ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on November 1, 2009

Cleopatra was the throne name of a number of Macedonian queens of ancient Egypt, the most famous of whom was Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 - 30 B.C.). Although she ruled in Alexandria, she was part Macedonian; part Greek and Iranian. In the history of Egypt, Cleo­patra is of small importance; she was merely the last of the degenerating Ptolemaic line, which had become accustomed to governing with the aim of exacting as much revenue as possible with­out causing revolt. Her fame comes from the West: as mistress and wife of Mark Antony she played a decisive role in the course of Roman, and hence subsequent European, history.

Cleopatra and Caesar

In 51 B.C., in accordance with the will of their father Ptolemy XII Auletes, Cleopatra and her young brother Ptolemy XIII ascended the throne as joint rulers of Egypt. From the first, the young queen showed a strong will to power, and she struggled with her brother and his supporters for complete control of Egypt. At first unsuccessful, she was exiled from Alexan­dria (in 49 B.C.). While she was preparing an army to regain her throne, Julius Caesar arrived in Egypt to settle the succession and attempt to gain Egypt's wealth for Rome. Cleopatra re-jturned to the capital in secret and secured Cae­sar's support; hence, after Caesar had won the Battle of Alexandria (47 B.C.) and Ptolemy XIII had died, she found her position secure. Tradi­tion forced her to take her youngest brother, Ptolemy XIV, as her husband and cosovereign, but Cleopatra was now the effective ruler of Egypt. During several months of rest for the Roman army, she showed Caesar every pleasure and luxury, including a journey up the Nile. It appears that she now began to plan for wider power - as first lady of the Roman world.

Cleopatra's position was consolidated when (in 46 B.C.) she bore Caesar a son, who was called Ptolemy Caesar or Caesarion. Soon after­ward she went to Rome, where she was received with honor, although Caesar greatly offended his countrymen by dedicating a golden statue of her in the temple of Venus Genetrix. Provided with a residence on Caesar's property beyond the Tiber, Cleopatra remained in Rome until a month after his assassination in March 44 B.C., when she fled to Alexandria. Ptolemy XIV died, presumably poisoned by her order, and she placed her son with her on the throne as Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor. (She had made him acceptable at birth to rule in Egypt by having him recognized by the priests of Hermonthis as a son of the god Arnon.)

Antony and Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Antony and Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Cleopatra and Antony

After the Battle of Phillippi (42 B.C.), Mark Antony (a member of the ruling triumvirate with Octavian and Lepidus) called Cleopatra and other Eastern rulers to Tarsus to render account to him. Cleopatra now saw her second great opportunity for world power and fame. In a carefully staged encounter, she used all her wealth, charm, and wit to excite the interest of this passionate man. Not only was she acquitted of a charge of assisting Cassius (one of Caesar's assassins) against the triumvirate, but she soon had Antony granting her every request, even to ordering the murder of her young sister Arsinoe (a barely possible contender for the Egyptian throne), who had taken asylum in the temple at Ephesus. A few months later she received him as her paramour in Alexandria. There during the winter of 41 - 10 B.C. she made herself indispensable to him as mistress of ceremonies, companion, and confidante.

After a long separation, Antony sent for Cleopatra in the autumn of 37 B.C. to join him in Antioch. There they were married, although Antony was already wedded to Octavian's sister, Octavia, and a polygamous marriage could not be recognized under Roman law. Antony acknowledged as his the twins Cleopatra had borne, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. In addition, he gave her a considerable part of the territories of central Syria, the island of Cyprus, much of the Phoenician coast, properties in Judaea, and the land east of the Dead Sea in the Nabataean kingdom. Together they planned his next campaign against Parthia. Then, pregnant with Ptolemy Philadelphus, Cleopatra returned to Egypt, but her hold on Antony continued to grow. She led him to insult Octavia, who had been forbearing and staunch in her support of her faithless husband. She outraged Roman pride by persuading him to celebrate a triumph in Alexandria and allow her participation in it (34 B.C.). The honors and favors Antony heaped upon Cleopatra and her children and his acquies­cence in Oriental modes of behavior led to scandalous gossip and charges (some true, some false) that progressively alienated his officers and his supporters in Rome until he lost his reputation and was stripped of his powers.

Eventually Cleopatra accompanied Antony everywhere, even in the field, becoming his most trusted counselor. It was against Cleopatra that Octavian finally declared war in 32 B.C. When the two commanders met at Actium in 31 B.C. to decide who should rule the Roman world, it was Cleopatra's plan of battle that Antony used. And when most of his fleet defected, it was in her ships that he fled. Instead of following him to Alexandria, his army surrendered.

Antony's spirit was broken, and it soon became clear to Cleopatra that her dreams of power could no longer be achieved through him. Nor could they be achieved by an Egyptian war against Octavian. Both Antony and Cleopatra unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with Octavian, who eventually took Pelusium and then Alexandria. According to tradition, Cleopatra provoked Antony's suicide by allowing him to believe she had killed herself. After his death she attempted once more to treat with Octavian for the rights of her children. When she was satisfied that she could obtain nothing, she killed herself. However, she was foiled in a plan to immolate herself and all her family treasure, which she had collected in a mausoleum where she then barricaded herself with two trusted companions. Legend has it that she was detained in conversation at the entrance while a Roman soldier forced a high rear window. From then on she was a prisoner; and almost certainly Octavian acquiesced to her suicide (30 B.C.). This was probably accomplished through the bite of a cobra smuggled to her in a basket of figs. She was buried beside Antony in accordance with a last request. Cleopatra's death brought the 300-year old Ptolemaic dynasty to an end, and Egypt became a Roman province.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      she was very buitiful

    • alexchia01 profile image


      8 years ago

      Cleopatra brought the down fall of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. In history, she was one of the very few women who had influence more than one powerful man. It seems that very few men can resist the beauty of a women. There is a Chinese saying, "All Heroes Have Problem Surviving A Beauty Trap".


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)