Myths and legends about hair:: Cleopatra

Cleopatra (born in 69 and died in Alexandria in 30 BC). He was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She was also a diplomat, naval commander, linguist, and writer of medical treatises.

Cleopatra was a paradigmatic woman, always represented in the world of fiction with a black and stable symmetrical mane of straight bangs. Legendary for his magnetism, he used it to rule an empire. Julio César and Marco Antonio, the two most important men of the time, fell subject to their charms.

However, the colour of her skin, hair, and eyes is unknown; although due to his Macedonian origin he was perhaps of fair complexion and blond hair. His nose was large, like his mouth, arched as it appears on some coins. He was certainly small in stature. No sculpture has been preserved of it, except for a small bust.

Productive dedication to political and intellectual affairs did not prevent Cleopatra from paying attention to her physical appearance. The Egyptians of that time, of very refined hygiene, instead of boasting abundant hair, shaved their heads and covered it with square fabrics that were girded at the temples, over the ears, with angular folds. On special occasions they wore natural hair, linen or palm wigs, the remains of which could be found in excavated tombs, and which were in fashion for more than a thousand years.

It was also common for Egyptian women to have all body hair removed, including pubic hair, which they considered to be a source of dirt and a source of infection. It is not known whether Cleopatra shared these customs. Apocryphal texts say that he suffered an intense alopecia that forced him to wear a wig, regardless of fashion.

The image of her beauty, as well as that of her thick black hair, is probably the justification that an ugly and bald woman managed to maintain thanks to a captivating personality.

Excerpted from Chapter 2 of the magnificent book “Take care of our hair” by Dr. Ramón Grimalt.