To address every aspect in which Cleopatra VII asserted her right to rule and maintain the favor of her own subjects and of Rome would be far too large a task for anything less than a book-length treatment. Rather than attempt to address multiple issues, this thesis addresses just one aspect of Cleopatra's political strategy to visualize her legitimacy as ruler: namely a combination of masculine and feminine elements in her iconography. This thesis will then follow the same themes in elements of Cleopatra's visual rhetoric was seized upon by the poets of Augustan Rome, who used it to the opposite effect, making her out to be unfit to rule. In the case of Cleopatra's visual rhetoric, the emphasis shifts in different periods, as Cleopatra adapted her rhetorical strategy to her personal circumstances and her intended audience, at times emphasizing certain masculine elements and at other times focusing on feminine. The Roman authors, on the other hand, see Cleopatra's status in ruler as a usurpation of the masculine rule and therefore monstrous and unspeakable. In order to take the queen and fit her into a Roman world view, they make use of various types of women customary to Classical literature to confine her to a role appropriate”from their perspective"for a woman. In every case, however, gender is used to demonstrate Cleopatra's legitimacy, or perceived lack thereof.
College and Department
Humanities; Comparative Arts and Letters
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Kendall, Allen Alexander, ""Queen of Kings": Masculinity and Femininity in the Visual Rhetoric of Cleopatra VII and Augustan Distortions Thereof" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7553.
Cleopatra Vii, gender, iconography, Vergil, Horace, Propertius