Cleopatra’s Influence on Popular Culture


To date, Cleopatra remains an enigmatic figure that continues to influence and captivate the imaginations of many. So much has been said about her life, beauty, and charm, yet, very little is truly known about her. She was born in 69 BC to Ptolemy XII Auletes, the Egyptian king who founded the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt and was one of its last descendants. Cleopatra ruled Egypt as a co-regent for thirty years, first with her father, then her brothers, and finally with her son. During her reign with her brother, they had a power struggle, which resulted in her being forced into exile.

While in exile in Syria she raised an army and planned her return. A year later, she returned to Egypt to reclaim her rights to the throne.

Meanwhile, in Rome, Pompey had started a war against Julius Caesar, the Dictator. Pompey fled to Egypt, having been an ally of King Ptolemy XII. However, after Ptolemy XIII received him, his court advised against it, and he killed Pompey shortly before Julius Caesar arrived in Egypt to avoid his wrath.

Caesar tried to reconcile Cleopatra and her brother, but some of Ptolemy’s advisors disagreed, and there was a siege against Caesar. Ptolemy XIII was killed, and Cleopatra was declared ruler with her brother Ptolemy XIV. The trip was stormy from there, but history believes Cleopatra navigated it easily with her beauty and charm. Despite the little information about her life, Cleopatra continues to influence popular culture in many ways, as discussed in this article.

The Fashion Industry

Cleopatra’s beauty, matched with her unique sense of style, femininity, and opulence, were the major selling points that placed her in the annals of history. Her fashion choices were rooted in distinctive Egyptian aesthetics. This gave birth to modern-day fashion trends like scarabs, hieroglyphics, and lotus flowers, which were her preferred styling options.

Her eye makeup was considered dramatic. Characterized by elongated wings, and thick and long lines, it still serves as a source of inspiration for many iconic runway artists. Many makeup professionals and face models sometimes incorporate the same thick and heavy-lined eye makeup for editorial shoots and fashion runways.

Meanwhile, her love for extravagant jewelry is easily captured in all her paintings and sculptures. Cleopatra always adorned herself with precious gemstones and gold. She didn’t just wear them as an accessory. She always made a bold statement about how she wears them, inspiring many luxury designers and fashion enthusiasts.

Cleopatra continues to influence the fashion industry with her historic symbol of style and elegance. This is evident in many Cleopatra-inspired productions and documentaries like the 1963 movie titled Cleopatra, played by Elizabeth Taylor. As expected, there were various Egyptian-themed elements and costumes to reflect the life of Cleopatra.

Influence on Literature


Cleopatra’s life, beauty, and political prowess have been showcased in many works of literature. Many literary scholars have tried to recreate some monumental moments in her life using poetry, storytelling, and other literary approaches. One of the most notable presentations was by Williams Shakespeare in his piece titled “Antony and Cleopatra.”

In the tragic play, Shakespeare portrayed Cleopatra as a very complex personality whose strength lies in her charm and alluring political prowess. The story explores the foundations of love, politics, power, and betrayal. Anthony was infatuated with Cleopatra, which affected his focus on carrying out his core responsibilities. This led to a conflict between his loyalty to Rome and his newfound love.

On the other hand, Cleopatra did not miss the opportunity presented to her to exert her control and influence over Anthony. The struggle to balance love and political ambition fueled much tension in the King’s court. Anthonys’ neglect of his political duties and eventual dependence on Cleopatra led to his downfall. Octavius Ceaser defeated their combined forces, and Anthony felt the love of his life had betrayed him. Anthony could not bear the thought of her betrayal and took his life. Likewise, Cleopatra, on finding out about his death, followed suit.

With Shakespeare being one of the greatest writers in English history, being inspired by the life of Cleopatra is undoubtedly a true measure of her overall impact on contemporary literature.

Cleopatra in Gaming


The Gaming industry is one of the many areas where Cleopatra has had an enormous influence. Her beauty, charm, resilience, and strategic conquests against the Romans (Caesar and Marc Anthony) have been integrated into the industry in building many Cleopatra-themed slot games.

Scarabs, Gods of Egypt, Pyramids of Egypt, and even one named after her, Cleopatra, are among the most popular slots. These games often incorporate visuals, animations, sounds, and mechanics that depict Egyptian culture. You can find more of these themed slots from The games feature symbols of Cleopatra, Pharaoh, pyramids, and other Egyptian artifacts, making them engaging and attractive.

Music and Theatre


In 1961, Cleopatra’s life was adapted into the Broadway musical “Cleopatra,” featuring music by Sidney Michaels and Jule Styne. Although it did not record much commercial success, it further corroborates her influence on music. Similarly, famous music artists like Lady Gaga, Lana Del Ray, and Katy Perry referenced her in some of their songs.

Besides the famous Antony and Cleopatra by Williams Shakespeare, which has been performed countless times in theatres, many other plays and operas have been performed in her honor. “Giulio Cesare” is one of the most popular operas composed by George Frideric Handel in 1724. It portrays the love and affair between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar.


To date, Cleopatra remains an enigmatic figure that continues to influence and captivate the imaginations of many. So much has been said about her life, beauty, and charm, yet, very little is truly known about her.

From different scholarly perspectives, Cleopatra’s story revolves around her beauty, love life, and political mastermind. As the last active ruler of modern-day Egypt, her legacy continues to influence popular culture through arts, music, operas, fashion, and games.