In every case, she's a sexpot causing civil war in Rome by manipulating the hearts of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, all while wearing little more than a series of strategically placed napkins. Nearly every depiction of her in Western art shows her as a flirtatious minx who only achieved her goals because she's hot, like a BCE reality star. But all of this comes straight from Roman propaganda perpetuated by Augustus to discredit her and Antony, Augustus' bitter rival.
In reality, Cleopatra was, well ... let's say she had personality. We know that because of coins from her reign that carried her visage. And unless protruding chins and huge hooked noses are what start your engine, you're probably not going to fall so madly in lust that your judgment is clouded. Here, at least, she looked like the lunch lady who'd slap your hand away when you tried to sneak an extra chicken nugget.
via WikipediaIt’s the face that launched a thousand ships ... in the other direction.
That's probably because she was the product of heavy inbreeding among the Ptolemaic dynasty. She only had six great-great-grandparents (you generally have 16 of those). So she wasn't exactly Gisele Bundchen, nor is there any evidence she was some wanton harlot who slept around. She likely boned a total of two men in her life.
She was, however, a brilliant politician whose only goal over her 21-year reign was to maintain Egypt's independence. She controlled the entire eastern Mediterranean coast before the boot of Rome came down on her. She was intelligent and capable -- two traits Augustus didn't want Rome associating with his enemies, especially the female ones. So she was discredited as a manipulative hottie who used her boobs instead of her brains. And thus began a long and storied history of disgruntled men playing the "She only got the job because she's hot!" card.
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