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THE STELE OF CLEOPATRA VII IN THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM OF BARCELONA
by Susana Alegre García
EGYPTOLOGIST AND DOCUMENTALIST OF THE FUNDACIÓ ARQUEOLÒGICA CLOS

Born in Alexander, the city of the sciences and art, Cleopatra VII was the last representative of the dynasty of the Ptolemies. Her lineage, which ruled Egypt after the fall of the Macedonian empire, enjoyed the last splendour of the country of the Nile before it fell definitively under Roman control. As a result of destiny, Cleopatra was only 18 years old when she occupied the throne of a country that was increasingly being absorbed and courted by Rome, in a world full of transformations and tension. Ancient historians paint a contradictory view of Cleopatra. Some of them describe her as an enchanting, intelligent, woman, while others say she was a sort of sorcerer able to bewitch men with spells and strange potions. Whether or not this is true, she was certainly gifted at politics, and attractive enough to seduce the most powerful men of her time. Many novels and artistic creations of all types have been inspired by Cleopatra's life; paintings, books, novels, cinema, etc., have all contributed to spread her mythical beauty and legendary passion. In reality, little is known about Cleopatra's personality. But even less is known about the appearance of this woman who was Julius Caesar's lover and Mark Anthony's wife. She was definitely beautiful, but we do not know if she was fair or dark, tall or short, or even the colour of her eyes. Cleopatra died young, taking her life after her defeat by the Romans at the Battle of Actium, but was a challenging figure for her time: a powerful woman who was praised and hated, as loved as she was feared. Her magnetic power, in reality, continues challenging the modern world.