Comments on Cleopatra

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Cleopatra.

Programme information and audio


    • 1. At 12:16pm on 02 Dec 2010, anthonydo wrote:

      I was facinated to learn about the true and in depth background of this facinating woman who was such a political animal and used her "charms" to further her ambitions.
      I am keen to learn more about her without the usual hype and, whilst I see there is a list of "Futher Reading", I would appreciate a couple of specific recommendations whose authors approach is similar to the accessible manner taken by Melvyn and his excellent contributors.

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    • 2. At 12:55pm on 02 Dec 2010, Matthew Curry wrote:

      Wanted to comment briefly on the Metaphor programme. Very much enjoyed it. The only things I thought missing were a clear discussion of dead metaphor, the effect of the Reformation, and possibly a writer talking about a metaphor they have made.

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    • 3. At 1:33pm on 02 Dec 2010, anonymity wrote:

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    • 4. At 9:54pm on 03 Dec 2010, Ged Hodge wrote:

      This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    • 5. At 00:20am on 04 Dec 2010, Themistocles wrote:

      Given the very deep and mutual admiration enjoyed between Egyptians and Greeks it was perhaps fitting that the last pharaoh of Egypt was of Greek origin, both by birth and by culture. The Greek presence in Egypt starts with the foundation by the Milesians of the commercial polis of Naucratis, the only one established after royal invitation. Cleopatra was the product of the Hellenistic polis of Alexandria. The latter was the epitome of Graeco-Egyptian coexistence and fusion, with Cleopatra the personification of this culture. However the seeds of this coexistence appeared much earlier. Herodotus describes with great affection and almost Monty Python resembling humour the life of the Egyptians in his ‘Histories’. Pythagoras too was educated in Egypt. Finally it is worth pointing out that Alexandria was the home town of the two most important feminist icons of the pre-Christian world: Cleopatra and Hypatia.

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    • 6. At 5:41pm on 05 Dec 2010, John Thompson wrote:

      Egypt’s absorption into the Roman Empire signified it’s true end.The falling behind in military technology in Ramesses II’s reign(with the lack of iron raw materials) contributed to the coming decline.Also civil wars,the looting of graves,economic crises,the divisions of Egypt.There was the struggle to maintain its economic and military position in the Eastern Mediterranean world.There was a reliance on Greek mercenaries rather than natives.Seized by Alexander the Great in 332 BC,regained in 310BC with the break-up of his empire. However the new ruler was Ptolemy I,a Macedonian Greek.The dominant culture became European and Greek.

      The increasingly bloody internal struggles of the ruling housebrought Egypt within the orbit of the still-growing Roman Empire,culminating in the defeat of the last of Ptolemy's ruling descendants,Cleopatra VII, and her Roman lover Mark Antony in 30 BC, resulting in the country's absorption into the empire that same year. Egypt now became a mere province, with its primary goal to provide grain for the rest of the empire.The cult of Isis took off in Rome once Augustus had annexed Egypt.(Julius Caesar had built a statue of Isis to Cleopatra when she came with him to Rome).

      While the Ptolemies' support for traditional culture was maintained through a programme of temple-building, in which the Roman emperors were depicted as pharaohs, the infiltration of foreign philosophical and religious ideas continued apace. In particular, Christianity took early root in Egypt, doubtless aided by its many similarities to the popular cult of Osiris and Isis, which also featured an unjustly killed divine figure who was resurrected to provide humans with a guarantee of eternal life.

      The association of the ancient hieroglyphic writing system with the old religion, together with the wide currency of the Greek language in Roman Egypt, led to the Christians beginning to write the native Egyptian language in an augmented version of the Greek alphabet. The old art style was also tainted with paganism, and so was also replaced by a style derived from outside, thus further eating away at key parts of the ancient Egyptian civilisation

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