Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who is famous for her beauty and intellect, has remained an exciting subject for historians. She mastered the art of luring the Roman Generals like Julius Caesar and Mark Antony in a bid to maintain her rule over Egypt. Whether this Egyptian queen had an enchanting looks or her beauty was Roman propaganda is the matter of debate among the historians. But, the way she came to power and the life she lived like a queen is indeed a fantasy and reflects a great deal of confidence for the woman of that era.
How Cleopatra Came to Power
The story of Egyptian queen is more interesting than the Fall of Roman Empire. Before looking at Cleopatra’s rise to power let’s talk about few prevalent misconceptions about her.
The Queen of Egypt didn’t belong to Egyptian ethnicity. She was the daughter of Ptolemy XII, who was a descendant of Greek general Ptolemy who took reigns of Egypt in 323 BC, after the death of Alexander the Great.
Secondly, her beauty is reportedly said to be an exaggeration by historians or just a result of Roman Propaganda. According to various online resources, it was her attire and her conversation that left an impact rather than her looks. Her encounters with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony that will be explained later, prove this.
Her Way to Queen of Egypt
Cleopatra’s father Ptolemy XII was expelled from Egypt in 58 BCE. He was returned to power in 51 BCE by the Romans. Here, it is pertinent to mention that by 168 BC, Egypt was a protectorate of Rome. Well, Ptolemy died the same year he came back to power and throne of Egypt went to her daughter Cleopatra who had remained co-regent to her father of a shorter period and Ptolemy XIII, her brother.
Revolt against Her Rule
Ptolemy XIII‘s guardians along with her sister launched a rebel against Cleopatra and expelled her from Alexandria. Here, the Queen took help from Caesar by making a cunning plan. She got herself rolled up in a rug or carpet or a sack and presented herself to the Julius Caesar who couldn’t help to amuse himself from this 21-year-old woman’s tactic. Here began the love story of Egyptian queen and Caesar in 49BCE.
In fact, it was a coalition with Caesar and being her mistress made her defeat her sister and reclaim her throne.
Egyptian Queen’s Marriage to Her Brothers
When we talk about Cleopatra’s rise to power, we can’t skip the fact that she married her to brothers Ptolemy XIII, who was later drowned while escaping the Roman forces, and Ptolemy XIV after regaining power. Cleopatra’s marriage with her brothers was not out of affection. Instead, it was just an Egyptian tradition to preserve the royalty; something that Ptolemy rulers who hailed from Macedonia retained.
Caesar’s Mistress and Love Life with Mark Antony
In 46 BCE, Cleopatra bore Caesar’s son and named him Ptolemy Caesar and Caesarian. According to online resources of about history, Cleopatra assassinated her brother Ptolemy XIV to make her son co-ruler. She also planned the murder of her sister Arsinoe, who was serving prison in Rome, fearing rivalry from her.
As the mistress of Caesar Cleopatra paid many visits to the Rome. Caesar placed her statue in the temple of Venus Genetrix. Although Caesar had defeated his rivals in Spain and other countries, he was later assassinated by his enemies in the Roman Senate. And, from here began Cleopatra’s love life with Mark Antony, another Roman General who supported her rule in Egypt.
The Queen of Egypt gave birth to twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. Between 36-35 BCE she bore another son to Antony, named Ptolemy Philadelphus.
Her Death By Suicide
The marriage of Cleopatra and Mark Antony had outraged Octavian, the adopted son of Caesar and other Romans. Therefore, the war began between the two parties that ended up in the separation of Cleopatra from Antony; the couple was then living together in Greece. Upon the death of Mark Antony in 31 BCE which was the result of another of Cleopatra’s flirtatious plans, she found that she can’t stand alone to Octavian as he will always treat her an enemy. The queen of Egypt finally committed suicide by allowing a snake to bite her. It is said that she did this to avoid the humiliation of being paraded through the streets of Rome as a prison.
Cleopatra was an educated and intellectual woman who knew dozens of languages. She utilized her communication skills and charming looks to get the power, but once she knew that third Roman general, Octavian who later acquired the title of Caesar Augustus suicide; at least this is what we can conclude from the available online facts about this history.