The woke internet mob exploded with rage Sunday when actress Gal Gadot was announced as the lead actor in the upcoming major Hollywood movie “Cleopatra,” centering on the life of the ancient Egyptian queen.
Then an actual Egyptologist set the record straight.
What did critics say?
Critics complained that Gadot, an Israeli actress best known for her role as Wonder Woman, is unfit for the role because of her light skin complexion. Woke critics suggested that an Arab actress should have been cast for the role instead.
“Which Hollywood dumbass thought it would be a good idea to cast an Israeli actress as Cleopatra (a very bland looking one) instead of a stunning Arab actress like Nadine Njeim? And shame on you, Gal Gadot. Your country steals Arab land & you’re stealing their movie roles… smh,” one critic said.
Another said, “I’m sure Gal Gadot is going to do a wonderful job as Cleopatra. However, for me personally, I would love a Cleopatra who’s darker than a brown paper bag, because that seems a bit more historically accurate.”
What did the Egyptologist say?
As it turns out, Gadot is not an inaccurate physical representation of Cleopatra.
Sarah Parcak, an Egyptologist and anthropology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explained in a lengthy Twitter thread that Cleopatra was not dark-skinned like many people may believe.
In fact, Cleopatra was at least half Greek.
“Cleopatra was Cleopatra VII (yes there were many others!). She was of Macedonian Greek descent (father= Ptolemy XII Auletes) but… was was her mother’s ethnicity? Egyptian? Greek? Other? Many possibilities. We don’t know for sure,” Parcak explained. “Her mom was *probably* Cleopatra V, the only attested wife of Ptolemy XII. We know of one child she had, it’s not 100% certain she is the mother of Cleopatra. Cleo V’s ethnicity is unknown, very little known about her generally, hence Cleopatra’s ethnicity= 50% Greek, 50% ?”
Her mom was *probably* Cleopatra V, the only attested wife of Ptolemy XII. We know of one child she had, it’s not 1… https://t.co/RTQLriS1V4
— Scary Parcak 👻🎃 (@Scary Parcak 👻🎃)1602439898.0
So what did Cleopatra most likely look like? Parcak explained:
So what *could* she have looked like? The people of Alexandria today (yes Alexandria was Egypt’s capital during the Ptolemaic Era) have much lighter skin compared to people in southern Egypt, many with reddish hair and green/blue eyes.
Of course there is Turkish influence and I’m not saying that the people of Alex today look like people did 2000+ years ago. However- Alex was a hugely cosmopolitan city in Cleopatra’s time. You would have seen every type of person imaginable from all over the known world.
Cleopatra probably had lighter skin, not unlike the people of Alex today, but *we don’t know for sure*. Her mom could have been from southern Egypt, or Macedonia, or anywhere in the Ptolemaic world (and if she was a secondary wife or concubine all bets are off).
Then Parcak entered what she thought were testy waters, asking the social media world not to “cancel” her over her forthcoming conclusion about whether Gadot is worthy of playing Cleopatra.
“Don’t cancel me for what I’m about to say,” Parcak said. “Archaeology and history tell us she wasn’t 100% Egyptian, even if she acted like a proper Egyptian queen and spoke/read Egyptian. She was half Macedonian and half who knows, but probably more than 50% Macedonian playing the odds.”
“So, hiring a hugely bankable Mediterranean actress to play Cleopatra is… not as off as you might think,” Parcak explained.
So, hiring a hugely bankable Mediterranean actress to play Cleopatra is… not as off as you might think. I’m not t… https://t.co/qd1VKHKdXt
— Scary Parcak 👻🎃 (@Scary Parcak 👻🎃)1602442724.0
“Gal Gadot is 100x a better choice than Angelina Jolie. I think she’ll be incredible in the role,” Parcak added.