The Famous Queen Cleopatra
Cleopatra is by far one of the most ever famous queens of all times in ancient Egypt. Her story of love and death is very famous and she ruled Egypt and made it quite powerful at the time.
Cleopatra was born in 69 B.C. in Alexandria. She was the third daughter in line to her father Ptolemy XII; she later had another sister and two younger brothers. Her younger brother Ptolemy XIII later reigned with her.
Cleopatra’s story is one of the most famous ever.
Not only because of her great love, but because she was deeply in love of Egypt and she is classified by historians to be the last Pharoah of Egypt.
Cleopatra came to the throne after death of her two elder sisters and after death of her father whom was much hated by the Egyptian and had fled to Rome several years before.
During the two centuries that preceded Ptolemy XII death, the Ptolemies were allied with the Romans. The Ptolemies' strength was failing and the Roman Empire was rising. During the later rule of the Ptolemies, the Romans gained more and more control over Egypt. Tributes had to be paid to the Romans to keep them away from Egypt.
She came to reign in 51B.C.and was of 17 years of age. She was the only Ptolemic Pharoah to speak the Egyptian language. She also took on the Egyptian religion. She was very intelligent and was a shrewd politician with an extraordinary charisma. However, she was not beautiful and had a much masculine features.
She was very will-powered; her struggle began after being exiled to Syria with her sister by her brother, husband and Co-regent Ptolemy XIII. When Cleopatra became co-regent, her world was crumbling down around her. Cyprus, Syria and other capitals were gone. There was anarchy abroad and famine at home.
Between 51 and 49 BC, Egypt was suffering from bad harvests and famine because of a drought which stopped the much needed Nile flooding. Regardless, she started an army from the Arab tribes which were east of Pelusium. During this time, she and her sister Arsinoe moved to Syria. They returned by way of Ascalon which may have been Cleopatra's temporary base.
In the meantime, Pompey had been defeated at Pharsalus in August of 48 BC. He headed for Alexandria hoping to find refuge with Ptolemy XIII, of whom Pompey was a senate-appointed guardian. Pompey did not realize how much his reputation had been destroyed by Pharsalus until it was too late.
She started to go to war with her brother. This occurred after the death of Pompey, who had sought refuge from Caesar to Egypt but was stabbed to death once he came ashore to Alexandria by Ptolemy’s advisors.
Caesar who was on Pompey’s tail, arrived in Alexandria 4 days later. There he acclaimed to be the ruler of Egypt bringing with him thirty-two hundred legionaries and eight hundred cavalry. He also brought twelve other soldiers who bore the insignia of the Roman government who carried a bundle of rods with an ax with a blade that projected out. This was considered a badge of authority that gave a clear hint of his intentions.
There were riots that followed in Alexandria. Ptolemy XIII was gone to Pelusium and Caesar placed himself in the royal palace and started giving out orders to make Ptolemy XIII return again.
Cleopatra’s cleverness led her to invite herself at Caesar’s palace. Wrapped up in a carpet she was delivered to him and as the carpet was unwrapped she appeared to him.
Being rather seductive, she lured Ceasar before Ptolemy,s arrival who upon seeing that they were in love, Screamed out Betrayal to all the Alexandrians.
The Alexandrian War was started when Pothinus called for Ptolemy XIII's soldiers in November and surrounded Caesar in Alexandria with twenty thousand men. During the war, parts of the Alexandrian Library and some of the warehouses were burned. However, Caesar did manage to capture the Pharos lighthouse, which kept his control of the harbor. Cleopatra's sister, Arsinoe, escaped from the palace and ran to Achillas. She was proclaimed the queen by the Macedonian mob and the army.
During the fighting, Caesar executed Pothinus and Achillas was murdered by Ganymede. Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile while he was trying to flee.
Alexandria surrendered to Caesar, who captured Arsinoe and restored Cleopatra on the throne.
Egyptian law did not allow a queen to rule without a king, so Cleopatra married another brother, Ptolemy XIV, but she was in love with Caesar. Caesar and Cleopatra spent
the next several months traveling along the Nile, where Caesar saw how the Egyptian people worshipped Cleopatra.
It was at that time that Cleopatra became pregnant with Caesars son. She later gave birth to a son, Ptolemy XV, called Caesarion or "Little Caesar."
Caesar returned to Rome in 46 BCE with Cleopatra and their newborn son, Caesarion. Caesar had only one other child.
Caesar was very popular with the Roman people. They named him dictator. A dictator is a ruler with complete power. Cleopatra was less popular with the Romans. She had called herself the "new Isis." Many Romans were unhappy that Caesar was planning to marry a foreigner.
On March 15, 44 BC a crowd of conspirators surrounded Caesar at a Senate meeting and stabbed him to death. Knowing that she too was in danger, Cleopatra quickly left Rome. Later her brother died and Cleopatra made her four-year-old son rule as the new king. She found Egypt suffering from plagues and famine. The Nile canals had been neglected during her absence which caused the harvests to be bad and the inundations low. The bad harvests continued from 43 until 41 BC.
Rome was in turmoil after Caesar's murder. Several armies competed for control. The two greatest were those of Mark Antony and Octavian. Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, but Mark Antony was believed to have led a larger army. When Antony asked Cleopatra to meet with him, Cleopatra decided that she had another opportunity to return to power both in Egypt, and in Rome.
Another episode of Cleopatra’s story of love is revealed in her story with Mark Anthony. Their story began when mark Antony asked Cleopatra to come to see him in turkey. She knew that he could be easily dazzled by her glamour and her marvelously- tailored seductive arrival.
He became immediately in love, an affair that led to the birth of his twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. Four years later, mark antonym came back to Cleopatra. In 37 BC, while on his way to invade Parthia, Antony returned to Cleopatra’s arms. He now stayed in Alexandria which was his home.
Cleopatra then gave birth to another son; Ptolemy Philadelphus Mark Anthony gave her much land which was very essential to Egypt. He gave her Cyprus, the Cilician coast, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, Judea and Arabia. This allowed Egypt to be able to build ships from the lumber from Cilician coast. Egypt then built a large fleet. Antony had planned a campaign against the Parthians. He obviously needed Cleopatra's support for this and in 36 BC, he was defeated. He became more indebted to her than ever.
Much of the later coming tragedy was now being plotted in Rome. Mark antonym’s wife, Octavia was too much frustrated and angry by the very bad treatment of mark to her. Octavian, decided that Mark Anthony was going too far especially after starting to give his illegitimate children royal titles.
Ptolemy XV (Caesarion) was made the co-ruler with his mother and was called the King of Kings. Cleopatra was called the Queen of Kings, which was a higher position than that of Caesarion's. Alexander Helios, which meant the sun, was named Great King of the Seleucid Empire when it was at its highest. Cleopatra Selene, which meant the moon, was called Queen of Cyrenaica and Crete. Cleopatra and Antony's son, Ptolemy Philadelphos was named King of Syria and Asia Minor at the age of two. Cleopatra had dreams of becoming the Empress of the world.
In 32 to 31 BC, Antony finally divorced Octavia. This forced the Western part of the world to recognize his relationship with Cleopatra. He had already put her name and face on a Roman coin, the silver denarii. The denarii was widely circulated throughout the Mediterranean. By doing this, Antony's relationship with the Roman allegiance was ended and Octavian decided to publish Antony's will. Octavian then formally declared war against Cleopatra.
Octavian's navy severely defeated Antony in Actium, which is in Greece, on September 2, 31 BC. Octavian's admiral, Agrippa, planned and carried out the defeat. In less than a year, Antony half-heartedly defended Alexandria against the advancing army of Octavian. After the defeat, Antony committed suicide by falling on his own sword in 30 BC.
She died on August 12, 30 BC at the age of 39. The Egyptian religion declared that death by snakebite would secure immortality. With this, she achieved her dying wish, to not be forgotten. The only other ruler to cast a shadow on the fascination with Cleopatra was Alexander who was another Macedonian. After Cleopatra's death, Caesarion was strangled and the other children of Cleopatra were raised by Antony's wife, Octavia.
Her death was the mark of the end of the Egyptian Monarchs. The Roman Emperors came into to rule in Egypt. The Ptolemies were Macedonian in decent, but ruled as Egyptians, as Pharaohs. Cleopatra was the last pharaoh; after her death Egypt became a Roman province. Because Caesarion was Julius Caesar's son and might pose a threat to Octavian's power, Octavian had the boy strangled by his tutor. Cleopatra's other children were sent to Rome to be raised by Octavia. Cleopatra Selene married King Juba II of Mauretania and had two children, Ptolemy and Drusilla. No one knows what happened to Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus.
Cleopatra was quite remarkable, she had great brilliance and her devotion to her country was utmost. She was a quick-witted woman who was fluent in nine languages, however, Latin was not one of them. She was a mathematician and a very good businesswoman she fought for her country.
She had a charismatic personality, was a born leader and an ambitious monarch who deserved better than suicide.
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