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The story of Cleopatra VII Philopator is still a myth to a lot of historians. Most of her traces have been lost or destroyed (Ebers 5). She is mostly remembered as a temptress who lured powerful rulers into accepting her wishes and her reign was marked by chaos and drama. This paper gives an account of Cleopatra’s life from her ascension to the throne to how she met her solemn death.
Ascension to the throne
Born in 69 BC, Cleopatra rose to the throne after the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, the Egyptian pharaoh at that time. She was only 18 years old then and she first ruled Egypt together with her brother Ptolemy XIII (Roller 4). As soon the siblings ascended to the throne, Ptolemy XIII connived with his advisors to remove Cleopatra from power.
As a result of the threats imposed on her, she decided to seek asylum in Syria. She later returned to Egypt with the help of Julius Caesar, a rival of Pompey, the Roman general. Caesar had been welcomed to Alexandria by Ptolemy XIII after he had orchestrated the murder of Pompey.
Relationship with Julius Caesar
Soon after Caesar’s arrival in Egypt, Cleopatra forged an alliance with him and persuaded him to oust Ptolemy XIII from power. After months of battle between Ptolemy XIII’s troops and those of Caesar, reinforcements from Rome arrived that saw the defeat of Ptolemy XIII.
Caesar then restored Cleopatra as the rightful heir to the throne (Tyldesley 97). The relationship between Cleopatra and Julius Caesar flourished and together they bore a son whom they named Caesarion. After the assassination of Caesar on the 15th of March, 44 BC, Cleopatra named Caesarion as her successor.
Relationship with Mark Antony
After the murder of Julius Caesar, conflicts ensued in Rome between his allies and assassins. Among Caesar’s allies was Mark Antony and Octavian. As these battles became intense, both groups sought help from Egypt. Cleopatra agreed to help Caesar’s allies and summoned troops to Rome.
This saw the defeat of Caesar’s assassins. Mark Antony and Octavian then agreed to share power as Roman rulers. Antony later called upon Cleopatra to discuss more about the aftermath of Caesar’s murder. When they met in Tarsus, Antony was seduced by Cleopatra’s charm and they started a romantic relationship which resulted in the birth of twins (Roller 5).
Defeat and death
The bond between Antony and Cleopatra continued to strengthen and resulted in the return of most of Egypt’s empires that had been conquered by the Romans. Antony later left his wife for Cleopatra and declared Caesarion as the son of Caesar and the rightful heir (Tyldesley 172). His actions did not resonate well with the Romans and in late 32 BC, Octavian declared war on Mark Antony. The Battle of Actium in 31 BC saw the defeat of Egyptian’s forces by Octavian.
After receiving rumors that Cleopatra had committed suicide, Antony pierced himself with his sword and died (Tyldesley 186). The rumors turned out to be false and Cleopatra later buried her lover’s body. She then locked herself in her room together with two of her female servants and on around 30 BC, she met her death by allowing an asp to bite her (Tyldesley 193). Afterwards, Octavian established his Roman authority over Egypt. He had indeed defeated Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Egypt.
Ebers, Georg. Cleopatra. Middlesex, UK: Echo Library, 2007. Print.
Roller, Duane W. Cleopatra: A Biography. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.
Tyldesley, Joyce. Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt. London, England: Profile Books, 2011. Print.