For the most part women in the classical world have suffered from what Duane W. Roller
terms “near-invisibility,” obscuring the consequential roles that at times they played in government and politics. In his book Cleopatra’s Daughter: And Other Royal Women of the Augustan Era
(Oxford University Press, 2018), Roller recounts the lives of more than a half-dozen women in the last decades of the 1st century BC and early decades of the 1st century AD to show how they exercised power during the early years of the Roman Empire. Drawing upon a tradition of royal women in the ancient Near East, these women – Cleopatra Selene, Glaphyra of Cappadocia, Salome of Judaea, Dynamis of Bosporous, Pythodoris of Pontos, Aba of Olbe, and Mousa of Parthia – all played crucial roles as rulers in kingdoms on the periphery of the Augustan empire. As Roller explains, their success in maintaining their positions both depended in part upon the support of powerful women in the Augustan family and, in turn, served as role models for royal women in the Roman imperial courts for centuries afterward.