Cleopatra: A Life
Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.
Though her life spanned fewer than forty years,...more
The author says she will not create material but may create context from other sources, but she does not give the reader cues. For example, in Chapter II she goes on and on about Cleopatra's education,...more
February and March are insanely busy and I usually find little time to read during these months, but even b...more
I get the sense biography, like all writing, I suppose, is about choices. How will the biog...more
The number one thing that I learned from Cleopatra: A Life was this: I had deceived myself in thinking I knew anything about her before reading this book. Stacy Schiff digs deep into the life of one of the most well-known, yet misunderstood women in history. Most of us know her as the Egyptian queen who had affairs/children with both Caesar and Mark Antony, the two most powerful men of their age. She herself was much, much more than that.
Cleopatra was a fa...more
Read my full review at So Obsessed With!
Cleopatra controlled almost every aspect...more
Every single one of the extant sources who wrote about Cleopatra's life had an agenda, specifically to demonize Cleopatra and make hers a name to live in infamy
...her story is constructed as much of male fear as fantasy.
Cicero, Plutarch, Dio, Lucan, Schiff quotes them all extensively and compensates for their obvious bias by attempting to put the reader in that place and time. In this case the "devil" truly is in the details, right down to...more
The author is erudite, and not afraid to show it. What she does successfully is to really give the reader an idea of the context of what the Roman world was like in those days, and the complex political world that was the mediterranean. Understanding that goes a long way to understanding the machinations in Rome and how how mu...more
Schiff's tone is easy and breezy--injecting humor and modern comparisons into this survey of the...more
It did not get better. The writer seemed to have to keep reminding us that nothing of real fact is known of Cleopatra. Wasn't that kind of the point of her book to give a different perspective (that of a woman writing about a powerful & influential woman)? Which she sort of did...but I would imagine a much more lush, exciting, literary r...more
I have read this twice and in that time I have noticed just three things that I found dis-likeable about it.
The first would be in Schiff's similar writing style to that of William Faulkner in that Schiff's sentences and paragraphs tended to...more
Recently I read a biography on the life of Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen,
written by Stacy Schiff, an American Historian and a winner of the Pulitzer
Prize. The book consists of nine chapters, each with a thought provoking
caption. The biographer has concentrated on plenty of events connected with
Cleopatra, VII. Anyhow, the main source for the entire Roman history is
Plutarch’s “Great Lives”, a Contemporary Roman writer. England and other
countries came to know about the Romans only thro
Cleopatra’s story was initially told by people who hated her, so it’s no surprise her portrayal historically has been that of a sex-crazed temptress bent on world domination. This book takes what little we actually...more
Cleopatra's story is a very intriguing one because it is so mysterious. Many of the things known about her can't be proven as facts. This book goes into what is "believed" to have happened in her life. I couldn't help but ask myself, why is this book as long as it is if what is being said might not be true? & to be honest I never rea...more