Museum Says Note May Be From Cleopatra

ByABC News
October 26, 2000, 4:18 PM

B E R L I N, Oct. 26 -- She may have been a lover to Roman leaders andheld empires in her sway, but a text believed to be penned byEgyptian leader Cleopatra reveals she also had much more mundanematters on her mind: taxes.

Dutch historian Peter van Minnen discovered the 2,000-year-oldwriting believed to be Cleopatras in a collection of papyrusdocuments in Berlins Egyptian Museum.

The document contains the Greek word Genethoi, or Let itbe done believed to signal her approval for a deal to allowwheat to be shipped duty-free out of Egypt and the import of 60,000liters (15,850 gallons) of wine.

Many Experts Unconvinced

However, other experts said they were unconvinced that the20-centimeter (8-inch) document first discovered at a grave sitenear Cairo in 1904 is actually from the queen.

German historian Heinz Heinen doubted the mistake-riddledwriting was by Cleopatra, who was well-educated and spoke sevenlanguages, and said the paper would need to be tested to prove itwas genuine.

However, experts said there is no way to determine the Berlinfinds authenticity unless they find another piece of handwritingthat can be confirmed as coming from the queen, who committedsuicide in 30 B.C., aged 39.