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Table of Contents

Preface Abbreviations List of Illustrations Introduction 1. Cleopatra's Ancestry and Background 2. The Ptolemaic Heritage and the Entanglement With Rome 3. Cleopatra's Youth and Education 4. Becoming Queen (51-47 BC) 5. Consolidating the Empire (47-40 BC) 6. The Peak Years (40-34 BC) 7. The Operation of the Kingdom 8. Scholarship and Culture at the Court of Cleopatra 9. Downfall (34-30 BC) Appendices Bibliography List of Passages Cited Index

About the Author

Historian, archaeologist, and classical scholar, Duane W. Roller is Professor Emeritus of Greek and Latin at The Ohio State University. The author of eight books, including Through the Pillars of Herakles and The Building Program of Herod the Great, he has excavated in Greece, Italy, Turkey, and the Levant.


"An excellent scholarly account." --The Wall Street Journal "Offers a superb panorama of the society and culture of late Ptolemaic Egypt, with vivid sketches of the (remarkably vigorous) intellectual life of Cleopatra's Alexandria and the structural instabilities of the late Ptolemaic state." --Times Literary Supplement "A rich, comprehensive portrait of Cleopatra in her many dimensions--skilled orator, medical writer, linguist, naval commander, administrator, accomplished diplomat. Using only data from the ancient world itself, Duane Roller deftly disentangles the historical queen of Egypt from her later legendary selves. The real Cleopatra emerges in all her many-sided splendor, with some surprises for us all."--Margaret George, author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra and Helen of Troy "This new political biography provides an exceptionally thorough, balanced survey of the historical foundations on which later accounts are based. Cleopatra emerges as far more accomplished than the lens of Roman history willingly admits. Essential." --CHOICE "Duane Roller has written a superb biography of Cleopatra VII. Accessible to the general reader and yet free of sensationalism, this book provides a clear account of what can be historically known about the famous queen and the cultural context in which she lived."--Kathryn Gutzwiller, University of Cincinnati "Meticulously researched, compellingly written, and with judicious use of the sources, Roller's often breezy prose style makes for enjoyable reading, and his no nonsense historical approach, leaving all of the speculative myths, propaganda and legends to others, breathes some fresh air into a subject who is after all one of the greatest and most enigmatic figures of the ancient world, and who lived during perhaps the most momentous couple of decades in Mediterranean history. Roller restores to us both a sensible picture of the queen and a well-rounded sense of her life, her surroundings, and the culture and institutions that made Egypt in the last century BC so fascinating to Rome, and such a threat."--Joseph Manning, Yale University "Did we really need another scholarly life of Cleopatra after Joyce Tyldesley's Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt (2008)? Surprisingly, the answer is yes...Cleopatra reclaims her stature as a significant monarch of her era in this unsentimental corrective to the romantic legend. Recommended for all who study her era."--Library Journal "A straightforward, reader-friendly biography of this intriguing and powerful ruler...a definitive account of a queen of remarkable strength"--Publishers Weekly "A treasure trove of facts that show [Cleopatra] in a new light."--Austin American-Statesman "Roller tells his tale smoothly and accessibly...The resulting portrait is that of a complex, many-sided figure, a potent Hellenistic ruler who could move the tillers of power as skillfully as any man, and one far and nobly removed from the 'constructed icon' of popular imagination."--The New York Times Book Review "Thought-provoking...adds a dose of historical accuracy to the romance of her life."--The Weekly Standard "Compulsively readable."--Bookslut "The 'Women in Antiquity' series aims to provide 'compact and accessible introductions' to the figures it treats, and Roller succeeds admirably on this front. Short, well-written chapters trace the main events of Cleopatra's life, with stops along the way for the Egyptian backdrop; endnotes provide essential documentation; and a series of appendices provide useful reference material such as a Ptolemaic genealogy and discussion of controversial points." --Bryn Mawr Classical Review "Besides providing a compelling story and breathing fresh air into a heretofore two-dimensional caricature from history, Duane W. Roller's "Cleopatra" provides an interesting commentary on the attitudes still prevalent towards women who rule. It tells us that we still have a ways to go before there is true gender equity in the political realm."--Christian Science Monitor "A rich account of late Ptolemaic culture." --The New Yorker "Demonstrate[s] why feminist history is necessary." --The New Republic

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