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Hellenistic EgyptMonarchy, Society, Economy, Culture$
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Roger Bagnall and Jean Bingen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748615780

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615780.001.0001

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Cleopatra, the Diadem and the Image

Cleopatra, the Diadem and the Image

(p.44) Chapter 3 Cleopatra, the Diadem and the Image
Hellenistic Egypt

Jean Bingen

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter on Cleopatra begins with her image in Roman literature, which is very negative and sees her as a threat to Rome. But that image dates from the aftermath of the final struggle between Octavian (later Augustus) and Mark Antony and does not reflect the real situation in which Cleopatra found herself. She needed to exercise power in Alexandria without flouting the Macedonian tradition which required a male king; her reign therefore saw a delicate balancing of eliminating or keeping control of the few surviving males with keeping the facade of a king's presence. Her involvements with Caesar and Antony never brought them into the framework of the Ptolemaic monarchy, but she used them to strengthen the position of the Ptolemaic state-until the final defeat of Antony at Actium.

Keywords:   Mark Antony, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Black Athena, monarchy

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