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Summary

Cleopatra’s palace shimmered with onyx and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Though her life spanned fewer then forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first and she poisoned the second. Incest and assassination were family specialties. Cleopatra appears to have had sex with only two men. They happen, however to have been Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, two of the most prominent Romans of the day. Both were married to other women. Cleopatra had a son with Caesar and - after his murder, three more with his protégé.

Famous long before she was notorious, Cleopatra has gone down in history for all the wrong reasons. Shakespeare and Shaw put words in her mouth. Michelangelo, Tiepolo, and Elizabeth Taylor put a face to her name. Along the way the supple personality has been lost. In a masterly return to the classical sources, Stacy Schiff here boldly separates fact from fiction to rescue the magnetic queen whose death ushered in a new world order a generation before the birth of Christ. Rich in detail, epic in scope, Schiff’s is a luminous, deeply original reconstruction of a dazzling life.

©2011 Stacy Schiff (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew
  • Croydon, United Kingdom
  • 06-11-11

totally absorbing

Poetically written, fascinating content and the ideal narrator- found it hard to stop listening! And made me rethink aspects of Roman and Egyptian history as well as the historical perspective of Cleopatra.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Souzan
  • North Berwick, United Kingdom
  • 10-04-13

Excellent for studying Cleo

I found this book incredibly helpful for learning about Cleopatra. Really easy to understand and well written.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superlative

This is as absorbing and enjoyable a history book as you will ever read or listen to. The author rises to the subject with sympathy and brings the immensity of her life and times with great accomplishment. Cleopatra has through history set the minds of so many great artists aflame. I finished this book feeling dazzled not just by Cleopatra but by the brilliance of Schiff's recreation and analysis of her

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Poor effort

Really didn't enjoy this, sad, as I've always been interested in Egyptian history and this did'nt much spark my continued interest in the subject. I wasn't really sure what the author was trying to achieve.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful