View Full Version : News Item: Ancient coin shows Cleopatra was no beauty

Feb 14, 2007, 06:15 PM
Ancient coin shows Cleopatra was no beauty

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Antony and Cleopatra -- one of history's most romantic couples -- were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, according to British academics.

A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by a sultry Elizabeth Taylor, had a shallow forehead, pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.

On the other side, her Roman lover, played in the 1963 movie by Richard Burton, Taylor's husband at the time, had bulging eyes, a hook nose and a thick neck.

History has depicted Cleopatra as a great beauty, befitting a woman who as Queen of Egypt seduced Julius Caesar, and then his rival Mark Antony.



Can anyone identify the coin in question? Doesn't appear Ptolemaic...


Feb 14, 2007, 06:54 PM
Jeff: You pulling our legs? You really aren't familiar with this coin type? I know you're a Greek guy, and it is a Roman coin ( note the legend in Latin ), but it is one of the most well known coins of the 1st century BCE. A denarius.... struck ( arguably ) in Alexandria for Antony's soldiers attending the famous "Donations of Alexandria".

Here's a photo of my own imperfect coin in which you can read the entire legend.... Antony's head isn't completely filled, but I didn't care... I have other Antony portraits..

Feb 14, 2007, 07:05 PM
For anyone interested in the inter-twined life and politics of Cleopatra, Caesar and Antony (and others), Michael Grant's "Cleopatra" (Castle Books) is excellent. Throughout the book, there are several pictures of coins...Ptolomy and others minted outside of Alexandria (ie: Syria). From ancient writings she was described as plain but possesed a very strong personality and even spoke half a dozen languages.