Cleopatra has inspired story writers and creative people down the centuries for the last two thousand years. We've seen all kinds of books and films based on the famous queen of antiquity, so let's take a look at some of our favourites.
The original play by William Shakespeare stirred up much interest in the romance of the Egyptian Queen when the bard released his version of the story sometime between 1603 and 1607. Using an English translation of Plutarch, Shakespeare based his story on Thomas North's interpretation of ‘The Life of Marcus Antonius'. Many consider this work to be the most complex female role Shakespeare ever created.
Considered by many to be one of the best films produced by the Carry On team; the tenth film in the series is considered to have one of the best scripts of all the Carry On films. Starring Sid James as Mark Anthony, Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra and Kenneth Williams as the bad guy of the piece, Julius Caesar, the film is a laugh a minute testament to British film making at its best. The most memorable line in the film is the oft-quoted “Infamy, infamy, they've all got it infamy...” as said by Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar.
The famous Gaul meets Cleopatra in the sixth book of the series, penned by Belgians Goscinny and Uderzo. In this volume Cleopatra argues with Caesar as to the standard of the great civilization of Egypt, and enlists the help of the Gauls and their magic potion to help prove that Egypt is still a great civilization by building a great palace for the Queen.
With Elizabeth Taylor in the starring role as the Egyptian Queen, this 1963 version of the Cleopatra tale is considered by many to be the epitome of the film interpretations of Cleo's life. With Richard Burton in fine fettle as Mark Anthony and Rex Harrison acting as the mighty Caesar this film was originally intended to be released as two three hour epics covering the entire life of Cleopatra. However, studios baulked at the massive cost of this project and soon the film was clipped to the version we can now see today, and this has left the film in a slightly strange state with many parts reduced to mere walk on's.
Starring Charlton Heston as Anthony with Hildegard Neil as the mighty Queen, this 1972 celluloid interpretation of the classic script penned by William Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest films from this era. Scoring highly with critics, Heston not only wrote the script for this film from Shakespeare's original but also went as far as directing the film too. It's said that in many ways Heston was the Mark Anthony of his day.
These are of course just some of our favourite books and films featuring Cleopatra, but there are many, many more out there, but these classics, as listed above, are a great place for anyone with even the slightest interest in the Egyptian Queen of ages to start.