Still under Cleopatra's spell
(too old to reply)
2010-10-23 16:40:30 UTC
Wall Street Journal
by Stacy Schiff, author of "Cleopatra - A Life" (Amazon:
http://goo.gl/QHS6 )

How is it possible that Cleopatra continues to enchant, 2,000 years
after her sensational death? It helps that, with her suicide in 30
B.C., she brought down two worlds; with her went both the 400-year-
old Roman Republic and the Hellenistic age. Egypt would not recover
its autonomy until the 20th century.

Shakespeare and G.B. Shaw lent a hand in her immortality, of
course, as did Cleopatra's eloquent Roman critics. She endures for
reasons beyond the fame and talent of her chroniclers, however; the
issues that she raised continue to fluster and fascinate. Nothing
enthralls us so much as excessive good fortune and devastating
catastrophe. As ever, we lurch uneasily between indulgence and
restraint. Sex and power still combust in spectacular ways.

And we remain unnerved by female ambition, accomplishment and
authority. The wise woman mutes her voice in order to maintain her
political or corporate constituency. She is often cast all the same
as a scheming harridan or a threatening seductress. Her clothing
budget attracts uncommon scrutiny, by definition either too large
or too small. If she is not overly sexual, she is suspiciously

Continued: http://sn.im/Cleopatra
2010-10-23 20:09:31 UTC
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