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By Margaret M. Miles

Cleopatra—a courageous, astute, and fascinating lady who spoke many languages, entertained lavishly, hunted, went into conflict, eradicated siblings to consolidate her strength, and held off the specter of Imperial Rome to guard her state so long as she could—continues to fascinate centuries after she governed Egypt. those wide-ranging essays discover such subject matters as Cleopatra’s arguable journey to Rome, her suicide by means of snake chunk, and the afterlife of her love potions. They view Cleopatra from the Egyptian viewpoint, and view the reception in Rome of Egyptian tradition, specifically of its faith and structure. They speak about movies approximately her, and examine what encouraged Egyptomania in early glossy artwork. jointly, those essays light up Cleopatra’s legacy and illustrate the way it has been used and reused throughout the centuries.

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On Cleopatra’s cash, the obverse of 1 of the earliest extant specimens depicts a bust of Cleopatra nursing an baby Caesarion (perhaps suggestive of Isis and Horus, or Aphrodite and Eros), with out inscription. Its opposite bargains a double cornucopia and identifies her easily as “Queen Cleopatra” (ΒΑΣΙΛΙΣΣΑΣ ΚΛΕΟΠΑΤΡΑΣ) (Fig. 7). nine Later, on one in every of Antony’s Roman matters, the heads of the Roman triumvir and Egyptian queen are featured on contrary facets. Antony vaunts his conquest over Armenia by way of an army slogan (ANTONI ARMENIA DEVICTA) and a king’s tiara on one part, and Cleopatra gets her titles “Queen, the Daughter of Kings, the mum of Sons who're Kings” (CLEOPATRAE REGINAE REGVM FILIORVM REGVM) at the different (Fig. 8). 10 In sum, Cleopatra didn’t desire a snake to proclaim herself a goddess or queen. moment, the authority of Flavius Josephus is unquestionably suspect (Against Apion 2. 7. 86). Nos itaque asinis neque honorem neque potestatem aliquam damus, sicut Aegyptii crocodillis et aspidibus, quando eos qui ab istis mordentur et a crocodillis rapiuntur felices et deo dignos arbitrantur. And so we (i. e. , the Jews) have enough money no honor or energy to jack-asses, similar to the Egyptians do to crocodiles and asps, because they suspect that males bitten by means of them or carried off by way of crocodiles are blessed and deemed valuable within the eyes of God. The philhellenic Jewish historian is not often a reputable or impartial witness to Egyptian perform and non secular trust. His perspective to Cleopatra, no buddy to Judaea, is pointed in his solitary remark approximately her dying (“but she certainly 58 death Like a Queen suffered the punishment that used to be due,” sed illa quidem poenam subiit competentem, opposed to Apion 2. 60). to make sure, Herodotus as early because the 5th century B. C. E. testifies to the Egyptian customized that the our bodies of these who drown within the Nile or are killed via crocodiles, no matter if Egyptian or overseas, can't be touched other than via monks of the Nile, and they has to be embalmed and buried in a consecrated position (Herodotus 2. 90). however the early Greek historian says not anything approximately asps, and, as a minimum, neither Herodotus nor even Josephus speaks of apotheosis. eleven ultimately, Cleopatra’s dying isn't really precise. Demetrios of Phaleron (born ca. 350 B. C. E. ), Athenian strategos, peripatetic thinker, and courtroom librarian of Ptolemy I Soter, additionally perished by way of the chunk of an asp. The conditions are interestingly related. Having steered Ptolemy I unsuccessfully to bequeath his throne to the youngsters of Eurydice, Demetrios quickly fell into disfavor with the hot ruler (Ptolemy II Philadelphus), the son of Berenice, who had supplanted Eurydice as queen. the precise conditions of Demetrios’ loss of life are uncertain yet Diogenes Laertius explains that earlier than his demise he was once stored lower than safeguard in a restricted house and in melancholy took up the asp. 12 however the demeanour of his demise used to be popular. The Roman orator Cicero may possibly allude to it in a public speech (“but in that very same state of Egypt, he used to be disadvantaged of his lifestyles whilst an asp used to be utilized to his body,” in eodem isto Aegyptio regno aspide advert corpus admota vita esse privatum, On Behalf of Rabirius Postumus 23), and an epigram even survives within the Greek Anthology (7.

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