Cleopatra was welcomed into Alexandria by Ptolemy XIII

Cleopatra is dubbed as one of history’s most famous Egyptian rulers. She ruled for over three decades as co-regent for her brothers and then later on her son. Her rule was the last of the Macedonian rule led by Ptolemy. Cleopatra was highly intelligent and clever, using her looks to seduce her way into different romantic relationships. Her relations with the two famous Romans, Mark Antony and Julius Caesar earned her a spot in history and even inspired later works of William Shakespeare. She was an interesting character in history and her rule soon led to the fall of Egyptian power and the rise of Roman power. Not much is known of her early life but it is known that she was born in 69 B.C. and was the daughter of Ptolemy XII, her mother was said to be his half-sister. After the death of Ptolemy XII in 51 B.C. the throne was passed down to Cleopatra when she was age 18 as co-regent for her 10 year old brother Ptolemy XIII. Soon after beginning her co-regency, Ptolemy’s advisers acted against her. Fearing for her safety, Cleopatra was forced to leave Egypt. Cleopatra eventually made her way back to the throne but not without the help of Caesar.  Around that time a ” civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey was consuming Rome” (Life with caesar). During the war,” Pompey eventually sought refuge in Egypt, but on orders by Ptolemy, was killed” (Life with caesar.) Caesar was welcomed into Alexandria by Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra saw this as an opportunity to smuggle herself back into the throne. If she had Caesar’s power of his forces then Ptolemy could finally be dethroned and exiled. She saw much opportunity in an alliance with Caesar and so she pleaded to him. Shortly after pleading her case she was crowned into the throne again but not after months of fighting between Caesar and Ptolemy XIII. After Ptolemy was defeated it is said he fled Alexandria  and “was believed to have drowned in the Nile River” (Caesar and cleopatra.) Cleopatra had spent some time with Caesar in Alexandria and shortly after she gave birth to Ptolemy Caesar in 47 B.C. Shortly after this a chain of bad events began and it started with the murder of Caesar in 44 B.C. Cleopatra was in Rome with Ptolemy Caesar and Ptolemy XIV to visit Caesar and after his murder they returned back to Egypt but her brother had died as well. After these two deaths it did not cause much of a shift in her power to the throne. She was co-regent to her infant son and that secured her place. Mark Antony would soon come into Cleopatra’s life and his arrival would soon be the cause of her death. Cleopatra ruled as co-regent with her son while a war broke out in Rome between the allies of Cleopatra’s now dead lover, and the killers. Caesar’s allies were Octavian and Mark Antony and the two assassins were Brutus and Cassius and both came to Egypt for support in the war. Cleopatra had to make a decision on who she would support and ultimately she chose the allies. Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Cassius and Brutus in the battles of Philippi and shortly after Mark Antony requested for Cleopatra to come to Tarsus to speak with him. It is said that Cleopatra ” sailed to Tarsus in an elaborate ship, dressed in the robes of Isis,” and upon meeting Antony he was soon seduced by her (Cleopatra’s seduction of Mark Antony). Antony pledged to keep her crown safe and to protect Egypt from any enemies. The two lovers spent a winter together and shortly after, the birth of the two twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, happened.  Antony had to soon leave for battle against the kingdom of Parthia and needed to supplement funds from Cleopatra. However, Octavian was worried about Antony’s loyalty to him and so Antony was forced to marry Octavian’s half-sister, Octavia. The war in Parthia was lost terribly and afterwards Antony returned back to Cleopatra and not Octavia. Antony was on the road to being dubbed a traitor and being stripped from all his titles in Rome. This would happen after the Donations Alexandria took place and during this Antony proclaimed Caesarion (Cleopatra and Caesar’s son) as the rightful heir and not Caesar’s adopted son Octavian. A furious Octavian proclaimed “Antony was entirely under Cleopatra’s control and would abandon Rome and found a new capital in Egypt” (Cleopatra: power struggle). This sparked controversy and soon Octavian declared war against Cleopatra. Octavian defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces at the battle of Actium and then those forces retreated back to Egypt. Whilst fighting continued in Alexandria, Antony heard a rumor that Cleopatra had committed suicide and so he fell on his sword. This act committed by Antony would be the true cause to Cleopatra’s suicide and soon after hearing of the news she had decided to take her life by “inducing a poisonous snake to bite her” (Mark Antony and Cleopatra). However, there are many different stories of how Cleopatra died. Her dying by a snake bite was one and the other was that Marc Antony had committed suicide because Cleopatra promised him that they could rule the underworld together. He died and she did not follow after him but had her handmaiden spread different rumors of her suicide. It is not known which one is correct but either way they both died. Octavian then celebrated his victory and rejoiced in his newfound power in Rome.


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