Intelligent. Sexy. Historical badass. Getting to know foxy Cleopatra.

She is the stuff of legends—totally iconic and usually portrayed as a smoldering sexbomb—but what do you really know about Cleopatra? Here are a few things that amazed us.

  • So young. She was only 17 years old when she became Queen of Egypt.
  • Mighty Aphrodite. She totally identified with the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite and modeled her own mystique on theirs.
  • Brotherly love. Before she ruled on her own, she shared the throne with two different husbands. And both those husbands were also her brothers. (The royals of Egypt did that back then.)
  • She liked to dress up. Supposedly, Cleopatra was a mistress of disguise and costume and could reinvent herself to suit any occasion. (Sounds a lot like Madonna.)
  • Milk baths. She was known for having beautiful skin and she bathed in milk. It’s rich in lactic acid, which exfoliates and smoothes skin. (Try soaking your hands in milk—they’ll get super soft and silky.)
  • Makeup. She wore thick eyeliner in green and black. (You can copy her look today using kohl around your eyes.)
  • Spa treatments. She soaked in the Dead Sea because of its purifying sea salts and minerals. Can you say ancient body scrub? She’d mix the salts with cream and have servants rub it over her whole body.
  • Birth control. Women in Cleopatra’s time put a mixture of crocodile dung and honey into their vajayjays to try and prevent pregnancy. (Gross. That’s more proof that we have it so good nowadays.)
  • Perfume. She dabbed perfumed balm between her toes before meeting up with her men. She even scented the sails of her barge with perfume. The scents could have been blue lotus, frankincense, or myrrh. (Channel your inner Cleo and scent your sheets tonight.)
  • Hail, Caesar! Cleopatra needed Julius Caesar to help her regain her throne. To reach him, they say she was smuggled into his palace in an old, rolled up rug. She must have made one hell of an impression because they went on to fall for each other. (He was 54. She was 21.) She had his baby and moved to Rome, but Caesar was killed shortly thereafter.
  • So ruthless. They say she had one husband/brother killed, along with other siblings, just to keep her self in power.
  • Romantic and tragic. Cleopatra and Marc Antony started out as political allies and became lovers. She had his twins, but he left her to marry another woman back in Rome. That marriage didn’t last and he eventually returned to Cleopatra. This really pissed off his first wife’s family, so they convinced Rome to declare war against Egypt which…didn’t end well. Marc Antony went on to take his life. (Supposedly after hearing a false report that Cleopatra had been killed.) Cleopatra would eventually commit suicide too. Some say she poisoned herself; others say she let a poisonous snake bite her. (An asp, to be specific.)

Was she a harlot, like the Romans portrayed her? Was she one of the most successful and beloved Egyptian queens? Will Angelina Jolie play her in an upcoming movie? Find out Cleopatra’s real story in this article from Smithsonian Magazine or on And should you find yourself anywhere near Philadelphia between now and January 2, 2011, The Franklin Institute has an exhibit on Cleopatra and it looks awesome.

How do you say “bye for now” in hieroglyphics,

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