- NAME: Cleopatra VII
- OCCUPATION: Queen
- BIRTH DATE: c. 69 BCE
- DEATH DATE: c. 30 BCE
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Egypt
- PLACE OF DEATH: Alexandria, Egypt
- Full Name: Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator
- AKA: Cleopatra
Best Known For
As queen of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra is one of the most famous female rulers in history. The stories surrounding Cleopatra's tragic life inspired a Shakespeare play.
Cleopatra - Mini Biography (3:12)
Cleopatra - Powerful Woman (1:52)
Cleopatra - Born to Rule (1:48)
Cleopatra - The End (1:50)
The last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty, the stories and myths surrounding Cleopatra's tragic life inspired a number of books, movies and plays. Cleopatra has become one of the most well known ancient Egyptian.
A look at the life of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Antony.
A look into the childhood and grooming of the lovely Egyptian ruler.
Cleopatra's death on August 12th, 30 BC was consequence of Augustus, legal heir of Caesar, and Cleopatra's love for his rival Mark Antony.
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Cleopatra agreed to his request and made a lavish entrance into the city of Tarsus. Captivated by her beauty and personality, Antony plunged into a love affair with Cleopatra that would eventually produce three children, including twins named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene.
Just like Caesar before him, Antony was embroiled in a battle over Rome's control. His rival was Caesar's own great-nephew, Gaius Octavius,
also known as Octavian (who became the future Emperor Caesar Augustus). Gaius Octavius, along with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, rounded out the Second Triumvirate. Antony, who presided over Rome's eastern areas, detested Gaius Octavius and saw in Cleopatra the chance for financial and military support to secure his own rule over the empire.
Cleopatra had her own motivations, as well. In exchange for her help, she sought the return of Egypt's eastern empire, which included large areas of Lebanon and Syria.
In the year 34 BC, Antony returned with Cleopatra to Alexandria with a triumphant flair. Crowds swarmed to the Gymnasium to catch a glimpse of the couple seated on golden thrones that were elevated on silver platforms. Beside them sat their children.
Antony antagonized his rival by declaring Caesarion as Caesar’s real son and legal heir, rather than Octavian, whom the revered Roman leader had adopted. Octavian, however, fought back, declaring he’d seized Antony’s will, and told the Roman people that Antony had turned over Roman possessions to Cleopatra and that there were plans to make Alexandria the Roman capital.
In the year 31 BC, Cleopatra and Antony combined armies to try to defeat Octavian in a raging sea battle at Actium, on Greece’s west coast. The clash, however, proved to be a costly defeat for the Egyptians, forcing Antony and Cleopatra to flee back to Egypt.
Antony soon returned to the battlefield, where he was falsely informed that Cleopatra had died. Upon hearing the news, the despondent Roman leader committed suicide by stabbing himself. Cleopatra followed her lover’s demise by ending her life as well by being bitten by an Egyptian cobra. She died on August 12, 30 BC. The two were buried together, as they had wished, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.
In the centuries following her death, Cleopatra and her life have captivated historians, storytellers, and the general public. Her affair with Marc Antony and its end became the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra (1607). More recently, seductive versions of her have been played by actresses such as Theda Bara (1917), Claudette Colbert (1934) and Elizabeth Taylor (1963).
Her story resonates, too, because of what she represented in such a male-dominated society. In an era when Egypt was roiled by internal and external battles, Cleopatra held the country together and proved to be as powerful a leader as any of her male counterparts.
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After Caesar's assassination, Cleopatra set her sights on the dashing Roman general Marc Antony. The two began an affair, resulting in twins in 40 B.C. Antony wed Cleopatra in 36 B.C., and appointed his new wife ruler of Egypt, Cyprus, Crete, and Cyria. This abuse of power so outraged the Roman Senate that they denounced him a traitor. After losing a major battle at sea, Antony and Cleopatra were forced to flee to Egypt in 31 B.C. In desperation, Cleopatra spread rumors of her own suicide. Antony, unaware of her plan, stabbed himself to death. When Cleopatra heard of this, she took her own life by inducing a poisonous snake to bite her.
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