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Monday, April 20, 2009

Cleopatra's tomb?


- Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse

I saw a story today about the possibility of Cleopatra's tomb having been found - Egyptians hope to find Cleopatra's tomb ....

Cleopatra and Mark Antony were immortalised as two of history’s greatest lovers, but their final resting place has always been a mystery. Now archaeologists in Egypt are about to start excavating a site that they believe could conceal their tombs.

Zahi Hawass, director of Egypt’s Superior Council for Antiquities, said yesterday that there was evidence to suggest that Cleopatra and Mark Antony were buried together in the complex tunnel system underlying the Tabusiris Magna temple, 17 miles from the city of Alexandria.

The dig, which begins next week, could reveal answers to the many myths surrounding the pair — including speculation about the Queen’s reputed beauty and the couple’s suicide. Teams from Egypt and the Dominican Republic will begin excavating three sites along the tunnels in the hope that one of the deep shafts will lead to a burial chamber. The sites were identified by a radar scan ....

Other experts are cautious, however. John Baines, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford, doubted that Antony would be buried alongside Cleopatra. “It’s unlikely Mark Antony would have a tomb that anyone would be able to discover because he was the enemy at the time he died,” he told The Times last year ...



- Zahi Hawasswith a part of a mask believed to belong to Mark Anthony

For a more in depth discussion of the tomb find and the question of its authenticity, check out this post (and related posts) at rogueclassicism ... Cleo’s ‘Tomb’ ~ Further Thoughts (thanks, Liam :).

And now here's some basci background on Cleopatra from Wikipedia ....

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Cleopatra VII Philopator (in Greek, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; January 69 BC – 30 BC) was a Hellenistic ruler of Egypt, originally sharing power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brothers/husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV; eventually gaining sole rule of Egypt. As Pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Gaius Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne .... After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony .... She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, co-ruled in name with his mother only a very few years before Octavian [Augustus] had him executed .... Though she bore the ancient Egyptian title Pharaoh, her main language was Greek; for several centuries preceding her rule, Egyptian kings had been of Macedonian Greek (i.e. Hellenistic) origin rather than Egyptian origin. The establishment of a Greek aristocracy in Egypt had come with Alexander the Great nearly 300 years before .... After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at Actium by their rival and Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian (who later became the first Roman Emperor, Augustus), Cleopatra committed suicide, the traditional date being 12 August 30 BC, allegedly by means of an asp bite ....

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- The Death of Cleopatra by Jean André Rixens


3 Comments:

Blogger Liam said...

Yeah, David Meadows over at Rogueclassicism has been following this, with more than a little skepticism. Cleo was a very romantic figure, though I think the picture we get of her comes from Augustine's propagandists who wanted to paint her as an exotic, seductive, and decadent figure. It would be nice to know where to leave a flower for her when I finally get to Egypt.

4:31 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Liam,

Yes, she seems to be most famous for the powerful and soon to be dead guys she hooked up rather her rule. I didn't know much about her except that she was supposed to be descended fom one of Alexander's genertals, Ptolemy.

Thanks for the link - I'll add it to my post :)

4:45 PM  
Blogger Liam said...

Yes, she was the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty -- the Hellenistic rulers that led Egypt for about 300 years.

6:54 PM  

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