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Antony And Cleopatra

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  535 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Antony and Cleopatra The epic story of one of the most famous love affairs in history, by one of the world's leading ancient historians. Full description
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published July 15th 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 2010)
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This is Goldsworthy’s most recent, most populist – note that the chapter about Lepidus being dropped from the Triumvirate is dubbed “and then there were two” – and (perhaps consequently) least interesting book to date. I’ve read all his works, aside from the shorter to-go editions, and I found this one lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Perhaps it’s because the couple in the title evoke a certain passion, and Goldsworthy sets out explicitly to squash everything that has been invented about the c ...more
Rob Atkinson
Jul 24, 2011 Rob Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great dual biography by one of today's leading Classicists, appropriately focusing on the internecine struggle for dominance over the Roman state which led to the collapse of the Republic, and Antony and Cleopatra's role in that struggle. I read this work immediately after Stacey Schiff's much lauded biography of Cleopatra (both were released in 2010) and ultimately found Goldsworthy's a much more satisfying work. Schiff tried to focus exclusively on Cleopatra as her subject, giving the comple ...more
Apr 22, 2017 Ivy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivy by: Fans of History
5 stars

Nice to have a book written on Antony and Cleopatra. The author was very good at describing the information.

Can't wait to read more of his books!!
Book was well written and informative but strayed from the topic too often. It told about general political situation in Rome and stuff. I don't know much about Rome and all the names just got me confused.
Jun 21, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Derek Weese
Apr 22, 2012 Derek Weese rated it really liked it
Adrian Goldsworthy is, possibly, the best classical historian out there. Being British his writing style is superb and he refuses to write in an elitist manner without losing sight of the fact that he is a Ph.D and so is also expected to know what he's talking about and to analyze it thoroughly without losing sight of the fact that history is a story. And this book: 'Antony and Cleopatra' is no exception.
Rather than a book which focuses on the military exploits of the period, though those are go
Aug 22, 2013 Johanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hefty debunking of the Antony & Cleopatra myth. This book goes painstakingly through the lives of both of them and considers what real detail we have about them, their actions and their motivations. Where we don't have detail he discusses the theories and possible explanations making it clear that these are just possibilities. What he does do is to put both if them firmly in the political and social world of the late Roman republic and uses this information to explain why they operated as ...more
Jim Coughenour
Sep 18, 2014 Jim Coughenour rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, history
I picked up this book for two "literary" reasons – as background for reading Shakespeare's play, and (more distantly) because of Cavafy's haunting poem (which Leonard Cohen transformed into an equally haunting song). Goldsworthy definitely enriched my understanding – and although he's writing history, not literature, it's history of a high order. Antony comes off as even more of a lunk than I'd imagined (Shakespeare, Cavafy and Richard Burton all did him a favor), but it's impossible not to symp ...more
Mar 24, 2012 l. rated it liked it
My dad bought this for me at a booksale. I guess it was fine. I really did know everything in it already though - there's a limited amount of information available about Antony and Cleopatra so what you get is a retelling of the fall of the Republic with a focus on those two, which seems a bit pointless. The wording of his personal analyses put me off a bit, i.e. at one point he said that Cleopatra used her body because that was all she had left? It is readable and detailed enough though that 3/ ...more
Come Musica
May 31, 2016 Come Musica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prima volta che leggo questa tragedia.
Toglie il fiato.
Shakespeare è un grande.
Mar 30, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
I have not gone wrong with Adrian Goldsworthy yet. A highly enjoyable read about two epic intertwining lives at a crucial moment in history ... minus the myth-making, propaganda, and romanticising.
May 29, 2017 Anne rated it it was ok
DNF - not a good book to start with if you don't already have a good base knowledge of the area and groups peopling it, along with the Roman way of life. Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of detail just in the bit I read and hopelessly confused as a result.
Elia Princess of Starfall
Jul 10, 2015 Elia Princess of Starfall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History fans
Recommended to Elia Princess of Starfall by: Goodreads

Antony and Cleopatra are one of history's most famous power couples; equally loved, reviled and re-imagined by each generation. Despite living and dying more than two thousand years ago, the couple still enthral and fascinate us to this day. What's not to love about the political and romantic alliance between a top Roman general and Triumvir and the last Queen of Egypt?


In this informative and measured dual biography of the original power couple, Goldsworthy seeks to purposefully separate the my
Dec 27, 2012 Kimberlee rated it it was amazing
A really fascinating look at the historical figures behind the many, many myths and legends. Even having studied both Ancient Rome, and peripheral figures from the first century B.C., there was a lot of information I was unfamiliar with. I was particularly surprised with how little I knew about Mark Antony's life beyond some of the broad strokes.

This book not only gives the reader a good picture of who these two people were (as well as many of the other key players in the political game that wa
Overall I was not a fan of the author's writing style. Not only does he awkwardly transition from topic to topic or even paragraph to paragraph, but he also makes it difficult to distinguish which "he" is referencing numerous times. His style was not always clear, often irritating to read and frequently repetitive. His preferred topic was also clearly military strategy, but that was not meant to be the focus of this book.

I will say this, Goldsworthy included more information on Antony than other
Chris Cangiano
As a follow up to his brilliant life of Caesar Adrian Goldsworthy brings us the life and time of his intimates, Marcus Antonius (a/k/a Marc Antony) and Cleopatra VII Philopator, the final Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt, and Roman world between the death of Caesar and the rise of Octavian. There is probably no finer scholar of the Classical Roman world than Goldsworthy so you are in for a well written and fully researched history of the times and biography of the two principal characters. If the materi ...more
Samantha Vuignier
Aug 22, 2012 Samantha Vuignier rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a readable account that is still scholarly and precise, this is your best bet. It is not as fun of a read as the author's biography on Caesar, due to the limits of the source material. Antony and Cleopatra were the losers against Augustus and therefore their story was not passed down with the embellishment and thoroughness that would flesh the account out with the kind of entertaining anecdotes that make "Caesar, Life of the Colossus" so entertaining. In the absence of det ...more
Feb 18, 2016 Bonnie_blu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ancient_rome
Antony and Cleopatra is another excellent work by Adrian Goldsworthy. His grasp of the ancient world is stunning and his ability to relate its history to the modern reader is unmatched. He brings Antony and Cleopatra to life as real people and dispels the incorrect assumptions and beliefs that surround them. While they may have loved one another, their relationship was much more complicated and interesting. Their political (and in Antony's case, psychological) needs were always paramount. Antony ...more
Dec 29, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goldsworthy does an excellent job explaining the era surrounding Antony and Cleopatra. The book is clinical and I found it difficult to read at times. In spite of that I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

The beginning of the book bounces between the Cleopatra (Ptolemies) and Antony (Roman) history. Once the relationship is establish between Antony and Cleopatra he tells the story from Antony and the Roman perspective.

Antony was a part of ancient Roman during a pivotal time in its history what influenc
Daniel Kukwa
It's superbly researched and well written, but I must admit to some mild disappointment. It's less the story of Antony & Cleopatra, and more something best imagined as TV mini-series you could title "Death of the Republic". It would feature Antony as one of the chief stars in the opening credits, and it would list Cleopatra as a special guest star...but it would certainly not be something that focused solely on them. There's far too much wandering off to the other players of the time (Caesar ...more
Aug 08, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I had read some reader reviews of this book that criticized it for being much more a Roman history than a story of Antony and Cleopatra. I was sympathetic to the author, because of course the story of Antony and Cleopatra IS the story of the end of the Roman Republic and the rise of Octavian Augustus. As I read the book, though, I came to agree more with the reader reviewers; when someone picks up a book about Antony and Cleopatra, you can assume they want to know more about the relationship bet ...more
May 20, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, history
The title may be Antony and Cleopatra, but after beginning with the incestuous backstabbing Ptolemies, the bulk of the book is Antony and Roman politics. Cleopatra is not quite an afterthought, but as so often with women in history, she's relegated to the supporting role. Also, while conceding that it's difficult to determine motivations for his subjects, the author is quite comfortable bandying around words like 'love' when it's Cleopatra - it seems never to have occurred to him that her emotio ...more
May 24, 2014 Martine rated it it was ok
Shelves: have-e-book
This book disappointed me. Especially the first half of the book is rather weak. Not too much is known of especially Cleopatra's early history and until his death this book reads more as second biography of Caesar than of Anthony and Cleopatra. In many ways it is a rehash of Goldsworthy's earlier book on Caesar, with occassional details about Marc Anthony or Cleopatra added. It isn't until the two lovers meet after Caesar's death that it really becomes a biography about them. Before then, the do ...more
this is a good and yet sad book about the relationship between Antony and Cleopatra. in this book it does show the love between these two yet it also shows the sad and dark times between them. in the book Cleopatra had to hide the depression from her servants when she found out that Antony was married to Octavian's sister Octavia. thats another thing. why is it that almost everyone in the family had the same name? either they were missing a letter or they changed a letter to make it sound differ ...more
Ross Cohen
Feb 16, 2015 Ross Cohen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goldsworthy's "Antony and Cleopatra" makes the best out of a difficult situation: there simply isn't enough material about either subject to create compelling stand-alone biographies. Equal amounts of ink are spilled telling us what Cleopatra was and what she was not; Antony is at once ambitious and inept at realizing his ambitions. Yet both figures were fascinating players during Rome's Civil War. Consequentially, this book serves as a bridge between Goldsworthy's "Julius Caesar" and "Augustus. ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Danielle rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an interesting dual biography exploring the lives of Antony and Cleopatra from a historical view.

I was astounded at how many things about Antony and Cleopatra are based on fictional sources rather than actual first hand information. A great read to anyone interested in the Ptolemys or the end of the Roman Republic as it transitioned to a less democratic era.

The only part that was a little dry was all of the battle descriptions.
Jan 14, 2011 Jessica rated it did not like it
It was over halfway through the book before they even got to Antony and Cleo. It was mostly an account of early roman and egyptian history. I also didn't care for the author's tone. There was a smarty pants quality to his writing that I found off-putting. Anyway, this book was surely mis-titled. I didnt mind the history lesson, but its not what I signed up for - the information regarding the relationship between A&C could have been put in an essay and called a day. Not enough for a book.
Margaret Sankey
Unlike the Schiff biography, Galsworthy takes the tack that Egypt was a valuable but pretty small moon in Rome's orbit and much of the drama a moot point. I do like that he's very clear on what the sources say and where the holes are, are he explains when he's filling in with contextual "we don't know what exactly happened, but here's how elite Hellenistic people did in similar situations," and Octavian is a ruthless schmuck, but a brilliant and ultimately successful one.
Dec 24, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read although the Roman and Egyptian tradition of seemingly naming all children Marcus, Antony, Caesar or Cleopatra is a little confusing! Seemed toco concentrate much more on Roman battles than Cleopatra but this is probably due to there being more information available on the way Romans fought than Egyptians lived.

Well written and accessible unlike some history books. The Carry on team did exploit the period but I will also say the Romans set it up a lot of the time.
Vicki Cline
Apr 03, 2012 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-history
Goldsworthy takes the interesting, and probably necessary, tactic of alternating chapters between Egypt and Rome for most of the book. He goes into the background of the Ptolemaic rule in Egypt and some of the background of the Roman Republic. We learn about Cleopatra's family and also about Antony's family and his military background, which was less extensive than I had thought. I learned a lot about these iconic characters.
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Adrian Goldsworthy was born in 1969 in Cardiff. He was educated in Penarth and then read Ancient and Modern History at St. John's College, Oxford, where he subsequently completed his doctorate in ancient history. His D.Phil. Thesis was the basis for his first book, The Roman Army At War 100 BC - AD 200, which looked at how the Roman army actually operated on campaign and in battle.

For several yea
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