Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth - the exhibition catalogue from British Museum available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth

Regular price £54.95

'This sumptuously illustrated catalog [is a] . . . browsable homage to one of the most intriguing figures in all of antiquity. . . ' - Booklist 

Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth

Fabled for her sexual allure and cunning intelligence, Cleopatra VII has fascinated generations of admirers and detractors since her tumultuous life ended in suicide in 30 B.C. The last of the Ptolemaic monarchs who had ruled Egypt for three centuries, Cleopatra created her own mythology. She became an icon in her own lifetime and a legend after her death.

This lavishly illustrated catalogue accompanied an exhibition in 2001 at British Museum, The Field Museum in Chicago and Palazzo Ruspoli, in Rome. It explores how Cleopatra was depicted during her own era, in works ranging from coins to life-size sculpture. Exciting new discoveries are featured--including seven Egyptian-style statues believed to represent Cleopatra, and two portraits probably commissioned while she was living in Rome with Julius Caesar. The book also examines interpretations of Cleopatra from the Renaissance to modern times, as seen in paintings, ceramics, jewellery, plays, operas, and film. In addition, recent archaeological finds from Alexandria (Cleopatra's capital) and from Rome illustrate aspects of life in Cleopatra's day.

  • Author: Susan Walker, Peter Higgs
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Date published: June 2001
  • Condition: New
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0691088358
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 23.0 x 3.5

'She was, of course, the greatest seductress the world has ever seen. . . . It is hard to think of any ingredient that her story does not have. She was an intellectual, wrote books, took her lover to her library and read rare manuscripts to him for the pleasure of it. . . . She spoke nine languages fluently; she was a capable and efficient ruler as well as a flamboyant one. . . . Perhaps the most compelling conundrum about the queen, though, is what did Cleopatra look like? . . . We have images in our minds of a slim, dusky enchantress, Egyptian straight hair, the headdress of cobras above darkly kohled eyes. The truth is hard to establish; but it is certainly different from that' - Sunday Times Magazine

'There is enough evidence here of Cleopatra's own image creation to demonstrate that, if we find her hard to know, it is not only because the truth about her has been overlaid by 2000 years worth of erotic and racist fantasy, but because she herself was such a protean and ingenious self publicist' - Times Literary Supplement 

'[A] lavish catalog. . . . The historical and legendary Cleopatra VII is brought to life through 394 objects from 35 museums and private collections in Africa, Europe, and North America' - Library Journal 

'Cleopatra of Egypt will be a welcome addition to the library of any Cleopatra enthusiast. The volume is beautifully produced and the images are gorgeous. . . . [It] succeeds in bringing its audience into the world of Cleopatra with thorough analysis of the ancient evidence and plenty of helpful background information' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'This sumptuously illustrated catalog [is a] . . . browsable homage to one of the most intriguing figures in all of antiquity. . . ' - Booklist 

'This hefty, intelligent book attempts to pin down the elusive identity and mysterious story of the fascinating woman who ruled Egypt from 51-30 B.C. . . . It is the book's color plates and illustrations, however, that give it life, an energy as forceful, as vivacious, and as fascinating as Cleopatra herself has been for twenty-one centuries.' Foreword 

'This magnificent publication . . . features 11 scholarly but very readable
essays and sumptuous photographs of the exhibits. It provides almost everything the reader is likely to want to know about this celebrated figure. . . . This beautiful book and its accessible text will appeal to specialists and nonspecialists alike' - Choice 

'Detailed and cutting-edge enough for the specialist and accessible enough for the casual exhibition-goer whose interest has been piqued by these antiquities' - The Art Book  

'A lavishly illustrated, informative volume. . . . Cleopatra herself appears in all the guises that enabled her to maintain her dominion over her complicated realm' - The New Republic