Cleopatra: A Life

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Click for availability and more information Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff
From the ancient times to the present, Cleopatra has been an historical figure who has attracted enduring attention from authors, playwrights, poets, rulers, movie directors and so many others. The Pulitzer Prize winning writer Stacy Schiff has contributed her account of Cleopatra with her highly-praised biography Cleopatra: A Life. Schiff admits on page 1 of her book, "if the name is indelible, the image is blurry." Further, she writes that "our most comprehensive sources never met Cleopatra." However, Schiff proves herself to be a great scholar of Cleopatra's life and the years in which she ruled Egypt. Her notes at the end of the book show she studied both ancient sources and modern works on Cleopatra. And, she succeeds in presenting an absorbing, interesting and very readable biography of this extraordinary ruler.

Cleopatra's Egypt was a true prize under her rule as it was a huge supplier of food, especially grains, for the Roman Empire. Alexandria was a developed and vital port. Cleopatra's fleets were impressively strong and well-built. As she dazzled both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, Egypt became a much-respected ally of the Roman Empire.

Her story, as Schiff tells it, is remarkable for she was a cunning, brilliant and admirable ruler. Even though murderous intrigues and continual plotting to retain her power were hallmarks of her reign, she did prevail until her disastrous last years. Perhaps the greatest attribute of Cleopatra: A Life is how clearly Cleopatra's life, the Egypt under her rule as well as the adjacent Mediterranean world of her time come vibrantly alive. Cleopatra: A Life is a great read and enthusiastically recommended.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry published on May 16, 2011 4:10 PM.

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