HistorySQ > Ancient History > New Renderings Show What Historical Figures Actually Looked Like In Real Life

New Renderings Show What Historical Figures Actually Looked Like In Real Life

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Ever since we were kids we were listening about mighty rulers who conquered the world and lived before us. But, any time we would reach for school books to see how they looked like, we would get … well, nothing! Instead of a clear face photo, we only had a sculpture or something that looks like a human.

Luckily, that’s ancient history. Thanks to forensic anthropologists, facial reconstruction, 3-D printing, and CT scans we finally know how Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, and many others looked like. So, let’s look at historical figures in their eyes. Finally.

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30. King Tut

King Tutankhamun was the pharaon of Egypt from 1334-1324 B.C. and anyone besides the passionate Egyptologists, wouldn’t know about him if he wasn’t found.

He was actually found in 1922. At least his tomb and mummified body. It took 2,000 digital scans and CT scans to get his face. But, scans revealed much more than just a face.

29. King Tut Was Really Young

King Tut started ruling at the age of nine, and he ruled only for ten years. Thanks to scans, we know now that he died when he was 19.

His death was a result of malaria, a fractured lower leg, and many deformities from inbreeding. Yes, the royal family was obsessed with ‘pure bloodline.’ His appearance matches these rumors.

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28. Emperor Nero

Nero Claudius Caesar is known as the ruler who left his city and people while Rome was burning. He is infamous for his many misdeeds. By modern diagnosis, he was a psychopath.

He was also one of the most hated rules in Rome. Nero loved art, and there are many proofs that he was a singer, played the lyre, and he was a trained Olympian. Thanks to modern technology we know now how this crazy ruler looked like.

27. Awful Nero

Nero looks kind of evil. It is rumored that while Rome was burning he sung a Greek song while standing on the rooftop of the palace.

Romans believe that he caused the fire, so he could hunt Christians. Before he could be executed, Nero took his own life, passionately saying, “What an artist dies in me!”

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26. Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti firstly ruled Eygpt with her husband. After his death, she continued to rule, and she was quite powerful. Just like King Tuit, she got the most fame after her life, and for the way, she was buried.

Nefertiti was buried upside down in the sand. She was found by a German archaeologist in 1913, who was sure that she was quite a beauty. Let’s see if he was right.

25. Beautiful Nefertiti

Well, underneath the ancient dust there was indeed a hidden gem. Nefertiti was a really beautiful woman. She had wrinkles on her cheeks and a bump on her nose. She was also a queen, don’t forget.

Nefertiti had six children, and of them became the mother of King Tut. King Tut’s father was Nefertiti’s husband. That inbreeding that we mentioned earlier explains the boy’s deformities.

24. Cleopatra

Yet another famous Egyptian queen. However, Cleopatra was equally known during her life and in her death. After all, she is always listed as one of the most powerful queens in history.

Cleopatra co-regent over the Kingdom of Egypt for 30 years. She spoke several languages, was highly intelligent, and thanks to her beauty stolen the hearts of two of the ancient world’s most influential men. But, was she really that beautiful?

23. Real Cleopatra

Seeing Cleopatra’s face was quite a surprise for many. She has an interesting melon hairstyle and the bun – typical of Ptolemaic queens, but her face was a surprise.

Cleopatra had a quite prominent nose and features similar to masculine. Beauty is the eye of the beholder, right? Add to that intelligence and diplomacy, and you get powerful women. But, have you ever envisioned this powerful man like this?

22. Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar is one of the most famous conquers ever. He rose to the highest ruling position thanks to his military exploits.

Julius Caesar was a great ruler, warrior, and weak when it came to the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. Like a true soldier, he was killed in action, and today we know how he looked like.

21. Interesting… Head?

We know how Ceaser lived: major victory at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C. meant great power, an affair with Cleopatra, a fight for Mediterranean and Caser stabbed to death.

It seems that Ceaser had a prominent forehead and head. You can see Ceaser today in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities. Next, this queen always kept her appearance masked.

20. Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I, ruled over England from 1559-1603 and it wasn’t initially planned for her to rule. Her father has six wives in order to have a male hair. After her brother and sisted died, Elizabeth took over the crown.

She will forever be known as the queen who never married and ruled alone for 45 years. She is also known as ‘The Virgin Queen.’ Although she was seen in many paintings, her face was still a mystery. Until now.

19. Meet Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I, was a great ruler. She kept the country in peace and during her reign the art and writing flourished.

The Armada portrait (see the previous section) is the closest one to the Queen’s appearance. Nowadays, you can see into her eyes and face at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, London. She will even blink at you! Next, this was Queen’s favorite writer.

18. William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is considered to be the most successful playwriter in history. After all, he gave us the memorable lines, such as ‘to be or not to be’, ‘night owl’ and ‘full circle’ and so on.

Willian gave the world 37 different plays, and in return, we finally got his real face.

17. With Face On Or Without The Face?

Shakespeare significantly changed the English language and established the famous Globe Theatre. Although there are many paintings, drawings, and sculptures of Shakespeare, this is how he really looked like.

Dr. Caroline Wilkinson from Dundee University used a computer scan to bring Willian back to life. This above image is what Shakespear looked like when he died on April 23, 1616.

16. George Washington

George Washington served as the first president of the United States, from 1789-1797. The photo below is one of the most famous paintings of him. But, was it really him?

George’s numerous portraits served as a base for his face reconstruction show below.

15. The Real Face Of The First President

George ruled for two full presidential terms. He could have easily won the third round, but by the law, it’s forbidden to run for the third time – this may lead to a monarchy or dictatorship.

Researchers from New Jersey Medical school in Newark brought the world this computer-generated image of the first president on the States. He looks quite real, right?

14. Mary, Queen Of Scots

Mary Stuart – or better known as Mary, Queen of Scots—was Queen of Scotland, for more than 20 years, from 1542-1567. She is also the youngest queen in the world. Her father died when she was only six days old.

Caroline Wilkinson, the same college professor, who reconstructed Shakespeare’s face, did a 3-D image of Mary’s face. The result? More than anyone hoped for.

13. The Real Mary, Queen Of Scots

Mary and Queen Elizabeth I were relatives and helped each other. When Scottish nobility revolted against Mary, Elizabeth took her in.

However, Mary was caught in a plot to overthrow Elizabeth and she was sentenced for spending 19 years in prison. The second plot against Elizabeth literally cost her head.

12. Richard III

Richard III was King of England for only two years, from 1483-1485. He was the last king before the Tudors took the throne. Since his body was lost soon after his death no one knew how he looked like. At least, until 2012. So, when his body was found and exhumed we got the face.

11. Richard III Exposed

Richard died both heroically, and quite stupidly, at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. He got to witness his defeat before he was killed.

The team from Dundee University stepped in and assembled Richard III to life. Since there were no historical documents or portraits of him, Richard’s face was completely based on historical records.

10. Meritamun

Meritamun means “beloved of the god Amun,” and there is only one reason why we know this: the researches discovered the skull of Meritamun in their archives.

Meritamun was from ancient Egypt, and until today no one knows for her skull went halfway around the world. Moreover, no one knew how beautiful she was until now.

9. Meritamun In Her GLory

Researches claim that famous Maeritamun had a sweet tooth. Apparently, she was suffering from tooth decay. She lived close to the time when Alexander the Great introduced the sugar to Egypt.

After 140 hours of CT scans and the hard use of a 3-D printer, this figure was formed. This beautiful and young woman suffered from anemia.

8. Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born around 4 B.C. and died between 30-33 A.D. For a short lifespan, he did so much.

After all, the full introduction is not needed here. Any portrait of Christ is well-known. But, did you know that he actually looked like this? Be prepared for a real shock.

7. Jesus Christ In The Shroud Of Turin

After the Crucifixion Jesus’s body was wrapped in the Shroud of Turin. At that same Shroud was found blood from his wounds.

So, using that same scripture, and skulls from the region and era, researchers managed to create the below appearance. This is still very much up for debate.

6. Maximilian Robespierre

Maximilian Robespierre was the head of France from 1792-1794. His period of reign is called ‘The Reign of Terror.’ He is responsible for beheading Queen Marie Antoinette.

Death by guillotine was very common during ‘the reign of terror.’ This period was also a time of extremely religious persecution. But, the photo above is far from Robespierre’s original look.

5. Guillotine For Robespierre

Robespierre’s head is everything that was left behind him. Together with his 21 closest associates, he was executed during the French Revolution.

Shortly after his execution, his head was used to create his death mask. SO, that same mask was used for his full-face creation. This is how he actually looked. No smile here.

4. Lord Of Sipan

The Lord of Sipan became globally popular as the first of many Moche mummies. He was originally dug up in 1987, in Peru.

The Lord of Sipan was buried together with his items in gold. Although the forensic team gave its best to preserve everything, including the Lord, the skull broke into 96 separate pieces. Pressure plays a major role in mummies. Luckily, they did manage to reconstruct his face thanks to technology.

3. The Lord Of Sipan In Person

Using a process called photogrammetry, researchers manage to reconstruct the skull. The team of Brazilian researchers manage to produce the image below.

At the time of death, the Lord has between 35-45 years. Since he was wearing jewelry with precious metals and stones, its believed that he was important. He was buried with two warriors, one on each side, protecting him. Or maybe they were punished?

2. Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. Although he lived for only 36 years, he made quite an impact on people. He was celebrated due to his skills to heal sickness.

Saint Anthony was so loved by the Catholic church, that he is the second fastest person to be canonized as a saint. Just one year after his death.

1. Meet The Saint

Saint Anthony died in 1231 when he was only 36 years old. It is believed that bells rang on their own when it happened.

Thirty years after his death, his body was exhumed. Only the tongue and bottom jawbone remained. In 2013, theologians at The University of St. Anthony of Padua’s Anthropology Museum, teamed up with researchers and 3-D designers to recreate this face above.

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