Cleopatra

Cleopatra

3.61 (76,005 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Cleopatra's palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Though her life spanned fewer then 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 and she poisoned the second. 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 Anthony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and - after his murder, three more with his protege. 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 the supple personality has 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 a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 36mm | 665g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 0753539551
  • 9780753539552
  • 132,148

Review quote

"We see a great queen painted in dazzling colours in the twilight of a dazzling kingdom... new life is breathed into an indisputably authentic icon" Sunday Times "Under [Schiff's] pen, the mirage of Cleopatra shimmers down the deserts of time and suddenly stands before us, in new and thrilling sharp focus...full of well-researched context and much learned speculation" -- Jan Moir Daily Mailshow more

About Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff is the author of Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Excupery, a Pulitzer Prizefinalist; and A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America,winner of the George Washington Book Prize, the Ambassador Award in American Studies, and the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Institut Francais d'Ameruque. All three were New York Times Notable Books; the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune, and The Economist also named A Great Improvisation a Best Book of the Year. The biographies have been published in a host of foreign editions. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities and was a Director's Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She was awarded a 2006 Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Schiff has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She lives in New York City.show more

Flap copy

Cleopatra's palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Though her life spanned fewer then 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 and she poisoned the second. Incest and assassination were family specialities. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men.They happen, however to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and - after his murder, three more with his protégé. 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 the supple personality has 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 a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff's is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.show more

Review Text

"Under [Schiff's] pen, the mirage of Cleopatra shimmers down the deserts of time and suddenly stands before us, in new and thrilling sharp focus...full of well-researched context and much learned speculation"show more

Back cover copy

'What dazzles us in Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra are not the alluring mythologies about the evasive queen, but the astonishing if rare historical facts that Schiff has meticulously and lovingly excavated, linking one to the other like precious pieces of an ancient artifact. Cleopatra becomes 'real' as do the major (and minor) characters at her side. In language that is filled with insights and yet is seductive, lithe, and eloquent, Schiff offers not just Cleopatra's story but the story of an amazing era, one that has vanished but still affects us, questioning the way we look at myth, history and ourselves.' - Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehranshow more
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