Sunday, February 05, 2012

Quotable: Different Perspectives

"Cleopatra was every bit Ceaser's equal as a coolheaded, clear-eyed pragmatist, though what passed on his part as strategy would be remembered on hers as manipulation."

- Stacy Shiff, in  Cleopatra: A Life

Reading Cleopatra, I found myself wondering often about how much history would have changed if Cleopatra and Marc Antony had won instead of Octavian. Cleopatra came from a tradition in which women openly played an active role in public discourse. In Rome, on the other hand, the only way for a woman to be powerful was through the men in her life.

Of course, there were negative sides to Cleopatra's culture, too, so it is not clear that we would be better off if she'd won. But I can't help but wonder....

1 comment:

  1. Have you read _Pastwatch_ by Orson Scott Card? It's an interesting take on our history. Basically, a future generation is studying our history and finds points where a small change might make a big improvement in how things play out. They find other points where, apparently, other future generations figured out how to avert cataclysms, but in the process destroyed their own timeline. It's an interesting exploration of "what if..." and "how might things have been different?"

    _Cleopatra: a Life_ is on my tbr pile. If only I were reading those books faster than I add new ones!

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