Cleopatra and Antony: Couple Costume Idea

One of the star romantic couples of history, Cleopatra and Antony remain an enduring legend of love and tragedy. For a couple's costume for a fancy dress ball, costume party, dress-up event, masquerade or Halloween, a couple or friends can pair up as this famous couple.

Because of her reputation as powerful, exotic and seductive, a costume for this famous queen gives a woman an opportunity to make a bold statement with big jewelry, dramatic eye makeup and a form-fitting gown.
The brave and virile Mark Antony was a leader of men and played a key role in history. Men have the option of appearing in uniform or in civilian clothing, depending on the occasion. 

Costume tips for this famous couple can also help if you're making costumes for the couple for a play in a school or community theater.
Egypt Couple Costume

Ready-Made Mail Order Costumes

Ready-made costumes are often casual in their interpretation of garments for the famous pair, making use a of polyester or acrylic knit tunic and cape for a man's costume with faux leather accessories, such as vinyl, and the sort of gold braid available from fabric stores. Cleopatra costumes offer similar options, such as a nylon nightgown or polyester sheath dress with sequins. The size options and quality vary widely by manufacturer. As many people have discovered, one size does not fit all.

If you order a couple costume from a catalog or online vendor, be sure to check shipping costs, return policies and ask any questions before you place the order. Check what's included in the costume -- often accessories have to be ordered separately. Find out how long the costumes take to ship and order them far enough ahead of time to reduce the risk of disappointment if they are delayed or unsuitable.

On the positive side, a quality ready-made costume can save you time and look great.
Egyptian Couple Costumes

DIY or Handmade Costume

Making your own couple costumes gives you more control over the materials, overall look and getting the fit right. As centuries of art shows, Egyptian fashion was body-conscious and tended to be form fitting. Even under Ptolemaic rule at the very end of its power, fashion remained true to its origins. The infamous queen was actually a Ptolemy who took the throne when her father died. Portraits of her from her own time often show her in Egyptian hairstyles, jewelry and clothing.

Costume-Making Materials

Linen is traditional for tunics and sheath dresses, soft wool, such as a blanket, drapes well for a cape. Costume jewelry might be used as-is or taken apart and recreated. For example, a snake from an armband can become a snake on the queen's headdress. 

A wig will come closest to an authentic hairstyle. Options include a wig with numerous tiny braids hanging straight down to shoulder-length, a blunt-cut to just below chin length, or a updo, in the classic crescent shape, the way her hair looks on coins minted during her reign.

A circlet or crown can complete the look. A dark-haired woman might use her own hair to create a hairstyle for the ancient queen.

Depending on the desired scene for the doomed pair of lovers, Antony might wear a long or short toga.

The History of the Lovers

The queen was only 17 years old when she became the ruler of Egypt.  It was 51 BC Egypt, after centuries of power was being crushed by Rome.

She became lovers with Rome's mighty Caesar, and after his death began the famous romance with Mark Antony, another powerful Roman. Her relationships with these men had benefits for Egypt which as at risk for losing its independence to the devouring Roman Empire.

The tragedy of the powerful lovers inspired a play by William Shakespeare.

The Romance

A story retold for centuries: Cleopatra invited Antony onto her barge and wagered that she could spend 10 million sesterces on the meal. According to Pliny, the pearl the queen dissolved in a glass of vinegar was the largest in history. She drank it down and won the wager. Experiments have validated the science behind the account -- and the well-educated queen enjoyed experimenting, according to Discovery News.

Children by the Couples

The queen gave birth to twins fathered by Antony in 40 BC, seven years after the birth of Caesarian, fathered by Julius Caesar. Antony acknowledged the children, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, as his. A family could dress in costumes as the couple and their children.

Selene translates as moon and Helios as sun. The twins wear these symbols on their heads in a sculpture that recently came to light at Cairo's Egyptian Museum. Antony's wife Octavia raised the twins and their younger brother Ptolemy Philadelphus -- Antony's second son by Cleopatra -- after the suicides of their parents.

A number of reports, including interviews with archaeologist Zahi Hawass, suggest that the discovery of the tomb of the tragic couple may be imminent. Because of the connections between Cleopatra and Antony with Isis and Osiris, Hawass and others consider Taposiris Magna, an ancient temple near Alexandria, a likely location for the burial site of the lovers.

Costume Tips

Taking liberties with history can be fun. Although the queen didn't wear high heels, you might. Men's sandals that lace up the leg look great for Antony or he can wear boots. A tunic costume can be a shortcut for Antony.

Discovery News: How Cleopatra Won Her Bet
The science behind how she could have dissolved a mammoth pearl to impress Marc Antony.

Discovery News: Cleopatra and Antony's Children Rediscovered
A statue of their twins. 

National Geographic: Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt
Information on the exhibit

National Geographic: Cleopatra: Zahi Hawass
Speculations about the possibility of finding the tomb.


Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare - Project Gutenberg

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