Cleopatra Was Actually One Ugly Queen.

Academics studying ancient Roman coins with the images of Mark Antony and Cleopatra said that the pair are actually quite ugly:

According to the likenesses on opposite sides of the coin, Mark Antony had bulging eyes, a thick neck and a hooked nose, while Cleopatra had a sharp nose, a chin pointing upwards and thin lips.

Link - via Happy Ant


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Actually, ancient minting methods made for some rather excellent and accurate portraiture.

Cleopatra's lack of beauty is not news - we've known her face from coins for years.

Now, this portrait may not be accurate. Many times, provincial Roman coins were struck by makers who didn't even know what the current Emperor looked like. The accuracy of this coin can be gauged by how closely it fits in with other coins showing her face. Keep in mind that Antony and Cleopatra had to mint a lot of coins in a short period of time, to keep up with the pay requirements of his armies. This could have an effect on the quality of her portrait, as well.

It didn't really matter how beautiful she was, though. Power goes a long way to make up for prettiness.
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It is likely that Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII, actually) was rather plain by western standards. Her reputation of being a beautiful women, as well as the bulk of her temptress ways, are pretty much all the creations of romantic writers. She was likely desirable due to her great power, her influence, and the wealth of the territory she possessed.

More facts about Cleo: She wasn't Egyptian, but Greek by language and birth, descendant of Alexander's general Ptolemy I. Her very name is Greek - Cleo (glory) and Patra (father) = Father's Glory. She was the first ruler of Egypt in 300 years to actually bother to lean Egyptian.

Also, she was the last Pharaoh of Egypt.
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