Cleopatra the Great: The Woman Behind the Legend [NOOK Book]


World-Renowned Egyptologist Dr. Joann Fletcher offers an unparalleled look at one of history?s most fascinating leaders?Politician, Mother, and Goddess?the legendary Cleopatra.

The subject of myth for more than two millennia, Cleopatra was a woman of passion, magnetism, and political genius, the last and greatest Egyptian pharaoh. In this mesmerizing biography, Egyptologist Joann Fletcher draws on a wealth of newly discovered information and research to reveal this vital woman ...

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Cleopatra the Great: The Woman Behind the Legend

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World-Renowned Egyptologist Dr. Joann Fletcher offers an unparalleled look at one of history’s most fascinating leaders—Politician, Mother, and Goddess—the legendary Cleopatra.

The subject of myth for more than two millennia, Cleopatra was a woman of passion, magnetism, and political genius, the last and greatest Egyptian pharaoh. In this mesmerizing biography, Egyptologist Joann Fletcher draws on a wealth of newly discovered information and research to reveal this vital woman as she truly was, from her first meeting with Julius Caesar to her legendary death by snakebite.

Cleopatra the Great tells the story of a turbulent time and the extraordinary woman at its center. A polymath monarch, she was also a potent combination of traditionalist and innovator, astute enough to realize what was necessary for Egypt’s continued prosperity and sufficiently ruthless to allow nothing to stand in her way.

Yet our understanding of Cleopatra has been obscured by Roman propaganda, Shakespearean tragedy, and Hollywood glamour. Cleopatra the Great pieces together the pharaoh’s ancient world with details about her massive library and infamous banquets, her relationships with both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and her skillful use of fashion and style to further her ambitions and her mystique. Intelligent and compulsively readable, here is an unparalleled biography worthy of its subject.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Egyptologist Fletcher (The Search for Nefertiti) has undoubtedly established the new standard in biographies of the attractive, and probably redhaired, Cleopatra. Exceedingly well-written, her study of the last Ptolemy to rule Egypt is a comprehensive examination of Hellenistic bloodlines, Mediterranean history, Egyptian religion, and the rise of Rome as the ultimate ancient superpower. "oth traditionalist and innovator," Cleopatra was noted for her natural intelligence, superior education, and innate political instincts. Constantly striving to preserve her own authority and, by extension, Egyptian autonomy, she outwitted her co-regent brother and other Graeco-Egyptian rivals, and famously cemented personal and political alliances with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius. Ultimately, of course, her abilities failed her, and Octavian, Caesar's nephew, reduced Egypt to a Roman province, an event Cleopatra chose not to witness. Hopefully, Fletcher's excellent work in every respect (it could only have been strengthened with information about the Egyptian people themselves) will not be lost in the wake of Stacy Schiff's bestselling Cleopatra. 8 pages of color illus. (Apr.)
Library Journal
In this superior study, published in the UK in 2008, Egyptologist Fletcher (honorary research fellow, archaeology, Univ. of York; The Search for Nefertiti) argues that Cleopatra's genius as a strategist, which allowed her to restore a fading Egypt to its former glory, is what makes her the "true heir" to her ancestor Alexander the Great. There are other recent notable Cleopatra biographies, e.g., Diana Preston's Cleopatra and Antony and Stacy Schiff's Cleopatra. While each brings something unique to the table—Schiff with her emotional investment in the queen who was a legend in her own lifetime, and Preston with her look into the reality behind the world's first "celebrity couple"—it is Fletcher who offers the most scholarly look at the real Cleopatra. The results make for a phenomenal book that provides a rich history of Cleopatra's time. The pacing is not slowed by the impeccable research employed by Fletcher to support her claims. VERDICT Those interested in Cleopatra, ancient history, or a well-written and academically sound biography will enjoy this authentic look at a queen of Egypt who managed to be all things to all people—mother, queen, goddess, and whore.—Crystal Goldman, San Jose State Univ. Lib., CA
Kirkus Reviews

Egyptologist Fletcher (The Search for Nefertiti,2004) takes on the legendary Egyptian queen.

The author not only fills in the blanks but also provides incredible detail about the lives of Egyptians during the 300-year reign of the Ptolemies. Beginning with the conquests of Alexander the Great and his search for a site to establish his eponymous city in Egypt, the author effortlessly examines the facts. Among numerous others, Fletcher exposes the largely unknown stories of Caesar's epilepsy, Cleopatra's vast intelligence and Mark Antony's dereliction of duty. Readers will be pleased to discover that many of the Cleopatra myths are based in fact. She really did have herself delivered to Caesar—whether in a sack or rolled in a carpet is immaterial—and there's also a much more plausible version of her suicide. Fletcher reveals a brilliant politician who knew enough to learn the language of her people in addition to the traditional Greek of Alexandria. In the years when the annual floods didn't appear, she quickly opened her stores to feed the country and win their hearts. Her parties were legendary; it was not unusual for guests to dine on gold or silver service and then have it, as well as the couch they reclined on, presented to them as gifts. While the Roman Empire conquered a great deal of the known world, Cleopatra surely got the better of Rome, controlling two of the empire's strongest leaders with her financial support, wit and sexuality. Neither Caesar nor Antony would ever have been able to control the Eastern part of the Roman Empire without Cleopatra. In return, Egypt received vast lands, incredible incomes and four heirs with impeccable bloodlines.

A perfect complement to Stacey Schiff's excellent Cleopatra: A Life (2010). Readers interested in Cleopatra and her world are advised to read both.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062106056
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 912,378
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Joann Fletcher is an honorary research and teaching fellow at the University of York, where she teaches Egyptian funerary archaeology and mummification. The author of numerous articles and books, she also lectures widely. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part One

1 The Spirit of Alexander: Europe and Egypt 11

2 In the Blood: the Ptolemies and Their Cleopatras 37

Part Two

3 The Goddess Comes Forth: Cleopatra's Early Life 73

4 A Veiled Proposal: Cleopatra Meets Caesar 101

Part Three

5 The River of Life: the Progress down the Nile 125

6 Great Mother Isis: the Birth of Caesarion 153

Part Four

7 Caesar's Palace: Cleopatra in Europe 179

8 Death and Resurrection: Osiris Avenged 207

Part Five

9 The Inimitable Life: Antonius and Conspicuous Consumption 235

10 Goddess of the Golden Age: the Restoration of Empire 263

Part Six

11 The Final Year: Defeat, Death and Eternal Life 295

12 Epilogue: the Aftermath 320

Notes 343

Bibliography 417

Acknowledgements 443

Note on Spellings 444

Picture Acknowledgements 444

Index 445

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