Queen Cleopatra on Netflix is ​​surrounded by controversy - here's the true story of Cleopatra

Adele James plays Cleopatra in the Netflix series Queen Cleopatra.

Adele James plays Cleopatra in the Netflix series Queen Cleopatra. | Netflix

Netflix’s “Queen Cleopatra,” a four-part documentary about the life and reign of Cleopatra, was released this month to almost immediate criticism. Produced by actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, the series received a 3% viewer rating and a 14% critic rating Rotten Tomatoes.

Here’s everything you need to know about the ‘Queen Cleopatra’ controversy – and the true story of Cleopatra herself.

The Netflix Queen Cleopatra controversy.

Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra drew almost immediate criticism for hiring a black actress, Adele James, to play Cleopatra. As forbes notes that such backlash usually comes from “anti-woke” groups – but in the case of “Queen Cleopatra” the criticism comes from Egyptian officials and historians.

Many claim that the casting of a black actress as Cleopatra is historically inaccurate, while others call it appropriation. This criticism stems in particular from issues surrounding Cleopatra’s ethnicity and origins.

Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities claims that “Queen Cleopatra” is documentary and therefore “requires those responsible for production to verify accuracy and to rely on historical and scientific facts,” it said in a statement forbes.

dr Mustafa Waziri, Egypt’s secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Archaeology, said that depicting Cleopatra as black was a “falsification of Egyptian history and a blatant historical fallacy,” according to Forbes.

Others point out that criticism of “Queen Cleopatra” has racial roots. Why, some have asked, is it better suited for white actresses like Elizabeth Taylor to play Cleopatra than for a black actress like James?

As Leila Latif wrote the guard“But while (the uncertainty about Cleopatra’s parentage) opens her up to being played by any number of actors, it’s worth noting that some find blue-eyed Elizabeth Taylor and Israeli wonder woman Gal Gadot more appropriate.”

“Cleopatra’s exact skin and hair type is open to speculation, but defaulting to white is insidious and ridiculous,” Latif continued.

Queen Cleopatra director Tina Gharavi defended the decision to portray Cleopatra as black. Writing in Variety“Why shouldn’t Cleopatra be a melancholy sister?” And why do some people need Cleopatra to be white? Her closeness to white seems to give her value, and for some Egyptians that seems really important.”

Was Cleopatra Black?

while, loud collidersAlthough we know that Cleopatra’s father was Ptolemy I Soter, who had his roots in the ‘Macedonian heritage’, Cleopatra’s maternal side is shrouded in mystery.

According to Collider, “there is uncertainty as to the identity of her mother.” It is widely believed that Cleopatra’s mother, Cleopatra VI. Tryphaena, wife of Ptolemy XII. And on the basis of the “Ptolemaic lineage,” historians have concluded “that Cleopatra’s lineage was predominantly Hellenistic in origin.”

In other words, Cleopatra was “a member of an ancient Greek dynasty” known as the Ptolemies, it says National Geographic. The Ptolemaic Kingdom took over in 305 BC. BC Egypt

Accordingly collidersWaziri claims Cleopatra was fair-skinned. This is based on the theory that Cleopatra was of predominantly Hellenistic or Greek ancestry. But as Collider puts it, “There are numerous ambiguities surrounding Cleopatra’s true appearance, which allow the creators of ‘Queen Cleopatra’ to to cast Adele James for the role.”

“But the decision to make the entire family appear black distorts the historical evidence to suggest otherwise, and leaves a great deal of damage to the credibility and accuracy of the documentation.” colliders closes.

Professor of literature and history Islam Issa, who appears in “Queen Cleopatra” – the only Egyptian historian to appear in the series, he noted – wrote that The documentaries should be viewed as “docudrama”.

Per forbesIssa said that “the largely binary racial terms used today are anachronistic and can hardly be applied to Cleopatra’s context,” adding that “genetic makeup varied as people from across the region, from Europeans to Nubians, lived on their country lived and married.” .”

“To claim that there were no black people in Egypt or that the origins of Egyptian civilizations were essentially in sub-Saharan Africa are both essentially forms of annihilation,” Issa wrote.

Issa concludes that focusing on Cleopatra’s looks “detracts from her strong heritage.”

“Ironically, the obsession with what a powerful woman looked like is in itself reductionist and objectifying, so the documentary part was meant to shed light on her entire fascinating life and not just what she might have looked like,” Issa wrote.

Why is Cleopatra so famous?

Cleopatra, born at the age of 18 in 51 BC. Becoming pharaoh of Egypt around 1000 BC has become synonymous with seduction and her relationships with two famous men: Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. But loud Smithsonian MagazineCleopatra was so much more.


As Smithsonian Magazine put it, Cleopatra was “an imperious woman, versed in politics, diplomacy, and governance, fluent in nine languages, agile, and charismatic.”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, “at the height of her power she controlled virtually the entire eastern Mediterranean coast, the last great kingdom of any Egyptian ruler.” Cleopatra had a “first-rate education”; she commanded the Egyptian army and navy; She would “deal with foreign powers and preside over temples” and “administer justice and regulate the economy.”

In short, Cleopatra ruled Egypt and ensured its prosperity. She did all this while maintaining a favorable relationship with Rome and influencing international politics.

But despite all their successes, so Smithsonian MagazineCleopatra “survives as a wanton seductress, not the first time a truly powerful woman has been transformed into a shamelessly seductive woman.”

How old was Cleopatra when she met Caesar?

Accordingly Smithsonian MagazineCleopatra was 21 when she met Julius Caesar. She was then a refugee – exiled from Egypt due to a civil war with her then brother and husband, Ptolemy XIII.

Julius Caesar had arrived in Alexandria after the assassination of Pompey, a “brilliant Roman general” who had “suffered a crushing defeat in central Greece” by Caesar. After taking refuge in Ptolemy’s palace, Cleopatra sneaked into the palace “in a sturdy sack” and met with Caesar.

Cleopatra eventually bore Caesar a son – Caesarian – while Caesar eventually defeated the troops of Ptolemy XIII. defeated and restored Cleopatra to the throne. Accordingly collidersCaesar never claimed Caesarian as his own son.

Who was Cleopatra’s love?

After the assassination of Caesar in 44 B.C. – while Cleopatra is said to have lived in Rome Story — Cleopatra returned to Alexandria. Only 41 B.C. in Tarsus she met Mark Antony, “one of the three common leaders of Rome”. National Geographic.

Cleopatra met Antony for political reasons. Accordingly National Geographic“Gaining the friendship of one of Rome’s most powerful men would lead to closer ties with the Republic, consolidating its grip on the throne, and perhaps even expanding its kingdom.”

Although Antony was married, Antony and Cleopatra fell in love and began an affair. According to National Geographic, Antony soon joined Cleopatra in Alexandria.

As National Geographic It is said that the two were in the year 41-40 BC. Chr. been “inseparable”. At night, Antonius and Cleopatra would roam the streets disguised as slaves, drinking, playing dice and hunting together.

Tragically, it was “Antony’s infatuation with Cleopatra” and “and the alleged excesses of their lives in the Egyptian powerhouse” that ultimately led to the downfall of Antony and Cleopatra, according to National Geographic.

How old was Cleopatra when she died?

According to this, Cleopatra was 39 years old when she died Smithsonian Magazine. After Antony and Cleopatra died in 31 B.C. lost a battle against Octavian – one of the three rulers of Rome – they took their own lives National Geographic.

Cleopatra reportedly told Antony that after the defeat she planned to take her own life. As a result, Antony stabbed himself and died in her arms. Having failed to negotiate with Octavian, Cleopatra, accompanied by servants, barricaded herself in her tomb and killed herself.

Despite the widespread myth that Cleopatra killed herself with an adder, it is likely that she used poison National Geographic.

Is Queen Cleopatra correct on Netflix?

Controversy aside, Netflix’s Queen Cleopatra gets some facts right. Accordingly collidersIn the documentaries, the rivalry between Cleopatra and her siblings and her banishment by her brother Ptolemy XIII. and accurately portrayed their eventual return to Egypt.

While the encounter between Caesar and Cleopatra has been popularly portrayed as a dramatic seduction, “Queen Cleopatra chooses” to portray their first encounter as an encounter of spirits. The documentaries “suggest that it was Cleopatra’s charm and persuasiveness that flattered Caesar in the first place,” according to Collider.

The documentaries also get other details right, such as the relationship between Cleopatra and Caesar. However, according to Collider, “Queen Cleopatra” romanticizes Cleopatra. As Collider puts it, “The documentaries follow their tendency to overtly romanticize their protagonist, particularly through the villainous portrayal of others.”

“Although the documentaries take a bold approach to addressing some controversial aspects of the Queen’s life, they risk giving a completely wrong first impression of Queen Cleopatra,” it said colliders.

According to Collider, the success of “Queen Cleopatra” on Netflix lies in “celebrating the life of a legendary queen who wielded tremendous power in an all-male world.”

How is “Queen Cleopatra” rated and why?

Accordingly Common Sense Media“Queen Cleopatra” is suitable for people aged 15 and over. The show is rated TV-14 Netflix. The show includes:

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