Cleopatra- A sign of times Essay

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Cleopatra: A Sign of the Times by Diana Lerman
"For Rome, who had never condescended to fear any nation or people, did in her time fear two human beings; one was Hannibal, and the other was a woman" (Lefkowitz 126).
Cleopatra VII, the last reigning queen of Egypt, has intrigued us for centuries. Her story is one that has been told many times, and the many different and vastly varied representations of her and her story are solely based on the ways in which men and society have perceived women and their role in society throughout history. By looking at the perceptions of women starting from the Hellenes, the Greeks who greatly influenced Roman ideals, and following those perceptions through to the end of the 19th Century, it …show more content…

Retelling a speech that he believes Octavian may have said to his soldiers he writes: [w]e Romans are the rulers of the greatest and best parts of the world and yet we find ourselves spurned and trampled upon by a [woman] of Egypt…"(52). He continues with Roman propaganda retelling the great accomplishments of Roman forefathers and then stresses that "the men who have achieved these feats of arms…would be cut to the heart if ever they knew that we have been overcome by this pestilence of a [woman]…"(53). He verbally attacks the Egyptian culture and drives home his dislike of them and their barbarisms by saying "worst of all, they are not ruled by a man, but are the slaves of a [woman]" (53). In conclusion he writes:
But, in the end, I cannot describe to you any greater prize that that of upholding the renown which your forefathers won, of preserving the proud tradition of your native lands, of punishing those who have rebelled against us, of conquering and ruling over all mankind, and [of allowing no woman to make herself equal to a man] (55).
The dislike of women in positions of power and the absolute necessity to deprive them of this power can be seen in Dio's writing. Dio stresses Cleopatra's gender and makes it the supreme motivator for the ensuing war with Egypt by the marking the importance of conquering Cleopatra and removing her from her throne.
Cleopatra's political power is further reduced in the

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