• Cleopatra's Daughter and Other Key Figures of the Multicultural Roman Empire

    by Mary Beard

    Jane Draycott relates the stories of figures like King Juba II of Mauretania in north Africa, who was reared in Rome as a captive and installed by Augustus to lead a puppet buffer state, which shed important light on the diversity within the empire and the multiple ways that Rome exercised power over its vast dominions. 

  • Who's Afraid of a Black Cleopatra?

    by Gwen Nally and Mary Hamil Gilbert

    The controversy over the portrayal of Cleopatra by the Black British actress Adele James highlights the difficulty of reading modern ideas of race and identity back onto the past. But more interesting questions arise around why people in the present seek commonality with past figures. 

  • Maybe Cleopatra didn’t commit suicide

    The famous story of Cleopatra’s suicide gets points for drama and crowd appeal: Her lover, Mark Antony, had been defeated in battle by Octavian and, hearing that Cleopatra had been killed, had stabbed himself in the stomach. Very much alive, after witnessing his death, the beautiful last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt pressed a deadly asp to her breast, taking her own life as well.But what if Cleopatra didn’t commit suicide at all?Pat Brown, author of the new book, The Murder of Cleopatra: History’s Greatest Cold Case, argues that the “Queen of Kings” did not take her own life. Rather, she was murdered, and her perpetrators managed to spin a story that has endured for more than 2,000 years....