Berenice II and the Golden Age of Ptolemaic Egypt

Berenice II and the Golden Age of Ptolemaic Egypt

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Berenice II (c. 264-221 BCE), daughter of King Magas of Cyrene and wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes, came to embody all the key religious, political, and artistic ideals of Ptolemaic Alexandria. Though she arrived there nearly friendless, with the taint of murder around her, she became one of the most accomplished and powerful of the Macedonian queens descended from the successors of Alexander the Great. She was at the center of a group of important poets and intellectuals associated with the Museum and Library, not the least of which was Callimachus, the most important poet of the age. These men wrote poems not just for her, but about her, and their eloquent voices projected her charisma widely across the Greek-speaking world. Though the range of Berenice's interests was impressive and the quantity and quality of the poetry she inspired unparalleled, today she is all but known. Assimilating the scant and scattered evidence of her life, Dee L. Clayman presents a woman who was more powerful and fascinating than we had previously imagined.
Berenice II and the Golden Age of Ptolemaic Egypt offers a portrait of a woman who had access to the cultural riches of both Greece and Egypt and who navigated her way carefully through the opportunities and dangers they presented, ultimately using them to accrue unprecedented honors that were all but equal to those of the king.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 12 illus.
  • 0195370899
  • 9780195370898
  • 724,712

Review quote

A cornucopia of a book, brimming over with the fruits of deep research and perceptive reading. * Peter M. Green, The Classical Journal * Full of interesting and perceptive readings of poems and the intent of poets... While Clayman's strength certainly lies in analysis of poetry and poets, she often employs that knowledge to good effect in topics not narrowly poetic, as in her fascinating discussion of the context for Cynisca of Sparta's victory and the inscriptions created to commemorate it. * Bryn Mawr Classical Review * Berenice II was a major influence on the cultural and intellectual life of the Ptolemaic court at its zenith. In this first full-scale biography, Dee L. Clayman has brought together historical, material, and literary sources to tease out the remarkable story of this queen's crafting of her own position of power through court intrigue, manipulation of artistic and religious imagery, and close alliance with literary figures such as Callimachus and Apollonius of Rhodes,
who celebrated their queen both overtly and covertly in still famous works of poetry. * Kathryn Gutzwiller, University of Cincinnati *
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About Dee L. Clayman

Dee L. Clayman is Professor of Classics and Executive Officer of the PhD Program in Classics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements ; Abbreviations ; The Family Tree of Berenice II ; Map of The Eastern Meditteranean in the 3rd Century BCE ; Introduction ; One. Birth in Cyrene ; Two. Arrival in Alexandria ; Three. Callimachus on Murder and Marriage ; Four. Apollonius on Murder and Marriage ; Five. Ruling and Racing ; Six. Berenice in Egypt and another Murder ; Appendix: Catullus 66 ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index ; Index Locorum
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Rating details

6 ratings
3 out of 5 stars
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4 17% (1)
3 33% (2)
2 17% (1)
1 17% (1)
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