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Profiles of Cleopatra and her lover on a silver denari belie fabled beauty
Posted: 15 February 2007 02:34 AM   [ Ignore ]
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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.

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Posted: 15 February 2007 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’d always understood from reading the contemporary Roman correspondences of people like Cicero and Gnaeus Pompeius that she was fairly short and scrawny with a big nose, and that it was her personality that really attracted men to her (hear that, girls?  Looks aren’t everything—not that I object to good looks, mind you).  So whenever I saw these modern images of her, I often found them funny.  It’s sort of like having Shaquille O’Neil portray Napoleon.

Given that we already had all the first-hand accounts that she was no beauty before we ever found this coin, I doubt that this is going to do much to change the current public image of her.  It’s too deeply rooted in the public’s mind now.

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Posted: 15 February 2007 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Of course, turning up in a man’s bedroom wearing nothing but a rug always helps in the popularity stakes.

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Posted: 15 February 2007 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That depends on how well the rug matches the rest of the upholstry. . .

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Posted: 15 February 2007 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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*turns out the lights on David & Acci*

Choose well… ...

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I prefer to think that everyone in ancient rome was beautiful as per the HBO show.

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I thought the coin shown was depicting Marc Anthony until I read the article big surprise

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Accipiter - 15 February 2007 08:24 AM

I’d always understood from reading the contemporary Roman correspondences of people like Cicero and Gnaeus Pompeius that she was fairly short and scrawny with a big nose, and that it was her personality that really attracted men to her (hear that, girls?  Looks aren’t everything—not that I object to good looks, mind you).

I’m sure the fact that she was “ruler” over an enviable empire had something to do with the attraction as well wink

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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There were two coins on BBC, one showing Cleo and the other Marc.

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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My coin is bigger

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Which is which?

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Posted: 15 February 2007 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The one on the right says “Cleopatra” on it, so I’m assuming that it’s showing her.

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