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Whore-Queen, by Ever Whitlock

Whore-Queen, by Ever Whitlock

The poem “Whore-Queen” was written by Ever Whitlock of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. They are an undergraduate student working towards a double major in History and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, with a planned graduation date of May 2024.

Their look at Kleopatra VII is a response to Tara Sewell-Lasater’s lecture “Kleopatra VII in Assassin’s Creed Origins and Other Media: The Creation of a Cultural Memory Caricature” on the myth of the Ptolemaic queen, held on 27 February 2024, in which she emphasised the fictional aspect of Kleopatra’s personality, as transmitted by ancient sources as early as the Augustan era and into our modern popular view of the queen via video games. The lascivious, ambitious, sexualized, and lustful queen depicted in the Roman sources thus conceals the real Kleopatra VII, and it is in this way that she has been transmitted to contemporary popular culture, with examples in multiple films, novels, games, etc. Whitlock’s words explore this distorted view of the queen. This fictional Kleopatra is the “canopic prostitute”, as Propertius claimed, condemned for her lust to dwell in one of the circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy, both in the literary sphere and in the video game reproduction of that work.

Whitlock translates this vision and tinges it with a deep feminine pessimism, condemning the image of the queen that has been created by an enemy’s conquest. As a student of Classical studies, Whitlock speaks on the contemporary view of the myth of Kleopatra, one that is deeply influenced by today’s popular culture.

Whore-Queen

By Ever Whitlock

 

goddess on earth

worshiped and loved

ruled the kingdom as was expected

with one exception

a woman

alone

far too intelligent for the tastes of men

 

dumb down, sexualize

wipe the truth from history

place on a pedestal

of man’s creation

present as advisory meant to be defeated

only good enough to be beat

down down down

fallen into public memory

as a no good seductress

 

fuck me over

call me a whore

I know who I was

Kleopatra VII

goddess on earth

Author: Ever Whitlock, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas

Foreword by: Abraham I. Fernández Pichel and Tara Sewell-Lasater

Featured Image: Cleopatra Testing Poisons on Condemned Prisoners (1887), by Alexandre Cabanel. Oil on canvas. Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (Wikimedia Commons).

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Project Manager

Abraham I. Fernández Pichel

Researchers

Abraham I. Fernández Pichel - Rogério Sousa - Eleanor Dobson - Filip Taterka - Guillermo Juberías Gracia - José das Candeias Sales
Nuno Simões Rodrigues - Samuel Fernández-Pichel - Sara Woodward - Tara Sewell-Lasater - Thomas Gamelin – Leire Olabarría
Alfonso Álvarez-Ossorio - Jean-Guillaume Olette-Pelletier - Marc Orriols-Llonch


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