Who was Cleopatra? To the Romans, she was the foreign queen who tried to steal their empire and who represented the most dangerous threat to their civilization in 200 years; to the Egyptians she was a goddess incarnate, the universal mother, and a liberator who came to free them from oppression. But equally fascinating has been the reception of Cleopatra's image: to Chaucer she was the model of a good wife; to Shakespeare she was a tragic lover; to painters of the Renaissance she was a passive victim; to the Romantics she was a femme fatale; to post-Enlightenment colonialists she was an exotic Easterner; to Hollywood she has been a temptress, a sex-kitten, and a vamp. This course examines both the facts known about Egypt's most famous queen, and how and why she has been re-interpreted over the centuries to suit the social, racial, and gender needs of different cultures. Affiliate department: Classics.