what did cleopatra look like

October 18, 2020 | 0 Comments | Uncategorized

Her eyes are almond-shaped. You are right, she probably did not die from the bite of an asp. Although, as I talk about in this article I originally published in February 2017, classical sculptures were originally painted to look lifelike, the original pigments on the Berlin Cleopatra and other sculptures of her have all flaked away and, as far as I am aware, no one has done examinations of them to determine what the original colors were. She probably didn’t wear extremely heavy makeup. 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. Unfortunately for fans of classic films, this image is inaccurate in almost every single way. Because Cleopatra was one of the most powerful people of her time and the ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt for twenty-one years, we have no shortage of ancient depictions of her, so we have a pretty good impression of what she really looked like—or at least how her official portrait artists portrayed her. You can even buy a replica of the queen's bust from the Museum Company. Fin. I tried to comment on another article but got this message: “Blocked as suspected bot.”. It dates from her own lifetime and is probably the closest any of us will ever come to seeing what Cleopatra herself looked like: Here is another marble portrait head of Cleopatra that is currently held in the Vatican Museums. An aquiline nose is the most prominent feature of the profiles of Cleopatra on contemporary coins (issued by Cleopatra or in her name) that are widely held to give the best representation of her appearance. They’ve admittedly left out Cleopatra’s cloth diadem, which is probably a mistake, since the diadem symbolized Cleopatra’s position as queen and it is unlikely that she would have gone to Rome without wearing one. I am fairly certain that, at least in the coins depicting both Cleopatra and Mark Antony, the hooked noses are probably exaggerated. Here is a link to it. She was not a great beauty, but she seemed Cleopatra’s father was Ptolemaios XII Auletes. Marc Antony (Richard Burton) declares his love for Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor). 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. Nevertheless, they have noted that her beauty was heralded and that her appearance was seductive. For instance, they did a fairly good job conveying that Cleopatra was actually extremely intelligent. Are the Halloween costumes and Hollywood glamor accurate depictions of her? I am indeed a college student; I make no effort to hide it. The fact is, nearly all of Cleopatra’s ancestors were Makedonian Greeks whose ancestral homeland was the kingdom of Makedonia, which was located in what is now northern Greece. Your email address will not be published. How on earth do you find the time to write such long detailed articles so frequently. Artist Edmonia Lewis worked from 1874 to 1876 to create this white marble statue depicting the death of Cleopatra. H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock / Getty Images. Nearly all of Cleopatra’s ancestors either came from Makedonia or were descended from people who came from Makedonia. Good luck in all your future endeavors & success! The historical Cleopatra VII Philopator looked very different from how she is usually imagined: Hello! 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. It doesn’t make much sense to associate the octagonal shape of the tomb with the Lighthouse of Alexandria, since lots of buildings in the ancient world were presumably octagonal, and the papyrus-bundle columns don’t necessarily mean anything. I was surprised when I did a little research and found that you are a college student. The Greek writer Strabon of Amaseia (lived c. 64 BC – c. 24 AD) writes in his Geographika XVII.1.11 that, of all Ptolemaios XII’s daughters, only the eldest, Cleopatra’s sister Berenike, was legitimate. If so, might that be a reference to poison? None of the ancient artistic depictions of Cleopatra tell us what color her skin was or what color her hair was. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). Apparently, the author of the Vox article saw the year that the documentary was produced and incorrectly assumed that the skeleton had just been discovered that year. It is often claimed that Cleopatra wasn’t beautiful, but that she made herself seductive through her intelligence and her wit. 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. She almost certainly had a rather large nose that was at least somewhat hooked. Why Is Hollywood So Fixated on Cleopatra Anyway? Was Septimius Severus a Black Roman Emperor? N.S. Well, that is the year that the BBC produced a documentary promoting Thür’s hypothesis, titled Cleopatra: Portrait of a Killer. An Egyptian relief carving shows Cleopatra with a solar disk on her head. The Ptolemies rarely ever married outsiders and, when they did, they usually only married members of other Greek royal families. The tomb was shaped like an octagon, which Thür claims matches the second tier of the lighthouse of Alexandria. 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. 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. Excellent, well-argued, objective article. I put a lot of time and effort into them and it always makes me glad to hear that people are reading them and enjoying them. In this scene, the makers of the show have also given Cleopatra an ankh necklace. The ancient Athenian writer Xenophon (lived c. 431 – 354 BC) in chapter ten of his dialogue Oikonomikos portrays an old man named Ischomachos who catches his much younger wife secretly painting her face with white lead to make herself appear pale and her cheeks with alkanet dye to make them appear rosy. Because Cleopatra was a member of the well-documented and long-lasting Ptolemaic Dynasty, we pretty much know exactly where all her ancestors came from, going back centuries before she was even born. It always gladdens my heart to know that there are people out there who enjoy reading my articles. 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. She surely must have aged considerably over the course of that time, but yet films rarely show this. We know this is definitely a portrait of a Hellenistic queen, since the woman in the painting is wearing a diadem. In fact, I have written an entire article in which I specifically address the controversy in depth. Most people assume that, because Cleopatra ruled Egypt, she must have been a native Egyptian. But I think it’s clear that the force of her intelligence and personality gave her a charisma that made her SEEM beautiful to any man she desired to enthrall (which, given the weakness of the political position of women at the time, was nearly every man of rank higher than peasant she encountered). The skeleton itself was discovered in 1926. She may not align with our modern American conception of what counts as “beautiful,” but ancient writers thought she was very beautiful. This is, of course, an extreme opinion, but it does reflect an extreme form of what seems to have been a prevailing attitude among the ancient Greeks that the “natural look” was best. The researchers believe Arsinoe’s remains, found in Ephesus, Turkey, indicate that her mother (also likely Cleopatra’s) was African.”, “‘That Arsinoe had an African mother is a real sensation which leads to a new insight on Cleopatra’s family and the relationship of the sisters Cleopatra and Arsinoe,’ Hilke Thuer of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who made the discovery, said at the time.”. But, I digress. The Roman poet Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (lived 39 – 65 AD), better known simply as “Lucan,” attempts to portray Cleopatra in Book Ten of his epic poem the Pharsalia as a dangerously seductive eastern woman, bedecked in makeup and pearls and wearing a see-through dress. 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 thought of themselves—and portrayed themselves to the world—as thoroughly Greek monarchs. From Republic to Empire: the Roman Battle of Actium, The Most Famous and Powerful Queens in Ancient History, Biography of Cleopatra, Last Pharaoh of Egypt, Caesar's Role in the Collapse of the Roman Republic, Egyptian Stone Workers' Images of Cleopatra, M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota. Debunking the So-Called “Baghdad Battery”, No, the Ancient Romans Didn’t Overharvest Silphium to Extinction Because It Was a Highly Effective Contraceptive. Indeed, even wearing makeup at all was sometimes seen in the Greek world as deceitful. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. Although it may be an imperfect comparison, it is helpful to think of the diadem as basically the ancient Greek equivalent of a crown. I am Spencer Alexander McDaniel. Marcus Antonius pulled up his line, thinking one of his own divers had put a fish on his line. Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of Cleopatra was, in turn, influenced by the portrayal of Cleopatra in the 1934 black-and-white epic film Cleopatra, which was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starred the American actress Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra. It is true that the ancient Egyptians often lined their eyes with kohl and it is possible that Cleopatra may have done this under some circumstances as well. But was she?” presents one form of this argument: “Historians have long described Cleopatra as ethnically Greek, but during the past decade, that assumption has increasingly been called into question. She asked therefore for admission to his presence, and on obtaining permission adorned and beautified herself so as to appear before him in the most majestic and at the same time pity-inspiring guise. People are probably correct, then, when they say that Cleopatra was smart and funny. 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.”. It’s basically just the ancient Greek equivalent of a ponytail. I look forward to reading more articles. Arsinoë IV was most likely born sometime between 68 and 63 BC and she was executed under the orders of Marcus Antonius in 41 BC, meaning she would have most likely been somewhere between twenty-two and twenty-seven years old at the time of her death. Here are some of the main pieces of evidence on which Thür has based her argument: This evidence isn’t really compelling. ABOVE: Map from Wikimedia Commons showing the territorial extent of the ancient kingdom of Makedonia (labelled here as “Macedonia”) in the year 431 BC on the eve of the Peloponnesian War. Before we even talk about Cleopatra’s surviving portraits or how she is described in extant written sources, we need to talk about her ancestry. In any case, the mere fact that people in ancient times thought that the young Cleopatra was able to fit inside a large sack for tying up bedclothes is a strong indication that she had a reputation for being an extremely tiny person. An article by Biba King published in The Independent on 15 January 2019 titled “Cleopatra should be played by a black actor—and not just because it might be more historically accurate” presents essentially the same argument: “Others want the iconic role be played by a black actor, citing revelations that Cleopatra’s mother was actually African (a theory that emerged after a skeleton, thought to belong to Cleopatra’s sister Princess Arsinoe, was found in Ephesus, Turkey).”.

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