Do you like history? If so, you must know about the many significant figures who have made their mark on the world. However, it is hard to tell what these people looked like during their lifetime. There are sculptures, portraits, and paintings of them, but modern technology has made it possible for us to know their physical attributes for sure.
King Tutankhamun of Egypt ruled from 1332 to 1323 BC. His reign lasted ten years and ended with his death. Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922… it had been lying there undiscovered for 3,200 years! They found many artifacts in his tomb, and these things were supposed to join the pharaoh in the afterlife.
What King Tut Really Looked Like
They conducted DNA studies and found out how frail the pharaoh was. He was tall, but he also suffered from an infected broken leg, malaria, and a bone disorder. He had a club foot, a result of inbreeding, which explained why he was always sitting down in photos.
Nero was 17 years old when he ascended the throne. The Roman Emperor had his mother executed and took a more active role in politics 5 years later. He was undermined since he was a charioteer, musician, poet, and actor. The elite hated him more after raising taxes to get funds for public and private works.
What Nero Really Looked Like
Spanish artists worked to recreate Nero with the help of busts, drawings, and descriptions. They revived him completely, down to his smirk and chinstrap. In 64 A.D., Rome suffered a terrible fire. He got dressed, made his way to the roof, and sang! “What an artist dies in me!” he said before his execution.
Nefertiti was known as the Great Royal of Akhenaten. They found a limestone bust covered in stucco. It is believed to be made by Thutmose of Amarna, Egypt in 1345 B.C. They found the piece in the artist’s workshop in 1912. It showed her with a beautiful and defined face. Could it be accurate?
What Nefertiti Really Looked Like
Expedition Unknown mapped “The Younger Lady”, thought to be the remains of Nefertiti, in 2012. After scanning it, Elisabeth Daynes recreated the face by working on it for 500 hours. She based it on historical images of the queen. After seeing the end product, people agreed that it must be Nefertiti.
Robert The Bruce
From 1306 to 1329, Robert the Bruce AKA Robert I reigned over independent Scotland after leading the country to victory against England. In June 1314, he won the Battle of Bannockburn. Edward II still refused to give them independence, which made the Scottish elite write to the pope for support.
Julius Caesar was a politician and general responsible for the expansion of the Roman Empire. He crossed both the Rhine and the English Channel to conquer Britain. He then reentered Rome by passing through Gaul, which started a civil war. The sculptures of him helped the team recreate his face!
What Julius Caesar Really Looked Like
The lifelike bust below is now in the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. With 3D technology, they scanned this marble portrait and used it to reconstruct him. After the civil war, Caesar became a dictator and made reforms. The Senate was at odds with his decisions and stabbed him to death in 44 B.C.
For almost 3 decades, Cleopatra ruled over Egypt. At 18 years old, she took over the throne with Ptolemy XIII, her brother. She got ran out of the country in 49 B.C. She was able to be reinstated with Ptolemy XIV, her other brother, thanks to Julius Caesar. The queen later gave birth to Ptolemy Caesar, who might be the child of her Roman ally. Ptolemy XIV later died, and she ruled Egypt with her son.
What Cleopatra Really Looked Like
Cleopatra was an intelligent and multilingual woman, which was partly why she was the dominant ruler. She also knew the art of seduction and made alliances with this skill. 3D artists used sculptures and portraits to recreate her face. Did her masculine features and prominent nose come as a shock to you?
Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I was the queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603. Born to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, she was illegitimized after their annulment. A few years later, she ascended the throne. There are many paintings of her out there. In 2018, Mat Collishaw decided to conduct his own research.
What Queen Elizabeth I Really Looked Like
His project produced a hyper-realistic animatronic mask with a mouth and a pair of eyes that moved. The mask is connected to a mirror and can be seen at the Queen’s House across the Armada portrait. The artwork showed her younger than her 55 years at the time. The mask looks like other depictions of her!
Many debate about what William Shakespeare was like when he was alive, although it is generally agreed that he is accurately depicted in this Martin Droeshout engraving. He was shown with facial hair although he was balding. Hildegard Hammerschmidt-Hummel discovered his death mask in 1975. Back then, death masks were made by pouring wax or plaster on the dead person’s face.
What William Shakespeare Really Looked Like
Dr. Caroline Wilkinson relied on the death mask to recreate his face in 2010. With the help of 3D tech, she made this rendering of the writer. It looks lie other depictions of him! He passed away in April 1616.
First POTUS, George Washington was in power from 1789 to 1797. He won the War for Independence, got elected as the president of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and established the federal government. He is a revered figure in the country, but did he look like the way we believe he did?
What George Washington Really Looked Like
Researchers used portraits when they worked on the computer-generated image of Washington. The paintings appear to be accurate! The rendering is realistic enough that it shows him with a full head of hair and a five o’clock shadow. This Founding Father passed away in December 1799 at 67 years old.
Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary Stuart AKA Mary, Queen of Scots ruled from 1542 to 1567. She was just 6 days old when her father died, making her the ruler. She was brought to France and grew up in the French. She only returned to her homeland in 1559. Could this painting be an accurate portrayal of the queen? Let us find out.
What The Queen Of Scots Really Looked Like
Dr. Caroline Wilkinson used drawings and paintings when she made this 3D rendering. Aside from this, she checked biographical information to make a less stylized rendition. It does not look that different from classic paintings, but there are key differences. Still, her nose remained consistent throughout!
King Richard III actually only ruled England for 2 years. Even so, he does not have the best reputation. He was branded a tyrant in a Shakespeare play, and his reign ended with the rise of the Tudors. He led the army in an attack against the Tudors during the Battle of Bosworth Field, which was the wrong move.
What Richard III Really Looked Like
They were able to recreate him in 2012. His body had been lost to history, but it was later discovered in an underground parking space in the same year. His body was exhumed, and this helped Dundee University researchers see what he looked like in the past. They relied on historical records as well.
“Beloved of the god Amun” is what Meritamun means in English. University of Melbourne researchers found her skull in the archives. It is a mystery how the skull made its way there. She had been a Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses. According to records, they buried her in the Valley of the Queens.
What Meritamun Really Looked Like
With only the skull, the information about her was limited. Her cause of death has yet to be determined. However, they do know that she died at the age of 18 to 25. They also found out that she was fond of sweets because of her tooth decay. Alexander III introduced candies to Egypt around that time!
Jesus Christ is one of those figures that everyone knows about. This is the same biblical figure who allegedly walked on water, gave the blind the power the see, made wine out of water, and rose from the dead. His life ended with his crucifixion. There is no lack of depictions of him, but are they accurate?
What The Real Jesus Christ Might Have Looked Like
You would not find a physical description of him in the Bible, but it is known that most depictions are not accurate. Researchers turned to forensic anthropology as they had no access to his remains or body parts. British and Israeli researchers worked hard to recreate him. Are you shocked by the result?
The Lord Of Sipan
The Lord of Sipan was the first discovery they made when archaeologists excavated the Moche Mummies in Peru. The 1987 find was very significant. There were many treasures with his body. Let us see the result of his recreation!
What The Lord Of Sipan Really Looked Like
The team had to deal with his skull broke from the pressure of the sediment during the excavation. They were able to reconstruct the 96 fragment pieces and then relied on photogrammetry to remake the skull. This image was made by the Brazilian Team of Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Odontology.
Born in 1195, Saint Anthony died at the age of 36. He was able to leave a mark during his short lifetime. He could supposedly heal the sick and got canonized right away. The second-fastest person to become a saint, he was declared the saint of lost things just one year after he passed away.
What Saint Anthony Really Looked Like
Upon his death, kids allegedly started crying and bells rang by themselves. Three decades later, his body was exhumed. However, they only had his tongue and jawbone to work with. The project had been a collaboration between the University of St. Anthony of Padua and the University of Sao Paolo.
King Henry IV
King Henry IV ascended the throne of Navarre at the age of 19. “Henry the Great” or “Good King Henry” married two months after this. Protestants flocked the city to celebrate, but the “St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre” cut it short. He managed to survive the ordeal and ended up serving from France.
What King Henry IV Really Looked Like
Records said that he was able to survive 12 murder attempts. He was chosen for the project because he was tolerant of other religions. Philippe Froesch and Philippe Charlier made this recreation possible. Henry IV was unable to live past the 13th murder attempt, which involved a Catholic man stabbing him.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach is known to be one of the greatest people in music history. A talented composer, he got his start as an organ prodigy. However, his claim to fame would be the music he composed for the church. As you might have already figured out, not many composers were able to be this famous.
What Bach Really Looked Like
Dr. Caroline Wilkinson used his skull cast to recreate him. The composer was lying in an unmarked grave for a century and a half until they found his remains beneath a church. They discovered a skull that must be his. With this body part, they were able to recreate the composer. What do you think of the result?
The Venezuelan military leader Simon Bolivar was a key figure during the fight for independence. He was born into a rich family and studied Spain. Over there, he joined the resistance. He became known as “El Libertador” during the French invasion of Spain. Sadly, he died after suffering from tuberculosis issues.
What Simón Bolívar Really Looked Like
Whoa, can you believe that this is not a real photo? Mind you, this is just a recreation. The Venezuelan helped the forensic imagery researchers by giving them access to historical documents. A year later, they produced this jaw-dropping rendering of the revolutionary.
There was a time when people assumed that the Earth was at the center of the universe. The Polish scientist Nicolaus Copernicus debunked this with his sun-centered model of the solar system. He ended up traveling across the European continent during his lifetime. Let us see what he looked like.
What Nicolaus Copernicus Really Looked Like
It is easy to assume that old renditions failed to do him any justice. He was always shown to be a gaunt and hollowed man. Modern technology was used to get an accurate impression of him. However, it seems like he actually looked quite miserable.
The Lady of Cao
Researchers had long been working in El Brujo, Peru. However, they only discovered a woman wearing simple clothes in 2005. Called the Lady of Cao, she must have died in 400. Experts believe that she was Moche. They found a number of artifacts in the grave, which made them think she was a noblewoman.
What The Lady Of Cao Really Looked Like
They brought her to a museum in El Brujo to keep her somewhere climate-controlled. A looking glass was installed for visitors. While her role in society continues to be a mystery, they managed to come up with this rendering of her. She was likely a human sacrifice and in her late 20s at the time of her death.
St. Nikolaos of Myra AKA St. Nicholas was a Turkish saint from the 4th century. A Bishop, he was famous for being generous and caring. He allegedly put presents in the footwear of kids who left them outside. It sparked the beginning of the holiday tradition we now know and love! Isn’t that the coolest thing?
What St. Nicholas Really Looked Like
Also called Santa Claus, we know that you already have an image of him in mind. However, keep in mind that he was Turkish. He probably looked darker and more Middle Eastern! The reason he is depicted so differently is that Westerners typically assume that important historical figures look just like them.
Giovanni Battista Sidotti
Giovanni Battista Sidotti was an apostolic missionary born in 1668. On a mission to spread Christianity, he went to Japan. This was a suicide mission and involved him wearing a samurai disguise. He was not able to convince anyone and was jailed until he died in 1714. He is known as “the last missionary.”
What Giovanni Battista Sidotti Really Looked Like
They found his remains in a rather intact state. In 2014, a 2 million-yen excavation led to the discovery of his body. With his remains, researchers were able to recreate the missionary. Even though the skull did see some damage, forensic anthropologists were still able to bring him back to life!
The Mycenean “Griffin Warrior”
In 2015, a tomb site from the Bronze Age was discovered. Dating back to 1450 BC, they found a male skeleton over there! The archaeologists found 14,000 objects as well. There was an engraving that lent them a couple of ideas about the man they found. He must have been a warrior or a priest.
What The Mycenean “Griffin Warrior” Might Have Looked Like
The remains indicated that he was 5 ft 5 in, which was rather tall. The combs they found suggested that he had long hair. Lynne Schepartz and Tobias Houlton from the University of the Witwatersrand relied on his skull for this digital rendering. He likely had close-set eyes and a defined jaw.
The author of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri was an influential Italian medieval poet. He wrote about Hell and Heaven, and some of the descriptions are now recognized by Christian establishments. Apart from that, he was a philosopher whose writings remain relevant. In 1321, he died at 56 years old.
What Dante Alighieri Really Looked Like
You will find many portraits of the author, and they do not look very different. The consensus appears to be a hook nose and a stern face. This helped the team when they made his CGI rendering. Aside from this, they relied on the size of his skull. He likely had a rounded jaw, big eyes, and a softer face, however.
Maximilien Robespierre was a key figure during the French Revolution. A politician and lawyer, he supported the abolition of celibacy, slavery, religious intolerance, and more. He also helped establish the First French Republic and got elected deputy of the National Convention.
What Maximilien Robespierre Really Looked Like
In 2013, Philippe Charlier and Philippe Froesch teamed up to make this rendering. Aside from artworks of the leader, they used his death masks as well. They were believed to be the handiwork of Madame Tussaud! She made the two death masks using his decapitated head. He was executed in July 1794.
Born in Salzburg in January 1756, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a talented classical composer. He was a keyboard and violin prodigy. As young as 5 years old, he was already playing for royalty! Whoa. He managed to pen over 600 pieces by the end of his career. He passed away on December 5, 1791.
What Mozart Really Looked Like
They found the skull after his abrupt death. Pierre-Francois Puech reconstructed his facial features using his conserved head. The composer suffered from poor bone rim protection, which is the reason his attributes appear feminine. He had white hair, a short head, high cheekbones, and blue eyes!
Ramses II AKA Ramesses the Great ruled as the 3rd pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty. He was born in 1303 BC and was in power from 1279 to 1213 BC. He fathered around 50 sons and a similar number of daughters. He died when he was 90 years old. Many people think that he is the greatest New Kingdom pharaoh!
What Ramses II Really Looked Like
After his death, he was buried in the Valley of the Kings. However, they later moved him to a royal cache and then to the tomb of Queen Ahmose Inhapy. Just 72 hours later, they moved it once again, this time to the tomb of Pinedjem II. The coffin came with hieroglyphics, which helped confirm it was his.
Tiberius was the successor of Augustus. The ruler from 14 AD to 37 AD, he was the child of Livia Drusilla and Tiberius Claudius Nero. The second Roman emperor was born in Rome in November 42 BC and died in Miseno in March 37 AD. “In a free state there should be freedom of speech and thought,” he said.
What Tiberius Really Looked Like
We know that he passed away at the age of 78. However, his cause of death continues to be a mystery. He allegedly died because his sheets smothered him, but rumors say he was poisoned by Caligula. If you find yourself in Rome, you can visit the Tiberius Palace. It has since become a famous tourist spot.
Marcus Agrippa was a statesman, general, consul, and architect. He was born in 63 BC and became the best friend of Augustus. There are many buildings in Rome that were designed by him. He helped bring victory to Rome when he defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium.
What Marcus Agrippa Really Looked Like
In 12 BC, Marcus Agrippa passed away in Campania at the age of 51. Augustus honored his memory with a large funeral and lengthy mourning period. After his death, the emperor also took care of his orphans. Marcus Agrippa made a tomb for himself, but Augustus put him in his royal mausoleum instead.
The Huarmey Queen was important to the Wari. These folks hail from the coastal and south-central areas of the Andes Mountains from 700 to 1000 AD. She was discovered in a well-kept mausoleum in El Castillo de Huarmey in the Ancash region. They found 57 noblewomen buried with her as well.
What The Huarmey Queen Really Looked Like
In an effort to make her look more realistic, they gave her a physical form. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the mausoleum discovery is that she, together with her noblewomen, were arranged in rows of fives. Aside from this, she was also buried with artifacts like bowls and jewelry.
Saint Zdislava Berka
The Czech Catholic saint Saint Zdislava Berka is also known as Havel of Markvartice. Married to the Duke of Lemberk, the generous but strict woman was born to Moravian family back in 1220. She later started a convent. In May 1995, they made her a saint. She passed away in 1252.
What Saint Zdislava Berka Really Looked Like
They worked on a digital forensic reconstruction of this saint back in 2018. Doesn’t it look incredibly real? Virtual reconstructions think that she looked like this. They were able to make such a realistic depiction of her since they had her remains on hand. Her cheekbones and jaw structure had been intact!
Roman emperor Trajan ruled from 98 until 117. His death cut his reign short. The Roman Senate called him optimus princeps, which means “the best ruler.” Aside from that, he was also known to be a great soldier-emperor as he was able to lead a successful Roman military expansion.
What Trajan Really Looked Like
They relied on this marble bust of the emperor for the reconstruction. Archaeologists think that this was made in 113 AD and that the sculptor saw Trajan in person. The high-quality piece had been fragmented into 356 pieces because it shattered during an earthquake.
Achavanich is a Northern Scotland site. The horseshoe-shaped arrangement was the site where they discovered the remains of someone they chose to call ‘Ava.’ She must have been 18 to 22 years old when she passed away. Fascinatingly, her remains date back to over 3,700 years ago.
What ‘Ava’ Really Looked Like
Archaeologists Maya Hoole and Hew Morrison teamed up for the ‘Achavanich Beaker Burial Project.’ They focused on reconstructing the face of the woman they found. They were able to learn more about Ava as well as the Bronze age during the project. With her DNA, they managed to make this.
Otzi The Iceman
Otzi The Iceman was alive somewhere from 3400 to 3100 BCE. He is known by many names: the Man from Hauslabjoch, the Similaun Man, the Tyrolean Iceman, and the Hauslabjoch mummy. The oldest known natural mummy, he was found in the Ötztal Alps in September 1991 and is now at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology.
What Otzi The Iceman Really Looked Like
The discovery allowed researchers to learn more about the Copper Age in Europe. His body had been found intact since he had been in the ice for about 5,300 years. They made such a naturalistic rendering of him thanks to the state he was in. Check out what scientists and archaeologists thought he looked like!
The Welsh rebel Owain Glyndwr played a hand in resisting English rule during the late Middle Ages. Born in 1359, he started ruling in 1404 until his death in 1415. Have you ever read Henry IV Part 1 by Shakespeare? If so, you could not possibly have forgotten the way he was depicted as a wild king.
What Owain Glyndwr Really Looked Like
You should watch The Face of Glyndwr to know more about their facial reconstruction journey. With the use of CGI and 3D technology, they succeeded in their quest. The researchers said, “We have come as close as anyone ever will to finding out what the Welsh rebel actually looked like.”
When it comes to American poets, Emily Dickinson is among the most famous ones. She was born in Massachusetts in 1830 and studied at an exclusive girls’ school. Her childhood and adulthood were both isolated. The poet diet in 1886. Four years after that, her works started to get recognized.
What Emily Dickinson Really Looked Like
It is not always easy to imagine what historical figures looked like. This is the reason we are happy that modern technology can make it all better. She is gorgeous, very much like her words had been! Can you believe that they managed to show us her face even though it has been a century since she was alive?
Marie Antoinette was born to the Austrian royal family in 1755. She later became the last Queen of France. It was during their reign that the French Revolution took place. All her life, she had been a pawn for European politicians. When she was the queen, she was known for her decadent lifestyle.
What Marie Antoinette Really Looked Like
With modern technology, we can now see what the queen actually looked like so many years ago. She often wore gowns back then. If you ask us, she would look like everyone else in business casual clothes!
Born in 1860, Annie Oakley became known as a sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. At the age of 15, she defeated Frank E. Butler. They later got married and joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West. She once said, “I ain’t afraid to love a man, I ain’t afraid to shoot him either.” She passed away in 1926.
What Annie Oakley Really Looked Like
She was truly stunning! Just look at photos of her, and we bet that you will agree with us. Reconstructive artists made it possible for us to see what she was like. She would not be out of place in the 21st century!
What A 500 Year Old Dubliner Really Looked Like
In 2014, they found the remains of a 500-year-old man buried with four more people. There were signs of malnutrition and manual labor, which experts took to mean that they had low-socioeconomic status. They used the skull to see what he must have looked like.
Jane Of Jamestown
Jane of Jamestown passed away at only 14 years old. During the 17th century, her co-settlers actually ate her. Ouch. In 2012, they found her skull and leg bones in a cellar. It was difficult to survive in those days, and people had to make terrible choices.
What Jane Of Jamestown Really Looked Like
Dr. Douglas Owsley works at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution as the chief forensic anthropologist. He found marks and cuts on her body, which came from attempts to retrieve bone tissue and brain. In 1609, Jamestown went through a particularly devastating winter.
Mary Rose Archer
During a fight with the French, the Mary Rose sank in 1545. It was part of the naval force under Henry VIII. It was found almost 5 centuries later! They discovered the remains of crew members inside. One of the people aboard the ship had been an archer.
What A Mary Rose Archer Really Looked Like
It was not easy because of the presence of algae and various organisms. They were still able to find out more about the archer. For one, he had been 6 feet tall and used a longbow. They managed to recreate his face using 3D technology and facial reconstruction.
Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns was born in 1759. He died in 1796 when he was 37 years old. We bet you know “Auld Lang Syne” and “The Battle of Sherramuir.” They used his skull to recreate his face.
What Robert Burns Really Looked Like
The national poet is still celebrated to this day, both in and out of Scotland. Researchers remade his face to find out what he looked like back then. If you ask us, the result sure looks very accurate. How cool!
What A Medieval Maiden From Edinburgh Really Looked Like
Forensic experts found over 400 people at the South Leith Parish Church burial grounds. They dated back to the Middle Ages! They excavated the remains for a new train system in 2009. They found a woman in the communal grave and believe that her cause of death was the plague or something similar.
What A Beachy Head Lady Really Looked Like
Thought to be a 3rd century European Roman, the Beachy Head Lady was actually from sub-Saharan Africa. Joe Seaman said, “Whether that means that she’s the first generation, we don’t know. She could possibly have been born in Africa and brought over here at a very young age, but it’s just as likely that she was born here.”
What Robert The Bruce Really Looked Like
Robert the Bruce has not been portrayed in contemporary art, but the University of Glasgow used his skull to recreate him. Artists used to rely on their imagination and word of mouth for portraits and statues. Face Lab technology, legal data, and archaeological evidence was used for the project. Pope John XXII recognized him as the king of Scotland. He passed five years after this happened.