CLEOPATRA and SHEBA-are two great Queens of Ancient Kingdoms of the East?
Ptolemy VII. Julius Caesar. Mark Antony. Octavian. King Solomon. The Bible. Memphis. Makeda. Saba. Egypt. Ethiopia.
There are several and notable Queens of the ancient kingdoms of the East. Their matriarchal powers have changed the course of human history due to their leadership, statesmanship, and deep concerns of their subjects despite the controversies that surround their reign, they show strength and unwavering resolved to face these challenges, Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt and the Queen of Sheba exhibits these qualities. Though, they live in different time and place as monarch, their legend grows for over 3,000 years even until now and this is their story.
CLEOPATRA, Queen of Egypt
Cleopatra is the last Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty, crowned as Ptolemy V11, moreover, Cleopatra is not Egyptian by descent, she's a Greek! When Alexander the Great conquered most of Asia in 330 BC, died without leaving an heir, the conquered Kingdoms were relegated to the administration of his three trusted generals and one of these trustee is the grandfather of Cleopatra, Ptolemy I, that started the Ptolemaic Dynasty of Egypt in 330 BC.
Ancient Egypt in Brief
For almost 30 centuries from its unification arou8nd 3,100 BC to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 332 BC, ancient Egypt was the preeminent civilisation in the Mediterranean world. From the great pyramids of the old Kingdom through the military conquest of the New Kingdom, Egypt's majesty has long entranced archaeologist and historians and created a vibrant field of study all its own called Egyptology.
The Egyptian Empire was founded in the Nile Valey around 7,000 years ago. The land was called KEMET-"black lands".The Nile Valey consists only of two large Kingdoms; the Upper and Lower Egypt or Upper and Lower Kemet respectively. King Menes unified Egypt by building a capital called Memphis in Lower Kemet. Ancient Egypt was further classified into three Kingdoms, namely, The Old Kingdom, The Middle Kingdom, and The New Kingdom. It's history is further degraded into 9 periods.
take a QUIZ ?
Match Column A with B. LETTERS only.
Column A Column B
- Cleopatra a.Emperor Agustus
- Mark Antony b.Ancient Capital of Egypt
- Queen Sheba c.Exodus
- King Solomon d.Queen of Ethiopia
- Julius Caesar e. "Ides of March"
- Octavian f. Wisdom and Understanding
- Memphis g. Biblical entity
- RamsesII h."Master of the Horse"
- Kebra Nagast i. Ptolemy VII
- Makeda j. "The Glory of KINGS"
Did you know ?
Why the Romans and Octavian have hated Cleopatra and Antony?
- Mark Antony's marriage to Cleopatra in Egyptian ceremony
- Declared themselves crown King and Queen of Egypt
- Crown their three children as monarchs of the other Roman Middle Eastern provinces
- Mark Antony left Octavian sister Octavia for Cleopatra whom he is previously married
- Rome declared their acts as Treason
young Cleopatra and the Ptolemeys
Cleopatra's father is Ptolemy XII or Auletes. To ensure that Cleopatra and her siblings are well educated, Auletes hired private tutors each child. Because of the attention to education, Cleopatra (Ptolemy VII) were able to study Philosophy, Literature, Art, Music, Medicine and Languages. Cleopatra was able to speak six languages namely, Aramaic, Egyptian, Ethiopic, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Very educated, Cleopatra studied and learn the political surrounding and her father;s status, the power he held as a Pharaoh.
The struggle for KINGship
Auletes (Ptolemy XII), feared the Roman expansion to Egypt will cost his throne, devised a plan to maintain his rule. He went to Rome asking Julius Caesar and Pompey to recognize him as the sovereign ruler of Egypt and ally of Rome of course, his request was granted at a price of 6,000 talents (gold coins). While away in Rome, his eldest daughter, Cleopatra Tryphaina( Cleopatra's eldest sister) seized the throne. Desperate to regain his throne, Auletes, sought the help of another Roman-Aulus Gabinius at a higher price this time (10,000 talents). On his way home, Tryphaina was killed by her sister Berenice, moreover, the coup did not succeed and Berenice was also disposed by people loyal to Auletes. Auletes was able to regain his throne and live for another two years. To ensure that power remains in Ptolemy's, Auletes willed the throne to Cleopatra,( who is 18 years old at that time ) and her siblings. She has to marry her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII (10 years old at that time) and rule jointly as co-regent. Consanguineous marriages in Ancient Egypt is not uncommon, this is a practice among the nobility to ensure power and wealth remain in the family.
OBSTACLE to power
The 10-year old Ptolemy is easily manipulated by his three advisors(Pothinus, Achillas, and Theodotus), who also desires power in Egypt and naturally the best way is through the young Pharaoh. They devise a plan to remove Cleopatra by spreading rumors that Cleopatra was the cause of their discontentment from the bad administration of his father-Auletes. Her younger brother and the 3 advisors were set to destroy her. She left for Syria and gathered a small army with a promise to return someday.
New developments to regain the KINGSHIP
Meanwhile, things in Rome is deteriorating, the Triumvirate was dissolved, Crassus was defeated and died in Parthia while Pompey and Ceasar turn against each other that led to civil war in Rome. Pompey was defeated at Pharsalia in Greece. Ceasar becomes the most powerful man. Pompey and his army accepted defeat, sailed to Egypt to seek help. Achillas, Pothinus, and Theodotus saw another opportunity, they planned to murder Pompey when he arrived in Egypt and present its head to Ceasar to gain favor, but Ceasar was angry for the dishonorable death of his foe and former friend. Cleopatra learned this news and the summon to present themselves to Caesar. Cleopatra knows the danger that awaits for her if she returned to Egypt and devised a brilliant plan to be wrapped inside a rug to be presented to Caesar. Her most trusted adviser, Apollodorus sailed for Alexandria bringing the Queen with him. Dressed as a slave made his way to Caesar's chamber bringing with him Cleopatra inside the rolled carpet, he insisted that the carpet must be unwrapped for it came as a gift from Cleopatra. Caesar was amazed when he saw Cleopatra, she captivated him of her intelligence and wit. Caesar was 30 years older than Cleopatra, who was 21 years old that time was moved with her ambition and her goal to succeed. It was suggested that they become lovers soon after. Caesar has no intention of ruling Egypt, therefore, he see Cleopatra as potential protege but she needs a pharaoh and asked the two siblings, Cleopatra's younger brother, Ptolemy XV to reunite and rule together. Cleopatra agreed knowing that Rome is the most powerful nation that time. To cement the reunion, Caesar ordered them to get married to prevent usurpation of power that may lead to another civil unrest in Egypt, thus, Caesar was now fully in control of Egypt.With the help of Caesar, Cleopatra was able to defeat all her enemies.
the greatness of a man is not measured in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively
Quote from Bob Marley
The death of Julius Caesar
Meanwhile, people in Rome were becoming restless for the long absence of their hero, Julius Caesar. Eventually, Caesar was forced to go home from the order of the senate. Cleopatra, later came to Rome under the invitation of Caesar, together with their son, Ptolemy XV, known as Caesarion (little Caesar). Fearing that Caesar will declare himself Emperor, some members of the senate plotted to kill Caesar. Caesar was warned but did not listen and on March 15,44BC. that pitiful day Caesar was stabbed to death by members of the senate, historians called this day as the "IDES OF MARCH".
Etymology of the ancient Kingdoms of EGYPT
Reign of Pharaohs-absolute rulers.considerd gods
Large drainage Projects, irrigation canals created arable farm lands
Powerful Pharaohs created large empire that reached the Euprates River
Egyptians built pyramids at Giza
Trade flourished with other countries Middle East, Crete
large Empire that reached the Queen Hatsephsut
Power struggle, crop failures,bad administration contibuted to the collapse of Old Kingdom
Corruption and rebellion was common
Queen Hatshepsut incourage trade, economic prosperity
failures, cost of building the Pyramids contibuted to the collapse of the old Kingdom
Hyksos arrived and occupied the Delta, Egypt was in foriegn hands
Tutankhamen-boy King died
the delta. Egypt was under foriegned rule
Ramses II expanded Egypt rule to Asia, Exodus happened during this period
Expansion leads to decline of the Empire
Did you Know?
that Cleopatra has four Husbands?
- Ptolemy XIII-sibling drowned in 47BC
- Ptolemy XIV-sibling poisoned in 44BC
- Julius Caesar-assasinated in Rome 44B
- Mark Antony=committed suicide after the crucial defeat in 31BC (battle of Actium)
what about Mark Antony?
Marcus Antonius, known in English as Mark Antony. Characterized as
- one of the most important and successful generals and administrator of Rome
- while Caesar was away to battle Pompey's army in North Africa and Iberia, he was tasked by Caesar to restore order in Rome, which he did
- he was Caesar's " Master of the Horse", right-hand man
- marriage 4 times, had 9 children, 3 from Cleopatra
- born-January 14, 83BC
- died-August 1, 30BC
- love social life, parties, beautiful women, drinking bouts and fraternalized with the Army
- a loyal friend
Did you KNOW ?
among the gifts of Queen Sheba to King Solomon, is 120 talents of gold (gold coins ?) valued at 3,490,200 dollars?
for Antony and Cleopatra
“....that love is a total commitment, a willingness to sacrifice a great deal for it, and the final recognition that death is not a defeat and an ending, but another nature's sacred processes that participation it can be a triumph and a blessing...”
Quote from Keith Sagar, 2001
Cleopatra and Mark Antony-the greatest Love Story of all TIME!
After Ceasar's death, Cleopatra returns to Egypt with her son Ptolemy XV. Cleopatra's decision to go home must have been triggered by Ceasar's death, without Caesar's protection, they will be endangered from the nobility of Rome. Meanwhile. Antony, discouraged by what happened to Caesar, set to fulfil Caesar's dream of conquering Pathia who had been menacing Rome's northern territories. An invasion was planned but on his way to Tarsus, he summoned Cleopatra to report to him for the purposes of extracting money from her to finance the military campaign.
However, Cleopatra has other plans, sensing as an opportunity to enlist Antony to secure the throne for his son, being the son of Julius Caesar anyway, Antony will not oppose for such move. But to make sure that Antony will not refuse, she made an elaborate preparation. The barged was painted with gold, beaded with fragrant flowers and perfumed, soft music from harps and lyres floated the air. She was dressed as Venus and see to it that she well be alone with Antony.Cleopatra was 27 years old that time, after the meeting, Antony followed Cleopatra to Egypt leaving behind the armies and the invasion plan.
- during her reign, the Roman Empire repeatedly threatened Egypt with conquest. Her alliance with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony helped keep Egypt independent for 20 years.
- her riches were great that after her death the Roman Empire was able to reduce interest from 12% to 4% from plundered assets of Cleopatra.
- spoke 9 languages that enabled her to handle the diplomatic relationship with neighboring countries that benefitted Egypt
The Kingdom of Sheba
Ther records of the ancient country of Sheba dated back from 700 BCE, according to Coltri (2011), Sheba was sometimes called Saba and thought to be the present day Yemen and less Ethiopia. In both oral and written accounts, the Sabean culture was a magnificent civilization. It consisted of a strong economy and political organization centered principally on international relations. The title held by the superior ruler of Sheba is most significant, not only showing the origin of the woman who constructed a state, but also pointing to the female ability to cope in a patriarchal word.
the mysterious and enigmatic Queen of Sheba
who was the Queen of Sheba? over the centuries question has been raised by different people, scholars over the validity and authenticity of the legend and personality of the Queen of Sheba. The legend has continued to be puzzling and tantalizing, yet no sufficient evidence has been found regarding many of the questions raised. The legend of the Queen of Sheba continues to survive in response to changing historical circumstances, Coltri (2011) believed that Judaic, Islamic, and Christian Scriptures and works of arts have created diverse images of the Queen of Sheba. Similarly, because of oral, historical, and biblical accounts, variation on the supposed name of Sheba also exists and these are:
- Bilqis or Balqis- Islamic version, legend says that she descended from demons wth her hairy legs, her goat hoop foot and possible marriage to King Solomon
- Makeda- Ethiopian version based on their Holy Book-Kebra Nagast (The Glory of Kings) presented Sheba as the Queen of Ethiopia
- Lilith (a female demon or a dangerous Queen of the occult
- Queen Candace or Kandake-warrior Queen of the Kushian Empire (present day-Sudan)
Most mainstream religion, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are agreed that the historical origin of the Queen of Sheba date from the 10th century, circa 950 BCE (ibid.)
Queen Sheba and King Solomon
The story of Queen of Sheba and King Solomon can be found in three sources, namely, the Christian Bible, Muslim Quran, and Ethiopia's Holy Book- Kebra Nagast (The Book Of Kings).The story is also featured in the Persian and Turkish paintings, Kabbalistic treatises, and medieval Christian mystical works. According to Mamman (2009), the foundation of all these accounts can be found in the Bible, the first Book of Kings (10:1-13), which is repeated almost word for word in the second Book Of Chronicles (9:1-12)
The two texts described how the Queen of Sheba left her abode to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem on account of what she heard about his wisdom and great understanding. She came with so many questions to ask him and brought with her a lot of spices, gold, and precious stones. Having asked King Solomon of difficult questions and he answered them all. She appreciated the GOD that King Solomon worship and exchange of gifts occurred. It is significant to note, however, that the Bible did not mention the country she had come or even her name or background generally(ibid).
parallel lives of Cleopatra AND Sheba
Though the two Queens, Cleopatra and Sheba live in different time zones and geography, they extolled the idea that women are equal to men. Cleopatra, the exotics, sensual, and feminine, while Sheba, the divine, mysterious and enigmatic were both great leaders of their people. They exhibit strength and wisdom against the patriarchal world.They show that women have equal rights with men
Here are two regal women, Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba that shaped the history of the world and the destiny of mankind. The records of their reign written in tablets and walls of pyramids and papyrus attest to their magnificent role as Queens of their kingdom. Their reign is fraught with dangers of power struggle in a male-dominated world But did not weaver, extolled the right of women as equal to men. As a person, their legends created various stories that some are debasement. However, their legend grew across time and space, remained enigmatic, exotic, and mysterious.
Baktir, Hasan.2013.Cleopatra as a complex character. J. of language and Literature Education 2(7) 59-70.
Cleopatra and Sheba (www, cambridge.com)
Cleopatra. (www.Wikipedia, The free encyclopedia)
Coltri, Marzia.2011.The challenge of the Queen of Sheba: Hidden monarchy in the ancient East.University of Birmingham, UK. (www.censur.org.2011/dans-coltri.pdf.
Mamman, Musa Adamu.2011.The legend of Queen of Sheba, the SolomicDynasty and Ethiopian History: an analysis. African Research Review.3(1):468-482.
Sagar, Keith.2009. Cleopatra and Antony (An Essay)
www, Flickr, com. www.kingtutone.com. www.natgeo.com. www.wikimedia.com. www.wikipedia,the free encyclopidia. www. womeninthebible.net