By Hannah Strachan
Most people would probably type Cleopatra as ENTJ or ENTP, and quite possibly peg her as having a narcissistic style too. For my part, I disagree with all of that.
Let’s look a bit at Cleopatra in her proper historical and cultural context. We are not presented with a wealth of information, but nor are we lost in the dark either. We have testimonies from various sources (both negative Roman sources, and more positive ones from the Middle East), and all of them seem to point to a single type.
Our sources agree that she possessed strategic, real-world intelligence. She acted deftly and smartly and managed to improve Egypt’s economy in her early reign. Egypt was essentially bankrupted when she inherited it, due to the poor management of her father Ptolemy XII, but she managed to turn it around. Such results could of course be argued to be due to Te, but STPs are often excellent at this kind of high-level management too.
Perhaps more importantly, Cleopatra was very image-conscious and knew how to present herself in a way that would further her aims in every social context (a strong and powerful queen to the people; an attractive young woman to Caesar; and an intellectual to the scientists and philosophers at court). In terms of functions, this suggests Se-Fe more than Se-Fi. In the same vein, she took elaborate care to align herself with Egyptian history, culture, mythology and religion, continuing each of the practices that the people expected of her and their rulers. At the same time, however, she was not afraid to take outlandish “all or nothing” risks, which usually paid off – pointing perhaps to the nimbleness and flexibility of the STP’s combination of Se and Ti. (Though of course, this predilection for risks is also what got her killed in the end when she chose to align herself with Mark Antony over Octavian).
As I said in the beginning, I don’t think Cleopatra was very narcissistic when you consider the political climate she operated in and in which she had to prevail. This was a world where royal family members plotting against each other was not only common, but the norm – it was win or die. She did a lot to take care of not just herself, but her country, even to the point of putting her own body on the line, and I personally doubt that many politicians would have done a better job in her position. Had the Egypt she inherited been more powerful, she would undoubtedly have been one of the greatest rulers of the ancient world.