It is a sad commentary on the level of historical ignorance that prevails today, especially in the USA, where gullible people easily respond to narratives that patently are not true. Thus it has become necessary to explain who one of the most well-known and documented figures in history was, due to myths that have been proffered about her without any foundation or evidence. The last Cleopatra, a name born by many predecessors, was simply not “black,”as most recently suggested by a Netflix “documentary” based upon falsehoods and wishful thinking.
Cleopatra was ethnically Greek, descended from Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great’s Macedonian generals who came to power in Egypt after his death. She was clearly not black.She was European. Nor was she even particularly dark. Macedonians from northern Greece are mostly fair-skinned. The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander himself and run by Greeks (although with a multinational population), for three hundred years. It became the greatest Greek city in the Hellenistic world, where numerous brilliant scientists and philosophers did their work. Cleopatra was herself a brilliant woman who spoke several languages; in fact she was the first and only Ptolemaic ruler to bother learning the Egyptian language. She also strongly identified with Egypt, adapting its religion and many aspects of its culture in the Pharaonic tradition. Her affairs with Caesar and Mark Anthony were also political, as she strove to maintain the security of her wealthy country. But as is well known, she wound up on the losing side in a Roman power struggle where the Roman Republic was transformed into the Empire under Augustus, and so absorbed Egypt.
Alexandria is located on the Mediterranean Sea and was part of the Mediterranean world, as was all of north Africa. That region was in no sense “African” in the narrower sense in which the term is misused today to signify what is actually only sub-Saharan or black Africa. In addition to the great Egyptian civilization it was settled by Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, and even Germans, who established the Vandal kingdom there. The population was in no sense black, nor were the local Berbers, some of whom to this day have blue eyes. Again the entire region was Mediterranean, and the Greco-Roman term “Africa” was originally used to refer to this region and its cultures- North Africa.
Much of the falsehoods and confusion of today are based upon a truly idiotic fallacy, which is the notion that the term, now used to refer to the entire continent of Africa, is co-terminus, equivalent, and identical to black Africa. It isn’t, and indeed residents of the north vociferously object to being labeled black, especially the Egyptians. This rankles the really stupid producer of this Netflix travesty, who says that the Egyptians need to learn that they are in Africa, as though that somehow makes them black, which, as explained above is nonsensical. All across north Africa from Egypt to Morocco the population is simply not black, genetically, culturally or historically. This has been obscured, to a considerable extent by the Arab conquest and conversion to Islam, which detached the region from the intimacy it had with Europe.
So the result is a production based upon total ignorance and wishful thinking that is rationally unsustainable. In fact the scorn has been universal, from the Egyptians to even the leading scholar in Nigeria, who has called out this abomination for its deception, while pointing out that black Africans have many cultures of their own to be studied and appreciated. They do not feel slighted by the truth and make no such claims. Indeed everywhere else in the world there is a clear understanding of true history, except for grossly miseducated and gullible Americans. Recognition of the truth in no way demeans or diminishes black Americas. Stealing other people’s cultures is a sign of weakness and insecurity, not strength and no ones benefits from the promulgation of falsehoods. It only invites ridicule. Shame of Netflix for promoting these lies, misleading the public, and forfeiting any credibility.
A new documentary by the world’s leading Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100044332304573) tells the truth based on historical fact, not fantasy. It is now viewable on YouTube. Looking forward to seeing it. It is also supposed to be on Amazon but I can’t find it.