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The Face of Cleopatra (Narration & Photoshop Reconstruction)

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Published on Nov 15, 2009

What did Cleopatra look like?

That's one of the most popular questions ever asked about this elusive Pharaoh. Unfortunately, no clear answer exists, as Cleopatra's image and reputation changed dramatically depending on who was telling the story.

When she WAS spoken of kindly, it was interesting to note how the subject of her appearance didn't really figure into the equation. Her strength of wit and personality made her stand out more than any other feature. The myth of her incredible guile and physical attractiveness was actually started partially as a slur against her by those who couldn't understand how she could be so successful and yet seemingly have so much going against her, as her Greek family tree made her a foreigner on Egyptian soil, which brought with it a degree of prejudice from the Egyptians.

Becoming allies (and lovers) with the great Julius Caesar and then later Marc Antony also fueled the conviction by her opposers that Cleopatra must possess incredible attractiveness and powers of persuasion to be able to seduce such powerful men, and the rumors began that she used these attributes to gain the upper hand in ALL her business dealings. A fascinating slur, and certainly one contrived to do the most damage to her reputation, but it's too simple a conclusion for so complex and savvy a ruler.

Cleopatra was a business woman and a diplomat and a charismatic public figure (not forgetting that she was also the mother of four children); yet the only image of her that might remain is on 1 of ten coins that have survived over 2,000 years after her death. Even these question her true appearance, but they suggest that beauty was NOT the trademark that made Cleopatra great. To me, this adds to the intrigue of her incredible story.

**This reconstruction, the same as any other, is only a gut-feeling guess based on research and cultural anthropology. Don't get too serious about details that even the most esteemed historians have been unable to prove.

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