Cleopatra – Still Influencing Popular Culture over 200 years on

Despite dying in 30BC, Cleopatra VII Philopator is still a well-known figure to this day. The last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt’s legacy has endured for thousands of years through art, literature, and other media. Indeed, Cleopatra still features predominantly in popular culture to this day, and the woman who allegedly had a son with Julius Caesar has inspired countless works of fiction over the years. This is perhaps down to her unparalleled beauty, and the intrigue that surrounded her in life and death.


For historians of Ancient Greece and Egypt, Cleopatra is one of the most important figures. Her death marked the end of Egypt being a Ptolemaic Kingdom, and when she passed the country became a province of the Roman Empire. In the years after her death, generation after generation honoured the ruler through paintings, statues, and literature.

To the layperson, the name is almost certainly recognisable, but they may be unsure what the female ruler’s role was in Ancient Egypt. The 1963 Cleopatra film from Joseph L. Mankiewicz is often cited as one of the most important representations of the Alexandria-born ruler in popular culture, and can be a good source of information about her. It should be noted that the movie wasn’t 100 percent factually accurate, however.

Elizabeth Taylor played the title role in the Twentieth Century Fox picture which was the highest-grossing movie in the year of its release. As one of the biggest stars in the world at the time, the British-American actress was paid a record-breaking $1 million to play Cleopatra. The film was restored in 2013 and was shown at a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival that year.  

Cleopatra has appeared in countless games over the years. Some of the most notable titles to have featured the ruler include Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II in 2009 and Assassin’s Creed Origins in 2017. In the iGaming sector, there is a series of Cleopatra slot games from International Game Technology. The Cleopatra online slot at LuckyPantsBingo.com has an enthralling Ancient Egypt theme and has influenced a number of other games like The Lost Slot of Riches and Pyramids of Cash. Cleopatra has also featured in four of the Civilization titles from MicroProse and Activision, along with Shadow of Rome from Capcom and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian from Amaze Entertainment and Pipeworks Software.

Cleopatra has been represented in over 30 television productions since Antonio e Cleopatra in 1965. Notably, the character appeared in two episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess and once in Doctor Who in 2010. It has also been implied that The Doctor was once married to Cleopatra.

Cleopatra is one of the most enduring historical figures of all time in mainstream media. While there continues to be interest in films, television, and games related to the period during which the ruler lived, she is likely to make even more appearances in popular culture.