Sorry Liz, but This Is the Real Face of Cleopatra; Dark-Eyed Temptress: The Computer-Generated Cleopatra

Daily Mail (London), December 16, 2008 | Go to article overview

Sorry Liz, but This Is the Real Face of Cleopatra; Dark-Eyed Temptress: The Computer-Generated Cleopatra


Byline: Fiona MacRae

FROM Elizabeth Taylor to Sophia Loren, there have been many faces of Cleopatra.

But this might be the most realistic of them all.

Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton believes the computergenerated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary beauty famed for her ability to beguile.

Pieced together from images on ancient artefacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra's reign 2,000 years ago, it is the culmination of more than a year of painstaking research.

The result is a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity - very different to the porcelain-skinned Westernised version portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor (inset right) in the 1961 movie Cleopatra.

Dr Ashton, of Cambridge University, said the images, to be broadcast as part of a Five documentary on Cleopatra, reflect the monarch's Greek heritage as well as her Egyptian upbringing.

'She probably wasn't just completely European. You've got to remember that her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power.' The picture of the queen contrasts with several other less flattering portrayals. For instance, a silver coin which went on show at Newcastle University's Sefton Museum last year showed her as having a shallow forehead, pointed chin, thin lips and hooked nose.

Her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony, fared little better.

The reverse side shows him to have bulging eyes and a thick neck.

The queen's appearance has long been the subject of debate among academics. …

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