Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Antony and Cleopatra coin
"Antony and Cleopatra, one of history's most romantic couples, were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, academics have said.
A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, had a pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose. Her Roman lover, played by Richard Burton, had bulging eyes, thick neck and a hook nose.
The tiny coin was studied by experts at Newcastle University. The size of a modern 5p piece (18mm or 0.7in), the artefact from 32BC was in a collection belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, which is being researched in preparation for the opening of a new Great North Museum."
See the above page for the full story and good photographs of both faces of the coin.,,2012374,00.html
Martin Wainwright has a very good piece about the coin on the above page: "Coins showing the doomed pair of lovers, who were to kill themselves within two years in the face of ruin, are not uncommon, but the majority are in poor condition or have more flattering images. The Newcastle find, minted at a time when Antony and Cleopatra faced internal rebellion and outside invasion, may deliberately have emphasised the reality of the pair, to deter pretenders.
The inscriptions also play up the couple's power, with the Roman general's head surrounded by the words 'Antoni Armenia devicta' - for Antony, Armenia having been vanquished. Cleopatra gets the still more boastful 'Reginae regum filiorumque regum' - Queen of kings and of the children of kings, or possibly Queen of kings and of her children who are kings - her twin son and daughter were in titular charge of everything from the Caucasus to Libya."

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