CHICAGO (AP) _ Cleopatra was a seductress who held Roman leaders in her sway, but the Queen of the Nile was also a wily politician thrust into power as a teen-ager in 51 B.C., an exhibit at the Field Museum will show.
Hundreds of artifacts and pieces of artwork reveal Cleopatra to be one of history's most powerful rulers, a woman whose influence on the Roman Empire had an impact well beyond her star-crossed romances with Caesar and Marc Anthony.
Tickets went on sale Sunday for ``Cleopatra of Egypt: From History to Myth,'' which runs Oct. 20 through March 3, 2002. The exhibition, by London's British Museum, will be the only showing in the country.
``It is very supportive of her, seeing Cleopatra as queen from an Egyptian point of view, not from the European point of view handed down by her enemies in Rome,'' said Susan Walker, British Museum curator and the exhibition's lead designer.
Cleopatra's story was studied and written by Greek historian Plutarch 100 years after her death. Subsequent eras put their own spin on her life, including Hollywood's sultry portrayals by such stars as Elizabeth Taylor.
``Cleopatra was one of the major politicians in world history,'' said Emily Teeter, an Oriental Institute Egyptologist and exhibition consultant. ``But that part of the story got run over and lost by Hollywood.''
When Cleopatra became queen at age 17 or 18, Egypt was ripe for a takeover by Rome. But seducing Rome's rising stars and bearing their children, Cleopatra clung to power for nearly two decades until Octavian _ the future Augustus _ conquered Egypt in 30 B.C.
``Instead of just being this lovestruck young thing, she was also a wily politician devoted to safeguarding Egypt from the awesome might of Rome. She spoke seven languages. She was brilliant,'' Teeter said.