Οξυ το παθοζ: Cleopatra's einde volgens Plutarchus. Een tragische enscenering

  • Mark De Wilde


The exact circumstances surrounding the death of Cleopatra VII cannot
reliably be recovered from Plutarch's seemingly detailed description of it at
the end of his Vita Antonii. While displaying an otherwise exemplary narrative
skill, the (perhaps unsolvable) question remains to what extent the biographer
intentionally depicts the queen as a human being, especially when compared
with the parallel account by Cassius Dio. Indeed, the last descendant of the
Ptolemies is undeniably endowed with 'tragic' qualities, indications of which
can be discerned from lexical instances, as well as from elements of the
Aristotelian tragedy. This contribution therefore tries to conduct a small-scale
analysis in the same vein as other more comprehensive literary studies on the
'tragic dimension' of Plutarch's Vitae (viz. Crassus, Alexander) attaching a
meaningful significance to this aspect, in particular when compared to other
Lives (viz. Caesar) where it is rather unexpectedly missing.

How to Cite:

De Wilde, M., (2004) “Οξυ το παθοζ: Cleopatra's einde volgens Plutarchus. Een tragische enscenering”, Handelingen - Koninklijke Zuid-Nederlandse maatschappij voor taal- en letterkunde en geschiedenis 58, 125-140. doi:

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Published on
05 Jan 2004
Peer Reviewed