Cleopatra and Antony: Power, Love, and Politics in the Ancient World
On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life, rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had died in her... show more
On a stiflingly hot day in August, 30 B.C., the thirty-nine-year-old Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, took her own life, rather than be paraded in chains through Rome by her conqueror, Octavian, the future emperor Augustus. A few days earlier, her lover of eleven years, Mark Antony, had died in her arms following his own botched suicide attempt. Oceans of mythology have grown up around them, all of which Diana Preston puts to rest in her stirring history of the lives and times of a couple whose names—more than two millennia later—still invoke passion, curiosity, and intrigue.This book sets the romance and tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra's personal lives within the context of their political times. There are many contemporary resonances: the relationship between East and West and the nature of empire, the concealment of personal ambition beneath the watchword of liberty, documents forged, edited or disposed of, special relationships established, constitutional forms and legal niceties invoked when it suited. Indeed their lives and deaths had deep political ramifications, and they offer a revealing perspective on a tipping point in Roman politics and on the consolidation of the Roman Empire. Three hundred years would pass before the east would, with the rise of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, once again take a share of political power in the Mediterranean. In an intriguing postscript, Preston speculates on what might have happened had Antony and Cleopatra defeated Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.
Publish date: 31-03-2009
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages no: 352
Edition language: English
The title of this book is extremely misleading. I have read a great deal on the topic of Cleopatra and was The Memoirs Of Cleopatra. The accounts in the historical fiction account by Margaret George are largely identical to those in this non-fiction piece, although it is more entertaining, less dry ...
Despite the title, the book is less about Cleopatra and Antony, and more simply about the Romans, in particular Caeser, Antony, and Octavian.And that, in short, is my only problem with this book.Preston writes in her introduction that Cleopatra deserves first place when listing the couple and that m...