Arsinoe of Egypt and MacedonA Royal Life (Women in Antiquity)
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: United States, 28 March 2013
By: Elizabeth Donnelly Carney
The life of Arsinoe II (c. 316-c.270 BCE), daughter of Ptolemy Soter, the founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty, is characterized by dynastic intrigue. Her marriage to her full brother Ptolemy II, king of Egypt, was the first of the sibling marriages that became the dynastic signature of the Ptolemies. With Ptolemy II, she ended her days in great wealth and security and was ultimately deified. However, in order to reach that point she was forced to endure two tumultuous marriages, both of which led her to flee for her life, leaving war, murder, and bloodshed in her wake. Throughout much of her life, Arsinoe controlled great wealth and exercised political influence, but domestic stability characterized only her last few years. Arsinoe was the model for the powerful role Ptolemaic women gradually acquired as co-rulers of their empire. Her image continued to play a role in dynastic loyalty and solidarity for centuries to come. Despite the fact that Arsinoe was the pivotal figure in the eventual evolution of regnal power for Ptolemaic women, and despite a considerable body of recent scholarship across many fields relevant to her life, there is no up-to-date biography in English on the life of this queen. Elizabeth Carney, in sifting through the available archaeological and literary evidence, creates an accessible and reasoned picture of this royal woman. In describing Arsinoe's significant role in the courts of Thrace and Alexandria, Carney dicusses the role of earlier Macedonian royal women in monarchy, the institution of sibling marriage, and the reasons for its longstanding success in Hellenistic Egypt. Ultimately, this book provides a broader view of an integral player in the Hellenistic world.About the AuthorElizabeth Donnelly Carney is Professor of History and Carol K. Brown Endowed Scholar in Humanities at Clemson University.ReviewsThe Hellenistic Age continues to fascinate. One of the latest, and best, books it's stimulated is Arsinoe of Egypt and Macedon A Royal Life, by that fine fistorian Elizabeth Donnelly Carney... Parsing the propaganda, skilfully plugging the gaps in our tattered evidence, as compulsively readable as she's critically sharp, Carney offers us a work of high scholarship that's also a compulsive page-turner. Peter Green, The Times Literary Supplement An interesting and enriching book. Jean Bartels, Bryn Mawr Classical Review