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Web Biographies

Detailed biographies | Shorter biographies | Documentaries | Timelines

Detailed biographies

Web Archive: Good short biography of Cleopatra by Edith Hamilton (Mythology, etc. etc.). But it's unclear where this passage comes from. Another passage on Cleopatra's Conquest Of Caesar And Antony comes from John P. Mahaffy, perhaps from History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty (1899)

KingTutOne. Has original essays on her youth, affair with Caesar, Anthony and her demise.

Lengthy and solid popularizing biography from Cindarella, the author of the enormous site (pages for royals of all stripes). The author quotes ancient sources and picks up stories from them wholesale (directly or indirectly), without attempting to strip good, but probably false, stories from fact. This is a service—giving us the "standard" story, known to readers of ancient literature, with no fictions of more recent date. Includes what was formerly the best list of annotated links.

Unfactual biography. Although the author, Alaa K. Ashmawy, is a professor (of engineering) his biography is full of laughable errors, eg., "As children, Cleopatra and her siblings wittnessed the defeat of their guardian, Pompey, by Julius Caesar in a duel." (Surely the author misinterpreted some general statement about Pompey and Caesar "dueling"—in the sense of contesting.) Ashmawy even turns cinema into history, believing Cleopatra smuggled herself into Caesar's company by wrapping herself in an oriental carpet. Alas, our only source, Plutarch, says she arrived in a stromatodesmon, a bed-sack. Includes a Cleopatra Chronology, and a page of Discussion (letters to and from Ashmawy).

Reviewed on Billing's Dreams of Cleopatra course links, apparently by Katharine Ott.

Who's Who: Cleopatra by Jasmin Jahal, emphasizing the political and military aspects of her life. This isn't the most accurate or colorful bio online, but what a surprise to find Jahal is A renowned belly-dancer!

The former Google leader. This is a decent biography, but indulges in unmoored psychological speculation and completely ignores the problem of the sources. You can't get inside Cleopatra's head the way you can Marie Antoinette's or Hillary Clinton's. It's also funny to hear Marc Antony's wife, Fulvia, described as "merely middle class." It's puzzling that a long, imperfect, single-media biography should have held the top stop for so long. InterCity Oz mirror, and another.)

Shorter biographies

Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition (1911).

Wikipedia. Wikipedia—a sort of "open source" encyclopedia—is usually good. It is not good here. Both ignorance and malice have defaced it, and even sports various non-facts, eg., that the "Ptolomaic throne was transmited in (matrilinear) fashion, the Kings had to marry their sisters in order to be qualified to rule." Sigh. Wikipedia has a better page on Cleopatra movies.


Columbia Encyclopedia (Fact Monster)

Egyptology online, with her Egyptian epithet Netjeret-mer-it-es.

Who2. "Cleopatra joins Cyrano de Bergerac in our loop on Big Noses."

Cleopatra bio from Mr. Dowling's Electronic Passport Ancient Egypt. Has some cool links about Egypt.


Amazon. VHS: A&E Biography, "Cleopatra: Destiny's Queen" (1994).

Amazon. DVD: Cleopatra: The First Woman of Power. Documentary narrated by Angelica Houston. I only found one review:

Teacher complains: "In that 10 minutes we saw 3 different paintings of a nude Cleopatra, some discussion of her sexual activities and incest. Too much for my young children and too much for me!"

Amazon. VHS: Cleopatra's Palace: In Search of a Legend (1999). Discovery Channel documentary covering the recent underwater excavations and narrated by Omar Sharif.


Timeline from Tore Kjeilen's Encyclopedia of the Orient. Kjeilen knows his stuff, but his sites are so filled with ads.

Timeline: Antony, Octavian, Cleopatra: The End of the Republic by Barbara F. McManus

LibraryThing: Catalog your books online.

If you enjoy this site you may also like these other sites by me:

Ancient Library. Exciting new project to put dozens of classical dictionaries and other works online.

Alexander the Great on the Web. Links to over 1000 images and 200 images of Alexander.

Genghis Khan on the Web. Comprehensive directory of resources about the great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan.

Angels on the Web. Angels in religion, culture and art. With over 550 images.