Who is Cleopatra? The Last Pharaoh of Egypt

Illustration image of Cleopatra

What comes to mind when you hear the name Cleopatra?

Cleopatra is famous for being the most beautiful woman of all time.

She has been in love with various important historical figures and has moved countries and history.

The legendary Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator stood as a symbol of power and charisma, leading the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 BC to 30 BC.

Her compelling story, marked by political intrigue, romantic alliances, and a tragic end, continues to captivate historians and enthusiasts alike.

Let's take a peek into her history.

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Ancestry and Linguistic Abilities

Cleopatra, a descendant of the Ptolemaic dynasty's founder Ptolemy I Soter, was a notable exception amongst the Greek-speaking rulers of Egypt.

Unlike her predecessors, she was the first to master the local Egyptian language, a testament to her adaptability and keen intellect.

In addition to her native Koine Greek, Cleopatra was reportedly conversant in several other languages, reflecting her cosmopolitan outlook and the diverse cultural influences of her time.

The Name and its Significance

Cleopatra, a name of Greek origin, fittingly translates to "glory of her father".

This name, introduced into the Ptolemaic dynasty through royal marriages, underscores the influential role of women in the dynasty's political sphere.

The Life of Cleopatra Synopsis

As the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty, Cleopatra's political acumen, charisma, and strategic alliances with the formidable Roman Empire left an indelible mark on an era of upheaval.

Join us in unraveling the grand narrative of Cleopatra, a woman driven by love, ambition, and the twists of destiny.

Early Life: The Exile and Return of Ptolemy XII

In 58 BC, a young Cleopatra, presumed to have accompanied her father Ptolemy XII Auletes during his exile to Rome, witnessed the power dynamics of the Roman Empire.

Following a rebellion in Egypt, Ptolemy XII was dethroned and replaced by his daughter Berenice IV.

However, with the aid of Roman military forces, he managed to reclaim his throne in 55 BC, only to die six years later, leaving the joint reign to Cleopatra and her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII.

Ascension to the Throne

Cleopatra's ascension to the throne was not without its challenges.

She faced a host of issues including famine, lawless behavior instigated by the Gabiniani, and the substantial debt left by her father.

Her co-ruler and supposed spouse, Ptolemy XIII, backed by powerful allies such as the eunuch Potheinos, posed another significant threat to her reign.

Cleopatra and Julius Caesar

The political turmoil in Egypt attracted the attention of Julius Caesar, a Roman dictator and consul, who arrived in Egypt in pursuit of his rival Pompey.

This historic arrival marked the beginning of Cleopatra's alliance with Caesar, a relationship that would profoundly shape her reign and the fate of Egypt.

The Reign of Cleopatra and Caesarion

Julius Caesar's influence allowed Cleopatra to strengthen her position as Egypt's ruler.

Their union resulted in a son, Caesarion, who was later named co-ruler by Cleopatra.

Her travel to Rome in 46 and 44 BC, where she stayed at Caesar's villa, further solidified their alliance and her standing in the Roman political sphere.

Post-Caesar Era: Alliance with Mark Antony

Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Cleopatra aligned herself with the Roman Second Triumvirate, particularly Mark Antony.

Their romantic and political alliance, which resulted in three children, was a central aspect of Cleopatra's later reign.

The Battle of Actium and Cleopatra's Downfall

The relationship between Cleopatra and Antony sparked a propaganda war with Octavian, leading to the final war of the Roman Republic.

After a crushing defeat at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Cleopatra and Antony retreated to Egypt, where they met their tragic ends.

Death and Legacy

Cleopatra's death, allegedly by self-inflicted poisoning, marked the end of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the beginning of Roman Egypt.

Her death, shrouded in mystery and drama, has inspired countless retellings and artistic renditions.

Cleopatra's legacy extends far beyond her life, influencing a range of cultural depictions from Roman sculptures to Hollywood films.

She remains a captivating figure in history, embodying female power, intelligence, and allure.

What kind of person was Cleopatra?

Cleopatra is a shining and important figure in ancient Egyptian history, and her fascinating personality has drawn many people to her.

Known as the last Ptolemaic pharaoh of Egypt, she was known for her political prowess and cultural acumen, as well as her presence in negotiations with the powerful Roman Empire.

Moreover, her love story and the fate leading up to her death are also elements that deeply characterize her personality.

Here, let us take a closer look at Cleopatra's multifaceted appeal.

Cleopatra marries her brother

Cleopatra's father was Ptolemy XII, Pharaoh (king) of Egypt.

When Ptolemy XII died, Cleopatra married his brother, Ptolemy XIII, and jointly ascended the throne.

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A sister-brother marriage...

But that seems to have been the custom in ancient Egypt at the time.

However, this brother and Cleopatra disagree...

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The best thing for Egypt to do would be to strengthen its alliance with Rome.

Cleopatra thinks so.

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Independence from Rome is the best policy for Egypt.

Her brother thinks it is.

It is a joint rule between these two, and it will not go well...

As the conflict between the two intensifies, Egypt is virtually in a state of civil war.

Standing between the two was Caesar, a very important Roman political figure.

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What are both of you two sister and brother fighting about? Let's both have one talk!

Caesar summons them both to Alexandria (it's a city in Egypt) to reconcile them both according to the will of Ptolemy XII, the previous king of Egypt.

And that is when Cleopatra made her move.

Cleopatra becomes mistress to Caesar

It is said that Cleopatra wrapped herself in a bedding bag (also known as a carpet) had it delivered to Caesar as a gift and successfully entered the royal palace.

When he opened the carpet, he was surprised to find a beautiful woman...!

In ancient Egypt, it was a custom to wrap treasures in carpets as gifts or bribes, and "Cleopatra wrapped in a carpet = bribe",

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You can do whatever you like with me.

Cleopatra's image is thought to have meant "You can do whatever you like with me.

At this time, Cleopatra is said to have become Caesar's mistress, and when her brother Ptolemy XIII learned of this,

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Don't be silly, sister!

and angrily slammed his crown to the ground.

Under Caesar, a reconciliation between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII was established, but it lasted only 15 days.

Ptolemy XIII then began to attack Caesar's army.

Caesar subdued it using the Roman army.

Ptolemy XIII would commit suicide by throwing himself into the Nile River.

Thus, the struggle between the two sisters came to an end.

After the death of Ptolemy XIII, Cleopatra married another brother, Ptolemy XIV, and they were to rule together.

However, this time the joint reign was almost Caesar's government since Caesar was behind it.

Cleopatra stayed in Rome under Caesar's patronage with Caesar's son Caesarion (some doubt whether he was really Caesar's son).

However, when Caesar was assassinated, she would return to Egypt.

Cleopatra charms Antonius

When Caesar was assassinated and Cleopatra returned to Egypt, Ptolemy XIV died (some say Cleopatra killed him).

So Cleopatra appointed her child, the young Caesarion, as co-ruler.

So the rule changes from joint rule by sister and brother to joint rule by mother and son.

Then, in Rome, the forces that Cleopatra had supported were defeated by the forces of Marcus Antonius, and she was ordered to appear before him.

Here again, Cleopatra moves.

She appears beautifully dressed and burns incense to set the mood.


Cleopatra's life and reign were fraught with power struggles, alliances, and dramatic turns of events.

Yet, her intelligence, political acumen, and charm set her apart as one of the most memorable figures in history.

Far from being just a seductive beauty, Cleopatra was a shrewd and ambitious leader, navigating through the turbulent politics of her time to leave an enduring legacy.

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How beautiful...!

I don't know if Antonius felt so or not, but at least he and Cleopatra were rapidly approaching each other.

Well, it is more than just a development from a romantic relationship.

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It would have been politically advantageous for Antonius to remain on good terms with Cleopatra.

Some people think so.

However, Antonius had a major triumphal entry ceremony in Egypt,

A triumphal entry is a civil ceremony or religious liturgy in ancient Rome, an event in which a commander is honored in front of his people for his contribution to the victory of the state. {alertInfo}
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When I die, I want to be buried in Egypt.

(However, the authenticity of whether this will was really written by Antonius is not known), and the Roman citizens became dissatisfied with his behavior.

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Antonius, aren't you a little too involved with Egypt these days? You're a Roman, so be more like a Roman.

and the dissatisfaction of the Roman citizens directly led to the support of a politician named Augustus, who was a rival of Antonius.

Finally, Augustus declared war on Antonius, leading to the Battle of Actium.

The result is that the Roman army led by Augustus is victorious and conquers Egypt.

Antonius commits suicide after receiving a false report that Cleopatra had committed suicide during the battle.

Cleopatra also refused to bow down to Augustus and committed suicide.

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I wish to be buried with Antonius.

This was fulfilled by Augustus.

Thus ended the life of the world-famous beauty.

Was Cleopatra really beautiful?

The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful woman has spread throughout the world, but was she really beautiful?

In fact, there is a theory that she was not so beautiful.

Historian Plutarchos describes her appearance, saying that her beauty itself was said to be neither incomparable nor striking to the eye.

Caesar, who was in love with Cleopatra, also praised her for her intelligence and her voice, but he did not actually say anything about her appearance.

However, there is no doubt that she was a very wise person, and Cleopatra is said to have been fluent in seven languages and graceful in speech.

Her beauty was not only on the outside, but it must have come from within.

At the very least, it is an undeniable fact that important historical figures were captivated by her charms.

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