FROM ASP TO ETERNITY
The politics, persona, and art of Cleopatra had a profound impact on Rome through the Queen's intense interactions in turn with Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian Augustus. Cleopatra commissioned architecture and statuary with Caesar and Antony, but her most significant and lasting influence with regard to first-century visual culture was not on them but on Augustus, with whom she never shared a monument. Whereas Caesar and Antony sought alliance with Egypt, Octavian chose to appropriate the kingdom and to transform what had been Alexander's Hellenistic world into a markedly Roman one. Art was pressed into the service of Octavian's ambitious agenda, and a multitude of Hellenistic elements were among the strands woven into a distinctly Roman art that could not be mistaken for the art of any other culture. One of the most important Hellenistic threads in Augustus's new Roman fabric was that of Ptolemaic Egypt, which found its latest manifestation in the art of Cleopatra.
The shift from a Hellenistic to a Roman ethos was already happening before Octavian's rise to prominence, but it was he who accelerated the process by ramping up the Romanization of diverse Hellenistic kingdoms. By the time Augustus began to commission art in Rome and these new Roman provinces, he had already incorporated what he had learned from Cleopatra in a new Roman melange. The Queen's influence was farreaching; through the vehicle of Augustus's art, it was disseminated from