Cleopatras

Cleopatras

Cleopatras

Cleopatras

Synopsis

Cleopatras traces the turbulent lives of the famous Cleopatra's historically important namesakes, particularly the earlier Macedonian and Ptolemaic Cleopatra's and the impact of the dynastic marriages on the history of the Hellenistic world. Dr Whitehorne also examines current views about Cleopatra VII suicide and considers the growing political significance of royal women in the last three centuries B.C.

Excerpt

No such guarantee is offered or implied for what follows. Ancient history is somewhat like theoretical physics in as much as the evidence is never complete and never can be, and consequently the full truth is ultimately unknowable. The best we can do is to observe and record the evidence as accurately and fully as possible and make our hypotheses fit as closely as we can. That is what I have tried to do here.

In a general work like this one relies very heavily upon the more scholarly labours of many others. Even so, because this book was written with the general reader in mind rather than the specialist, I have resisted the temptation to append a vast bibliography and have confined myself to citing only what I thought was most important, up-to-date, or convincing. No doubt therefore I have cited references which I ought not to have cited and left uncited those which I ought to have cited.

This book had its origins in an invitation to write the article on Cleopatra for the Anchor Bible Dictionary. At that stage, like most classical scholars I knew that the famous Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII and I had enough maths to work out that there must therefore have been at least six others. But I never expected to find so many, or that their lives would turn out to be so varied and complex. Later, when I began to write, I naively expected to find a theme common to all of them, which could be used to draw their lives together. But despite my best efforts a common theme has obstinately refused to emerge. If there is one, it is only that power

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