Submit your own Neatorama post and vote for others' posts to earn NeatoPoints that you can redeem for T-shirts, hoodies and more over at the NeatoShop!

The Real Face of Cleopatra

Egyptologists worked for over a year to produce a digital 3D recreation of the face of Cleopatra, using ancient artifacts combined with modern imaging technology. The result is a beautiful face of mixed ethnicity.
Dr Ashton, of Cambridge University, said the images, to be broadcast as part of a Five documentary on Cleopatra, reflect the monarch's Greek heritage as well as her Egyptian upbringing.

'She probably wasn't just completely European. You've got to remember that her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power.'

Link -via Digg

(image credit: Image Foundry Studios, LTD)

I agree with the nose comments, but she is lovely, and power, make-up, and overall attitude could take this face from slightly above average to sultry and otherworldly. Its been admitted that Cleopatra was a genius with her make up and other skills...

I can never relate the computer generated face to the real world, they are just too cartoonish for me, but I have a friend who has similar features (who is stunning), and with the mixed ethnicity, she has genetic variability on her side.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I remember in the old Asterix and Obelix comics that I used to get as a kid that whenever they met Queen Cleopatra they would always say, "She has such a pretty nose, so pretty." :)

Instead of a graphic representation of her they really should've had a clay or plaster model of her face built as it would be a lot more easier on the eyes versus the shininess that we associate with CG renderings.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
From what we can tell from the coins and statuary left behind, Cleopatra (aka Cleopatra VII Philopater) wasn't much of a looker. Her nose was a -very- prominent feature, if we're to believe what was left behind in art and in description. She was the product of several generations of Hellenic inbreeding, as a part of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Given that her dynasty was very outspoken about their inbreeding (following the familial model of the pharaohs, doncha know), I wonder what evidence led this team of scholars to believe she was anything other than Hellenic.

Of course, it's would be a mistake -- even with her Greek background -- to call her "European" or to claim that she had "European" heritage. In the broadest sense, these people -- Egyptian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian -- saw themselves as bound by the Mediterranean. The uncivilized barbarians lived in Europe. That may seem like a fine point, but to call her heritage "European" projects a false identity onto her, one dictated by modern national identities and one that she would not have claimed for herself.

Back to Cleopatra herself: What is amazing is the level of intelligence, charisma, and political savvy that she possessed. She was also, in a time that arguably equated good looks more directly with the favor and endorsement of the gods, quite the seducer, despite her plain appearance. She must have been an amazing woman.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
what the hell is up with there bring no detail at all, whatsoever?
what exactly did they spend the year doing?
just looks like a bland cartoon...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
ew no way. I don't think she looked like that. facial reconstruction can only do so much, a lot of it is up to the person doing the reconstruction. take kennewick man for example, i really doubt he actually looked just like captain picard
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)

Wow, so you are saying that Greeks or Italian, the people that created most of modern European culture are not "truly" Europeans, that they can't claim an European heritage.

I don't know where you live and what sense of "European indentity" you have over there, but people in Europe (in ALL europe) consider Italians and Greeks as Europeans.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Cleopatra's contemporaries never considered physically stunning. It was her intelligence and charisma that drew people in. However "bad" this reconstruction is or isn't, I thought she would have turned out far more unattractive.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Jimmy: while I empathize with that sentiment, I believe that FARK is thatta-way...

Redphone: You just said what his last paragraph said. Thanks for playing.

Juanjux: you totally missed the point of what he was saying. Europe as we know it, the collective identity (if such a thing exists) of Europeans as they know it NOW did not exist THEN. Those living in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean saw that part of the world as the center of civilization and to say to them that they could be lumped in with the barbaric tribes to the north of them would be a great insult. Fast forward a few thousand years and that is no longer the case. Anyway, reading comprehension is a must, not a luxury, in the werld-wide webs. Try it sometime.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Ideals of beauty change over time.

It's weird to think that there were facial characteristics in the past that have pretty much died out. Take my cartoonish bulbous nose, I've never found another with my nose.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Sort of looks like the woman that played her in the tv series Rome. Is this new? I had always seen images of her looking similar to this. I didn't think anyone thought she was traditionally European looking.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I was told that Cleopatra was plain-looking, had bad teeth, and was obese. Most of the images of her were typical of the Egyptian art styles of the time: they took a lot of poetic license. Few self-respecting Egyptians or Greeks wanted to enter the afterlife looking like their real-life images, so all the statuary and trappings were done in a more "perfected" style.

And yes, this computer model is underwhelming it its rendering. Too cartoonish!

Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
The coins I've seen show her with a Wicked Witch of the West nose, sans wart.

This reconstruction is just a childish flight of fancy.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Byrd Brain,

I know how to read, thank you very much, maybe you should try to read again:

Of course, it’s would be a mistake — even with her Greek background — to call her “European” or to claim that she had “European” heritage

And while you're at it, and before give lessons to anybody, study a little of history, read a few clasics (you can start by Julius Caesar or Herodotus, they're easy to read), and understand that Italians and Greeks called the land where they lived EUROPA and called themselves (you can search on any clasic source you can find, for example on the accounts of the now famous battle of Thermopylae) and its barbaric friends EUROPEANS (Herodotus, book IV, XLIX), as oposed to Asians or Africans.

And while you're at it take a look at the geographical origin of some of the peoples that composed the greeks.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Why does it matter if she was European, African, Italian, Greek, etc. We get so boggled down with what someones ethinicity or race is/was as if to say your less of a person if your not of a certain race or culture. When you look at it all, as much as we want to think we have no links to each other we do. If we didn't you wouldn't see such features in different groups around the world. So you too could be my cousin. LOL
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
"And the result is creepy mid-90’s computer graphics.

Did they tap the guys who made the “Mind’s Eye” videos for this?"

/begin rant

I used to work for the company that made this monstrosity (I left a long time before this), and I never thought I would see the day they appeared on Neatorama. I just felt a little bit of puke come up into my mouth.

Anyone with any talent left Image Foundry Studios (which actually does architectural visuals when they aren't attempting bad facial reconstruction) as soon as they had the chance. Those who couldn't leave for greener pastures were soon made redundant when they moved the whole operation off to India. Clearly they haven't improved since.

If you check out their website you'll see that their talentless director compares HIMSELF to Benito Mussolini.

/end rant
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Looks nothing like the ancient marble busts of Cleopatra. Ancients never described her as beautiful. Most flattering comment was that she had a beautiful voice.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
One question---
How do you recreate a face without using at least part of the skull? Cleopatra has not been identified.
It looks like just another fantasy pic of her.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Somewhat resembles the pencil drawing by author Colleen McCullough for her The October Horse novel, though at least it doesn't have the lopsided right eye and mouth. True, all we have are coins and busts of her from her time or shortly after, so no way, without a skull or mummy, to really accurately portray her. She looks unattractive and masculine on the coins but the coins were also stylized portrayals probably intended to convey power and authority, and they are tiny images that lack the detail we can render today. So the coin images are probably not dependable either. Still, beautiful or not, she was probably not ugly and her beauty may have been mostly in her charm and charisma and intelligence.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Well if the latest discovery of Cleopatra's sister Asinoue is anything to go by, Cleopatra would of had a similar resemblance.

Asinoue who was recently discovered had a slight skeleton structure that was of a very slender frame for a female, and her skull was reconstructed to give an impression on how her family siblings might of looked.

After seeing her skull reconstruction it was pretty obvious that Cleopatra's family were quite attractive in facial appearance as Asinoue skull proved.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
she was black and also mixed with white not no asian the next cleopatra movie should star a woman of color because i truly beilive dis is wat she looked like
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Click here to access all of this post's 32 comments
Email This Post to a Friend
"The Real Face of Cleopatra"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More