the Queen is dead ;
livesuffer the King.
“Elizabeth of York had been his constant companion for eighteen years, through many trials and after his long period of exile (…) she had played her role as a wife and a queen consort to perfection, winning the long-closed heart of Henry Tudor.”
—Tudor: The Family Story, by Leanda de Lisle
Wouldn’t this be beyond all manner of spectacular as the crown on a summertime backyard supper party?
Cake made with Yollibox frozen yoghurt. Mango, lemon, strawberry and passionfruit froyo, topped with fresh strawberries, raspberries, red currant and mango.
“A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.” - Samuel Johnson
Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator; Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ
Cleopatra, (born 69 BC—died 30 BC),ruled ancient Egypt as co-regent (first with her two younger brothers and then with her son) for almost three decades. She became the last in a dynasty of Macedonian rulers founded by Ptolemy, who served as general under Alexander the Great during his conquest of Egypt in 332 B.C.
" For her beauty, as we are told, was in itself not altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her; but converse with her had an irresistible charm, and her presence, combined with the persuasiveness of her discourse and the character which was somehow diffused about her behaviour towards others, had something stimulating about it. There was sweetness also in the tones of her voice; and her tongue, like an instrument of many strings, she could readily turn to whatever language she pleased…"(x)
- Plutarch, Life of Antony (XXVII.2-3)
THE LAST PHARAOH
Cleopatra’s father was King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra’s mother, but some speculation presumes she may have been her father’s sister, Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Debate also surrounds Cleopatra’s ethnicity. While it was believed for a long time that she was of Greek descent, some speculate that her lineage may have been black African. In 51 B.C., Ptolemy XII died, leaving the throne to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 10-year-old Ptolemy XIII. It is likely that the two siblings married, as was customary at the time. Over the next few years Egypt struggled to face down a number of issues, from an unhealthy economy to floods to famine. Political turmoil also shaped this period. Soon after they assumed power, complications arose between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII. Eventually Cleopatra fled to Syria, where she assembled an army to defeat her rival in order to declare the throne for herself. In 48, she returned to Egypt with her military might and faced her brother at Pelusium, located on the empire’s eastern edge.Around this same time, the civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey was consuming Rome. Pompey eventually sought refuge in Egypt, but on orders by Ptolemy, was killed. In pursuit of his rival, Julius Caesar followed Pompey into Egypt, where he met and eventually fell in love with Cleopatra. In Caesar, Cleopatra now had access to enough military muscle to dethrone her brother and solidify her grip on Egypt as sole ruler. Following Caesar’s defeat of Ptolemy’s forces at the Battle of the Nile, Caesar restored Cleopatra to the throne. Soon after, Ptolemy XIII fled and drowned in the Nile. In 47 B.C. Cleopatra bore Caesar a son, whom she named Caesarion. However, Caesar never acknowledged the boy was his offspring, and historical debate continues over whether he was indeed his father Cleopatra eventually followed Caesar back to Rome, but returned to Egypt in 44 B.C., following his assassination. In 41 B.C., Marc Antony, part of the Second Triumvirate that ruled Rome following the murder of Caesar, sent for Cleopatra so that she could answer questions about her allegiance to the empire’s fallen leader.Cleopatra agreed to his request and made a lavish entrance into the city of Tarsus. Captivated by her beauty and personality, Antony plunged into a love affair with Cleopatra that would eventually produce three children, including twins named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene.Just like Caesar before him, Antony was embroiled in a battle over Rome’s control. His rival was Caesar’s own great-nephew, Gaius Octavius, also known as Octavian (who became the future Emperor Caesar Augustus). Gaius Octavius, along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, rounded out the Second Triumvirate. Antony, who presided over Rome’s eastern areas, detested Gaius Octavius and saw in Cleopatra the chance for financial and military support to secure his own rule over the empire.Cleopatra had her own motivations, as well. In exchange for her help, she sought the return of Egypt’s eastern empire, which included large areas of Lebanon and Syria.Antony antagonized his rival by declaring Caesarion as Caesar’s real son and legal heir, rather than Octavian, whom the revered Roman leader had adopted. Octavian, however, fought back, declaring he’d seized Antony’s will, and told the Roman people that Antony had turned over Roman possessions to Cleopatra and that there were plans to make Alexandria the Roman capital.In the year 31 B.C., Cleopatra and Antony combined armies to try to defeat Octavian in a raging sea battle at Actium, on Greece’s west coast. The clash, however, proved to be a costly defeat for the Egyptians, forcing Antony and Cleopatra to flee back to Egypt.Antony soon returned to the battlefield, where he was falsely informed that Cleopatra had died. Upon hearing the news, the despondent Roman leader committed suicide by stabbing himself. Cleopatra followed her lover’s demise by ending her life as well by being bitten by an Egyptian cobra. She died on August 12, 30 B.C. The two were buried together, as they had wished, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.(x)
Her story resonates, too, because of what she represented in such a male-dominated society. In an era when Egypt was roiled by internal and external battles, Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be as powerful a leader as any of her male counterparts.
To mark the centenary of the First World War, Vintage is launching a unique collection of war fiction. April 2014 will see the publication of twelve works by the greatest writers of the last century, each tackling this most powerful and universal of subjects.
The series was a collaborative effort by the Vintage Design team. Each cover was designed and hand-painted in-house, with the aim of giving a bold, contemporary look to these war-themed classics.