One of the most decadent and powerful women of ancient Egypt, none other than Cleopatra, has been depicted in Hollywood for decades. How much of that is true? We don’t know how much more there is. Some facts about her life are well known, like her affair with Julius Caesar or her romance with Mark Antony, but others aren’t as well known.
Vote for the ones you’re glad to have learned, and check out the interesting facts about Cleopatra.
1. There is a document with her writing.
From Redditor u/Captain-Janeway:
The document featuring Cleopatra’s handwriting went on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. A document refers to a tax break for a friend of her husband. It was signed by Cleopatra with a Greek word. There are two bits of paper that they believe to be written on by Cleopatra, given the time period and context of what else is on the paper. The Greek word for “Make it happen” is on the bottom of the parchment, which is suspected to be from Cleopatra.
2. Cleopatra was well-educated and a linguist.
From Redditor u/OMG__Ponies:
Cleopatra, who was born Egyptian, may have been more well-known for her intellectual prowess than her appearance. She was a well-educated ruler who elevated the ranks of scholars and enjoyed their company. The Egyptian queen is often remembered for her promiscuous ways because of her intelligence. She was multi-lingual and studied many subjects. She would have had plenty of time to learn since Ptolemaic Alexandria was the most important place for learning in the ancient world.
3. Cleopatra was Greek.
From Redditor u/Amcal:
Cleopatra was not an Egyptian. Cleopatra traced her family roots to Macedonian Greece and Ptolemy I Soter. Alexander died in 323 B.C. The dynasty of Greek-speaking rulers lasted for three centuries. Cleopatra was actually Greek. Ptolemy’s dynasty was founded by Greek speakers who were not interested in learning the native tongue of the country they ruled. One of the few people in that family tree who learned the Egyptian language was Cleopatra.
4. Her tomb still hasn’t been found.
From Redditor u/zachar3:
The tomb of Cleopatra has not been found yet. Archeologists believe they must be closing in on her resting location despite evading discovery for 2,000 years. Most scholars have concluded that she was not buried in the ruined temple site west of Alexandria.
5. Cleopatra’s eyeliner was medicinal.
From Redditor u/channel_hopper:
The lead salt found in Cleopatra’s eyeliner helped protect her against eye disease. Lead salts were used in make-up in ancient Egypt. Recent studies have shown that small amounts of lead around the eyes may have had health benefits. The lead compounds in make-up may have been used to promote immune cells.
6. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra had a son.
From Redditor u/Dangerrios:
Caesarion is most likely the son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, and there have been arguments about his parentage throughout history. Ptolemy Philopator Caesar went by Caesarion, which means “Little Caesar”. Caesarion was killed at the age of 17 in order to destroy a potential rival.
7. The Great Pyramid was not as close to the moon as Cleopatra was.
From Redditor u/rainboweverywhere:
After the building of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, Cleopatra was born. She was born 2,038 years before the US landed on the moon, which means she lived closer to modern times than the period with which she is sometimes associated. This is a testament to the length of Egyptian history.
8. Cleopatra’s family tree is down to a couple.
From a former Redditor:
Cleopatra was born of a lot of incest. Her family tree collapsed to a single couple due to the fact that there were 3 brother-sister marriages and 3 uncle-niece marriages within 4 generations.
Many royal families of that time had a lot of incest, but Cleopatra’s family tree isn’t completely known. She was born to a father who was the same as her mother.
9. Cleopatra’s descendants were powerful rulers in their own right.
From Redditor u/LupusLycas:
Julia Maesa, the ruler of Rome, is one of the descendants of Cleopatra, ruler of Egypt. While Caesarion was cut down in his youth, Cleopatra had some powerful descendants. Julia Maesa and Zenobia have a connection to the Egyptian queen.
10. She married her brothers.
From Redditor u/Demid3v:
Cleopatra probably married her brother before rejecting him as a co-ruler. The incestuous relationship did not raise a lot of eyebrows at the time. The Ptolemaic Pharaohs ruled with their wives. The tradition is that Cleopatra married her brother after her father died. He was 10 and she was 18. She became lovers with the occupying foreigner, Julius Caesar, even though she didn’t officially reject her brother as co-ruler. After Caesar’s assassination, Cleopatra returned to Egypt with the intent of regaining the throne. She married her younger brother to preserve continuity. The second co-ruler died after Caesar.
11. She took her own life.
From Redditor u/birdlawyer85:
Cleopatra committed suicide. She was taken prisoner after the defeat of Cleopatra and Antony’s naval forces. She took her own life after her capture and is accused of inducing an asp to bite her.
12. Cleopatra was a plain-looking woman.
From Redditor u/elephantofdoom:
Despite the romanticized belief that Cleopatra was a great beauty, most of the evidence we have of her appearance shows that she was plain-looking. Historians and researchers claim that Cleopatra was not as amazing as has been rumored. It’s not shocking that she is thought to have been beautiful, but there is some evidence to the contrary. She has a bit of a crooked nose, which suggests that she wasn’t quite the beauty Hollywood has portrayed.
13. She found her own drinking club.
From Redditor u/ObsceneGlabella:
Cleopatra and Mark Antony framed their own savoring club in 41 B.C. also, were known to partake in intricate games and challenges and to walk the roads of Alexandria in camouflage, tricking the occupants. When Cleopatra and Mark Antony were an item, they started a club called “Inimitable Lovers”. The club was intended to be a place of worship for Dionysus. The true intentions of the club will never be known. It’s possible that Cleopatra and Antony were always out for a good time because they were known to dress in disguise to wander the city.