- Cleopatra is one of the most recognized pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, he is considered one of the famous characters of our History.
One of the best-known Egyptian queens was undoubtedly Cleopatra.
Lover of Julius Caesar, she had a tragic ending that would mark the fate of Egypt. She was the last queen of Ancient Egypt belonging to the Ptolemaic dynasty, founded by Ptolemy I, one of Alexander the Great’s generals, and the last queen belonging to the Hellenistic period of Egypt.
Her full name was Cleopatra Filopator Nea Thea, although she is known as Cleopatra VII or simply Cleopatra. She was born in 69 B.C. Her parents were Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra V. She was an educated woman who had knowledge of different sciences such as astronomy or medicine. She inherited the throne at the age of 17, a responsibility she had to share with her brother Ptolemy XIV, with whom she had to marry.
Their reign together lasted only a short time, between 51 and 49 BC. There were continuous clashes between the two, which led to the loss of the throne by Cleopatra. She, eager for power, decided to plan her brother’s death in order to have a free path to politics. When the court learned of her wiles, she was forced to flee.
However, there came a stroke of luck. The civil struggles of Rome reached the country of the Nile and with them the emperor Julius Caesar, who persecuted his enemy Pompey. Seeing the conflict between Cleopatra and her brother, she decides to support her but the latter would die in the so-called Alexandrian War, like Pompey. This made Cleopatra accede to the throne immediately. Furthermore, during this war the famous Alexandria library was burned down and lost forever.
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar became the queen’s lover, and from this union was born a son who would bear the name of Caesarion. However, at the end of time, Caesar abandons her and makes her marry her brother Ptolemy XIV, who was still a child. When Caesar died, Cleopatra got rid of her own husband when Caesar’s successor, Mark Antony, who would be her great love, arrived in Egypt. Three sons were born from her union, Ptolemy and the twins Alexander and Cleopatra.
Shortly after, the Ptolemaic War broke out. In it, Augustus fought against Mark Antony for the power of Rome. During the naval battle of Accio, Mark Antony is defeated by Octavian, but manages to flee to Alexandria where he takes refuge along with Cleopatra. However, Augustus’ troops manage to take the city, so Mark Antony commits suicide.
Octavian had specific plans for Cleopatra. He intended to take her prisoner and show her in Rome at the Triumph celebrations, now that Egypt had become a Roman province. Thus he would achieve popular fervor and his political aspirations would be widely supported.
The death of Cleopatra
Cleopatra saw clearly the intentions of her enemy and fearing that she would end up a slave decided to die, just as her beloved had done. Cleopatra took her own life thanks to the bite of an asp, one of the most poisonous snakes, in 30 BC. The most romantic opinions say that he took his life because of the death of his beloved Mark Antony. Before committing suicide, he asked Octavian by means of a letter to bury her with Mark Antony, a wish he granted her, although the whereabouts of the burial of both lovers are still unknown.