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June 20 , 2007

Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt


She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of Ptolemies who had ruled Egypt for three centuries. Highly educated (she was the only one of the Ptolemies to read and speak ancient Egyptian as well as the court Greek) and very clever (her famous liaisons with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were as much to do with politics as the heart), she steered her kingdom through impossibly taxing internal problems and railed against greedy Roman imperialism. Stripping away preconceptions as old as her Roman enemies, Joyce Tyldesley uses all her skills as an Egyptologist to give us this magnificent biography.

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Queen - or, as she would prefer to be remembered King - Hatchepsut was an astonishing woman. Brilliantly defying tradition she became the female embodiment of a male role, dressing in men's clothes and even wearing a false beard. Forgotten until Egptologists deciphered hieroglyphics in the 1820's, she has since been subject to intense speculation…

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