Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
Recent research has revealed that
and Cleopatra - one of history's most romantic couples - were not the great beauties that Antony would have us believe. Hollywood
A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by a sultry Elizabeth Taylor, had a shallow forehead, pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.
On the other side, her Roman lover, played in the 1963 movie by Richard Burton,
's husband at the time, had bulging eyes, a hook nose and a thick neck. Taylor
History has depicted Cleopatra as a great beauty, befitting a woman who as Queen of Egypt seduced Julius Caesar, and then his rival Mark Antony.
But the coin, which goes on show on Wednesday at
for Valentine's Day, after years lying in a bank, is much less flattering about both famous faces. Newcastle University
The 32 BC artifact was in a collection belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon
Tyne, which is being researched in preparation for the opening of the new . Great North Museum
Clare Pickersgill, the university's assistant director of archaeological museums, said: "The popular image we have of Cleopatra is that of a beautiful queen who was adored by Roman politicians and generals. The relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra has long been romanticized by writers, artists and film-makers.
"Shakespeare wrote his tragedy Antony and Cleopatra in 1608, while the Orientalist artists of the 19th century and the modern
The university's director of archaeological museums, Lindsay Allason-Jones, said: "The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
"Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty. The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image."
While the editorial staff at JazzProfiles is saddened to learn that Hollywood didn’t get it right, again, we were delighted when producers at Columbia Records commissioned Paul Horn to make a “Jazz Impressions” LP of composer Alex North’s fine score to Cleopatra [he is also the composer of the film score for the movie Spartacus].
In a way, the Paul’s Jazz Impressions of Cleopatra turned out to be a family affair as both of my drum teachers, Victor Feldman and Larry Bunker played piano and percussion, respectively, on the album. In addition to Paul [who plays flute exclusively], Victor and Larry, the LP features the talents of Emil Richards on vibes and Chuck Israels on bass.
The following video features the Paul Horn Quintet performing Grant Me an Honorable Way to Die from the Columbia LP Cleopatra [CL 2050] as the audio track.