February 15, 2007—She was the legendary queen of Egypt who seduced two of the most powerful men in the ancient world.
But a silver coin that went on display at a British university yesterday suggests Cleopatra's beauty may be Hollywood fiction.
On one side the coin shows the Egyptian ruler with a shallow forehead, long nose, narrow lips, and a sharply pointed chin (at left above). On the other, her longtime lover, the powerful Roman general and politician Mark Antony, is depicted with a large hooked nose and thick neck (right).
The unflattering images suggest that fictional accounts—from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra to the HBO TV series Rome—overplay the attractiveness of the doomed couple.
Ancient Coin Flip