Evaluate Ancient and Modern Images and Interpretations on Cleopatra Vii

1330 Words Apr 18th, 2013 6 Pages
b) Evaluate ancient and modern images and interpretations of Cleopatra VII

Images and interpretations of a person can change over time. Such movement is paralleled with changes in opinion and morals throughout generations. Cleopatra the seventh is subject to this fluctuation. Ancient images and interpretations differ greatly to the impression left today merely by her name. Chris Dumasis, a modern day historian amplifies this theory in ‘Interpretations of Cleopatra’. She argues, “women have been demeaned of their true substance since the early time of patriarchal society.” Taken into account, this argument entails that when studying ancient sources it must be understood that at times, only a very narrow view of the events are presented
…show more content…
The long nose and pointed chin are two distinct features of Cleopatra that are demonstrated by the image on the coin that sepeate her from those that play her today. In his ‘A.D. 75 Life of Antony’ Plutarch himself professes, “Her actual beauty … was not so remarkable that none could be compared with her… but the contact of her presence … was irresistible”. As a consequence, it can be understood that it is ancient sources that possibly provide the truest image of her, being from the period of her life. That is not to say however, that ancient sources have incorporated a complete truth. This can be seen with the evidence provided by Roman and Latin sources.

In ‘An Ancient Roman Perspective’, Gemma Wilson’s account for Rome’s feelings towards the Queen is one of great hostility. According to Wilson, “at best, the Romans viewed Cleopatra with suspicion. At worst, they hated her.” Cleopatra was of coarse despised for utilizing the two public figures of Rome’s world, Caesar initially and then Mark Antony. Peter Roberts describes how it was Octavian that initiated Rome’s hatred towards Rome, relying on ‘sexual slander’ to tarnish her reputation. Many Roman poets continued this tradition of condemnation such as Lucan in ‘Pharsalia’, referring to Cleopatra as “Egypt’s shame.” Horace continues to embellish this image; “the queen, with a contaminated gang of creatures’ in his Ode XXXVII, referring to