Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two Sides of a Coin

"Antony and Cleopatra were not the handsome General and his beautiful queen Hollywood would have us believe", according to experts at Newcastle University, who "have been studying the depiction of one of history's most tragic romantic couples found on a Roman coin. (...)Antony and Cleopatra are shown on either side of the small silver coin (pictured)," the article on the British site continues, "which is about the size of a modern five pence piece. Cleopatra is depicted with a shallow forehead, long, pointed nose, narrow lips and a sharply pointed chin, while Mark Antony has bulging eyes, a large hooked nose and a thick neck." Lindsay Allason-Jones, Director of Archaeological Museums at Newcastle University, added: " 'The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton! Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty. The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image'."
For the full story, follow this link:
Another romantic illusion shattered! I don't mind being disillusioned in this case, however, because I find it interesting that Cleo must have used intelligence and personality rather than her face to attract Antony, and Caesar before him, proving that intelligent men prefer brains. She came within a nose (don't groan too loudly please!) of ruling Rome. Given her abilities, I'm betting that Cleopatra would have eventually turned things her way if she hadn't chosen the dead-end route of suicide.
In what must have been a moment of despair and panic, at the thought of being paraded through Roman streets behind a victorious Octavian's chariot, with Antony gone and no one to turn to for wise counseling, she made the most important decision of her life based on emotions, not intelligence.
The two ATCs are my tribute to the new version of Antony and Cleopatra and to the use of brains, not body, to achieve success.
Have a great day--or night, depending on your part of the world.


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