Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra
History and Society under the Ptolemies
Translated by David Lorton
Few other civilizations rival Ancient Egypt in its power to capture the modern imagination, and Cleopatra VII, monarch at the end of the Ptolemaic period, has always been preeminent among its cast of characters. Coming to power just before the unstable state was about to be absorbed into an autocratic empire, Cleopatra oversaw not only Egypt's progress as an influential regional power but also the fragile peace of its ethnically mixed population.
Michel Chauveau looks at many facets of life under this queen and her dynasty, drawing on such sources as firsthand accounts, numismatics, and Greek, Demotic, and hieroglyphic inscriptions. His use of such sources helps to free the narrative of dependence on later (and usually hostile) Greek and Roman historians. By taking up such subjects as funeral customs, language and writing, social class structure, religion, and administration, he affords the reader an unprecedented and comprehensive picture of Greek and Egyptian life in both the cities and the countryside.
Originally published in French in 1997, Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra fulfills a long-standing need for an accessible introduction to the social, economic, religious, military, and cultural history of Ptolemaic Egypt.