#cleopatra with the nose knocked off. I wonder if people still think she was European like the movies betray…
I still think it’s one of the most desperate things whites have done to blacks and to black history. The disrespect is outrageous. They came to our country and mentally could not fathom how these black civilizations could be so great. They literally rode through our lands and shot the noses off of our statues. Why? So that the statues would no longer resemble the African people and they could LIE about the origins of Egypt and countless other civilizations. It was a widespread practice. It’s why statues of Pharaoh’s and their wives have no noses. It’s why the Sphinx has no nose. When I was in middle and high school, we were taught that the noses had fell off due to time and poor craftsmanship! They have literally tried to teach us that our ancestors were shitty builders of noses just to hide their malicious destruction of our heritage. European fears of African peoples had to come from somewhere. I want to know what part of the history is missing. There’s something that they don’t want to be told.
The shade is real
i was taught that the noses fell off as well and actually continued to believe this. in retrospect this makes no sense, considering greek/roman statues pretty much always have intact noses whereas egyptian ones are always conveniently missing theirs. thank you for pointing this out to me, i hadn’t even made that connection until now.
The bolded was me too and I am seriously embarrassed that I never even thought about how that could be false.
Damnnn. I hate myself for not realizing this.
I hate myself even more, since I know the ancient Egyptians created their sculptural works with the idea of permanence in mind. They were literally built to last throughout the afterlife. Notice how the majority of their monumental sculpture is stone-bound, without any protruding elements or breakable appendages. That’s because many of these sculptures were intended to house the life-force (Ka) of those they portrayed. Of their favorite materials were basalt and diorite, both extremely hard stones that were incredibly difficult to carve. Meaning a nose just doesn’t “fall off” because of “poor craftsmanship,” you would literally have to take a hammer to it. Fuckers.
even though it’s highly likely many of these statues were vandalised (racists gonna racist and all that), i’m suspicious of some of the reasoning presented above.
not every statue was a ka statue, and even so ka statues were built from dynasty iv (2680-2565 bc) onward. that is a very long time ago, especially when you consider that ancient rome was founded in 753 bc, and ancient greece ~800 bc. europe was going through the bronze age for all but a few centuries of ancient egyptian civilization.
also, ka statues were sometimes built from wood (specifically acacia and sycamore). not entirely relevant, but good to know nonetheless. oh, and as ka statues were designed to hold the spirit of a deceased person, the opening of the mouth ceremony was performed on them in order for them to perceive the world. i can’t remember where i heard this but it was sometimes believed that others would sabotage these statues as a big “fuck you” to the spirit within.
although the igneous rock of most ka statues is generally resistant to weathering, many other materials were used for sculpture. limestone (including alabaster), sandstone, copper, mud, ebony, ivory, iron, gold and silver, to be exact. how well do you think sedimentary sculptures are going to fare against thousands of years of weathering in a country with annual sandstorms? if the sphinx hadn’t had its nose hammered off (potentially during the muslim iconoclast of egypt for religious rather than racial reasons), how do you think the nose of this (at least) 4500-year-old statue would look?
it doesn’t matter if a statue was built out of separate parts or not - the nose will still be a structural weak point, and as such if a statue were to fall or be hit then the nose would be the first thing to go. also, accidents do happen over the course of thousands of years, and not just to noses.
many ancient roman and greek statues also have broken noses, by the way, despite also being made of igneous rock.
also, compared to the sculptures missing noses there are shitloads still bearing them. and noses aren’t the only facial feature that varies between races - for example, white people generally have thinner lips. compare and contrast. even though the statue of ramses ii is missing his nose, it’s still fairly easy to guess his race.
plus cleopatra viii philopator was the last pharaoh of the ptolemaic dynasty, a royal family of macedonian greek ancestry. upon alexander the great’s death in 323 bc, one of his bodyguards (ptolemy) was appointed satrap (governor) of egypt and declared himself king in 305 bc. here are some ptolemiac pharaohs, and here’s cleopatra, whose death in 30 bc marked the end of the ancient egyptian dynasties (oh and here’s her son). the ptolemaic dynasty is ~300 years, at the end of a civilisation which spanned 3000.
there isn’t some great nose-smashing conspiracy perpetrated by evil whitey. the fact that out of at least 332 pharaohs the one people generally learn the most about in school is one of the 19 non-native ones is laughable (and that some people think the second-most well-known pharaoh, tutankhamun, was white because he might have had red hair is also ridiculous) and definitely evidence of how eurocentric history lessons can be, but the solution to this is not to lie about cleopatra’s race but instead to find a way to ensure the 2700 rich, vibrant years of black egyptian civilisation are given their fair share of attention. there’s enough racism to tackle here without inventing more.
Ex Ancient Egyptian civilization major minoring in history of art here (though not an expert in material at all), I confirm that the above commentary is very important and a lot more accurate than the first few.
(However, there is still a looot of debating re: what Cleopatra really looked like; just last month, I toured an exhibition in Paris that is literally half about the facts about her and debate about what she may have looked like, with focus on her Greek/Macedonian ancestry, and half about how her image has been twisted in modern people’s imagination. There various reasons why it’s still debated to this day; first of all, as a rule, portraits and statues in ancient times were a lot more about idealization and symbolism over realism than they are now. We can’t assume anyone looked exactly as their “portraits” showed them: the public image of royals and politicians were carefully planned propaganda. As such, due to her circumstances and the politics of the time, there’s also a fair possibility that many statues of Cleopatra in particular may have deliberately adopted a Roman or Greek style — or even been made by Roman artists later. But anyway, odds are indeed that she looked a lot more Greek than Black. Refer to the very important conclusion of the previous comment, though.)
I’d like to add what I was almost systematically taught about statues in Ancient Egypt: that yes, most of the damage is purposeful vandalization, but most of it was done just a couple generations later for various political reasons, or later by art thieves, tomb robbers, etc. The reason given for this is that images are “magically efficient” in Ancient Egyptian culture: paintings of offerings efficiently stood for actual offerings, and statues were often placed as guardians. Thus, robbers and pillagers often hammered the eyes of such statues, to prevent them from seeing and cursing them (there may also have been something about protecting themselves from the “evil eye”) … and also the noses, as the nose and mouth are symbols of vitality. Destroying them amounts to disabling the statue and its purpose. I was taught that hammering noses off statues is actually a deeply Egyptian superstitious practice, to “kill” guardian statues, or the person itself whose image it was. As I recall, this is not limited to ka statues.
Similarly, because real names have power over things and living beings in Egyptian mythology, names were often scratched off in texts, for instance to symbolically “erase” previous political figures out of history after political coup d’états. (Believe me, there were a lot of those.) Because of this, we have entire texts that we don’t know whom they’re about, and there are pharaohs whose existence we know but not their names. Those acts of political “vandalism” were not rare and were known to be done systematically, along with the scratching of the person’s face in engravings, and though I don’t recall for sure I wouldn’t be surprised if it also involved the destruction of statues… or just their face or nose.
Of course it’s quite possible some assholes have sometimes deliberately broken statues’ faces or noses for racist reasons, too, but the vast majority of noseless Egyptian statues actually had their noses destroyed by other Egyptian people, be it a couple dozen years or a couple centuries later but still waaaay back before European people got their hands on them.
This all being said, it’s incredible and absolutely insulting and racist that there’s even any debate that the ancient Egyptian people looked any more European than the current Egyptian people do (with the exception of the Ptolemaic family who, has been stated above, were conquerors not originally indigenous to Egypt, and were heavily inbred at the time of Cleopatra VII).