Did Cleopatra’s Red Notice Bejeweled Eggs Exist?

After the death of Caesar — the father of one of Cleopatra’s sons — Cleopatra began wooing Mark Antony, one of the rulers of Rome in Caesar’s stead (via Britannica). The pair fell in love, with Antony abandoning his wife to be with Cleopatra. The pair claimed that Cleopatra’s son by Caesar was Caesar’s rightful heir, and that Cleopatra’s other children — including her twins by Mark Antony — should similarly rule their own nations. The scandal that Antony’s devotion created spread through Rome and led to the war that led to the couple’s defeat and joint suicide.

It’s one of the most famous true tales in history, but though Cleopatra was a remarkable figure in this tumultuous period of history, much of what is known about her even today is via the distorting lens of Roman propaganda. The emperor Augustus, who ruled Rome after defeating Antony and Cleopatra, only preserved the aspects of their story that explained his rise to power, according to Britannica. That may explain why most stories of Cleopatra emphasize her affairs and decadence (as well as her shrewdness). If Mark Antony gave her a wedding gift, that may have been too romantic a detail to mention.

Notably, few artifacts belonging to Cleopatra, who lived until 30 AD, exist today. The star attraction from a recent exhibit devoted to the queen wasn’t an egg — it was a piece of her handwriting, according to Reuters.

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