Cleopatra Essay

1216 words - 5 pages

Tyldesley’s Cleopatra
The life of Cleopatra has interested historians for over 2000 years and the puzzle still is not complete. One aspect that has been of personal interest is the relationship between Cleopatra and Caesar. This explains why after reading Joyce A. Tyldesley’s novel, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, the chapter that stood out most was chapter four; Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. This chapter follows a pattern that makes it easy to follow the sources used and figure out the authors purpose of writing. For a reader to figure this out it is important to look at the qualities the author provides when writing and the techniques she uses with sourcing. These factors are great ...view middle of the document...

Again the idea that strategy is the driving force to this relationship comes up. This is a strong question and it is one that Tyldesley purposely doesn’t answer. This chapter seems to give the information about Caesar and Cleopatra with sources included in a way that the reader is able to create their own answer to this question still pondered by historians.
When critiquing an author, it is important to identify the sources used and pay attention to the style that they are used. One recurring source, Lucan, “is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin period” (CC-BY-SA, Web). From this definition it would seem like this is a very reliable source, but Tyldesley warns “his entertaining account needs to be taken with more than the usual pinch of salt” (Tyldesley, 95). She uses Lucan to exemplify how not all sources can be taken seriously; this is why she immediately corrects the quotation. This is a good technique to use when dealing with ancient sources because readers should always be questioning the sources. Tyldesley than shifts her focus to Caesars triumph in the Alexandrian war. The sources she uses to back up her claims are Suetonius, Dio, and Caesar himself. All information given from these three authors is presented as true. Tyldesley presents it and then goes on to explain what was meant rather than trying to prove it as right or wrong. This style of presenting sources gives a reader confidence that the author believes the statement is true and further more adds to what the author is saying. Tyldesley switching between the styles she uses when giving sources works well for the chapter because she presents information that should be questioned before presenting information that she believes is true. All together it makes a good variety and keeps readers on their toes whenever they come to a new source. Because she ensures that some sources are questioned, it allows her to continue switching roles between the romantic and strategic theories when discussing Caesar and Cleopatra’s relationship without contradicting herself.
Once Tyldesley’s style of presenting sources is evident, the real issue in the chapter becomes even more obvious. What were Cleopatra’s intentions with the relationship she had created between her and Caesar? Tyldesley’s gives both sides to the argument with multiple examples. She writes how Cleopatra “had everything to gain from the assumption that she was the mother of Caesar’s child” and how she may have been “summoned” to Rome as a captive rather than just wanting to see her lover (Tyldesley, 102 and 104). These statements all suggest that Cleopatra was...

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