Thursday, May 19, 2022

Three Ways Cleopatra Contributed to Science and Medicine

 From Discover:

If the Romans had their way, we would remember Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt as a depraved and power-hungry woman. Her lavish tastes and promiscuous lures corrupted the highest rungs of Roman leadership. Cleopatra first paired off with Roman Dictator Gaius Julius Caesar, who helped her return from exile and ascend to the throne. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 B.C., Marcus Antonius (a.k.a. Marc Antony) became one of three Roman Republic rulers, and Cleopatra’s next ally and love interest.

The Romans weren’t ready for a powerful woman, and biographers and historians smeared her legacy. They failed to note that Cleopatra was a serious scholar. She spoke at least seven languages and was interested in science and medicine. She researched, conducted experiments (albeit cruel and unethical ones) and wrote about her findings. In her time, she was an expert in gynecology, pharmacology and aesthetics.

Cleopatra supported advancements in science and medicine. She also contributed to The Great Library of Alexandria, which was eventually destroyed after Cleopatra’s death during the Roman occupation. Arabic-language texts note her legacy as a scientist and a scholar. Here are three documented examples of Cleopatra’s scientific prowess. (Read more.)


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