Cleopatra, Pharaoh of Egypt of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The name transcends centuries. Her myth is that of a beauty icon with formidable seduction skills. But history reveals a woman more charismatic and magnetic than beautiful. An intelligent woman, an erudite polyglot. One who changed her title to philopatris, “homeland-loving”. Her famous nose was imposing, but more importantly it had phenomenal flair. Cleopatra manoeuvred in Rome between politics and love. Her flamboyant stage work made quite the impression. This marketing genius excelled in ground-breaking branding and publicity stunts. A meeting with Caesar? Certainly! But bursting suddenly, cheekily, out of a carpet (or a bag) rolled out before him. Impress Anthony? Sure, by joining him on the most sumptuous boat in breathtaking attire, like a living goddess. Even her appearance is studied meticulously: headdress details, makeup which evokes the goddess Isis, depicted as a bird, a mother goddess just as she is herself. This look further reinforces her status publicly and politically.
She remains a communications virtuoso until the very end: her suicide by snake bite, with deadly asp venom. Never mind if she was effectively killed this way or if she knowingly poisoned herself beforehand. This snake, both feared and revered in the land of the Nile, but also the symbol of eternity, is how she chose to bow out. This theatrical finale brings down the curtain on her life in a manner both grandiose and tragic. Thus began the immortal legend…
Photos: Pauline Caplet
Special thanks to Full Circle Brussels.