Everything You Wanted to Know about Cleopatra

Everything You Wanted to Know about Cleopatra

What do you know about Cleopatra?

Listen to this podcast to find out more!


Voiced by Sophia Pelivanova

Словарь Ножницы Перевод Значение Замена


Young princess Cleopatra VII was a daughter of King Ptolemy XII. In the year 51 B.C. at the age of 17 she ascended the throne of Egypt. Cleopatra quickly became one of the most powerful rulers the world had ever known. She established close political and private relations with two the most powerful world leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Neither Nefertiti, nor Helen of Troy, nor any other queen of the ancient world carried as much intrigue as the last queen of Egypt Cleopatra. Her private life and her politics gave her some kind of magical attraction. And that image has enchanted the whole world ever since. Over the years, her life history has been told and retold, often reinterpreted. In different epochs artists depicted her in different ways as well.

Untill recently thanks to the movie industry everybody perceived Cleopatra as a beauty. Her image was created by the universally recognized most beautiful women of XX century: Vivien Li, Sophie Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. But the scientist had found out that in reality “wonderful” Cleopatra wasn't notable for spectacular appearance.

Years ago, a British Museum curator studied the statues of the great queen and the coins stamped with her image. He concluded that her appearance wasn't what we would estimate as beautiful today.

According to his description, the queen was fat and frumpy. Her profile was irregular. Cleopatra had large hooked nose, sharp eyes, pointed and protruded chin and fat neck. Even the researchers, who were knowledgeable about the imperfections of Cleopatra, did not suspect that the First Lady of Egypt looked so terrible, as it turned out. Either the tastes of enamored of Cleopatra were different than ours, or the beauty wasn't the principal quality for the queen, but this is the way how the sculptures show us the sex symbol of the Hellenistic period. She had the looks of a highly intelligent woman, who she actually was. It is well known that Cleopatra spoke the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

The great temptress won the hearts of the most powerful men of her time not over her appearance, but over her intellect and charm.

According to scientists, the charm of Cleopatra was based on her intelligence, culture, the way she spoke, dressed, moved and positioned herself. Moreover, she perfectly knew the secrets of seduction. This is how she managed to seduce the great emperor Caesar.

As much as we know about Cleopatra, her figure remains cloaked in mystery. She allowed to reveal her image just enough to excite people's curiosity.

No matter how she looked, we continue to be fascinated by this woman who made history.


to ascend the throne – to become king or queen of a country – всходить на престол
to establish – to make something start to exist or start to happen – устанавливать (отношения)
to enchant – to interest and attract someone very strongly – очаровывать, восхищать
to depict –to describe someone or something using words or pictures – изображать
universally recognized – known in the world – общепризнанный
to be notable for –to be noticed for something – отличаться чем-либо
spectacular appearance – extremely impressive look – эффектная внешность
to stamp – to put a mark on something using a stamp – чеканить
to conclude – to decide that something is true after looking at all the evidence you have – делать заключение
to estimate – to say what you think an amount or value will be – считать, расценивать
frumpy – wearing clothes that are not attractive or fashionable – непривлекательно одевающийся
irregular – not even, smooth, or straight in shape – неправильный
hooked – shaped like a hook – крючковатый
pointed – with a point at the end – острый (подбородок)
protruded – further forward than the rest of something – выступающий, торчащий
to suspect – to believe that something is true, especially something bad – подозревать
terrible – very bad – ужасно
enamored (of) – in love with someone – очарованный, влюбленный
principal – the most important – главный
Hellenistic – relating to Greek history, language, and culture from the death of Alexander the Great to the defeat of Cleopatra and Mark Antony – эллинистический
Hebrew – one of the official languages of Israel – иврит
Aramaic – a branch of the Semitic family of languages, especially the language of Syria used as a lingua franca in the near east from the 6th century BC – арамейский язык
temptress – a woman who attracts men in a sexual way – искусительница
to win the heart – to become someone's beloved – покорить сердце
seduction – a situation in which someone persuades another person to have sex with them – соблазн, искушение
to manage – to succeed in doing something – ухитриться, умудриться, суметь сделать (что-л.)
cloaked in mystery – covered in mystery – окутан тайной
to reveal – to let something become known, for example a secret – открывать
to excite curiosity – to make someone feel curious – возбуждать любопытство
fascinated – very interested or attracted by someone or something – очарованный