Was Cleopatra beautiful?

There are no paintings or statues that can be definitively credited to this queen, and yet she was described by historians as being physically alluring. Coins with her image that were struck in her time show a masculine face with a protruding nose – not (by our standards anyway) a woman who would stand out in a crowd for her good looks. Was this an actual likeness or was she depicted in this manner in order to legitimatize the authority of this youthful pharaoh?   Certainly, previous male Ptolemy rulers were shown in a similar vigorous and powerful style. Jean-Leon-Gerome on Wiki Commons asks – ‘it is important to keep in mind that ancient ideals of beauty were quite different to those of the modern Western world. For example, ancient Greek depictions of the beautiful love goddess Aphrodite invariably show a full-bodied woman with a prominent nose; a woman who modern society would probably advise to lose weight and get a nose job!’ We know that Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, both powerful men and supposedly casanovas, were enraptured by Cleopatra. It seems certain that powerful men such as these two would be attracted not only to her physical appearance but also to her intelligence, charisma, and wit. Travel to Egypt with Dr. Bob Brier and Far Horizons!

Leave a Reply