Cleopatra: Rise and Ascension
First and foremost I discovered through my research, Cleopatra VII was born in 69 B.C.E in Alexandria, Egypt as the daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes who was possibly his sister or wife. Historically, she has been depicted as someone who was superficial. She is known solely for her beauty and sexual prowess but not only is this far from the truth, it does not take into account her greatest asset, because her greatest asset rather than her beauty was her intelligence; she is believed to have known at least 9 languages as well as being well educated in mathematics, philosophy, oratory, and astronomy. (“Cleopatra: Rise and Ascension to the throne”) Delving deeper, and analyzer her a military strategist, one can also consider her seduction rather than a strength from her a beauty, it is her strength towards as a strategist.
Today’s common belief of Cleopatra through television and common portrayal is as a beautiful, sexual, seductive, icon of Egyptian history, but there are several misconceptions within this belief. The first mistake is believing her seductive nature came out of her beauty; through the Egyptian currency of the time, she is known to have a crooked nose and rather masculine features unlike that of a feminine figure she is known for today. While this neither added on nor detracted from her seductive nature, it is a common misconception that her beauty was her main asset in her seduction. Rather it was believed that it was her intelligence and political ambitions that drew the attention of men. This eventually led to her rise to the throne in Egypt; upon the death of Auletes Ptolemy II. The Egyptian throne was passed to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her 10-year-old brother, Ptolemy XIII. After the siblings soon rise to power Ptolemy’s advisers acted against Cleopatra, forcing her to flee in 49 B.C.E. She eventually made her reappearance with an army of mercenaries she had gathered to face off with her brother. Knowing the odds would improve with the support of another ruler, the eventual arrival of Julius Caesar to Alexandria changed the aspects of the siblings’ rivalry with one another.
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In order to help her cause, she sought after the support of Julius Caesar and plead her case with him, and with the timing of the events and Cleopatra ambition to seeking Caesar’s help during his arrival, she was able to gain his backing. With the support of Caesar and her army of mercenaries, Caesar and Cleopatra emerged victorious through the battle but not without substantial loss of life; Pothinus, Achilles, and Ptolemy were all killed. After the battle, Caesar declared Cleopatra back to the throne and her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as consort. She continued to work towards gaining her country’s favor through acts such as lowering the taxes on farmers. Her ambition towards gaining political power continued, and her life continued to become furthermore connected with Rome, and she continued to form good relations with Rome’s leaders. Soon these plans were put to a halt, however when Caesar was eventually assassinated in 44 B.C.E. Eygpt’s wealth was not unnoticed, and the leaders of Rome took its opportunity to benefit using Egypt as a financial advocate. By 42 B.C.E Marc Antony after the Battle of Philippi placed taxes on Cleopatra’s subjects to support his Eastern Campaign. Cleverly understanding the situations she was in, she acknowledged it was in her best interest to rather than confront Antony head on, it would be far more effective to use her personal charms instead. The meeting of Marc Antony and Cleopatra displayed all of her charms with her maturity captivating Marc Antony’s heart. However currently being married to Octavian’s half-sister Octavia, and forming the Second Triumvirate, Cleopatra was left to rule Egypt. Although as time passed by and Marc Antony’s continued march east his relationship with Cleopatra became stronger, as well as a mutual understanding grew between the two. Cleopatra’s influence continued to grow on Antony and eventually, he formally declared a divorce between him and his wife Octavia, half-sister of Octavian. (“Cleopatra VII: Research Starters”). Let alone this he arranged for his own three children and Cleopatra to rule over both Egypt and Roman provinces in Asian minor. Outraged Octavian declared war on not alone Antony, but a war on Cleopatra as well. At the battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E., both Cleopatra’s Egyptian forces and Antony’s Roman forces went to battle against Octavian’s fleet. Going into battle both Cleopatra’s and Antony’s forces were outmatched and they were soon forced to retreat; this leads to the eventual death of Marc Antony. Little is known about the death of Cleopatra, but many theorized Cleopatra had committed suicide with the use of a poisonous snake.