30 Beautiful Facts about Queen Cleopatra

1Cleopatra's Inbred Ancestry

Cleopatra's Inbred Ancestry

Due to inbreeding amongst the Ptolemies, Cleopatra had only two pairs of great-grandparents. One of those pairs was the son and daughter of the other.

2. In the 1963 ‘Cleopatra’ movie, the young queen of Egypt had a Chinese servant named Lotus. The character of Lotus, like many elements from the film, is a modern fabrication, but it is possible that a Chinese person could have been present in Cleopatra’s exceptionally diverse court. Ptolemaic maritime trade with Asia is well documented and Ptolemaic propaganda boasted about the various people represented in the royal court, and in the diversity of the nations that paid homage to them.

3. The Great Pyramids of Giza were already close to 2,500 years old when Cleopatra was ruling Egypt. We are living closer to Cleopatra’s time than she was to the Pyramid’s building. During her rule, pyramids were already a big tourist attraction, as were the Valley of Kings and the Talking Colossi of Memnon. Even back then, the tourist industry in Egypt was thriving enough to support tour guides and package tours up the Nile.

4. Cleopatra is depicted with bangs in modern movies and media, but this hairstyle is not attested to in ancient depictions of her. Her most iconic hairstyle from an archaeological and historical perspective is known as the “melon coiffure.” This hairstyle derives its name from its appearance, as braids or rows of hair are pulled back from the forehead into a bun that resembles the ridges on a melon’s gourd. Usually, in statuary and coin portraits of the queen, we also see corkscrew curls behind and/or in front of the ears and around the forehead.

5. According to modern Historian Dr. Bettany Hughes, “Cleopatra was a poet and a philosopher. She was incredibly good at math and she wasn’t that much of a looker. But when we think of her, we only think of big breasted seductress bathing in milk.” She was also fluent in multiple languages and she was the first Ptolemaic ruler that could speak Egyptian.

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6Caesar-Cleopatra Relationship

Caesar-Cleopatra Relationship

Julius Caesar and Cleopatra were in a relationship and political alliance despite her marriage to her brother because Egypt allowed polygamy. Julius Caesar needed Cleopatra’s money, and Cleopatra needed the help of Caesar’s army to take control of Egypt from her husband/brother Ptolemy XIII.

7. Cleopatra’s husband/brother Ptolemy XIII died in the Battle of Nile in 47 B.C at the age of 15 fighting Caesar and Cleopatra’s forces.

8. After the death of her husband, Ptolemy XIII, Cleopatra maintained a private affair with Caesar that produced a son, Caesarion. He was Julius Caesar’s only son. Even though Cleopatra swears he is Caesar’s son, Caesar never officially acknowledged him.

9. After the death of her husband/brother, Ptolemy XIII, Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIV were married and declared joint rulers of Egypt. He was about 12 years old when he acceded to the throne.

10. After Caesar was assassinated in March of 44 B.C., Cleopatra stayed in Rome for more than a month, in the vain hope of having her son Caesarion being recognized as Caesar’s heir. Caesar’s will however named his grandnephew Octavian (Augustus) as his primary heir. Cleopatra decided to flee to Egypt around the time Octavian arrived in Italy.

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