As a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, Cleopatra was directly descended from Ptolemaios I Soter, one of Alexander the Great’s generals and a member of the Diadochoi, the group of generals who divided up Alexander’s empire amongst themselves. This is probably not historically accurate, since, as I mentioned earlier, all women—even queens—in the ancient Greek world were always expected to dress modestly. Although it may be an imperfect comparison, it is helpful to think of the diadem as basically the ancient Greek equivalent of a crown. ABOVE: Photograph from this article of the partially reconstructed octagonal tomb at Ephesos that some have speculated might be the tomb of Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoë IV, A different argument for Cleopatra’s mother being a native Egyptian. "Yeah, that's exactly it," Schiff said. Below … The ancient historian Kassios Dion (lived c. 155 – c. 235 AD), who was a Roman Senator of Greek origin, describes Cleopatra’s appearance in his Roman History 42.34.4–6. 1 Tayshia Adams; 2 Pardons By Trump; 3 Brendan Morais; 4 Kevin Greene; 5 Photo Blankets; 6 Stimulus Checks; 7 2021 Rav4; 8 AT&T Internet; 9 Dwayne Haskins; 10 Miguel Cardona; Top Searches Holiday Gifts. Unfortunately for fans of classic films, this image is inaccurate in almost every single way. Tricks like these may serve to gull outsiders, but people who live together are bound to be found out, if they try to deceive one another. Her face is framed by ringlets of curly hair, and the rest of her hair is arranged in a “melon” style (divided into segments that run like the ribs of a melon from the forehead back) and gathered into a bun behind her head. We actually have pretty good idea of what the historical Cleopatra looked like and it’s nothing at all like the image most people have in mind. The tomb was shaped like an octagon, which Thür claims matches the second tier of the lighthouse of Alexandria. Greek was the only language that most of the Ptolemies ever learned to speak and, while they portrayed themselves as pharaohs to their Egyptian subjects, they portrayed themselves to the world—and almost certainly thought of themselves—as thoroughly Greek monarchs. is a mystery, historical artifacts, works of art, and other clues may shed light on the Egyptian queen. This doesn’t definitively prove that the skeleton from Ephesos is not that of Arsinoë IV, since these kinds of estimates are naturally very imprecise, but it does cast serious doubt on the identification of the skeleton as Arsinoë IV’s. The death of Cleopatra VII, the last ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt, occurred on either 10 or 12 August, 30 BC, in Alexandria, when she was 39 years old.According to popular belief, Cleopatra killed herself by allowing an asp (Egyptian cobra) to bite her, but for Greek and Roman historians, Cleopatra poisoned herself using either a toxic ointment or by introducing the poison with a sharp implement such as a hairpin. Cleopatra did get the last laugh, however, when she managed to commit suicide, instead of letting augustus lead her as a prisoner through the streets of rome in a victory parade. Leaving that matter aside, the evidence to support the identification of the tomb at Ephesos as that of Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoë IV is actually incredibly shaky and many classicists, including the eminent scholar Mary Beard, have rejected this identification as implausible. In other words, it all had to do with the actress’s image, not with how the historical Cleopatra really looked. The traditional portrayal of Cleopatra as pale may be accurate, although it is difficult to assess the color of Cleopatra’s skin, since our sources for her skin color are rather limited. There are LOTS of webpages like this. She seems to be holding a poppy head in the Vatican statue. Cleopatra should be played by a black actor—and not just because it might be more historically accurate, this article I originally published in February 2017, View all posts by Spencer Alexander McDaniel, this article I wrote debunking claims about the Egyptian pyramids, Furthermore, because the skull is missing, we don’t even know if the measurements that were taken of it are accurate. I have no friends, no social life, and basically no other hobbies aside from writing. It is widely accepted among modern scholars, though, that skull measurements are not a reliable way of determining race. (Read more about Antony’s looks: This is what 15 of the most famous Romans looked like) This was not new. Since the Romans viewed heavy makeup as immoral and associated it with prostitution, Lucan describes Cleopatra as wearing heavy makeup specifically to make her sound like a prostitute with no modesty or sense of decency. Clearly, the whole octagonal tomb argument falls flat, but a more plausible argument for Cleopatra’s mother as Egyptian has been put forward by the scholar Duane W. Roller in his book Cleopatra: A Biography, published by Oxford University Press in 2010. Marcus Antonius found that he wasn’t catching any fish and he didn’t want to look bad in front of Cleopatra, so he ordered some of his men to take fish that had already caught, dive under the water, and put the fish on his hook. Few monuments of Cleopatra remain because, although she captured the heart of Caesar and Antony, it was Octavian (Augustus) who became the first emperor of … But how did this image of Cleopatra come to be? Even though most people today imagine Cleopatra with bangs because of how she was portrayed in twentieth-century films, in ancient portraits, she is consistently shown without bangs. I found the facial reconstruction of Cleopatra made by Sally Ann Ashton. First Prev 2 of 3 Go to page. I love searching google endlessly on topics ranging from science to history, but so many articles today are full of click bait and have no substance. > What did Cleopatra look like? Intelligent and talented, Cleopatra had a gift for making people feel they were the focus of her attention – and that quality, rather than her looks, was her winning trait with Caesar and Antony. Even though the woman in the painting closely resembles known portraits of Cleopatra and she is shown surrounded by Egyptian motifs, the painting is still not labelled and there is no way to tell for sure if it is really Cleopatra or another Hellenistic Egyptian queen with the same hairstyle. Many people have tried to reconstruct Cleopatra’s appearance based on ancient depictions of her. For they are found out while they are dressing in the morning; they perspire and are lost; a tear convicts them; the bath reveals them as they are!”. Thus, people feel the desperate need to portray Cleopatra with a more elaborate hairdo. Popular culture over the centuries has made Cleopatra (specifically Cleopatra VII Philopator) out to be a great beauty. She probably had a rather prominent chin. Cleopatra was the last in a line of rulers known as the Ptolemies that ruled Egypt for nearly three centuries. It depends on whom you ask, but images, artifacts, and artwork—and even coins—through the centuries provide clues. A month or so back I ran across this piece, which raises the question of Cleopatra's real looks, and is better than most such pieces.Far too many start from the assumption that Cleopatra is much overrated for her beauty. There is also at least one piece of evidence that seems to seriously undermine the identification of the girl from the octagonal tomb as Arsinoë IV and that is the girl’s age. I am fairly certain that, at least in the coins depicting both Cleopatra and Mark Antony, the hooked noses are probably exaggerated. She did have a large, hooked nose, a prominent chin, and curly hair that she normally wore in a bun at the back of her head. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. The girl’s remains showed no signs of her having borne heavy loads, which suggests that she was of relatively high status. The obsession with Cleopatra as a looker started much earlier than movies: it started in literature and drama. Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; 69 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra’s father was Ptolemaios XII Auletes, but we don’t know for certain who her mother was. He draws on imagery that the Romans commonly associated with prostitutes to emphasize Cleopatra’s supposed sexual licentiousness. beautiful. Next 206 results. Lucan himself certainly never saw Cleopatra in person, nor is it likely that he could he have personally met with anyone who had seen her in person. And when I here the question, was Cleopatra Egyptian, is funny because it’s a way of not acknowledging Africa at all. When she had perfected her schemes she entered the city (for she had been living outside of it), and by night without Ptolemy’s knowledge went into the palace.”. An Egyptologist determined what the famous Queen of Egypt really would have looked like. On some of the coins, her nose is less hooked, her cheeks are full, and her chin is small, as on the marble busts. Her white breasts shine through the Sidonian fabric, which, wrought in close texture by the sley of the Seres [i.e. Here is a link to it. In any case, even if the skeleton from Ephesos is Arsinoë IV’s, Thür’s evidence to support her argument that the girl from the tomb was of mixed Greek and African ancestry is highly dubious at best. If so, might that be a reference to poison? The nose on this one has, unfortunately, been broken off, but, as I discuss in this article I wrote in July 2019, this is very common for classical marble sculptures, since the nose is a rather thin piece of marble that sticks out past the rest of the face and it therefore has a tendency to be the first part to break off if the statue is knocked over or if something is knocked into it. My main area of study is ancient Greece, but I also write about other areas of history as well. The image of her as a sultry seductress likely stems from a narrative … I first discovered your well-written historical-themed articles and essays on Quora and the links to your wonderful website (approximately six months ago). Cleopatra’s father was king, and consequently also a god; she “inherited” the divine blood, so to speak. Trending. Subscribe to our channel: Image Credits :Like this content? He says to her, as rendered in this translation: “Then please assume, my dear, that I do not prefer white paint and dye of alkanet to your real colour; but just as the gods have made horses to delight in horses, cattle in cattle, sheep in sheep, so human beings find the human body undisguised most delightful. While Cleopatra might not have had violet eyes, porcelain skin, and an Academy Award, she did possess the sexiest thing any person can have: a big ass… sexy brain. Roman propaganda painted Cleopatra as a debauched temptress who used her sex appeal as a political weapon, but she may have been more renowned for her intellect than her appearance. Here are some photographs from different angles of the so-called “Berlin Cleopatra,” a realistic marble portrait head of Cleopatra currently held in the Altes Museum in Berlin, Germany. Explore. More than 2,000 years after her death in 30 BCE, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra still looms large in the popular imagination. Octavian declared war on Cleopatra and marked Antony as a traitor. As you probably know by now, the History Channel has become notorious for not presenting ALL of the accurate facts of a given period in history. Yes and no. There are many uncertain or debated images, but coins she issued can … Most difficult to assess is the accuracy of Cleopatra’s skin color, since this depends to a large extent on how much faith you want to put in the accuracy of that pale, redheaded portrait from Herculaneum. made her tremendously attractive to men. I think that whoever created this image willfully misinterpreted the hairstyle Cleopatra is often portrayed with on her coins and portraits in effort to make Cleopatra look more like a contemporary black American woman. What did she really look like? First of all, the skeleton that they are talking about here wasn’t discovered in 2009. Statue of Cleopatra. In fact, Cleopatra’s only known ancestor with any non-Greek ancestry was her three times great-grandmother Kleopatra I of Syria, whose father Antiochos III was descended from Apama, the Sogdian wife of the Greek king Seleukos I Nikator, and whose mother Laonike III was of mixed Greek and Persian ancestry. In addition to being of Greek ancestry, the Ptolemies were also culturally Greek. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). Top Searches Holiday Gifts. Modern people have a very clear image of what Cleopatra looked like: a beautiful, pale, small-nosed woman like Elizabeth Taylor dressed in a revealing outfit with thick makeup, straight, black hair, bangs, and braids with gold ornaments going down to her shoulders. Here is a video that explains exactly how to recreate Cleopatra’s hairstyle, with a visual demonstration of how it’s done: I think that perhaps the reason why no one ever seems to portray Cleopatra with the actual hairstyle that she is portrayed with in all her coins and Greek portraits is because her actual hair style is so simple that it just doesn’t seem glamorous enough for a queen. ABOVE: Image of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in the 1963 film Cleopatra, ABOVE: Color publicity photo of Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra from the 1934 film Cleopatra, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. While Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra made reference to her youthful looks and 'infinite-variety', many believe she was short and frumpy with bad teeth. Required fields are marked *. She became the last in a dynasty of Macedonian rulers founded by Ptolemy, who served as general under Alexander the Great during his conquest of Egypt in 332 B.C. Trending. For instance, they did a fairly good job conveying that Cleopatra was actually extremely intelligent. You see there were what amounted to two Egypts in Cleopatra's time. Jul 22, 2016 - Like Helen of Troy, Cleopatra (69 – 30 b.c. I am therefore willing to believe that Cleopatra’s mother may have indeed been part Egyptian. One is that Strabon may have simply guessed that Ptolemaios XII’s daughters other than Berenike were illegitimate without any reliable evidence. What did Cleopatra look like in real life? His primary wife was Kleopatra V Tryphaina and she is the only one of his wives whose name is recorded. In fact, Cleopatra herself was the only member of her family who ever even learned to speak the Egyptian language and, even with her, surviving documents from her court reveal that she conducted nearly all official business in Greek. History Periods. Then, when Marcus Antonius put down his line, she ordered one of her own attendants to put a pickled fish from the Black Sea on his hook. Sacred Architecture. Modern historians claim to have evidence that… Cleopatra VII ruled ancient Egypt as co-regent (first with her two younger brothers and then with her son) for almost three decades. Here do they place circles, cut from the snow-white teeth hi the forests of Atlas, such as not even when Juba was captured, came before the eyes of Caesar.”. Fin. In other words, even if the skeleton from the octagonal tomb at Ephesos really was Arsinoë IV’s and it did prove that Arsinoë IV’s mother was Egyptian, that still wouldn’t prove that Cleopatra VII’s mother was Egyptian. (VIDEO) "Cleopatra is the most well known woman we don't know," Jon Stewart said to Stacy Schiff, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the new book "Cleopatra: A Life," on his show last night. CC Flickr User Jon Callas. I think discussions of Cleopatra’s beauty usually miss the point – including this one, I’m afraid, though it is as usual otherwise a very good article. Many begin with an illustration of one of her coins, such as the one at left, which shows a woman with a beaked nose that does not conform to modern standards of beauty nor, … I like that the person who did it doesn't like the coins at all but points to a reference that pops right up and discusses why THAT author thinks the coins are accurate. Thankfully, women these days are automatically respected, no matter what they look like… Oh, wait. So thank you so much for making this, it’s really going to help, This was so good, i love this article. If this painting from Herculaneum is indeed a reasonably accurate near-contemporary portrait of Cleopatra, though, this would mean that Hollywood may actually be correct in portraying Cleopatra as white. But while the legend of her beauty was based on the fact that she seduced two influential Roman leaders, Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony, what did she look like? Because Cleopatra was a member of the well-documented and long-lasting Ptolemaic Dynasty, we have a pretty good impression of where most of her ancestors came from, going back centuries before she was even born. Hatshepsut came to the throne of Egypt in 1478 BC. If you actually look closely at the ancient depictions of Cleopatra that I have shown earlier in this article, especially the Berlin Cleopatra, you can see the ripples of her curls, especially towards the front of her hair. Most people assume that, because Cleopatra ruled Egypt, she must have been a native Egyptian. Cleopatra had actually achieved this masculine look in coinage predating her affair with Antony, such as the coins struck at the Ashkelon mint during her brief period of exile to Syria and the Levant, which Joann Fletcher explains as her attempt to appear like her father and as a … An article by Nadra Nittle published in Vox on 14 January 2019 titled “Almost all of the actresses who’ve played Cleopatra have been white. That's one of the most popular questions ever asked about this elusive Pharaoh. but instead lighter skinned. Her team was not able to conduct an accurate analysis of the DNA from the skeleton because the bones had been handled too many times since they were first uncovered in 1926 and the DNA was too corrupted to work with. 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