March 30th, 2011
I waited awhile to read this biography because I wasn’t certain how interested I was in the subject. Still, overwhelmingly positive reviews continued to come in, so I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.
Stacy Schiff sorts through lots of primary source material and from the writers of Cleopatra’s day, and pieces together a detailed portrait of a woman who has long been vilified. Schiff shows us the motivations of those who wrote about Cleopatra either glowingly or deprecatingly and draws reasonable conclusions about what is true about Cleopatra, what may be exaggerated, and what material was likely fabricated. Now that I’ve read the book, I’m glad I hadn’t read much prior material about her. I doubt it could stand up to Schiff’s portrait of a strong, determined, intelligent and insightful woman who was able to hold her own against the mostly male rulers of the day.
I recommend this biography for fans of ancient history, and those interested in the the real story of Cleopatra and her impact on the ancient world.
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Entry Filed under: Biography/Memoir