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Cleopatra: Performing Power

March 13, 2024

This course focuses on Cleopatra VII (69-30 BCE), the far-famed last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt and a key powerbroker during a period of important political change. Her legacy in the western world emphasizes her actions as a “romantic” agent, a deployer of “feminine wiles”, a hostile representation drawn by her opponents. A broader examination of Cleopatra’s context demonstrates her connections to a number of dynamic royal women in the Hellenistic world, all image-makers in their own right, wielding female authority and patronage in a cosmopolitan, multicultural world. This course will sift through the evidence for Cleopatra VII, both the contentious (and largely hostile) material on her Mediterranean activities as well as the Egyptian record, which incorporates the specific efforts of the queen herself to assert her legitimate imperial authority and structure her collaboration with major stakeholders in the Hellenistic East.

Watch the Course Promo Video and Read the Syllabus Here

Meet Your Professor
ALISON FUTRELL focuses on the performance and imagery of power in imperial Rome, with special interest in spectacle, gender, and pop culture. She has authored and edited Blood in the Arena; The Roman Games; and The Oxford Handbook of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World, as well as pieces on Viking Queen (1967), Spartacus (1960 and 2010-13), HBO’s Rome (2005, 2007) and Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001). She appeared as a talking head most recently for National Geographic, BBC History Extra, and the History Channel’s eight-part series “Colosseum”.

FREE for Current AZ Educators (Normal Course Fee: $165)

Learn More and Claim Your Scholarship at 

Scholarship funds are limited. Scholarships awarded on a first come, first served basis.


  • All classes will be delivered on-campus, online via live video streaming, and asynchronously via video recording. Students will enroll in their preferred format during registration.
  • On-Campus classes will be held in the Rubel Room at the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center (1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85721). Enrollment for in-person classes is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All students enrolled to attend in person also have complete online access and may choose to attend one or all class sessions remotely if desired.
  • Online students may attend all classes via live video streaming and will be able to participate in all course Q&A sessions with the professor in real time. A high-speed internet connection and a device capable of running Zoom are required to connect. Online access will be password-protected and only available to enrolled students.
  • Class Recordings – All HSP classes are recorded and available for every enrolled student to watch for the duration of the course and one month after the last class session. This option is offered to aid students who cannot attend the live class times but desire to enroll and participate asynchronously. We hope this option also aids students who are traveling or have a necessary appointment that conflicts with a class session to stay connected and engaged with the course material.
  • For questions regarding this resource, please contact Humanities Seminars Program.
  • Contact Name: Micah Lunsford
  • Phone No: 520-621-2492
  • Email Address: