Skip to main content

What you dont know about the real Cleopatra!

Although the Cleopatra of lore was portrayed primarily as a seductress, the real Cleopatra was a skilled naval commander, a published medical authority, and an expert royal administrator who was met with adulation throughout the eastern Mediterranean, and was perhaps even seen by some as a messianic figure, the hope for a future eastern Mediterranean free of Roman domination:

"Few personalities from classical antiquity are more familiar yet more poorly grasped than Cleopatra VII (69-30 B.C.), queen of Egypt. Cleopatra VII was an accomplished diplomat, naval commander, administrator, linguist, and author, who skillfully managed her kingdom in the face of a deteriorating political situation and increasing Roman involvement. That she ultimately lost does not diminish her abilities. ...

"Like all women, she suffers from male-dominated historiography in both ancient and modern times and was often seen merely as an appendage of the men in her life or was stereotyped into typical chauvinistic female roles such as seductress or sorceress, one whose primary accomplishment was ruining the men that she was involved with. In this view, she was nothing more than the 'Egyptian mate' of Antonius and played little role in the policy decisions of her own world. ...

"Yet she was the only woman in all classical antiquity to rule independently - not merely as a successor to a dead husband - and she desperately tried to salvage and keep alive a dying kingdom in the face of overwhelming Roman pressure. Descended from at least two companions of Alexander the Great, she had more stature than the Romans whom she opposed. Depicted evermore as the greatest of seductresses, who drove men to their doom, she had only two known relationships in 18 years, hardly a sign of promiscuity. Furthermore, these connections - to the two most important Romans of the period - demonstrated that her choice of partners was a carefully crafted state policy, the only way that she could ensure the procreation of successors who would be worthy of the distinguished history of her dynasty. ...
"Because there are no certain portraits of Cleopatra except the two dimensional shorthand on her coinage, little can be said about her physical appearance. The coins show a prominent nose (a family trait) and chin, with an intensity of gaze and hair inevitably drawn back into a bun. That she was short is explicitly stated in one source and perhaps implied in the famous bedsack tale. A notice by Plutarch is often misquoted to imply that she was not particularly beautiful, but what was actually written is that the force of her personality far outweighed any physical attractiveness. Sources agree that her charm was outstanding and her presence remarkable. ...

"[She was caught in a power struggle between Octavian (Augustus Caesar) and Antonius (Mark Antony)], and when protracted negotiations between Octavian and the couple failed to resolve anything, Octavian invoked the military option, invading Egypt. Cleopatra, finding Antonius dispensable and hoping that she or her kingdom might survive without him, tricked him into suicide, but when she found that she herself was being saved to be exhibited in Octavian's triumph in Rome, she also killed herself. In August Of 30 B.C.
the Ptolemaic kingdom came to an end.

"Some of the most familiar episodes of her career simply did not happen. She did not approach Caesar wrapped in a carpet, she was not a seductress, she did not use her charm to persuade the men in her life to lose their judgment, and she did not die by the bite of an asp." 

Duane W. Roller, Cleopatra, Oxford, Copyright 2010 by Oxford University Press, pp. 1-7.

From 4/9/10
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 things that make World Economic Forum work

World Economic Forum, Davos 2011.  5 days from 26 - 30 January 2011.  2500 delegates. 26000 people.  In 1 village called Davos whose population for the rest of the 51 weeks is only 13000.
Questions on its efficacy and impact are bound to happen. Especially when world's top leaders spend millions of dollars. Not counting their opportunity cost of millions of dollars which they could have used for their work.
I attempted my own rationale on 5 reasons which make World Economic Forum work.

How Branding can help your startup

I can bucket a startup entrepreneur into either of 2 buckets – one – Branding-is-for-Biggies! and second  who believe -Branding-is-important-after-Series-A-funding”. And first bucket is full till the brim. Let me start with a simple question with a possibly simple answer -

Remembering Tej...

You don't normally think of writing this for a friend who was just 31 years old.
Friend who you have just met.
I dont want any of you, reading this, to experience this ever again.

Tejendra Gwala, or Tej, as we lovingly called him, a 6ft 2 inches man was still a boy at heart. Full of dreams, full of youth and full of  dare to be different from everyone out there.

Few things -

1. He knew how to make you comfortable - I spent innumerable evenings with him - where he would just go and start speaking with strangers - whether t was a gym, dhaba or a 5 star restaurant

2. He knew his values - I was just 1 year younger than I was but he respected me and Aakriti (my wife) as his real brother and Bhabhi. There were dozens of time, when he would just call and say - I want "Ghar ka khana" and lets go for a drive.

3. He was the best closer that you would want in your team - knew how to finish things. Whether it was AV shoot in Chennai, fixing dozens of cabs, writing a strategic prese…