(Week of 7/22/18)

A recent conversation about dynamic women in history led -- naturally -- to Cleopatra, and got us thinking that we didn’t know quite as much about the Egyptian ruler as we’d like to claim. This week’s list delves into the real character behind the Elizabeth Taylor portrayal to uncover a brilliant political strategist, a master of male affection and one of history’s earliest victims of biased reporting, which began with Plutarch's posthumous portrait, which grossly diminished her as a frivolous underminer of men. Hope you enjoy, and are as inspired as we were to live big, love daringly and wear more exquisite eye make-up.

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the biography

Read this rundown of Cleopatra's magnificently intricate life, and listen to this In Our Time episode about her historical significance.



reputation damage

Read this less-than-flattering depiction of Cleopatra from Plutarch's Life of Antony and this article positing it as an historical example of fake news. Then listen to this NPR interview with Stacy Schiff, whose book seeks to redeem Cleopatra's image.


in regards to her beauty

Listen to this interview with Judith Thurman on an exhibition questioning Cleopatra's beauty, and read this article about why her eye make-up was more than just a fashion statement.


on stage & screen

Now we've clarified she's more than a beautiful seductress, nevertheless enjoy Elizabeth Taylor's portrayal of her as such in the 1963 film, then read this juicy Vanity Fair piece about the making of it.


an eternal muse

Check out some of our favorite samples of Cleopatra's appearance in art over the years.