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Berenice's Hair
Berenice's Hair


 
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Product Code: BERE

Description
 

There is a little constellation called Coma Berenices, "the hair of Berenice." It looks like a delicate plume of dim stars, and about it the prettiest of star stories is told. Berenice, queen of Egypt, vowed to sacrifice her beautiful hair if her husband returned safely from a war. He did, so her hair was cut off and hung up in the temple of the Goddess of Love. It vanished - the king was furious - a quick-witted priest pointed upward - "Behold, the sacred tress has been set in the sky!"

That's the story! Do we believe it? What really happened to her hair?

This novel springs from what is known about the real Berenice. She was born a princess of Cyrenaica, now part of Libya. (I lived there for a year, and have derived plot suggestions from experiences such as swimming over a drowned city.) We first meet her at the age of seventeen, being taken down to the port to greet a prince called Demetrius the Fair. This handsome fellow had been brought to marry her; instead he became the paramour of her mother, and in a palace coup Berenice killed him, possibly with her own hands. She may then have allowed a republic to be installed in her little garden-like country.

She was persuaded to marry the king of Egypt, but no sooner had she done so than he marched off into Asia in an attempt to save the life of his sister - leaving his young wife to the task of governing the teeming, treacherous world that was Egypt. As you might imagine, there are villains in the story and some rough stuff. But at the last moment she is saved by a wonderful natural phenomenon.

6x9in., 255 pages. 2009. ISBN 978-0-934546-55-3


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