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Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Joyce Tyldesley , Basic Books
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Jan 2008
She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (she was the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak ancient Egyptian as well as the court Greek) and very clever (her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were as much to do with politics as the heart), she steered her kingdom through impossibly taxing internal problems and against greedy Roman imperialism. Stripping away our preconceptions, many of them as old as her Roman enemies, Joyce Tyldesley uses all her skills as an Egyptologist to give us a rich picture of a country and its Egyptian queen in this magnificent biography.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books; illustrated edition edition (24 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861979657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861979650
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 427,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joyce Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire. She studied archaeology at Liverpool and Oxford Universities, before writing a series of academic yet accessible books on ancient Egypt, including several books for children. Her 2008 book Cleopatra: Egypt's Last Queen was a Radio 4 "Book of the Week".

Having taught prehistory at Liverpool University, Joyce currently teaches students througout the world on the innovative on-line Certificate Course in Egyptology, plus a series of Short Courses in Egyptology, at Manchester University.

Product Description


`4 Stars: [A] sympathetic biography... she is able to place Cleopatra securely in Egyptian culture and history.'
-- Mail on Sunday, 10 February 2008

`Tyldesley's strength has always been her storytelling, and here she is on top form.' -- Sunday Telegraph

Book Description

The Romans regarded her as 'fatale monstrum', a female Saddam Hussein. Pascal said the shape of her nose changed the history of the world. Shakespeare and Tiepolo (and Elizabeth Taylor) portrayed her as an icon of tragic beauty. But who was Cleopatra, really?

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In approximately 3100 the independent city-states of the narrow Nile Valley and the broad Nile Delta united to form one long realm. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, witty and detailed biography 13 Feb 2008
Joyce Tyldesley's 'Cleopatra' is a remarkable book; highly readable, clever and humorous, the biography offers a wealth of information and detail on Cleopatra and her world.

The book is structured in a reassuringly chronological manner. Tyldesley begins with Cleopatra's turbulent accession to the throne, moves through her careful negotiation of famine, drought and opposition, and ends with her death and legacy. Her much-discussed liaisons with Caesar, Pompey and Marc Antony also merit significant attention.

Throughout the course of the biography, Tyldesley sustains the interest by examining all the most famous myths about Cleopatra, and then systematically authenticating or debunking them. We discover how far we can trust the accounts of Cleopatra rolling herself theatrically from carpets, or dissolving priceless pearls in wine. We find out how likely it was that the queen was actually hook-nosed and prominent-chinned, and that far from being careless and flippant, she was shrewd and politically astute.

The most fascinating part of the story for me, having studied Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, was the chapter that dealt with their famous relationship. Anyone who knows the play at all would find the explanation of Antony's scandalous past, for example, extremely enlightening. It is also interesting to see how far Shakespeare adapted and manipulated the legend for the stage. I would therefore recommend this book to anyone studying Shakespeare's play - or any play about Cleopatra, for that matter - as an excellent study companion.

Really, though, this biography might appeal to anyone, simply because Cleopatra is such an intriguing and mysterious figure in history. In spite of its somewhat scholarly tone in places, one does not have to be an egyptologist to find 'Cleopatra' interesting and surprising.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute cracker of a book 12 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I usually steer away from historical biographys - often they are dry as dust, fairly inaccessible and frankly, boring. This was different. Not only is it written in a lively and engaging way which talks to you, it also yields so much more than a story of one of the worlds greatest queens. I know the story of Cleopatra very well but i loved the fact that this book taught me more. It does speed up as we near the end and the battle of Antioch seemed a little 'skipped over.' But thats is a minor complaint, the book is pitched exactly right. I found the use 'our cleopatra' to distinguish between others being talked particularly inclusive...and friendly. This book will teach you a lot, its easy to read (without being at all patronising) and most of all, it really is interesting. This lady might have just changed my perception of the historical biography. For those of you that want a cracking read about cleopatra, follow the link with this reviewThe Memoirs of Cleopatra
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra by Joyce Tyldesley 7 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very good read, I recommend it for people who have an interest in the period and subject. The author certainly knows her subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars cleopatra 14 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
i have always wanted to visit egypt and i did a project on cleopatra for my creative writing course. i did manage to visit egypt fifteen months was awesome. cleopatra was a hell of a woman,even misunderstood by many.there were several sides to her persona!
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