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Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth. Hardcover – June 3, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Was Egypt's last queen a female Machiavelli, a goddess, femme fatale or worse? Was she beautiful or woefully overrated? Cleopatra, who died in 30 B.C., has long had fantasy and slander directed at her, without anyone from beyond her time and place knowing what she looked like. Timed to coincide with a British Museum exhibit (which then travels to Rome and Chicago) Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth analyzes the ways the queen's image has changed from the Renaissance to the present. Edited by Susan Walker (Roman Art) and Peter Higgs, deputy keeper and curator, respectively, in the department of Greek and Roman antiquities at the British Museum, the book presents 364 color and 261 b&w illustrations of pieces from the exhibit, including jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, painting and mosaic.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The British Museum's Walker and Higgs assembled a team of 39 international scholars to join them in the production of this lavish catalog for an exhibition that travels from the Palazzo Ruspoli in Rome to the British Museum to Chicago's Field Museum. The historical and legendary Cleopatra VII is brought to life through 394 objects from 35 museums and private collections in Africa, Europe, and North America. In addition to the catalog entries for each object, the background of Egypt's Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 B.C.E.), Cleopatra's turbulent reign, and her subsequent passage into myth are explored through 11 essays divided into four topical sections: "The Ptolemies and Alexandria," "Cleopatra, Lady of the Two Lands," "Cleopatra and the Power of Rome," and "Egypt in Rome/The Myth of Cleopatra." One controversial aspect of the exhibition is a corpus of Egyptian-style statues attributed to Cleopatra solely on the basis of stylistic elements. Enhanced by 625 illustrations (364 in color), a chronology, a glossary, an excellent bibliography, and a concordance of objects, this publication is suitable for public and academic libraries. Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (June 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691088357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691088358
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Scott Chamberlain VINE VOICE on October 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If pressed, I'd almost say that this is the single best book on Cleopatra. Granted, there are critical biographies, historical accounts, and all sorts of other sources, but this massive book is unique in that it shows nearly every sculpture, coin, or papyrus that can be tied directly to Egypt's last independent ruler. Its fascinating to finally see how Cleopatra presented herself to her subjects -- in traditional Egyptian style for the local population, in Greek style to the Greco-Roman world at large. It's also sobering to see how little remains of her reign. The Romans went after her Greek-style statues, but since they didn't understand Egyptian art, many works of art in that style survive. Besides the impressive visuals, the book includes important essays on many different parts of Cleopatra's reign, life in Alexandria, and the legends that have swirled around Cleopatra after her death. A good comprehensive look at this famous queen, scholarly and readable. But boy, those visuals...!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By GR on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book, I would say, is the best book I have read, (and that's a lot) on the Ptolemaic Period and Egypt's last and fateful Macedonian Queen, who died for her ambition, and desire to restore her country as major power. She was brave enough to challenge the enslaving and powerful force of Rome, and dreamed of an independant Egyptian Empire. But her attempt to achieve her goal cost her her life, and her country.

After her death, the Romans destroyed most representations of her. They overlooked, however, the many exquisite Egyptian-style statues of the queen, however, and instead destroyed what would have been the many classical depictions of her, which are lost to the Romans wrath. But fortunately, the Egyptian art survived the centuries, and with these gorgeous and mysterious representations of the living goddess herself, Susan Walker, with the help of the British Museum, has pieced together an accurate and enthralling portrait of her eventful life.

The sections, on subjects such as Alexandria, The Ptolemies, and Cleopatra and Rome, this book contains dozens of well-written and powerful essays on the monarch's life and relationship, and also Egypt at the time. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of full color images of Egyptian style artwork depicting the queen, and also many statues of the people that influenced her life such as her lovers Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and her nemesis, the enigma Octavian, later to be Augustus, the first emperor of Rome.

I recommend very strongly this book to anyone at all interested in Egyptian, Greek, or Roman history, and art. An unearthly account of the last years of Egyptian power.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Baobao Bear on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is THE book that try to find the real Cleopatra VII. It has tons of photographs on historical artificts, either they were real portraits of her, image inspired from her, or artificts long mis-identified the image as her, or the artificts from her time, this book carries the invaluable information that is hard to find them anywhere else. And this book carries scholars essays that analyse and discuss all the aspects about this famous pharaoh. Great refernece book for anyone who wants to find historical, non-fictional information about her.
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