The Truth About Cleopatra.
by Leslie Morgan Steiner
When you hear the name Cleopatra, what first comes to mind?
For me, here’s what bubbles up:
* Evil Egyptian Queen
* My childhood friend’s miniature greyhound Cleo
* Elizabeth Taylor with too much eye makeup in the 1963 movie
Fortunately, Pulitzer-prize winning author Stacy Schiff decided to set the record straight about Cleopatra in her fabulous new book Cleopatra: A Life.
In truth, Cleopatra was the richest, most powerful woman in the history of the world. Her fortune has been estimated at $95.8 billion in today’s dollars – think Oprah meets Queen Elizabeth meets Angelina Jolie, all raised to the 10th power. She lived a century before Christ’s birth, in Alexandria and Rome. She was born into the lavish, ambitious Ptolemic family, which had ruled the Mediterranean for over 200 years. She was the last Egyptian queen – although she was Greek, not Egyptian. She apparently only had two sexual partners in her life – who happened to be two of the most impressive, cunning leaders in history: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She had children by both, including her first child, Caesarion, who later co-ruled with his mother. Cleopatra’s brilliant mind and immense financial resources helped both Caesar and Mark Antony conquer new lands. Final fact: with a hooked nose and tiny stature, Cleopatra accomplished all this without the traditional feminine weapon of beauty.