Review by Choice Review
The enigmatic Cleopatra VII is often represented as beautiful, not beautiful, cruel, sexually manipulative, a conscientious ruler, well educated, politically savvy, black, and white. The first part of this invaluable resource for anyone teaching or trying to understand Cleopatra includes primary sources covering the Ptolemies, Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian. Some of these sources are not easily found in translation, and include such ancient authors as Diodorus Siculus, Pausanias, Plutarch, Catullus, Horace, Vergil, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio. Jones (Montclair State Univ.) introduces each passage with a brief description of the context of each author and work. While the descriptions could be fuller, they help readers understand the extent to which sources on Cleopatra and the major players are heavily influenced by the authors' biases. The book's second part focuses on the reception of Cleopatra. While this section needs expansion, Jones has included such authors as Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Shelley, Pushkin, the women writers Fielding and Charlotte Bronte, and Arabic authors such as Shawqi. Jones concludes with brief passages about Afrocentrism and the question of whether Cleopatra was black. Useful genealogical and chronological tables. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. J. de Luce Miami University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.