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    Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth.
    by Susan Walker, Peter Higgs
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (14 May, 2001)
    list price: $65.00 -- our price: $40.95
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great resource for Cleopatra
    If pressed, I'd almost say that this is the single best book on Cleopatra.Granted, there are critical biographies, historical accounts, and all sorts of other sources, but this massive book is unique in that it shows nearly every sculpture, coin, or papyrus that can be tied directly to Egypt's last independent ruler.Its fascinating to finally see how Cleopatra presented herself to her subjects -- in traditional Egyptian style for the local population, in Greek style to the Greco-Roman world at large.It's also sobering to see how little remains of her reign.The Romans went after her Greek-style statues, but since they didn't understand Egyptian art, many works of art in that style survive.Besides the impressive visuals, the book includes important essays on many different parts of Cleopatra's reign, life in Alexandria, and the legends that have swirled around Cleopatra after her death. A good comprehensive look at this famous queen, scholarly and readable.But boy, those visuals...! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0691088357
    Sales Rank: 383478
    Subjects:  1. 332-30 B.C.    2. Ancient - Egypt    3. Art    4. Art & Art Instruction    5. Biography    6. Cleopatra,    7. Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions - Museum    8. Egypt    9. Exhibitions    10. History    11. History - Ancient & Classical    12. History - General    13. Queen of Egypt,    14. Queens    15. d. 30 B.C    16. d. 30 B.C.    17. Archaeology and Ancient History    18. Art / History / General    19. Art and Architecture   


    by Michael Grant
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (October, 2000)
    list price: $24.76 -- our price: $19.95
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    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Ancient spin meisters
    I'm not a classicist as some of the other reviewers on this site appear to be, but as a layperson I can say that this book was pretty interesting.There are some boring parts, as others noted, but what biography does not have some boring parts?Here's what I found especially interesting:

    Grant gives readers a good idea about how most of the chronicles he consulted were written from one perspective or another and thus tended to be sentimentally biased in one direction or another.Grant points out significantly that as "Westerners" we have clung most closely to the "Occidental" version of matters, rather than anything leaning toward the other side, the "Orient."He points out consistently how ancient writers who disliked Cleopatra changed facts around to disparage her, while the opposite was true of those who liked her.

    The point being, it seems, that you have to take your history with a grain of salt (just as we do the news from the various modern media).Some reviewers seem to feel that Grant himself is slightly biased, in Cleopatra's favor, but as long as we're aware of it, we can perhaps discern the bias and read other viewpoints to get a well-rounded sense of what actually occurred.

    The other interesting point was how many people, mostly men presumably, died during these ancient wars.And how little their deaths accounted for anything.In other words, life was a lot cheaper then than today.In Cleopatra's time, only the top dogs had the sense of individual rights that most of us have today.Is that progress?

    Grant's book, of course, is thoroughly documented for those wishing to do further investigation.


    3-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Dry
    It's the splashiest period of all ancient history... a near Jerry Springer opera of lust, betrayal, and tawdry affairs.And yet, Michael Grant makes it about as dull as he possibly can.

    He presents a very factual and well-researched account, though I take exception to several of his assertions and theories, including the one where he asserts that Octavian wanted Cleopatra to commit suicide because he was afraid the Romans would want to free her as they did her sister Arsinoe.Arsinoe was just one random Egyptian princess who defied Julius Caesar.Cleopatra was the occidental temptress who had ensnared and ruined two of Rome's best men.She was probably the most vilified and hated of all Rome's enemies in history, for with Cleopatra, it was intensely personal.The very idea that the bloodthirsty Romans would have a sudden sentimental streak towards her is pretty laughable.

    But on the whole, his theories are soundly researched and well justified, even when I disagree with them.The book has some lovely portraits and a more in depth examination of Cleopatra's forebearers than is usually presented in her biographies.Moreover, he has an excellent perspective on the supposed 'inevitability' of Cleopatra's loss, and how the world may well have been different had things gone another way.

    It's a reasonable and scholarly work that makes a fine addition to my collection.If you're looking for something to move you, you may prefer Margaret George's "The Memoirs of Cleopatra".

    4-0 out of 5 stars Probably the best biography on Cleo
    Cleopatra is a fascinating figure... renowned as a patron of arts and learning, a gifted linguist, and a canny politicians, she is too often remembered as a sex kitten.Grant cuts thru the myths, pro- and anti propaganda to deliver what is probably the best biography on Cleopatra.Writen by one of the marquee lights of classical history, the book is written in academic style, although for the most part it is highly readable.To be honest, I found the first preliminary chapters to be somewhat slow going, but once the story begins it takes off like a grand soap opera.Not as splashy as some other works on the great queen, this is *the* place to go for a detailed, comprehensive look at Cleopatra. ... Read more

    Isbn: 184212031X
    Sales Rank: 685638
    Subjects:  1. 332-30 B.C.    2. Ancient - Egypt    3. Biography    4. Biography / Autobiography    5. Cleopatra,    6. Egypt    7. Historical - General    8. History    9. History: World    10. Queen of Egypt,    11. Queens    12. Royalty    13. Women    14. d. 30 B.C    15. African history: BCE to c 500 CE    16. Ancient Egypt    17. Biography: historical    18. Biography: royalty    19. Cleopatra   


    Discoveries: Cleopatra (Discoveries (Abrams))
    by Edith Flamarion
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 February, 1997)
    list price: $12.95 -- our price: $10.36
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    Reviews (5)

    4-0 out of 5 stars great book on cleopatra
    this was a great book on cleopatra. there is so much info. pages 113 to 151 are filled with documents. this book is not only filled with lots of good info but it has lots of pictures as well, at least one on every page. this book also gives you an overview on rome, but does not take away from cleopatra. it gives you just enough info on rome so that you will understand all the things around cleopatra. if you are interested in ancient egypt or cleopatra you should get this book. i bet you are asking why the 4 stars, well this book is very small it is a little bigger than 5 by 7. and the words are alittle hard to read. if the book would have been bigger it would have got five stars.

    5-0 out of 5 stars ALL HAIL DISCOVERIES SERIES!
    I expected this to be filled with necessary facts about the famous feminine pharaoh. Alas! It is JAM-PACKED with facts and stunning paintings, pictures of artifacts, references to related literary materials, commnetary from famous scientists, archaeologists, etc. It's a mystery to me how they managed to fit it all in this small pocket size book. You can page through it, or read it page by page. Either way it's an easily digestible biography.

    I read this alongside Margaret George's 'Memoirs of Cleopatra' and it helped me follow the dramatic events and verify their validity.

    The Discoveries Series covers almost any historical topic (anthropology, famous artists, explorers, scientists, myths & legends, astrology, signs & symbols). Here are more of my favorites: Beethoven, Ancient Egypt, Leonardo Da Vinci, Vampires, The Sun, Vikings. To find these titles on Amazon just type "discoveries series" at the browser.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra is the greatest
    Cleopatra was the greatest.except why did she do suicide.exspecially naked.I wish she lived to see the world until she was the last person in the world.Cleopatra was a good person she cared and she loved every one ofher citizens.Thank you for hearing what I have to say and good day. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0810928051
    Sales Rank: 159713
    Subjects:  1. Ancient Egypt - History    2. Biography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Cleopatra,    6. Egypt    7. Historical - General    8. History    9. Middle East - Egypt    10. Queen of Egypt,    11. Queens    12. Royalty    13. Women    14. d. 30 B.C    15. Cleopatra   


    Cleopatra's Palace: In Search of a Legend
    by Franck Goddio, Laura Foreman
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 March, 1999)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $22.05
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    Editorial Review

    Founded in the late 4th century B.C. by its namesake, the conquering Alexander of Macedon, the Egyptian city of Alexandria enjoyed a near-perfect site: "a flat and narrow limestone expanse at the edge of the Nile delta, some thirty miles west of the great river's westernmost branch" that stood before a superb deep-water harbor. The Ptolemaic dynasty that Alexander founded produced, three centuries later, Egypt's last true pharaoh, Cleopatra, who built on the site fabulous structures of marble, granite, precious gems and metals, and glasswork--a palace complex renowned throughout the ancient world. Cleopatra, writes Laura Foreman, was both "a hard-headed pragmatist and at the same time a devout mystic," a stern ruler whose position was constantly challenged by rivals to the throne and the ever-expanding Roman empire alike. Caught on the losing side in a power struggle between the Roman generals Octavian and Antony, Cleopatra committed suicide; with her death came the end of Ptolemaic power.

    History did not forget her, but the elements (particularly the rising Mediterranean sea) swallowed up much of the ancient city of Alexandria. In the late 1980s, an international team of archaeologists began to excavate the underwater ruins of ancient Alexandria. Foreman documents their work in this richly illustrated, well-written reconstruction of the ancient past, a book that armchair Egyptologists will find irresistible. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Pictures
    I think this was a great book. I learned alot about Cleopatra and the pharoahs of her time. The roman pictures she appears in do not show her in as attractive a light as her Egyptian drawings do. But, I don't think anyone can say for sure what she really looked like. I am sure she must have been a beauty nonetheless. The text is quite easy to read, and the pictures are spectacular. Good Choice!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Wonderful!
    I loved this book. This is truly great reading. This book was so fascinating, I stayed up all night just to finish it. We are taken beyond mere history, and into the depths of the Roman rulers lives.

    The author does an excellent job of sweeping you into the vast Roman Empire that had reined supreme for many years. From Alexander the Great, to the his successors of Ptolemys', Cleopatras' and Berenices', we take a brief but intimate look into their lives. The morally corrupt family that they were, reining high for many generations over this strange and exotic land.

    Interesting as it is, Cleopatra was not actually Egyptian. Although depicted in many ancient drawings as a pharaoh, she was actually of Roman-Greek descent. Her rein to the throne was given to her through succession and birth.

    Facts do not always play a key role in this book, as information is not always on hand. The author tends to insert information from her own imagination when she sees fit to do so. I had no problem with this, as she makes it clear that those are her own suppositions. This book reads out like a good fiction novel.

    Towards the end of the book, we travel with the teams who made some of this research possible. There are many beautiful pictures throughout. This makes a great coffee table book. I think this is a great addition to any library, and for anyone to sit down and enjoy!

    1-0 out of 5 stars Nice pictures, but a waste of time
    I bought this book expecting to see a lot more information on the archaeology and actual history of Cleopatra's palace and Alexandria, but instead, found a sappy, pseudo-romantic fictionalized treatment ofCleopatra, Caesar, and Antonius. I wish the authors had included moreexamples of other palaces, some more maps and reconstructions based onother archaeology. If I had wanted a historical romance, I would havebought one. I feel this book was a waste of $$. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679462600
    Subjects:  1. Alexandria    2. Ancient - Egypt    3. Ancient Egypt - History    4. Ancient Egypt Archaeology    5. Archaeology    6. Cleopatra,    7. Egypt    8. History    9. History - General History    10. Middle East - Egypt    11. Queen of Egypt,    12. Social Science    13. Sociology    14. Underwater archaeology    15. Underwater exploration    16. d. 30 B.C   


    Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon
    by Francesca T. Royster, Francesca Royster
    Paperback (02 August, 2003)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $19.95
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    Isbn: 1403961093
    Sales Rank: 276895
    Subjects:  1. Cleopatra,    2. Feminism & Feminist Theory    3. Feminist    4. Film & Video - History & Criticism    5. In literature    6. In motion pictures    7. Literary Criticism    8. Queen of Egypt,    9. Sociology    10. d. 30 B.C    11. d. 30 B.C.    12. Cultural studies    13. Literary Criticism & Collections / African-American & Black    14. Literary studies: general    15. Women's studies   


    Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra: History and Society Under the Ptolemies
    by Michel Chauveau, David Lorton
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (16 March, 2000)
    list price: $19.95 -- our price: $19.95
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars an excellent book
    This book is a social and economic study of the Ptolemaic period, dealing particularly with the reign of Cleopatra. The author provides a history of the period, an overview of Cleopatra's relations with Antony, an excellentpresentation of the Greek pharaohs and the Lagide people, and a briefintroduction to the religion, military, economy, art and languages of theselesser-known times. Beautifully translated from the French, the book offersa few black and white photographs. For the interested students andscholars. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0801485762
    Sales Rank: 234266
    Subjects:  1. 305-30 B.C    2. 332 B.C.-638 A.D    3. Ancient - Egypt    4. Civilization    5. Egypt    6. History    7. History - General History    8. History: World    9. Ptolemaic dynasty,   


    Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age (Hellenistic Culture and Society)
    by Peter Green
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 October, 1990)
    list price: $75.00 -- our price: $75.00
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    Reviews (13)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Ho-hum
    Green is a stuffy self-important bore, judging by this tome. He writes with a certain grace, but has a knack for making the interesting dull.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Helleni
    Although this book contains much interesting information on the hellenistic age, I think it has several flaws. First, it contains too many subjective opinions to be properly 'scientific'. Second, Green's sarcasms are often so biting and his views so negative, that it is likely to kill the lay persons' fascination for the subject. Furthermore, his views on art and architecture is often at variance with most authorities. A case in point is the Laocoon, which in Green's opinion is a dreary piece of art. Great artists such as Michelangelo and Rubens clearly did not share this view. I am not saying that it is not allowed to share a few personal opinions in such a vast book, but in this case it clearly diminishes the value of the text for both the professional historian and the lay person.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Peter Green Trying To Impress His Peers
    It is hard to believe this ponderous tome was written by the same Peter Green who wrote the engaging "Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B. C.: A Historical Biography."
    Obviously written to impress and withstand the criticism of a small group of his academic peers, there is very little in this weighty volume to recommend it to the average reader, unless he is an insomniac. It is virtually guaranteed to put you asleep, head swimming in the names of minor characters of the Hellenistic age, included not so much for completeness as to avoid criticism from those nit-picking pretenders who find it easier to tear down a work than write an original one of their own.
    While undoubtedly important in the academic retinue that delights in debating minutia and cutting other authors down to size by finding minor faults, there is no value in this work to any outside the cloistered halls of Academe.
    Peter green does not display the ability of Eugen Weber of UCLA to bring the Hellenistic age to life for the average student. This book belongs, along with the Dead Sea Scrolls, in a cloister devoted to its lifelong study to the exclusion of all else.
    Save yourself [the money], unless you are a history professor who wishes to catch Peter Green in some minor error, and thereby justify your tenure by writing a scathing review. This book was written for academic scholars only, and written in such a way as to render it bullet proof from attack.A big disappointment and a crashing bore for the average student! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0520056116
    Sales Rank: 292956
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Greece    2. Ancient Greece - History    3. Greece    4. Hellenism    5. History    6. History - General History    7. Literature: Classics    8. Macedonian Hegemony, 323-281 B    9. Macedonian Hegemony, 323-281 B.C    10. Mediterranean Region    11. To 476   


    The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt (Oxford Illustrated Histories)
    by Ian Shaw
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 November, 2000)
    list price: $49.95 -- our price: $39.65
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    Editorial Review

    One of the most vexing problems in Egyptology is the question of establishing reliable chronologies, whether through relative methods such as stratigraphy and the dating of artifacts or through more absolute time horizons established by astronomical ephemera or radiometric dating. In this overview of ancient Egypt--meant for advanced students, but accessible to general readers with an interest in the area--Ian Shaw and 13 contributors pay close attention to issues of chronology, reconciling conflicts of dating that mark older scholarship.

    While doing so, they address other problems in the study of ancient Egypt, such as the lack of material evidence of early humans in the region and the increasing destruction of sites in the face of contemporary urban growth. Elsewhere, they remark on the principal developments that distinguish periods in Egyptian prehistory, such as the Old Kingdom's use of large-scale building projects to consolidate power and "remind people of the greatness of pharaonic civilization," and the Middle and New kingdoms' apparent openness to foreigners, which lent Egypt a cosmopolitan, multicultural air that persisted for centuries during long periods of domination by outside powers such as Persia and Rome. Highly useful as a reference and survey, this handsomely illustrated book is a fine addition to any Egyptophile's collection. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A very thorough account
    Starting, as I did, with the most superficial knowledge of Ancient Egypt, this book was an incredibly useful review.As mentioned earlier, the style may be a bit dry for the casual reader.There are two areas in which I would have liked to see more details:

    Throughout the book, there are only passing mentions of what is going on elsewhere in the world at the same time.I usually find these "synchronizations" very useful in a history book.

    The final two chapters (about the Ptolemaic period and the Roman period) are not nearly as well written or as thorough as the rest.It is as if they were written as an addendum.Hopefully, a later edition might address these issues.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough, Scholarly but hard work
    The work in this book is presented in a thorough and detailed manner, covering the whole fascinating history of ancient Egyptian civilization. My one complaint is that the style is very dry, making it tough going for a non-specialist (even one used to academic treatise in another field). That said, if you are willing to stick with it, or wish to have a reliable reference work on the subject, this would be an asset on your bookshelf.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent update on Ancient Egypt
    This is a first rate book on the General History of Ancient Egypt from Pre-Historic times until the end of the Roman Empire. The 13 various contributors--Betsy Bryan, Gae Callendar, Janine Bourriau, Jaromir Malik and Ian Shaw among others--give an excellent overview of Egypt's long and distinguished History. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt is a good update on Alan Gardiner's 1963 Egypt of the Pharaohs and Nicolas Grimal's more recent 1988 book, A History of Ancient Egypt. While one might diagree with a contributors take on certain topics such as Ms. Callenders complete rejection of the institution of any coregencies in the Middle Kingdom which are accepted by most scholars(they are certainly documented between Senusert I/Amenemhet II, Amenemhet II/Senusert II and Amenemhet III & IV based on the Inscription at Konosso in Nubia for the latter; rather, it is the coregency of Amenemhet I/Senusert I which is currently contested), they are more than made up for by these scholars careful and balanced coverage and interpretation of all the latest archaeological evidence. These contributors certainly know their areas of expertise well.

    Especially impressive were the various contributors inclusion and analysis of much of the latest studies on Egypt's various Periods of History such as Kim Ryholt's 1997 book on the Second Intermediate Period and Luc Gabolde's important 1987 SAK paper on the length of the reigns of Tuthmose I and II, based on their attested scarabs. One of the most invaluable parts of the book is its exhaustive catalogue of all the best books, publications and journal articles on Egypt's various historical eras.

    My only regret was that John Taylor's coverage of the end of Third Intermediate Period is rather short and fails to examine the Libyan Period in any great detail after Sheshonq I's reign. He briefly mentions this period's history of severe political fragmentation with 3 kings alone ruling simultaneously in the Delta Region(Tefnakht of Sais, Osorkon IV at Tanis and Iuput II of Leontopolis) which is documented in Piye's Year 20 Victory stela--and does not mention the recent(1993) discovery of a completely new Tanite king namely Sheshonq IV, who reigned between Sheshonq III and Pami. Finally, no reference was made to the discovery of an Annal document for Pami in Heliopolis which shows that this king's Highest Year date was his 7th Year. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0198150342
    Subjects:  1. Africa - General    2. Ancient - Egypt    3. Ancient Egypt - History    4. Egypt    5. History    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Middle East - Egypt    9. To 640 A.D    10. African history: BCE to c 500 CE    11. Ancient Egypt    12. Ancient World    13. BCE to c 500 CE    14. Prehistory   


    Daughters of Isis: Women of Ancient Egypt (Penguin History)
    by Joyce Tyldesley
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 September, 1995)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $10.20
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    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Informative
    Daughters of Isis is a very informative book. There were times when I felt that the author was either drawing conclusions from thin air or repeating information to pad the book but these offenses are out numbered by the many fascinating illustrations and quotes from ancient texts.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great but...
    I came very close to getting in very deep trouble for bringing this book to school (I'm a freshman in highschool.) the day after I'd bought it. At that point I had barely begun it.
    One of my friends decided to look through the book, and came upon a very detail picture of a prostitute with a client.

    Other than that, this book was very helpful, and it helped me to understand Ancient Egyptian women a little better. It doesn't really need a synopsis, the name does sort of tell you what the book is about.

    If you are interested in Ancient Egypt, definitely try it, just make sure you don't let any little kids look through it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at ancient Egyptian women!
    From the moment I began reading this wonderful book, I was hooked!Joyce Tyldesley draws you in with her evocative narrative and transports you to a time and place often romanticized by modern Western culture.She "sets the record straight" and tells the reader, based on current archaeological evidence, what women's lives were like 3,000 years ago in Egypt.The great thing about this book is that it's written with the average reader in mind (in other words, in plain English), so you don't have to have a Ph.D in Egyptology to understand it.Tyldesley discusses every aspect of women's lives, from what makeup they used, how they dressed, what they ate, and their daily household duties.She describes women from every social class--from the poor all the way up to royalty.The author does a good job of presenting available evidence and making objective interpretations, not assumptions as many archaeologists have in the past.She constantly points out throughout the book how little is actually known about women's lives, since Egyptian history was recorded by men.Even the ever-present wall paintings which adorn tombs and temples present Egyptian life in an idealized manner, so it is often hard to deduce what is real and what is fantasy.

    The book includes a plethora of photographs and illustrations which act as effective visual aides to the text.The well-organized timeline in the back of the book was also very helpful, and I found myself referring to it often just to keep track of the time periods and which pharaoh came when.This was a very enjoyable book which I had a hard time putting down.I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in ancient women's history. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140175962
    Sales Rank: 171883
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Egypt    2. Ancient Egypt - History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Women - Ancient History    6. Women's Studies - General    7. African history: BCE to c 500 CE    8. Ancient World    9. Egypt    10. Middle & Near Eastern archaeology    11. Women's studies   


    Hatchepsut : The Female Pharoah
    by Joyce A. Tyldesley
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 July, 1998)
    list price: $16.00 -- our price: $10.88
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    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Hats and Shoes
    I enjoyed this book thoroughly and read it at one sitting! It's quite a page turner. I found some of the authors conclusions to be rather quick given the spotty historical record of that time period but there is pleanty of citations and a lengthy bibliography for further reading.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The female pharoah
    `Had Hatchepsut been born a man, her lengthy rule would almost certainly be remembered for its achievements: its stable government, successful trade missions, and the impressive architectural advances which include the construction of the Deir el-Bahri temple on the west bank of the Nile at Luxor, a building which is still widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. Instead, Hatchepsut's gender has become her most important characteristic, and almost all references to her reign have concentrated not on her policies but on the person relationship and power struggles which many historians have felt able to detect within the claustrophobic early 18th Dynasty Theban royal family.'

    Egypt was of course a male-dominated society, but for being so, it produced many strong women, including Hatchepsut, Cleopatra, and Nefertiti. The latter two are far more famous, having been renowned as well more for their gender and gender-attributes (the beauty of their physical form) than for any political or social achievements they might have made (although Cleopatra's foray into Roman politics most likely would have assured her fame).

    Hatchepsut took on the outward aspects of male dress and iconography when assuming the power of Pharoah -- while Cleopatra has always been described as 'Queen' Cleopatra, it is perhaps more correct to refer to Hatchepsut as a 'King', a Pharoah, which is a male term with no real feminine equivalent in the language. She even wore a false beard in the manner of Pharoahs of the time to play the role of ruler. She was an eldest daughter of Tuthmosis I, married to her half-brother Tuthmosis II (a regular custom in Egyptian royal families from earliest times to the final dynasty of Cleopatra, whose generation also had such intermarriages), and guardian of her stepson Tuthmosis III. Much of the history of her reign was suppressed by later generations of Egyptians who wanted to prevent another female from assuming royal/divine power.

    Joyce Tyldesley (who also wrote the book on `Nefertiti', which I have reviewed recently) has produced a well-researched work exploring the political, social and family climate into which Hatchepsut was thrown. Using historical research and archaeological discoveries, she has produced a marvelous biography, restoring this long-forgotten ruler to the ranks of the Pharoahs.

    Hatchepsut was short-tempered and made many mistakes during her twenty-year-long reign. However, she was also a capable and able ruler in many respects. The Tuthmosidian Theban royal family which uneasily straddled the divide between the 17th and 18th Dynasties was a tight-knit but feuding lot. To give themselves stability and legitimacy, they strove to replicate glories of the past, in particular those of the 12th Dynasty. This was an era of unease, due to the quickening pace of technological advance occurring simultaneously with a resurgence of interest in 'traditional' values (much like our own time today, in many respects).

    Tyldesley begins with an examination of the general society: the role of pharoah, a divine/absolute ruler upon which almost all society turned; the role of the royal family, the priest and military classes, and the interaction with foreign cultures. From here she proceeds to examine the specifics of the Tuthmoside family, with their warring factions and cooperative ventures designed to shore up a tenuous grasp on the authority of power. Examining Hatchepsut's rise to power, she divides it into two chapters - `Queen of Egypt' and `King of Egypt'. The precise sequence of reigns between the three Tuthmosis rulers and Hatchepsut is still unclear (given the degradation and recasting of monumental and inscription engravings to eliminate Hatchepsut's name) -- it is likely that the authority shifted back and forth, with periods of co-regency during multiple years.

    What became of Hatchepsut is a bit of a mystery. She may have been killed by Tuthmosis III who was tired of sharing the reigns of power or waiting for his inheritance. However, this is unlikely given Hatchepsut's advanced age -- nature would take its course in any event. Hatchepsut's mummy has never been definitively identified, nor has any particular tomb been found that might have been hers and hers alone. Multiple sites have been discovered that are possible candidates, but this mystery awaits future discoveries.

    This is an interesting, accessible biography which brings to light many recent discoveries and shares contrasting theories of the history of this interesting figure.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Good read and fairly balanced
    Joyce Tyldesley's Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh is more than a good introduction to the title figure from ancient Egyptian history. The book is, in a way, Hatshepsut's biography; however it is quite honest about the amount of evidence that survives today--very little--and therefore does not pretend that some sort of definitive and personal narrative of the Pharaoh's life is possible. Instead of giving a year-by-year account of Hatshepsut and her life, the book presents and examines its subject in terms of historiography. Tyldesley discusses previous theories and extant evidence in a frank manner while offering her own interpretations, which tend to legitimize Hatshepsut's reign (and are sometimes quite compelling). Because there is so little evidence and the subject of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled Egypt as a Pharaoh, is so easily entangled is people's own ideas about gender and power, all these interpretations--including Tydesley's--involve a degree of bias. This was particularly the case when scholars argued from silence, constructing their own ideas about Hatshepsut based on the logic of contemporary gender roles but in the absence of tangible facts. To address such interpretations by previous scholars, Tyldesley has had to put forth arguments in this same vacuum. She recognizes that interpretation without corroborating evidence is fundamentally problematic, and, when it comes to such difficult topics, she makes a laudable effort to be honest about how just what is and is not firm fact, and to give previous scholars their due credit. Overall, then, the book does an excellent job of problematizing the study of Hatshepsut--of showing what we know, what we assume (and why), and what is still wholly mystery. Those who read this book even slightly critically should come away with a decently balanced view of Hatshepsut.
    At the same time as she displays a scholar's caution in weighing evidence and interpretation, Tyldesley writes a very readable book. This is not a novel or highly-animated biography, but it does hold the reader's attention with lucid writing and a good structure. Even its historiographic analyses should be interesting to the non-specialist--they are not dry and technical, instead having an element of the excitement of a mystery--Tyldesley traces clues and leads us toward some possible answers without closing the topic. The book should be useful and interesting for students of the field as well as for the general public--I read the book for a graduate paper, but I intend to send it to a friend to read for fun! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140244646
    Sales Rank: 151698
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. Egypt    5. Eighteenth dynasty, ca. 1570-1320 B.C    6. Hatshepsut,    7. Historical - General    8. History    9. Middle East - Egypt    10. Queen of Egypt    11. Queens    12. Women    13. African history: BCE to c 500 CE    14. Ancient World    15. Biography: historical    16. Hatshepsut    17. History / General    18. World history: BCE to c 500 CE   


    Makers of Rome: Nine Lives by Plutarch (Penguin Classics)
    by Plutarch
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 1965)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Required jr. high reading
    As a mother of a "tween" and teacher of Western Civ to jr. high aged kids, I think this should be required reading for all public schools.It is the perfect material for asking normative questions.Who cares what we are today; ask them what we *ought* to be!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars It will leave you wanting more.
    Plutarch remains one of the most popular Roman-era historians, and it is easy to see why.The leaders whose lives he details in this volume were men in whom circumstance and ambition combined to create larger-than-life heroes who continue to instruct and inspire curious students of the past even today.The epoch spanned by their lives (c. 500 BCE - 30 BCE) saw the transformation of Rome from beleaguered village republic to imperial mistress of the Mediterranean--a period filled with the clash of battle, political intrigue, and the full gamut of human nature, from hatred and betrayal to the noblest acts of bravery and sacrifice.Plutarch's flair for dramatic license doesn't so much undermine the factual underpinnings of his accounts so much as it breathes life into them.
    Plutarch's Lives were originally published in pairs comparing and contrasting the parallels between a leading figure from Greek history and a Roman counterpart.These pairings are of little value to modern readers and the editor of this volume has chosen a selection of Roman lives that make more sense, thematically.My only complaint is that the selection is not a comprehensive one; Plutarch wrote several other lives that fit into both the time period and the historical theme of this volume but which are not included.They form a companion volume, "The Fall of the Roman Republic," which is also highly recommended.
    For anyone interested in Roman history and ready to move beyond modern renditions, Plutarch is perhaps the single best introduction there is to the ancient historians.Even casual readers are sure to be surprised and delighted at Plutarch's readability and the vivid, dramatic events he describes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Nine Fascinating "Lives" By Plutarch
    Plutarch is one of the most popular ancient historians. His straightforward style and flair for the dramatic make his biographies of ancient Greeks and Romans both informative and entertaining. In fact, a number of Shakespearean characters are based on Plutarch's writings. It was his fondness for dramatic appeal that prompted the "semi-fictional" rather than purely factual treatment of history for which he is known. His intent was not so much to record historical events as it was use character and dramatic examples of success and failure to illustrate moral lessons.

    Plutarch was not an eyewitness to the events he recorded. Although he was a prominent scholar and civil servant and traveled widely, he spent most of his life in Chaeronea in central Greece. Further, his subjects all lived 200 or more years before him. He had a wide variety of sources, but conflicting evidence and an occaissional paucity of detail gave him ample opportunities to dramatize or embellish his work.

    In his "Lives", Plutarch pursued two major themes. One was the tenacity of Rome in war. Despite military setbacks, Rome always stayed the course and prevailed in the end. Whether it was Hannibal, Pyrrhus, gallic tribes or whoever, Rome outlasted them. The second was Rome's political genius and ability to compromise. In contrast to the Greeks, who always fought among themselves and brought about their own downfall, Romans managed to put aside their differences and stand together when necessary.

    The "Lives" were originally written in pairs, matching a Greek and a Roman whose lives paralleled each other in Plutarch's estimation. For example, he paired the lives of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. To most modern readers, these pairings seem artificial. Instead, translator Scott-Kilvert has chosen to group together nine Roman biographies that collectively extend through the period from the beginnings of the Republic to the establishment of the Empire and illustrate Plutarch's two major themes.

    These "Lives" are fascinating reading. Find out how the strategy of Fabius Maximus enabled Rome to defeat Hannibal and why the Gracchi brothers were killed. This book is a must for anybody with an interest in Roman history. Beyond that, though, Plutarch's straightforward and dramatic style will appeal to many casual readers, as well. Give it a try. Highly recommended. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0140441581
    Sales Rank: 116505
    Subjects:  1. Ancient - Rome    2. Fiction    3. History - General History    4. Ancient Rome    5. Biography: historical    6. European history: BCE to c 500 CE    7. Other prose: classical, early & medieval   


    Antony and Cleopatra (Folger Shakespeare Library)
    by Dr. Barbara A. Mowat, Paul Werstine
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 1999)
    list price: $4.99
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    Reviews (21)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Politics and passion.
    I recently re-read ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA prior to attending The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's performance of the ambitious play under the summer stars here in Boulder. Drawn from Sir Thomas North's 1579 English version of Plutarch's Lives, William Shakespeare (1552-1616) produced this romantic tragedy late in his career, around 1607, and published it in the First Folio in 1623. It tells the story of a doomed romance between two charismatic lovers, Roman military leader, Marc Antony, and the captivating Queen of Egypt (and former mistress of Julius Caesar), Cleopatra. When his wife, Fulvia unexpectedly dies, Antony is summoned from Egypt to Rome to mend a political rift with Octavius by marrying his recently widowed sister, Octavia. Of course, this news enrages passionate Cleopatra. She vents her anger on the messenger, but is quick to realize that Octavia is no real rival to her when it comes to beauty. However, Antony soon follows his heart back to Cleopatra's arms, abandoning his new wife in Athens. This leads to war, when Octavius declares war on Egypt. After Octavius eventually defeats Antony at Alexandria, Cleopatra sends a false report of her suicide, which prompts Antony to wound himself mortally. Antony dies in his lover's arms, and rather than submit to Roman rule under the new Caesar (Octavius), the heart-broken Cleopatra asks to have a poisonous snake delivered to her in a basket of figs. In the end, ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA is as much about new sparks re-igniting the flames of love as new political forces supplanting old political regimes. It is a play that reminds me that it is perhaps better to re-read and understand Shakespeare than to devour one bestseller after the next.

    G. Merritt

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not without interest.
    Not one of Shakespeare's more memorable works, there are some pluses to this play and relatively few minuses, but neither the pluses nor the minuses are anything that stands out. It is nice to have yet another play told in Shakespeare's beautiful language, and enjoyable to see a love story that centers on people old enough to no longer be in the first blush of youth, even if they ARE still young enough to be beautiful and virile. On the other hand, I'd have liked to see these more mature lovers BEHAVING somewhat more maturely, instead of being just as frivolous, headstrong, and foolish as the kids in "Romeo And Juliet", and there really aren't any lines from this play that come immediately to mind as having entered the "Quotes Hall Of Fame", as so many lines from Shakespeare's plays have. Nothing on the order of "A horse! My Kingdom for a horse!" or "Alas, poor Yorick; I knew him well." or "To be or not to be, that is the question", or so many others.

    If you enjoy Shakespearean plays, you'll probably enjoy this one. But there's no real reason for anyone but a completist to read this.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Discerningly-edited Edition
    This is a review of a specific edition of Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra" - namely the New Cambridge edition of 1990, edited by David Bevington.

    The book is a good size, and the print is easy to read. There are about 70 pages of front matter in this edition, and, on each page of the play, copious notes. Following the play's text, there is a discussion of general editorial choices and approaches, supplementing the specifics covered in notes.

    The front matter dutifully took up the sources of the play, its dating, structure, stage history, and a number of other topics. I found it occasionally a bit heavy going, as, in many sections, any straightforward statement seemed to be buried under a pile of citations from various critics. This was by no means always the case, and in such things as stage history I found the discussion brisk but entertaining.

    The text was thoroughly annotated - too thoroughly for my taste. It did not get tedious, as in the Arden editions, but still, too many notes were devoted to specific editorial decisions, and too many supersized with references to other plays. I guess there is some interest in this, and one does not have to read the notes one does not want to, but it does tend to slow one down. This is good though, if one wants to delve. Moreover, virtually every word or passage that might cause difficulty is discussed and interpreted, which is certainly what one wants.

    In summary, I would say this edition is well worth having: it gives one most of the information one could conceivably need, does some interpretation, and explains the text helpfully. It does not include a transcription of Shakespeare's main sources (although this is done piecemeal in the notes), nor a plot and scene summary. These would have been nice, but are not necessary. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0671039164
    Sales Rank: 141802
    Subjects:  1. 83?-30 B.C.    2. Antonius, Marcus,    3. Classics    4. Drama    5. Egypt    6. Fiction    7. Generals    8. Literature: Classics    9. Plays / Drama    10. Queens    11. Rome    12. Shakespeare    13. Fiction / General   

    Caesar and Cleopatra : A History
    by George Bernard Shaw
    Paperback (30 June, 1950)
    list price: $10.00 -- our price: $8.00
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    Isbn: 014045036X
    Sales Rank: 702566
    Subjects:  1. Caesar, Julius    2. Cleopatra,    3. Drama    4. English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh    5. Literature - Classics / Criticism    6. Plays    7. Queen of Egypt,    8. Shakespeare    9. d. 30 B.C.    10. Drama / General   


    The Memoirs of Cleopatra: A Novel
    by Margaret George
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 May, 1998)
    list price: $16.95 -- our price: $11.53
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    Reviews (208)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not like Henry the VIII or Mary, Queen of Scots
    After reading Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots, I was eagerly awaiting her next book--assuming that it would be more British historical fiction.When I discovered The Memoirs of Cleopatra, I was a tad disappointed.Nevertheless, I happily bought the book assuming that it would be as interesting and fun to read as those other two.

    Boy, was I wrong!This tome was so horribly uninteresting, I was never able to finish it and it still sits only half-read on my bookshelves.Sometimes, I think of tackling it again, but everytime I read the first several pages, I wind up putting it back down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The life of the ancient egyptians' queen
    This novel is big in every sense except the one that matters. In her 964 pages, the author handles a broad and complex sweep of events with considerable technical skill. She is especially good on the great set-piece scenes: her depictions of the Battle of Actium and of the series of spectacular triumphs awarded to Julius Caesar, for example, are brought to us in the novelistic equivalent of living Technicolor.

    Since the novel is entitled The Memoirs of Cleopatra, events are necessarily filtered exclusively through the Egyptian Queen's own eyes, which is a shame, for Margaret George's Cleopatra seems to suffer from chronic psychological myopia. This has the unfortunate effect of fixing both events and personalities in a single dimension, so that they never come truly alive for us. And since Cleopatra's own musings rarely rise above the banal, we are given very little insight into the minds that shaped what is, after all, one of the major turning points of European history.

    The narrative is brisk and workmanlike, but marred by dialogue that is almost comically stilted. Both creak under a hefty burden of semi-digested research, which does little more than prove that the author has done her homework. (This we may already guess from the long and erudite bibliography that appears in the Author's Note). She would have served both her art and her readers better if she had learned a little less and woven what she did learn a little more deftly into the fabric of her story.

    If there's a good and satisfying novel buried here somewhere (and I'm sure there is), ruthless editing would have rescued it. As it stands, the best that can be said of it is that the reader who seeks an undemanding tale rich in romance, pathos and spectacle will not be disappointed. It would help, however, to have both a strong pair of wrists and plenty of time on one's hands.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great, Good and then Snooze...
    I started off reading this book on fire! I couldn't get enough. All points that were made were relevent and interesting. There seemed to be a point. About halfway through, it started to feel a little tedious and too many minute and unimportant details were replacing interesting ones. By the time I was 2/3 through it, it was all I could do to make myself pick it up. It was reading like a history book with entirely too many little redundancies. This book would've been marvelous if the editor had been more on-the-ball.
    I've read every Margaret George book so far except Mary Queen of Scotland and the other's are top-notch in every way. This was just ok---a mediocre work by a normally brilliant author. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0312187459
    Sales Rank: 38141
    Subjects:  1. 83?-30 B.C.    2. Antonius, Marcus,    3. Caesar, Julius    4. Cleopatra,    5. Fiction    6. Fiction - Historical    7. Historical - General    8. Queen of Egypt,    9. d. 30 B.C.   


    The October Horse : A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra
    by Colleen McCullough
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (26 November, 2002)
    list price: $28.00
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    Reviews (47)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An important book to read to understand our own times
    This is an important book.Even though it deals with roman
    times, it has many lessons which apply to our present day.This
    book deals with Julius Caesar, his career and his times.

    The book shows us the history of how Roman insititutions changed
    to deal with an internal crisis.It shows us very typical
    threats that arise when a great country expands in power and

    The first threat rome faces is political.Special interest
    groups corrupt the political process with bribes and
    intellectuals poison political thought with utopian ideas.
    These special interests, rather than promoting virtue in the
    form of economic or military growth, promote perversions,
    immorality and set different parts of the republic against

    The second problem is that Rich Roman liberal special interests
    restrict immigration and withold citizenship which causes
    economic and political problems for the roman state. These
    protectionist old-money liberals promote their own interests
    over those of economic growth which leads to chaos.

    The third problem is that the first two problems lead to a
    lack of support for the war and for the wars necessary to
    ensure the security of the Roman state.Immorality and political
    corruption lead to Romans turning their backs on their troops
    and refusing to fully support the wars Rome had to fight for its
    survival against the terrorists (barbarians) of its day.

    The Roman solution, as is describe in the book, was to transform
    its institutions by going to an executive-based government where
    the political corruption of the senate could be controlled.The
    executive-based government could also through close partnership
    with the military ensure that Roman Society would not turn its
    back on the military or hold back from supporting the wars
    necessary for the security of Rome.

    An executive based government also allowed for greater regulation
    of morality in society as a whole.The great flaw for Rome
    however was the lack of Christianity at the time of Ceaser.
    Christianity, as a state religion, gives order to society and
    creates stable empires as long as the leaders of Christian
    States do not give in to the foolish idea that public
    (government) morality is the same as private (personal)

    Though many Christians fail to accept it, executive-based
    government is God's perferred form of government.God chose
    leaders and houses to guide Israel (like David).And if
    a country is truely blessed by God and guided by God, God
    will choose its leaders for it.

    As in the book though, when God's people rise to rule, there
    will be those whose immoral ideas and passons cause them to
    rise up.Brutus is a prototypical liberal.He wants to tear
    down ceaser in the name of freedom, but what freedom really
    means is handing the government over to criminals and letting
    immorality run wild.

    Mark Anthony, the Bill Clinton of his day, is another liberal
    highlighted by the book.Mark Anthony deserts his wife and
    marriage in favor of an alliance with the "old europe" of his
    day (Egypt).Egypt was a corrupt, morally bankrupt former
    great power who had turned its back on military virtue and
    paid the price.Anthony wanted to bring Greek and Egyptian
    immorality and corruption into Rome. Egypt and Anthony lost.
    Augustus (Octavian) then set about modernizing Roman institutions
    in a way that was consistant with the old constitution of rome
    (its old laws).

    America today has far too many Anthonys and is in dire need of
    an Augustus to fix our government.People should read this
    book for that reason.

    Free movement of people between countries to seek opportunity
    (so-called immigration), government reform, making the defense
    of the country a part of everyone's lives and guarding public
    morality are important political issues today just as they were
    in Roman times.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Better in the movies
    This abridged audio cassette edition of Colleen McCullough's "The October Horse" requires six and a half hours for reader Graeme Malcolm to tell. The recording quality is good although no "end of side" tape markers or sounds are used to signal tape changes. These four cassette tapes represent the final installment of the author's Masters of Rome series. It's not the best story in the series, and worse, this story was better told in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz's movies - Julius Caesar (1953) and Cleopatra (1963).

    Since Julius Caesar is murdered halfway through the story and Cleopatra is scarcely more than a footnote, this (subtitle) "A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra" may have been more aptly named "The Ascendancy of Octavian". This story is told from the rotating perspectives of a plump dozen or so of Roman characters - a few of which are actually interesting.

    The first half of "The October Horse" follows a worn, world-weary Julius Caesar fighting to preserve his hold on power as "dictator of Rome" and consolidate his vision of the future. That vision of the future requires an heir of some sort. A willing and nubile, but not especially attractive Cleopatra presents herself to Caesar - as one god to another - expressly for producing offspring. The consummate opportunist, Caesar deflowers Cleopatra, but is careful to tell us that the child is politically meaningless and can never be an heir. Instead, Caesar returns to Rome to find that his appointed "Master of the Horse" and blood relative (and therefore possible heir) Marcus Antonius has run amuck. The Army is unpaid, the citizens have been brutalized, and the Senate is seething with anger. Caesar doesn't waste a moment to clean up the mess, but he can't overcome a group of 23 indignant Senators that have formed a "Kill Caesar" club.

    The Marcus Antonius Colleen McCullough shows us is nearly the opposite of what Shakespeare presents in "Julius Caesar" or in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's movies - Julius Caesar (1953) and Cleopatra (1963). This Marcus Antonius is no Richard Burton or Marlon Brando. He is a vile, self-serving and vicious creature not only knows of the assassination plot, but also works to further it however indirectly. His only redeeming quality is that he is a general who knows how to successfully command troops in the field. For that one skill and his blood connections, Caesar keeps Marcus Antonius in the government.

    The Caesar Colleen McCullough shows us is brilliant and imposing. He is also the ultimate weakness in the story. This charismatic Caesar would seem to be the only person in Rome interested in the greater good or Rome as an ideal. The author only marginally presents the case against Caesar. Her Caesar is presumed right, correct. Apparently the author misses the irony this character embodies. While Caesar valiantly struggles to keep the republic from falling apart, by definition, as "Dictator of Rome" he is the reason it has fallen apart. Simply put - Caesar ruled and the people by way of the Roman Senate didn't. There were perfectly good reasons for dissatisfaction with Julius Caesar. There were perfectly good reasons why that dissatisfaction eventually developed into something as extremist as an assassination. Those reasons just aren't given the dignity of discussion here. Consequently, the villains in this story are underdeveloped cardboard cutouts.

    By a simple process of elimination, Caesar takes young Octavian under his wing as Cadet and possible heir. Octavian is a frail, spindly teenager with an exceptional mind. He is also another of Caesar's blood relatives, though distantly at grandnephew. Octavian is not without drawbacks. Although devoted to Caesar, he is suspected of being too pretty, preferring the company of men, being too sickly, and finally, of simply being too young. Once given the chance, Octavian makes the most of it and acquires some very important friends and allies along the way.

    The assassination itself is meticulously told. It's a gruesome, bloody affair that turns the conspirators into raving cowards shivering with fear inside the temple of Jupiter. The second half of "The October Horse" is what happens after that. Eventually order returns to Rome and Caesar's will is read. Octavian is adopted as son and given lands, wealth and title. Now it's time for him to bring justice to the chief "Liberators" Brutus and Cassius. The Triumvirate of Anthony, Octavian, and Lepidus eventually wins. In the end there is no doubt that Octavian will eventually rule Rome, and that Marcus Antonius' personal weaknesses will ensure his demise.

    Colleen McCullough's achievement in this story is to show that bland historical figures locked in fat textbooks were real people with real stories. Her telling of their story is interesting. It can also be said that this is a story that has already been told in the movies with more poignant, expressive brushstrokes. In terms of efficiencies, spending 120 minutes with the 1953 movie version of Julius Caesar and another 192 minutes with the 1963 movie version of Cleopatra COMPLETELY tells this story and tosses in the Anthony and Cleopatra coupling to boot. All of that is a full hour and a half shorter than this rather flat six and a half hour audio recording of "The October Horse".

    5-0 out of 5 stars As fascinanting as the others
    I was at the bookstore doing some Christmas shopping when I happened upon The October Horse, the latest and last entry in Colleen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. I hadn't known it was out and was completely thrilled. I bought it immediately and told Darin it was his Christmas gift to me.

    I finally began reading it about two weeks ago. It took me a week to read. Given that The October Horse is 800 pages, a week sounds like I read it at a good clip, except I'm just about the fastest reader I know. Reading the book was an experience completely unlike the first five entries in the series: it was tedious, ponderous, and crammed with so many facts and people's names that it reads like the worst Ancient History textbook. The book is so not engaging that it read like McCullough wrote it in a weekend-a meth-fueled weekend, given how long and dense the novel is, but a weekend nonetheless.

    The October Horse has the subtitle "A Novel of Caesar and Cleopatra," which is the most misleading phrase under a title since all those Nancy Drew novels said "By Carolyn Keene." Caesar and Cleopatra do get together in this novel, but it's a deeply uninteresting coupling. Perhaps making Caesar and Cleopatra unromantic is McCullough's way of putting new light on the tale, but it didn't draw me in. Not that this is a major drawback, since Cleopatra hardly figures in the tale.

    No, The October Horse is primarily the tale of SuperJulius-er, I mean, Caesar-as he dashes around the Mediterranean Sea, putting down rebellions here, setting up new governments there, vanquishing the Republican side of the Civil War. Everywhere he goes he inspires admiration (certainly from McCullough, who apparently thinks Caesar walked on water) and even more resentment from all the men he's outshines (which is almost nearly the same subset of Roman citizens as the men Caesar has cuckolded). The resentment leads to a conspiracy against Caesar, eventually leading to Caesar's assassination.

    Weirdly, the book doesn't end there.

    The last third of the book discusses the ascendance of Caesar's grand-nephew (and adopted son) Octavius in Roman politics and what happened to the conspirators afterward. I thought the ending was weird because it leaves us hanging with regard to what happens to a few of the major players: Octavius (who will eventually change his name to Augustus), Mark Antony, Cleopatra. McCullough tells us a few things about what happens afterward, but she had plenty of material for at least one more book: Mark Antony and Cleopatra, Augustus's consolidation of power, the definite end of the Republic.

    Given how much I loved the first five books-to the point of haunting used book stores until I found the first few in hardback-I found The October Horse to be an unfortunate conclusion to the Masters of Rome series.

    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684853310
    Sales Rank: 175135
    Subjects:  1. Caesar, Julius    2. Cleopatra,    3. Fiction    4. Fiction - Historical    5. Generals    6. Heads of state    7. Historical - General    8. Queen of Egypt,    9. Queens    10. d. 30 B.C    11. Cleopatra    12. Fiction / General   

    The Mummy or Ramses the Damned
    by Anne Rice
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (13 September, 1991)
    list price: $7.99 -- our price: $7.99
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    Editorial Review

    InThe Mummy Anne Rice weaves the same magicfor the world and history of mummies that she previously did for the worlds and mythologies of vampires andwitches.Ramses the Great lives, but having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell certain mummy hungers that can never be satisfied! ... Read more

    Reviews (173)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
    I first read this book when it came out, still waitingfor book 2!
    To be honest, this is the ONLY book of hers that I ever enjoyed.
    I did like Interview..the movie tho.And I would love this in a movie.But when I read this I was into romance novels of this type, that may be why I liked/like it.
    All her other books are to dark for me, so if you are a die hard fan, maybe this won't be your cup of tea, but I still love it.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of Edwardian tea
    "The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned" tells the story of what happens when a supposed Egyptian mummy is found, but it turns out that, three thousand years ago, Ramses the Great drank a potion to make himself immortal.One thousand years after that, he fell in love with Cleopatra, who eventually suicided when she was unable to defend Egypt from the Roman armies of Octavius Caesar.Ramses, deprived of his true love, locked himself in a tomb-like library, until he is found by a British millionaire-archaeologist.Ramses gradually awakens from his long sleep, and discovers the technological wonders of the "modern" world.

    You know, this is a great premise and could have been a great story.Instead, it quickly degenerates into a somewhat bland romance story, as Julie (the archaeologist's daughter) makes goo-goo eyes at Ramses, and Ramses alternates between basking in her adoration, learning everything he can, eating everything in sight, and wearing out the doormats on every brothel in town.Ramses is portrayed as the perfect man:intelligent, strong, charismatic, handsome, charming, and regal.That's a lot of talent to waste in a seemingly-endless debauchery-binge.

    I also struggled with Anne Rice's writing style in this book.She is not only somewhat repetitive, but she also has a tendency to write incomplete sentences.Fragments.Words missing.Poorly edited.

    I bought this book used, for a very low price.Now, I think that price was too high.It's a shame, too, because the premise IS really good.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for "Cleopatra's Revenge" ???
    I really enjoyed this book and still wonder why she never wrote a sequel (or sequels) to it, since most of her other creations have become long-running (in some cases, perhaps TOO long...) series.If you have any interest in the Victorian era, Egyptology, archeology, or romance novels with a peculiar twist, you will probably find something of interest in this novel.I have read the "original" mummy (the version made into a movie with Boris Karloff), "She", and a few other classic horror stories in the same genre.Anne Rice's mummy is more of a fantasy story than horror, if you want to get picky about it, but it's loads of good fun anyway.I still want to know what happens to Elliot, if Cleopatra ever finds her way back to civilization (and Ramses, Julie, and Alex) and if Ramses and Julie live happily ever after, or become thoroughly sick of each other after the first hundred years or so... Anne Rice, are you listening? ... Read more

    Isbn: 0345369947
    Subjects:  1. Fiction    2. Fiction - Horror    3. General    4. Horror - General    5. Occult    6. Psychological    7. Fiction / Psychological   


    Cleopatra: The First Woman of Power
    DVD (27 September, 1999)
    list price: $19.99 -- our price: $17.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
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    Editorial Review

    Who was Cleopatra? Most think of a sultry Elizabeth Taylor seducing theRoman Empire through its leaders. But history has been written by the winners,and the successors of the Romans painted her with their own colors.Cleopatra: The First Woman of Power examines her life throughcontemporary Egyptian sources, from her Greek birth through her canny 20-yearrule of Egypt. Anjelica Huston narrates this powerful and thought-provoking filmthat uses often-funny footage from Hollywood, contemporary shots of theMediterranean, and interviews with historians to show a strong woman whosenobility survives centuries of slander. The formerly one-dimensional queen livesand breathes for the viewer of Cleopatra: The First Woman of Power.--Rob Lightner ... Read more


    • Color

    Asin: B00000JYWV
    Subjects:  1. Documentary   


    Director: Cecil B. DeMille
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (22 March, 1995)
    list price: $14.98
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    • Black & White
    • Closed-captioned
    • HiFi Sound
    • NTSC
    Reviews (18)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Amazing stuff!
    Naturally it's DeMille fluff, but it's DeMille fluff at its height, which means it's emminently watchable and enjoyable. OK. the sets aren't quite historically accurate all the time, and the acting and dialogue can be overdone or stilted, and some of the costumes are kinda cheesy, but you just can't help enjoying this! It's still better that Liz's version, and Claudette Colbert was, have to admit it, hot. Worth owning ... as soon as Universal gets off its duff and releases the DVD.

    5-0 out of 5 stars best
    Even though this is a old movie it is the best of all the cleo movies. I have watched it over & over & will do so again. If you like the older movies you will love this one

    4-0 out of 5 stars for lovers of old hollywood
    no one could make entertaining junk like cecil b. demille. this movie sure is junk and it sure is entertaining. claudette colbert in slinky costumes alone makes it worthwhile. she more than makes up for the turgid presence of Henry Wilcoxson (who by the way was very good in caddy shack 50 years later as a minister who loses his religion after being struck by lightning). the scene where cleopatra seduces mark anthony on her royal barge is a real keeper. for lovers of oldtime hollywood schlock, this is hard to beat. except for sign of the cross, which also stars the wonderful colbert, who had the best legs in hollywood history. ... Read more

    Asin: 6303382959
    Sales Rank: 8047
    Subjects:  1. Feature Film-drama   

    Caesar and Cleopatra
    Director: Gabriel Pascal
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    VHS Tape (05 July, 2000)
    list price: $14.95
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    • Color
    • Closed-captioned
    • NTSC
    Reviews (10)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Give it a chance
    Ceasar & Cleoptra is based on Shaw's play and alas it's very, almost painfully stiff and stagey. They essentially took the play and filmed it and that rarely if ever, works on screen. So let's talk about the good. Vivien Leigh was marvelous as the beautiful but dangerous kitten with a knife girl-queen. In real life Queen Cleo was said to be in her 40s when she met Ceasar but anyway, Vivien is sparkling.

    Claude Raines is great as always as Ceasar and it's fun watching the all Brit cast and spotting people you've seen in character roles in every other English movie made in the 30s and 40s. Oh and did young Stewart Granger have some magnificent legs or what?

    Little happens because this movie is a battle of wits between Cleo and the Roman conqueror. There is (perhaps because of the age difference of the leads) little passion and no mention of the child Cleopatra had by Ceasar. It's not as fun as the Elizabeth Taylor epic but when you're in the mood for old time British drama give this version a chance.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Vivien is stunning!
    This movie is pretty cool but Vivien makes it marvelous! Hey DVD people! Why does this movie get released on DVD for the UK and not the USA? I would like this movie for my DVD collection!

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's Still A Delight! Really It Is!...
    Yes, those that complain that this 1946 film version of Shaw's famous play of the same name is mainly 'stage-bound' and the acting often seems 'stilted'-- well, sigh, they surely have a point.

    Bernard Shaw himself (he did not die until the 1950s) is credited with the screenplay, which may have something to do with the criticisms. Shaw is very talky and hard to 'transfer' to motion picture standards of verisimulitude, but this movie has a beautiful, delightful Vivien Leigh, the incomparable Claude Rains, the beautifully dashing Stewart Granger, plus 'old friends' of the classic British cinema such as Flora Robson, Felix Aylmer, Basil Sidney, Stanley Holloway, Leo Genn, Francis L. Sullivan -- all who appeared in wonderful films like Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet', David Lean's 'Great Expectations' and many other intelligent pictures of that pre- and post-war (WWII, that is) period. (There is even a very very young, but very lovely as always, Jean Simmons as a slave of Cleopatra who plays the harp.)

    The picture attempts an 'epic' look, with battles yet noted I'm afraid by unconvincing stunt work and 'casts of thousands' sort of milling about -- and Cecil B. De Mille does this so much better than Gabriel Pascal, the director of 'Caesar and Cleopatra'. But I myself admit I love the Shavian ambience -- the intellectual activist actually attractive (in Shaw's plays at least!) to the winsome young woman; ... friendship, discussion and respect; thought as more important than 'action-adventure'.

    If Shaw's plays do seem too dated to you and they generally bore you, yes, stay far away from this film! But if you brighten when 'entertainment' is also provocative to the intellect and not only to the eye (and other sense organs) -- and particularly if you have great affection for the era of British cinema dominated by Olivier, David Lean, and the early Tony Richardson and featuring so many familiar and adept character actors that fill the firmament with 'supporting' stars, you will like the movie, and ignoring its quite obvious flaws, enjoy every minute: I guarantee it!... ... Read more

    Asin: 0792845870
    Sales Rank: 8253
    Subjects:  1. Feature Film-drama   

    Cleopatra (Five Star Collection)
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    DVD (03 April, 2001)
    list price: $26.98 -- our price: $21.58
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    Editorial Review

    This 1963 extravaganza, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is certainly an epic historical drama with all the elements: elaborate sets, intricate costuming, name actors, a factual basis, and an overlong script (just over four hours). But the acting is well performed and the backdrops are lush, making this a film worth seeing. Elizabeth Taylor is Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen who seduces Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in a political move to hold onto her empire. When Caesar is killed in the Roman Senate, Cleopatra looks to Marc Antony (Richard Burton) for his support, practically enslaving him with her wiles. Taylor is dramatic in her role, at times overly serious, but stunning nonetheless as the woman described as "well versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. She speaks seven languages proficiently. Were she not a woman one would consider her to be an intellectual." While the film does seem to drag at moments, it deserves the four Oscars it won for cinematography, art direction-set direction, costumes, and special effects. Don't confuse this Cleopatra with the 1934 version directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette Colbert. --Jenny Brown ... Read more


    • Color
    • Closed-captioned
    • THX
    • Widescreen
    • Dolby
    Reviews (111)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Lavish but where's the rest of it...?
    Where IS the rest of it?

    That may sound like an odd question given that "Cleopatra" runs 4 hours, but despite the lavish sets, clever dialogue, generally good performances, etc... there is nonetheless a certain "smallness" about this gargantuan piece of Hollywood history (which, if one adjusts for inflation, remains easily the most-expensive movie ever made).
    This "smallness" is hard to explain, except that I think it may have something to do with so many scenes occuring inside, with very little external shooting.

    As I understand, the original version was ~6 hours, which does seem a tad too long, but FOX made Mr. Mankeiwicz cut the film down, which he did to a length of about 5 hours and 15 minutes... THIS is the version that I'd like to see (but no one's apparently been able to find the footage) but the studio then took it and hacked it down to "only" 4 hours in 1963, some prints running less than 3(!!) Elizabeth Taylor is said to have vomited after publicly viewing the slashed-up version in London.

    It's also been said that the two stars missing from the 4 hour version (let alone the shorter one) are Rome and Egypt... I can believe it-- as there is a pronounced lack of a sense of "place" or location in the 4 hour cut, the version readily available.

    If they could reassemble the 5 1/4 hour cut, with that footage back in place, I wonder if the size and scope of "Cleopatra" would finally measure up to what it seems to be trying to promise at every moment. Because despite how long it already is, one senses that you've "missed" something throughout the movie.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!
    A great epic, Cleopatra, brings to the screen the story of one of the most well known historical figures.
    The film combines drama, action, and adventure, making it one of the best of its kind.
    Needless to say, the Hollywood heavyweights Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as well as the rest of the cast have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least.The actors' incredible talent and chemistry clearly shows, thus providing a film that can be watched over and over again.
    The setting, the acting, the dialogues, the music, the battles and the costumes are all wonderful!
    History, Love, Passion, and Honor, are all about.
    There are no words to describe this multiple Oscar winning movie.It is simply amazing how a movie made in 1963 surpasses by far most movies that have been
    made in later years.A great marvel indeed!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hail Caesar....the "Hail" with Caesar give me Cleo!
    A bunch of men in skirts upstagged by a Goddess who appears to be up to the task of breast feading Egypt! Half naked georgeous slave girls prancing around in Fredericks of Hollywood costumes before there was Fredericks of Hollywood! Taylor's "ample" assets falling out of every costume in nearly every scene! Are there other stars in the movie? Yes but who cares! In short a spectacular extravaganza unequaled in scope and magnitude that could never be duplicated again even if we disregard Taylor's Fruedian appeal. A must see on every level! ... Read more

    Asin: B000059HAQ
    Subjects:  1. Feature Film-drama   


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