98 books like Cleopatra and Rome

By Diana E. E. Kleiner,

Here are 98 books that Cleopatra and Rome fans have personally recommended if you like Cleopatra and Rome. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Reign of Cleopatra

Prudence J. Jones Author Of Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

From my list on Cleopatra for non-academics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I learned that she used science to outwit one of Rome's most powerful men by inventing the world's most expensive cocktail (a pearl disintegrated in vinegar). As a professor of Classics at Montclair State University, I have the opportunity to study ancient historical and literary texts about Cleopatra, as well as monuments, inscriptions, and papyri. I use these primary sources in teaching an advanced ancient history course on Cleopatra to undergraduate students.

Prudence's book list on Cleopatra for non-academics

Prudence J. Jones Why did Prudence love this book?

Burstein's The Reign of Cleopatra is an accessible introduction to Cleopatra's life and the context in which she lived.

Biography and historical background combine with an exploration of the politics of Ptolemaic Egypt, scholarship and the arts at Alexandria, and the multicultural Hellenistic world. Primary sources, both artifacts, and documents, bring the story to life.

A glossary defines relevant terminology and an annotated bibliography provides guidance for further study. 

By Stanley M. Burstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Reign of Cleopatra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambitious, intelligent, and desired by men and emperors, Cleopatra VII came to power at a time when Roman and Egyptian interests increasingly tended to concern the same object: the Egyptian Empire itself. Cleopatra lived her whole life at the center of this complex and persistent power struggle, and her death simultaneously heralded the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the loss of Egyptian political independence, and the beginning of Caesar Augustus's Roman rule in Egypt. Cleopatra's legacy has since lost much of its former political significance, as she has come to symbolize instead the potent force of female sexuality and power.…


Book cover of Cleopatra and Egypt

Prudence J. Jones Author Of Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

From my list on Cleopatra for non-academics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I learned that she used science to outwit one of Rome's most powerful men by inventing the world's most expensive cocktail (a pearl disintegrated in vinegar). As a professor of Classics at Montclair State University, I have the opportunity to study ancient historical and literary texts about Cleopatra, as well as monuments, inscriptions, and papyri. I use these primary sources in teaching an advanced ancient history course on Cleopatra to undergraduate students.

Prudence's book list on Cleopatra for non-academics

Prudence J. Jones Why did Prudence love this book?

Ashton's Cleopatra and Egypt considers Cleopatra from an Egyptian perspective.

Her detailed examination of the Egyptian sources for Cleopatra's life and reign distinguishes her work from most other books, which tend to place Cleopatra into a framework of Greek and Roman history. A large number of images center the Egyptian monuments and works of art associated with Cleopatra.

The text provides ample background on the Egyptian political and religious traditions onto which the Ptolemies imposed their rule.

By Sally-Ann Ashton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cleopatra and Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This beautifully illustrated new biography of Cleopatra draws on literary, archaeological, and art historical evidence to paint an intimate and compelling portrait of the most famous Queen of Egypt. * Deconstructs the image of Cleopatra to uncover the complex historical figure behind the myth * Examines Greek, Roman, and Egyptian representations of Cleopatra * Considers how she was viewed by her contemporaries and how she presented herself * Incorporates the author's recent field work at a temple of Cleopatra in Alexandria * Beautifully illustrated with over 40 images


Book cover of Cleopatra: Beyond the Myth

Prudence J. Jones Author Of Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

From my list on Cleopatra for non-academics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I learned that she used science to outwit one of Rome's most powerful men by inventing the world's most expensive cocktail (a pearl disintegrated in vinegar). As a professor of Classics at Montclair State University, I have the opportunity to study ancient historical and literary texts about Cleopatra, as well as monuments, inscriptions, and papyri. I use these primary sources in teaching an advanced ancient history course on Cleopatra to undergraduate students.

Prudence's book list on Cleopatra for non-academics

Prudence J. Jones Why did Prudence love this book?

Chauveau's Cleopatra: Beyond the Myth is a concise account of Cleopatra's life based closely on the Greek and Latin historiographical texts that tell her story.

This book is a perfect way to experience the original accounts of Cleopatra that led to her transformation into, e.g., Shakespeare's Cleopatra. Chauveau offers a peek behind the curtain at the origins of mythmaking about Cleopatra.

By Michel Chauveau, David Lorton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cleopatra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cleopatra: kohl and vipers, barges and thrones, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. We have long been schooled in the myth of the Egyptian ruler. In his new book Michel Chauveau brings us a picture of her firmly based in reality. Cleopatra VII reigned in Egypt between 51 and 30 B.C.E. Her primary goal as a ruler was to restore over the eastern Mediterranean the supremacy of the Lagides, the dynasty of Macedonian origin of which she herself was a descendant. We know the queen best from Greek and Latin sources, though these must be used with caution because of their…


Book cover of The Reception of Cleopatra in the Age of Mass Media

Prudence J. Jones Author Of Cleopatra: A Sourcebook

From my list on Cleopatra for non-academics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by Cleopatra ever since I learned that she used science to outwit one of Rome's most powerful men by inventing the world's most expensive cocktail (a pearl disintegrated in vinegar). As a professor of Classics at Montclair State University, I have the opportunity to study ancient historical and literary texts about Cleopatra, as well as monuments, inscriptions, and papyri. I use these primary sources in teaching an advanced ancient history course on Cleopatra to undergraduate students.

Prudence's book list on Cleopatra for non-academics

Prudence J. Jones Why did Prudence love this book?

There are many books about the reception of Cleopatra in high art like Shakespearean drama and Renaissance painting, but Daugherty's The Reception of Cleopatra in the Age of Mass Media is a delightful exploration of Cleopatra in popular creations such as video games, graphic novels, and television.

The incredible variety of material and engaging writing style makes this book a perfect introduction to reception studies and a must-read for pop culture aficionados.

By Gregory N. Daugherty,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Reception of Cleopatra in the Age of Mass Media as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This study examines the reception of Cleopatra from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day as it has been reflected in popular culture in the United States of America. Daugherty provides a broad overview of the influence of the Egyptian queen by looking at her presence in film, novels, comics, cartoons, TV shows, music, advertising and toys. The aim of the book is to show the different ways in which the figure of Cleopatra was able to reach a large and non-elite audience.

Furthermore, Daugherty makes a study of the reception of Cleopatra during her own lifetime.…


Book cover of Let the Emperor Speak

Jim Carr Author Of Yesterdays

From my list on wars over the ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history and languages from the first time my school classes opened my eyes to them and it has stayed with me ever since. Learning Latin helped me to understand how these people talked and how they thought and expressed themselves. It didn’t matter what, whether the daily lives of Romans and how they built their empire. It has coloured my thinking, and helped me in writing all my books that take place during the past, whether in Roman life or medieval warfare.

Jim's book list on wars over the ages

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

And speak Caesar Augustus does with a number of prominent figures, including Cleopatra, Mark Anthony, Tiberius, Cicero, and even Virgil. His comments and asides let us know what he really thinks of them. He lets you know that the war with Pompey is a distraction and a bore. His comments are blunt and reveal a strong, wily individual completely in control of the Latin empire, and written in a way that, at times, you forget you’re not reading a history book but fiction.

It was comments like this regarding his meeting with Cleopatra that make the book rewarding: 

“I felt her power, her quite remarkable seductiveness. It was like listening to the deepest, most desirable temptation; it held promises of bliss and power. I understood how Anthony had found himself caught like a beast in a net. I looked away…”

By Allan Massie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let the Emperor Speak as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Let the Emperor Speak


Book cover of Asterix and Cleopatra

Diaa Anwar Author Of The Sculptor and the Sacred River

From my list on comics with historical background.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Egypt, we did not have our own Arab comics, but different worlds came to us from translated comics, American (Disney and superheroes), and French comics. I did not like superhero comics, I loved Disney comics and French comics, and n addition to my passion for reading history, some French series combine this, such as the Alix series. I would have loved to have a historical background to the events that prompted me to read more about them and get to know the real characters, how they lived, and how they ended.

Diaa's book list on comics with historical background

Diaa Anwar Why did Diaa love this book?

This book is from the Asterix series and in general when you read Goscinny's books, you will not regret it, as it will inspire you with many ideas.

He was able to create humor from humans, animals, inanimate objects, and all elements of the story.

As for this book, I chose it because of the events taking place in Egypt, also because of the coherent plot, fast-flowing events, sense of humor, and new ideas. As usual in this type of book, there are some historical facts, but the general structure of the story is fictional.

The historical facts here are Queen Cleopatra VII, Julius Caesar, and the relationship between them, while the rest of the events are fictional and comic.

By Albert Uderzo, René Goscinny,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Asterix and Cleopatra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The latest action-packed adventure from our indomitable Gauls, Asterix and the Griffin, is out now!

How can lovely Queen Cleopatra show Julius Caesar that ancient Egypt is still a great nation? Her architect Edifis recruits his Gaulish friends to help him build a magnificent palace within three months. There are villainous saboteurs to be outwitted, but Asterix, Obelix and Getafix still find time to go sight-seeing - and leave their mark on the pyramids and the Sphinx's nose.


Book cover of The Light Bearer

Athena Author Of Murder of Crows: Book One of the Pillars of Dawn

From my list on when destiny calls, and love answers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for the topic because it’s so unlimited. We’re all called to destiny inner/outer in so many ways. We see a lot of stories about those calls being massive adventures with global impact—but sometimes the small stories, those inner calls with inner love answers are just as epic, just as magnificent. Love of family, community, country, lovers, nature… truly, it can be anything. These are just a few books off the older shelves to illustrate the many ways love answers the call. My challenge is to go back and re-read them with this list in mind. Re-visit books from a decade ago, reframe the story with love.

Athena's book list on when destiny calls, and love answers

Athena Why did Athena love this book?

I never miss an opportunity to recommend this book for its broad scope and human courage.

It’s such an immersive and very human story full of adventure, challenge, will, and passion. Auriane is brought to such exquisite life as a woman born to a destiny meant to free the people she loves.

This book lands on my list for a call to destiny answered by love because Auriane’s life is an example of how we can’t see ourselves, or how we often don’t know where to fit, whom to challenge, and where to connect—but we find our way by being relentlessly devoted to doing what feels right to us, guided by that internal flame until we unite with the force that gives us a purpose, place, meaning.

Often, if not always, that destiny is deeply anchored in love. 

For Auriane, that love is her tribe, and her community, family, friends,…

By Donna Gillespie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Light Bearer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Auriane, daughter of a Rhine River area chieftain in 50 A.D., must face her difficult destiny and lead her people against the invading legions of the Roman Empire


Book cover of Cleopatra: A Life

Dana Cameron Author Of Exit Interview

From my list on badass women in history and fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first career in archaeology fed my love of history and cultures, giving me insight into human motivations. As a writer, I also love a good action scene, and I began taking mixed martial arts when I was writing the Emma Fielding archaeology mysteries and then the “Fangborn” urban fantasy novels. I soon realized I wanted to write a thriller with female characters who were badass—tough and smart—women I’d want to have at my back in a fight. I found them when I wrote Exit Interview. I love a book where a woman takes charge to change things, whether it's in her community or more globally.

Dana's book list on badass women in history and fiction

Dana Cameron Why did Dana love this book?

This next one is a bit of a curve ball, but it also reflects my interest in strong women in history and fiction—as well as my love of history and archaeology. Cleopatra: A Life, takes a historical figure who was nearly mythological, and roots her firmly within a cultural and historical context. Gone is the wily temptress of fiction and antiquity; Stacy Schiff's subject is a queen, a military strategist, an ingenious diplomat, and a polymath. She waged (and survived) civil war and foreign invasions, and reshaped the ancient world. The book reads like a novel, but never skimps on the historical and archaeological data--even the footnotes are compelling. Who wouldn't want this woman as backup?

By Stacy Schiff,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cleopatra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as…


Book cover of The Art of Seduction

Michael F. Schein Author Of The Hype Handbook: 12 Indispensable Success Secrets From the World's Greatest Propagandists, Self-Promoters, Cult Leaders, Mischief Makers, and Boundary Breakers

From my list on get people to do what you want.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years of struggling to start my own business, I had a revelation that changed everything for me. The best marketers weren’t marketers—they were resourceful punks, propagandists, cult leaders, and other assorted riff-raff. I began to adopt their tactics, and I started having some success—first as a freelance copywriter and then as a marketing agency owner. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed by the weird psychology we fall into when we’re with other humans and how people can hack that psychology to make others do what they want. 

Michael's book list on get people to do what you want

Michael F. Schein Why did Michael love this book?

I have to admit it: I’m pretty sure I bought this book in my early twenties with less-than-pure intentions. It didn’t end up doing much for my romantic life, but it changed the way I think forever after.

In writing about how to get attractive people to fall into your arms (and into your bed), Robert Greene makes no distinction between seducing an individual and seducing an audience of millions. It’s one of those books that makes you feel like you want to take a shower. Then again, most of my favorite books make me feel that way.

By Robert Greene,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art of Seduction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating inside look at the nature of seduction uses a vast array of sources, from Freud and Nietzsche to Cleopatra and Josephine Bonaparte, to uncover the truth about this important feature of the human animal.


Book cover of The Memoirs of Cleopatra

Stephanie Dray Author Of Becoming Madam Secretary

From my list on historical fiction women who changed the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

My graduating class in high school once designated me as “the most likely to start a feminist revolution.” That was a lot to live up to, but I’ve made a very small stab at it by writing about women who have changed our world. I love to bring awareness about the contributions great women have made in history, but I also want modern women to see themselves in these struggles. I always say that Historical Fiction is an exercise of empathy, and I hope my work encourages women today to get involved and make a difference in the world, too.

Stephanie's book list on historical fiction women who changed the world

Stephanie Dray Why did Stephanie love this book?

In many ways, this book started my writing career. I picked up this novel in an airport on the way to our honeymoon destination and found myself so inspired by Margaret George’s wonderfully emotive writing that I dreamed of writing a book.

I was also inspired by the tragic ancient queen whose war with Rome changed the course of Western civilization. Love her or hate her, Cleopatra is the most famous woman in history, and this novel beautifully illustrates her bravery, intelligence, and romantic heart.

It’s dramatic, well-researched, and a big, beautiful saga that you can sink into.

By Margaret George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Memoirs of Cleopatra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The mesmerizing story of Queen Cleopatra in her own words - by bestselling novelist Margaret George, author of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.

Told in the first person - from the young queen's earliest memories of her father's tenuous rule to her own reign over one of the most glittering kingdoms in the world - this is an enthralling saga of ambition and power.

It is also a tale of passion that begins when the twenty-one-year-old Cleopatra, desperate to return from exile, seeks out the one man who can help her: Julius…


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Interested in Cleopatra, Rome, and Augustus?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Cleopatra, Rome, and Augustus.

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