Scientists: Cleopatra’s Mother and Sister were Probably Black Africans

December 1, 2011  |  


This is news to me. For most of my life… let me be real… up until today, I just knew that Cleopatra was Egyptian… African… black.

Well call me ignorant because Cleopatra came from a Greek family. (Finally some clarity as to why they cast Elizabeth Taylor to play her in that 1963 film, “Cleopatra”)

But maybe the lessons I’d learned about Cleopatra weren’t so wrong after all, in 2009 the BBC reported that scientists were suprised to learn that Cleopatra’s blood sister, Arsinoe, had an African mother.

Queen Cleopatra was a descendant of Ptolemy, the Macedonian general who ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great.

But remains of the queen’s sister Princess Arsinoe, found in Ephesus, Turkey, indicate that her mother had an “African” skeleton.

Experts have described the results as “a real sensation.”

A real sensation huh? What is with people, white people specifically, trying to pretend that Egypt is not in Africa? Sure, it’s super close to Saudi Arabia, which is considered the “Middle East” but Egypt is an African nation. This is fact. So why is it so surprising that Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, would be African?

We’ll get to that later.

Today scientists are stating that Arsinoe and Cleopatra, who were at least half sisters, probably shared the same mother. And this mother was, at least in part, African. And not just African, they believe she was sub-Saharan African. In case you didn’t know, that’s code for black ya’ll.

Interesting indeed. So if Cleopatra’s mom was black that means this woman, Cleopatra, regarded for her beauty, queen…no Pharaoh of one of the most powerful nations in the world at the time, was a black woman. That’s why I think scientists and historians are so surprised by these findings. The lore and legend and even the truth of Cleopatra is so grand that maybe it’s just a little shocking to believe that she was black.

For years Hollywood has used white actresses to play the role of the Egyptian queen, with few exceptions; maybe now that we know better, we’ll do better.

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