Ten Things You Did Not Know About Cleopatra

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Cleopatra is one of the most famous women in history. She was the queen of Egypt and had an affair with Julius Caeser. She and her Roman lover Mark Anthony tried to create an Empire in the East out of Roman territory. However, they failed and Augustus later seized Egypt and it became a province of the Roman Empire.

1

Cleopatra was a member of the Macedonian Dynasty that had ruled Egypt since the death of Alexander the Great. The Macedonians had formed themselves into a ruling caste. Cleopatra was a Macedonian and not an Egyptian. She was to prove to be the last of the Macedonian rulers of Greece.

2

Cleopatra was a very well-educated woman for her time and she spoke several languages. She was one of the few Macedonian rulers of Eygpt who could actually speak the language of Eygpt.

3

She was born from an incestuous relationship. Cleopatra’s mother and father were brother and sister. It was traditional in Eygpt that the royal family married each other. The Macedonians imitated this Egyptian Pharaohs in many ways, including in the practice of royal incest.

Lawrence_Alma-Tadema-_Anthony_and_Cleopatra
painting of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony

4

Cleopatra and Mark Anthony were defeated at the naval battle of Actium. They lost their navy and after this defeat their army abandoned them. This was to seal their fate and end their ambitions and also lead indirectly to their deaths.

5

Cleopatra was a killer queen! She is believed to have been responsible for the deaths of three of her siblings. This was typical of royal families in the period where they often fought violently for power.

6

Cleopatra was living in Rome when Caesar was assassinated. She and he had a romantic relationship and the couple had a child together and he was named after his father.

She later had a relationship with Mark Anthony, one of Caser’s greatest generals. The two had a very stormy relationship and it is regarded as one of the greatest romances in history. They combined together to become a powerful force and they competed with Augustus for control of the Easter half of the Roman Empire.

8

She was a hate figure in Rome. The Romans hated the queen as they guessed that she was trying to seize some of their vast empire. They also believed that she had bewitched Mark Anthony. Many feared that she would introduce Egyptian religion and ways into Rome if she and Mark Anthony won their contest with Augustus for the Roman Empire.

9.

Cleopatra killed herself as the Roman legions of Augustus were about to seize her capital. She killed herself by placing her hand in a basket with a poisonous snake in it. The snake was an asp. Some historians have doubted this story.

10

Cleopatra had a magnetic personality and this was the real source of her undoubted power over men. She was based on her portraits, not a particular beauty.

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