The philosopher Peter Kreeft reflects on how, in fact, we all experience the “Cleopatra’s nose principle”: “If one of a million sperm cells had not successfully hailed the taxi of your mother’s ovum but another had gotten in instead, you would be a totally different person. If your grandfather hadn’t gotten a crick in his neck and turned his head the wrong way one day and noticed.
CLEOPATRA'S NOSE, NASO AND THE SCIENCE OF CHAOS By G. LIVELEY 'ante mare et terras et quod tegit omnia caelum unus erat toto naturae uultus in orbe, quem dixere chaos.' Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.5-7 'He who will know fully the vanity of man has only to consider the causes and effects of love. The cause is a 'je ne sais quoi', and the effects are dreadful. This 'je ne sais quoi', so small an object.
The Cleopatras was a 1983 BBC Television eight-part historical drama serial. Written by Philip Mackie, it is set in Ancient Egypt during the latter part of the Ptolemaic Dynasty with an emphasis on the Cleopatras. Intended to be the I, Claudius of the 1980s, The Cleopatras met with a decidedly mixed critical reaction. It was regarded and portrayed as a gaudy farce.
Only someone wearing a foggy pair of beer goggles could insist on placing bets that Cleopatra was as beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor. In fact, she looked more like Barbra Streisand's distant cousin.
For example, ancient Greek depictions of the beautiful love goddess Aphrodite invariably show a full-bodied woman with a prominent nose; a woman who modern society would probably advise to lose weight and get a nose job! Asking whether Cleopatra was beautiful is perhaps then a fruitless question, if beauty is truly in the eyes of the culture in which it is beheld.
Cleopatra had a big, beautiful nose. So let’s see it onscreen. Latest retelling of the Egyptian queen’s life must reject the Hollywood convention and show her in her full aquiline glory.
CLEOPATRA'S NOSE. PHILIP PARKER. Feb. 17, 1952; Credit. The New York Times Archives. See the article in its original context from February 17, 1952, Section Magazine, Page 154 Buy Reprints. View.
In his posthumously published book “Pensees” (1969), French mathematician Blaise Pascal remarked, “Cleopatra’s nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have changed.