When most people think of the Death of Cleopatra, they think of something like the above pictures. Cleopatra lying on a couch, or standing there clutching a snake to her exposed breast. Or, as in one of the above cases, with the fabled serpent biting directly on to her nipple. She is almost always nude or nearly so, practically inviting everyone to gaze on her body as she lies there in her death throes. She is often delicately pulling her gown down to give the viewer a perfect view of her breasts.
It has been, and will likely continue to be, a popular theme in art to depict her that way. It used to be a titillating thing, an excuse to paint a beautiful nude/semi nude woman. She’s been immortalized as such in sculpture, paintings, wax figures, and everything in between.
This image of her though, is a myth. Pure and simple.
Stacy Schiff, the author of “Cleopatra: A Life” describes her death like so:
Cleopatra lay on a golden couch, probably an Egyptian-style bed with lion paws for legs and lion heads at its corners. Majestically and meticulously arrayed in “her most beautiful apparel,” she gripped in her hands the crook and flail. She was perfectly composed and completely dead, Iras very nearly so at her feet. Lurching and heavy-headed, almost unable to stand, Charmion was clumsily attempting to make right the diadem around Cleopatra’s forehead. Angrily one of Octavian’s men exploded: “A fine deed this, Charmion!” She had just the energy to offer a parting shot. With a tartness that would have made her mistress proud, she managed,”It is indeed most fine, and befitting the descendant of so many kings,” before collapsing in a heap, at her queen’s side.
Cleopatra went to her death as she’d lived her entire adult life, as the Queen of Egypt. She had her royal robes and ornaments on, and was thus fully dressed. She knew full well Octavian and his men were going to burst in on her, were going to find her and her ladies there dead.There is no chance she was going to be lying there undressed when a room-full of strange men were going to be looking at her. Cleopatra made sure she went first, so that her ladies could arrange her so nothing inappropriate would be seen.
It’s likely all the nudity also stems from propaganda spread by Octavian both during her life and after her death, painting her as a whore and a seductress. Of course she would be naked she was the decadent Eastern Queen who seduced men with her witchcraft! It’s just one of the many, and increasingly ridiculous, misconceptions that’s been spread about her since her death and one that people should realize was certainly not true.
what do white people even protest about
Longer chipotle hours
lower costs for guacamole
more brown rice. just a little.
A larger Starbucks cup size
laws to legalize fucking snakes and children
Laws to restrict how spicy food can be
I have literally been waiting for this gifset for all time
Sia (& Chuy) performing ‘Chandelier' on Chelsea Lately.
this is literally the greatest subtitling job that has ever been done. someone learned how to speak cat.
The Rethink Homelessness campaign aims to dispel stereotypes and remind us that the circumstances which lead to living on the streets could happen to each and every one of us.