Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cleopatra: Not a Knockout

There are some facts that are better off lost to history. Like the fact that Cleopatra was apparently as ugly as sin, for example:

Two of history's most famous Valentines are gently debunked today by analysis of an exceptionally well-preserved Roman coin, which gives the lie to the fabled beauty of Cleopatra and the manly features of her lover Mark Antony.

Far from possessing the classical looks of Elizabeth Taylor, or the many other goddesses who have played her on stage and screen, the Egyptian queen is shown with a shrewish profile while Antony suffers from bulging eyes, a crooked nose and a bull neck.

Debated for centuries, but with little effect against a tide of romance backed by Shakespeare, Delacroix and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the faces of the couple have the stamp of authenticity on the silver denarius found in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was coined in Antony's own mint to mark his victories in Armenia in 32BC, achieved with the help of Cleopatra's one undoubted attraction, her money.

No comments: