The mummies, which had lain undisturbed for 2,000 years, are in a poor state of preservation because water had seeped into the tomb, according to the Guardian.Was Cleopatra VII (the Cleopatra) buried in Taposiris Magna, rather than Alexandria? Perhaps we will know soon.
But they were originally covered with gold leaf – a luxury reserved for only the top members of society's elite – meaning they may have personally interacted with Cleopatra.
The male and female mummies may have been priests who played a key role in maintaining the power of the legendary Egyptian queen and her lover, Mark Anthony.
Also found at the site were 200 coins bearing Cleopatra's name and her face, which would have been pressed based on Cleopatra's direct instructions.
In Anne Rice's novel The Mummy or Ramses the Damned, the mummified body of Cleopatra is found in the Cairo Museum. As you can imagine, mayhem ensues.
Our Cleopatra VII does not appear in the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament. But Cleopatra I Syra is mentioned, unnamed, as "the daughter of women," in Daniel 11:17. Her granddaughter Cleopatra III appears in the Old Testament Apocrypha in 1 Maccabees 10:57-58, 11:8-12.
Nevertheless, Cleopatra VII is of some interest to PaleoJudaica. Plutarch reports that she knew Aramaic and Hebrew. Past posts on her are here and links.
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