Antony and Cleopatra
October 25, 2011
480 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
20 color illus. + 14 maps
From the prizewinning author of Caesar and How Rome Fell, a major new account of the charged love affair between Antony and Cleopatra, richly informed by military and political history
A masterfully told—and deeply human—story of love, politics, and ambition, Adrian Goldsworthy’s Antony and Cleopatra delivers a compelling reassessment of a major episode in ancient history.
In this remarkable dual biography of the two great lovers of the ancient world, Goldsworthy goes beyond myth and romance to create a nuanced and historically acute portrayal of his subjects, set against the political backdrop of their time. A history of lives lived intensely at a time when the world was changing profoundly, the book takes readers on a journey that crosses cultures and boundaries from ancient Greece and ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire.
Drawing on his prodigious knowledge of the ancient world and his keen sense of the period’s military and political history, Goldsworthy creates a singular portrait of the iconic lovers. “Antony and Cleopatra were first and foremost political animals,” explains Goldsworthy, who places politics and ideology at the heart of their storied romance. Undertaking a close analysis of ancient sources and archaeological evidence, Goldsworthy bridges the gaps of current scholarship and dispels misconceptions that have entered the popular consciousness. He explains why Cleopatra was consistently portrayed by Hollywood as an Egyptian, even though she was really Greek, and argues that Antony had far less military experience than anyone would suspect from reading Shakespeare and other literature. Goldsworthy makes an important case for understanding Antony as a powerful Roman senator and political force in his own right.
“Readers who recognize Goldsworthy (How Rome Fell) as Britain’s most prolific and perhaps finest popular historian of Roman times will find him once again at his best . . . in this thoughtful, deeply satisfying work.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The book has considerable advantage over most of the other ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ histories on the shelves, providing a very detailed political and military account of the development of the two most important centers of the ancient world.”—The National Interest
"Adrian Goldsworthy is one of our most promising young military historians today."—Sir John Keegan, author of The Iraq War
“Goldsworthy follows up his admirable life of Julius Caesar with a joint biography of two of Caesar’s protégés. . . . . He constructs a plausible portrait of two practical romantics whose storied love followed the path of political advantage.”—Library Journal
"Outstanding: filled with fascinating details of personality, power, sex and death. This is the best book I've read on Antony and Cleopatra—gripping and flamboyant yet scholarly and magesterial."--Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin and Jerusalem: The Biography