Over the years Hollywood has portrayed Cleopatra as a beautiful temptress and mainly focused on her famous love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The fact is she was not that good looking but was a highly intelligent woman who used her amazing persuasive powers to try and prevent Egypt being taken over by the Romans.
It is an oxymoron to say that queen Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Egypt, because she was not an Egyptian. She was a Macedonian Greek descended from Ptolemy the first, a Greek general of Alexander the Great. She was the only pharaoh in the 300-year Ptolemaic dynasty who could actually speak Egyptian. In fact she spoke nine languages but not, strangely, Latin -despite her close involvement with Latin men. There were seven women named Cleopatra in the dynasty. Even one of her sisters was named Cleopatra. That's why she was officially known as Cleopatra VII. Whether she was physically beautiful is subject to debate. Coins of the time depict a woman with a hooked nose and masculine features. But she obviously had strong charisma and a very attractive, a symbol of her vibrant personality.
Her legendary first meetings with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony are still talked about. She staged various major attractions to impress them, such as her romantic royal barge tours along the Nile River. Cleopatra was delighted in the thought that she has caught Antony like a fish. This metaphor never grows old, even in our time. One thing is for certain, in matters of love, as in all things, Cleopatra favored high drama: her emotions were as volatile as they were theatrical, and, regardless of whether her audience was her handmaid or the emperor of Rome, she always offered a top-notch performance.
Although she used to...