Tag Archives: Cleopatra

Politics and Power in the Courts of Two Queens: Cleopatra of Egypt and Idia of the Old Benin Kingdom (Published)

The aim of this paper is to examine the character, personality, intrigues involved in the power and politics of two different female principalities who existed and reigned in two distinct epochs.  Queen Cleopatra of Egypt exhibited skills which surpassed those of her predecessors and secured her position as Pharaoh in Egypt.  Queen Idia of the old Benin Kingdom was a powerful political figure who, during her incumbency, sustained her son, Oba Esigie on the throne.  The paper contends that both female leaders believed in their capacity to rule, therefore, they exuded strong political strategies for the greater good of their interest.  This paper discovers that both queens who were indeed brave utilized what they possessed to achieve what they desired.  Consequently, Queen Cleopatra won the support and love of Julius Caesar first and then Mark Anthony.  The title of Iyioba, (King’s mother) was bestowed on Queen Idia by her son the Oba (king) of Benin. Studies that may interrogate political strategies of some leaders in both ancient Rome and Benin Empire are recommended.

Keywords: Benin, Cleopatra, Idia, Queen, ancient Egypt


This study seeks to examine the relationship between Aḥmad Shawqī’s The Death of Cleopatra (Shawqī 1929), one of the early Arabic poetic plays, and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (1607). The study provides a rationale as to the reasons behind assuming an existence of influences over Shawqī as he set out to write this play, proving all along Shawqī’s incontrovertible prior knowledge of Shakespeare’s Tragedies, particularly Antony and Cleopatra. The study ventures beyond the mere scrutiny of a literary work- together with the nonliterary details derived from history, for example- to an evaluation of Shawqī’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The study reveals that Shawqī was unquestionably reproducing Antony and Cleopatra when he wrote his play. This reproduction figures in many forms: borrowing, paraphrasing, stilisierung simulation, etc. Apart from these strategies of imitation, the study, however, sheds light on the poetic elements where Shawqī showcases his originality as a playwright who reframes what he adapts from Shakespeare and Plutarch (See Plutarch 1950, pp. 441-488) to be in line with his own literary thought and ideological philosophies.

Keywords: Cleopatra, Intertextuality, Literary Influence, Shakespeare, Shawqī