History wants so badly for Cleopatra to be beautiful. Like they can’t conceive of Rome being intimidated by anything less
because being a linguist, fleet commander, and powerful ruler doesn’t matter, only her looks
Her Arab contemporaries raved about her being very interested and knowledgeable in the sciences.
She completely reformed the system in Alexandria, and Egypt at large; making it much more of a functional powerhouse.
She did what 300 years of her ancestors couldn’t: Managed to get the support of both the Greek AND Egyptian subjects she ruled.
There is a sculpture that has been identified as her, through comparisons to coins minted under her rule, that proves beyond a doubt that she wasn’t particularly beautiful.
It isn’t that people just happen to believe it by mistake. Rome was fucking terrified of her and painted her as a vapid, scheming, beautiful, sex obsessed queen to discredit her to their people. She was a threat, and that was how they handled it. The unfortunate thing is that that is the most surviving record of her. A smear campaign against one of the smartest, most powerful women in human history.
This is a woman who became her father’s co-ruler at nearly 14 years old in order to train for her actual ascension to the throne, who was forced to marry her own siblings in order to keep her power, and it’s widely believed that she poisoned them so she could rule alone. She’s a Pharaoh who led Egypt into a new era of wealth, who went fearlessly into war to protect her rule and Egypt’s independence from the Roman empire, a woman who took her own life rather than face being raped and tortured by her conquerors, knowing full well that she was leaving her surviving children in their uncertain mercy. Cleopatra is one of the most interesting, morally ambiguous, complexing historical figures we have and the media has turned her into a tantalizing sex object for the male gaze.
Even after Cleopatra died her influence on those around her lived on: her daughter, Cleopatra Selene, was the only child of Cleopatra’s to live to adulthood, and she became queen of Mauretania along with her husband Juba and it’s believed they married for love, which was extremely rare for that time period, especially among nobles/the upper class. Not only did she grow up in the house of her mother’s worst enemy and technical murderer, but she still went on to become a queen who possessed an equal amount of political power as her husband, even having her face minted on coins on the opposite side of his likeness, showing they were equal rulers.
Cleopatra and her influence on history, and her daughter’s legacy, have both been brushed aside in favour of the sexy Cleopatra visage. It’s bullshit. Egyptian mythology is interesting and vivid, and full of powerful women and it’s bullshit that we take some of the most powerful women in Africa’s history and try to turn them into fashion icons or sluts who only ruled through toying with men.
I LIVE FOR PEOPLE TO KNOW THIS, people still refuse to believe that a woman can/could have achieved anything without beauty or fucking magical powers