Cleopatra and Rome
With the full panorama of her life forever lost, Cleopatra touches us in a series of sensational images: floating through a perfumed mist down the Nile; dressed as Venus for a tryst at Tarsus; unfurled from a roll of linens before Caesar; couchant, the deadly asp clasped to her breast. Through such images, each immortalizing the Egyptian queen's encounters with legendary Romans--Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian Augustus--we might also chart her rendezvous with the destiny of Rome. So Diana Kleiner shows us in this provocative book, which opens an entirely new perspective on one of the most intriguing women who ever lived. Cleopatra and Rome reveals how these iconic episodes, absorbed into a larger historical and political narrative, document a momentous cultural shift from the Hellenistic world to the Roman Empire. In this story, Cleopatra's death was not an end but a beginning--a starting point for a wide variety of appropriations by Augustus and his contemporaries that established a paradigm for cultural conversion.In this beautifully illustrated book, we experience the synthesis of Cleopatra's and Rome's defining moments through surviving works of art and other remnants of what was once an opulent material culture: religious and official architecture, cult statuary, honorary portraiture, villa paintings, tombstones, and coinage, but also the theatrical display of clothing, perfume, and hair styled to perfection for such ephemeral occasions as triumphal processions or barge cruises. It is this visual culture that best chronicles Cleopatra's legend and suggests her subtle but indelible mark on the art of imperial Rome at the critical moment of its inception.
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About the Author
Diana E. E. Kleiner presents Cleopatra's story as only an art historian could tell it. Beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, Cleopatra and Rome unveils Egypt's most famous queen through her portraits, monuments, and spectacles...Some of the book's most fascinating material involves Kleiner's study of imperial women. Focusing in particular on Octavia, Livia, and Augustus's daughter Julia, Kleiner demonstrates the impact Cleopatra had on these elite women's roles in both family and public life. Differences in the ways Augustus and Antony represent women associated with them on coins ingeniously provide indirect evidence of the influence Cleopatra as a female sovereign had on Antony's concept of female power...Cleopatra and Rome will be of interest and value to specialists and non-specialists alike, thanks to its fresh look at a number of well-known monuments and the clarity with which the material is presented.--Prudence Jones "Bryn Mawr Classical Review" (12/15/2005 12:00:00 AM)
In Cleopatra and Rome, Diana EE Kleiner--a professor of classics and art history at Yale--explains how the image and legend of Egypt's superstar queen lingered in the minds, and shaped the deeds, of Roman rulers...For Kleiner, Cleopatra enjoyed a long, illustrious afterlife in Roman art and culture. Women aped her style; patrons built in the Egyptian manner; poets buffed up her legendary persona. As for the real queen, she depicts not the minx of myth but a serial monogamist, politically astute, intellectually able--and far more loyal to her Roman lovers-turned-allies than they ever were to her.--Boyd Tonkin "The Independent" (1/4/2006 12:00:00 AM)
Sovereign, siren, and spectacle during her brief lifetime (69-30 B.C.), Cleopatra's relationships to Roman leaders and to Rome itself are seductively and intelligently examined in Diana E. E. Kleiner's beautifully illustrated book...Cleopatra and Rome provides an innovative and fresh perspective on Cleopatra, both as a long-lived myth and as a world force...Kleiner's engaging presentation offers much food for thought, providing ample material for a re-evaluation of the political, social, artistic, and cultural impact of Cleopatra on her protagonists, both male and female, and on Rome.--Helena Fracchia "Canadian Journal of History"
[Kleiner's] Cleopatra and Rome is engaging and provocative. It is beautifully illustrated and is accompanied by an extremely useful bibliography including sections on Cleopatra films and Cleopatra on the internet.--Michael Dixon "Classical Bulletin" (1/1/2006 12:00:00 AM)
This beautiful work is generously illustrated, with high-quality color throughout.--H. J. Kirchhoff "Globe and Mail" (8/1/2009 12:00:00 AM)