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  • Heraclitus
    started a topic Why is Cleopatra black?!

    Why is Cleopatra black?!

    It makes absolutely no sense.


    First off the Egyptians did not look like sub-Saharan Africans, this is clear from their portrayal of Nubians and the descriptions of Egyptians by other peoples. They were in various sources compared to people like the North Africans, Mesopotamians and to Northern Indians. This means they most likely comparable both in complexion comparable and appearances to most Mediterranean peoples.


    I think it would be most logical for them to at leas vaguely resemble modern Egyptians.


    Check the Civ Rev leaders out on the game's new webiste


    In any case that is not the real problem, even if the Egyptians were identical in apperances to subsharan peoples, that would not change something rather important. You see Cleopatra was of Greek descent.







    This is just silly! I’m no realism/history buff, I never expected Cleopatra to be portrayed realistically. I mean it is well know that she was in fact rather plain, but I don’t expect firaxis to go against popular culture and make Cleopatra anything less than hot. But if they are going down this road, why not make make Alexander a blonde? Make Monty look like a north African? Or give old Shaka red hair? Have Tokugawa look European?
    Last edited by Heraclitus; March 28, 2008, 15:32.

  • allok
    replied
    Originally posted by Heraclitus View Post
    I'm sorry I don't see how the old gameplay vs. realism comes into play here Locutus. The appearances of a leader have nothing to do with gameplay. Sure people can enjoy the game if the leader pics are pretty but that is also not covered under "gameplay". I'm very dissapointed that you have brought something like that up, when it makes no sense.


    i agree!


    I'm not arguning she should look Greek! I'm arguing she should look Egyptian (since a very tanned Greek might pass as an Egyptian). But if you think we should submit to stuff like that, why shouldn't we rewrite the civilopedia entry about oh, lets say a mongolian leader or about Islam according to what the average consol player expects to find there.

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  • phamquynh7890
    replied
    ohhhh! I disagree that the Egyptian leader,

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  • Heraclitus
    replied
    Originally posted by Ironwood
    Hmm... no African slave trade in Col, and Cleopatra is the Black Queen.

    Anyone want to hazard a guess Firaxis just doesn't want to piss of the Black Nationalists and their leftist allies? The notion of Cleopatra as black is VERY important to the Afrocentric lobby in this country.
    Interesting idea, in fact its scarily plausible.



    If this is true I am very disappointed at Firaxis and at the BS politically correct climate in the US that distorts truth just because its inconvenient.


    "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."

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  • Ironwood
    replied
    Hmm... no African slave trade in Col, and Cleopatra is the Black Queen.

    Anyone want to hazard a guess Firaxis just doesn't want to piss of the Black Nationalists and their leftist allies? The notion of Cleopatra as black is VERY important to the Afrocentric lobby in this country.

    Leave a comment:


  • sakirov123
    replied
    Originally posted by Steve7811
    OP:

    It matters not whether Cleopatra is depicted as black, Mediterranean, or anything else because we have no accurate record of how she looked like. Lincoln, on the other hand, we do have pictures of him. So Firaxis made Cleopatra dark-skinned woman. How does this, in any way, hurt the gameplay?
    Incorrect, we have several depictions of how Cleopatra looked and she wasn't a black woman. Mediterranean doesn't mean anything, that is not a 'race' but a body of WATER, its not even land people can live in and it covers three continents, over twenty something countries shore lines and numerous different cultures. There have been many people in the Mediterranean since ancient times and in modern times who have fair coloring. The analysis of making Cleopatra black is as dubious as making Lincoln black is 100% correct. As a royal Greek female she was a light skinned Caucasian European looking woman, as depicted in her coins and famous busts that have been confirmed are of her. So yes we do know how she looked based upon ancient descriptions of her along with ancient coins and busts that are of her. And it matters when real historical people like her are made into something they are not because there are a lot of dummies in this world who will base their misinformed claim that Cleopatra was 'black' on dubious sources like this game. If you don't believe that, then let me remind everyone this revisionist claim, that inspires the desire to improve the self-esteem of African-Americans, originated in the 16th century - that is thousands of years and centuries after Cleopatra's death - by an ENGLISH PLAY WRITER IN HIS FICTIONAL Elizabethan PLAY who didn't know any of the genealogy or history of the Ptolemy Dynasty. Most writers who question her heritage are not even ancient writers nor historians but modern revisionists and their pseudo claims are not even based upon historical facts but dubious sources like Shakespeare of all people. Anyone reading Shakespeare's play notices he makes her more "Egyptian" then she really was, in fact when we read what the ancient sources say Cleopatra made her home just as often in Athens as she did in the very Hellenistic city of Alexandria, her culture was more Greek then Egyptian. All these modern depictions of her dressed out in Egyptian fashion is bogus, Cleopatra's fashion was Greek. We have numerous Roman writers who write about how she made Antony dress in the Greek fashion even right down to how he laced up his footwear was "Greek not Roman" way, they write. For goodness sake her dad wasn't even born in Egypt BUT in Cyprus. But we hear about how 'exotic' Cleopatra was. EXOTIC? Since when has Hellenistic Greek become "EXOTIC"? She was as "exotic" as the whites who ruled South Africa for hundreds of years were. None of her relatives who ruled Egypt for hundreds of years even bothered to learn Egyptian, they forced Greek upon the native Egyptians they ruled. Cleopatra was the first to learn Egyptian but big deal, that doesn't mean anything given the fact she also spoke over TEN OTHER LANGUAGES, all that means is that she was an ambitious woman who spoke numerous languages to boast her power. Her native language though was not Egyptian, it was Greek.

    "Even though they adopted Egyptian customs to a certain degree, the Ptolemaic kings and queens were Greek. They spoke Greek and they thought that Greek culture and peoples were better than Egyptian culture and peoples. Greek became the state language, and cities were renamed. In fact, the word "Egypt" is a Greek word (the Egyptian word is "Kmt" or Kemet). On the whole, native Egyptians occupied the lowest social positions." ~Washington State University
    Last edited by sakirov123; August 28, 2008, 11:15.

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  • sakirov123
    replied
    Originally posted by Heraclitus
    You see what bugs me is that they are going against such an important fact, the other stuff dosen't bother me as much.


    Making Cleopatra black makes as much sense as making Tokugawa look Italian. It is a gross rewriting of history, it turns civ 4 from a fun unrealistic game about human history to a fantasy game.

    I doidn't expect historical accuracy, but I didn't expect them to change history when it doesn't affect game play just so they can cater to American Afrocentrist lobby's.
    Very well said.

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  • Heraclitus
    replied
    You see what bugs me is that they are going against such an important fact, the other stuff dosen't bother me as much.


    Making Cleopatra black makes as much sense as making Tokugawa look Italian. It is a gross rewriting of history, it turns civ 4 from a fun unrealistic game about human history to a fantasy game.

    I doidn't expect historical accuracy, but I didn't expect them to change history when it doesn't affect game play just so they can cater to American Afrocentrist lobby's.

    Leave a comment:


  • sakirov123
    replied
    Cleopatra, she was a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty who intermarried with each other -- she was not Egyptian, but Macedonian Greek, and therefore was certain to have the coloring of that ethnic group, which includes gold-blondes like Alexander the Great as well as brunettes. This dynasty emerged and perpetrated itself by intrigue, incest, conspiracy and murder. The Ptolemies ruled from the enclave fortress of Alexandria where anyone who was not of Hellenic origins could not roam freely, not to mention the palace that the Ptolemies could be found in would surrounded themselves with Hellenic peoples from royality to slaves to servants and upper class members. Alexandria is called a "cosmopolitan" city, but the native Egyptians played no part in its demography. The native Egyptians who were reduced to lower class citizens and peasants spoke their native language, worshipped their native gods, and harbored a smoldering resentment against the foreigners who build and lived in Alexandria, which the Egyptians still called Rhakotis, the name of the small abandoned fishing village on the site Alexander founded his city. The Ptolemaic Dynasty interested in keeping the throne in the family line, continued the incestuous Pharaonic practice of marrying family members, which ensured not only that the family blood line was persevered but also their Hellenic ethnicity. Both set of grandparents and the parents of Cleopatra VII were of Ptolemaic bloodline. Ancient busts and coins of Cleopatra depict her Caucasian ancestry. She would have been of fair complexion because the fashion of ancient Greek and Roman females from Royal and Upper class families associated tanned skin with lower class people who worked out in the fields. Egypt is a very sunny place but you may be sure that ancient Ptolemaic queens like Cleopatra didn't go outside much to work on their tans. Contemporary descriptions of her were of average build with a hawkish nose and red-brownish hair. In light of the matrilineal nature of Ptolemaic succession, similar to that of certain older civilizations, it is unlikely that she or her father would have been named as heirs to the throne had they been off-springs of 'concubines' who were of none Ptolemaic bloodline given the legitimate Ptolemaic children that were abound in the royal palace. Further more Cleopatra was known to the Romans whom she came into contact with. She lived in Rome before Caesar's death where many people knew what she looked like. During her conflicts between her and Octavius, Roman poets and propagandists did their utmost to exaggerate her "foreignness" as a "Hellenic" barbarian who even had Antony dress in Greek style. But these same Roman poets and propagandists make no ancient reference to the colour of her skin ever describe her as "black" or "dark" and we know from other Roman poets that is a description they applied to other people who did have African characteristics or 'black' / 'dark' skin tones, which is an odd omission from these Roman propagandists who made use of anything in her appearance that marked her out as much "different" from themselves as they could. The mere fact that no Roman propagandists ever described Cleopatra as "black" or of "mixed" origins is an interestingly odd omission from the propaganda that was used against her to make her as "different" from the Romans as possible if this "Cleopatra was black of mixed origins" theory was true and points the fact that she probably and more then likely was not of mixed origins or of black ancestory. I still laugh when I hear Afrocentric emphasising her supposed "blackness" in an "earthiness" and "the kind of non-European regality which allows someone to sit on the floor", when in fact, Cleopatra could be further from being black or having any "earthiness" about her. She shocked the republican Romans by sitting not on the floor, but on a throne of solid gold.

    Also ancient Greece was never as "multiracial metropolis" as some believe it to have been. Cleopatra was the last ruling monarch of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, a Greco-Macedonian colonial government installed after the breakup of Alexander the Great's empire, which included Egypt. Alexandria was build by the Greeks, a Hellenistic city it had a Greek Royalty, Greek Upper and Middle class, and a Hammite lower class. The Ptolemies along with the Seleucids(who ruled the Greco-Macedonian Seleucid Empire from modern Syria through Anatolia and to Central Asia) were among several other Greco-Macedonian colonial governments in the region. They were corrupt, abusive Greek ethnocentric autocrats that tried to force Hellenistic culture upon people as varied as the native Egyptians, Hebrews, Arabs and numerous other people they ruled over. Needless to say native Egyptians regarded the Ptolemies as foreigners, twice Cleopatra's father escaped assassination attempts upon his life. Rome was the final inheritor of the Hellenistic world but Hellenism, the label that is applied to the culture which the dynasties derived from long outlived them. These Greek Dynasties made no great effort to assimilate native populations but in the end they succeeded in establishing a Hellenic culture better then they had a right to expect.

    And this Middle Eastern identity is just as bogus as her supposed 'black' identity. No one retelling her story today could do so without brining awareness that she was a Western ruler of what is now an Islamic state, at the moment of its invasion by a western superpower. After all it was her greatggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggreat-grand dad who claimed none Europeans unworthy of ruling over Europeans:

    "Yes a son of Roxane or Barsine really is a fitting ruler for the Macedonian-Hellenic people! Even to utter his name will be offensive for Europe, since he will be mostly captive. Is that what defeating the Persians will have meant for us - being slaves to their descendants?" - Ptolemy I Soter; Quintus Curtius Rufus

    Lastly Cleopatra as a royal born Greek lady would have been a light skinned Caucasian European looking, as depictions of her and her family clearly indicate. Greeks were and still are light skinned Cacuasians. Have you seen their artifacts and other depictions ancient Greeks made of themselves? They depicted themselves in similar phenotypes found in modern Greeks today, for the most part Caucasian light skinned individuals. The Arab scholar Ibn Butlan once noted that Greeks have "fair hair" and "blue eyes", this does not mean ALL Greeks were/are of Nordic appearance, it merely suggests that the blond-haired & blue-eyed types is more common among Southern Europeans like Greeks, Italians, Serbs, etc. and fair coloring was very common among Cleopatra's family line, than M.E. and stood out more as a characteristic worthy of mention by Ibn Butlan. Even in the ancient writing of Homers epic fair Greeks are mentioned. The ancient epics describe Helen as fair haired, Achilles as fair haired, Menelaos as red haired, Hermes Praxiteles is depicted with red hair. Greeks depicted themselves both dark haired, blonde haired and red haired because fair Greeks have existed since ancient times.
    Last edited by sakirov123; August 28, 2008, 01:27.

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  • Steve7811
    replied
    OP:

    If all these little things are bugging you so much, then just don't play Civ games. If you are looking for super accurate depiction, then, like the other poster suggested, dabble on modding Civ4 games to your liking.

    Firaxis never said Civ games are a totally accurate depiction of history as it was. There are many elements in the Civ games that are not realistic. Perhaps you should argue about them too? But then again, if you do that, then you should just completely avoid playing Civ altogether.

    It matters not whether Cleopatra is depicted as black, Mediterranean, or anything else because we have no accurate record of how she looked like. Lincoln, on the other hand, we do have pictures of him. So Firaxis made Cleopatra dark-skinned woman. How does this, in any way, hurt the gameplay? Like I mentioned, Civ games were never intended as a replacement for accurate teaching of history to the exact science. If that's what you are looking for, please take a history class or read many educational books available via Amazon or through your local bookstore.

    You are making a HUGE deal out of absolutely nothing that matters extremely little to the game. You are just arguing for the sake of arguing. It has no useful purpose.

    If you were in a history debate in a graduate history class about accuracy of many depicted things or beings, that is one thing. Here, we are talking a mere video game which made no claims that it was 100% accurate. It just has historical flavor to it.

    How realistic is it that the leaders never die through 6000 years of history being told in Civ games? How realistic is it that you can have the Mongols build the Colossus of Rhodes? Are you going to argue about these too? Instead, why don't you apply your "expertise" into arguments and debates that really matters instead of trying to take it to a video game?

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  • Heraclitus
    replied
    Originally posted by smellymummy
    because most people associate cleopatra to egypt.
    If you are responding to the OP.


    The ancient Egyptians where not black!



    Now, to rescramble my password, lets hope it works this time or I will need to ask for that voluntary ban some people have mentioned.

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  • smellymummy
    replied
    because most people associate cleopatra to egypt.

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  • lord of the mark
    replied
    are people still debating this kind of s**t wrt Civ?

    1. Saladins powerbase, from which he conquered, was Egypt, not Syria, the Arabian peninsula, or Palestine (of course there was NEVER a major arab state based in Palestine - Egypt was frequently a dominant power in the Levant in arab times) Heraclitus just looks silly arguing that, even if hes shifted to Cairo vs upper egypt. In Civ2, IIRC, they werent that refined in exactly where the starting city was.

    2. Black cleo, and arguing against black cleo, is just SO done. Afrocentrism, anti-afrocentrism, counterrevisionism, etc all been done to death here (and a fortiori IRL)

    3. Lincoln vs Cleo. We have, you know, photos of Lincoln

    3. Its civ, man. You wanna argue accuracy, go argue about techs, or units. But leaders? Who like live for thousands of years? You want accuracy, real historical accuracy, in 4x game, play EU.

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  • Heraclitus
    replied
    I really think they should have gone with Hatty as a leader despite name recognition.

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  • Kc7mxo
    replied
    Originally posted by Heraclitus
    What are you on about? I'm trying to point out that pop-culture refernces are more in favor of a "white Cleopatra" which is just as silly as a "black Cleopatra". You are just trying to make it seem I am arguing something I am not.



    Example of a "white Cleopatra"
    all this seems kinda, meh, as far as i'm concerned. a black cleo is just un expected as far as I'm concerned and will throw people for a loop. If anything she ought to look greek or middle eastern.

    BUT, Liz Taylor is just absolute *yum* so I want her to look like lizzie.

    Anyway, Hatty is a better choice for a female ruler regardless. Even firaxis says Cleo was an awful ruler who simply got her country turned into a roman vassal and then backed the wrong horse in the civil war before getting committing suicide.

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