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When René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo discovered the film Cleopatra by Joseph Mankiewicz at a cinema in Brussels in 1963, you might say they really had flair! Inspired by Liz Taylor's performance in this film fit for a Pharaoh, our two friends immediately set to work drafting what was to become one of the most accomplished characters in the Asterix universe, Queen Cleopatra herself ! And what a Cleopatra! Irascible (her vases often pay the price of her bad humour!), magnanimous (she gracefully acknowledges her mistakes and forgives our favourite Gauls after having thrown them into a dungeon following a slight misunderstanding), loyal and authoritarian, but also superbly beautiful or playfully mocking with Caesar… No doubt about it, this colourful royal character bears the stamp of great authors, whose terrific talent makes it possible to dabble in caricature without sacrificing the consistency and depth of a truly complex character. Getafix bears witness to this when, far from seeing this Queen of Queens as a mere caricature, he can't hide his admiration for this woman with whom he would like to rub noses. She and her Julius form convincing mother and father figures for our resolutely turbulent Gaulish big children. In the album Asterix and Son, Albert Uderzo takes this metaphor to the limit, when Cleopatra entrusts her imperial offspring Caesarion to the care of the village of Indomitables, definitely deemed the ideal setting for a happy childhood!

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