- Cleopatra, the queen of ancient Egypt who seduced Julius
Caesar and Mark Antony with her supposedly irresistible beauty, has been
revealed as short, frumpish and in need of a good dentist in a new exhibition
at the British Museum.
- The legendary femme fatale, who ruled in the 1st century
BC, has been played on screen by Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth
Taylor, all of whom portrayed her as a dark beauty who drove men to obsession
before she committed suicide.
- "Myth and probably mostly nonsense," said Dr
Susan Walker, curator of the Cleopatra exhibition which opens next month.
- Eleven statues of Cleopatra that had previously been
thought to portray other queens will be displayed together for the first
time. They show the queen as plain-looking with a streak of sternness.
She was probably no more than 5ft tall and appears to have been plump.
- Her image is more that of an Egyptian blue-stocking academic
than a red-hot lover. Her first language was Greek, but she also spoke
Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic and Egyptian.
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