Every now and then we are having attempts by scientists to construct the “real face of Cleopatra”, accoring always to each one’s perceptions. We had recently one more attempt taking place by the Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton who believes “the compute regenerated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary beauty famed for her ability to beguile“.
You can read the whole article here.
The final result of Dr. Ashton’s perception of Cleopatra’s face is this one.
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”.
Here is my main objection. Dr Ashton’s conjecture is based on an misconception. Firstly, Cleopatra VII was daughter of Ptolemy XII the ‘Auletes’ and Cleopatra V Tymphaena who were also brother and sister. It was a custom among the members of Ptolemaic Dynasty to marry between eachother. Ptolemies were one of the few royal families who continued their dynasty through incestuous marriages. This way, Ptolemies distinguished themselves from mortals – as egyptian and greek gods did – and appeared as successors to the Pharaohs. Politically, their incestuous marriages had the effect of strengthening the dynasty, excluding foreign influences. The line of descent was characterised by these intermarriages except by extremely rare cases, such as ie Ptolemy III Euergetes who married Berenice II, eventhough she was also of greco-macedonian descent and Cleopatra’s VII paternal grandmother, a cocunbine, whose identity is not known with certainty. The latter has brought forward a groundless speculation – mostly by afrocentrist supporters- that this ancestor of Cleopatra VII might be a member of Egypt’s native population. However considering the strict policy of Ptolemies until then, NOT to have been married with any member of the Native Egyptian population it makes the whole conjecture not to hold any ground.
The premise of Dr Ashton’s main argument that “Cleopatra’s family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power” therefore she “probably wasn’t just completely European but of a woman of mixed ethnicity” is groundless.
Sorry Sally, but THIS is NOT the real face of Cleopatra!!!
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