Ancient History

14 Things We Bet You Didn’t Know About Cleopatra

Cleopatra VII Philopator was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler. A member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the second to last Hellenistic state and the age that had lasted since the reign of Alexander. Her native language was Koine Greek, and she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.

Here are 14 things that we bet you didn’t know about her:

1. Cleopatra Was Probably No Elizabeth Taylor in the Looks Department

Sadly for Cleopatra, she probably didn’t match her famed portrayer in the looks department. Archaeologists uncovered a coin bearing her face, on which she looks pretty plain, but ancient accounts differ. Roman historian Cassius Dio claimed “she was a woman of surpassing beauty, and at that time, when she was in the prime of her youth, she was most striking.” Plutarch alleged that her intelligence, charm, and voice were more alluring than her physical appearance, though neither of these accounts were contemporary. But the academic consensus today is that her political brilliance and alluring manner were her real attractions.