Cleopatra VII of Egypt (r. 51-30 BC) left an indelible mark on the events of her day. A compelling personality and formidable power in her own right, she was also at the nexus of one of the most consequential conflicts of the ancient world: the Roman civil war between the supporters of Octavian (adopted son of Julius Caesar) and Mark Antony. One of the most iconic figures of history, Cleopatra (much like Alexander) has had many incarnations, and even in antiquity her identity was multi-faceted: Queen of Egypt, Macedonian monarch, power broker, lover and companion of powerful Roman generals. We’ll look at impressions of Cleopatra in both text and art and dissect the meaning and origin of her many identities.
Tuesday, March 15: Ancient Cleopatras
Selections from Cleopatra: A Sourcebook, ed. by P. Jones. Includes selections from Plutarch, Horace, Propertius, Cassius Dio, Appian, and others. Cleopatra Sourcebook
Wyke, M. 2002. The Roman Mistress: Ancient and Modern Representations. Ch. 6: “Meretrix regina: Augustan Cleopatras”, pp 197 – 243. Wyke Augustan Cleopatras
Thursday, March 16: Modern Cleopatras
Walker, S. and S-A Ashton. 2006. Cleopatra. Ch. 1: “From heroic suicide to banknote icon: modern views of Cleopatra” 13-26. Walker and Ashton Cleopatra
Shohat, Ella. 2003. “Disorienting Cleopatra: A Modern Trope of Identity.” In Cleopatra Reassessed, edited by S. Walker and S.-A. Ashton, pp 127-138. Shohat Disorienting Cleopatra