“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale Her infinite variety.” – from “Antony and Cleopatra” by Shakespeare
Continuing our series, we would like to pay homage to the woman who has become the center of many legends, poems, art, and history. The woman whose character is not just one of the most popular Halloween costumes, but someone who continues to inspire and fascinate scholars, historians, and artists to this very day. This woman is, of course, the one and only Cleopatra.
One of the most famous of Egypt’s Pharaohs, Cleopatra has once held in her grasp virtually the entire eastern Mediterranean coast and could influence practically the whole of the Western world. Celebrated for her intelligence, beauty, flair, political smarts, military prowess, and, of course, remarkable love affairs, she is a woman with many secrets, so we are only so very thrilled that a few of her lavish tricks have survived to this very day and shed light into the boudoir of this undoubtedly great woman.
FACE: Dedicated to preserving her beauty, Cleopatra was no novice when it came to myriads of different masks and facial oils. Some of her most popular treats were honey and aloe vera masks, sea salt scrubs, and rose water facial toners. Straightforward and simple, each of these ingredients is still proven very beneficial to the skin by dermatologists of today.
BATH: Perhaps one of Cleopatra’s most famous beauty secrets is also one of the most intriguing – the ritual of bathing in milk and honey. And, as it turns out, it wasn’t just any milk, but in fact, donkey milk! An estimated 700 donkeys were required to provide enough milk to draw a single bath.
CULTURE: It is now believed that Cleopatra may have been more renowned for her intellect rather than her appearance. She spoke as many as a dozen languages and was very educated in the fields of mathematics, philosophy, oratory, and astronomy. She is said to have elevated the ranks of scholars and enjoyed their company.
FLAIR: Cleopatra believed herself to be a living goddess, and to reinforce that belief in those who were to meet her, she often used clever stagecraft and costumes. When summoned to meet Antony, the Roman Triumvir, she is said to have arrived on a golden barge adorned with purple sails. Cleopatra herself had been made up to look like the goddess Aphrodite, and as she sat beneath a gilded canopy, her attendants dressed as cupids fanned her. It was then that Antony was instantly enchanted.
SOCIAL: Among many other things, Cleopatra had a penchant for elaborate soirees. When she had her love affair with the Roman general Mark Antony, the two spent a whole winter living a life of leisure and formed their own drinking society known as the “Inimitable Livers.” The group engaged in nightly feasts dedicated to Dionysus, and its members occasionally took part in elaborate games and contests. One of Antony and Cleopatra’s favorite activities was supposedly wandering the streets of Alexandria in disguise and playing pranks on its residents.
Today, some of Cleopatra’s secrets may seem difficult to repeat, and while perhaps we won’t buy a golden barge just yet, we can certainly add a little extra flair into our lives with the help of some pampering or maybe wearing a Cleopatra inspired cat eye for an evening night out…
xoxo Kissed By Light Team