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Cleopatra and Egypt

ISBN: 978-1-4443-0151-9
240 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Cleopatra and Egypt (1444301519) cover image
Celebrated as queen, politician, and lover, Cleopatra remains an object of fascination more than 2,000 years after her death. In this beautifully illustrated new study, Sally-Ann Ashton deconstructs the image of Cleopatra to uncover the complex historical figure behind the myth.

Incorporating Ashton's findings from her own recent survey of a temple of Cleopatra in Egypt, this book is the first to consider Cleopatra from a wholly Egyptian perspective. Drawing on literary, archaeological, and art historical evidence, Ashton paints an intimate and compelling portrait of the most famous Queen of Egypt.
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List of Illustrations.

Author’s Foreword.


1 Cleopatra - Black and beautiful?.

2 Sources.

3 King’s daughter, King’s sister, Great royal wife.

4 Ruler and regent, pharaoh.

5 Cleopatra’s capital and court.

6 Cleopatra as a Goddess.

7 Cleopatra, Mark Antony and the East.

8 Death of a queen rebirth of a goddess.

9 The legacy of Cleopatra.



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Sally-Ann Ashton studied at King’s College London and is currently Senior Assistant Keeper in the Department of Antiquities at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge. She has published extensively on many aspects of later periods of Egyptian history and culture, including Ptolemaic royal sculpture from Egypt, the last queens of Egypt, Petrie’s Ptolemaic and Roman Memphis and Roman Egyptomania. She has worked on excavations in Greece, Libya, and Egypt and is currently involved in projects at Karnak temple.
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  • Deconstructs the image of Cleopatra to uncover the complex historical figure behind the myth

  • Examines Greek, Roman, and Egyptian representations of Cleopatra

  • Considers how she was viewed by her contemporaries and how she presented herself

  • Incorporates the author’s recent field work at a temple of Cleopatra in Alexandria

  • Beautifully illustrated with over 40 images
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"Informative general introduction to Cleopatra, it tends to focus on a wide variety of sources that provide interesting angles from which to examine this infamous queen." (Scholia Reviews, 2010)

"Ashton's careful consideration of the Egyptian material is what makes her book a valuable addition to our understanding of Cleopatra. ... A welcome addition to the growing number of texts on Cleopatra suitable for classroom use." (The Classical Outlook, Spring 2009)

"If you want a well researched and illustrated account of Cleopatra within her contemporary Egyptian context, read Ashton." (The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 2009)

"One of the best features of Ashton's book is its assessment of the evidence, literary as well as archaeological. Ashton's book … is a valuable contribution to the literature on Cleopatra." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

"A must-read, scholarly book on Cleopatra for students and teachers of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra, and ancient art." (About.com)

"Sally-Ann Ashton's Cleopatra and Egypt provides a coherent and up-to-date background to the study of antiquity's most controversial and fascinating woman. This book will be an invaluable resource for students and teachers, and the general reader will find much to enjoy. Highly recommended."
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, University of Edinburgh

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