Skeleton of Cleopatra's Murdered Sister Discovered

Archeologists and forensic experts believe they have identified the skeleton of Cleopatra's younger sister, murdered more than 2,000 years ago on
the orders of the Egyptian queen.

The remains of Princess Arsinoe, put to death in 41BC on the orders of Cleopatra VII 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 Cleopatra's 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 Arsinoe's 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, which is set to detail its findings at an anthropological convention in the United States later this month.

The institute's breakthrough came about after it set out to examine Thur's belief that an octagonal tomb in the remains of the Roman city of Ephesus contained the body of Arsinoe. 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 Caesar's death, ordered the Roman general to have her younger sibling killed to prevent any future attempts on the Egyptian throne.

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