Cleopatra -- Short, Fat and Plain?

Cleopatra, the queen of ancient Egypt, who has been portrayed on the silver screen by some of Hollywood's most beautiful women, was actually short, fat and plain, Britain's Sunday Times newspaper said.

Screen sirens Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh and Sophia Loren are among those to have starred in films as the queen, who ruled Egypt in the 1st Century BC. Historians say she used her beuty to seduce Roman Emperor Julius Caesar and his leading general Mark Anthony.

But a new exhibition at the British Museum in London next month, which features 11 statues previously thought to portray other queens, will show Cleopatra as plain-looking, about 5 feet tall and apparently plump.

"Sadly for those who seek the secret of her personal allure, the more we study Cleopatra's surviving images, the less certain we may be of her looks," Susan Walker, senior curator of the exhibition, told the paper.