Red Notice and the True Stories Behind Cleopatra’s Eggs

Red Notice and the True Stories Behind Cleopatra’s Eggs
Written by Publishing team

Cleopatra was the young woman who was able to persuade or seduce—depending on who you ask—Roman consul Julius Caesar to support her claim for the throne over that of her little brother/husband Ptolemy XIII. A brother who, it should be noted, met his death along the waters of the Nile after facing Caesar’s legions. After Caesar’s death, Cleopatra still insisted their son Caesarion was the Roman dictator’s one true born son and (eventually) heir to both Rome and Egypt. And by Horus, even Roman Triumvir and war hero Marc Antony backed that claim, siding with Egypt in a civil war against his rival and Caesar’s nephew, Octavian (future Augustus and first Emperor of Rome).

After Antony’s defeat at the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra and the Roman general’s fates were sealed with both eventually electing to die by their own hands rather than become political prizes to be humiliated and defiled on the streets of Rome.

Upon hearing news of Cleopatra’s death—as she died second, supposedly by taking a poisonous asp to her breast, although many historians speculate this method is apocryphal—Octavian became enraged to have lost his living prize who’d have been paraded in his Triumph back home. However, he did allow that Antony be buried with Cleopatra in her tomb with full rights befitting Egyptian monarchs. With that said, the Greek historian Plutarch asserted Antony was cremated upon a pyre, as was the Roman custom, and that his urn was buried in Cleopatra’s arms. Other accounts suggest that like Cleopatra, Antony was mummified in Cleopatra’s grand tomb.

Either way, the pair’s tomb, which was said to be erected in or near the city of Alexandria, has remained lost for over two thousand years. In the late 2000s, famous Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass began speculating a tomb his team was excavating west of Alexandria was the long lost tomb of Cleopatra. The mummies of Egyptian and Greek nobles from the time of Cleopatra have been found at the site, as have coins depicting both Cleopatra and Antony’s personage. Yet the actual tomb of Egypt’s last Pharaoh remains a prize undiscovered by historians and archeologists.

Faberge eggs layout

Lost Imperial Eggs of Russia

The actual shape of the MacGuffin in Red Notice—which are depicted to be giant ornate relics of great wealth and power—are not Egyptian in design. Rather they look like Hollywoodized variations on the famous Imperial Eggs, or Fabergé Eggs, produced for the Russian tsars between 1885 and 1916. Also like Cleopatra’s reign, these treasures were borne out of an era now viewed through a tragic lens, as it was the last days of the Russian imperial family.

The eggs, which were designed by the company led by the famous Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé, were ornate Easter eggs built out of precious metals like gold, platinum, or silver, as well as with various types of gemstones. In total 50 eggs were produced inside of 30 years, during the reigns of Alexander III and his son Nicolas II, the last of the tsars and Romanov rulers allowed to live until adulthood by Bolshevik Communist forces.

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