Between biblical crossovers (Abraham, Joseph & the Exodus), mummies, the attractions of the pyramids, and Cleopatra, it’s hardly surprising that ancient Egypt has been extensively mined by filmmakers.
The iconic face from ancient Egypt is that of Nefertiti (c 1370–1330 BCE), Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, as portrayed in the surviving bust now on display in Berlin’s Neues Museum. In the movies, however, the dominating female character is Cleopatra (69–30 BCE), the last Hellenistic ruler of Egypt. This is perhaps not surprising; but it is paradoxical as she was the last of the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty and was often portrayed at the time as more Greek than Egyptian. Perhaps the most surprising omission is Hatshepsut (1508–1458 BCE), generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs and arguably ‘the first great woman in history of whom we are informed’.
If anyone can help me with images from the BBC TV mini-series The Cleopatras, please email themakeupgallery.