THE AMERICAN RESEARCH CENTER IN EGYPT’S ARIZONA CHAPTER PRESENTS A LECTURE
“CLEOPATRA: PERFORMING DIVINITY”
BY DR. ALISON FUTRELL
THURSDAY, 20 SEPTEMBER 2012 AT 5:30 PM
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA BOOKSTORE (ON CAMPUS)
LECTURE INFO: Unlike Shakespeare’s version of the queen, the historical Cleopatra VII developed multiple divine personae to shape a range of positive political interactions with a diversity of audiences in the ancient Mediterranean, securing her realm through religious means. She used the titles of “New Goddess” and “New Isis” to reassert dynastic claims and present herself as a reassuringly familiar powerbroker in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her notorious meeting with Antony on the barque of Isis was likewise a ritualized performance of royal leadership. In Egypt, Cleopatra maintained the efforts of her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, to reinforce connections with local powerbrokers in the region of Thebes, a previous focal point for resistance to her dynasty. Cleopatra became a highly visible participant in ancient religious traditions, like escorting a new Buchis bull as he sailed the barque of Amun to his new home in Hermonthis. She also continued royal sponsorship of major sanctuaries at Edfu and Dendera, where she performed the function of divine ruler and divine reincarnation in text and image. Her famous Nile Cruise with Julius Caesar should be placed in this context; no mere romantic excursion, this was a sacred procession featuring the new divinity, queen and goddess, partner and chosen of the gods.
BIOGRAPHY: Alison Futrell is an Associate Professor of Roman History at the University of Arizona. Her research interests focus on the discourse, performance and imagery of power in imperial Rome, with special interest in spectacle and gender. She is likewise alert to manifestations of the ancient Mediterranean in modern popular culture, with publications on the Viking Queen, Spartacus, HBO’s Rome and Xena: Warrior Princess. She is the author of Blood in the Arena (1997) and Roman Games (2006) and the co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World. She hopes one day to complete her ongoing monograph project on the Barbarian Queens: Paradoxes of Gender, Power and Identity.
LOCATION: University of Arizona Book Store in the Student Union Memorial Center, 1209 E. University Blvd., Tucson, Az., 85721. (Speedway Blvd. to Mountain Ave., south on Mountain Ave. Student Union is straight ahead, and a parking garage to the left.). Call 520-621-2814 for more information.
This lecture is free and open to the public.