"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....