Did you know, Cleopatra was a blonde?

CLEOPATRA WAS A BLONDE - (terrific brief history of Egypt’s rich past; optimistic democratic future)

Posted on 3/26/2005, 4:14:24 PM by CHARLITE

No, this is not a blonde joke. If you want one of those, go to this week’s Humor File. Cleopatra was in fact a blonde. That’s because she was not Egyptian. She was a Macedonian Greek, with hair as blonde as Alexander’s.

Alexander conquered Egypt in 332 BC, then went on to subdue all of the Middle East. When he died nine years later, his just-conquered empire was fought over and carved up by his generals. The one who ended up running Egypt was Ptolemy (367-283 BC). Declaring himself Pharaoh, he founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty, with twelve Ptolemies in succession, many of whom had wives named Cleopatra. The Cleopatra we know, lover of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, was the daughter of Ptolemy XII, and entitled Cleopatra VII (69-30 BC).

There was not a drop of Egyptian blood in the Ptolemies. They remained 100% Greek, including the Queen of the Nile herself Cleopatra. Can you imagine Elizabeth Taylor as a blonde? It kind of shakes up your image of history.

Egyptian history ended over 3,000 years ago. The Pyramids, the Pharaoh’s like Ramses II and King Tut, all of that was pretty much over by 1,000 BC. When the Persians seized the place in 525 BC, it had been torn apart by Libyans, Kushite Nubians, Assyrians and other invaders for centuries. Thus the very name “Egypt” isn’t Egyptian. The Persians called it E Ko Ptah, the Land of Ptah, the Egyptian creator god. Herodotus Greek-ified this to Egoptus, which we changed to Egypt.

The Sphinx isn’t the Sphinx – that’s a Greek word the Ptolemies gave it, meaning “bound together” as the statue of a Pharoah’s head with the body of a lion. The real name is shesep-ankh-Atum, the Living Image of the God Atum.

The Ptolemies’ Greek rule of Egypt ended in 31 BC, with Octavian’s (who became Augustus) defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. For almost 700 years, Egypt was a Roman colony (first of Rome, then Constantinople). Then came the Arabs, followed by the Turkish Mamluks, followed by the Ottoman Turks. When Napoleon grabbed it in 1798, Egypt was an unknown backwater (I must dispense one myth here: The Sphinx’s nose was not blown off by Napoleon’s artillery, as there are pre-1798 drawings of it so disfigured. It was defaced by Arab Moslems in the 8th century). Three years later, the Brits kicked out the French, and Egypt remained a British colony until independence came in 1952.

Isn’t that something?


Thanks for sharing.