The last Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent, she was the eldest daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes. Cleopatra was well educated scholastically as well as in court intrigue.
Cleopatra loathed her brother Ptolemy XIII, who was designated co-ruler with her at the time of her father’s death in 51 BC. When Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria in 48 BC a full fledged civil war was taking place between Cleopatra and her brother, who had expelled Cleopatra from the throne. Caesar was presented with the head of Pompey the Great, who was killed by Ptolemy XIII, the “gift” greatly offended Caesar. Cleopatra in the meantime had charmed Caesar to the extent that he placed her on the throne and removed her brother.
Cleopatra subsequently traveled to Rome bringing with her the son fathered by Caesar in 47 BC. After Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC Cleopatra was no longer welcome in Rome and she returned to Egypt. In 41 BC she met Marc Antony in Cilicia and they became lovers. Cleopatra’s and Egypt’s status was enhanced by Marc Antony and his legions’ presence in Egypt and his obvious intentions of making Egypt his headquarters.
In Rome Octavian developed a major public relations campaign disparaging Antony and his relations with Cleopatra. In 31 BC civil war broke out between Octavian and Antony.
Despite the wealth of Egypt being behind Antony’s campaigns it was not enough to beat Rome in the great naval battle at Actium. Cleopatra’s premature retreat from the battle contributed to the loss and Marc Antony sailed to Alexandria to join her. No effort by
Cleopatra to save Antony or herself from Octavian’s harsh terms was possible.
Marc Antony killed himself and then Cleopatra followed in one of history’s most famous suicides. With her death the Ptolemies came to an end and Egypt became another
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