Melbourne, Sept 18 : Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt, was not Egyptian, she was Macedonian.
Cleopatra has been an inspiration behind many books and plays, suggesting that the whole world know a lot of things about the stunning beauty. However, there are many more facts, which provide a clearer picture of hers.
For example, she was a Macedonian.
Alexander The Great, who was from Macedonia, conquered Egypt. After he died in 323 BC, control of Egypt passed to Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman.
Ptolemy set up a three-century-long dynasty, which was closed to outsiders, including Egyptians. Indeed, the parents of Cleopatra were brother and sister, reports abc.net.au
The Encyclopaedia Britannica writes, "The Macedonian-Greek character of the monarchy was vigorously preserved" and that "Cleopatra VII was of Macedonian descent and had no Egyptian blood".
Also, Cleopatra was not beautiful in the physical sense - bearing in mind that the concept of beauty is different for each time period and for each person.
Plutarch, wrote about her about a century after her death in 30 BC, in his book, Life of Antony, about the Roman general, Marc Antony, who was one of her lovers.
He describes her as "by no means flawless or even remarkable" and further writes "her beauty was not in and for itself incomparable".
Cleopatra was, like all the other Ptolemaic women, around 1.5 metres tall.
In today's terms, she was short, dumpy and squat - nevertheless, she had a lot going for her.
The 'beauty' could speak nine languages, and had a sharp intelligence and compelling charisma. She was highly educated, had a powerful regal presence from an early age, and projected a sense of vigorous charm and powerful leadership.
Cleopatra raised an army, built a fleet to rival Rome's, made Egypt strong, kept the peace, and successfully played off powerful opponents against each other.
According to Shakespeare, Cleopatra died from the bite of an asp, smuggled into her bedroom in a basket of figs.
But that particular species of snake does not live in Egypt. A far more likely contender (if she was killed by a snake) was the cobra, which does live in Egypt.
So her death is a mystery even today.