The Search for Cleopatra: The True Story of History's Most Intriguing Woman

Overview

Cleopatra is wreathed by so many outsized myths that it is sometimes difficult to tell the woman from the legend. For centuries, historians have scarcely deviated from the occidental, Horatian portrayal of an Eastern temptress bent on bringing down the great men of Rome. Michael Foss looks through and beyond the myths, using fresh research to vividly bring to life the historical Cleopatra. A descendant of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian court, she struggled to hold her kingdom together at a time when the ...

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The Search for Cleopatra: The True Story of History's Most Intriguing Woman

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Overview

Cleopatra is wreathed by so many outsized myths that it is sometimes difficult to tell the woman from the legend. For centuries, historians have scarcely deviated from the occidental, Horatian portrayal of an Eastern temptress bent on bringing down the great men of Rome. Michael Foss looks through and beyond the myths, using fresh research to vividly bring to life the historical Cleopatra. A descendant of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian court, she struggled to hold her kingdom together at a time when the volatile clash of cultures threatened to shake Ptolemaic Egypt apart. Egypt’s decay coincided with the rise of Rome, and it is in the contest between the Eastern and Western empires that her story unfolds.

Rome cast Cleopatra as a threat to the order of its own crumbling republic. To them, she represented decadence, corruption, and temptation. Yet as Foss shows with clarity and insight, Cleopatra played her hand in the only manner she could. Determined that her kingdom survive, she was prepared to do whatever it took to retain power, and very nearly achieved dominance of the whole of the eastern Mediterranean world. When she finally surrendered her ambitions, it was with a larger-than-life flare that has since inspired ancient chroniclers. Fully-illustrated, and impeccably documented, The Search for Cleopatra sets before us the most absorbing figure of the ancient world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611453331
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Foss has studied and taught history in both England and the United States. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The People of the First Crusade, The Founding of the Jesuits, The Borgias, and The Greek Myths. He lives in England.
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Table of Contents

List of Colour Plates 6

The Reigns of the Ptolemies 7

1 A Sense of the Past 9

2 Preparation of a Queen 32

3 The Shadow of Rome 56

4 Caesar and Cleopatra 70

5 Breathing Space 99

6 Antony and Cleopatra 117

7 Actium and the Course of History 150

Acknowledgements 188

Index 189

List of Maps

Ancient Egypt during the Ptolemies 8

Plan of Alexandria during Cleopatra's time 37

The eastern Mediterranean during the first century BC 59

Battle of Actium 159

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