In the history of our western world, only a few figures have left as distinctive a mark on the collective imagination as the last queen of ancient Egypt.
Queen Cleopatra was one of the few women who have been a dominant factor in the political events of their times.
Those who explore Queen Cleopatra’s life meticulously will quickly discover that the majority’s perception of her personality was shaped by those who opposed her in the Antony-Octavian dispute.
For nearly three decades, Queen Cleopatra VII governed as co-regent of ancient Egypt.
Ptolemy was a captain in Alexander the Great’s cavalry. Later, he constructed a Macedonian dynasty of himself, from which Queen Cleopatra emerged.
Queen Cleopatra was regarded as the most advanced and strong-willed as she was a well-educated and astute queen who spoke several languages and ruled over all 3 of her co-regencies.
I think that will be enough to give any working woman a bigshot complex about her life!
Her romantic relationships with both Julius Caesar and later on Mark Antony helped the queen establish her position in history and make her a legend that lives on to this day.
If we’re discussing the Queen’s legacy, it’d be a sin not to mention her unique appearance and seductive attributes, which continue to fascinate people.
You tell me, how many women with exotic beauty appeals have you seen in this snap-filter era who can manage several countries and their political affairs?
It’s like you trying to find out the mysteries of the Bermuda triangle, you will keep scratching your head but won’t be able to find it.
Queen Cleopatra and her mystery behind all of this has a history like King Tutankhamun.
If it excites you enough, rather than beating around bushes we take a closer look into this historical figure and her legacy that keeps memorized till this date.
A Tumultuous Empire
Cleopatra was born into a difficult reigning empire around 69 B.C.
A Macedonian colonel who had served under Alexander the Great was taken from the Ptolemais.
Despite ruling Egypt for nearly three centuries, their reign was overshadowed by the strength of Rome, and there was much political unrest, culminating in Cleopatra battling against her siblings.
Speaking about her dynasty, Queen Cleopatra’s mother’s identity is still unknown but his father was Ptolemy XII.
The Romans put a lot of pressure on Ptolemy XII and he battled to maintain his slipping power.
Ptolemy XII was greatly reliant on the Roman empire, according to several biographers of Queen Cleopatra, and as their ‘relationship’ put increased pressure on the Egyptian economic system, his leadership came under intense pressure from the Egyptian rulers.
Ptolemy XII was deported in 58 B.C., and Egypt was ruled by a woman named “Cleopatra Tryphaena”, who died shortly after Berenice IV, her successor, was a woman named Berenice III.
With the help of the Romans, Ptolemy XII was restored to the kingdom in 55 B.C., and his 17-year-old daughter Cleopatra (VII) became his co-ruler.
After the emperor died in 51 B.C., he said out of his will that Cleopatra and her brother (and husband) Ptolemy XIII should share the throne.
We may say, the father has a keen eye for the perfect candidate for a kingdom. But, it would have been boring if it was so easy to access for the queen herself.
Ptolemy XIII and his counselors refused to honor the agreement, and fighting ensued, with Cleopatra being forced to depart the royal house.
That’s how you know Gen-Z didn’t invent the fight for control and power! It’s something that history has bestowed upon us…
The Memoir of Caesar and Queen Cleopatra
Be it king or queen or just random people like you and me, we all at some point in life needed extra support, love, and compassion from someone who is closed to our hearts.
Until Caesar came into Cleopatra’s life, she had no space in her heart for someone like him!
Queen Cleopatra was almost 30 years older than Caesar and his presence in Egypt was a bit of a fluke.
He was in the midst of a civil war with the Roman general Pompey.
After four months of fighting between Caesar’s outmanned army and Ptolemy XIII’s, Roman troops came, forcing Ptolemy to abandon Alexandria and drowning in the Nile River.
Arriving Alexandria as an unpopular victor, Caesar reinstated Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIV to the monarchy (then 13 years old).
Cleopatra had been saved and her sovereignty had been restored by Caesar.
They became romantically involved and had a son named Caesarion.
Later on, Ptolemy XIII died in an unsuccessful insurrection and was succeeded as co-ruler by Ptolemy XIV, Cleopatra’s younger brother, whom Cleopatra would end up killing.
Cleopatra also assassinated her sister Arsinoe IV.
With Caesar’s son by her side, queen Cleopatra VII was able to forsake any notions of becoming a female ruler and instead create a powerful new identity as a semi-divine mother, which had the huge advantage of being instantly recognized by both her Egyptian and Greek subjects.
Toward the conclusion of her father’s reign, Cleopatra had already become a goddess. However, she was now to be associated with Egypt’s most renowned single mother.
See, Cleopatra, the queen of trendsetters, was the one who started the trend of being an unapologetic single mother!
Cleopatra’s Enticement of Mark Antony
When you heard about this queen the 1st thing that comes to anyone’s mind who has heard about her is, Queen Cleopatra was a seductive queen!
The statement is controversial enough to raise questions, so let’s know why this statement was brought by people and historians.
Cleopatra’s grip on power in Egypt was firmer than it had ever been, thanks to her infant son’s position as co-regent.
Nonetheless, inconsistent Nile floods resulted in failed crops, affecting economic growth and hunger.
Meanwhile, in Rome, a battle raged between Caesar’s allies Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus, and his assassins Brutus and Cassius.
Both sides requested Egyptian help and support, and after some thought and consideration, Cleopatra dispatched four Roman legions installed in Egypt by Caesar to assist the holy trinity.
After defeating Brutus and Cassius’ armies in the Wars of Philippi in 42 B.C., Mark Antony and Octavian split authority between Rome.
Cleopatra was invited by Mark Antony to the Sicilian city of Tarsus to clarify her role in the tangled circumstances of Caesar’s killing.
Queen Cleopatra traveled to Tarsus in an expensive ship, draped in the gowns of Isis.
Antony, who was associated with the Greek god Dionysus, was swayed by her seduction.
He agreed to preserve Egypt and Cleopatra’s throne in exchange for her sister and competitor Arsinoe’s removal from banishment.
Then, Queen Cleopatra gave birth to twins, Alexander Helios (regarded as the sun) and Cleopatra Selene (regarded as the moon), after Antony returned to Rome.
Cleopatra’s Defeat & Octavian’s triumph
In the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., Octavian’s forces brutally crushed Antony and Cleopatra.
Cleopatra’s ships quit the battle and retreated to Egypt, and Antony was able to break away and pursue her with a small fleet.
With Octavian’s army attacking Alexandria, Antony heard a rumor about Queen Cleopatra taking her own life by committing suicide.
The death news of your love is enough to break you into thousand pieces. He collapsed on his sword and died just as word came that the story was baseless.
Cleopatra locked herself in her room with two of her female maids in 30 B.C., after the burial of Antony and meeting with the triumphant Octavian.
Her cause of death is unknown, but historians speculated that she killed herself at the age of 39 with a deadly snake known as the asp, a sign of heavenly sovereignty.
Cleopatra’s remains were buried with Antony’s, as per her desires, enabling Octavian to celebrate his triumph of Egypt and authoritarian rule in Rome.
Lesser Known Tidbits About Queen Cleopatra
If you are likely to be more engaged in Queen Cleopatra and her historical context, you can get these insights all around.
Let me chuck in some bonus for my dear readers in the form of some interesting lesser-known tidbits about this goddess of beauty and power!
1. Cleopatra was not Egyptian in the first place
From her biography, I am hundred percent sure this info came as a shock to you! But this is what it is!
Queen Cleopatra was believed to Have been born, although her ancestors came from Macedonia and Ptolemy I Soter.
Despite not being of Egyptian descent, Cleopatra adopted several of the state’s historic traditions and was the first princess of the Ptolemaic family to learn the Greek language.
2. Queen Cleopatra, a result of incest
Descendants of the Ptolemaic dynasty, like many monarchies, married inside the family to keep their bloodline pure.
More than a hundred of Cleopatra’s predecessors married cousins or siblings, and her parents were most likely siblings.
Cleopatra finally married both of her young siblings, who each functioned as her symbolic spouse and co-regent at separate points during her reign, as was customary.
3. It’s possible that Cleopatra did not commit suicide from an asp venom
After Octavian’s army chased them to Alexandria in 30 B.C., Cleopatra and Antony famously committed suicide.
While Antony is claimed to have killed himself by stabbing himself in the stomach, Cleopatra’s death method remains unknown.
According to legend, she died by luring an “asp”—most likely a viper or Egypt cobra—to bite her hand, but Plutarch, the ancient biographer, concedes that “no one knows what truly happened.”
He believes that Cleopatra was known for concealing a lethal poison in one of her hair combs and that she may have administered a fatal “ointment,” according to historian Strabo.
With all that in mind, many experts now believe she used a pin soaked in a strong toxin, whether it was snake venom or not.
So, there you have it: some fascinating facts about Queen Cleopatra and her surroundings during her reign.
This incredible true story teaches us a lot about the life of a strong woman and how to live a dignified life.
It is up to us to decide on a perspective for our lives and to preserve it like Queen Cleopatra.