A clash of Cleo’s

Danish. Weighing in on the controversy surrounding the 2023 Netflix docudrama about Queen Cleopatra, I briefly trace the history of her malleable, adaptable image, arguing that the queen’s legacy became a confluence of contradictions: she gathers in one figure East and West, sex and death, power and decline, excessive masculinity and excessive femininity. Talking about Cleopatra has always been a way to talk about the relation between women, ethnicity, and power, but when will we stop reducing her to her body—whether her skin or her sex life—and focus instead on her complex achievements and afterlife?

“Hvornår bliver vi klar til Kleopatra?” (“When will we be ready for Cleopatra?”), Weekendavisen (5 May 2023). Link.