The Cleopatras: The Forgotten Queens of Egypt

Basic. May 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781541602922. $33. HIST
Cleopatra is one of the most noted women in world history, but many may not realize or remember that the most famous one is actually the seventh and final Egyptian queen with that name. Llewellyn-Jones (ancient history, Cardiff Univ.; Persians) offers the first book for general readers that includes the histories and biographies of all the Cleopatras, all of whom were strong women in their own right. He presents vivid portraits of these exceptional women, starting with Cleopatra I, who was given the nickname of Syra for her Syrian roots and was the queen of Egypt in 193–176 BCE. The book ends with the legendary Cleopatra VII, who ruled 51–39 BCE. Llewellyn-Jones shows that all the Cleopatras were astute and talented. His book deftly points out the importance of women’s power in an era when there was an overwhelming and stifling patriarchal world of antiquity. The book includes expansive genealogical charts, maps, and a bibliography, which help readers keep details and family trees straight.
VERDICT Llewellen-Jones’s extensive research on all seven of these intriguing Cleopatras is expertly presented. Highly recommended.
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