The first biography of one of the most fascinating, and unjustly neglected, female rulers of the ancient world: Cleopatra Selene. Princess, prisoner, African queen – and surviving daughter of Cleopatra VII.
In 1895, archaeologists excavating a villa outside Pompeii unearthed a hoard of Roman silverware. Among the treasures was a bowl featuring a female figure with thick, curly hair, deep-set eyes, a slightly hooked nose and a strong jaw, and sporting an elephant scalp headdress. Modern scholars believe this woman to be a depiction of Cleopatra Selene, daughter of the infamous Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
Using this discovery as her starting point, Jane Draycott recreates the life and times of a remarkable woman. Unlike her siblings, who were either executed as a threat to Rome's new ruler, Augustus, or simply forgotten, Cleopatra Selene survived and prospered. She was a princess who became a prisoner; a prisoner who became a queen; an Egyptian who became a Roman; and a woman who became a powerful ruler in her own right at a time when women were marginalized. Her life shines new and revelatory light on the politics and culture of Rome and Egypt, as well as on the relationship between Rome and Mauretania, one of its most significant allied kingdoms.