Cleopatra, one of the most famous women in the world, you might know her from the famous play of William Shakespeare, or the various movies made with her name, narrating her epic love story with Antony.
But what is the historical legend of Cleopatra? Was she really a heroine who sacrificed herself for love as Shakespeare depicted her? Or was she a wicked woman who used her charm to seduce good men, as the historian Plutarch wrote? We will leave that for you to decide after telling the story of the famous Egyptian Queen Cleopatra; after all, we can't really count on what history says.
"Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought." -Cleopatra-
History Of Cleopatra Queen Of Egypt:
Did we say, Egyptian Queen? Well, not really
Once upon a time in Egypt, a princess lived in a lovely palace, her Father was Auletes, or as he was known by Ptolemy XII, he was a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great
. Auletes was the founder of the Ptolemaic line in Egypt; he had a daughter, Cleopatra, the eldest of her siblings.
Cleopatra was a very intelligent girl; she was raised to be a powerful woman. She sat with the greatest philosophers and spoke more than a dozen languages. She was the first of the Ptolemaists to speak Egyptian. In the last years of her Father's life, she acted as his co-regent and had a dominant role.
Cleopatra's Family Tree
When she was 18, her father, the King, died, leaving the throne to Cleopatra as the eldest son, Ptolemy XII, was only ten years old at that time. Once again, Cleopatra was the dominant ruler for Egypt; some say she married her brother, but we don't know for sure. When her brother came of age to take the throne, he acted against Cleopatra, forcing her to flee to Syria, but she didn't have the intentions to give up on the throne.
Cleopatra and Caesar
Cleopatra used her big brain and started raising an army to get ready to return to Egypt again after one year. She knew that she needed support to take back the throne; an army wouldn't be enough; she needed higher power. At that time, she knew that Julius Caesar, the Roman General was in Alexandria
, so she smuggled back to Egypt to the palace where Caesar was staying and pleaded for her case.
Julius Caesar got charmed by Cleopatra and decided to help her restore the throne for her and her other younger brother Ptolemy XIV; he was only 13 at that time, so that Cleopatra will be his co-regent and a dominant ruler of Egypt. Ptolemy XIII went to war and was believed to have drowned in the Nile. Was it Caesar who did it, or Cleopatra had hands in it? We don't have strong evidence.
The rise of Caesarion
After a while, Julius Caesar returns to Rome, leaving Egypt for Cleopatra, then she gave birth to a son, who was believed to be the son of Julius Caesar; she named him, Caesarion, which means little Caesar. Cleopatra went to Rome for a while and stayed for a year or two until Caesar was murdered in 44 BC.
Cleopatra decided to return to Egypt then, and after a while, her brother died, leaving an empty throne. Some historians say that Cleopatra had a hand in the murderer of her brother, as she claimed the throne to her son, Caesarion, and again she was the co-regent.
Meanwhile in Rome;What happened after Julius died?
After Caesar's death, Rome was divided into allies to Caesar and anti-allies; there was a civil war. Caesar's allies lead by Mark Antony and Octavian, were the winning team with the support of Cleopatra, so Antony wanted to thank Cleopatra for her support.
What did Cleopatra look like?
Love at first sight? Mark Antony summoned the Egyptian Queen to Cicillion city of Tarsus (South Modern Turkey) to show his appreciation for her support.
Cleopatra took the chance to use her charms once more. She sailed in an elaborate ship, dressed in the robes of Isis; she looked stunning and charming that Antony took no effort to fall for it. Antony himself loved to associate himself with the Greek deity Dionysus, and he might have thought he found a woman with an equal ego, or maybe it was love at first sight.
Antony And Cleopatra;Why is Queen Cleopatra so famous?
Here, the famous story of Antony and Cleopatra started; at first, they just formed alignment, he promised to protect Egypt and the throne for Cleopatra, he even helped in removing her younger sister, Arsinoe, from her way and putting her in exile.
People really do anything for the sake of love.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra love story; An unforgettable Winter
After the meeting at Tarsus, Cleopatra returned to Egypt, and not long after, Antony followed her, leaving his third wife Fulvia and going after the Egyptian Queen who charmed him. He spent the winter in Alexandria with his new lover; this winter raised the spark between the lovers; they used to disguise and roam the streets of Alexandria together. The lovers formed a drinking society together, calling it "The inimitable livers."
Sun and Moon
After a while, Antony had to return to Rome, and Cleopatra was pregnant; she gave birth to twins Alexander Helios (Sun) and Cleopatra Selene (Moon). Back in Rome, Octavion didn't like the actions of Antony and the influence of Cleopatra on him. Antony was forced to marry Octavian's sister, Octavia, as his wife Fulvia died at that time. What would Cleopatra think about that?
Cleopatra Spouse;did cleopatra marry Julius Caesar?
Apparently, Cleopatra was a clever woman; she wasn't affected by Antony's marriage to another woman. At that time, Cleopatra made Egypt a prosperous country; that's the true meaning of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Was Cleopatra intelligent?
Once again, she used her brains; when Antony needed her help to fund the long-delayed military campaign against the kingdom of Parthia, she got herself a good bargain. In return for the funds, she asked Antony to return the Eastern Empire to Egypt, including Cyprus, Crete, Cyrenaica, Jericho, and large portions of Syria and Lebanon. No one makes a good bargain like a woman; it is in their genes.
Together again;How does Antony and Cleopatra reconcile?
The agreement between Antony and Cleopatra brought them together again as lovers; it melted the ice. After a while, Cleopatra gave birth to a son in 36 BC, named Ptolemy Philadelphus. Apparently, that didn't make Ocatvion so happy; he decided to put an end to this mess that Antony is making.
The Battle Of Actium
Octavian no longer took a peaceful path to end Antony and Cleopatra's influence on him; he decided that war is the answer. He faced the forces of Antony and Cleopatra in the famous battle of Actium. Antony was in the field fighting when someone came and told him that Cleopatra was dead, he fell on his sword and died, just when they denied the rumor, but it was too late.
The tragic ending;how did Cleopatra die?
The news of Antony's death reached Cleopatra at the palace; here, the theories varied on what happened next. Shakespeare wrote that she locked herself in a room with two servants and killed committed suicide by letting an Asp biting her, poising herself with its venom, and asked to be buried next to her lover Antony. And that is the story of Antony and Cleopatra, the lovers who couldn't bear the idea of living without each other, leading themselves to their death.
"She shall be buried by her Antony, No grave upon the earth shall clip in it a pair so famous." Caesar
The end of an era;how old was Cleopatra when she died?
Queen Cleopatra died at the age of 39, after being the Queen for 22 years, leaving Egypt behind; we all know the end of the love story, but what happened to the throne of Egypt?
By the death of Cleopatra came the death of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, leaving Egypt in the hands of Octavian, who is the future emperor Augusts, making Egypt a part of the Roman Empire and starting a new era.