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Signs of CleopatraReading an Icon Historically$
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Mary Hamer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898263

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898263.001.0001

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Cleopatra: housewife

Cleopatra: housewife

(p.24) Chapter 2 Cleopatra: housewife
Signs of Cleopatra

Mary Hamer

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the representations of Cleopatra from Giovanni Boccaccio's De Claris Mulieribus and Francesco Petrarch's De Remediis utriusque Fortunae. It notes that the pair of woodcuts illustrating Boccaccio's representation in two situations has epitomised Cleopatra in Western art: the banquet where Cleopatra won a bet with Antony by dissolving her pearl ear-ring and drinking it; and Cleopatra with an asp. The chapter argues that the representations of Cleopatra are determined by the attempts to establish gender relations; as the attempt to assign power between the sexes is identified by the manner in which Cleopatra is presented.

Keywords:   gender relations, Cleopatra, Giovanni Boccaccio, Francesco Petrarch, De Claris Mulieribus, Remediis utriusque Fortunae

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