Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent independence of the Balkans, one of the most hotly contested issues has been between Greece and the neighboring entity that had been calling itself the “Republic of Macedonia”.

The origin of this struggle has been the legacy of Alexander the Great, the Macedonian general who conquered Persia, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Bactria, and Punjab and initiated the Hellenistic era. Each nation claims Alexander as its own, both for bragging rights and tourist dollars.

Now, Greece’s parliament has voted to back a historic agreement ending a 27-year dispute over its northern neighbor’s name.

Parliament in Athens agreed by 153 votes to 146 to approve the name Republic of North Macedonia, despite widespread opposition from the public.

“North Macedonia was born today,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greece has rejected Macedonia’s name since its independence in 1991, as there is a Greek region of that name.

Failure to find an appropriate name meant that Greece frustrated Macedonia’s drive to join both Nato and the European Union.

And while the Northern Macedonians are pleased with the deal, Greek citizens are unhappy with what they consider to be a European Union over-reach.

With latest polls showing that more than six in 10 Greeks oppose the deal, demonstrations have been held across the country in the buildup to Friday’s vote. A protest rally in Athens Sunday attended by tens of thousands was marred by violence.

As I am on the subject of Macedonia, I would like to segue to the subject of one of the Macedonian conqueror’s heirs: Cleopatra VII, the famous last queen of Egypt. There was recently a social justice dust-up as racialists are upset that Caucasians are being considered for the part of Cleopatra in an upcoming movie.

Social justice bores are in a tizzy over the latest reports that certain actresses are being considered to reprise the role of Egyptian queen Cleopatra, not because one of them is the woefully overhyped Lady Gaga and the other is the hopelessly contrived Angelina Jolie, but rather that both of the celebrities are white.

…The Ptolemaic dynasty of which Cleopatra was one, was all Macedonian Greeks. How did they maintain that racial makeup while ruling Egypt for generations? Inbreeding.

I am going to go one better: I assert that Cleopatra had reddish blond hair. In addition likely being a direct descendant from the same family as golden-haired Alexander, there is portraiture done in what would have been in the living memory of the Great Queen.

Yes, according to historian Joann Fletcher in Cleopatra the Great (2011). The evidence is not conclusive, but one particular portrait in the Herculaneum seems to show Cleopatra, identified by her royal diadem, with red hair. There were fair-haired Greeks in her family line, and red hair does show up in that part of the world, so it is possible.

Here is the portrait, showing Cleopatra as a ginger:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Posthumous_painted_portrait_of_Cleopatra_VII_of_Egypt,_from_Herculaneum,_Italy.jpg

There is another portrait in Pompeii with similar details, although she appears more auburn here:

https://historum.com/proxy.php?image=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Fd%2Fde%2FVenus_and_Cupid_from_the_House_of_Marcus_Fabius_Rufus_at_Pompeii%252C_most_likely_a_depiction_of_Cleopatra_VII.jpg&hash=1e709dbcec9fe8d44d476060b359027a

An ancient Roman wall painting in Room 71 of the House of Marcus Fabius Rufus at Pompeii, Italy, showing Venus with a cupid’s arms wrapped around her. It is most likely a depiction of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt as Venus Genetrix, with her son Caesarion as a cupid. The painting was made circa 46 BC, around the time that Julius Caesar erected her statue in the Temple of Venus Genetrix in the Forum of Caesar, Rome.

So while Nubian beauties do exist, the data appears to show that Cleopatra was just another soul-capturing ginger. That means, logically, Christina Hendricks or Amy Adams should be in contention for the role.

One last news item on Cleopatra: Archaeologists believe they have found where the burial site of the queen and Marc Antony, who died around 30 BC.

Egyptian historians say that they believe they now know where to dig and hope to uncover the tomb ‘soon’.

The ancient city of Taposiris Magna, around eighteen miles from Alexandria, is believed to be where the two ruler’s remains were laid to rest.

Archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass said: ‘The long-lost tomb of Antony and Cleopatra will be eventually uncovered.

Stay tuned! I am sure some exciting Egyptian discoveries will be made this year.