She may have been a lover to Roman leaders and held empires in her sway, but a text believed to be penned by Egyptian leader Cleopatra reveals she also had much more mundane matters on her mind: taxes.
Dutch historian Peter van Minnen discovered the 2,000-year-old writing believed to be Cleopatra’s in a collection of papyrus documents in Berlin’s Egyptian Museum.
The document contains the Greek word “Genethoi,” or “Let it be done” — believed to signal her approval for a deal to allow wheat to be shipped duty-free out of Egypt and the import of 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of wine.
Many Experts Unconvinced
However, other experts said they were unconvinced that the 20-centimeter (8-inch) document — first discovered at a grave site near Cairo in 1904 — is actually from the queen.
German historian Heinz Heinen doubted the mistake-riddled writing was by Cleopatra, who was well-educated and spoke seven languages, and said the paper would need to be tested to prove it was genuine.
However, experts said there is no way to determine the Berlin find’s authenticity unless they find another piece of handwriting that can be confirmed as coming from the queen, who committed suicide in 30 B.C., aged 39.