Another Elizabeth Holmes Predecessor

I'm fascinated by Elizabeth Holmes' self-presentation, using her striking, if odd, looks, and her voice, natural or not.

In an earlier post, about how Theranos used its lawyers to terrorize anyone who opposed it, I compared Elizabeth Holmes' big-eyed stare to that of a Sumerian statue.

Now I have a more reasonable ancient world comparison. And we always need one of those, don't we? Surely you remember that I'm the one who pointed out how much Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin look like Akhenaten and Nefertiti..

And that is to the Ptolemaic queen Arsinoe II. Now you can be forgiven for not knowing which Ptolemaic queen that was, exactly, because they were all named Arsinoe and Berenike, or, later, Cleopatra (the famous one is Cleopatra VII).

The Hellenistic kingdoms really had great portrait coins, because they knew self-presentation too

The Hellenistic kingdoms really had great portrait coins, because they knew self-presentation too

She murdered her political opponents and married her brother, Ptolemy II (the naming convention for males of the family was even more restrictive than that of the women, they were all named Bruce) but that doesn't really make her stand out either.

She was apparently beautiful and quite compelling, becoming the the goddess prayed to by sailors for safe voyage, even by non-citizens of Egypt, had temples dedicated to her, and even won chariot races at the Olympic Games.

But by the coin images, she had the big-eye thing going pretty significantly. Maybe it's a stylistic thing, and of course scholars of the ancient world love to make medical diagnoses based on minimal evidence, but maybe she really did have big eyes, or at least used them in a way that made them seem that way. And she was blond.

The Hellenistic Age is insufficiently looked to for historical examples, because we all think we are Rome, who eventually conquered all those self-indulgent, extravagant, too-clever-for-their-own-good Greek states, but maybe we should be looking a bit more closely at the other side of that equation.

I don’t know, there certainly is a resemblance

I don’t know, there certainly is a resemblance

In some possible future statues of Elizabeth Holmes will be prayed to by the sick, who will prick their fingers to let a single drop fall on her sacred foot, at which time they will be healed.

When one of those statues is recovered by some even further future archeological expedition, maybe it will look like this.

What contemporary figures remind you of someone specific from the ancient world?

No, the resemblance does not need to be particularly close.