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History of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt by…
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History of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt (1851)

by Jacob Abbott

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This book is especially recommended for those with only a casual knowledge of Cleopatra. The author briefly summarizes the history of Egyptian rule by the Ptolemy dynasty, of which Cleopatra was the last prior to Roman rule. The author then describes Cleopatra's immediate family, the often confusing world of Egyptian politics with its familial quarrels, and of course Cleopatra's fascinating relations with both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

A bit simplistic. Nonetheless, an easy reading, excellent overview of Cleopatra which can be used as a starting point for deeper inquiries. ( )
  la2bkk | Sep 19, 2011 |
As far as biographies go, I must say this one's not the best. Abbott's style is annoying because he is constantly offering his opinions on how the Ptolemys, Cleopatra, Caesar, and Antony lived (in sin and complete godlessness, in case you were interested). I could do without the editorializing with an ancient biography especially. Cleopatra's world was entirely different from our own (and Abbott's) and although her behavior was at best shady, it doesn't seem fair for a biographer to judge her so harshly.

In terms of a biographical subject, of course, it doesn't get much better than Cleopatra. The scandalous events of her life have never ceased to amuse and shock people since her own time. If you are looking for a brief biography of Egypt's last Pharaoh that is available online (Gutenberg.org), this one is decent. Just be sure to only skim Abbott's meanderings on the landscape of Egypt and Cleopatra's (many) ancestors. ( )
  k8_not_kate | Apr 10, 2006 |
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The story of Cleopatra is a story of crime.
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