Cleopatra: Life and Legend CLASSIC5090

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course explores the literary, documentary and archaeological evidence, and incorporates elements of Classical Reception, in order to explore the life, death and legend of Cleopatra VII, the last queen of Egypt.


10 x one-hour seminars and 10 x one-hour lectures across 10 weeks of one semester.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses

Cleopatra: Life and Legend (Honours).




One 3500 word essay - 60%.

One 1500 word book review - 40%.

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Provide students with the opportunity to become familiar with the events of the life and death of Cleopatra VII, the nature of the different types of evidence for them, and the problems associated with these;

■ Engage closely with the sources for the events of the life and death of Cleopatra VII and evaluate their historical worth;

■ Investigate the reception of Cleopatra VII from antiquity to the present;

■ Evaluate the ancient, modern, and contemporary evidence for Cleopatra.

■ Assess the importance of Cleopatra to the disciplines of Classics, Ancient History, and Egyptology.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

Define the historical events of the life of Cleopatra VII;

Place these events in their larger historical and cultural context;

Analyse and evaluate the literary, documentary and archaeological sources for these events;

Formulate their own opinions regarding how the sources have been received, repurposed and reimagined from antiquity to the present, and argue them in a lucid and scholarly manner.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.