Cleopatra was born in 69 B.C. in Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great, in the Nile Delta. She was an essential queen of ancient Egypt, and her name continues. She was a strategist, determined, brilliant, cunning, and owner of a gigantic fortune throughout her life. Once, the Greek philosopher Plutarch wrote the following about her, the contact with her presence.
Her life trajectory is widely studied, researched, and debated to understand her greatness. There are some interesting facts about a temple dedicated to the goddess Venus at the request of the Roman leader, Julius Caesar, who was Cleopatra’s lover. A golden statue of the Egyptian queen was built. Records indicate this monument was seen and revered at the site until at least the second century A.D.
Curiously, Cleopatra was revered as a true goddess, more precisely as a new goddess, ICIS. One of the most important deeds of ancient Egypt. She was also identified as Aphrodite, a Greek goddess with attributes similar to ICIS. Cleopatra also had refined intelligence. She received an excellent education, together with the other children of royalty. Reading books about Cleopatra helps you better understand the important historical figure and the period in which she lived.
5 Books About Cleopatra (Egyptian Myth)
Cleopatra began to rule Egypt at 17 after her father’s death. Today, we can find the image of Cleopatra stamped on the most varied objects, and many people know her name, although not everyone knows what she was like in reality. These physical representations of the figure of the queen usually consist of one of the many distorted points in her story.
Regarding the queen’s look, Plutarch wrote the following words. She wasn’t so unique that there was no comparison, or we couldn’t look at her without being in touch. Cleopatra’s life inspires many authors. So there are many books and movies about it. I am going to discuss the top 5 books about Cleopatra. Let’s start!
1. Cleopatra: A Life
This book was published in 2010 by Little Brown at 368 pages, including notes in the biography. But the biography itself is 304 pages. In this biography, Stacy Schiff works on Demythologize and the story of Cleopatra and strips away the misconceptions that her representation in popular culture has bred. She sticks very close to the historical record and has meticulously researched, like all available sources.
Schiff researched Cleopatra and her relationship with Caesar, Egypt, and Rome, the relationships between men and women. She studied the lives of other monarchs of the time to see how they lived to understand better how the Apache might have lived.
Cleopatra makes allowances for the gaps in the historical record that remain and probably will always be there. We may never know many events because only select things were recorded. And a historical record is very delicate, especially when it’s delicate.
In ancient Egypt, men were in charge of all things. We don’t know many things, nor do we know if they’re necessarily true. But Schiff made as many references as possible to the remaining records and made educated inferences, but she did. In the book, she said some holes may never be filled. There was a lot of lushness to the history that she presented. So overall, I enjoyed it.
Author: Stacy Schiff
Average Rating: 4.1/5
Category: Ancient Egyptians History
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD
2. Cleopatra’s Daughter
Cleopatra’s Daughter is named Cleopatra Saleen. She is a twin. Her brother’s name is Alexander. Alexander Helio’s, to be specific. The novel follows Cleopatra’s children after the death of their parents when they are taken back to Rome. This is a great story about young children adapting to a different culture and being forced to leave everything they knew.
Julia is quite a complex character and absorbed in her world, which is fine from a characterization point of view. At the end of the book, you will find romance. Michelle Moran stresses that they were a love match. One of the things I want to touch on is that it was exciting to read such a tragedy. The author talks about them being such a love match at the end of the book, like in the Author’s Note.
Author: Michelle Moran
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Biographical Literary Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mp3 CD
3. The Memoirs of Cleopatra
This book has 957 pages about Cleopatra, the seventh. She was the last in the Ptolemy line, which had ruled Egypt for 300 years. She had two older sisters, two brothers, and both younger and a younger sister. Her siblings died because they tried to take the throne from her or her father and were killed for it.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra covers her entire life. It is the best book about Cleopatra. Cleopatra lived about 40 years, which is longer than I realized. The whole book is written from the point of view of Cleopatra as she looks back on her life. The last chapter is after she has killed herself, which is history.
The book starts with Cleopatra’s childhood reliving her mother’s death, and then the first 200 pages through her childhood. Then she slows down when she meets Caesar, like 300 pages of the book. The rest is her and Mark Anthony and their fight against Octavia, who was adopted by Caesar and became Caesar Augustus.
The author references her childhood several times, such as how politics plays a huge part in the Ptolemy rule or how they automatically marry their brothers. Cleopatra married both of her brothers as a formality. She doesn’t sleep with her brothers, which makes sense. Then she married Mark Anthony and had their kids instead.
This book is a perfect articulation of the little we know about her. It’s a fantastic fictional account of a fascinating woman. The characters pay into Egypt in a vibrant light, which is unknown in modern Egypt. There are so many moments where the whiteness of the marble and Alexandria are mentioned because Cleopatra compares Alexandria to other cities via Rome or Tharsis offices.
There are also many moments where Alexander the Great is mentioned because Cleopatra claims to have descended from him. Overall, this book is fantastic. If you are interested in Cleopatra, I highly recommend it because it does.
Author: Margaret George
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Ancient History Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio Cassette
4. Cleopatra Confesses
Cleopatra Confesses is about Cleopatra, and it was also told from her point of view. She’s young when the book starts. So as the book progresses, she gets older. It’s a deeper way of getting to know the character, especially with a historical figure like this. Besides, she was an Egyptian queen. Cleopatra could speak seven or eight languages, greatly facilitating her agreements and political stratagems. She was reportedly the first person in her family to speak Egyptian without interpreters.
In addition, she succeeded in studying philosophy and rhetoric from an early age. She learned oratory, which she knew how to use very intelligently, speaking with the correct posture, appropriate gestures, and a soft voice concerning her vast knowledge. It should be remembered that Cleopatra lived in Alexandria, a cultural center in antiquity, with the famous Library of Alexandria, full of many literary works.
In an unprecedented structure, these local circumstances were essential and influential in the cultural formation of the Egyptian ruler. Her achievements made her the lover of two of the most famous Roman generals of her time. There was enough material, in the end, to have made a whole different book. But it wasn’t satisfying. It’s not about Cleopatra’s love affairs.
Author: Carolyn Meyer
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Teen & Young Adult Biographical Fiction
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
5. Antony and Cleopatra
Marc Anthony is the guy we left off with, Julius Caesar. Like before, he’s not a bad guy, but he’s not a good guy either. He has his flaws and insecurities. All those flaws are conveniently wrapped into one person, which is Cleopatra. Antony and Cleopatra are a couple, but their love isn’t as innocent and frothy as Romeo and Juliet. Their relationship is all about lust. Throughout the play, they both try to outmaneuver each other for total dominance in the relationship. Aside from that, we have Anthony’s ongoing struggle for domination in Rome. He controls the eastern, most third of it.
Lepidus controls Africa in the western colonies, while Octavia controls Rome itself. While Anthony tries to wrestle control away, pirates ravage the Mediterranean. Sextus Pompei leads them to Cesar’s old rival, Pompey.
As you can see, many different things happen in this book and play. It’s a very cluttered drama, even by Shakespearean standards. Also, it isn’t held by much of the action not being produced on stage, like naval battles. We have to rely on messengers coming from offstage to tell us this information. We all know that witnessing action and hearing about it are two very different things.
There are morals and whatnot because it’s not Shakespeare. It essentially boils down to east versus west, masculine Rome versus feminine Egypt order, and Rome versus freedom in Egypt. Rome is efficient and relentless. Egypt is more of a sexy but unrealistic paradise. So what’s the final verdict on Antony and Cleopatra? Get the book to answer this question.
Author: William Shakespeare
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Comedic Dramas & Plays
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback
Fiction Books About Cleopatra
The Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley: This novel presents a fantastical retelling of Cleopatra’s life, mixing history with mythology and the supernatural.
Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter: This novel follows the life of Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene. She tries to reclaim her rightful place on the throne of Egypt.
Cleopatra’s Heir by Gillian Bradshaw: This novel explores the aftermath of Cleopatra’s death. Her son Caesarion struggles to survive and reclaim his rightful place as the heir to the throne.
The October Horse by Colleen McCullough: This novel is part of a series that follows the history of Ancient Rome and focuses on the events leading up to the downfall of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
Cleopatra’s Sister by Penelope Lively: This novel explores the life of Cleopatra’s younger sister, Arsinoe, who was also vying for the throne of Egypt.
Non-fiction Books On Cleopatra
Cleopatra – Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce Tyldesley: This book provides an in-depth look at Cleopatra’s life based on historical sources and archaeological evidence.
Cleopatra’s Egypt – Age of the Ptolemies by Jean-Daniel Stanley and Nancy H. Demand: This book focuses on the history and culture of ancient Egypt during Cleopatra’s reign, providing insights into the society she ruled.
Cleopatra and Rome by Diana E. E. Kleiner: This book examines the relationship between Cleopatra and the Roman Empire, exploring how her reign impacted the politics and culture of the time.
The Murder of Cleopatra – History’s Greatest Cold Case by Pat Brown: This book offers a fascinating investigation into the mystery surrounding Cleopatra’s death, exploring the various theories and evidence surrounding the queen’s demise.
Cleopatra – Beyond the Myth by Michel Chauveau: This book provides a fresh perspective on Cleopatra’s life, drawing on recent archaeological discoveries and reexamining historical accounts.
Cleopatra’s Needles – The Lost Obelisks of Egypt by Bob Brier: This book tells the story of the obelisks Cleopatra had erected in ancient Egypt, their rediscovery, and transportation to Western capitals.
Cleopatra – A Sphinx Revisited by Margaret M. Miles: This book offers a feminist perspective on Cleopatra’s life, exploring her role as a female ruler in a male-dominated society and her legacy as an icon of female power.
Cleopatra – The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt by Zahi Hawass and Franck Goddio: This book follows the efforts of archaeologists and historians to uncover new insights into Cleopatra’s life, using modern technology to explore ancient ruins and artifacts.
Cleopatra’s Wedding Present by Robert Tewdwr Moss: This is a memoir of Moss’s journey across the Middle East in the 1950s, retracing the route of Cleopatra’s legendary journey to Rome with Julius Caesar.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of books, have been written about Cleopatra over the centuries. Her life and legacy have fascinated writers and historians for centuries, making her one of ancient history’s most widely studied figures. These books are considered classics of literature and can be enjoyed for their artistic and literary value and historical significance.
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