October Selection: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

At our October 8, 2013 meeting, we will discuss the following selection suggested by Burk:

Cleopatra, A Life, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2010.

Burk provides the following information about his selection:
I selected “Cleopatra, A Life” by Stacy Schiff because I wanted to know the Cleopatra story.  My knowledge about Cleopatra was very limited never having read much about her, seen the movie with Elizabeth Taylor or read or attended Shakespeare’s play.  I presume that is not the case with my learned colleagues who, presumably, are quite familiar with the Cleopatra story as told by others – mostly men. It will be interesting to learn if prior assumptions about her life and character have been altered by reading this biography.

Given current events in Egypt with mass killings one begins to appreciate how little changes from one era to the next.

The Cleopatra story is about strong willed men and one strong willed
woman and how their personal goals and lives intertwined to bring havoc to the then known world.  With the exception of the woman, that seems little changed today.

I found the writing style with many personal interjections by the author very interesting.  How did others react to the writing?

I hope that is enough to get the ball rolling.

Take care,



About Ron Boothe

I am a Professor Emeritus at Emory University, currently living in Tacoma Washington USA.
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2 Responses to October Selection: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff

  1. Burk Ketcham says:

    One of my thoughts about the discussion is asking those attending to sum up and back up their assessment of Cleopatra in four or less words. I offer the following words for starters gleaned from the text, reviews of the book and my own imagination:

    unscrupulous, fascinating, complex , powerful, scheming, extravagant, murderess, seductress, shrewd, cunning, competent, audacious, notorious, intelligent, sensuous, complicated, ambitious, formidable, wanton temptress, nimble, clever, goddess, enslaver, focused, sex goddess, legendary, commanding, harlot, prankster, quick witted, bewitcher, wealthy, charming, charismatic, linguist, temptress, manipulator and divinity


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