Read Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce A. Tyldesley Online


The Romans regarded her as “fatale monstrum”—a fatal omen. Pascal said the shape of her nose changed the history of the world. Shakespeare portrayed her as an icon of tragic love. But who was Cleopatra, really?Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies. Highly intelligent, she spoke many languages and was rumored to be the only Ptolemy to read andThe Romans regarded her as “fatale monstrum”—a fatal omen. Pascal said the shape of her nose changed the history of the world. Shakespeare portrayed her as an icon of tragic love. But who was Cleopatra, really?Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies. Highly intelligent, she spoke many languages and was rumored to be the only Ptolemy to read and speak Egyptian. Her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony had as much to do with politics as the heart. Ruthless in dealing with her enemies, many within her own family, Cleopatra steered her kingdom through difficult times, and very nearly succeeded in creating an eastern empire to rival the growing might of Rome.Her story was well documented by her near contemporaries, and the tragic tale of contrasts and oppositions—the seductive but failing power of ancient Egypt versus the virile strength of modern Rome—is so familiar we almost feel that we know Cleopatra. But our picture is highly distorted. Cleopatra is often portrayed as a woman ruled by emotion rather than reason; a queen hurtling towards inevitable self-destruction. But these tales of seduction, intrigue, and suicide by asp have obfuscated Cleopatra’s true political genius.Stripping away our preconceptions, many of them as old as Egypt’s Roman conquerors, Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley offers a magnificent biography of a most extraordinary queen....

Title : Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780465009404
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 290 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt Reviews

  • Nikki
    2019-02-24 12:52

    This book is a solid biography of Cleopatra, appreciating her cleverness and ability as a politician, and examining how the world at the time reacted to her. It’s perhaps a little drier than people would hope — how could you make Cleopatra so academic, when she’s such a colourful figure? Well, I don’t mind that at all, and I enjoyed the way it contextualised her achievements and dissected the myths surrounding her. It delves into the background of her rule and her city, as well, giving a picture of Egypt under the Ptolemies.I’ve enjoyed other books by Tyldesley before, and though it’s not one of my areas of expertise, I have found her books well-written, referenced and clear. That’s more than I can say for some other Egyptologists who write for the pop-history crowd. Other than that, I don’t have much basis to make a judgement, but I found this one enjoyable.Originally posted here.

  • Aleta
    2019-03-05 19:55

    I love Egyptian history especially history on women which there isn't a lot of information on. What I liked about this book was that the author pointed out all of the inaccuracies of Cleopatra's supposed life that we've been told or read about in books. The author takes the approach of a skeptic from everything like Cleopatra's ethnicity ( was she black was she white) to the father of her eldest son. The author points out all of the possibilities and then based on her education and experience makes her observation. Because there isn't a ton of accurate information on Cleopatra, the book talks about other women, political systems in Rome, warfare, etc. Basically stuff I wasnt' all that interested in. But if you like Cleopatra, strong women or a good read,I do recommend.

  • Chris
    2019-02-19 15:43

    This is a good biography of Cleopatra. Tydesley does not really contribute anything new about Cleopatra per se (though she offers a good analysis for the major areas of debate); however, the book does give background material about Cleopatra's family and her Egypt that one does not usually see in most Cleopatra biographies. This gives the reader a better view of the Cleopatra herself as well as the Egypt of her times, an Egypt that is not presented though Roman eyes.

  • Nikki
    2019-02-20 15:39

    2.5 starsOverall a decent biography on Cleopatra but not without its faults. I do feel as though it was written in an approachable manner. If I were not such a Cleophile I may have enjoyed this more, but I often found the approach to Cleopatra a bit off-putting for my preference. Also, as with many biographies for this and similar time periods, there were far too many tangents. Tyldesley would often get sidetracked by something she noted and spend up to a numerous pages on it, only to immediately go back to the topic at hand like nothing happened which can be discombobulating. Unfortunately these tangents also often added nothing to the topic of Cleopatra overall. Ultimately I could not pinpoint Tyldesley's opinion on Cleopatra, possibly because she cannot determine it herself. Tyldesley would seem to waffle as to whether she believed the propaganda in some aspects, only to defend Cleopatra in other aspects (especially in the last chapter "History Becomes Legend").Tyldesley also likes to write what I call "complinsults" throughout the novel. One such complinsult comes on page 4:That she was an ambitious and ruthless queen is obvious from even the most superficial examination of her life, although the extent of her ruthlessness tends to be hidden in the more popular histories, which gloss over the murder of her sister and (almost certainly) her brother while concentrating on her 'love life'. That Cleopatra, living in an age of highly unstable governments, chose to form personal alliances with individually powerful Romans should be seen as sensible (intelligent) rather than a weak (emotional) decision; and 'love', as in any dynastic match, may have had very little to do with it.Tyldesley seemed to enjoy using the word "ruthless", it was a common word used for the individuals highlighted in the book. At one point she states: "Cleopatra III was, even by Ptolemaic standards, a particularly ruthless woman." Unfortunately the information Tyldesley then proceeds to bring forth about Cleopatra's ancestor did not sound terribly ruthless to me. Perhaps I am more ruthless myself and could not see it in this aspect (doubtful, but maybe), but Tyldesley frequently made broad statements such as this and proceeded not to support them. Antony was also oddly treated by Tyldesley, such as on page 150:It is important to see through this propaganda and to remember that Antony was not only a bluff, naive, simple fellow; he was also an extremely ambitious and capable man.Interestingly Tyldesley uses characteristics of Antony that were possibly sourced from propaganda (naive fellow and such) in the same breath as telling people to look past propaganda. This doesn't work for me.There were a number of passages that irritated me or did not work for me such as the Antony one above. But overall as an introductory NF to Cleopatra it wasn't bad, but it could have been better. Fewer tangents would have been helpful. I also would have liked to see either a more neutral (but interested) stance taken by Tyldesley or, preferably, a stance that proved enthusiastic for this topic. Ultimately I never felt Tyldesley genuinely enjoyed the topic at hand unless it was the tangential data.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-06 19:36

    heheheheh - a comb-over for Julius.NEW BBC Radio Audiobiography The Romans regarded her as 'fatale monstrum', a female Saddam Hussein. Pascal said the shape of her nose changed the history of the world. Shakespeare and Tiepolo (and Elizabeth Taylor) portrayed her as an icon of tragic beauty. But who was Cleopatra, really? She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (she was the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak ancient Egyptian as well as the court Greek) and very clever (her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were as much to do with politics as the heart), she steered her kingdom through impossibly taxing internal problems and against greedy Roman imperialism. Stripping away our preconceptions, many of them as old as her Roman enemies, Joyce Tyldesley uses all her skills as an Egyptologist to give us a rich picture of a country and its Egyptian queen in this magnificent biography.Read by Haydn Gwynne.

  • Steven
    2019-03-06 19:00

    An excellent overview written by a thoughtful, but easily readable historian. I got a little lost with some of the descriptions of how Greek and Egyptian dieties, pharaohs and kings were intermingled and associated, but I got the feeling that there are precious few people who have a handle on all of that. I also found the interrelationships amongst the Ptolemaic kings, and their lack of imagination in the child-naming department fascinating.I appreciated how Tyldesly introduced several of the legends (actual and Hollywood-ized) surrounding Cleopatra, discussing the sources and likelihood of each (eg., appearing before Caesar wrapped in a rug, dissolving a pearl in wine and drinking it, being bitten on the breasts by two asps), without ridiculing or poo-pooing various scenarios. The result is a balanced introduction to a very intriguing personage about whom we know very little.Throughout the book I was reminded how much I think of this time period in terms of movies I've seen. I kept thinking of Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison and the cast of HBO's Rome. I had to keep reminding myself to get those images out of my head. This book helped.

  • Belinda
    2019-03-19 16:51

    This was an excellent and balanced bio on the most famous Queen of Egypt, long an obsession of mine. I tend not to read older bios of Cleopatra as the source material on her is fragmented and often not well researched as well as the influence film and popular culture has on her life. This book cleared many of those cobwebs away. Extremely well researched, it shows perceptions of the Queen from both her own time and more timely material. A nice selection of photos and a great job at establishing her familial history. The book does not try to make her into an icon of beauty or a perfect and kind person--but shows her to be flawed but brilliant, manipulative but loving and above all, brave. It also spends an entire chapter on her children which is rare--so often I find in bios of Cleopatra that her children are just ignored and that has been frustrating. Here, their lives and deaths are fleshed out and explained. I think the book walks a nice line between being scholarly and more accessible than many books on subjects in antiquity. Very much enjoyed this.

  • Katharine Holden
    2019-02-17 13:51

    I had no idea Cleopatra had four children. Interesting to read how Romans made the details of her life into useful propaganda for their own interests. Quite a bit of the author's accounts of Egyptian women's lives and the mixed ethnic groups in Egypt during the late Ptolemy period were new to me.

  • Erica
    2019-03-02 15:37

    Very informative and full of great details, descriptions and illustrations. However, it is a bit dry, written like a history text book from the archaeologist point of view. If you do not love Egyptology and/or Ancient Rome, this would be a very difficult book to read, let alone finish. I love Egyptology, Ancient Rome and Women in Antiquity yet this was a challenging read for me. However, it was my first archaeological book.

  • Roxanne Brook Vigil
    2019-03-15 18:53

    If I were to recommend one book to learn about Cleopatra this would be it. It focuses on the Egyptian influences on Cleopatra as oppose to constant discussions about Roman battles and infighting that most books describe in depth.

  • Arpeeta Mazumdar
    2019-02-18 16:49

    A very good thorough and unbiased biography 👍🏻 indeed!!!

  • Realini
    2019-03-18 12:48

    Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt by Joyce TyldesleyCleopatra comes across as a dazzling, smart, valiant, dedicated, resolute, obstinate and a role model in many respectsCleopatra is one of the best known women in the world.I mean the name rings a bell for, I venture to speculate – one in four people and that is probably more than almost any other woman in history.There would be Joan of Arc…Here I stopped and checked the internet to see if I am right.And I am.Cleopatra rests at number nine, but all the others have become famous in much more recent history, not to mention present.Oprah Winfrey is still alive and kicking with Madonna at number two and then a few who have just passed away:- Rosa Parks, Anne Frank, Marilyn Monroe, Mother Theresa and a few more…Cleopatra is a disputed figure among two camps of experts who attribute either an African or a European ancestry to the great queen.She might have been black, but there are also arguments in favor of a Macedonian ancestry, the dynasty of the Ptolemy.The supposedly gorgeous brunette was not just well educated, but from what historians record she had an exceptional upbringingShe could convers with various foreign guests in their respective tongues, be they Arabs, or even troglodytes- if I did not misheard that last group.I must note that the version I heard was a BBC production that has been adapted and abridged for the radio.The relationship with Cesar was controversial in the Roman world and even if a son may have resulted, the emperor did not recognize him/Cesar is presented as vain, twenty years older and keen to have his statues with hair, even if he was already balding.The will he made did not mention the son born to the queen of Egypt, but that might have been just the Roman law.Roman citizens could not give away property to foreigners, but then Cesar did not say anything about his natural son.It was not well regarded that at one point it looked like he was the parent of the heirs to the throne of both Egypt and Rome.After the well-known assassination of Caesar, a triumvirate followed and relations between Antony and Octavian were tense.Although Marc Antony marries the sister of Octavian, he maintains a relationship with Cleopatra and they have three children.According to different sources, at least in the first period of their intimacy Antony was not very interested in the Egyptian queen.Her bad reputation is false, as she had only the two famous lovers- Caesar and Marc Antony and no other.As the friction between Marc Anthony grew until a war broke out, the armies of the two rivals clashed.Octavian won and the defeated Antony got word that Cleopatra has committed suicide and so he asks his slave, Eros to kill him.The latter stabs himself rather than raise a hand at his master and so the cornered leader takes a knife and stabs himself in the stomach.Then news arrive that Cleopatra has not committed suicide after all and she is barricaded with her treasure.I will avoid the details, not for any worry of a spoiler alert for we all know what happened even if the specifics are unexpected.Cleopatra comes across as a dazzling, smart, valiant, dedicated, resolute, obstinate and a role model in many respects, even if the Romans called her- “fatale monstrum”

  • Sandra
    2019-02-22 17:55

    La imagen de Cleopatra VII que perdura entre nosotros es el resultado de una mezcla de intereses políticos, artísticos, religiosos y propagandísticos. El primer manipulador fue Octavio (Augusto):César, el padre adoptivo que le concedió a Octavio su derecho a gobernar, sería recordado con respeto como un hombre valiente y correcto que manipuló a una mujer extranjera e inmoral en su propio beneficio. En cambio, Antonio, el rival de Octavio, sería recordado con una mezcla de piedad y de desprecio, como un hombre valiente pero fatalmente débil, apresado sin remedio por las cadenas de una mujer extranjera e inmoral.Extranjera e inmoral son la clave. Como dice la autora, era preferible para Octavio ser recordado como alguien que luchaba contra extranjeros que como un aniquilador de ciudadanos respetables (romanos). Los siguientes en la lista son los historiadores que incluyeron a la reina en sus estudios: Plutarco, para el que Cleopatra era una mujer manipuladora, Dión Casio, para el que además era fatal, y Flavio Josefo, para el que era antirromana y antijudía.Cuando Egipto se aisló de Occidente, éste perdió a la Cleopatra “sabia, filósofa, experta en medicina, magia y cosmética”. Más tarde llegó Shakespeare, que lo acabó de liar todo, ya que por motivos que se desconocen algunos expertos consideraron (y consideran) sus obras como fuentes históricas y, en el siglo XX, el cine terminó de perfilar su imagen de mujer hermosa, erótica, manipuladora e inmoral.Como siempre, lo que intenta Joyce Tyldesley a través de la biografía de Cleopatra VII es demostrar que no hay pruebas de que Cleopatra fuera lo que hoy entendemos por bella, que lo más probable es que su interés por los romanos poderosos, más que erótico, fuera político y dedicado a la supervivencia de Egipto, y que sus supuestas tretas manipuladoras e inmorales no eran mucho peores que las de los ciudadanos respetables (romanos, otra vez). Y como siempre, el espíritu divulgador de su obra, con estudios muy meticulosos sobre el arte ptolemaico y la figura de Cleopatra, es encomiable, aunque directamente proporcional al interés que la reina despierte en el lector. (En el mío no hay tanto como pensaba. Al parecer, cuanto más antigua sea la historia egipcia, más me atrae.)

  • Lisa
    2019-03-16 17:44

    I don't know much Cleopatra, nor do I care overly much about her. Yes, she is an extraordinary figure in history, half-mythical, but I'd rather read about the "real" Egyptian monarchs, such as Amenhotep III, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Ramesses II. Interestingly, this distinction between the "real" Egypt and the Ptolemaic Egypt is one that Tyldesley comments on, discussing how Egyptologists often only focus on the dynastic Egyptian rulers, leaving studies of Ptolemaic Egypt to classical scholars and those who specialise in this period. This is a balance she attempts to address. I'm not entirely sure it works. Of course, I haven't read any other books about Cleopatra to know whether Cleopatra: Egypt's Last Queen has a particular Egyptologist flavour, and Tyldesley's chief sources are all those well-known in classical studies (for example, Plutarch). Cleopatra: Egypt's Last Queen is a superb biography. Readers of Tyldesley's previous works will recognise her skill and ability to communicate authentic and reliable information in an entirely accessible way. For someone who knows very little about the real Cleopatra, this is a good, solid base to draw upon.

  • Judy Danielle
    2019-03-12 14:47

    This book wasn't bad, it was just more like reading a text book! It was also sometimes hard to follow as the author continued to go back and forth and back forth on the dynastic heritage and the different theories! At one point I simply continued to read because I kept hoping it would get better. Maybe in a college course, as a professors text and overview this would be wonderful but not as an at home reAd.I didn't feel like I learned much about Cleopatra, other than the fact that the author is pretty convinced Rome hated her and she was ugly and not beautiful. Maybe the author was denied the opportunity to write a text book and chose to take the route of a novel

  • Manda
    2019-03-02 20:44

    Cleopatra has always been one of the most fascinating people in history to me, but the focus is often on the legend and not the reality behind it. As recent marine excavations have given us a new picture of Cleopatra's Alexandria, so it was also time the woman herself was given a historical reevaluation. Even when we think we know everything there is to know about a historical figure, sometimes we need to look again to see if anything has changed, even if it's just our own perspective. Cleopatra gets a fair treatment here and even those who haven't an academic background in classics or archaeology probably won't get too lost.

  • Shreyasee
    2019-02-20 14:51

    Cleopatra: Last Queen of EgyptCleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of EgyptCleopatra: The Last Queen of Egypt

  • Mark
    2019-03-07 15:00

    A little hard to follow at first because the author provides so much source material and then gives you what the most probable history was. It's not a brass tacks bio but how could it be-egyptology being such an inexact science. Once you get used to this approach, however, the book reads well and avoids being dry or text bookish. Gives the reader a well thought out portait of the players, the environment and, perhaps most interestingly, the Cleopatra mystique - why this historical personage has been lionized/demonized through the ages.

  • Irma Fox
    2019-03-06 12:48

    I've read so many books about Cleopatra and this one by far has given me the most information about not only Cleopatra (the last queen of Egypt), but her entire (presumably) blood line that prevailed (again, presumably) after her death. Shakespeare, Dio, Plutarch, they all in one form or another created an image for Cleopatra that shaped the way we view the Hellenistic courts she commanded as well as the woman herself. Love this book! And I'll continue reading about Cleopatra- the legend and myth.

  • Lynda
    2019-02-19 17:57

    Well-written and scholarly, but still accessible. Tyldesley's biography is great for anyone new to the history of Cleopatra and the Ptolemies. I would definitely read this one before Duane Roller's. She focuses more on Cleopatra's creation of her own status by drawing on predecessor queens of Egypt as well as Isis iconography. So far this is my favorite of these new Cleopatra biographies, but the newest by Stacy Schiff is up next. Why so many biographies in the past three years I wonder?

  • Annie
    2019-02-24 20:58

    While this is the first biography on Cleopatra I've ever read, I enjoyed it immensely. I felt that the author did her best to do justice to the queen's character, even with the astounding lack of source material concerning her subject. By the end, I had even managed to keep all the previous Cleopatras and the Ptolemies straight, and left with a good knowledge of the times she lived in. Excellent and highly recommended.

  • Eileen
    2019-02-19 13:51

    Finally a biography of Cleopatra that does not try to paint her as history's biggest trollop! I've read a couple of things about her and this by far is the most serious thing I've read. Ptolemaic Kings and Queens are quite difficult to keep track of and with the deadly rivalry that went on for generations described here, it is much easier to understand her motivations.How incredibly tragic the end of Cleopatra and her children.

  • Robert Vazquez Pacheco
    2019-02-28 16:43

    I am enjoying the history very much. Cleopatra, as the author notes, is one of the more familiar characters of history. Watching the various depictions of her on stage and screen, one feels, perhaps I should say I feel, as if you know her story. This biography gives us a more complete picture of the woman, at least as complete as we can achieve now. Unfortunately there is so much we shall never know. Maybe that's a good thing. Mysteries are a necessary part of life.

  • Stacie
    2019-03-05 17:55

    This was a pretty quick and easy read- for a history. Dr. Tyldesley does an admirable job of making the mess that is the Ptolemaic Dynasty, if not crystal clear, at least understandable. The 'Who's Who' at the end is particularly helpful. As usual, her writing is clear and easy to follow-and not too dry... Everybody knows how Cleopatra's bid to retain her country and her crown ends, but the chapter on her failure and her death still made me sad!

  • Fuglsang
    2019-03-01 21:03

    This is a very good book on the history of Cleopatra. Cutting through all the myths and rumours, Tyldesley provides us with a down-to-Eart and realistic portrait of one of the most misunderstood characters of Antiquity.Loaded with bits of texts from antiquity, quotes from later historical works and images of sculptures this is a very good read if one is interested in the true story of Cleopatra VII.

  • Xarah
    2019-02-17 15:43

    This book was more of a brief summary of Cleopatra's life and the surrounding events that influenced her actions and her world. I found the book to be written in a very approachable manner, complete with some wry humor! I am struck on just how dynamic Cleopatra, Caesar, and Antony were. It's just fascinating to learn about them and their lives and how we know so much but not nearly enough!

  • Lyn Smith
    2019-03-03 17:49

    I made many fascinating discoveries about Cleopatra and ancient Egypt. This author changed my perspective about the great queen. She was a polyglot, a master politician in her own right and probably the reason for Julius Ceasar's downfall due to her overreach for power and an empire for their son. I talk about this read to my students all the time.

  • Rozonda
    2019-02-20 15:50

    Like most books by Ms Tyldesley, a very thorough and ´well-researched biography of an ever-popular character. It doesn't get more stars because it doesn't add much to biographies already published, but for young people who are new to Cleopatra and look for a no-nonsense, no-temptress-myth biography, it is absolutely recommended.

  • Emily
    2019-02-23 16:05

    Thought this was a nice read. It had a lot of information in it but was also very readable to those that wouldn't have a strong back ground in Egyptian history. At times I felt that the author fell short in some explanation at times, but it kept my interest well.I would think anyone with any interest in Cleopatra would find this a positive addition to their shelf.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-24 18:03

    I have always loved Cleopatra. She is an inspration to all.I like the way that they author told all sides of the story.Espcially since there are so many conflicting views on her. She included all of the sides,so you could draw your own conclusions about her.I will definatly recommend this book to all.