Cleopatra Was Not Like Elizabeth Taylor, Nor Like Gal Gadot: Experts

At the end of 2020 it was announced that Gal Gadot would give life to Cleopatra in a new version that prepares Hollywood, same that will direct Patty Jenkins, with whom Gadot already excelled in “Wonder Woman”.

The news had mixed reactions, from those who appealed that this was a good decision to bring back the historical character, to those who pointed out that this was a new way in which American cinema sought to “whitewash” a historical character. , like that of the Egyptian empress.

The debate continues, but it has been in the circle of experts of the figure of Cleopatra for decades, since, according to many of them, Hollywood has always presented a very Western image of this character of which, being the sovereign of EgyptAfrican and Greek blood ran through his veins.

The question once again comes to light, what was Cleopatra really like and what differences exist between the image that popular culture has shown through film and television, contrasted with the character in real life?

Today his death anniversary is commemorated, whose death, according to historians, occurred between August 10 and 12. The relationship of this character is frequently linked to a woman with white skin and blue eyes, as she appeared in the cinema in 1963 with the British actress Elizabeth Taylor.

The image that One-Shot Liz immortalized (nickname in reference to her ability to play a role in a shot) was that of a woman with political shrewdness, beauty, manipulative and seductive, traits with which most identify Cleopatra today, a even though no one knows exactly what he really looked like.

In history books and in art, she has been portrayed with African, Egyptian, but never Greek features, which is what most characterized her, some experts agree.

“It is important to emphasize that, as in film or television, throughout history the myth of the queen has been reviewed at all times, always from a different perspective,” said historian and restorer, Miryam Galván.

One of the great reproaches when it was announced that Gal Gadot would give life to the empress was that the actress was Israeli, which did not correspond to the ethnicity of the Egyptian ruler.

Among the detractors of the way Cleopatra will be shown, journalist Sameera Khan stands out, who with a message on Twitter wondered who in Hollywood thought it would be a good idea to choose an Israeli actress like Cleopatra.

Sameera was blunt in pointing out that Gadot, having belonged to the Israeli armed forces, was even less viable to give life to the empress.

“Shame on Gal Gadot. Your country steals the land from the Arabs and you steal their roles in movies, “the journalist said in one of her posts.

According to researchers from the Austrian Archaeological Institute, who spoke to BBC News last year, analyzes of the bones of a sister of Cleopatra showed in 2009 that the Egyptian queen was, in part, African, this was said after identifying the skeleton of his younger sister, Princess Arsinoe, found in a more than 2,000-year-old tomb in Ephesus, Turkey.

Evidence from studying the dimensions of Arsinoe’s skull indicates that it had some characteristics of European whites, ancient Egyptians, and black Africans.

This is far from what they looked like in life Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci o Claudette Colbert, actresses who have gotten into the character of Cleopatra in the movies.

Although in popular culture the sovereign of Egypt is also shown as a seductive woman, even some writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio O Dante Alighieri They describe her as “insane queen” or “whore queen”, “the prostitute of the kings of the East”, “lustful creature” or “man-eater”, other historians comment that this idea is also wrong, since there is no evidence that prove this.

“She wasn’t that glamorous seductress that directors seem to like so much. There is no evidence that he had more than two sexual partners: Julius Caesar, to whom he was faithful until his death, and Marco Antonio. I think we like to see her like this (as a seductress of several men). There is something attractive in that, but it is very unfair, “says Joyce Tyldesley, professor of Egyptology at the University of Manchester in her book Cleopatra: The Last Queen of Egypt, interviewed by BBC news.

What Tyldesley does agree on is the way the image of Cleopatra is portrayed in the media as a good strategist as ruler.

“She was a very smart woman. He ruled for more than 20 years and managed to elude Roman rule over Egypt, something that somehow was a threat throughout his reign. In addition, he received a nation from his father who was in poverty and led it to recover economically ”, explained the historian in her book.