The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.
Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.
Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however, to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, among the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a child with Caesar and--after his murder--three more with his protégé. Already she was the wealthiest ruler in the Mediterranean; the relationship with Antony confirmed her status as the most influential woman of the age. The two would together attempt to forge a new empire, in an alliance that spelled their ends. Cleopatra has lodged herself in our imaginations ever since.
Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way, Cleopatra's supple personality and the drama of her circumstances have been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff 's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A scholarly work, with language and cadence to match. Beware ( ;-> ), as an iBook, the supporting material, footnotes and photos, are removed from the text in a disjointed way and do not flow well with an electronic book's format.
Where are the illustrations?
Fascinating read, but can't believe the iPad version doesn't include the illustrations. I'm going to have to go to the bookstore now just to look at all the pictures! Still a great read.
Where's the Beef?
This book is extraordinary and I want it so much; however, I now plan on buying the hardback version (in the hardback, everything is there) simply for the reason that page notes are not there, nor is there any numbered notes visible. It is interesting to see that there are links to notes imbedded in the text, but the links are only a bit off in text color and may be difficult to pick-up on. I am very disappointed about this situation as I am becoming very attached to reading books on the iPad and will continue to do so. To put this all in perspective: buy Cleopatra in any version you desire - just buy it for a truly incredible read.