Cleopatra Biography

Topics: Cleopatra VII, Mark Antony, Julius Caesar Pages: 5 (2060 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Cleopatra's Wiles
Mother, lover, warrior, femme-fatale. Mother of a country, lover of all that brings beauty, warrior of the state, femme-fatale over all men; this was Cleopatra Queen of the Nile. Cleopatra's intelligence, wit and beauty are still remembered and written about to this day. Born a Greek, Cleopatra adapted to the Egyptian ways and even learnt their native tongue, a feat which had not been ccomplished since the Ptolemies had first ruled. Although not a "true Egyptian", she utilized her tremendous aptitude and cunning female ways to gain and provide, for her country that she so loved. Cleopatra was a born ruler and did so with a flourish that would later be her undoing. Cleopatra's seductive, yet absolute ability to keep Egypt in the means of profit and gain was accomplished through her fabled beauty, cunning intelligence and political know how and intimate details of events surrounding her life. "He was moved by the beauty of the damsel, which was enhanced by the fact, being so fair, she seemed to have been wronged" (Florus). Cleopatra's beauty was and still is to this day said to have been quite memorable. In 49 BC Cleopatra was in dire straits and had to cross enemy borders in order to speak with Caesar. This brief occurrence in her history can give us a somewhat hazy view of Cleopatra's body size. (Fraser 36) If she was able to fit into Egypt's tightly rolled carpets this may imply that Cleopatra was small and lithe. This is just rationalization. Cleopatra may not have been attractive as it is suggested throughout history. Her supposed "beauty" may have been one of the rare instances where intelligence, wit and personality far excel over appearances. (George 960) Another reason for believing that Cleopatra may not have looked as thought, may have come from the coins that were minted for a very short time to celebrate Antony and Cleopatra's uniting. On the face of the coin Cleopatra is pictured being "fleshy of face and hooked nosed". This may have been true or it may have been, due to the artists lack of talent. (Shenkman webpg) Hellenistic coins on the other hand offer a more visually satisfying likeness. (George 961) It is thought that maybe the carvings of queens and pharaohs that are seen adorning walls all over Egypt may offer Cleopatra's portrait. This is not at all the case since these are just generalized carvings that are used to depict all rulers. (Perl 40) Thus it is almost impossible to have a visual idea of Cleopatra's beauty. Therefore we must rely upon the writings of people of her time. A man by the name of Appian wrote "Antony was amazed at her wit as well as her good looks..." (George 960). Another man by the name of Plutarch simply said "her actual beauty, it is said, was not in itself so remarkable that none could be compared with her...." (George 960). This writing does not, as it seems, suggest that Cleopatra was not fair off face rather all of them point to the fact that she was in that day, a very beautiful woman whom, combined with her personality, was a perfect queen idol. Cleopatra's coloring was another very bizarre and hard to exact fact. Ptolemies, Cleopatra's family, were Macedonian Greeks and their people had a wide range of hair and eyes shades, from light to dark. Their skin, too, could have been one of many light or dark shades. The precise skin, hair and eye color seems to depend on the source used. (George 961) Cleopatra's hair is a myth in its own right. She never wore her hair in bangs, in fact it was not long at all. Since wigs were the height of fashion and depicted your wealth, Cleopatra had her hair shaved extremely close to her scalp as too accommodate her many wigs nd to prevent any unwanted lice as well. Upon her bald head she wore a wig of tight curls. This common idea of Cleopatra having bangs first came into play when the first Hollywood movie was made about her life in 1934. The actress who played Cleopatra, Claudette Colbert, wore bangs...
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