Controversy Follows Cleopatra in Fact and Fiction

Cleopatra’s Vendetta, award-winning thriller.

Avanti Centrae, international bestselling author

Avanti Centrae, international bestselling author

Netflix - Queen Cleopatra

Netflix – Queen Cleopatra

Netflix is releasing a controversial documentary about Cleopatra, and thriller author Avanti Centrae stirs debate as she imagines the queen’s vengeance.

Focusing on her looks or race is a smokescreen. Cleopatra was a powerful woman during a male-dominated period in history, which made her a ripe target.”

— Avanti Centrae

GRASS VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, April 13, 2023/ — After Netflix announced a Black actress would star as Cleopatra in a new documentary titled Queen Cleopatra, outrage and fresh controversy rocked social media. Many users pointed out that the legendary Queen of Egypt was a Macedonian descendant of Alexander the Great. Others highlighted that she was an African Queen. Historians still ponder her mother’s ethnicity.

In the fall of 2020, when Israeli actress Gal Gadot announced that she would play Cleopatra in a blockbuster movie, a hornet’s nest of cultural appropriation followed.

Long before Gal Gadot and Netflix, Elizabeth Taylor stirred controversy playing Cleopatra because she had recently converted to Judaism. Due to animosity with Israel, Egypt banned the expensive film, which eventually earned over $70 million at the box office.

When asked about the factors that drive continued controversy around Cleopatra, Avanti Centrae, international bestselling author of Cleopatra’s Vendetta, took a different approach, saying, “Focusing on her looks or race is a smokescreen. Cleopatra was a powerful woman during a male-dominated period in history, which made her a ripe target.” Centrae added, “Cleopatra had sparkling eyes, a commanding presence, and a rich voice. According to Plutarch, she spoke nine languages, including Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Troglodyte (Ethiopian) and she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language. Historians believe that her mortal enemy, Octavian, started some of the debate by using propaganda to demean and belittle her. She was a strong, intelligent woman and respected ruler. He made her out to be a harlot.”

When asked for additional background, Centrae supplied information gleaned from her research. “Cleopatra lived in a time when Egyptian women were highly educated and legally autonomous. Roman women, on the other hand, had no legal rights, and were encouraged to walk in public with their eyes cast down. Historians also believe Romans were allowed to kill female children, except the firstborn. Roman leaders like Octavian were probably desperate to eliminate Cleopatra’s example of powerful femininity.” Centrae’s latest thriller, Cleopatra’s Vendetta, is already generating its own share of controversy due to its war-between-the-sexes theme. Readers can view the trailer on YouTube.

The resting place of the ancient queen is also a subject of argument. Archeologists continue to search for Cleopatra’s tomb west of Cairo. Their primary hunting grounds are in Taposiris Magna. Centrae said, “Many believe Cleopatra is buried at the bottom of a vertical shaft. That made for a perfect, heart-stopping action scene in the novel.”

Find the full press kit here for Cleopatra’s Vendetta: or contact Avanti Centrae at [email protected].

Avanti Centrae
Thunder Creek Press
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Video trailer for Cleopatra’s Vendetta

Originally published at

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SBS editor