Saturday, 11 December 2010

disdain a natural condition

When the Queen of Egypt arrived for an extended visit, in 46 B.C., with a large entourage, Caesar put her up at his villa in the suburbs. Compared with gorgeous, cosmopolitan Alexandria, the filthy, ramshackle city of a million people which the Queen saw from her perch in the hills "qualified as a provincial backwater," Schiff writes. "Disdain," she observes, "is a natural condition of the mind in exile," and it came naturally to Cleopatra.

Judith Thurman quoting Stacy Schiff's "Cleopatra" in "The Cleopatriad", The New Yorker, 15 November 2010

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