The love affair between Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most famous stories from the ancient world and has been depicted in countless novels, plays and films. As one of the three men in control of the Roman Empire, Antony was perhaps the most powerful man of his day. And Cleopatra, who had already been Julius Caesar's lover, was the beautiful queen of Egypt, Rome's most important province. The clash of cultures, the power politics, and the personal passion have proven irresistible to storytellers.
But in the course of this storytelling dozens of myths have grown up. The popular image of Cleopatra in ancient Egyptian costume is a fallacy; she was actually Greek. Despite her local dominance in Egypt, her real power came from her ability to forge strong personal allegiances with the most important men in Rome. Likewise, Mark Antony was not the bluff soldier of legend, brought low by his love for an exotic woman - he was first and foremost a politician, and never allowed Cleopatra to dictate policy to him. In this history, based exclusively on ancient sources and archaeological evidence, Adrian Goldsworthy gives us the facts behind this famous couple and dispels many myths.