The ancient world had many notable women who were beautiful, intelligent and brave. History is evident for the existence of beautiful ladies in the form of books and literature. Many of these ladies are still mentioned in the popular culture. Today, they are still portrayed as an inspiration to the world. Who are the top desirable, beautiful and desirable women in the history of human civilization? The modern era began approximately in the 16th Century; hence we would consider beautiful women before the modern era (i.e. from the ancient civilization). These ladies are not just beautiful but they were famous throughout history. The idea of beauty may differ from person to person, but this list is consolidated list of famous beauties from the ancient times. We give credits to all the beautiful ladies from the past even if they are not in the list. Let’s check out the list of ten gorgeous women from the ancient world.
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List of 10 most beautiful women from ancient world:
10. Joan of Arc (14th Century)
Joan of Arc was the most beautiful and brave-heart of France. In a song by Tal Bachman named “She’s So High”, the lyrics goes like this “She’s so high/ like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite”, which speaks of the focus woman as being as smart as Cleopatra, as brave as Joan of Arc, and as beautiful as Aphrodite. Joan of Arc is referred as on the bravest in the world with a focus on women power and heroism. She is known to be visionary, military leader, martyr, saint and heroine of France. She is depicted in many media like songs, television series and video games as a beautiful hero and a brave swords-woman. She was burnt at the stake before being tortured. Joan of Arc deserves a place in this list for her bravery, heroism, beautiful heart and for her beauty.
9. Aspasia (5th Century)
Aspasia was an influential immigrant to Classical era Athens who was the partner and lover of the statesman Pericles (Most prominent and influential Greek statesman). The exact details regarding the marital status of the couple are still unknown. Aspasia’s house became the center of intellectual teaching in Athens, attracting and influencing prominent teachers like Socrates. Many philosophers wrote about the influencing nature of Aspasia in their works. Many historians and scholars suggest that Aspasia was a brothel keeper and a prostitute. Aspasia is known to have to become a hetaera (courtesan) in Athens. Aspasia was known to have displayed great physical beauty and intelligence. Aspasia’s role in history proves to be crucial to the clues for understanding the women of ancient Greece. In Athens, she was more than just an object of physical beauty and also she was noted for her ability as a conversationalist and adviser. In 1835 Lydia Maria Child, an American writer published a classical romance – Philothea, which portrays Aspasia as a beautiful woman and also showcases her delicacy.
8. Lucrezia Borgia (14th-15th Century)
Lucrezia Borgia’s physical appearance was one of the most appreciated things in Italy during the medieval period. Lucrezia Borgia was one of the most beautiful people during the 14th and 15th century for her heavy blonde hair, beautiful fair complexion, high bosom and hazel eyes that changed color. She was the daughter of Pope Alexander VI and Vannozza dei Cattanei. She is known to spend a lot of time grooming her hair. She has been described as beautiful and pretty during her period and even today she is admired in the form of many cultural representations like in films and televisions, literature and operas and video games.
7. Salome (1st Century)
Salome is a famous dancer in history and is often portrayed as dancing. Salome was the daughter of Herod II and Herodias. In history, she is famous for Dance of the Seven Veils and also known from the Bible stories for bearing the head of John the Baptist back from his execution. She was beautiful dancer known as Dance of the Seven Veils. She appears in the Bible at Mark 6:21-29 and Matt 14:6-11. Today, she is depicted in many forms of media arts like paintings, televisions, films and literature. History provides evidence about her existence in the form of coins with Salome’s face. She may not be the most beautiful in history, but her enchanting dance was enough to catch the attention from history.
6. Lady Godiva (11th Century)
Lady Godiva was the noble and beautiful wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. She was known for her generous donations to churches and charities. According to a 11th century story, Godiva was annoyed by the heavy taxes Leofric had levied on the citizens of Coventry. After Godiva asked Leofric to lower the taxes repeatedly, Leofric agreed to her demands only if she rode naked through the town on a horse. Enthusiastic to help the people of Coventry, she stripped naked and rode on the horse with only her long flowing hair to cover herself. Before leaving, she ordered the town people to stay indoors and not to peek. But, one man named Tom couldn’t resist himself and peeked to get an eyeful of her beauty. Upon doing so, Tom was struck blind. After the nude ride was over, she demanded the promise set by her husband. True to his words, Earl of Mercia agreed to lower the taxes. While most of the historians feel that Lady Godiva riding on a horse naked was a fiction, but Godiva was a real person in the 11th century world. Godiva along with her husband is known to have set up the Benedictine monastery in Coventry.
5. Samyukta (12th Century)
Samyukta was the beautiful daughter of Jaichand,the King of Kannauj and then became the wife of Prithviraj Chauhan, the Rajput King of the Chauhan clan. She was one of the most beautiful Indian women in ancient history. Samyukta, was a headstrong girl who was known for her bewitching beauty. Samyukta and Prithviraj Chauhan romance was one of the most beautiful in Indian history. Samyukta fell in love with Prithviraj for his reputation and in turn Prithviraj fell in love with Samyukta for her loveliness. A movie inspired from the love story of Samyukta and Prithviraj have also been created by the name “Rani Samyukta (1962)“.
4. Guinevere (Born c.AD 490)
Guinevere was a noble and beautiful queen who was the wife of King Arthur, the legendary ruler of Britain. Guinevere is the daughter of King Leodegrance. In Historia Regum Britanniae she is described as one of the greatest beauties from of Britain. Her great beauty caused her trouble and her life took a tragic turn. Queen Guinevere’s love affair with her husband’s bravest chief knight Sir Lancelot is considered as the most prominent story arcs of medieval romances. But, she is undoubtedly one of the most desirable woman the history has ever known. According to King Arthur, she is the most beautiful ever seen by him. Today, she is one of the most beautiful woman from the ancient world. [Note: Guinevere may probably an Arthurian fiction and there are no proper evidence that she was real.]
3. Phryne (4th century BC)
Phryne was a well-known hetaira (courtesan) of ancient Greece, who is best known for a trail against her where she is known to have bared her breasts to get the jury’s pity. Mnēsarétē was her real name. Since she owned yellowish complexion she was known as Phryne (“toad”). Athenaeus (A great Greek rhetorician and grammarian) praised her beauty many times and wrote that on the occasion of the festivals of the Eleusinia and Poseidonia she would let down her hair and step naked into the sea. This inspired the painter Apelles to produce the famous picture of Aphrodite Anadyomene. Phryne is a famous figure of beauty from the ancient world who is still admired through statues and paintings.
2. Nefertiti (Born – ca. 1370 BC | Died – ca. 1330 BC)
Queen Nefertiti is the most beautiful queen of Egypt. Meaning of her name is “the beauty has come”. According to the 14th century BC rumor she actually lived up to the meaning of her name. Neferiti’s parentage is not known to the world. There is uncertainty about when Neferiti’s marriage dates and also when she became king’s great royal wife of Egypt. She is one of the most known queens along with Cleopatra. In the modern world, she is best known for her painted sandstone bust that was recovered in 1913 and that became a global icon of feminine beauty and power in the world. In the ancient history of Egypt, she is known for her intriguing dresses and fashion senses that were appealing.
1. Cleopatra VII ( Born – 69 BC | Died – 30 BC )
Cleopatra is a famous cultural icon of feminine beauty from far history. She was the Ptolemaic Queen of Egypt. Even today, she is portrayed in many media and literature like 1934 and 1963 films Cleopatra, William Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony and Cleopatra and George Bernard Shaw’s play Caesar and Cleopatra. She is a famous source of perpetual fascination in the Western culture. Cleopatra was the last known pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt. Even in the ancient world, she was regarded as a great beauty. Many literature described and praised her beauty to a great extent. . In Life of Antony by Plutarch, she has been remarked as “her beauty, as we are told, was in itself neither altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her.”