Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth

Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth

Hardback

Edited by Susan Walker, Edited by Peter Higgs

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 229mm x 292mm x 35mm | 2,257g
  • Publication date: 14 May 2001
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691088357
  • ISBN 13: 9780691088358
  • Illustrations note: 300 color illus., 50 halftones
  • Sales rank: 1,132,783

Product description

Fabled for her sexual allure and cunning intelligence, Cleopatra VII of Egypt has fascinated generations of admirers and detractors since her tumultuous life ended in suicide in 30 B.C. The last of the Ptolemaic monarchs who had ruled Egypt for three centuries, Cleopatra created her own mythology. She became an icon in her own lifetime and a legend after her death. This lavishly illustrated catalogue coincides with a major international exhibition celebrating images of Cleopatra. It explores how she was depicted during her own era, in works ranging from coins to life-size sculpture. Exciting new discoveries are featured - including seven Egyptian-style statues believed to represent Cleopatra, and two portraits probably commissioned while she was living in Rome with Julius Caesar. The book also examines interpretations of Cleopatra from the Renaissance to modern times, as seen in paintings, ceramics, jewelry, plays, operas, and film. In addition, recent archaeological finds from Alexandria (Cleopatra's capital) and from Rome illustrate aspects of life in Cleopatra's day.

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Review quote

A hefty work of lively expertise and sumptuous ... illustrations. -- Judith Thurman, The New Yorker She was, of course, the greatest seductress the world has ever seen... It is hard to think of any ingredient that her story does not have. She was an intellectual, wrote books, took her lover to her library and read rare manuscripts to him for the pleasure of it... She spoke nine languages fluently; she was a capable and efficient ruler as well as a flamboyant one... Perhaps the most compelling conundrum about the queen, though, is what did Cleopatra look like? ... We have images in our minds of a slim, dusky enchantress, Egyptian straight hair, the headdress of cobras above darkly kohled eyes. The truth is hard to establish; but it is certainly different from that. -- Julian Champkin, Sunday Times Magazine There is enough evidence here of Cleopatra's own image creation to demonstrate that, if we find her hard to know, it is not only because the truth about her has been overlaid by 2000 years worth of erotic and racist fantasy, but because she herself was such a protean and ingenious self publicist. -- Lucy Hughes-Hallet, Time Literary Supplement [A] lavish catalog... The historical and legendary Cleopatra VII is brought to life through 394 objects from 35 museums and private collections in Africa, Europe, and North America. -- "Library Journal Cleopatra of Egypt will be a welcome addition to the library of any Cleopatra enthusiast. The volume is beautifully produced and the images are gorgeous... [It] succeeds in bringing its audience into the world of Cleopatra with thorough analysis of the ancient evidence and plenty of helpful background information. -- Prudence J. Jones, Bryn Mawr Classical Review This sumptuously illustrated catalog [is a] ... browsable homage to one of the most intriguing figures in all of antiquity... -- "Booklist This hefty, intelligent book attempts to pin down the elusive identity and mysterious story of the fascinating woman who ruled Egypt from 51-30 B.C... It is the book's color plates and illustrations, however, that give it life, an energy as forceful, as vivacious, and as fascinating as Cleopatra herself has been for twenty-one centuries. -- Karen McCarthy, ForeWord This magnificent publication ... features 11 scholarly but very readable essays and sumptuous photographs of the exhibits. It provides almost everything the reader is likely to want to know about this celebrated figure... This beautiful book and its accessible text will appeal to specialists and nonspecialists alike. -- "Choice Detailed and cutting-edge enough for the specialist and accessible enough for the casual exhibition-goer whose interest has been piqued by these antiquities. -- Sarah Lawson, The Art Book A lavishly illustrated, informative volume... Cleopatra herself appears in all the guises that enabled her to maintain her dominion over her complicated realm. -- Ingrid D. Rowland, The New Republic Cleopatra of Egypt is an appropriately spectacular catalogue produced in connection with an exhibition that was held in Rome, London, and the Field Museum in Chicago... The academic community as well as the general public owe a debt of gratitude to Susan Walker and the curators of the British Museum's Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities for their efforts in publishing this remarkable collection from lending museums in Egypt, Europe, Russia, and North America. -- Anatole Mori, The Classical Outlook

Table of contents

Index of lenders 6 Foreward by the Director 7 Preface 10 Maps 11 I. The Ptolemies and Alexandria 13 1. Sins of the father: the inheritance of Cleopatra, last queen of Egypt 14 2. Alexandria 32 II. Cleopatra, Lady of the Two Lands 127 3. Cleopatra's subtle religious strategy by Guy Weill Goudchaux 128 4. Cleopatra's images: reflections of reality by Susan Walker 142 5. Identifying the Egyptian-style Ptolemaic queens by Sally-Ann Ashton 148 III. Cleopatra and the Power of Rome 189 6. 'Spoiling the Egyptians': Octavian and Cleopatra by J.H.C. Williams 190 7. Searching for Cloepatra's image: classical portaits in stone by Peter Higgs 200 8. Was Cleopatra beautiful? The conflicts answers of numismatics by Guy Weill Goudchaux 210 IV. Egypt in Rome / The Myth of Cleopatra 275 9. Egyptian influences in Italy by Carla Alfano 276 10. Anything truth can do, we can do better: the Cleopatra legend by Christopher Pelling 290 11. The myth of Cleopatra since the Renaissance by Mary Hamer 302 Chronology 370 Glossary 371 Bibliography 371 List of authors 374 Concordance 375 Photographic acknowledgements 379 Index 380