Thought I was done? Haha no. One of the two DLC mythology articles, now with more history than ever.

Previous topic: Myth and History.

Cleopatra the ‘Peerless Beauty’

  • In Japan -> Cleopatra is known as a great beauty similar to Yang Guifei (China, Tang Dinasty) or the poet of the Heian Period known for her love poetry, Ono no Komachi -> ‘The Three Beauties of the World’;
  • We don’t actually know what they look like -> their portraits are only approximations;
  • Ono no Komachi -> not even that well-known outside Japan -> more well-known beauty = Helen of Troy -> the ‘Three Beauties’ title = nonsense;
  • Cleopatra -> known in Japan after World War 2 thanks to cinema (‘the King of Entertainment’);
  • Hollywood -> great historical movie boom -> movies = several hours long, fabulous costumes + special effects;
  • 1963 -> four-hour long Cleopatra movie starring Elizabeth Taylor -> budget = over $31 million at the time -> production studio 20th Century Fox nearly went bankrupt;
  • The movie was not as successful as expected -> the sumptuous settings + outfits made a deep impression -> Cleopatra’s image as an extremely beautiful woman -> probably rooted in this movie’s exotic clothes and head ornaments;
  • Cleopatra’s story -> first written in Plutarch’s ‘Parallel Lives’ during the Roman Empire -> basis for Shakespeare’s ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’;
  • Contains famous episodes -> her meeting Caesar in a rolled carpet + committing suicide via poisonous snake;
  • Everything -> written more than one hundred years after Cleopatra’s death -> ‘Parallel Lives’ = not supposed to be a recording of history + Plutarch mentions she is not an unparalleled beauty;


The End of the Egyptian Civilisation as Lived by Cleopatra

  • Cleopatra -> also known as Egypt’s last pharaoh;
  • The first dynasty of Egypt -> formed in the region of the Nile River -> approximately 3500 BCE -> comparable with the oldest known civilisation (Sumer) -> Cleopatra ruled until 30 BCE (contemporary with the Roman Empire) -> the last 21 years of Egypt;
  • Some well-known rulers of Egypt -> Khufu (Old Kingdom -> 2650 – c. 2200 BCE) -> built many pyramids or the young pharaoh Tutankhamun (New Kingdom -> 1540 – c.1200 BCE) -> far back in history even for Cleopatra -> Egypt started to decline towards the end of the New Kingdom -> tried to maintain its status for over 1000 years;
  • After 1000 BCE -> often attacked by other peoples -> Nubians from the Upper Nile + Assyrians from Mesopotamia -> conquered and ruled by the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia -> 332 BCE conquered by Alexander the Great -> after him: Ptolemaic dynasty -> capital: Alexandria;
  • Egypt -> ruled by all kinds of different peoples -> its extremely old civilisation + culture -> respected -> religion + mythology lasted -> the Greeks (Macedonia) followed in those steps => even adopted marriages between siblings (normally taboo for them);
  • Cleopatra -> fourteenth pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty -> actually Cleopatra VII;
  • After Cleopatra I the Syrian married Ptolemy V -> many girls inherited the name of Cleopatra;
  • Despite inheriting Egypt’s ancient culture -> the capital Alexandria -> extremely influenced by Greek culture -> the royal dynasty wore typical Greek noble clothes and lived by their typical customs;
  • When acting as pharaohs in front of the Egyptian people -> at times dressed in typical Egyptian fashion, but it is believed they normally didn’t do that;
  • After the death of her father Ptolemy XII (Neos Dionysos) + the rule of her older sisters Cleopatra VI and Berenice IV -> Cleopatra married her younger brother Ptolemy XIII and ruled together with him;
  • The Ptolemaic lineage -> not very popular in Egypt -> the short rule of the older sisters -> proof of strife among the successors;
  • Cleopatra betrayed her brother -> favoured by Caesar -> became pharaoh -> for a long time seen as a traitor in Egypt;


Cleopatra and Egyptian Mythology

  • Compared to the times before the New Kingdom of Egypt -> Cleopatra’s times -> weak link to myth;
  • It is believed writings on Egyptian mythology were gathered at the Library of Alexandria -> were perhaps seen a fiction created in the past, like the mythologies of other countries;
  • Cleopatra’s story itself -> romantic and full of drama -> didn’t need to be connected to myth -> still connected to the Dendera Temple, dedicated to Hathor;
  • Hathor -> mother of the sun god Horus and empress wife of Ra -> worshipped since ancient times -> Egypt’s first ruling queen Hatshepsut claimed to be Hathor’s daughter;
  • The construction of Dendera started long before the rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty -> was almost complete by the time Cleopatra had become pharaoh -> many bas reliefs of her and her son Caesarion on the walls -> many times thought to have been built by Cleopatra;
  • Dendera -> not a particularly major site in Egypt -> also known for an OOP artifact -> a relief resembling a light bulb;
  • Interestingly enough -> Cleopatra is loosely connected to the Bible -> Herod the Great, the father of Herod Antipas (present at Jesus’s crucifixion) is connected to her;
  • When Herod was young -> Israel -> attacked by the Parthian Empire -> Herod escaped to Egypt -> protected by Mark Anthony and Cleopatra;
  • It also said that Herod planned Cleopatra’s assasination -> failed;
  • Herod -> went to Rome under Anthony’s guidance -> rose to higher positions after several important people were assassinated -> became ruler of Israel -> feared the birth of the Messiah -> ordered the massacre of young children (not proven historically wise);
  • The DLC contains one famous anecdote about Cleopatra -> 17th century -> French philosopher Blaise Pascal ->  Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.’




About dijeh

I translate things, mainly almost everything that has to do with gods screwing with humans' lives and getting their asses kicked in return.
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  1. Pingback: DLC TOPIC 02: MEPHISTO AND THE DEMON SUMMONING SORCERER | dijehtranslations

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