile the reputation of the Queen. And it is obviously this "author" only ever read the works of such pruny, old, hateful men who still could not deny her of beauty nor intelligence.
This is a rather one-sided perspective on Cleopatra, so I do to recommend it, as it focuses mainly her "liaisons" instead of the prosperity of Egypt under her rule; unlike Hatsheptut whom the people could not accept as pharaoh, Cleopatra was loved and respected.
Well, that's my two cents. I dislike reading things with biased point of view, more so if it is blatant. I can almost guarantee no one from that era was more of a saint than Caesar.
 

Contents

The Ptolemies
3
Cleopatras Early Career
31
Caesar
46
Antony
94
Octavian
129
Actium
147
The Death of Cleopatra
180
Good Woman or Bad
207
Afrocentric Cleopatra
279
Modern Cleopatras
287
1 Alexandria
309
2 The Mediterranean World in the Time of Cleopatra
310
1 Abbreviated Genealogy of Julius Caesar Octavian and Antony
313
2 Abbreviated Genealogy of the Ptolemies
314
The Death of Alexander the Great to the Death of Cleopatra
317
Glossary
319

The World Well Lost?
223
Womens Voices
247
Egyptomania
255
Fatal Cleopatra
260
Cleopatra in Arabic
270
Selective Cleopatra Filmography
325
Bibliography
329
Index
333
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Prudence J. Jones is Assistant Professor of Classics at Montclair State University, New Jersey.

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