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Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  869 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (she was the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak ancient Egyptian as well as the court Greek) and very clever (her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were as much to do with politics as the heart), she steered her kingdom through im ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 8th 2009 by Profile Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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This book is a solid biography of Cleopatra, appreciating her cleverness and ability as a politician, and examining how the world at the time reacted to her. It’s perhaps a little drier than people would hope — how could you make Cleopatra so academic, when she’s such a colourful figure? Well, I don’t mind that at all, and I enjoyed the way it contextualised her achievements and dissected the myths surrounding her. It delves into the background of her rule and her city, as well, giving a picture ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Egyptian history especially history on women which there isn't a lot of information on. What I liked about this book was that the author pointed out all of the inaccuracies of Cleopatra's supposed life that we've been told or read about in books. The author takes the approach of a skeptic from everything like Cleopatra's ethnicity ( was she black was she white) to the father of her eldest son. The author points out all of the possibilities and then based on her education and experience ma ...more
This is a good biography of Cleopatra. Tydesley does not really contribute anything new about Cleopatra per se (though she offers a good analysis for the major areas of debate); however, the book does give background material about Cleopatra's family and her Egypt that one does not usually see in most Cleopatra biographies. This gives the reader a better view of the Cleopatra herself as well as the Egypt of her times, an Egypt that is not presented though Roman eyes.
2.5 stars

Overall a decent biography on Cleopatra but not without its faults. I do feel as though it was written in an approachable manner. If I were not such a Cleophile I may have enjoyed this more, but I often found the approach to Cleopatra a bit off-putting for my preference. Also, as with many biographies for this and similar time periods, there were far too many tangents. Tyldesley would often get sidetracked by something she noted and spend up to a numerous pages on it, only to immediatel
heheheheh - a comb-over for Julius.

NEW BBC Radio Audiobiography

The Romans regarded her as 'fatale monstrum', a female Saddam Hussein. Pascal said the shape of her nose changed the history of the world. Shakespeare and Tiepolo (and Elizabeth Taylor) portrayed her as an icon of tragic beauty. But who was Cleopatra, really? She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (she was the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak
An excellent overview written by a thoughtful, but easily readable historian. I got a little lost with some of the descriptions of how Greek and Egyptian dieties, pharaohs and kings were intermingled and associated, but I got the feeling that there are precious few people who have a handle on all of that. I also found the interrelationships amongst the Ptolemaic kings, and their lack of imagination in the child-naming department fascinating.

I appreciated how Tyldesly introduced several of the le
Katharine Holden
Jul 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea Cleopatra had four children. Interesting to read how Romans made the details of her life into useful propaganda for their own interests. Quite a bit of the author's accounts of Egyptian women's lives and the mixed ethnic groups in Egypt during the late Ptolemy period were new to me.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative and full of great details, descriptions and illustrations. However, it is a bit dry, written like a history text book from the archaeologist point of view. If you do not love Egyptology and/or Ancient Rome, this would be a very difficult book to read, let alone finish. I love Egyptology, Ancient Rome and Women in Antiquity yet this was a challenging read for me. However, it was my first archaeological book.
Roxanne Brook Vigil
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: egyptology
If I were to recommend one book to learn about Cleopatra this would be it. It focuses on the Egyptian influences on Cleopatra as oppose to constant discussions about Roman battles and infighting that most books describe in depth.
Arpeeta Mazumdar
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good thorough and unbiased biography 👍🏻 indeed!!!
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley
Cleopatra comes across as a dazzling, smart, valiant, dedicated, resolute, obstinate and a role model in many respects

Cleopatra is one of the best known women in the world.
I mean the name rings a bell for, I venture to speculate – one in four people and that is probably more than almost any other woman in history.

There would be Joan of Arc…
Here I stopped and checked the internet to see if I am right.
And I am.

Cleopatra rests at number nine, but all
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
La imagen de Cleopatra VII que perdura entre nosotros es el resultado de una mezcla de intereses políticos, artísticos, religiosos y propagandísticos. El primer manipulador fue Octavio (Augusto):

César, el padre adoptivo que le concedió a Octavio su derecho a gobernar, sería recordado con respeto como un hombre valiente y correcto que manipuló a una mujer extranjera e inmoral en su propio beneficio. En cambio, Antonio, el rival de Octavio, sería recordado con una mezcla de piedad y de desprecio,
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know much Cleopatra, nor do I care overly much about her. Yes, she is an extraordinary figure in history, half-mythical, but I'd rather read about the "real" Egyptian monarchs, such as Amenhotep III, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Ramesses II.

Interestingly, this distinction between the "real" Egypt and the Ptolemaic Egypt is one that Tyldesley comments on, discussing how Egyptologists often only focus on the dynastic Egyptian rulers, leaving studies of Ptolemaic Egypt to classical scholars
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-bio
This was an excellent and balanced bio on the most famous Queen of Egypt, long an obsession of mine. I tend not to read older bios of Cleopatra as the source material on her is fragmented and often not well researched as well as the influence film and popular culture has on her life. This book cleared many of those cobwebs away. Extremely well researched, it shows perceptions of the Queen from both her own time and more timely material. A nice selection of photos and a great job at establishing ...more
Judy Danielle
This book wasn't bad, it was just more like reading a text book! It was also sometimes hard to follow as the author continued to go back and forth and back forth on the dynastic heritage and the different theories!
At one point I simply continued to read because I kept hoping it would get better.
Maybe in a college course, as a professors text and overview this would be wonderful but not as an at home reAd.
I didn't feel like I learned much about Cleopatra, other than the fact that the author is
Cleopatra has always been one of the most fascinating people in history to me, but the focus is often on the legend and not the reality behind it. As recent marine excavations have given us a new picture of Cleopatra's Alexandria, so it was also time the woman herself was given a historical reevaluation. Even when we think we know everything there is to know about a historical figure, sometimes we need to look again to see if anything has changed, even if it's just our own perspective. Cleopatra ...more
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little hard to follow at first because the author provides so much source material and then gives you what the most probable history was. It's not a brass tacks bio but how could it be-egyptology being such an inexact science. Once you get used to this approach, however, the book reads well and avoids being dry or text bookish. Gives the reader a well thought out portait of the players, the environment and, perhaps most interestingly, the Cleopatra mystique - why this historical personage has ...more
Irma Fox
Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read so many books about Cleopatra and this one by far has given me the most information about not only Cleopatra (the last queen of Egypt), but her entire (presumably) blood line that prevailed (again, presumably) after her death. Shakespeare, Dio, Plutarch, they all in one form or another created an image for Cleopatra that shaped the way we view the Hellenistic courts she commanded as well as the woman herself. Love this book! And I'll continue reading about Cleopatra- the legend and myt ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and scholarly, but still accessible. Tyldesley's biography is great for anyone new to the history of Cleopatra and the Ptolemies. I would definitely read this one before Duane Roller's. She focuses more on Cleopatra's creation of her own status by drawing on predecessor queens of Egypt as well as Isis iconography. So far this is my favorite of these new Cleopatra biographies, but the newest by Stacy Schiff is up next. Why so many biographies in the past three years I wonder?
While this is the first biography on Cleopatra I've ever read, I enjoyed it immensely. I felt that the author did her best to do justice to the queen's character, even with the astounding lack of source material concerning her subject. By the end, I had even managed to keep all the previous Cleopatras and the Ptolemies straight, and left with a good knowledge of the times she lived in. Excellent and highly recommended.
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally a biography of Cleopatra that does not try to paint her as history's biggest trollop! I've read a couple of things about her and this by far is the most serious thing I've read. Ptolemaic Kings and Queens are quite difficult to keep track of and with the deadly rivalry that went on for generations described here, it is much easier to understand her motivations.

How incredibly tragic the end of Cleopatra and her children.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a pretty quick and easy read- for a history. Dr. Tyldesley does an admirable job of making the mess that is the Ptolemaic Dynasty, if not crystal clear, at least understandable. The 'Who's Who' at the end is particularly helpful. As usual, her writing is clear and easy to follow-and not too dry... Everybody knows how Cleopatra's bid to retain her country and her crown ends, but the chapter on her failure and her death still made me sad!
Jul 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the truth about Cleopatra
This is a very good book on the history of Cleopatra. Cutting through all the myths and rumours, Tyldesley provides us with a down-to-Eart and realistic portrait of one of the most misunderstood characters of Antiquity.

Loaded with bits of texts from antiquity, quotes from later historical works and images of sculptures this is a very good read if one is interested in the true story of Cleopatra VII.
This book was more of a brief summary of Cleopatra's life and the surrounding events that influenced her actions and her world. I found the book to be written in a very approachable manner, complete with some wry humor! I am struck on just how dynamic Cleopatra, Caesar, and Antony were. It's just fascinating to learn about them and their lives and how we know so much but not nearly enough!
Lyn Smith
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made many fascinating discoveries about Cleopatra and ancient Egypt. This author changed my perspective about the great queen. She was a polyglot, a master politician in her own right and probably the reason for Julius Ceasar's downfall due to her overreach for power and an empire for their son. I talk about this read to my students all the time.
Like most books by Ms Tyldesley, a very thorough and well-researched biography of an ever-popular character. It doesn't get more stars because it doesn't add much to biographies already published, but for young people who are new to Cleopatra and look for a no-nonsense, no-temptress-myth biography, it is absolutely recommended. ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought this was a nice read. It had a lot of information in it but was also very readable to those that wouldn't have a strong back ground in Egyptian history. At times I felt that the author fell short in some explanation at times, but it kept my interest well.I would think anyone with any interest in Cleopatra would find this a positive addition to their shelf.
Aug 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Cleopatra. She is an inspration to all.I like the way that they author told all sides of the story.Espcially since there are so many conflicting views on her. She included all of the sides,so you could draw your own conclusions about her.I will definatly recommend this book to all.
Russell Hall
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Brief glimpse into the mysterious and dangerous world of the last Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt. Tracing many different strands, this biography follows the life of Cleopatra by the lives of those around her and the likely events that shaped her life. Another good work by this author.
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Joyce Tyldesley is a British archaeologist and Egyptologist, academic, writer and broadcaster.

Tyldesley was born in Bolton, Lancashire and attended Bolton School. In 1981, she earned a first-class honours degree in archaeology from Liverpool University, and a doctorate in Prehistoric Archaeology from Oxford in 1986. She is a Teaching Fellow at Manchester University where she is tutor and course or
More about Joyce A. Tyldesley

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