Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Degree: Cleopatra VII, Pharaoh of Egypt

Maria Callas, Greek Diva
Much has been written of Cleopatra, but we know very little about her.  She was sexy and powerful, but not pretty.  Her hook nose as a bit large for her face, and her eyes probably had dark circles.  She probably resemble Maria Callas more than Elizabeth Taylor, but with a longer, more hooked nose.  The only portraits we have of her are from her coinage.
Cleopatra coin from her reign

Cleopatra was a Queen of the Ptolomeic Dynasty.  In accordance with Egyptian tradition, she married her brothers when they were Pharaoh, each in turn.  (for more on the incestuous tradition of the Pharaohs, see this post on King Tut) After the death of her last brother, she became Pharaoh outright.

She was famous for her lovers, especially the Romans, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.  She bore a child by Caesar, Caesarion Ptolomy, the heir to her throne.

Finding blood relations of Cleopatra is very difficult indeed.  Her line died out soon after her death.  Two of her three children died before she did.  Her family was very inbred.  She had just 4 (from a possible 16) great-grandparents and 6 great-great-grandparents (but two of those were descended from the other four).  For a clear family tree, go to Cleopatra's wikipedia article.  Her children would be very very sickly if they survived birth at all.  Her only hope for a reasonably healthy child was from one of her Roman lovers.

There is no tomb or mummy of Cleopatra to date.  Dr. Zahi Hawass (a regular figure on the blog,) thinks he's close to finding her tomb.  Dr. Hawass is 2 degrees from John Paul II, search his name in the sidebar.  He's in several posts.  But he's not yet a degree from Cleopatra.  Once there is better archeological progress on finding the real Cleopatra, I'll do a post on her.

Let's have a little fun and explore two of the women who have played Cleopatra in film.  Let's take them in chronological order; Claudette Colbert and Elizabeth Taylor.

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