0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
erudite and entertaining,
This review is from: Cleopatra (Paperback)
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Stacy Schiff has written an excellent homage to Cleopatra,which should answer the Egyptian Queen's detractors once and for all. In this scholarly, witty and thoroughly entertaining work, Schiff sweeps her way through the patriarchal and often misogynistic Greek and Latin accounts, and builds up a portrait of Cleopatra that brings her to life. Her writing style is full of interesting anecdotes about her subject - did you know Cleopatra could speak Troglodyte? Me neither! Schiff dissects artfully the depictions of Cleo via writers and artists as varied as Thucydides,Shakespeare, Alma Tadema et al, and of course Hollywood via Theda Bara and Elizabeth Taylor etc. Schiff's Queen is much more than all these. Cleo is no mere alluring ingenue or wanton seductress, but a powerful woman in her own right, who made decisions that male rulers quailed to make, taking on the Romans, allying with Caesar and Anthony, bearing four children before dying, supposedly by her own hand, at 39. One might say, Cleo took a gamble and lost, but Schiff portrays her as a woman who lived her life to the full. Schiff also knocks a hole in some of the legends around her - stating that Cleopatra was not black but of paler Greek descent, and that she probably didn't kill herself with an asp. Anyway, it's a gripping, wise tribute to a woman who was Queen, Goddess, Mistress and able Politician. Recommended!