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Did Cleopatra really offer men a night with her at the cost of their lives?

Man, misogyny sucks. It sucks even more when it reduces a highly competent and intelligent ruler of ancient world to a sex maniac witch because there's no way a woman could achieve that much without sleeping around with powerful men.

Let's clarify one thing right away, Cleopatra didn't look anything like this:

A British-American woman pretending to be an Egyptian queen of Macedonian origin: Source

Sally Ashton, a Cambridge Egyptologist, painstakingly researched ancient artifacts and records in order to reconstruct Cleopatra's facial features. And after a year of research, the following is the culmination. Not quite the British-American version of feminine beauty.

A reconstruction of Cleopatra's face, a result of extensive work of Cambridge researchers: Source

Hollywood simply couldn't cast someone with a pointed nose, short forehead and dark complexion as a female lead (God forbid, what if they act well and get nominated for Oscars!). Because, you see, lead women are always loving, beautiful, perfectly proportionate and of fairer complexion.

Moving ahead, there is very little historical evidence regarding Cleopatra. We don't even have her proper portrait. Part of a papyrus scroll she wrote survives till this day, bearing a word she wrote in her own handwriting. That's probably the closest we would ever get to the elusive queen.

Plutarch wrote her biography 200 years after her death. There are accounts of Dio, Sallust, Suetonius as well which emerged around the same time and a bit later. All these men were Romans, eager to glorify the Roman Empire and its founder Octavius a.k.a. Augustus. The same Octavius whose sister was abandoned by Marc to marry Cleopatra. The same Augustus who waged war against Marc Antony, drove him to suicide and almost had Cleopatra as a prisoner in his empire.

Let's also remember that these men were no great fans of women, and a powerful woman would be the last thing they needed to affirm their world view. Therefore, as the centuries passed, her depiction became increasingly depraved. By the time Hollywood popularized her based on false historical accounts of no veracity, Cleopatra was an exotic woman who seduced some of the most powerful men with her sorcery.

But in reality, a careful review of scant evidence reveals the facets of Cleopatra's personality we have willfully forgotten while embracing the distorted version sold by her detractors and later Hollywood.

To conclude, Cleopatra was a very intelligent and skilled ruler, inheriting a large empire at early age of 18. She most likely had relations with only two men, Caesar and Marc Antony, giving birth to four children. She was well read, quite adept at scientific advances and a great conversationalist. These were probably the reasons Caesar and Marc Antony found their love in her. That she could achieve so much in an ancient and dangerous society controlled by men stands in testimony to her character and courage.

Also, since running an empire is a very demanding task, she had no time to offer sexual favors to random men in exchange of their lives.


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Do you know more controversial facts about Cleopatra?

#History #Society #Quora

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
81 Comments
ninakamwene
Cleopatra was a Macedonian NOT original Egyptian. Queen Nefertiti was an Egyptian true Queen.
30
Aug 24, 2018 1:14AM
Janice Bishop-Magoon
Interesting. If your picture is anywhere near accurate, she was beautiful and also looks a bit exotic. But sorry folks, I take even your article about her with a grain of salt. And to say that the men were no great fans of women, is quite an assumption on your part isn't it? How can anyone know what was really in their hearts and on their minds regardless of the public images they portrayed??
21
Oct 1, 2018 11:54AM
Odile Dupret
Cleopatra was of greek origins, frome the Ptolemae line
12
Oct 17, 2018 6:09PM
renegarjim
I had to read everyone's opinion, and I found them all thought provokingly interesting. Thanks everyone
8
Mar 1, 2020 8:33PM
Alexander Thomas
Regardless of what people want to say about where she was from: she was this, she was that, we can be pretty certain she didn't look like the picture for this article or Elizabeth Taylor.
6
Sep 1, 2019 5:08PM
twomblytheresa
I think she was pretty and no reason a black woman could not play her role,And I am white tired of all this black white etc crap people are people!!!
5
Feb 18, 2020 4:20PM
Karen Maria Berna-Hicks
While I commend this view of Cleopatra as an intelligent ruler, I think asserting that she was dark-skinned is going overboard in trying to make her the exact opposite of how she has been described. It seems clear that she was a Greek by birth and, therefore, her skin was most likely quite fair. So, although a beautiful dark skinned woman could certainly rule magnificently, so can a light-skinned one, and even a woman of completely uncertain colors or of features not quite pleasing to the eyes.
5
Sep 6, 2018 7:56PM
Ilias Tsiabardas
You got it all wrong Cleopatra was a Greek Descendant of the Ptolemy Dynasty not Egyptian
0
Sep 15, 2021 8:32PM
Ilias Tsiabardas
Beauty it's on the eye of the beholder !!!
0
Sep 15, 2021 8:23PM
Michael Garmaise
The relentless feminism is distracting. I already knew that Cleopatra was more brains than beauty.
1
Sep 13, 2021 4:09PM
fireiceshimmer
ronbt, exactly! Rubenesque is generously proportioned.
0
Sep 3, 2021 4:54PM
Alisdair Campbell
Well,is even that maybe not quite true...look around the Mediterraean region and several nations seem to have had female rulers but of course usually by inheritances through father or husband.Jane Elizabeth Lisson,
0
Aug 28, 2021 4:55PM
Glenn Weggery
kirkcats, and now there is a TV mini series with a black woman playing Anne Boleyn
0
Aug 21, 2021 6:07PM
marthahall
renegarjim, check her out on Drunken History. You will find it refreshing.
0
Jul 18, 2020 5:44PM
marthahall
I will only accept facts from Drunken History.
3
Jul 18, 2020 5:42PM
April Lloret
Michele Palamidy, Yeah and they were in Egypt for 6 generations before cleopatra was born, they could have been far removed from their Greek ancestry. It's likely she was mixed.
0
Jun 15, 2020 9:08PM
April Lloret
ninakamwene, she could very well have had egyptian blood. The Ptolemys were in Egypt for a really long time, they could have been far removed from their Greek origins.
0
Jun 15, 2020 9:04PM
kirkcats
First of all, if I am not mistaken, the movie was made back in the early 1960's. At that time I don't think anyone really knew what Cleopatra looked like for sure. Secondly and most importantly, it is a movie, while sometimes Hollywood may strive for historical accuracy they also have to work within a budget. In many cases a modest one. Therefore, they want to use beautiful actresses, who can actually act. Liz Taylor was certainly beautiful and she could act. Thirdly, in any theatre or movie production, the film makers often will take dramatic license when portraying people and events. Most people of the 1950's & 60's accepted this. Women's lib or historic accuracy often took a back bench to this. The film was made for entertainment value, no so much for historic accuracy. Though it would be great if they could do both.
3
Apr 10, 2020 5:39PM
Mary Wright Pippert
ninakamwene, I thought she was Greek.
0
Jan 17, 2020 12:20PM
Rita Pozidis
Odile Dupret, yes.. she was of the Greek royal House of Ptolemy. 'Cleopatra' was a title given to Macedonian princesses who became queens of Egypt.
0
Oct 29, 2019 11:17PM

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