Antony and Cleopatra
By Adrian Goldsworthy
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300165340, 470pp.)
Publication Date: September 2010
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In this remarkable dual biography of the two great lovers of antiquity, preeminent historian Adrian Goldsworthy goes beyond myth and romance to create a nuanced and historically acute portrayal of his subjects, set against the political backdrop of their time. A history of lives lived intensely at a time when the world was changing profoundly, the book takes readers on a journey that crosses cultures and boundaries from ancient Greece and ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire.
Drawing on his prodigious knowledge of the ancient world and his keen sense of the period’s military and political history, Goldsworthy creates a singular portrait of the iconic lovers. “Antony and Cleopatra were first and foremost political animals,” explains Goldsworthy, who places politics and ideology at the heart of their storied romance. Undertaking a close analysis of ancient sources and archaeological evidence, Goldsworthy bridges the gaps of current scholarship and dispels misconceptions that have entered the popular consciousness. He explains why Cleopatra was consistently portrayed by Hollywood as an Egyptian, even though she was really Greek, and argues that Antony had far less military experience than anyone would suspect from reading Shakespeare and other literature. Goldsworthy makes an important case for understanding Antony as a powerful Roman senator and political force in his own right.
A masterfully told—and deeply human—story of love, politics, and ambition, Goldsworthy’s Antony and Cleopatra delivers a compelling reassessment of a major episode in ancient history.
Antony and Cleopatra are among history's most famous lovers. The story of their affair, their war, their defeat and, finally, their suicides has been told and retold for centuries. Now, Adrian Goldsworthy, author of Antony and Cleopatra, uncovers the couple's true story. More at NPR.org
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