Patti's Reviews > Cleopatra: A Life

Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
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May 11, 11

Read in May, 2011

This was a great book. It offered new insight based on the collections of writings of Cicero, Josephus, Plutarch, Dio and others. The funny thing is that after reading this book, without Cleopatra's own insight, she remains a great enigma to me.

What I gathered from this book was the perspective that Cleopatra was highly educated and intelligent. My impression is she was a brilliant political strategist. It seems that she had a vision of an expansion of territory, an expansion of wealth, and the foresight of succession planning as part of her political dominance. I believe that Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were part of an overall design to achieve these ends. She was obviously dazzling, charming and extremely manipulative.

As another reviewer noted, this is a history book, not historical fiction. It does move slowly as the writer lays out the information and then creates hypothesis of what was occurring in Cleopatra's life and close circle based on surrounding events.

As a practicing Christian, it was interesting to me to have the historical perspective of what was occurring in the region around the birth of Christ. Cleopatra had political ties to Herod, and the influence with two of the most powerful Roman leaders during a time of Roman domination and occupation.
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