Researchers have unveiled a new composite image which
they say more accurately portrays the ancient seductress. Renowned for her
legendary ability to beguile men like Julius Caesar and Roman General Mark
Antony, she probably didn't attain her reputation by being entirely
The computer-enhanced image takes into account her geography, family
history, and various items bearing her likeness.
Pieced together from images on ancient artifacts, including a ring dating
from Cleopatra's reign 2,000 years ago, it is the culmination of more than a
year of painstaking research.
The result is a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity - very different to
the porcelain-skinned Westernised version portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in
the 1961 movie Cleopatra.
Egyptologist Dr Sally Ann Ashton, of Cambridge University, said the images,
to be broadcast as part of a Five documentary on Cleopatra, reflect the
monarch's Greek heritage as well as her Egyptian upbringing.
"She probably wasn't just completely European. You've got to remember that
her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to