Cleopatra VII (69-30 BC), Egyptian queen (of Macedonian descent), was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. This biography concentrates on the fascinating aspects of Cleopatra’s ever-shifting identity. A master of self-presentation, she was the first to craft for herself an image, or to be precise, a number of images. Depending on the audience, he might present herself as a goddess, a political leader, or an alluring and exotic woman. The conflicts that arise in our sources for Cleopatra’s life make her story especially captivating. The accounts of her life, which were written by contemporaries and even acquaintances, will offer the reader a sense not only of Cleopatra, but also of the literature and historiography of the time.
PRUDENCE J. JONES teaches courses in Greek and Latin at Montclair State University. Her publications include Cleopatra: A Sourcebook and Reading Rivers in Roman Literature and Culture.