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Thread: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

  1. #81

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Well, they could, and did. Because they weren't really interested in history as much as they were in making racially motivated points. It was official doctrine under Ian Smith, and academics who challenged it risked being sacked. Or at least told to go get their colouring books. Ian Smith didn't have a colouring book.

  2. #82

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    you seem upset victrix,bad day at school?

  3. #83
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by parthian8 View Post
    Well, they could, and did. Because they weren't really interested in history as much as they were in making racially motivated points. It was official doctrine under Ian Smith, and academics who challenged it risked being sacked. Or at least told to go get their colouring books. Ian Smith didn't have a colouring book.
    Sounds pretty crazy. Anyone with two brain cells would know that the ruins of Great Zimbabwe don't resemble Portuguese or for that matter Phoenician architecture, not even in the slightest. While this topic is a fascinating one, worthy to go in the Vestigia Vetustatis forum for its own thread, let's get back on topic here with Cleopatra.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarpedon21 View Post
    you seem upset victrix,bad day at school?
    Hey, keep supplying the posts pal. It only bumps my thread to the top of the stack. Keep the hate mail coming!



    I don't see that coloring book, yet. I want to be impressed and make sure you got all the crayon marks within the line drawings. I want to be proud of my boy! Show us all the hard work you've done.
    Last edited by Roma_Victrix; April 17, 2018 at 04:39 PM. Reason: picture from memegenerator sucks and stalls the page, changing pic

  4. #84

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Gentlemen, that's quite enough of that.
    It began on seven hills - a historical house-ruled Romani AAR
    Heirs to Lysimachos - a semi-historical Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR
    Philetairos' Gift - a second attempt at an Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR


  5. #85

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Egyptian also wasn't the only foreign language learned by Cleopatra. She learned how to speak Latin, obviously, but also knew Median, Parthian Iranian, Ethiopian, Syriac, Hebrew (or Aramaic), and Arabic.
    Plutarch actually said ...she very seldom had need of an interpreter, but made her replies to most of them herself and unassisted, whether they were Ethiopians, Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes or Parthians. This doesn't necessarily mean she spoke seven languages. Hebrew and Median were by her time both useless for diplomacy, like trying to deal with modern Chinese officials using Manchu. The Parthians, Hebrews and Arabians (Nabateans probably) would all have used Aramaic or Greek, Arabic having a much more restricted number of speakers at this time. The Troglodytes are a semi-mythical race of cave dwellers, but usually indicate people living on the Red Sea coast or Libya. Ethiopia is likewise vague for Roman writers, so she might have known an archaic form of Beja, Meroitic, Old Nubian (if that's not the same) Libyco-Berber and/or whatever they spoke in the successor states to "D'mt".
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  6. #86

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Good point, Elmetiacos. Hadn't thought about that.

    Roma - sadly, I don't have any pictures of that bust.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Gentlemen, that's quite enough of that.
    Maybe somebody could just change the thread title.

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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmetiacos View Post
    Plutarch actually said ...she very seldom had need of an interpreter, but made her replies to most of them herself and unassisted, whether they were Ethiopians, Troglodytes, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes or Parthians. This doesn't necessarily mean she spoke seven languages. Hebrew and Median were by her time both useless for diplomacy, like trying to deal with modern Chinese officials using Manchu. The Parthians, Hebrews and Arabians (Nabateans probably) would all have used Aramaic or Greek, Arabic having a much more restricted number of speakers at this time. The Troglodytes are a semi-mythical race of cave dwellers, but usually indicate people living on the Red Sea coast or Libya. Ethiopia is likewise vague for Roman writers, so she might have known an archaic form of Beja, Meroitic, Old Nubian (if that's not the same) Libyco-Berber and/or whatever they spoke in the successor states to "D'mt".
    That's a quality post indeed!

    Was Plutarch the only ancient historian/primary source to mention this? From what I have seen, virtually every modern academic who has mentioned this topic says she spoke these languages. Surely Cassius Dio or someone else mentioned it in passing at least. Right?

  8. #88

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    That's a quality post indeed!

    Was Plutarch the only ancient historian/primary source to mention this? From what I have seen, virtually every modern academic who has mentioned this topic says she spoke these languages. Surely Cassius Dio or someone else mentioned it in passing at least. Right?
    It's Plutarch who lists those nations, which more recent writers have interpreted as meaning one language for each one. Cassius Dio didn't like her much did he?
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  9. #89
    Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ's Avatar Yeah science!
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    The thing that was notable about Cleopatra was that unlike most of her predecessors, she appears to have made a genuine effort to learn about native culture and religion. Most other Ptolemaic rulers seem to have treated it as little more than something to pay lip service to for their sinecures.
    There's just one thing people forget when they speak about Cleopatra's respect for the Egyptians. By the time she became a queen, Ptolemaic dynasty had lost both Cyprus and Cyrenaica, not to mention Aegean, Anatolian and Levantine possessions which all contained a lot of Greeks or people who spoke good Koine like the Phoenician city-state dwellers. All she had left is one big (Alexandria) and one small (Naukratis) city with a lot of Greeks. That said Alexandria, just like Antioch most likely had a huge non-Greek minority. She needed the Egyptians and without a large foreign element in Egypt itself there was the need to step up the propaganda and soft influence because unlike her predecessors she couldn't rely on using Greeks in addition to Thracians, Galatians and other auxiliaries.
    "First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure." - Mark Twain

    οὐκ ἦν μὲν ἐγώ, νῦν δ' εἰμί∑ τότε δ' ούκ ἔσομαι, ούδέ μοι μελήσει

  10. #90

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ View Post
    There's just one thing people forget when they speak about Cleopatra's respect for the Egyptians. By the time she became a queen, Ptolemaic dynasty had lost both Cyprus and Cyrenaica, not to mention Aegean, Anatolian and Levantine possessions which all contained a lot of Greeks or people who spoke good Koine like the Phoenician city-state dwellers. All she had left is one big (Alexandria) and one small (Naukratis) city with a lot of Greeks. That said Alexandria, just like Antioch most likely had a huge non-Greek minority. She needed the Egyptians and without a large foreign element in Egypt itself there was the need to step up the propaganda and soft influence because unlike her predecessors she couldn't rely on using Greeks in addition to Thracians, Galatians and other auxiliaries.
    That's a good point, Ptolemaic Egypt was much-reduced by the time she came to power, so there may have been an element of realpolitik in pandering to the natives.

    Interesting you mention Naukratis (which means "sea power"), that predated Alexander as a "Greek" city in Egypt, it was where mercenaries and eventually trades from Greece (primarily from the Aegean islands) were allowed to post themselves.
    It began on seven hills - a historical house-ruled Romani AAR
    Heirs to Lysimachos - a semi-historical Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR
    Philetairos' Gift - a second attempt at an Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR


  11. #91
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    That's a good point, Ptolemaic Egypt was much-reduced by the time she came to power, so there may have been an element of realpolitik in pandering to the natives.
    That's a safe conclusion, considering how her brother Ptolemy XIII (or rather his childhood tutor and palace eunuch overlord Potheinos) repeatedly tried to undermine Cleopatra's relationship with the Egyptian priesthood and general populace. For instance, diverting all grain to the capital Alexandria on pain of death while Cleopatra was out and about on a sightseeing tour in Upper Egypt, paying homage to the Egyptian gods. That must have soured the mood of the journey. It certainly led to civil war soon after.

    Interesting you mention Naukratis (which means "sea power"), that predated Alexander as a "Greek" city in Egypt, it was where mercenaries and eventually trades from Greece (primarily from the Aegean islands) were allowed to post themselves.
    Naukratis, along with Alexandria and Ptolemais Hermiou were the only Greek city-states of Egypt, considered legally separate from the entire country and having citizenship only for its Greek populace like any other city-state in Greece. Greeks who lived outside of these places in the rest of Egypt were considered resident aliens and were allowed to marry Egyptian women if they wanted, but were forbidden and barred from doing so if they lived in these three Greek city-states! Stanley M. Burstein (2004) provides an excellent summary of this legal and social arrangement of Ptolemaic Egypt. So basically, aside from mercenaries like the Galatians and Gabiniani, there was a small pool of ethnic Greeks that could be recruited from a handful of Greek-style poleis in Egypt. Yet the vast majority of the country was a reservoir for mustering Egyptian manpower, although not relied upon in great numbers until the latter half of the Ptolemaic period when migrations from the Greek mainland basically dried up (as Greece itself was sucked into the orbit of the Roman Republic).

    Quote Originally Posted by Elmetiacos View Post
    It's Plutarch who lists those nations, which more recent writers have interpreted as meaning one language for each one. Cassius Dio didn't like her much did he?
    Or perhaps Cassius Dio didn't have the same primary sources at his disposal as Plutarch did. Cassius Dio also showed a more hazy understanding of the Hellenistic period than Plutarch, which is reasonable considering the greater passage of time. In regards to surviving historiographic works on Cleopatra, I would hardly place Cassius Dio into the camp of the rabidly anti-Cleopatra authors and historians. For instance, the account by Josephus was far more negative, although the reasons for that bias are obvious, relying on the account of Nicolaus of Damascus, who worked for Herod's court (and Herod was a partisan against Cleopatra).

  12. #92
    Ἀπολλόδοτος Α΄ ὁ Σωτήρ's Avatar Yeah science!
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Well the city was still prominent during the Hellenistic Era although the foundation of Alexandria made it lose its commercial importance.
    "First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure." - Mark Twain

    οὐκ ἦν μὲν ἐγώ, νῦν δ' εἰμί∑ τότε δ' ούκ ἔσομαι, ούδέ μοι μελήσει

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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    I just added my recently-made Youtube video to the OP! Check it out. And if you like it, feel free to follow the link and give it a thumbs up.



    Also, the article Cleopatra on Wikipedia is currently a Featured Article Candidate! Feel free to review it and provide your thoughts:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipe...patra/archive1

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra

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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Well, well, well. It seems as though my work in uploading and placing the image of Cleopatra from the Roman painting from the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at Pompeii into various Wikipedia articles (and found at Wikimedia Commons) is finally paying off. It is now shown for a brief moment in other Youtube videos such as this one:



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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Small note (deviating slightly from the OP): I am genuinely struck by how much the woman on the left, hailing from the region of Macedonia in northern Greece, looks like Cleopatra in her Berlin bust made by a contemporary Roman sculptor:

    https://www.quora.com/Is-Cleopatra-black-in-real-life



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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    For anyone who may be interested, I just updated the OP with a couple more images. Enjoy!

    Cleopatra and Caesarion, wearing royal diadems and attended to by servants as Cleo commits suicide by poisoning, in a fresco from the House of Giuseppe II at Pompeii dated to the early 1st century AD:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...ing_poison.jpg


    Posthumous painted portrait of Cleopatra from Herculaneum dated to the early 1st century AD (before Herculaneum was destroyed in 79 AD by Mt Vesuvius), depicting Cleopatra with red hair, her Greek royal diadem, melon-style hairdo, and studded pearl earrings:
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...1127162%29.jpg


    In regards to Cleo's royal iconography, here's the insightful article from the Art Institute of Chicago about the unique fusion of Hellenistic Greek and Roman coinage traditions, and what these changes had to say about Cleopatra and Antony's larger messages to the public (especially when aimed at the cantankerous, volatile population of Alexandrian Greeks who were quick to form mobs and oust ruling Ptolemaic kings/queens, including Cleopatra's own father Auletes, if they displeased the urban rabble in one way or another):

    https://publications.artic.edu/roman...510/print_view
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Institute of Chicago, Cat. 22 Tetradrachm Portraying Queen Cleopatra VII
    It is indicative of the nature of Roman civilization that this catalogue of Roman coins should include this coin, the denomination and language of which are not Roman. Issued by Mark Antony in partnership with Cleopatra VII, this [glossary:tetradrachm] speaks of her wide-ranging and daring plan to create a new Egyptian empire in the East, aided by the power of Rome. The greatest risk of the undertaking was that control within Rome was being contested and Cleopatra needed to choose the winning side in order to succeed—and survive.

    The creation of the triumvirate of Mark Antony, Octavian Caesar, and Lepidus in 43 B.C. transformed the nature of the Roman Republic, but it was not yet clear how—or from where—the new Rome would be ruled. The “Liberators” Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar, had established themselves in Rome’s eastern provinces, but they did not manage to get the backing of Egypt’s ruler (and Julius Caesar’s lover), Cleopatra VII. The triumvirate’s first order of business was thus to recover the East and keep the wealth of Egypt within reach of Rome, while Cleopatra needed to dexterously manage the interests of Rome in order to keep her siblings and other potential rivals at bay and to secure the independent future of Egypt.

    After the battle of Philippi (42 B.C.) sealed the doom of the Liberators, Antony claimed the East as his responsibility and his power base. Already tensions with Octavian had pushed Antony to strive for a spectacular and definitive victory that would solidify his support among the Senate and the people of Rome. His ambitious goal was to reconquer Parthia; for that he needed the strategic support of Egypt. For her part, Cleopatra planned to use the divisions within Rome for her own purpose: to restore the ancient extent of the Ptolemaic empire, which once had stretched from Cyrene to southern Asia Minor. After Philippi the [glossary:triumvir] and the queen met in Tarsus to discuss their collaboration. Antony tracked down and executed Cleopatra’s sister (and rival) ArsinoŽ; Cleopatra bore Antony twins. It was four years before their paths crossed again.1

    As relations with Octavian deteriorated and his own military efforts remained underwhelming, Antony was desperate for money and ships. In 37 B.C., though not yet divorced from Octavia, he and Cleopatra wed in a union recognized in Greek lands but not in Rome. A costly and inconclusive military campaign in Parthia was followed by a modest victory in Armenia, which Cleopatra and Antony celebrated in 34 B.C. as a “triumph” in Alexandria. During this victory celebration—an imitation of the Roman triumphs, which were the prerogative of the Senate to bestow—Antony, Cleopatra, and Cleopatra’s four children dressed as Hellenistic Egyptian deities. Antony had already been hailed in Athens as the New Dionysos, and he reprised the role here, assimilated to Osiris. Cleopatra assumed her traditional role of Isis, and their twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, appeared as the Sun and the Moon. Their youngest son, Ptolemy Philadelphus, just two years old, was dressed as one of the Diadochoi, the successors of Alexander, according to Plutarch.2 Cleopatra’s eldest son, Ptolemy Caesar, called Caesarion, was promoted as the son and rightful heir of Julius Caesar. Here the clear implication was that Antony’s rival Octavian, the posthumously adopted son of Julius Caesar, was an impious usurper, and that the wealth and political capital he claimed to inherit justly belonged to Caesarion, Julius Caesar’s natural son. Antony in this way could pose as the real protector of Caesarion, surely hoping to curry favor with Romans. As Roman [glossary:consul] and triumvir, Antony then declared Cleopatra to be Queen of Kings of the eastern regions and her children Kings of Kings.3 This, in contrast, was not going to enchant the Romans, but Antony needed Cleopatra. In this Donation of Alexandria, Antony claimed to restore Ptolemaic rule over large parts of former Roman provinces, from Cyrene to Parthia and Armenia, as well as some neighboring kingdoms. Antony’s authority to so bestow these lands was rather shaky. Underscoring the weakness of his situation is the fact that although he was the consort of the queen and the father of three of her children, Antony did not enjoy an official position in the Donation or elsewhere in the power structure Cleopatra foresaw for Egypt.

    The Donation of Alexandria was a great shock to Rome, and shortly afterward, in 32 B.C., the public scandal of Antony’s divorce from the long-suffering Octavia lost Antony the rest of Rome’s dwindling support.4 Back in Rome, Octavian read Antony’s purported will in the Senate, letting it be known to the public that Antony was willing to allow himself, and Rome, be ruled by a woman—and a foreign woman at that.5 This final breach between the two former allies led to the battle of Actium the following year, the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra, and the gradual creation of the principate. Though the Republic was not officially pronounced dead (indeed, Octavian would claim to restore the Republic), from this point on Rome would essentially be ruled not by an elected senate but by a prince ([glossary:princeps], chief). For Cleopatra and Egypt, it meant the end of more than 350 years of Ptolemaic rule, as well as the end of her brilliant and storied life.

    This coin gives no indication of mint, though several active mints in Syria are possible sources; from there, the coins may have circulated freely in Rome’s eastern provinces.6 The date is equally vague since the reference to Antony’s third acclamation as [glossary:imperator] only narrows it down to 38–32 B.C.; the lack of Cleopatra’s eventual title Queen of Kings may suggest that the coin is earlier than the Donation of Alexandria of 34 B.C.7

    A particular fascination of this coin lies in the way that it reflects the complex manipulations and redefinitions of cultural and political identity during these years. It is useful to compare this tetradrachm to other coins minted by Antony and his rivals at this time. Double-headed types had appeared recently in some issues (denarii and tetradrachms) of the triumvirs and others who thought they might have a chance at ruling Rome. These two-headed coins articulated political and cultural associations as well as dynastic relationships of the individuals depicted on the coins.8 An earlier tetradrachm of Antony and his wife Octavia from Ephesus (possibly), included in this catalogue,9 shows how this worked: while the denomination (tetradrachm) and cultural referent ([glossary: Dionysian Mysteries]) are local and seem to celebrate Rome’s appreciation of the culture and religion of the Hellenistic East, the coin also trumpeted Antony’s collaboration with Octavian (sealed by his marriage to Octavian’s sister) and announced Antony’s official Roman titles in Latin (in the nominative case, as is usual on Roman coins). Curiously, the coin is minted backward by local standards: on civic tetradrachms of the Hellenistic East, the issuing authority should appear on the reverse of the coin. But Antony’s portrait is here on the obverse, and Octavia’s on the reverse. Certainly Octavia did not issue this coin: perhaps the layout reflects Roman cultural norms of male dominance and the perceived reality of Rome’s political and military dominance over the East. At any rate, the authority of Rome is strongly in evidence.

    The present tetradrachm was also meant to circulate in the same areas where the earlier coins of Antony did—areas that had once been part of the Ptolemaic empire. Antony was in desperate need of money to pay for the Parthian campaign. Cleopatra joined Antony in Antioch in 37–36 B.C., supplying him with the funds he needed; this coin was issued to pay his troops and suppliers, and perhaps also to celebrate the marriage, which probably took place at this time. Cleopatra’s head is here on the obverse, and this time the inscription is in Greek, not Latin. Antony officially still held [glossary:imperium] over Rome’s eastern provinces, a power that gave him authority over the mints.10 Therefore his portrait and his titles are properly on the reverse of the coin—the normal place where the issuing authority is identified on provincial coinage. Cleopatra is honored on the obverse, but is not the issuing authority. Yet it is interesting to ponder how this coin would be read by those into whose hands it fell. Would locals and Roman soldiers assume that Cleopatra was now Antony’s equal—or even his superior?11 Would they recognize the legal subtlety of the declaration of Rome’s authority on the reverse, or would they assume that Cleopatra was the “head” in power?12

    The Greek inscriptions on the coin seem straightforward enough, but only add to the ambiguity. To begin with, they reflect a curious creeping of Roman coin production habits. Though the inscriptions on both sides are in Greek, they are both in the nominative case, simply naming the individuals represented on the coin, and they are written around the periphery of the coin. This is typical of Roman coins.13 Hellenistic coinage was inscribed in the genitive case, proclaiming the coin to be, for example, “of Queen Cleopatra,” and the inscriptions were usually written across the coin either horizontally or vertically or both. The use of Roman-style inscriptions (though Greek in language and script) on both sides of this coin suggests the extent to which it reflects a hybridization of Hellenistic and Roman culture, at least at the numismatic level.14 But is this a thoughtless combination of styles, or is there a reason for the odd choice?

    On the reverse we find ANTωNIOC (Antonios) AYTOKPATωP TPITON (autocrator triton, imperator for the third time) TPIωN ANΔPωN (trion andron, triumvir).15 The titles, though in Greek, are traditionally Roman, bestowed by the Senate, and constitute the authority by which he could mint coins. There is no mention of any royal claims or local honorifics, such as identification as the New Dionysos, an honor given to Antony in Athens and Ephesus. The inscription, however, is in the nominative case, as is typical of Roman coins, instead of in the genitive, which would recognize the authority issuing a Greek coin. The effect of this is that Antony is simply identified here, rather than identified as the actual issuing authority—a subtlety that may or may not have been lost on all but the mint officials involved. The unobjectionable titles are accompanied by a modest lack of any visual claims of power, such as laurel or oak wreaths.

    The obverse is even more cryptic: BACIΛICCA KΛEOΠATPA ΘEA NEωTEPA. This could be read as identifying Queen (Basilissa) Cleopatra as the “younger goddess” (Thea Neotera), though exactly to whom this cult might refer is unclear. Cleopatra’s long-established identification with the goddess Isis was already strong and politically useful, so any benefits of an identification with an unnamed goddess are equally mysterious. More likely, the title is evidence that the queen of Egypt was engineering a careful reinvention of herself as the new incarnation of her ancestress Cleopatra Thea, who as wife of three Seleucid kings became the Ptolemaic queen of Syria from 125 to 121 B.C. This interpretation is reinforced by the fact that other coins of Cleopatra in Syria and Phoenicia that indicate the year of issue use a different dating system from that used in Egypt: this dating era begins with Antony’s grant of Syrian lands to Cleopatra in 37 B.C. Together, this evidence points to Cleopatra’s aims to combine the dynastic claims of two successors of Alexander the Great—Ptolemy and Seleucus—and to renew the Egyptian Empire.16 In contradistinction to Antony’s portrait, Cleopatra is not depicted bareheaded. She wears the royal [glossary:diadem], as worn by the successors of Alexander the Great. Antony may have had the authority to mint this coin, but the power and the wealth were Cleopatra’s. This coin seems to telegraph the realpolitik of the situation.

    Visually, the impact of the two portraits takes a moment to sink in. The popular press today occasionally finds an opportunity to note that the famous seductress Cleopatra must have been “no beauty queen”17 and that her allure must rather have been due to her intelligence, charm, and perhaps some less innocent attractions. However, Cleopatra’s portrait on this coin, as well as Antony’s, is consistent with the other evidence: she is on a mission to identify herself as the rightful heir of the great Ptolemaic dynasty. Understanding and even identifying the portraiture of the Ptolemaic queens is fraught with difficulties, since the function of the image; the relative influences of Hellenistic, Roman, and Egyptian art; and deliberate archaism all conspire to present images of the ruler that may not bear much semblance to the ruler herself.18 This is, of course, completely apart from the loaded, subjective, and culturally conditioned question of what constitutes female beauty.19

    Cleopatra’s portraits on her coins (or coins minted for her, such as this one) show different views of the queen, just as Antony’s portraits vary over time and from region to region. While sculptures identified as Cleopatra seem generally to reflect either a hieratic Egyptian or a Hellenistic, idealized image, the coin images seem to show almost a different woman (see fig. 22.1). On this coin, her strongly aquiline nose, powerful neck, and heavy brow signal a nearly masculine power and seriousness, while the elaborate, bejeweled garment she wears and the pendant pearl earring announce her royal magnificence. It is natural to want to know which image is more “real,” the softer Hellenized images or this coin portrait with its apparently exaggerated features. As with the sculpted portraits, and for much the same reasons, the question is not simple. On this coin, the striking similarity of the obverse and reverse portraits may present a clue. Antony’s portrait resembles other images of him just enough to be recognizable, just as Cleopatra’s differs from other images of her, while at the same time the two portraits have grown remarkably similar to each other. The visual assimilation of members of a ruling family to each other is a common enough phenomenon, a way to emphasize their harmony, strength, or legitimacy (see, for example, cat. 24, Solidus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Constantine I). The question here is who is being assimilated to whom. Arguments have been made for Cleopatra’s portrait’s being modeled on that of her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, though again his own public portraits may have been influenced by Roman examples.20 More convincing on visual and political grounds is the similarity of her portrait to that of ArsinoŽ II, daughter of Ptolemy I and wife of her own brother, Ptolemy II—and indeed, similarity to their portraits as well (see fig. 22.2 and fig. 22.3). Cleopatra did, on occasion, adopt the double [glossary:uraeus] crown and double cornucopia characteristic of her ancestor ArsinoŽ, so we know she identified herself with that great queen.21 The Ptolemy family resemblance is pronounced, and on this coin not only Cleopatra but her consort Antony “sport [the] splendidly beaked noses and protruding chins”22 so familiar from the faces of her ancestors, the craggy-visaged Macedonian founders of the dynasty and the empire Cleopatra wished to revive.

    Sacrificing vanity for power, Cleopatra clearly did not care whether she looked beautiful on the coins (whatever that meant in her world), or even if she looked much like herself. A notable resemblance to her ancestors who ruled the vast eastern lands she now claimed, through the Donation of Alexandria, was more useful. Antony too, as imperator over the region and thus the issuing authority, would have had a say in the depiction of his profile; his likeness is more recognizable on other coinage (such as cat. 31, Denarius (Coin) Portraying Mark Antony) and presumably he acquiesced to this image. Here his artificial resemblance to Cleopatra (and thus to the Ptolemies) is baldly manifest. He must have deemed it politically expedient. Since his position within the Ptolemaic dynasty was so new and unfamiliar, this was a way to visually integrate himself into the royal family in the consciousness of the Syrians.23 After all, he was no longer merely a triumvir and commander of the Roman armies in the East—he had gambled his future on Egypt and Cleopatra.
    Last edited by Roma_Victrix; June 01, 2018 at 11:17 AM. Reason: fixing text to remove accidental smiley emoticon

  17. #97
    Clint_Eastwood's Avatar Civis
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Wat do ya mean, cleo does not look like Elizabeth Taylor!!! Bah that’s my hopes now dashed. I think the Egyptian chicks of that era looked more Persian than North African.

  18. #98
    Outcast's Avatar Civis
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    I'm pretty sure cleopatra was somewhere between White/Northern African. Yeah she was Macedonian, but then again I'm pretty sure macedonians did not look 100% white as a snow

    She at the very least was not black or indian looking of course, you need to be Afrocentrist level braindead to assume that

  19. #99
    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint_Eastwood View Post
    Wat do ya mean, cleo does not look like Elizabeth Taylor!!! Bah that’s my hopes now dashed. I think the Egyptian chicks of that era looked more Persian than North African.
    This is basically what actual native ethnic Egyptians looked like, from the Fayum Mummy Portraits of Roman Egypt, dating roughly from the 1st to 3rd centuries AD. While facial features and skin tones in previous native Egyptian art are hard to distinguish given the very highly stylistic nature of their art (with exceptions like the Nefertiti Bust), the Greco-Roman realism of these portraits makes it quite clear how they appeared. They look quite similar to modern Egyptians, to be honest (i.e. brown people/olive-skinned people, but with generic North African/Caucasian features).



    Quote Originally Posted by Outcast View Post
    I'm pretty sure cleopatra was somewhere between White/Northern African. Yeah she was Macedonian, but then again I'm pretty sure macedonians did not look 100% white as a snow
    Well, this is her ancestor Berenice II in a mosaic of the 3rd century BC and she looks pretty damn pale to me:



    This is Alexander the Great and Hephaestion, from the 4th-century BC Stag Hunt Mosaic:



    And these are soldiers and aristocrats of the Kingdom of Macedon in the late 4th century BC:



    And this is a 4th-century BC Macedonian Greek depiction of deities, the Abduction of Persephone by Pluto (notice the deliberately blonde/red hair):



    Yeah. I rest my case.

    She at the very least was not black or indian looking of course, you need to be Afrocentrist level braindead to assume that
    Pretty much.

  20. #100

    Default Re: Cleopatra was white and I can prove it

    People are forgetting how inbred the Ptolemaioi were (look at the progressive degeneration of the faces on their coinage), they didn't mix with the natives. They didn't even mix with imported Greeks, for the most part.
    It began on seven hills - a historical house-ruled Romani AAR
    Heirs to Lysimachos - a semi-historical Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR
    Philetairos' Gift - a second attempt at an Epeiros-as-Pergamon AAR


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