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Cleopatra: A Life
by Schiff, Stacy
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1. Stacy Schiff writes, It is not difficult to understand why Caesar became history, Cleopatra a legend (page 5). What are the differences between the two? How are these differences related to gender?

2. How do you think Cleopatra felt as she traveled to meet Caesar for the first time? What are the differences between that meeting and her first encounter with Mark Antony? How did the circumstances of the initial encounters set the tone for the relationships?

3. Discuss womens roles and rights in ancient Egyptian and Roman society. Did they surprise you? Why or why not? Women in Egypt enjoyed an equality close to what they enjoy today; it was then lost for some two thousand years. Could that happen again?

4. Cleopatra lived in an era of rampant murder, covert political alliances, and fierce betrayal. Has human nature changed in two thousand years? In what ways is it different and in what ways is it the same?

5. What do you think of Cleopatra as a woman, mother, lover, partner, and ruler? Was she admirable or detestable? Why or why not?

6. Why has Cleopatras story captivated artists and audiences for over two thousand years? Why does she interest you?

Additional discussion questions from: Reading Group Guides
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