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Cleopatra Presented with the Head and Limbs of Her Own Child
about 1413 - 1415
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 42 x 29.6 cm (16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.)
Though the miniature's courtly elegance partly masks the horror of the
The severed head and limbs in the image, however, belong not to this infant but to a second unfortunate child, also a victim of Ptolemy's wrath. Hearing of the king's crime against his wife's son, the people deposed him and selected Cleopatra as their ruler. In retaliation, Ptolemy had his own son, also born of Cleopatra, murdered and sent the child's severed head and limbs to her during a banquet.