Cleopatra was a very important figure in history. She was the last ruler of Egypt from the Ptolemaic rulers. She tried and managed to retain her kingdom’s independence for two decades while trying to regain her ancestors’ glory. She had the ability to speak eight languages including the Egyptian language. Besides, she was clever, well educated, and her life was a dramatic one.
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She associated and had romantic liaisons with some very powerful Romans during her time including the future emperors namely Augustus, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She went to a point of making military alliances with the prominent emperors (Burstein 31). She later died in 30 B.C.E. Her saw the end of Egypt’s history as both Alexander the Great successors and as a kingdom that is independent. Her seduction power has opened her history as a symbol of female power and sexuality.
Cleopatra was born in 69 B.C. as a second child out of the five children. Her father was King Ptolemy XII (Auletes) while her mother was Cleopatra V Tryphaena. She came to the throne in 51 B.C as a 17-year-old when her father died a natural death. She was to rule as a partner to her brother by marrying him. Ptolemy XIII was only ten years old by then. Her brother’s advisers were against her, and she fled to Syria from Egypt in 49 B.C.
The following year she returned with an army she created in Syria. Pelusium, which is on Egypt’s eastern border, is where she met her brother’s forces. Meanwhile, Ptolemy welcomed Julius Caesar to Alexandria after Pompey (the Roman General) was murdered when he fled to Egypt (Taman 22). Caesar was Pompey’s rival. The queen wanted the assistance of Caesar, and thus she found a way of going to the Regal citadel to speak to Caesar and request for her cause for action.
Caesar was only in Egypt to collect the debt Auletes incurred during his reign. He needed these funds to go back to Rome and return to power. Caesar went to war with Egypt, won, and this forced Ptolemy to flee for his life. He is believed to have drowned. Cleopatra then regained the throne with Caesar’s help, and she ruled with Ptolemy XIV, her younger brother, who was 13 years old then. She had a lot to prove at this point although she had gained Egypt impendence for a little while.
Caesar stayed in Egypt for a while, and Cleopatra had a romantic relationship with him (Cleopatra” par.1). She produced a male offspring in 47 B.C., and the male descendant was named Caesar Ptolemy. However, the Egyptians knew him as Caesarion. Caesar then went back to Rome. During this time, Cleopatra started the construction of a temple that had a mixture of Egyptian and Greek style and acted as a remainder of Caesar’s support.
Sometime between 46-45 B.C, Cleopatra went to visit Caesar in Rome. She was accompanied by her brother Ptolemy XIV and Caesarion. Rumors were all around that Caesar was planning to marry the Egyptian queen. He had even placed a statue of the goddess Isis in the temple. There was a great scandal in Rome since the man was already married.
He was around 52 years old. March 44 B.C. is when Caesar was murdered forcing Cleopatra to go back to Egypt since she feared for her life (Taman 27). Her brother died immediately after and her three-year-old son ruled with her as Ptolemy XV. The queen of Egypt associated herself with deity Isis and was often entitled the “Novel Isis” since Cleopatra III had also identified herself with the same deity.
The queen of Egypt was protected given that she had powers to rule as she had her offspring appointed as the chief advisor. During this period though, River Nile became unpredictable given that it was overflowing resulting in starvation and price increases due to unsuccessful harvests. The resultant effect was the opportunity that her enemies used against her. At the same time, there was a conflict in Rome between Caesar’s assassins and his allies (Burstein 101). Both parties wanted Egypt’s help, and Cleopatra supported Caesar’s friends namely Mark Antony, Lepidus and Octavian.
After their win, power in Rome was divided between Mark Antony and Octavian in 42 B.C. After this, Mark invited Cleopatra to Cicilian to get her side of the story about Caesar’s assassination. He then swore to protect Cleopatra’s crown and Egypt as a whole.
He ordered the Execution of Arsinoe at Ephesus. Antony ended up spending the winter of 41-40 B.C. in Egypt with Cleopatra after going back with her. Cleopatra bore Antony twins in 40 B.C., but this was after he had gone back to Rome. The twins were named Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. Antony was married to Fulvia, and she died after he went back to Rome (Tyldesley 52).
With Cleopatra as the ruler, Egypt grew prosperous. In 37 B.C., Antony wanted Egypt’s help. He wanted funds for his war against Parthia kingdom. He agreed to return Egypt’s eastern empire in exchange. In fact, the two had another relationship, which made Cleopatra bore another child named Ptolemy Philadelphos in 36 B.C. Antony was defeated in Parthia and went back to Cleopatra. In 34 B.C, Antony invaded Armenia. He captured their king making it a Roman Empire. During his victory celebration with Cleopatra, Antony declared Caesarion as the deserving and rightful heir and divided lands among his three children with Cleopatra.
Conflict emerged amongst these parties since Octavian felt that the queen of Egypt was the one controlling Antony and that he was destined to move to Egypt for good and forget about Romanians. The event took place after Antony divorced Octavia and married Cleopatra (“Cleopatra” par.1). The Rome Council was forced to take Antony’s designations from him in during 32 B.C. After the prevalent events had taken place, conflict was confirmed on the Queen of Egypt by Octavian.
The conquest of the Queen of Egypt and her counterparts by Octavian militaries in the Actium Clash took place in 31 B.C (2nd September). She was forced to flee back to Egypt with Antony while their army surrendered to Octavian. Rumors that Cleopatra had killed herself reached Antony when Alexandria was under attack. Antony was devastated and fell on his sword. He died just as he learned that the rumors were not true. Cleopatra buried Antony and met Octavian.
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In the year 30 B.C. (August 12), Cleopatra died. Nobody knew the cause of her death. Cleopatra had locked herself in her chambers with her two female servants. She was buried with Antony according to her wishes. Caesarion was then executed, as Egypt became a Roman territory (Tyldesley 94). She was the last Pharaoh of Egypt, and the demise resulted in the conclusion of the Ptolemy family and governance.
Burstein, Stanley 2004, The Reign of Cleopatra. 2015. Web.
Taman, Sherine. Cleopatra: The Last Queen of Egypt, London, UK: Author House, 2011. Print.
Tyldesley, Joyce. Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, New York, NY Columbus: Profile Books, 2011. Print.