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Horace, “Cleopatra Ode”

Given Horace’s position in Emperor Augustus’ court, it is not surprising that his description of Cleopatra is wholly negative. This text relies on “sourcing” and an understanding of the author’s bias and motivation for a proper reading.

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Antony’s Meeting with Cleopatra from “Life of Antony”

Cleopatra’s claim to the Egyptian throne very much resided in her relationship and alliance with Caesar. Upon his death in the Senate, Cleopatra had lost her guarantor. Antony’s arrival in Egypt provided a second opportunity for her to secure her throne through a powerful alliance.

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Cleopatra’s Meeting with Caesar

Cassius Dio’s history of the meeting between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar uses powerful word-choice to develop a characterization of the female Egyptian ruler. After Pompey’s assassination, Cleopatra immediately develops a scheme to ally with Caesar.

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Advice to Bride and Groom (versus 14 and 18)

Plutarch’s Advice to a Bride and Groom reveals the author’s views that submissiveness is the proper behavior for a Roman patrician’s wife, which reflects the general gender norm of ancient Roman culture.

Teaching

Short Teaching Module: Cleopatra, Gender, Beauty and Power in Egypt and Rome

Our most important early sources on Cleopatra are Roman histories, which are problematic in their reliability. Cleopatra held the status as the “enemy” for Romans, which created a bias among Roman authors. Moreover, Rome’s patriarchal culture influenced writers’ views of a powerful female ruler.

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Aristotle’s Metaphysics

Metaphysics, written around 350 BCE, is among Greek philosohper Aristotle's most notable works. The text includes an excerpt from part seven of the ten part work.

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Seneca the Younger, Moral Letters to Lucilius

Moral Letters to Lucilias was written by the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger around 65 CE. There are 124 letters in the collection.

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Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King, also known as Oedipus Rex, is an ancient greek play written by the Athenian philosopher, Sophocles, around 420 BCE. The text presented is an excerpted portion from the second half of the play.

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Homer’s The Iliad

Homer's The Iliad is an ancient greek poem written around the eighth century. The poem is set during the Trojan war and highlights the conflict between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles. The text provided is an excerpt from book three.

Teaching

Source Collection: Diversity and Change in Greco-Roman Religious Beliefs

This module will examine four different indigenous theologies within the Greco-Roman world to understand the diversity and change that occurred within Greco-Roman religion over the centuries.