CLEOPATRA-Wrtg 85478 CLAS 705-01

MWF 10:10-11:LKH 208


SYLLABUS: FALL 2003                       






Instructor:           Molly M. Levine

Office:                  LKH 312, tel. 806-6725 (for messages)

Office Hours:       12:10-1 and by appointment

Email address:


Prerequisites:      “C” or better in Freshman English 003 or 004 for COAS students; a passing grade in 003 for others. Some knowledge of Greek or Roman history is recommended but not required.


Credit:                  3 credits. This course also fulfills the third writing requirement in the COAS. Students are encouraged to make use of the Writing Center (LKH 100, HEC 1024) and the WAC website (


Required Texts


1. Susan Walker and Peter Higgs. Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth. Princeton University Press 2001; ISBN 0-691088357.


2.Michael Foss, The Search for Cleopatra. Arcade: New York 1998, ISBN 0312187459; pb. Arcade 1999, ISBN 1559704225. Note: As of this writing, the HU Bookstore is having trouble procuring this book; it is readily available on the web site with used copies (19!) starting as low as $2.50.


3.W. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, edited by John Wilders. The Arden Shakespeare. Routledge: London and New York 1995, pb., ISBN 9415911935.


4. Molly Levine, Cleopatra Course Reader, available from Howard Copy 2618 Georgia Avenue, Tel. 202 462-2679.



Recommended Texts:


1. Peter Green, Alexander to Actium. University of California Press: Berkeley 1990, pb. ISBN: 0520083490. (on order in HU Bookstore)


2. Margaret George, The Memoirs of Cleopatra. St. Martins/Griffen: New York 1997; pb., ISBN 0312187459. (This wonderful novel --a truly painless way to absorb Cleopatra’s biography--has been ordered for the HU Bookstore).


3. F.W. Walbank, The Hellenistic World, rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U Press 1992.


Important Reference Work.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary (OCD) 3rd ed.,  S. Hornblower and A. Spawforth, eds. Oxford University Press (Oxford 1996). This book is located in the Student Lounge of the Classics Department, Locke 254. Use it to look up any unfamiliar person, place, or term from the classical world and feel welcome to enjoy the lounge for quiet study or rest.


Films: Recommended films will be left in my office (LKH 312) or with Secretary Deidra Goodwin in the Classics Dept. Office LKH 254. Films will be made available for overnight borrowing to students of this course.


Recommended Composition Handbook: Freshman English handbook (e.g., Little, Brown; Bedford Guide).


Some Recommended Books on Writing Well: All can be easily acquired, new or used, at web sites such as, Any or all of these will do a lot to help you write better.


***The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr., E. B. White, Roger Angell (4th edition Allyn&Bacon 2000 ISBN 020530902X) is in my opinion still the best book around for help in writing clearly. If you don’t already own this masterpiece, you should buy it, read it, and apply it to your writing.


**William Zinsser, On Writing Well, 25th Anniversary : The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. Harper Resource 2001, ISBN 0060006641.


**P.T. Conner, Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Riverheadbooks 1998. ISBN 1573226254.


Other Resources including web sites and films are listed both in the body of this syllabus and in bibliographic appendices, are available on request.







          Perhaps no woman in history has so captured the western imagination as Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt (69-30 BCE). This course will investigate the multilayered meanings with which Cleopatra has been invested from her own times through today. We begin with reality-- a survey of the historical events of Cleopatra’s life and times in Hellenistic Egypt and Late Republican Rome. From history, we turn to historical representations.  Contemporary images and texts generated by Cleopatra, Antony, and Octavian in the course of their power struggle served as  political theater by which the opponents wished themselves and their enemies to be known to the world and through which our historical knowledge is inevitably filtered. Finally, we will survey the many gendered and racialist signifiers assigned by suceeding generations to the culturally charged icon of Cleopatra as a woman in power.

          This writing-intensive (WAC) course emphasizes writing as a tool of both learning and communication.  


Aims of the Course:

(1) To gain familiarity with the historical period in which Cleopatra lived;

(2) To understand the limitations of the ancient sources--Greek, Roman, and Egyptian-- as evidence for the historical Cleopatra;

(3) To learn about the many “Cleopatra traditions” as they have filtered down to us in art, literature, film, etc., with special attention to some particularly influential examples;

(4) To improve writing skills by writing to learn.


Course Requirements and Grading:

The course is structured around lectures and discussions of texts.  You are expected to read the  assignments by the due date and to bring texts under discussion to class together with your questions and observations. Attendance and active participation is mandatory.


1. Quizzes, Participation, Writing Conference: 10%

Informed class participation including occasional brief quizzes, free-writing at start and/or end of class, brief oral presentations. Each absence after 3 will lower your participation grade by 1%.          Failure to schedule a writing conference with me (see below 4) will lower your participation grade by 5 points.


2. Exams: 25%

1. Unit Exam on the history and geography of the Hellenistic Age and late Republican Rome at the end of Part I          15%

2.Final Exam on ancient and modern representations of Cleopatra        10%


3. Short Writing Assignments: 40%

These 1-2 page essays include the brief historical summaries assigned  in Part I and the analyses of ancient sources assigned in Part II ( see below 1&2 and “Course Outline”). To count for credit,  essays must be turned in on the due date assigned in this syllabus. Summaries and analyses will be judged both on form (structure, language, grammar, style) and content (factual accuracy). These essays will be marked on a scale of 1-8 with the best 5 submissions counting toward the calculation of your grade. Save these short writing assignments in a folder to be turned in at the end of the semester for a final reevaluation.


4. Revised “Historical Narrative” of Part I: 10%

Description below (1)


5. Final Writing Project: 15%

This grade includes two components: (1) draft 10% (2) revised version (5%). Description below (3)



The Writing Component:

(1) For the Historical Survey (PART I): Students will be required to turn in short weekly summaries (1-2 pages) of historical readings, lectures, films, and/or websites, as directed on the syllabus [3 above]. These assignments will give you, inter alia, practice in “writing to learn” as you master the complexities of Hellenistic history.

          These summaries-revised and edited-- also will provide the substance for a sustained narrative (5 or more pages) of the historical background to Cleopatra (provisionally titled “From Alexander to Cleopatra”) due in final form at the conclusion of Part I of the course [4 above].


Your “Revised Historical Narrative” must include discussions of the following points:


1.What period is meant by the Hellenistic Age (inclusive dates, main events with dates)?


2.Why is the Hellenistic Age so called? Some major cultural and political characteristics of the Hellenistic Age?


3. Who were the Ptolemies? Major political, cultural, and social characteristics of the  Ptolemaic rule of Egypt.


4.How and when do the histories of Rome and Egypt meet and merge during the late Hellenistic Age?


5.A biography of Cleopatra (include important dates) with special attention to her role in world events from the death of Julius Caesar to the Battle of Actium.


        This historical narrative (suitably revised, cut, and edited) will reappear as the “Introductory Section” of the Final Project due at the end of the course (see Below).


(2) For the “Ancient Representations” section(PART II): Students will be required to turn in a series of short (one-two page) analyses of the representation of Cleopatra in selected  ancient historical and literary sources, including statues, coins, and poetry [3 above].


(3)For the “Final Project” (Part III): The “Cleopatra’s Afterlife” section (PART III) culminates in the “Final Project” for this course. In this section, students will be exposed to readings and discussions of selected post Rennaissance representations of Cleopatra in art, drama, literature, and politics. For the “Final Writing Project” due at the last meeting of the course, students will prepare an extended and thoughtful  analysis of Cleopatra as a signifier on one of a range of suggested topics from periods covered in Parts II and III of the course. Your final project will enable you to develop at greater length (5-10 pages) a topic of particular interest to you. A list of suggested topics and timetable is provided below together with additional bibliography; if you wish to write on another topic, please clear it first with the instructor.

          The Final Writing Project should incorporate a revised and edited version of the historical summary completed in Part I and can expand earlier assignments from Parts 2 or 3 of the syllabus. As indicated on the syllabus and below, for full credit you are required to submit at least one draft version of your final project prior to your submission of the paper in revised form on the final due date.  

          All writing submissions must be typed double-spaced, cogently argued, coherently structured, clearly expressed, and submitted on time. Sources/quotations must be properly introduced and integrated into the texts, following MLA or other conventions (consistency is the rule here! See WAC web site  for the rules: For discipline specific rules (Classics/Ancient History) and criteria for judging papers, see Below and handouts.


(4) Writing Conference. All students in this course are required to schedule a writing conference with me in the early part of the semester. .This conference, as indicated above, comprises part of your “Quiz/Participation” grade [1]. More such meetings may be required, according to individual needs.


Course Rules and Regulations:

(1)Quizzes cannot be made up.

(2) Extensions on written assignments will be considered only if the student can present documented evidence of serious extenuating cricumstances before the due date of the assignment.

(3) Make-ups in the case of an exam will be available only if the student notifies the Classics department office (x6725) before the exam is to be administered and submits at the next class meeting a written explanation for the absence with verifiable and legible corroborating evidence.

(4) Incomplete grades will not be awarded except in extraordinary circumstances. There is ample time for you to withdraw from the course if you feel in jeopardy.

(5) If you feel uncertain about the material, you are encouraged to ask questions in class; also you should take full advantage of the instructor’s office hours.


Final Project Topics


A. All final projects must begin with the summary of the historical background on Cleopatra (about 3 pages), completed during Part I of the course and suitably revised, cut, and/or edited.


B. During Parts II and III of the course you will be introduced to a variety of “Representations” of Cleopatra--ancient (Part II) and modern (Part III). You should decide on a topic for your final project by Week 11 of the course and inform me in writing. Paper topics may come from any of the areas covered in Parts II and III or any other topic that interests you, provided that it is cleared with me first.


C. Suggestions for your Final Project


Topics from Part II.


1.Cleopatra on Coins.


2 Representations of Cleopatra in the Roman Poets (Focus on one or more poets/poems).


3. Meretrix vs. Matron: Contrasting Images of Cleopatra and Octavia in         Plutarch’s Life of Antony.


4.Josephus’ Cleopatra


Topics from Part III.


1.Cellluloid Cleopatras. Compare representations of Cleopatra in two or more films, e.g., C. B. Demille’s Cleopatra with Claudette Colbert; Joseph Mankewicz’s Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor; the recent TV version of Cleopatra (available on VHS) with Leonor Varela as Cleopatra. See The International Movie Data Base web site for a full list of Cleopatra films.


2. Cleopatra on Stage. A comparison of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra (Antony and Cleopatra, on video with Janet Suzman) and G. B. Shaw’s Cleopatra (Caesar and Cleopatra on video with Vivian Leigh).


3.Chaucer’s Cleopatra (in Legends of Good Women I, ca. 1300), Bocaccio’s Cleopatra,  or any other poet of your choice. A good topic for literature majors!


4. Marketing Cleopatra: the use of Cleopatra to sell products. Design an advertising campaign using Cleopatra to sell a new product of your invention. (Business Majors??)


5.Cleopatra on Canvas. Illustrated discussion of representations of Cleopatra in the art of a particular period or place. A good place to begin are the art illustrations in Susan Walker’s Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth (Princeton 2001). Another readily available and excellent illustrated survey of Cleopatra’s afterlife in European art is Edith Flamarion, Cleopatra: The Life and Death of a Pharoah, translated by Alexandra Bonfante-Warren (pb 1997), pp. 113-149, 151. U        se these books as a starting point to familiarize yourself with the many artistic representations of Cleopatra VII and then focus on the Cleopatras of two or more artists or periods or places or type scenes for your critical analysis. Be sure to include reproductions of works discussed with your paper. Many web sites make good reproductions available.


6. A review essay on Margaret George’s Cleopatra (1997) or any other modern “Cleopatra novel” of your choice, such as Colin Falconer, When We Were Gods (Crown 2000), Karen Essex, Pharaoh Kleopatra Volume II, Warner 2002 (This is the second in a recent series; you will need to read Volume I to do this essay. Volume III has not yet appeared).


7. Cleopatra for Children: an analysis of her representation in one or more books for children, e.g. Diane Stanley, Cleopatra, William Morrow 1994 (ages 9-12); Robert Green, Cleopatra (First Book) Orchard Books 1996 (9-12); Kristiana Gregory, Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile, Egypt 57 B.C. (The Royal Diaries) Scholastic 1999 (9-12); Fiona Macdonald, Cleopatra: The Queen of Kings (DK Discoveries), DK Publishing 2001. Haydn Middleton, Cleopatra: The Queen of Dreams 1998. An interesting discussion would be to compare  representations of Cleopatra in childrens’ books of different periods (e.g. pre1960’s vs. post1960’s) or of different ethnic groups.


8. Comparative Cleopatras. Compare contemporary representations of Cleopatra in different countries (e.g. Egypt vs. Italy or the U.S. or your own country of origin).


9. The Cleopatra Costume in stage and film (illustrated discussion).



10.Shakespeare’s Cleopatra


11.Cleopatra in the U.S. antislavery polemic. Before proceding, you will need to research this topic to see if you can find enough material for a paper. You can start with the William Wetmore Story statue (see illustration in Susan Walker’s Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth (Princeton 2001) and visit informative web sites on Story (e.g., www. and Then dig some more to see if, where, and how Cleopatra appears in abolitionist writings.


 12. Cleopatra as a signifier in Afro-American culture. This topic might combine a discussion of Cleopatra as she appears in Afro-American culture (look at magazines, illustrations, advertisements, etc)  with a survey of your fellow students. Design a thoughtful questionnaire and sample opinion.


13. Cleopatra as a feminist signifier. A comparison of Cleopatra and Hillary Clinton or any other contemporary woman with political power or aspirations. Have any of the same stereotypical representations found in Plutarch been (re)applied?




D. Grading  Criteria for an "A" Paper

(derived from WAC-English scoring sessions on June 4, 2001, October 26, 2002, and March 1, 2003)


 In courses across the curriculum, a student's paper merits a grade of "A" if

it satisfies the following criteria:




*       Fulfills the assigned task.

*       Demonstrates understanding of the subject matter.

*       Presents accurate and precise information.

*       Relies upon sound reasoning.

*       Analyzes or synthesizes ideas (if expected).

*       Provides appropriate evidence (documented, if necessary).

*       Offers a fresh perspective or creative thinking.

*       Acknowledges other views (when appropriate).




*       Presents ideas in a unified and orderly sequence.

*       Follows an appropriate format.

*       Enables readers to distinguish important and related information.

*       Incorporates appropriate graphics (if required).

*       Looks professional or inviting.




*       Conforms to the rules of Standard Written English (i.e., grammar,

                   spelling, and mechanics).

*       Expresses ideas succinctly.

*       Facilitates reading.

*       Manipulates language with art or skill.

*       Maintains an appropriate tone.

*       Displays a facility with the language of the discipline.

*       Integrates sources smoothly, according to the conventions of the




*       Accommodates or reveals an awareness of the target audience(s).













CLEOPATRA COURSE OUTLINE-- TOPICS AND ASSIGNMENTS                                     






*Note: Assignments should be done in the order in which they are listed.


1.Email me today at so that I can form an email group for the class. Remember to include your name and the name of the course.


2. WAC DIAGNOSTIC EXAM: Who was Cleopatra? One Page. Due in class, 8/27.


3. Visit The House of Ptolemy Website

          This site with its links is a treasure trove that you will be visiting often.


4. Based on your readings in Price and Walbank, the above website, and my lectures, write a (1-2 page) discussion of the following questions:

          a.What period is meant by the Hellenistic Age (inclusive dates, main                         events with dates)?

          b.Why is the Hellenistic Age so called? Some major cultural and                      political characteristics of the Hellenistic Age?


5.Ongoing job: Begin to familiarize yourself with the location of the following list of places, as they arise in your readings in Part I. Use the maps in Walker and Higgs, The House of Ptolemy Website,  Foss, p. 8, 37, 59, 159, and the many useful maps (including blanks for practice) at the website of the Ancient World Mapping Center A blank map will be provided for you to work with.

Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, Persia, Bactria, India, Cyrenaica, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Syria, Antioch, Pergamun, Judaea (=Palestine, Coele Syria), Rome, Athens, Actium, Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt, Red Sea, Arabia, Nile River, Nile Delta, Pelusium, Memphis, Thebes, Fayum, Alexandria, Pharos.



*Note: Readings should be done in the order in which they are assigned. Readings in green have been copied in the Course Reader.


1. Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt Familiarize yourself with this    book; noting maps (p.11), family tree(p.16), chronology(p.370),           glossary (p.371).


2. Course Reader:Simon Price, “The History of the Hellenistic Period,”   364-389 in The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic   World, edited by J. Boardman, J. Griffin, and O. Murray (Oxford        1988).


3. Course Reader: F.W. Walbank, “The Hellenistic World: A         Homogenous Culture?”  60-78 in The Hellenistic World. rev. ed.   (Harvard: Cambridge, Mass. 1992)


Optional Supplementary Readings (for those who want to know more):

*Note: These books can be found in the library, or if necessary can be borrowed from me.


1.“Alexander’s Successors and the Cosmopolis,” 427-70 in Ancient      Greece, edited by Pomeroy et al. (Oxford 1999).


2. Peter Green, Alexander to Actium (University of California Press:      Berkeley 1990). N.B. This is a big wonderful book, ordered for        the HU Bookstore. You will want to read in it throughout the           semester.


3. F.W. Walbank, “Alexander the Great” 29-45 and “The Formation of the     Kingdoms,” 46-59 in The Hellenistic World. rev. ed. (Harvard:       Cambridge, Mass. 1992)



*Note: Films for this course may be borrowed overnight from my personal collection. See me or Ms. Deidra Goodwin, Classics Dept. Secretary, Locke 254 (on T/Th).


1.In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great (PBS, hosted by Michael Wood,



2.Alexander the Great ( Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, MGM, 1955, fictionalized but fun)



WEEK 2: Sept. 3/5          THE PTOLEMIES AND EGYPT




1.Visit Ancient History Sourcebook website, with attention to section on Hellenistic World:


2.Keep working on maps, paying attention to Egyptian locations.


3.Based on websites, this week’s readings, and my lectures, turn in a 1-2 page discussion of the following (due Sept. 5):

           Who were the Ptolemies?  How did they come to rule Egypt? What were the major political and social characteristics of the  Ptolemaic rule of Egypt.




1. M. Foss, :”A Sense of the Past,” 7-31 in The Search for Cleopatra (NY 1997); Include time line and map,7-8.


2. Course Reader: F.W. Walbank, “Ptolemaic Egypt,” 100-122 in The   Hellenistic World.   rev. ed. (Harvard: Cambridge, Mass. 1992).


3. “Catalogue Entries 1-152,” in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt and chronology (p. 370).


Optional Supplementary Readings


1. A. E. Samuels, “The Ptolemies and Ideology of Kingship,” 168-211   in Hellenistic History and Culture, edited by P. Green (Berkeley 1993).


2. G. Shipley, “Ptolemaic Egypt,” 192-234 in The Greek World After     Alexander 323-30BC (London 2000).


3. M. Chauveau, Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra, trans. D. Lorton (Ithaca and London 2000)



WEEK 3: Sept. 8/10/12   THE CITY & CULTURE OF ALEXANDRIA;                                                          THEOCRITUS AND CAVAFY                                              



1.Visit Alexandria Website


2.Visit Constantine Cavafy website


3.Write one-page analysis of a Cavafy poem of your choice, due Sept. 8


4.Write one-two-page essay on the Great Library of Alexandria as a center of Hellenistic culture, due Sept. 12




1.John Ray, “Alexandria” 32-37 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


2.Theocritus, Idyll 15 (dowload from Internet Ancient History Sourcebook website)


3. C. Cavafy (download from Cavafy website):”Envoys from Alexandria,”The City,” “The Satrapy,” “The Ides of March,” “The God Forsakes Antony,” “Alexandrian Kings,” “Theodotus,” “Caesarion,” “Envoys From Alexandria” “In 200 B.C.”  Use web notes for unfamiliar historical allusions.


4. M. Foss, The Search For Cleopatra, 32-41.


5.Ellen N. Brundige, “The Library of Alexandria,” follow links on House of Ptolemy Website to “Alexandrian Scholarship” and download this paper.


6.Course Reader: Robin Lane Fox, “Hellenistic Culture and Literature,” 390-420 in The Oxford History of Greece and the          Hellenistic World,   edited by J. Boardman, J. Griffin, and O Murray (Oxford        1988).


7.Course Reader: Jonathan Barnes, “Hellenistic Philosophy and   Science,” 421-446, in The Oxford History of Greece and the          Hellenistic World, edited by J. Boardman, J. Griffin, and O Murray (Oxford 1988).



Optional Supplementary Readings:


1. F.W. Walbank, “Cultural Developments: Philosophy, Science and      Technology,” 176-199 in The Hellenistic World. rev. ed.          (Harvard:     Cambridge, Mass. 1992)


2. “Egypt’s Sunken City: Raising Alexandria,” Archaeology (March/April           1999) 36-46.



1. Cleopatra’s Palace: In Search of A Legend. Discovery, BMGV-80795-        3, 50 min.

2. The Library at Alexandria [History Channel]

3.Cleopatra’s Alexandria



WEEK 4: Sept. 16/18/20  HELLENISTIC EGYPT AND THE LATE ROMAN                                        REPUBLIC



1.Visit Caesar, Antony, and Cleopatra section on the House of Ptolemy website


2.Write a one-two page essay tracing the main stages of the encroachment of Rome into the Hellenistic world with special attention to Rome’s growing involvement in Egypt through the Ides of March,  44 B.C.E., due Sept. 20




1. M. Foss, “Preparation of a Queen,” 32-55, ”The Shadow of    Rome,” 56-  69, “Caesar and Cleopatra,” 70-99 in The Search for Cleopatra (New         York 1997)


2. F.W. Walbank, “The  Coming of Rome,” 227-51 in The Hellenistic World,   (rev. ed. Harvard U, Press 1981)


3. Andrew Meadows, “Sins of the Fathers: the Inheritance of Cleopatra,        Last Queen of Egypt,” 14-31  in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of       Egypt



Optional Supplementary Readings:


A.H. M. Jones, “The Breakdown of the Republic,”1-7 in Augustus (New York   1970).

Appian, The Civil Wars Book 2




Week 5: Sept. 22/24:     ANTONY CLEOPATRA AND ACTIUM




1.Due Sept. 24. Revise and edit previous writing assignments (except for the Cavafy essay) as necessary to create a a sustained historical narrative provisionally entitled “From Alexander to Cleopatra.”

        At this point, your “Revised Historical Narrative” must include discussions of the following points:


1) What period is meant by the Hellenistic Age (inclusive dates, main events with dates)?


2) Why is the Hellenistic Age so called? Some major cultural and political characteristics of the Hellenistic Age?


3) Who were the Ptolemies? Major political, cultural, and social characteristics of the  Ptolemaic rule of Egypt.


4)How and when do the histories of Rome and Egypt meet and merge during the late Hellenistic Age?








1. D. Silverman, “From the Ides to Actium” (Download from House of Ptolemy Website)


2. M.  Foss, “Breathing Space,” 99-116, “Antony and Cleopatra” 117-149,

          “Actium and the Course of History” 150-87 in The Search For    Cleopatra


3. Course Reader: Josiah Ober, “Not by a Nose,” 23-47 in What IF? 2:          Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been, edited by Robert   Cowley (Berkeley   Books NY 2001).


Supplementary Optional Readings:


1. Ronald Syme, The Roman Revolution(Oxford 1939) 272-312


2.Erich Gruen, “Cleopatra in Rome: Facts and Fantasies,” 257-74 in D.          Braund and C. Gill, eds., Myth, History and Culture in Republican          Rome. Studies in Honor of T. P. Wiseman (Exeter 2003).


3. H.H. Scullard, “The Second Triumvirate,” 139-177 in From the Gracchi to   Nero (London 1963)


4. Plutarch, Life of Antony


5. Appian, The Civil Wars, Book 3.23, 4.2-19


6. Dio Cassius.50.15-35, 51.1-4 (Actium) 51.5-17 (Cleopatra and      Egypt)



The Real Cleopatra (Discovery, 1999, VHS #726778, 52min)

Cleopatra, Destiny’s Queen

Cleopatra, The First Woman of Power (narr. Anjelica Huston, 1999)



WEEK 6: Sept. 29/ Oct. 1/3      ANTONY, CLEOPATRA, AND ACTIUM




1. Due Sept. 29. Write a one-two page biography of Cleopatra (include important dates) with attention to her role in world events from the death of Julius Caesar to the Battle of Actium. Your Cleopatra essays will be edited by your classmates in class on Sept. 29.


2.Due Oct. 3. Rewrite  Cleopatra biography and integrate it into your “Historical Narrative” (previously completed).

        This historical narrative (suitably revised and edited) will reappear as the “Introductory Section” of the Final Project due at the end of the course. In its current form, it counts as 10% of your grade in this course





1. Catalogue, 199-323, in Walker and Higgs

2.Catch up on any previous readings you need to do!

3.Review places and terms for upcoming Exam on Part I on Monday Oct. 6







           “a pre-existing language for the representation of power








1.One page essay analyzing the representation of Cleopatra as an Egyptian in a statue or relief of your choice. Be sure to indicate catalogue number from Walker and Higgs. Due  Oct. 10.




1.Course Reader:Ann Macy Roth, “Osiris and Isis: An Egyptian    Narrative of Recreation”  from Broad Spectrum (1997)


2.Course Reader: Apuleius, The Golden Ass, Book 11, translated by     Jack   Lindsay (Bloomington, 1973)  235-255


3.Course Reader: Ross Kramer, ” Chapter 6: Women’s Devotion to the         Egyptian Goddess Isis in the Greco-Roman World,” 71-79 in Her     Share of the Blessings (New York: Oxford, 1992)


4. Catalogue 153-176, 188-193, 194-220, in Walker and Higgs,         Cleopatra of Egypt


5.Guy Weil Goudchaux, “Cleopatra’s Subtle Religious Strategy,” 128-   141 in          Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt.


6.Carla Alfano, “Egyptian Influences in Italy,”  276-291 in Walker and   Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


7. Sally-Ann Ashton, “Identifying the Egyptian-Style Ptolemaic     Queens,”      148-155 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt          (Princeton 2001)


8. Course Reader:Mary Hamer, “Looking Like a Queen” in Signs of       Cleopatra, 1-23 (Routledge 1963)



Optional Supplementary Reading


1. Plutarch, Isis and Osiris







1.One-page essay analyzing the representation of Cleopatra as Greek or Roman in a sculpture or coin of your choice. Be sure to indicate catalogue number from Walker and Higgs. Due  Oct. 17.




1. Course Reader: Sarah Pomeroy, Women in Hellenistic Egypt from    Alexander to Cleopatra (New York Shocken 1984):”Queens” 3-       40.


2. Catalogue 153-176, 188-193, 194-220, in Walker and Higgs,         Cleopatra of Egypt


3. Susan Walker, “Cleopatra’s Images,” 142-47 in Walker and    Higgs,          Cleopatra of Egypt


4 Peter Higgs, “Searching for Cleopatra’s Image: Classical Portraits      in       Stone,” 200-209 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


5. The Coinage of Cleopatra VII, cat. nos. 177-186 and 214-260 in     Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt.


6. Guy Weil Goudchaux, “Was Cleopatra Beautiful: The     Conflicting    Answers of Numismatics,” 210-14 in Walker and Higgs,      Cleopatra of           Egypt


7. You may also want to examine Cleopatra/Antony coins on the web, following links on the House of Ptolemy web site.





“the Augustan grammar of conquest and power”




 October 21, Tuesday Deadline for submitting Mid-Term Status Reports



One-page analysis of the representation of Cleopatra in Horace Odes 1.37. Due Oct. 20.




1.Course Reader, Horace Epode 9, Odes 1.37


2.Course Reader, Virgil Aeneid 1, 4; Aeneid 8.675-728


3.Course Reader Maria Wyke,”Augustan Cleopatras: Female Power and         Poetic Authority,” 98-140 in Roman Poetry & Propaganda in the Age        of Augustus, edited by Anton Powell (London: Bristol Classical Press       1994)


4. J.H.C. Williams, ‘Spoiling the Egyptians’: Octavian and Cleopatra,”     190-99 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


Optional Supplementary Readings


1.Cleopatra (and Octavia?) also appears in the following poems of the           Roman poet Propertius: 2.16, 3.11, 4.6, 4.11 and in Book 10 of the    Roman poet Lucan’s epic on the Civil War between Caesar and        Pompey. Both poets are easily found in printed or on line translations.


3. Sarah Pomeroy, “Ch. 8. The Roman Matron of the Late Republic and         Early Empire,” 149-89 in Goddesses,        Whores, Wives, and Slaves        (New York: Shocken 1975).


3.Jasper Griffin, “Propertius and Antony,” 32-47 in Latin   Poets and Roman   Life (University of North Carolina Press 1995).


4. Robert Gurval, Actium and Augustus: The Politics and Emotions of Civil     War (Michigan: University of Michigan Press 1998)







1.Look up Plutarch in the Oxford Classical Dictionary. Where, when, and in what language did he write? What type of history did he write? What do we know about his sources for Cleopatra’?


2. One-page essay on contrasting representations of Octavia and Cleopatra in Plutarch’s Life of Antony, due Oct. 27.


3.Think about topic for Final Project.




1. Michael Grant, “Bibliography:Ancient Sources,” 239-245 in Cleopatra         (London 1972)


2.Plutarch’s Life of Antony Download from House of Ptolemy web site ( following link from “Caesar, Cleopatra, Antony” or from The Internet Classics Archive, edu/Plutarch;antony


3. C. Pelling, “Anything Truth Can Do, We Can Do Better: The     Cleopatra     legend,” in Walker and Higgs, 292-301.


Optional Supplementary Readings:


1.Cleopatra appears in all of the following ancient historians, discussed in Grant (above). All of these authors can be found in English translations (Penguin, Loeb) and many can be download from the web by searching  the Internet Ancient History Sourcebook or Perseus sites:


1.Velleius Paterculus, History of Rome  (excerpts from Book 2)

2.Flavius Josephus (excerpts from Bellum Iudaicum, Contra                                    Apionem

3.Appian, Roman History, , 5.1-11,76

4.Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars (excerpts from biographies   of Julius Caesar, Augustus)

5.Dio Cassius, Roman History,  Books 50.24-30 and 51.1-15.5







1.Turn in a one paragraph description of your proposed final project on Nov. 3.




1. Mary Hamer, “The Myth of Cleopatra Since the Renaissance,” 302-  311    in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


2. Catalogue 324-369 in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt


3. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra


Optional Supplementary Readings


Lucy Hughes-Hallet, Cleopatra: Histories, Dreams and Distortions, 1990. A    very full discussion of European representations of Cleopatra (ideas         for papers!).



WEEK 12: Nov. 10,12,14          SHAKESPEARE’S CLEOPATRA



A character sketch (one page) of Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, due Nov. 10.



Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra


Optional Supplementary Reading:

Lucy Hughes Hallet, “The Lover” 132-59  in   Cleopatra: Histories,        Dreams and Distortions (New York 1990).



1. Shakespeare’s,Antony and Cleopatra (Royal Shakespeare Company with Janet Suzman, 161 min) 161


2.G.B.Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra (with Vivian Leigh)







WEEK 13: Nov. 17, 19, 21        Cleopatra in Film



1.Watch at least one of the Cleopatra Films straight through. In class we will focus on comparative “type scenes,” e.g. carpet scene, barge scene, suicide scene.



1.Course Reader: Maria Wyke, “Cleopatra: Spectacles of Seduction      and    Conquest” 73-109, 200-205 (notes), 212-213 (filmography) in Projecting the Past: Ancient Rome, Cinema, and          History         (Routledge: New York and London 1997)


2.Course Reader: Sam Serafy: “Hollywood in Egypt: Enter Cleopatra.”           (download from UK conference)


Optional Supplementary Readings:


1.Lucy Hughes Hallet, “Cleopatra Winks,” 266- 294 in Cleopatra:         Histories, Dreams and Distortions (New York 1990).


2.Jon Solomon, The Ancient World in the Cinema, 62-78  (Yale 2001)


3.Mary Hamer, “A Body for Cleopatra,” 104-124 in Signs of Cleopatra           (London and New York 1993).


Films (for full list and availability see International Movie Data Base):


1. Cleopatra (1963,dr. Joseph K. Mankiewicz, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) 


2.Cleopatra (1934, dr. Cecil B. Demille with Claudette Colbert)


3. Cleopatra (1999, made for TV film with Leonor Varela and Billy Zane)


4. Cleopatra (1917 dr. Gordon Edwards with Theda Bara). Not available.



WEEK 14: Nov. 24/26               THE BLACK CLEOPATRA



1.One-page essay. Was Cleopatra Egyptian, Greek, Macedonian, Black, White, Other? Explain your answer?  Why does it matter? Does it matter? (For a starter look at some of the responses to Foss’ book on the Amazon web site)

2.Look at discussion of William Wetmore Story statue of Cleopatra in Walker and Higgs, Cleopatra of Egypt and and




1.Course Reader, Shelley Haley, “Black Feminist Thought and Classics: Re-     membering, Re-claiming, Re-empowering, 23- in Feminist Theory   and the Classics, edited by N. Rabinowitz and A Richline (New York           1993)


2. Course Reader, Mary Lefkowitz “Was Cleopatra Black?”34-52 in Not Out   of Africa (New York 1996).


Optional Supplementary Readings:


1. Lucy Hughes Hallet, “The Foreigner,” 201-224 in in  Cleopatra: Histories,   Dreams and Distortions (New York 1990).


2.Stephen Howe, “The Lure of Egypt,” 122-138 in Afrocentrism           (London 1998).



WEEK 15: Dec. 1/3/5                Catchup and Student Final Projects