Archaeologists claim discovery of Cleopatras younger sister

March 16th, 2009 - 1:10 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 16 (ANI): A team of archeologists and forensic experts has claimed to have found the skeleton of Cleopatras younger sister, who was murdered more than 2,000 years ago on the orders of the Egyptian queen.

According to a report in The Times, the remains of Princess Arsinoe, put to death in 41 BC on the orders of Cleopatra and her Roman lover Mark Antony to eliminate her as a rival, are the first relics of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be identified.

The breakthrough, by an Austrian team, has provided pointers to Cleopatras true ethnicity.

Scholars have long debated whether she was Greek or Macedonian like her ancestor the original Ptolemy, a Macedonian general who was made ruler of Egypt by Alexander the Great, or whether she was North African.

Evidence obtained by studying the dimensions of Arsinoes skull shows she had some of the characteristics of white Europeans, ancient Egyptians and black Africans, indicating that Cleopatra was probably of mixed race, too.

They were daughters of Ptolemy XII by different wives.

The forensic evidence was obtained by a team working under the auspices of the Austrian Archeological Institute.

The institutes breakthrough came about after it set out to examine the belief of Hilke Thur of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, who suggested that an octagonal tomb in the remains of the Roman city of Ephesus contained the body of Arsinoe.

Clues, such as the unusual octagonal shape of the tomb, which echoed that of the lighthouse of Alexandria with which Arsinoe was associated, convinced Thur the body was that of Cleopatras sister.

After using carbon dating, which dated the skeleton from 200BC-20BC, Kanz, who had examined more than 500 other skeletons taken from the ruins of Ephesus, found Thurs theory gained credibility.

He said he was certain that the bones were female and placed the age of the woman at 15-18. Although Arsinoes date of birth is not known, she was certainly younger than Cleopatra, who was about 27 at the time of her sisters demise.

The lack of any sign of illness or malnutrition also indicated a sudden death. Evidence of the skeletons north African ethnicity provided the final clue, according to Kanz.

According to Roman texts the city, in what is now Turkey, is where Arsinoe was banished after being defeated in a power struggle against Cleopatra and her then lover, Julius Caesar.

Arsinoe was said to have been murdered after Cleopatra, now with Mark Antony following Caesars death, ordered the Roman general to have her younger sibling killed to prevent any future attempts on the Egyptian throne. (ANI)

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