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How do you see Susan?

Mary Beard: No Asp for Zenobia

20 March 2003
Cleopatra: Beyond the Myth 
by Michel Chauveau, translated by David Lorton.
Cornell, 104 pp., £14.95, April 2002, 0 8014 3867 5
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The Roman Mistress: Ancient and Modern Representations 
by Maria Wyke.
Oxford, 452 pp., £40, March 2002, 9780198150756
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... triumph, not of a human general but of an all-vanquishing Cupid, riding a chariot drawn by doves. Propertius, too, offers a wry angle on the triumphal procession, best observed, he suggests, from (in MariaWyke’s paraphrase) ‘the vantage point of his mistress’s embrace’. For Wyke, the mistresses celebrated in this poetry are no less fictive than Octavian’s model of Cleopatra. The first half ...

Stage Emperor

James Davidson

28 April 1994
Reflections of Nero: Culture, History and Representation 
edited by Jás Elsner and Jamie Masters.
Duckworth, 239 pp., £35, January 1994, 0 7156 2479 2
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... evil spirits fostered by his corpse, who assumed the form of crows. It took a solemn procession, an exorcism and the intervention of the Madonna before the area was made safe and the church of Santa Maria del Popolo could be built in the same place. We get occasional snapshots of what Nero was up to in the Infernal Years from clerical handbooks. One account has him bathing in a seething pool of molten ...

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