someday ill be in company of all....

Monday, June 27, 2016

Book review:Cleopatra a life by Stacy Shiff

Title: Cleopatra a life 
Author: Stacy Schiff
Publisher: Payback book
Price: Rs 1402
Genre: Biography memoir/ Egypt / historic fiction
Source: Personal

This was a book reviewed by an amazing blogger Brian on his blog .I loved it and went for it but it took me so long to write about it.

Cleopatra is perhaps the most intriguing personality in the human history. She has always been like a dream larger than life with greatest things of all humanly possibly around her even greatest of all her tragedies.Though innumerable books have been written about her till date, surprisingly nobody really knew what she looked like though praises of her beauty and talent had been sung far and wide.What sets this apart from others is that Cleopatra is dissected through  the eyes of people around her.Its like going around monument and watching how it is than going on to of it to see things from there.

Born nothing less than a celestial being with all abundance , to sustain her throne went onto marry her siblings followed by rivalry and  war murder and so on.Though Egypt was a small state because of its immense wealth it was always a great point of interest and

When Caesar and Cleopatra met it was just a rendezvous of two  great personality but two great civilizations as well. Their coming together was of two intelligent, astute, charismatic personality like  the two sides of a coin which build a mighty empire that later became an inspiration for Shakespeare's work in the coming ages.Though all that projected her grey side for her own bad. Caesar was both impressed and inspired by her and  her ruling,  that he himself incorporated some of them back home. On the other hand Anthony''s and Cleopatra's paramount rational duties towards their own kingdom  acted synergistic for each other with similar love for art and theater made them come together.

Cleopatra's life always had an ebb and rise , she inherited an empire on the fall went on to loss it, regain them,  then again went on to the the edge of losing it then again built a solid vast empire and in the end lost all of it.

She was sharp, shrewd, aggressive and very adventurous person.All this makes it even more special because she only lived for about forty years .All her actions were politically motivated even when she led Anthony into his own grave finally ending her life eventually..

Schiff beautifully paints an image of Cleopatra that's too raw and real and the vantage she created in quite striking, you are set at a point from where you can watch all the events unfold before you like being seated in an amphitheater, starting from her grand childhood, education that includes art of speech and mastering different languages that shaped her, her controversial marriages, her actions to build her empire..She was a strong woman shouldering all important events in history upon her . Schiff instead of stereotyping  her as an immoral with all the love affairs but brought before us the circumstances or hypothesis that led her to do it..For Schiff Cleopatra is more of a progressive, powerful and an audacious leader, and her life is nothing short of dazzling. Doing her own things in her own way for her  country's good inviting wrath to an otherwise classical world . Romans and Egyptians saw women in a different light.For Romans women were for creating heirs while Cleopatra moved to Jerusalem to cut a deal while she was heavily pregnant. Schiff sums it up with the following-

"Can anything good be done of a woman who slept with two most powerful men of her time? Possibility, not but not in an age when Roman controlled the narrative . Cleopatra stood at one of  the most dangerous intersection in history: that of women and power . Clever women , Euripides had warned hundreds of earlier , were dangerous." 

Schiff's profound way of depicting Cleopatra makes her endearing legend the kind of power whom we would admire. Perhaps if Cleopatra had won her final battle we might have known her very differently as the history is written by the winners.

This historical delicacy is a treat that you would want read over and over again.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention and the good word VB.

    Great commentary on this book. This is one of my favorite history books of all time. I agree with you, Cleopatra's life was extraordinary This book Paints such a viid and engrossing picture of it.

    In also read A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America by Stacy Schiff which I really like.Herr newest book, The Witches, looks very good.


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