… Alexandria boasted automatic doors and hydraulic lifts, hidden treadmills and coin-operated machines. With invisible wires, siphons, pulleys and magnets the Ptolomies could work miracles. Fires erupted and died down; lights flickered from statues’ eyes; trumpets blared spontaneously. For the early procession, the city’s ingenious metalworkers outdid themselves: A fifteen-foot-tall statue in a yellow spangled tunic floated through the streets. She rose to her full height, poured offerings of milk, then magically reseated herself, enthralling the crowds.
—  A description of parades held along Canopic Way in Alexandria, Egypt in 47 BC. From “Cleopatra” by Stacy Schiff.

Petra (Greek ”πέτρα” (petra), meaning stone; Arabic: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ) is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon.

Evidence suggests that settlements had begun in and around Petra in the eighteenth dynasty of Egypt (1550–1292 BC). It is listed in Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna letters as Pel, Sela or Seir. Though the city was founded relatively late, a sanctuary existed there since very ancient times. Stations 19 through 26 of the stations list of Exodus are places associated with Petra. This part of the country was Biblically assigned to the Horites, the predecessors of the Edomites. The habits of the original natives may have influenced the Nabataean custom of burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves. Although Petra is usually identified with Sela which means a rock, the Biblical references refer to it as “the cleft in the rock”, referring to its entrance. The second book of Kings xiv. 7 seems to be more specific. In the parallel passage, however, Sela is understood to mean simply “the rock”.

On the authority of Josephus, Eusebius and Jerome assert that Rekem was the native name and Rekem appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls as a prominent Edom site most closely describing Petra and associated with Mount Seir. But in the Aramaic versions Rekem is the name of Kadesh, implying that Josephus may have confused the two places. Sometimes the Aramaic versions give the form Rekem-Geya which recalls the name of the village El-ji, southeast of Petra. The Semitic name of the city, if not Sela, remains unknown. The passage in Diodorus Siculus (xix. 94–97) which describes the expeditions which Antigonus sent against the Nabataeans in 312 BC is understood to throw some light upon the history of Petra, but the “petra” referred to as a natural fortress and place of refuge cannot be a proper name and the description implies that the town was not yet in existence.

The name “Rekem” was inscribed in the rock wall of the Wadi Musa opposite the entrance to the Siq, but about twenty years ago the Jordanians built a bridge over the wadi and this inscription was buried beneath tons of concrete.

More satisfactory evidence of the date of the earliest Nabataean settlement may be obtained from an examination of the tombs. Two types have been distinguished: the Nabataean and the Greco-Roman. The Nabataean type starts from the simple pylon-tomb with a door set in a tower crowned by a parapet ornament, in imitation of the front of a dwelling-house. Then, after passing through various stages, the full Nabataean type is reached, retaining all the native features and at the same time exhibiting characteristics which are partly Egyptian and partly Greek. Of this type there exist close parallels in the tomb-towers at el-I~ejr in north Arabia, which bear long Nabataean inscriptions and supply a date for the corresponding monuments at Petra. Then comes a series of tombfronts which terminate in a semicircular arch, a feature derived from north Syria. Finally come the elaborate façades copied from the front of a Roman temple; however, all traces of native style have vanished. The exact dates of the stages in this development cannot be fixed. Few inscriptions of any length have been found at Petra, perhaps because they have perished with the stucco or cement which was used upon many of the buildings. The simple pylon-tombs which belong to the pre-Hellenic age serve as evidence for the earliest period. It is not known how far back in this stage the Nabataean settlement goes, but it does not go back farther than the 6th century BC.

A period follows in which the dominant civilization combines Greek, Egyptian and Syrian elements, clearly pointing to the age of the Ptolemies. Towards the close of the 2nd century BC, when the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms were equally depressed, the Nabataean kingdom came to the front. Under Aretas III Philhellene, (c.85–60 BC), the royal coins begin. The theatre was probably excavated at that time, and Petra must have assumed the aspect of a Hellenistic city. In the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris, (9 BC–40 AD), the fine tombs of the el-I~ejr [?] type may be dated, and perhaps also the great High-place.

Petra declined rapidly under Roman rule, in large part from the revision of sea-based trade routes. In 363 an earthquake destroyed many buildings, and crippled the vital water management system. The ruins of Petra were an object of curiosity in the Middle Ages and were visited by Sultan Baibars of Egypt towards the end of the 13th century. The first European to describe them was Swiss traveller Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

Because the structures weakened with age, many of the tombs became vulnerable to thieves, and many treasures were stolen. In 1929, a four-person team, consisting of British archaeologists Agnes Conway and George Horsfield, Palestinian physician and folk-lore expert Dr Tawfiq Canaan and Dr Ditlef Nielsen, a Danish scholar, excavated and surveyed Petra.

Fortune Favors The Bold
  • Fortune Favors The Bold
  • Vangelis

Everything about this song is beautiful.

Just imagine,close your eyes and imagine. You’re standing on the top of a mountain,you can feel the cold air entering your lungs. You open your eyes and feel powerful,like the world,everything you see belongs to you.

it’s the song from Alexander,Hindu Kush scene,first they play Across The Mountains and then,when Alexander talks to Ptolomy,Fortune Favors The Bold comes up.


Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004 | COPYRIGHT 2004 The Gale Group Inc. (Hide copyright information)Copyright


Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) was the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt. She was notorious in antiquity and has been romanticized in modern times as the lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

Third daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes, Cleopatra VII Philopator (her full name) learned her political lessons by watching the humiliating efforts of her father to maintain himself on the throne of Egypt by buying the support of powerful Romans. When he died in 51 B.C., the ministers of Cleopatra’s brother Ptolemy XIII feared her ambition to rule alone and drove her from Egypt in 48.

Cleopatra and Julius Caesar

Cleopatra made preparations to return by force, but when Caesar arrived in Alexandria after the Battle of Pharsalus, she saw the opportunity to use him. She had herself smuggled to him in a rug. Ptolemy XIII died fighting Caesar, who restored Cleopatra to the throne with another brother, Ptolemy XIV, as coregent.

Contrary to legend, Caesar did not dally in Egypt with Cleopatra. Although in 46 she gave birth to a son whom she named Ptolemy Caesarion, Caesar never formally recognized him. That same year Caesar invited her to Rome. Although he spent little time with her, her presence in Rome may have contributed to the resentment against him which led to his assassination.

In April 44 B.C. Cleopatra returned to Alexandria, where Ptolemy XIV had died under mysterious circumstances. She made Caesarion her partner on the throne and awaited the outcome of the political struggle in Rome. When, after the Battle of Philippi, Antony summoned her and other puppet rulers to Tarsus in Cilicia, she responded eagerly. Matching her preparations to the man whose weaknesses she knew, she dazzled Antony and bent him to her will. She easily cleared herself of a charge of helping Brutus and Cassius, and at her request Antony put to death three persons she considered a threat to her throne.

Cleopatra and Mark Antony

In the winter of 41/40 Antony followed Cleopatra to Alexandria, where he reveled in the pleasures of the Ptolemaic court and the company of the Queen. Cleopatra hoped to tie him emotionally to her, but Antony left Egypt in the spring of 40.

In the autumn of 37 Antony sent his wife, Octavia, back to Italy on the excuse that she was pregnant and went to Antioch to make final preparations for his invasion of Parthia. In Antioch he again sent for Cleopatra and went through a ritualistic marriage not recognized under Roman law. He also recognized the twins Cleopatra had with him and made extensive grants of territory to her, including Cyprus, Cyrene, and the coast of Lebanon, all of which had once been part of the Ptolemaic empire.

In 36 Cleopatra returned to Alexandria to await the birth of her third child by him. The failure of the Parthian campaign and Octavian’s exploitation of Antony’s misad-venture drove Antony further into the arms of Cleopatra, who gave him immense financial help in rebuilding his shattered army. When Antony defeated Artavasdes of Armenia in 34, he celebrated his triumph not in Rome but in Alexandria. On the following day he declared Cleopatra and Ptolemy Caesarion joint rulers of Egypt and Cyprus and overlords of all lands west and east of the Euphrates. For Cleopatra this meant the potential union of the Ptolemaic and Seleucid empires under her control, and Antony staked out his claims on the wealth of Egypt for the coming struggle with Octavian.

In Italy, Octavian used the donations at Alexandria and Antony’s relations with Cleopatra to turn public opinion against him. The Battle of Actium (Sept. 2, 31), fought for the control of the Roman Empire, led to the final disaster. Because Cleopatra’s money built the fleet and supported it, she insisted on fighting at sea. When she fled from the battle with the war chest, Antony had little choice but to follow.

After Actium, Cleopatra tried to negotiate with Octavian for the recognition of her children as her successors in Egypt. But as his price Octavian demanded the death of Antony, and Cleopatra refused. After the final battle outside Alexandria on Aug. 1, 30 B.C., in which his troops deserted him, Antony stabbed himself when he received a false report that Cleopatra was already dead. Antony died in Cleopatra’s arms inside her mausoleum, where she had barricaded herself with the treasures of the Ptolemies to keep them from Octavian.

Tricked into surrendering herself, Cleopatra tried again to negotiate with Octavian. Rebuffed, she carefully planned her own death. On August 10, after paying last honors to Antony, she retired to her quarters for a final meal. How Cleopatra died is not known, but on her left arm were found two tiny pricks, presumably from the bite of an asp.

Further Reading

The principal ancient sources on Cleopatra are Plutarch and Dion Cassius. H. Volkmann, Cleopatra: A Study in Politics and Propaganda (1953; trans. 1958), offers a well-balanced and penetrating analysis of the political implications of Cleopatra’s relations with Julius Caesar and Antony. Arthur Weigall, The Life and Times of Cleopatra (1914; new ed. 1923), and Oscar von Wertheimer, Cleopatra: A Royal Voluptuary (trans. 1931), overemphasize Cleopatra’s domination of Antony. In S. A. Cook and others, eds., The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 10 (1934), W. W. Tarn views Cleopatra as dominated more by ambition for empire than by love. To Ronald Syme in The Roman Revolution (1939), both Antony and Cleopatra were playing a cynical game of politics with each other. □

From daily MAil.
Sorry Liz, but THIS is the real face of Cleopatra

By Fiona Macrae
UPDATED: 06:34 EST, 16 December 2008 

From Elizabeth Taylor to Sophia Loren, there have been many faces of Cleopatra. But this might be the most realistic of them all.

Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton believes the compute regenerated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary beauty famed for her ability to beguile.


Likeness: The computer-generated 3D image has been pieced together from images on ancient artefacts

Pieced together from images on ancient artefacts, including a ring dating from Cleopatra’s reign 2,000 years ago, it is the culmination of more than a year of painstaking research.

The result is a beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity - very different to the porcelain-skinned Westernised version portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1961 movie Cleopatra.


Realism: The result is a strikingly beautiful young woman of mixed ethnicity

Dr Ashton, of Cambridge University, said the images, to be broadcast as part of a Five documentary on Cleopatra, reflect the monarch’s Greek heritage as well as her Egyptian upbringing.

'She probably wasn't just completely European. You've got to remember that her family had actually lived in Egypt for 300 years by the time she came to power.'

Detail: Image of Cleopatra on the temple walls of Dendera

The picture of the queen contrasts with several other less flattering portrayals. For instance, a silver coin which went on show at Newcastle University’s Sefton Museum last year showed her as having a shallow forehead, pointed chin, thin lips and hooked nose. Her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony, fared little better.

The reverse side shows him to have bulging eyes and a thick neck. The queen’s appearance has long been the subject of debate among academics. While Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra made reference to her youthful looks and ‘infinite-variety’, many believe she was short and frumpy with bad teeth.

Iconic: Liz Taylor in the 1961 film Cleopatra

A statue of Cleopatra exhibited at the British Museum in 2001 portrayed her as plain, no more than 5ft tall and rather plump.

Born in Alexandra in 69BC, into a Macedonian Greek dynasty which had ruled Egypt for three centuries, Cleopatra acceded to the throne at 17. Three years later she seduced Julius Caesar, bearing him a son, Caesarion.

After Caesar was assassinated she courted Mark Antony before committing suicide on his death. Legend has it that she put an asp, a venomous serpent, to her breast.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1095043/Sorry-Liz-THIS-real-face-Cleopatra.html#ixzz1vqkaa2le