Alison Futrell

Alison Futrell, Associate Professor of History, University of Arizona

Wednesday, November 1, 2023,


ASA Koffler Great Room and zoom


Cleopatra’s Barge has long been imagined as a luscious nexus of seduction and pleasure, the lurid birthplace of Mark Antony’s fatal infatuation. It served quite a different purpose for the historical Cleopatra VII. The royal barque was a political and religious platform, a springboard for positive interactions with diverse audiences in the ancient

Marble Bust of Cleopatra VII, Altes Museum, Berlin

Mediterranean, meant to stabilize and secure her realm as well as shape a vision for future authority, with power strongly founded in the past. In this talk Professor Futrell will peel away some of the distortions of time, distance, and political rivalry to take a look at this brilliant and complicated queen.

Egyptianizing Figure of Cleopatra, Louvre, Paris

Alison Futrell is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Arizona. Her research interests focus on the discourse, performance, and imagery of power in imperial Rome, with special interest in spectacle and gender, as well as manifestations of the ancient Mediterranean in modern mass culture.  She is the author of Blood in the Arena (1997) and Roman Games (2006) and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World (2021). With Paul Milliman, she is co-creator of the University of Arizona Enhanced Experience for Age of Empires IV.  She has appeared frequently as an on-camera commentator for documentaries, shorts, and series, most recently for “Colosseum (an eight-part series on the History Channel), for National Geographic,  and for BBC History Extra.

Compiled by Marilyn Skinner, Academy Village Volunteer

Nov. 1: “Barge of Heaven: Cleopatra as Goddess”