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The Rise and Fall of Cleopatra


A little-known fact is that Cleopatra was actually the 7th Egyptian pharaoh to bear that name. She was the last representative of the mighty Ptolemaic dynasty that ruled in the African nation. Her womanly tricks and expert political moves led to her becoming one of the most exalted women to ever live.

The future ruler of Egypt was born into the family of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the then ruler of the Empire, near the Nile. Her full name was Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator which meant Cleopatra the Goddess, father-loving, homeland-loving.

Another little-known fact in the biography of the powerful ruler is that officially she was never actually ruler of the nation. Early on during her rise she ruled under the shadow of her father, then her brother's and finally her son's.

She was born in 69 BC in Alexandria. She had a difficult childhood. Characteristic of the Ptolemaic dynasty was inbreeding, drama within the kingdom and murder. The parents of the young princess were closely related within the family, while the unofficial family motto of the dynasty was "kill or be killed".

Cleopatra's father was poisoned by her sister Arsinoe and brother Ptolemy XIII, while she herself was exiled from Egypt. But the princess did not despair and with skillful maneuvering managed to draw the Roman Republic into Egyptian matters. After a brief military coup she was raised to the throne by Julius Caesar, after which she married her brother. To avoid future disputes over the throne she ordered her sister killed.

To ensure the security of Egypt, Cleopatra enticed Caesar to keep him in the country. Egypt remained independent but 3 Roman legions remained to watch over it. The winter relationship between Cleopatra and Caesar led to the birth of their son Ptolemy XV Caesar, Caesarion for short - little Caesar. However, Caesar refused to make the boy his heir and instead announced his nephew Octavius as successor.

The relations between the Egyptian princess and the greatest Roman man scandalized Roman society. This led to the assassination of Julius Caesar in front of the Senate in Rome. To ensure the future of her kingdom and the safety of her son, Cleopatra attracted another celebrated Roman general - Mark Antony.

At that time the Roman Republic was ruled by the triumvirate Mark Antony, Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony was married to Octavian's sister - Octavia. His connection with Cleopatra set the future emperor against the general.

Ultimately this caused a war between Egypt and Rome. The Roman legions crushed the pharaoh's forces and besieged Alexandria. Antony died from the wounds he received in battle. To avoid capture, Cleopatra killed herself by using the holy cobra - her guardian, a gift from the Temple of the Sun.

Cleopatra was the last ruler of a glorious civilization. After 3000 years the Egyptian Empire came to an end. With Cleopatra's death, Octavian absorbed Egypt into his own empire.

Octavian captured the minor pharaoh. Fearing that too many Caesars might pose a risk to him becoming the successor of his adoptive father, he decided to murder his non-blood brother.