Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Schiff's Cleopatra

Voice of America (David Byrd)

A new biography by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff tackles the life, death and legacy of Cleopatra. Schiff's work challenges some of the assumptions long held about Egypt's last queen.

It has been said that history is written by the victors. Nowhere is that sentiment more clearly illustrated than when exploring the reign of Cleopatra. Most of what we know of her was written by her enemies - the Roman historians Plutarch, Dio and Appian. Cicero didn't even mention her name when he said I despise the queen. But now Schiff is attempting to separate fact from propaganda in her new book Cleopatra: A Life.

Schiff said the popular image of Cleopatra is far from the truth. In fact, the last queen of Egypt was a highly-educated, multilingual, shrewd ruler who was the equal of any monarch of her time.

"She would have had precisely the education that someone like Caesar or Cicero had," said Schiff

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