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Cleopatra – Was she White or Black?

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Cleopatra VII Bust

For whatever reason, people have tried to claim that Cleopatra was black. That is the most absurd proposition that distorts history beyond belief. When Alexander the Great died, his empire was split among his generals. Egypt went to General Ptolomey. There was perhaps a sense of prejudice by the Greeks against those that they conquered which did not turn simply on skin color. Adding to this, there was a custom in Egypt among all classes in society that you were very fortunate to have a sister to marry for that was one means of keeping the wealth in the family. A 2015 study of even the royalty of Egypt which predated Ptolemy shows that there was extensive inbreeding among the ancient Egyptian royalty.

The inbreeding among the Pharaohs of Egypt was usually done to emulate the god Osiris who married his sister Isis. Ramses II married his own daughter Meritamen. He did have other wives, who were related and some way, and there was also a wife for political purposes being a foreign royalty. It is also believed that Hatesphut’s mother was possibly her half-sister. Interestingly, inbreeding was also because women carried the royal bloodlines so the man was advantaged to marry the most royal woman he could, often a close relative – hence a man was very fortunate to have a sister. Thus, this inbreeding, consanguinity, was well documented. According to Smithsonian magazine, Egyptian law, and tradition “decreed that pharaohs marry their sisters. Cleopatra married her oldest brother after the death of her father, and she married her youngest brother after the death of her first brother.” When Julius Caesar showed up, Cleopatra VII was married to her younger brother  Cleopatra, now married to her brother Ptolemy XIV, was restored to her throne after Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile. Ptolemy XIV died in 44 BC and her co-ruler became her infant son, Ptolemy XV Caesar – often known as the son of Caesar called Caesarian.

Cleopatra VII AE2

The whole taboo of inbreeding came from the Romans – not the Greeks. Roman civil law forbade couples from marrying if they were within four degrees of consanguinity. From the mid-9th century AD, the church even raised this limit to the seventh degree and the method of calculating degrees was also changed. Without question, incest in Egyptian culture was in fact (1) mimicking the Greek gods, and (2) among the wealthy, to retain the wealth within the family.

Mark Antony Bust VaticanAntony Cleopatra Denarius










Mark Antony Octavian AR DenariusThe coinage of the era reflects the portraits of the various rulers and they are highly accurate. The engravers had images of the person to work from. A collector can immediately recognize the person before even reading that caption on the coinage.

Cleopatra VII AE Drachm 51 30BCWe can easily see the resemblance between Cleopatra to the surviving sculpture. We can see from the coinage and the bust of Mark Antony the depiction of his curly hair.

Here is another coin of Marck Antony and Octavian, the heir of Caesar. Once again we see the curly hair. The portraits on the coinage reflect accurate images of the people concerned.

This is a bronze drachm of Egypt depicting Cleopatra VII. We can once more easily see how the portrait reflects the true image of Cleopatra.

jub cleo

JUBA II was King of MAURETANIA and the son of King Juba I of Numidia. His father had supported Pompey against Caesar in Africa and continued to support the Pompeians even after the death of Pompey. Following Caesar’s victory, Juba I fled to Zama after the Battle of Thapsus where he had a slave kill him. But his son, Juba II, was taken to Rome in 46 BC as a child, following the death of his father. There he lived under the protection of both Caesar and Octavian while he was educated in Roman tradition. He was extremely intelligent and quickly gained the reputation for being one of the most learned men in the world. He became an early supporter of Octavian in his war against Marc Antony and Cleopatra. In 30 BC, following Octavian’s conquest of Egypt, Juba was married to Cleopatra, the daughter of Marc Antony and the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Here again, is a coin depicting his mother-in-law.

Cleopatra Selene AR Denarius daughter Cleopatra

Juba’s marriage to the daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony was clearly political in nature. We can see the resemblance in her portrait on this denarius from MAURETANIA. Octavian sought a means by which he could stabilize Africa. Octavian, therefore, sent the prince to rule his own people. In 25 AD, however, Octavian, now known as Augustus (27BC-14AD), traded him Mauretania for Numidia, which had long been a source of gold for the Egyptians. Juba held Mauretania, including Gaetulia, as a loyal client of Rome. His reign was noted for its intellectualism and for Juba’s reliance upon Rome to keep the throne in the face of public unrest.

Etruria African IONIA Black Slave

There are clearly Greek coins depicting black Africans. While everyone asserts that the oldest profession is prostitution, the second oldest is not lawyers to make sure the prostitutes get paid, but soldiers-for-hire are also known as Mercenaries. There were black mercenaries who served in many wars. We know from contemporary accounts that the barbarians of the North were fearsome. These Celtic Mercenaries were hired by Egypt during the reign of the ethnically Greek Ptolemaic dynasty. Celtic Mercenaries became a part of Egypt’s official army. During the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes, Celtic Mercenaries played a very decisive role in conquering Syria as well as Judea. The Greek historian Polybius tells us that many Celtic Mercenaries actually settled in Egypt and took Egyptian or Greek wives. The Greeks saw them as a mixed race and referred to their offspring as e pigovoi.

Egypt Slaves Egyptian White brown

We also know from Herodotus that he visited Egypt during the 5th century BC. He made it clear that the Greeks were one of the first groups of foreigners that ever lived there. Egyptian painting show white, brown, and black races. It is amazing that people would distort history to insist that Cleopatra was black when the Ptolemy line was Greek and they certainly did not intermarry with the locals regardless of their color.



There are clearly black empires inside Africa. Northern Africa was colonized by the Greeks for centuries before Alexander showed up. Even the legendary Queen of Sheba was from Ethiopia which depicted people of the black race. In order to even get elephants, they traded with black cultures deeper inside Africa.


This whole WOKEISM is going way too far as NETFLIX is now doing a show with Cleopatra being black. Why don’t we picture Julius Caesar as transgender? Why NETFLIX is even allowing a total distortion of historical facts is damaging to our understanding of the past. History can be confirmed from the coinage. Perhaps people fail to understand that coinage has even survived.