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Cleopatra's True Racial Background?

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    Posted: 28 May 2012 at 18:25
From scholar, Duane W. Roller:
 
Quote it is quite possible that Cleopatra was pure Macedonian Greek. But it is probable that she had some Egyptian blood, although the amount is uncertain. Certainly it was no more than half, and probably less. The best evidence is that she was three-quarters Macedonian Greek and one-quarter Egyptian. There is no room for anything else, certainly not for any black African blood.
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There are so many ideas floating around concerning her possible breakdown, from the aformentioned Macedonian/ Egyptian/ Sub Saharan/ Anatolian, etc, ad nauseum.

Any thoughts?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 May 2012 at 09:55
It is well established that Cleopatra VII also had some Seleucid blood in her, which typically included Iranic ancestry as the Seleucids were the very first to follow Alexander's encouragement of taking an eastern wife.

The idea that Cleopatra resembled the people of sub-Saharan Africa has no foundation in any of the evidence.

If Cleopatra did have some 'native' blood, who is to say that it was Egyptian? More than likely the ancestor would have been drawn from the local inhabitants of Alexandria, which itself was a city totally untypical of Egypt. It was a new city, recently built, and contained an enormous foreign segment. If Cleopatra's roots can be shown to include Ptolemaic courtiers, soldiers or commoners, then we must factor in the Celtic Galatians, Alexandrian Jews, Greeks and other Macedonians which populated this highly cosmopolitan metropolis.

But these are all 'what ifs'. Dealing in the concrete evidence, we have a woman whose inbred ancestors passed down to her a genetic lineage almost entirely Macedonian in composition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 12:44
There is a period bust of her.  She was not much of a looker, but certainly she has no obvious black blood in her.


"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote okamido Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 May 2012 at 18:09
Those are fairly distinctive features.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 00:15
Contemporary accounts detail her as having a hooked nose and jutting chin. Methinks the above bust is an artist's way of really making do with what little he had available. Clearly her charm came from being a luxurious Hellenistic queen with a mind for intrigue.

In any case the bust and contemporary accounts which describe a hooked nose and jutting chin are describing the common features of someone with Mediterranean ancestry. Which is what we ought to expect.

Who knows, maybe a distant grandfather of her's fathered one of his children from a Nubian slave and legitimised the bastard. And perhaps Julius Caesar's real father was a Hyperborean manservant who did the dirty with Julius's mother and no one found out. In history, speculation is not evidence. It's fun to ponder, but not persuasive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 01:25
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

There is a period bust of her.  She was not much of a looker, but certainly she has no obvious black blood in her.




According to afrocentrists she is black, and she looks like a clone of Miriam Makeba. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 04:01
It would seem to me that by adopting the Egyptian custom of brothers mating with sisters to produce a pure blooded Pharaonic heir, the Ptolemys guaranteed that no other genes would enter the line. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 04:12
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

It would seem to me that by adopting the Egyptian custom of brothers mating with sisters to produce a pure blooded Pharaonic heir, the Ptolemys guaranteed that no other genes would enter the line. 


Very true. Though we must make an exception for Cleopatra I, the daughter of Antiochus III Megas of the Seleucids. Still, she is hardly likely to get any African DNA from that ancestor.

I would love to observe the late Ptolemies up close to check for some signs that they may have been going the way of the later Hapsburg dynasty in Spain.

Or for that matter, all of the earlier Egyptian dynasties which followed the practice of royal incestuous marriage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 May 2012 at 07:32
Originally posted by lirelou lirelou wrote:

It would seem to me that by adopting the Egyptian custom of brothers mating with sisters to produce a pure blooded Pharaonic heir, the Ptolemys guaranteed that no other genes would enter the line. 


Well, this was the official policy, but I wouldn't be surprised if many of the so-called "legitimate heirs" were not in fact children of their "supposed" fathers.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jun 2012 at 00:14
Calvo, I wouldn't be surprised either. However, barring some discovery that allows genetic testing, "wouldn't be surprised" doesn't hold up to historical analysis.  So I, at any rate, must presume her to be a Greek with a Dna matching that of her Ptolemaic ancestors.

(ps: absolutely loved the HBO series Rome's version of Cleopatra's coupling with a rough Roman legionary to produce an heir she could claim was Caesar's.)
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