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The Ptolemies

The Ptolemy’s were a GREEK dynasty and ruled Egypt which was a wealthy country through its agriculture and mineral wealth provided by the Nile. It also a strategic position as it was near the Mediterranean and good for trade making it an economic and cultural centre.

The Ptolemy’s continued ruling as pharaohs and married siblings in the Egyptian tradition. Many people believe the first three Ptolemy’s were successful rulers and after that the rest were corrupt.

Ptolemy XI

Received support from the Roman general Sulla and was killed by the Egyptians who resented his cruelty and his ROMAN connections. In his will he left Egypt to the ROMANS.

Ptolemy XII

Depended on the Romans for his Survival and father of Cleopatra, Berenice ,PtolemyXIII and PtolemyXIV

The Egyptian kings relied on help from Rome as they were unpopular and weak.

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Relations between Egypt & Rome in 60s and 50s BC

In the 60sBC Roman politians began to cast a greedy eye over Egypt and Julius caesar and Crassus (politicans) both argued that Egypt should become a part of the Roman empire (they wanted Egypt's wealth)

In 59BC PtolemyXII paid 6000 talents to pass a law in Rome confirming Ptolemy's position as king of egypt To fund this Pholemy had to raise taxes and as well having a close assosiation with Romans  made his flee the country in 58BC and go to Rome and stay with the the roman general Pompey.

In his absence his daughter Berenice Grabbed power however in 55BC the Romans helped Ptolemy re-take Egypt and Ptolemy executed Berenice.Ptolemy ruled securely until his death in 51BC by the pressence of roman soldiers.

After Ptolemy XII's death Ceopatra (now 18) became joint rular of Egypt whith her brother,Ptolemy(who was only 10 years old)

Cleopatra inherited a weak Egypt dependant on Roman patrons exploiting Egypt for financial and political advantage.

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Cleopatra becoming queen of Egypt

When Ptolemy XII died in 51BC he left his kingdom to Cleopatra (18) and PtolemyXII who because of his young age had guardians appointed for him. Cleopatra married Ptolemy according to Egyptian custom. The guardians who were appointed to the young Ptolemy were keen to secure their own positions through the young king so were keen to remove Cleopatra from the scene.

Around 49BC Cleopatra was driven out of Alexandria by her brothers faction, Cleopatra  raised an army to regain power, but before she could attack, Pompy came to Egypt on the run from Julius Ceaser. Ptolemy’s faction advised Ptolemy to kill Pompy in order to to gain favour with Julius however this failed as Julius was appalled by that the great roman general and statesman ,Pompy, had been murdered by Egyptians.

Ceaser began to act like he owned Egypt which annoyed some of the local population enabling Ptolemy to rebel against Julius  and he was was tapped inside Alexandria for several months waiting for reinforcements .Cleopatra smuggled herself into Alexandria and Julius was apparently captivated by her charm and intelligence and so became her mistress. Reinforcements arrived in 47BC the rebellion lead by Ptolemy who was killed in the fighting. Cleopatra was able to secure her position as queen of Egypt.

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Cleopatra and her relationship with Julius ceaser

·         Both of them were intelligent and determined politicians whose main aims preserve themselves and their power

·         They would also be concerned to protect the interests of their own countries.

·         Cleopatra was aware that in 48BC Ceaser was very powerful (the most powerful man in the world) and without his support she would likely be killed by her enemies. She also knew that he would leave soon and she would never see him again

·         Before he left, he and Cleopatra cruised down the Nile, dispite the pressing problems in Rome. For Cleopatra this was displaying her as the queen of Egypt beyond the the city of Alexandria and the support she had from Ceaser.

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The political system in Rome before the Augustus

This system was known as the rebublic and power lay with the senate (Parliment) and the people in the senate were known as senators. Each year two senetors were elected to be consuls for that year (prime ministers) rthey only held this position for a year meaning that nobody would become to powerful like a king.

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The rise of Julius Ceaser

·         Julius was from an aristocratic family who claimed to be descended from the goddess of Venus

·         he was elected consul in 59BC

·         Through the 50s BC Ceaser  lead a legendary campaign in Gaul- these were the Gallic wars which Julius won vast territory for Rome and proved himself Rome’s mightiest general

·         This brought him into conflict with Pompy the great

·         Civil war erupted between the two in 49BC which Julius defeating Pompey at the battle of Pharsalus

·         Pompey fled to Egypt where he was murdered

·         Julius struck up a relationship with Cleopatra and secured her position as Queen of Egypt in 47BC

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The fall of Julius Ceaser

Many members of the senate were worried that Julius had become too powerful and was planning to become king (perhaps with Cleopatra as his queen) He had accepted the title of dictator for life in Feb 44BC

A large group of senators, lead by Brutus and Cassius who hatched a plot t assassinate Julius

On the Ides of March(15th of march) 44BC,Ceaser was stabbed to death by these senators who claimed that they were freeing the republic from Julius' tyrannical rule.

In his will, Julius had named as his heir his great-nephew Guis Octavius (Octavian/Augustus) and also adopted him as his son.

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Cleopatra and the Murder of Julius Ceaser

47-46BC: after the Julius left Egypt, Cleopatra built the Caesareum in the harbour of Alexandria.The Ceasareum was a temple dedicated to Ceaser and was intended to keep the name and power of Ceaser alive in the mind of the Egyptians.It also reminded them of Cleopatra's with Ceaser and that her son Ceaserion was the son of the most important Romans

46-44BC: Cleopatra travelled to Rome to ensure that her position as undisputed ruler of Egypt was formally granted by the Senate. She was declared a friend and ally to the people of Rome.

·         Cleopatra knew that Julius would not be around forever; she wanted to gain more friends and allies in Rome in order to secure her position further

·         the stability of Egypt depended on her ability to survive as an independent ruler

Cleopatra stayed and one of Julius' plush houses and she met Ciciro, Mark Antony and Octavian

Julius made a big fuss of her arrive he placed a statue of her in his brand new temple and this lead to rumours that he intended to marry Cleo.

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Octavian and Mark Antony

When Julius was killed Mark Antony (Consul) and Lepidus(master of the horse) took control of the troops as well as Ceaser’s money and will. He arranged a meeting at the temple of Tussus were all the Conspirators were allowed to leave Rome. Julius' acts were allowed to remain in force. Antony was praised for avoiding a civil war.

The will showed Julius had made Octavian (18) heir. Mark Antony arranged a funeral and announced in a speech that Ceaser had given 75 denarii to each citizen as well as displaying Julius' blood stained toga creating a riot. This made the conspirators run for their lives leaving Antony with complete control of the city and abolished the role of dictator

While Antony was building up his power he provided land for Ceasers veterans and sent Lepidus off to Spain .It was clear that the the conspirators had made a mistake of not getting rid of Antony. When Octavian arrived he borrowed money to pay for games when Antony refused to hand over and Antony refused to legalize Octavian’s adoption. In response Octavian raised an army at his own expense along with the current senators who wanted to curb Antony's power (Antony lost twice) when both consuls died in battle Octavian demanded the consulship even though the minimum age was 43. He then legalized his adoption and made an agreement called the second triamferate were Lepidus Octavian and Antony joined together to avenge Julius resulting in the battle of Philippi in 42BC were Brutus and Cassius died.

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44-40BC the beginning of the romance

Cleopatra returned to Egypt after the death of Julius and later that year her brother and co-ruler died (rumours are she murders him) and she installs her son Ceasarion has her new co-ruler. He was also known as Ptolemy XV Ceaser showing his duel heritage. Cleo represented herself as the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite

After the battle of Philippi Antony took control of the eastern part of the empire and he called Cleopatra to a meeting whist preparing a military campaign to Parthia (41BC) They both needed somthing he needed Money and resources from Egypt as well as making sure he could rely on her being a client queen. She needed to win his support to secure her rule. Cleopatra arrived in her royal barrage and people liken the meeting to Aphrodite and Deionises.

Antony then followed Cleopatra to Alexandria where they spent the winter during this time Antony helped secure Cleopatra’s position as queen as well as living a life of luxury and pleasure. When Antony returned he married Octavia Octavian’s sister as his previous wife Fulvia died in 40BC. Meanwhile in Egypt Cleopatra gives birth to twins fathered by Antony called Alexander and Cleopatra giving her an association with a powerful faction in Rome 

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40-34BC Antony under Cleopatra's spell

·         40BC treaty of Brundism the empire was divided between the triumvirs Antony took east Octavian took west Lepidus took Africa Antony married Octavian sister Octavia to seal the deal. 40-39BC Antony when against the Parathions

·         37BC Antony sent Octavia back to Rome and summoned Cleo to meet him in Antioch. He then formally recognised her children as his and gave them significant territory which Egypt had formally ruled (Cyprus create etc)

·         36BC Octavian beats Sextus Pompy in a naval battle Lepidus tries to take Sicily but fails as his army goes to Octavian and Antony's expedition against Partia fails

·         35BC Octavia meets Antony with 2000 troops and money and Antony sends her packing

·         34BC Antony has a successful campaign in Armenia and celebrates by having a triumph in Alexandria ( he represents himself as a new Dionises and Cleo as a New Isis) After this came the DONATIONS OF ALEXANDRIA were Ceaserian formally became co-ruler and called the king of kings and Cleo was called the Queen of kings this was when land was given to the children of Antony and Cleopatra that belonged to Rome and was not his to give

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33-32BC preparations for war

  •  33BC Octavian started a propaganda campain against Antony potraying him as a traitor to rome and himself as a defender of true roman causes.
  • 32BC Antony divorces octavia hugly damaging his reputationand Octavian uses this to say that Antony was rejecting this wholsome roman woman in favour of a Egyptian monstrosity the roman people were angerd as Octavia was seen to be a loyal wife who brought up her childeren by Anthony but also his childeren by fulvia for a Forighn queen. This made it seam as if he preferd his children by Cleopatra.
  • Octavian also gets Antony's will from the vestal vergins which was considered wrong as he was reading his will before he was dead however it did great damage to Antony's reputation as  it showed that when he died he wanted to be buired in alexandria showing his allience with egypt.
  • Later that year the communities of Italy pass a vote of confidence in Octavian and swear alligence to him as leader; Octavian declares a Just war on Cleopatra eventhough it is mainly a civel war his propaganda presents it as a awar against a foreign queen as it is more honourable.
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The battle of Actium 31BC

Forces---Antony and Cleo have a larger fighting force which is made up of Egyptians, Romans and allied eastern kingdoms compared to Rome’s much smaller force of Romans.

Strengths and weaknesses--- Antony and Cleopatra had many more men and ships however not enough skilled crew to use the ships effectively and the ships themselves were very big and slow. Their land army was much stronger then Octavian’s. Octavian’s ships were much smaller and faster and easy to manoeuvre. Octavian’s right hand man Agrippa was a skilled general and had previous navel victories

Crucial moment one--- Cleopatra persuaded Antony to fight on sea even though his commanders advised him not to mainly because she had donated may of the ships.

Crucial moment two--- The fighting was balanced however suddenly Cleopatra feels back to Egypt and Antony abandons the battle to follow

The aftermath--- Antony’s fleet soon surrenders and Antony’s land army wait for Antony to return but when he does not they surrender Octavian who shows mercy.

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End Game 31-30BC

After Antony and Cleo fled to Egypt thought they could continue the war against Octavian however in 30BC Octavian’s army had surrounded Alexandria Antony tried to make one final attack however his troops deserted him. Antony cured Cleo for leading to his downfall. Cleo fearing Antony rage sent a message that she had killed herself Antony then stabbed himself (not fatal)Cleo who had barricaded herself in a tomb full of treasure ordered Antony to be brought to her. Antony tells Cleo to save herself then dies in her arms.

When Cleo is captured Octavian treated her well and  had no plans to kill her  as Plutarch said that he wanted her in a triumph he also lets her bury Antony in royal style. Cleopatra tries to stave herself to death however Octavian prevents her doing this and places guards on her. Then Cleo makes an emotional visit to Antony’s tomb and then kills herself by asp/poison hair pin or many other methods. Octavian was angry however admired her courage and ordered her to be buried with Antony

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