The Life and Times of Cleopatra: A Comprehensive Overview

1. Michael Grant and Cleopatra: A Brief Overview

Before we get into the guts of this essay, let’s first take a brief look at who Michael Grant is and why he’s written about Cleopatra.

Michael Grant was born in 1914 in London. He was educated at Eton and Jesus College, Cambridge. He served in the army during World War II and then worked as a journalist for the Times Literary Supplement and the Spectator. He began his academic career as a Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford, before becoming a Lecturer in Ancient History at Edinburgh University, where he remained until his retirement in 1979.

Grant was a prolific author, writing more than 80 books on various topics related to ancient history. His most famous work is probably his 12-volume History of Rome, which was published between 1978 and 1984. But he also wrote several other works on ancient Egypt, including Egypt under the Pharaohs (1965), From Alexander to Cleopatra (1970), and The Dawn of Civilization (1971).

Cleopatra is perhaps the most famous woman from antiquity. She was the last pharaoh of Egypt, ruling from 51-30 BCE. She is best known for her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, both of whom she had children with. Cleopatra has been the subject of numerous books, films, and television shows over the years, but very few have been as comprehensive or authoritative as Michael Grant’s Cleopatra.

Grant’s Cleopatra was published in 1972 and is still considered one of the best sources on her life and times. In this book, Grant draws on a wide range of ancient sources to paint a picture of who Cleopatra really was. He also debunks many of the myths that have grown up around her over the years.

2. Cleopatra: A Historical Profile

Who was Cleopatra? What do we really know about her?

Cleopatra was born in 69 BCE into a royal family that had ruled Egypt for centuries. Her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, was the king of Egypt at the time of her birth. Her mother was a Princess from Syria named Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Ptolemy XII died when Cleopatra was 18 years old and she became co-ruler of Egypt with her 10-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII.

Three years later, Julius Caesar came to Egypt in pursuit of Pompey (who had fled there after losing a battle to Caesar in Greece). Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed when he arrived and presented his head to Julius Caesar. This did not endear Ptolemy XIII to Caesar who eventually annexed Egypt and made it a province of Rome. Ptolemy XIII drowned while trying to flee Caesar’s forces during a battle on the Nile River in 47 BCE.

Cleopatra then became sole ruler of Egypt. She quickly developed a relationship with Julius Caesar and bore him a son, Caesarion (who she claimed was the reincarnation of Julius Caesar). Julius Caesar eventually left Egypt to return to Rome but was assassinated shortly thereafter in 44 BCE by Marcus Brutus (among others).

Cleopatra then allied herself with Marcus Antonius (commonly known as Mark Antony). Antony was one of the three men who ruled Rome after Julius Caesar’s death (the other two were Octavian and Lepidus). Antony and Cleopatra had a famously passionate relationship and she bore him three children: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus.

Octavian eventually outmaneuvered Antony and Cleopatra and declared war on them. Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE. They both committed suicide shortly thereafter rather than be captured by Octavian. Octavian then became the first Roman Emperor, taking the name Augustus.

Cleopatra has been one of the most famous women in history ever since her lifetime. She has been portrayed as everything from a scheming temptress to a tragic heroine. But who was she really?

Michael Grant’s Cleopatra is one of the best sources for understanding the real Cleopatra. Grant draws on a wide range of ancient sources, both Egyptian and Roman, to paint a picture of who she really was.

3. Michael Grant’s “Cleopatra”: The making of an authoritative source

As we mentioned above, Michael Grant’s Cleopatra is considered one of the most authoritative sources on her life and times. In this section, we’ll take a look at how Grant compiled his information and what makes his book so special.

Grant begins his book with a discussion of the sources he used. He relied primarily on Roman sources, as there are very few extant Egyptian sources from Cleopatra’s lifetime. The Roman sources include works by Plutarch, Appian, Dio Cassius, Livy, and Cicero (among others). He also used some later Roman historians, such as Tacitus and Suetonius. But Grant was careful to only use reliable sources and he often critiqued the biases of individual authors.

Grant also made use of archaeological evidence, inscriptions, coins, and papyri to supplement the literary evidence. This allowed him to create a more complete picture of Cleopatra’s life than ever before.

Grant’s Cleopatra is organized chronologically, beginning with her birth in 69 BCE and ending with her death in 30 BCE. He covers all aspects of her life, from her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony to her role in politics and religion. Grant also debunks many of the myths that have grown up around Cleopatra over the years.

For example, he dispels the idea that she was a great beauty, pointing out that there is no reliable evidence for this claim. He also argues that she was not primarily responsible for Julius Caesar’s assassination, as some have claimed.

Grant’s Cleopatra is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about this famous woman from antiquity. It is still considered one of the best sources on her life and times more than 40 years after its publication.
4. Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Rome: What precipitated the famous love affair?
As we mentioned above, Cleopatra is best known for her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. But what precipitated these famous love affairs?

In the case of Julius Caesar, it is likely that Cleopatra saw an opportunity to gain power by aligning herself with him. Julius Caesar was the most powerful man in the world at the time and Cleopatra was the ruler of a major kingdom. It made sense for them to form an alliance.

It is also possible that Cleopatra genuinely loved Julius Caesar. We know that she named her son Caesarion after him and she spent the rest of her life trying to keep his memory alive.

As for Mark Antony, it is likely that their relationship was also motivated by political considerations. Antony was one of the three rulers of Rome after Julius Caesar’s death and Cleopatra saw an opportunity to gain power by aligning herself with him.

But it is also possible that their relationship was more than just political. We know that Antony and Cleopatra were passionately in love with each other and they had three children together.

In any case, both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were married to other women when they began their relationships with Cleopatra. This caused scandal in Rome and eventually led to their downfall.

5. Conclusion: What did we learn from Grant’s “Cleopatra?”

In this essay, we’ve taken a look at Michael Grant’s Cleopatra and what makes it such an essential source on her life and times. We’ve also looked at some of the key events in her life, including her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Grant’s Cleopatra is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating woman from antiquity. It is still considered one of the best sources on her life and times more than 40 years after its publication.

FAQ

Cleopatra was an Egyptian queen who lived during the Ptolemaic period.

She was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and she came to power after the death of her father, Ptolemy XII in 51 BC.

Some key events in Cleopatra's reign include her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, as well as her famous battle against Octavian at Actium.

Cleopatra died in 30 BC, most likely by suicide.

Cleopatra has been portrayed in a variety of ways over the years, often as a seductive and dangerous woman.

By studying the life of Cleopatra, we can learn about the history of Egypt and the Roman Empire, as well as how different cultures have interpreted her story over time.