Cleopatra and the Egyptian Kingdom
Many people think they know about Cleopatra, but do you really? Would it surprise you to learn that she was actually not Egyptian at all? Cleopatra has left a lasting impression on Egypt for various reasons, such as her importance and association with other empires.
Cleopatra was very important to ancient Egypt for many reasons. She was the last queen who ruled Egypt of her dynasty and was the last queen before Rome conquered Egypt. She also caused a war between Antony and Octavian, two very important roman figures. Because of that she was important to Rome as well as Egypt and they made statues and records of her. She did much for Egypt’s economy and established trade with Arab nations. She was also a popular ruler because she was the first ruler in 200 years to embrace the Egyptian culture. Her father was a powerful ruler and her full name, Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator, means “she who comes from a glorious father.”
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Cleopatra is best known as beautiful, but in her time she was a powerful political figure. She became queen at the age of 18, along with her brother who was 10 at the time. She had some experience, as she had co-ruled with her father through the ages of 14 to 18. The first few years of her reign were hard because the Nile river flooded low causing crops to fail, people to go hungry, and loss of money. Cleopatra was blamed for this. Another difficult year was when her brother ran her out of Egypt. She battled him for the throne and eventually won with the help of a powerful Roman general named Julius Caesar. Her brother drowned in the Nile. Cleopatra was actually very smart and spoke as many as a dozen languages, was educated in mathematics, philosophy, oratory, and astronomy. Egyptian sources say she was a ruler who,”elevated the rank of scholars and enjoyed their company.” In total she ruled for almost three decades with her two brothers and baby son.
One of the reasons Cleopatra is famous is because of her family tree. Her father was Ptolemy Xll. Her mother was either Cleopatra V or Cleopatra Vl. When she first became queen she was forced to marry her brother Ptolemy Xiii. After his death she was wed to her other brother Ptolemy XlV. She soon met and fell in love with Julius Caesar. They had a child named Ptolemy XV, most commonly known as Caesarion (little Caesar). After Caesar was murdered, she met another powerful roman general named Mark Antony. They got married and had twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. She had a second son with Antony named Ptolemy Philadelphus. As stated before she was actually Greek not Egyptian.
The means of Cleopatra’s death are uncertain, but there are many famous theories. On the behalf of Rome, Antony gave Cleopatra permission to rule Egypt. Many of his enemies disapproved and declared war. They were defeated and Antony soon killed himself thinking Cleopatra was dead, just as news was arriving that she was alive. Soon after burying Antony she locked herself in a chamber and commited suicide. Most people think that she died of a snakebite, but some historians think it was poison instead. If she had died from that particular snake’s, known as an asap, bite it would have taken hours and would have been extremely painful. Thats the opposite of an old writerS words. HE wrote that she had a quiet and pain free death. People also argue that it would be unlikely that the cause of her death to be snakebite, because both of her servants died with her. Some disagree with both and go as far to say it wasn’t a suicide at all, but she was murdered by Octavian.
While a large amount of people may think of Cleopatra as a typical queen of the Nile some facts prove the opposite. To keep her skin looking youthful, she bathed in donkey milk every day. What’s amazing is that it took 700 donkeys to supply her daily bath. Another shocking beauty fact is that her makeup was not just for looks but strengthened her immune system and produced helpful chemicals. One of the most surprising beauty facts today, though not at that time, was that like most Egyptians she was bald and wore wigs. She also convinced her subjects that she was a reincarnation of the goddess Isis and had many statues and portraits made of her to reflect herself as a goddess. During the war she lead a naval fleet into battle. One cool fact about Cleopatra and today is that we have never found her and Mark Antony’s tomb. Finally today her fortune has been estimated to have been worth 100 billion dollars.
Although Cleopatra was Greek and not an Egyptian, she made a huge impact on their society. She has been remembered because of her importance, political effect on egypt, family tree, the mystery of her death, and many facts worth remembering. Without Cleopatra, Egypt wouldn’t be the same.