Dear Cleopatra,

As we found out more about you in order to make you the star of this week’s Icon we realised you were really complicated, girlfriend. It sounds like you had a dominating character and used your womanly charms to political effect. But we’re pretty sure you were doing it for your country as well as for yourself.

Some aspects of your history sound a bit pooky rather than mooky, actually. Hooking up sexually with soldiers to gain influence for your country? Marrying your brother? We’re not too sure about these. But we realise things were different in the old days, and in ancient Egypt, we guess a queen hadda do what a queen hadda do.

We’re very impressed with your can-do attitude (smuggling yourself into a palace in a rolled-up carpet? The nerve!) and your sense of style. You were clearly a very stylish young lady in all that you did, whether it was entertaining roman gentlemen on river boats serving pearls dissolved in vinegar or committing suicide with a snakebite rather than succumbing to the will of a man.

Oh, and you bathed in asses’ milk. Christ, how many donkeys had to be milked? And how does one actually milk a donkey?

Love, Mookychick xxx

Best Known For:

Bathing in asses’ milk. Death by asp. Walking like an egyptian. Being a minxy sorceress. Canoodling with Anthony and putting her womanhood on a par with her heavy royal responsibility. Being played in a very long film starring Elizabeth Taylor.

Least Known For:

Being Egypt’s last Pharoah (she really was!) Starting the gothique make-up movement. The actual beauty status of her nose, which apparently wasn’t all that. Her voice. What did she sound like?

Mooky Factor:

Fairly high. History shows that Cleopatra called the shots from a very young age, and made choices that would define not only her but her people. And she looked good doing it.

Best Cleopatra Quotes:

Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought. (Shakespeare)

Celerity (speed of action) is never more admired than by the negligent.(Shakespeare)

My honour was not yielded, but conquered merely.(Shakespeare)

If Cleopatra’s nose had been shorter, it would have changed the face of the world. (Pascal)

Cleopatra’s Background:

Cleopatra had a shaky start as a teenager when she married her brother (old Egyptian belief being that since royal status was god-given, only royals were important enough to be a king or queen’s spouse. Also their gods Isis and Osiris were a married brother-sister duo, so, um, royal incest had to be okay?)

Things improved when Cleopatra came to power at the tender age of 18, even though she had to fend off her sister and three councillors to keep it. She was marvellously talented: She had knowledge in literature, mathematics, astronomy, medecine, languages and could ride a horse. And, true this, everyone reckoned she had a great sense of humour.

One of her first acts as a ruler was to try to fix her country’s conflict with the Roman Empire. Unfortunately the egyptians weren’t happy about this and banished her and put her brother in charge. To protect herself, she had herself delivered to Caesar rolled up in a carpet, and, naturally charmed, he stepped in with a few heavies and proclaimed her Queen of Egypt once more. At a cost: she became his ward, and fell pregnant.

As Caesar rapidly fell out of favour, and his influential queen too, Cleopatra hooked up with Anthony, who wanted to gain power in the East and could see that ancient Egypt was still a powerful nation and Cleopatra was still a powerful queen. They had a meeting on a luxurious river boat to discuss politics, which lasted four days. Hmm… not just politics but a romantic river cruise, then.

All went well. In fact, so well, that Anthony and Ceopatra fell in love, and Rome decided to declare war because non-roman Egypt was getting on so superbly without it, and Anthony died on his own sword, and Cleopatra was imprisoned in order to become the new Caesar’s love-slave but got her servants to smuggle in an asp (a poisonous snake) in a fruit basket, and so retained her queenly and womanly dignity until the very end….