Book Review of Antony and Cleopatra by Adrian GoldsworthyAntony and Cleopatra , the names conjure up a variety of images that include Roman military might, eastern decadence and a pair of tragic star-crossed lovers. Some of that is actually accurate, but much of it is romanticized fiction. In his latest study of the Roman world, Adrian Goldsworthy takes on the task of separating truth from fiction, and he does a good job of it. For those not familiar with the background story, the entire book revolves around the lead-up to the assassination of Julius Caesar and the ensuing struggle for his legacy. Octavian Caesar was his nephew, adopted son and heir. Predictably, once this was accomplished, the victors fought over the spoils.
Antony and Cleopatra
Now, Goldsworthy tackles another ancient Roman subject that has teased the imagination of the public for generations: Antony and Cleopatra. For most of us, Cleopatra looks like Elizabeth Taylor; that movie is the extent of most common knowledge of the two ancient lovers. Where supposition and speculation are involved, Goldsworthy never presents it as fact but as differing theories. For example, some people consider Cleopatra as almost a tramp, a purely sexual figure perhaps because of the image the movie presents , but Goldsworthy makes a strong case for the theory that Caesar and Antony were her only two lovers, and that their relationships involved love as well as political gamesmanship. Yet Goldsworthy feels that their history is more than just that.
The author remarked about this book 'everyone knows of Antony and Cleopatra, but they see the story as they think it should have been'. We know that story. It's the one from the theatre of Shakespeare, or Elizabeth Taylor's career-defining role in film. It's where the dashing and impetuous Antony is seduced by the decadent beauty of Cleopatra and ends up throwing the world away for love. In the end the star-crossed lovers die tragically but heroically, leaving their cold, scheming nemesis with his victory.
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Book Review – “Anthony and Cleopatra” by Colleen McCullough
Here is some of what he writes:. The actual events were intensely dramatic - hence the appeal to novelists, dramatists and screenwriters.
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After the death of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Caesar's ambitious and brash cousin, and Octavian, Caesar's adopted son and designated heir, agree to jointly administer the far-flung empire: Antony in the East and Octavian in the West. It's not a happy arrangement, though, and their rivalry to rule Rome is the overarching theme of this sprawling, captivating saga. After a disastrous campaign to subdue the Parthians, Antony turns to Cleopatra, the enigmatic and fabulously wealthy queen of Egypt, to replenish his war chest. Prodded by Cleopatra, Antony gathers his forces in Greece for an invasion of Italia. The tragic denouement is, in McCullough's capable hands, no less compelling for being so well known.
April 30, by faithljustice. From the book jacket:. Caesar is dead, and Rome is, again, divided. Lepidus has retreated to Africa, while Antony rules the opulent East, and Octavian claims the West, the heart of Rome, as his domain. With the bearing of a hero, and the riches of the East at his disposal, Antony seems poised to take the prize. Like a true warrior-king, he is a seasoned general whose lust for power burns alongside a passion for women, feasts, and Chian wine.