Cleopatra, considered ancient Egypt’s great last pharaoh before that civilization fell to Roman conquest in the first century B.C., had a reputation for knowing how to present herself stunningly to outsiders. Legend has it she once sailed upriver in a gilded barge with purple sails to introduce herself to Mark Antony, the powerful Roman leader who became her new lover after an earlier one, the great Julius Caesar, had been assassinated.
Thus, she would be thoroughly pleased with the presentation of the show that bears her name, Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.
The exhibit features some theatrically conceived installations that offer showbiz flair. At one point, visitors walk over a glass floor covering what appears to be the bottom of the sea, with ruins half-buried in sand. An amphora is on its side and a broken sphinx is near the base of what once was a statue but is now reduced to a pair of feet.
Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt continues at the Cincinnati Museum Center through Sept. 5. Go here to read Jane Durrell's full review.