100 books like The Reign of Cleopatra

By Stanley M. Burstein,

Here are 100 books that The Reign of Cleopatra fans have personally recommended if you like The Reign of Cleopatra. 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 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 Cleopatra and Rome

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?

Kleiner's Cleopatra and Rome is an essential Cleopatra book for art lovers.

It combines Cleopatra's story with an excellent introduction to the art history of the ancient Mediterranean world. One of the most interesting aspects of Kleiner's work is the effect she describes Cleopatra having on her Roman conqueror.

Although Augustus presented Cleopatra as a dangerous enemy of Rome, the iconography he used to present his family as a kind of "first family" for Rome borrowed from the visual language Cleopatra created to communicate with her Egyptian subjects.

By Diana E. E. Kleiner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With the full panorama of her life forever lost, Cleopatra touches us in a series of sensational images: floating through a perfumed mist down the Nile; dressed as Venus for a tryst at Tarsus; unfurled from a roll of linens before Caesar; couchant, the deadly asp clasped to her breast. Through such images, each immortalizing the Egyptian queen's encounters with legendary Romans--Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian Augustus--we might also chart her rendezvous with the destiny of Rome. So Diana Kleiner shows us in this provocative book, which opens an entirely new perspective on one of the most intriguing women…


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 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 When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt

Susan Broomhall Author Of The Identities of Catherine de’ Medici

From my list on women and power in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm Professor and Director of the Gender and Women’s History Research Centre at the Australian Catholic University. I've always been interested in the power of ideologies about gender to shape people’s lives, and in the experiences of women in times past. I started off exploring these topics in early modern Europe and then looked at how women, and ideas about gender, shaped the ways European peoples engaged in the world at this period. This has helped me to see the very significant ways that the lives of women and men are always shaped by gender ideologies across the globe and across time, and the innovative ways that people respond to the challenges and opportunities that they encounter.

Susan's book list on women and power in history

Susan Broomhall Why did Susan love this book?

This is a very accessible introduction to six of the most powerful women of Egypt, women whose actions took place around, and sometimes as, pharaohs. Little-known queens, Merneith, Tawosret, and Neferusobek are considered alongside Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra. This approach helps Cooney to weave together a compelling story about female lives and expectations for women in ancient Egypt, and how this shaped these individuals’ access, use, and justifications for wielding power, some of which sound very familiar to discussions about women who hold power in our own time.

The evidence is necessarily patchy and the arguments sometimes speculative, as Cooney brings in much recent research and includes extensive footnotes that are well worth reading to understand the various debates that are underway in the field right now.

By Kara Cooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Women Ruled the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This riveting narrative explores the lives of six remarkable female pharaohs, from Hatshepsut to Cleopatra--women who ruled with real power--and shines a piercing light on our own perceptions of women in power today.

Female rulers are a rare phenomenon--but thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt, women reigned supreme. Regularly, repeatedly, and with impunity, queens like Hatshepsut, Nefertiti, and Cleopatra controlled the totalitarian state as power-brokers and rulers. But throughout human history, women in positions of power were more often used as political pawns in a male-dominated society. What was so special about ancient Egypt that provided women this kind…


Book cover of The Heretic Queen

Caitlin Sumner Author Of Alexander's Lost General

From my list on historical fiction you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was in 6th grade, and homeschooling, I discovered Ancient Egypt. That year I had some health problems, which ended up essentially cancelling school for that year, and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I spent the entire year studying Egypt. My passion for history spiralled from there, and I've spent the interveaning years studying periods of history from Ancient Egypt to the Italian Rennaisance. I always wanted to be a writer and discovering that Historical Fiction as a genre was eye-opening for me. Since then I hardly read anything else (except fantasy) and all my personal works are Historical Fiction. 

Caitlin's book list on historical fiction you can't put down

Caitlin Sumner Why did Caitlin love this book?

The first time I read this book I couldn't put it down. I read it in a single day. Every time I've read it since it's been the same. I'm just sucked into the voice and the story and I never want it to end. I've loved Egypt almost all my life and The Heretic Queen is one of the best Egyptian Historical Fiction novels I have ever read. To me, storytelling is about the journey, about the change in the voice as the character ages, about overcoming the hardships of life, and hoping for the future when the story ends. This book covers all of those and more.

By Michelle Moran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family's past, and remake history. The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the 18th dynasty's royal family - all with the exception of Nefertari, niece of the reviled former queen Nefertiti. The girl's deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But all of this changes when she is taken under the wing of pharaoh's aunt,…


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…


Book cover of Antony and Cleopatra

Alex Gough Author Of Caesar’s Soldier

From my list on biographies of powerful and important Ancient Romans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've had a passion for all things Roman since visiting various ancient Roman sites around Britain as a child with school and with my dad. Over the last fifteen years I've been writing novels set in Ancient Rome. I now have ten published Roman historical fiction novels to my name spanning three series, as well as a short story collection and a novella. My Carbo of Rome series, set in the reign of Tiberius, follows a traumatised veteran of the legion as he tries to retire in peace in Rome, but is constantly dragged into the criminal underworld of the poorest parts of the city.

Alex's book list on biographies of powerful and important Ancient Romans

Alex Gough Why did Alex love this book?

The love story of Antony and Cleopatra was immortalised by Shakespeare and by Hollywood.

But there is far more to both of them than simply being each others lovers.

Antony rose from relatively humble beginnings to become, for a while, sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Cleopatra came from a childhood in exile to be queen of the richest country in the world. Between them they demonstrated military capability, shrewd political judgment, and a love for everything that makes life worth living.

Goldsworthy is an academic historian and a novelist, and though this double biography is detailed, it is never dull. This book has been a valuable resource for my Mark Antony novels. 

By Adrian Goldsworthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterfully told-and deeply human-story of love, politics, and ambition, Adrian Goldsworthy's Antony and Cleopatra delivers a compelling reassessment of a major episode in ancient history.

In this remarkable dual biography of the two great lovers of the ancient world, Goldsworthy goes beyond myth and romance to create a nuanced and historically acute portrayal of his subjects, set against the political backdrop of their time. A history of lives lived intensely at a time when the world was changing profoundly, the book takes readers on a journey that crosses cultures and boundaries from ancient Greece and ancient Egypt to the…


Book cover of The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt: A Genealogical Sourcebook of the Pharaohs

Mesu Andrews Author Of The Pharaoh's Daughter

From my list on Egyptian history intersects with biblical Moses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a spiritual mutt. Raised with a variegated Christian background (Mom Charismatic, Dad Quaker, Grandparents Wesleyan), I rejected all things biblical and turned to Jack Daniels for Southern Comfort. In college I reconnected with a high school friend who demonstrated God was real by his changed life and showed the Bible’s concrete historical connections in a way I could understand. The words that had so confounded me as a child began to make sense. I dumped Jack Daniels, married that friend, and no longer needed Southern Comfort. Now, through research, study, and a little imagination, I write biblical novels, chug Living Water, and tell Bible stories to eight grandkids. 

Mesu's book list on Egyptian history intersects with biblical Moses

Mesu Andrews Why did Mesu love this book?

Though I write inspirational fiction, my true passion is research. In this fascinating and one-of-a-kind resource, not only did I discover the names and stories of pharaohs and their succession accounts but also the names and stories of the mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives who ruled alongside Egypt’s great men. When I began searching for the mysterious pharaoh’s daughter who pulled Moses from the Nile after an unnamed Pharaoh’s genocidal edict, I needed information on the often-overlooked women of Egypt. This complete family resource provided charts, lists, photos, and concise explanations of Egyptian history from the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom through the Late and Ptolemaic Period. 

By Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This groundbreaking new book illuminates the lives of the kings, queens, princes and princesses of ancient Egypt, unravelling family relationships and exploring the parts they played in politics, cultural life and religion. It ranges from the dawn of Egyptian history, when only isolated glimpses are available of the royal family, through the vast progeny of Ramesses II, and ends with the fiendishly complicated - and blood-soaked - interconnections of the Ptolemies and Cleopatras.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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