After some general searches in reference to the subject, I found that 'her beauty ... was in itself not altogether incomparable' and that 'She was a woman of surpassing beauty', as Plutarch and Cassius Dio respectively said.

But, according to B. Pascal, a French philosopher, contrary to what Plutarc and Cassius make us think, said 'Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed'.

So, I'm wondering, was Cleopatra's nose short or large? Or, in general, how was it?

I searched for some pictures showing statues of Cleopatra, but, the ones I found, have their noses knocked off, or are inconsistent.

Can anybody show a reliable source which describe how Cleopatra's nose was? And, in general, how did her face look like?

Thank you.

  • 3
    The length of Cleopatra's nose is a metaphor for the intangible elements of beauty. Beauty is a cultural construct; it would be an error to derive any meaningful conclusions from the actual measurement of Cleopatra's nose.
    – MCW
    Oct 21, 2013 at 16:25
  • 2
    "the ones I found, have their noses knocked off..." Perhaps there was a reason for that. :-)
    – user2590
    Oct 22, 2013 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


Compare and contrast these two images*:

* Hyperlinks due to probable copyright.

  • 1
    Mind you, I know siblings with the same parents with completely different physiques; while Arisnoe and Cleopatra may not have even shared the same mother. So I'd take any compare and contrast of DNA and sculpture extrapolation with a grain of salt. Oct 21, 2013 at 12:41

There are some coins which show her. But can you be 100% sure that the designers of the coins did not perform an ancient analogue of photoshopping on them? I'm afraid not.

  • I believe the 2011 Philadelphia exhibit on Cleopatra clarified that none of those portraits were reliable. (sadly, I cannot cite source).
    – MCW
    Oct 21, 2013 at 12:19
  • 1
    They could also have been stylised as was the want for sculptures and paintings, especially in the Egypt of the waning Ptolemaic dynasty hearkening back to old glories of Ramesses II and Hatshepsut. Oct 21, 2013 at 12:28

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