Week 3: Cleopatra. The Queen of The Nile in history and popular culture

 The Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra in films and popular culture. Played by different actresses.

The Third Week on Pastiche.today is dedicated to the most famous, seductive and powerful woman in the history of mankind, to the Queen of Egypt - legendary Cleopatra. To this day the mysterious persona of Cleopatra excites the minds of writers, film directors, artists and advertising creatives. Interpretation of her fashion looks are often seen on runways and red carpet events. Often none of these popular culture images of Cleopatra are true to the history. Thus, Cleopatra stays the intriguing historical figure, almost mythological creature, making us wonder who she really was.

There are some interesting facts I discovered that are often overlooked and not as widely known to the public. Here are

TOP 5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT CLEOPATRA:

1. Cleopatra was one of the richest females in history

She became queen at the age of 17 or 18, and ruled Egypt with her father King Ptolemy XII Auletes. After his death she married her brothers as it was accustomed in pharaoh families. Later, during the 'game of thrones', Cleopatra put to death all her siblings, and became the only heir of Ptolemaic fortune. Today Cleopatra's wealth would equal around 100 billion dollars!

2. Cleopatra was a 'make-up guru'

It is impossible to imagine Cleopatra without her iconic bold make-up with striking eyeliner. The Egyptian queen was indeed a make up and beauty products expert. She liked to experiment with different products, and used mixes of different oils, iodine, iron oxide, seaweed, clay, henna and other ingredients for makeup. For example, to fill her beautiful brows and line the eyes, Cleopatra used Kohl - a cream made from the sheep's fat mixed with powdered lead. The Queen also had her own perfume factory near the Dead sea.

Moreover, Cleopatra was a scientist and researcher, and its is believed she wrote a book called Cosmetics. The book was a serious work about medicine and pharmacology, and also contained great beauty secrets.

 Cleopatra make up. Elizabeth Taylor

3. SHE WAS EXTRAORDINARY INTELLIGENT

Cleopatra was fluent in more than nine languages, including Greek, Arabic and Hebrew. (And I am here being proud of speaking five... Shame on me!). The Queen was also a mathematician, a scientist and was respected and highly appraised among everyone who was privileged to ever meet her. Moreover, she was charming, witty and a strong leader of Egypt. All these facts are greatly overlooked in our history as majority of the written knowledge about Cleopatra comes from enemy sources - Rome. Romans preferred to portray Cleopatra as a seductress and a mistress to powerful Roman men.

4. The Queen was magnificent, but not necessarily physically beautiful 

There is no doubt Cleopatra was an extraordinary woman, and was found irresistible by many men who looked upon on her. However, coins with her portrait, her ancient sculptures and writings about her that survived to these days, note that the Queen had strong jaw line, long nose and thin lips. Plutarch in his Life of Anthony wrote that Cleopatra's "beauty, as we are told, was in itself neither altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her." And that the Queen's real attractiveness was her wit, charm and "sweetness in the tones of her voice."

5. Cleopatra was a Tricktress 

Cleopatra presented herself as a living goddess, the reincarnation of Isis.  She often used stagecraft and tricks to impress her people and potential allies. Cleopatra carefully planned every entrance, and used a great deal of magnificent decor, rich clothing and surprise elements to reinforce her divine status.

One of the greatest examples was when she arrived on a golden boat adorned with purple sails and rowed by oars made of silver. The Queen was made up to look like the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, and she sat beneath a gilded canopy while attendants dressed as beautiful cupids fanned her and burned sweet -smelling incense. Antony - who considered himself the embodiment of the Greek God Dionysus - was smitten.

Cleopatra in Films:

Did you know that Cleopatra is the most played female in the history of cinema? Over 50 actresses has played the role of the legendary Queen only in the movies, and much more depicted her in the theatre plays, advertisements and music videos.

Here are the most well-known film depictions of Cleopatra:

 Cleopatra in films. All actress from silent movie to golden 40s and 50s. Vivien Leigh, Sophie Loren, Theda Bara and more
 Все актрисы сыгравшие Клеопатру в фильмах. Элизабет Тейлор и другие. Liz Taylor and other actresses who played Cleopatra in movies.
 Modern day Cleopatras. Film depictions. Actresses who played the queen of the Nile.