The Search for Cleopatra

The Search for Cleopatra

by Michael Foss
     
 
The myths surrounding Cleopatra are so vast and so contradictory that it is difficult to separate the real woman from the legend. For centuries she has been portrayed as an Asian femme fatale, the entrapping seductress of both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, and as a stunningly beautiful and ruthless queen who used her sexual wiles to subvert the course of Roman rule.

Overview

The myths surrounding Cleopatra are so vast and so contradictory that it is difficult to separate the real woman from the legend. For centuries she has been portrayed as an Asian femme fatale, the entrapping seductress of both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, and as a stunningly beautiful and ruthless queen who used her sexual wiles to subvert the course of Roman rule. In this biography, Michael Foss looks at the myths and then beyond, using fresh research to bring to life the historical Cleopatra. What emerges in vivid detail is the image of a woman with physical grace and appeal, whose mind and political acumen were a match for Rome's mighty rulers. Handsomely illustrated and impeccably documented, The Search for Cleopatra offers a portrait of one of the most absorbing and intriguing figures of all history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Is there any historical basis to the myriad myths and legends surrounding the eternally fascinating Queen of the Nile? Foss (People of the First Crusade) believes there is, and his insightful biography re-creates not only her life, but also offers a panorama of ancient Egyptian history from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to 30 B.C., when Cleopatra died. Foss's absorbing description of Egyptian politics, culture and religion in the two centuries of Ptolemaic rule preceding Cleopatra's birth is tightly packed with information, notable for its clarity and brevity. From the time she became queen at the age of 18, Cleopatra was a strong leader, ruthless with her enemies, including members of her own family, but careful to identify herself with the spirit of ordinary Egyptians. But Egypt was an unruly kingdom on the decline, and just as Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII were about to actually set to, the Roman legions marched in, setting the stage for Cleopatra's ascendancy and her romance with Julius Caesar. Cleopatra had good reason to suspect Rome's intentions toward her country, but had little option save to form an alliance. She stayed with Caesar until his murder in 44 B.C., and when the ensuing power struggle awarded Egypt to Marc Antony, historyand Cleopatrarepeated herself. While the art and myth of Cleopatra's life are extensive, the historical record is frustratingly limited. Still, Foss makes vivid use of what's available and, thankfully, without trying to shoehorn history into a political agenda. Illustrations. (Apr.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559704229
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
04/01/1998
Edition description:
1st U.S. Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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