Saturday 8 October 2022

Book Review: Cleopatra's Daughter by Jane Draycott

Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Jane Draycott
Publisher: Head of Zeus - Apollo
Publication Date: 10 November 2022
Pages: 352
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction / History
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The first biography of Cleopatra Selene – daughter of Cleopatra VII – princess, prisoner and African queen.

In 1895, archaeologists excavating a villa outside Pompeii discovered a hoard of Roman silverware. In the centre of one dish was a female figure with thick, curly hair, deep-set eyes, a slightly hooked nose and a strong jaw, and sporting an elephant scalp headdress. Modern scholars believe this woman is Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the infamous Cleopatra and Mark Antony.

Using this discovery as her starting-point, Jane Draycott recreates the life and times of a remarkable woman. Unlike her siblings, who were either executed as threat to Rome's new ruler, Augustus, or simply forgotten, Cleopatra Selene survived and prospered. She was a princess who became a prisoner; a prisoner who became a queen; an Egyptian who became Roman; and a woman who became a powerful ruler in her own right at a time when women were marginalised. Her life shines new light on the conflict between the politics, culture and history of Rome and Egypt, as well as the relationship between Rome and one of its most significant allied kingdoms, Mauretania.


Cleopatra's Daughter was an entertaining read. Given the lack of available information on Cleopatra Selene, there was a lot of speculation in certain areas, but the author acknowledged this and tried to fill in the gaps with 'likely' scenarios based on what is known in general of the period. The text was supplemented by some good images, and the prose read well, telling the story in an interesting manner that makes the book accessible to the general reader as well as the scholar. If you are interested in history of this period, it's well worth a read. It gets four stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

No comments:

Post a Comment