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Antonius, Marcus (2), Roman consul and triumvir, 83–30 BCE  

Kathryn Welch

Marcus Antonius lived through three civil wars. He was born in 83 bce during the first, he fought for Gaius Julius Caesar in the second, and his suicide following his final defeat in 30 bce left young Caesar (later Augustus) as the winner of the third. His life story is overshadowed by the greater fame of both friends and enemies, but closer observation reveals how significant he was to Roman politics and society in an age of turmoil. He survived unstable alliances and war during 44 and 43 bce to become triumvir rei publicae constituendae (Board of Three Men to Reconstruct the State), along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and young Caesar. In that office, he oversaw the proscription of his enemies and defeated the leading assassins of Caesar at Philippi in 42 bce. He was then the virtual ruler of the eastern Roman empire for the next ten years. Military failure in Parthia in 36 led him to depend increasingly on his ally and partner Cleopatra, which in turn enabled young Caesar to depict him as an anti-Roman traitor. War broke out between them in 32 bce.

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Cleopatra VII, 69–30 BCE  

Christelle Fischer-Bovet

Cleopatra VII (69–30 bce), “Thea Philopator” (“father-loving goddess”), “Thea Neotera” (“the younger goddess”), and Philopatris (“loving her country”), ruler of Egypt (52–30 bce), as well as of Cyprus (47–30 bce), Libya, and Coele-Syria (37–30 bce), the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty of the Ptolemies and the best known of all the Cleopatras, was the daughter of Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos (“the new Dionysos”), nicknamed Auletes (“flute-player”), and of his sister Cleopatra VI Tryphaina, or possibly of an Egyptian noblewoman. She ruled first as co-regent with her father (52–51 bce), then jointly with her younger brother Ptolemy XIII, with the Roman people as guardian as requested in Ptolemy XII’s will. She ruled alone in 51/50 bce until she was exiled by her brother (50/49–48 bce) and re-established by Julius Caesar as joint ruler with Ptolemy XIII, then with her younger brother Ptolemy XIV (48–44 bce).

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race  

Denise Eileen McCoskey

Contrary to the assumptions of previous eras, since the late 20th century, race has been widely regarded as a form of identity based in social construction rather than biology. The concept of race has experienced a corresponding return to classical studies, although this approach gives it significant overlap with terminology like ethnicity and cultural identity. The ancient Greeks and Romans did not consider human biology or skin color the source of racial identity, although the belief that human variation was determined by the environment or climate persisted throughout antiquity. Ancient ethnographic writing provides insight into ancient racial thought and stereotypes in both the Greek and Roman periods. Race in the Greek world centered in large part around the emergence of the category of Greek alongside that of barbarian, but there were other important racial frameworks in operation, including a form of racialized citizenship in Athens. Modes for expressing racial identity changed in the aftermath of the campaigns of Alexander the Great, a figure whose own racial identity has been the subject of debate. In the Roman period, Roman citizenship became a major factor in determining one’s identity, but racial thought nonetheless persisted. Ideas about race were closely correlated with the Roman practice of empire, and representations of diverse racial groups are especially prominent in conquest narratives. Hellenistic and Roman Egypt provide an opportunity for looking at race in everyday life in antiquity, while Greek and Roman attitudes towards Jews suggest that they were perceived as a distinct group. Reception studies play a critical role in analyzing the continuing connections between race and classics.