8.03.2011

Guest Post: Cleopatra VII of Egypt in London

This is a guest post ...

Hello, my name is Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt. My biographer, Vicky Alvear Shecter, who wrote the fabulous Cleopatra Rules!: The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen is busy as her new young adult novel about my daughter Cleopatra's Moon was published this week ... so she sent me to visit Dorothy in London. And inspired by Dorothy's blogging for The Day of Archaeology, I decided to do the same.

I started off my putting on my sandals. My brother Ptolemy got a bit too big for his boots, so I had to execute him - and since then I've taken great care to choose footwear that's possibly a little larger than I strictly need. I love these gold sandals I picked up in Athens. Note the carpet to the left - I had myself delivered to Julius Caesar in one once ...


I also love my pearls. I once had a bet with Antony that I could eat more expensively than him - and to do so I dissolved a pearl in wine and drank it. These pearls are not going to be lost in any bets! They are a little large, and it might seem unusual to wear them they way I do, but they double as weapons to fight off muggers.



We started the day early, taking a train to the exurbs. I know that some of my divine ancestors liked to travel with lions (Heracles, Alexander) and panthers (Dionysus), but to fit in with the English I chose to take with me a semi-mythical beast known as a Jack Russell Terrier. This one is named Ellie, and not only guards me but kisses me.

She was very thorough, even checking under the seat for snakes and other intruders.

We arrived at Dulwich Picture Gallery, the oldest museum in England, before it opened, so I took a look around the grounds.
 I was thrilled to see they still have altars - we have these altars dotted around Alexandria, though I prefer larger ones. With a bit of time on my hands, I told the Jack Russell Terrier to entertain me ...
 So she performed the ritual of the balloon dance on the lawn.
Leaping around to show her prowess, a sort of modern Pyrrhic Dance that ancient Greek warriors perform to show off their martial skills - just with a balloon rather than swords.
Then I tried to telephone Vicky to update her on my life in case she wanted to write a second volume of my biography ... but she wasn't answering (probably too busy being interviewed on the radio about the Cleopatra Selene novel ...)
 Dulwich have a some great education workshops for local children, where they can learn about art.
And the gallery itself has a very nice collection of what they call "Old Master" paintings - although they look a bit 'modern' to me ...

(Dorothy dragged me around a few other places with these 'Old' paintings ... not worth going into more details about ... half of them had pictures of buildings sinking into water in a city named Venice)

Then we went to the British Museum. Dorothy went to chat with a nice lady about education, children and Grayson Perry (she's an artist who apparently looks almost as good in a frock as I do - they went to something called a 'canteen' because it had air-conditioning). Boring! I went and wandered around. Obviously the galleries showing my Egyptian glories were the most popular.

I'm not sure what this is, but it's an Education project, and I like it as it's the right scale for me.
Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great, and it's where he's buried so there are images of him everywhere. I was thrilled to see him at the BM (left - with a man copying him in the background).
They also have a lovely Enlightenment Gallery, which is almost as nice as the Library of Alexandria (although apparently the British Museum has a better fire-prevention system than we do).

I went to lunch with Dorothy and Stephen. Stephen insisted on biting my pearls to make sure they were real (as if I'd wear fakes!). I was shocked to see the food was not cooked, and ordered the chef to take it back to the kitchen ...
The chef came, looked at me, giggled, then went away. Hmm. Not sure they take queens seriously enough in London. I have many titles, though I'm not familiar with the one Vicky uses: "Drag Queen Cleopatra" ... note: ask one of my scholars.

This red can contains a magical elixir that comes from across the great Ocean ... the ingredients are secret.
Dorothy and Stephen were joking about a man that described himself as 1/3 Chinese, 1/3 Phillipine, 1/3 Spanish. I am 100% Macedonian, 100% Egyptian and 100% divine - which makes me three times the man my brother was, and that's why I'm Queen and he's dead.

Then we went to visit a gallery called The White Cube which is full of contemporary art. You can tell what I think of it by my hand gesture. It will never catch on.
This is me posing outside the White cube, which is neither white nor really a cube ... I guess the mathematicians in London are not as bright as the ones in Alexandria.
I do like the big windows though - I might copy them for my palace, so I can look out at the Pharos of Alexandria.

Then we went to something called The Royal Academy, which sounded much more suitable. The great Jack Russell Terrier beast was hot and thirsty so I let her play with the fountains ...
... and entertain the masses with her balloon dance (my great love, Julius Caesar, taught me the concept of "Bread and Circuses" for keeping the populace amused and fed, and not rebelling)
... whilst I admired the colossal sculptures.

We had drinks with someone who Funds Hedges in New York, but that just sounds like a crazy job to me. Gardening does not interest me.

Exhausted by our excursions around London, we went back for a siesta. I know a lot of people claim my beauty 'secret' is bathing in goat's milk, but the truth is that I wouldn't be the stunning international beauty whose reputation transcended the centuries had I not had 8 hours' sleep plus the odd nap.

Puppy kisses also keep me young.

 Then we went for a pre-dinner walk. In Alexandria we like to carve inscriptions into the stone, but in London they attach blue plaques for information. This is where the name that started the Smithsonian lived - apparently it's a Museion in America, and has lots of pictures of me in it (I approve).

And this where a popular entertainer called John Lennon lived. Apparently he was a Beatle, which is cool as we Egyptians like scarabs so much we're buried with them.

The temples in London are not as impressive as the Egyptian ones, but quite nice if you like that kind of thing. This one is for people who worship Jesus Christ (I'd never heard of the God, but apparently it's the most popular religion in England, the same way the cult of Cleopatra Isis is the most popular and best religion in Egypt).
And this is West London Synagogue, where the local Jews worship (Julius Caesar passed lots of laws giving Jews special privileges as they helped us in various wars, and make mighty warriors).

There's a very famous local Jew called Madonna, who is a great student of the Kabbalah. Madonna is another popular entertainer, and she is famous for a dance called Voguing which I am doing outside her front door. Like many Jews, she has a Mezuzah outside her front door (it's straight, so she's a Sephardi Jew).
She also owns the building next door which she uses as a gymnasium. We Greeks prefer our gymnasia to be outdoors, but to each their own ... Note the way the Mezuzah is slanting, suggesting those using the gymnasium are Ashkenazi Jews.

The Kabbalah has something to do with the mystical Tree of Life ... I'm not entirely sure quite what, but I loved this pink tree, and I'm planning to introduce them to Egypt. Very girlie, just like moi ...

We tried to visit the house of Tony Blair, who used to be the Prime Minister of Britannia, but ... he has hoplites armed with something called submachine guns, which are apparently more powerful than swords (seen in background). So we took a look at these mechanical bicycles which the English ride instead of horses.


 Then in honour of Alexander the Great, who loved Babylon, and conquered Persia, we went for Persian food.
Marie Antoinette may have said "Let them eat cake" but with freshly baked bread this good, who needs cake! Particularly when it comes with yummy things to dip it into ...

The we had gelato, which I've loved since Julius Caesar introduced me to it when I went to visit him in Rome. Cocorino make the best ice-cream which is very popular, and there was not much left (that's a good thing, as I wanted to throw myself into it, the way Antinoos lept into the Canopus ... but I didn't want to drown like him).

I'm still not sure who this Grayson Perry is - because no-one can look as gorgeous in a dress as me Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt - but ... I rather like these fabrics he designed, and I'm thinking of appointing him the official sheet-supplier to the Pharaonic court of Egypt.
Another shot of me in my Grayson Perry sheets, with my imperial treasury (I normally keep it under the mattress ...). Night all, and sweet dreams!









Vicky has a great blog - http://historywithatwist.blogspot.com/ - where you can follow the adventures of Cleo in the US.
 
For the fuller adventures of Cleopatra, I recommend this book 



And for those of her daughter Cleopatra Selene 



Adults may prefer Adrian Goldsworthy's brilliant biography of both Cleopatra and Antony:

Antony and Cleopatra- Amazon.com
Antony and Cleopatra - Kindle Edition (US)
Antony and Cleopatra- Amazon.co.uk

6 comments:

  1. OMG, this was hysterical! Thanks for the mentions. Is it weird that this makes me so happy? My drag-queen Cleo, tho, is a bit put out that her avatar in the UK is getting all the attention. She's up to something...I can just FEEL it (off to hide all the knives). ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm happy to have made you so happy ... and glad you enjoyed it. Guess you'll just have to take your Cleo on the book tour ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. So ....

    There is an "Adventure / Attention Gap" forming between UK DGC and USA DGC.

    Looks like USA DGC better devise a plan to get out & about on some adventures or she may be eclipsed by her younger sister.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That reminds me - must add a link to Vicky's blog ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I *love* the vogue-ing infront of Madonna's! So the lyric should be.... "Greta Garbo and Monroe, Dietrich and Drag Queen Cleo!" Great post!

    ReplyDelete

I do not moderate comments, but I remove spam, overt self-promotion ("read [link] my much better post on this") and what I consider hate speech (racism, homophobia etc).

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.