Cleopatra

Cleopatras relationship with Mark Antony

The romance between Antony and Cleopatra might have changed the world. If Antony had succeeded in wining sole control of Rome with Cleopatra as his queen, he could have changed the course of the Roman Empire, making the world we live in today a different place. However, their relationship ended in mutual suicide in 30 BC, eleven years after it started, when Roman troops engulfed the Egyptian city of Alexandria and threatened their capture.

The seed that spawned their relationship was sown with the murder of Julius Caesar in March 44 BC (see The Assassination of Julius Caesar). Rome descended into anarchy and civil war. By 41 BC Antony and Octavian (who would later change his name to Augustus) shared the leadership of Rome and had divided the state into two regions - the western portion including Spain and Gaul ruled by Octavian, the eastern region including Greece and the Middle East ruled by Antony.


Marc Antony

The Parthian Empire located in modern-day Iraq posed a threat to Antony's eastern territory and he planned a military campaign to subdue them. But Antony needed money to put his plan into action and he looked to Cleopatra - ruler of Egypt and the richest woman in the world - to supply it. In 41 BC he summoned Cleopatra to meet him in the city of Tarsus in modern-day Turkey.

Cleopatra was a seductive woman and she used her talents to maintain and expand her power. Her first conquest was Julius Caesar in 48 BC. He was 52, she was 22. Their relationship produced a son and was ended only by Caesar's assassination.

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Relationship between julius caesar and cleopatra

Julius Caesar and Cleopatra were lovers. However, the relationship was one between two great minds of the ancient world, both with their best political interests at heart. They used their relationship with each other to secure a long-lasting bond between Egypt and Rome, and eventually assimilating the former into the empire. They even had an illegitimate child, who was probably the reason for their continued relations. Cleopatra tried to use her connection to gain power in the empire, but she succeeded at this more with Marc Antony. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra were two great leaders of their respective countries, whose complex and intriguing union has mystified and attracted historians ever since.

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Cleopatras family

Cleopatra VII Philopator (Ancient Greek: Κλεοπᾰ́τρᾱ Φιλοπάτωρ, translit. Kleopátrā Philopátōr;[5] 69 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC)[note 2] was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, nominally survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion.[note 4] She was also a diplomat, naval commander, linguist,[6] and medical author.[7] As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder, Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great. After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the Hellenistic period that had lasted since the reign of Alexander (336–323 BC).[note 5] Her native language was Koine Greek and she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.[note 6]

In 58 BC, Cleopatra presumably accompanied her father, Ptolemy XII, during his exile to Rome, after a revolt in Egypt allowed his eldest daughter, Berenice IV, to claim the throne. The latter was killed in 55 BC when Ptolemy XII returned to Egypt with Roman military assistance. When Ptolemy XII died in 51 BC, Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIII acceded to the throne as joint rulers, but a falling-out between them led to open civil war. After losing the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus in Greece against his rival Julius Caesar in Caesar's Civil War, the Roman statesman Pompey fled to Egypt, a Roman client state. Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed while Caesar occupied Alexandria in pursuit of Pompey. As consul of the Roman Republic, Caesar attempted to reconcile Ptolemy XIII with Cleopatra. However, Ptolemy XIII's chief adviser, Potheinos, viewed Caesar's terms as favoring Cleopatra, and so his forces, which eventually fell under the control of Cleopatra's younger sister, Arsinoe IV, besieged both Caesar and Cleopatra at the palace. The siege was lifted by reinforcements in early 47 BC and Ptolemy XIII died shortly thereafter in the Battle of the Nile. Arsinoe IV was eventually exiled to Ephesus and Caesar, now an elected dictator, declared Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as joint rulers of Egypt. However, Caesar maintained a private affair with Cleopatra that produced a son, Caesarion (Ptolemy XV). Cleopatra traveled to Rome as a client queen in 46 and 44 BC, staying at Caesar's villa. When Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Cleopatra attempted to have Caesarion named as his heir, but this fell instead to Caesar's grandnephew Octavian (known as Augustus by 27 BC, when he became the first Roman emperor). Cleopatra then had Ptolemy XIV killed and elevated Caesarion as co-ruler.

In the Liberators' civil war of 43–42 BC, Cleopatra sided with the Roman Second Triumvirate formed by Octavian, Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. After their meeting at Tarsos in 41 BC, Cleopatra had an affair with Antony that would eventually produce three children: Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus. Antony used his authority as a triumvir to carry out the execution of Arsinoe IV at Cleopatra's request. He became increasingly reliant on Cleopatra for both funding and military aid during his invasions of the Parthian Empire and the Kingdom of Armenia. In the Donations of Alexandria, Cleopatra's children with Antony were declared rulers over various erstwhile territories under Antony's authority. This event, along with Antony's marriage to Cleopatra and divorce of Octavia Minor, sister of Octavian, led to the Final War of the Roman Republic. After engaging in a war of propaganda, Octavian forced Antony's allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC and declared war on Cleopatra. The naval fleet of Antony and Cleopatra was defeated at the 31 BC Battle of Actium by Octavian's general Agrippa. Octavian's forces invaded Egypt in 30 BC and defeated those of Antony, leading to his suicide. When Cleopatra learned that Octavian planned to bring her to Rome for his triumphal procession, she committed suicide by poisoning, the popular belief being that she was bitten by an asp.

Cleopatra's legacy survives in numerous works of art, both ancient and modern, and many dramatizations of incidents from her life in literature and other media. She was described in various works of Roman historiography and Latin poetry, the latter producing a generally polemic and negative view of the queen that pervaded later Medieval and Renaissance literature. In the visual arts, ancient depictions of Cleopatra include Roman and Ptolemaic coinage, statues, busts, reliefs, cameo glass, cameo carvings, and paintings. She was the subject of many works in Renaissance and Baroque art, which included sculptures, paintings, poetry, theatrical dramas such as William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra (1608), and operas such as George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto (1724). In modern times Cleopatra has appeared in both the applied and fine arts, burlesque satire, Hollywood films such as Cleopatra (1963), and brand images for commercial products, becoming a pop culture icon of Egyptomania since the Victorian era.

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Cleopatras background

Ptolemaic pharaohs were crowned by the Egyptian High Priest of Ptah at Memphis, Egypt, but resided in the multicultural and largely Greek city of Alexandria, established by Alexander the Great of Macedon.[16][17][18][note 8] They spoke Greek and governed Egypt as Hellenistic Greek monarchs, refusing to learn the native Egyptian language.[19][20][21][note 6] In contrast, Cleopatra could speak multiple languages by adulthood and was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.[22][23][21][note 9] She also spoke Ethiopian, Trogodyte, Hebrew (or Aramaic), Arabic, the Syrian language (perhaps Syriac), Median, Parthian, and Latin, although her Roman contemporaries would have preferred to speak with her in her native Koine Greek.[23][21][24][note 10] Aside from Greek, Egyptian, and Latin, these languages reflected Cleopatra's desire to restore North African and West Asian territories that once belonged to the Ptolemaic Kingdom.[25]

Roman interventionism in Egypt predated the reign of Cleopatra.[26][27][28] When Ptolemy IX Lathyros died in late 81 BC, he was succeeded by his daughter Berenice III.[29][30] However, with opposition building at the royal court against the idea of a sole reigning female monarch, Berenice III accepted joint rule and marriage with her cousin and stepson Ptolemy XI Alexander II, an arrangement made by the Roman dictator Sulla.[29][30] Ptolemy XI had his wife killed shortly after their marriage in 80 BC, but was lynched soon thereafter in the resulting riot over the assassination.[29][31][32] Ptolemy XI, and perhaps his uncle Ptolemy IX or father Ptolemy X Alexander I, willed the Ptolemaic Kingdom to Rome as collateral for loans, so that the Romans had legal grounds to take over Egypt, their client state, after the assassination of Ptolemy XI.[29][33][34] The Romans chose instead to divide the Ptolemaic realm among the illegitimate sons of Ptolemy IX, bestowing Cyprus to Ptolemy of Cyprus and Egypt to Ptolemy XII Auletes.[29][31]

Early childhood

Main article: Early life of Cleopatra

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Battle of Acctium

In a speech to the Roman Senate on the first day of his consulship on 1 January 33 BC, Octavian accused Antony of attempting to subvert Roman freedoms and territorial integrity as a slave to his Oriental queen.[281] Before Antony and Octavian's joint imperium expired on 31 December 33 BC, Antony declared Caesarion as the true heir of Caesar in an attempt to undermine Octavian.[281] On 1 January 32 BC the Antonian loyalists Gaius Sosius and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus were elected as consuls.[280] On 1 February 32 BC Sosius gave a fiery speech condemning Octavian, now a private citizen without public office, and introduced pieces of legislation against him.[280][282] During the next senatorial session, Octavian entered the Senate house with armed guards and levied his own accusations against the consuls.[280][283] Intimidated by this act, the consuls and over 200 senators still in support of Antony fled Rome the next day to join the side of Antony.[280][283][284]

Antony and Cleopatra traveled together to Ephesus in 32 BC, where she provided him with 200 of the 800 naval ships he was able to acquire.[280] Ahenobarbus, wary of having Octavian's propaganda confirmed to the public, attempted to persuade Antony to have Cleopatra excluded from the campaign against Octavian.[285][286] Publius Canidius Crassus made the counterargument that Cleopatra was funding the war effort and was a competent monarch.[285][286] Cleopatra refused Antony's requests that she return to Egypt, judging that by blocking Octavian in Greece she could more easily defend Egypt.[285][286] Cleopatra's insistence that she be involved in the battle for Greece led to the defections of prominent Romans, such as Ahenobarbus and Lucius Munatius Plancus.[285][283]

During the spring of 32 BC Antony and Cleopatra traveled to Athens, where she persuaded Antony to send Octavia an official declaration of divorce.[285][283][270] This encouraged Plancus to advise Octavian that he should seize Antony's will, invested with the Vestal Virgins.[285][283][272] Although a violation of sacred and legal rights, Octavian forcefully acquired the document from the Temple of Vesta, and it became a useful tool in the propaganda war against Antony and Cleopatra.[285][272] Octavian highlighted parts of the will, such as Caesarion being named heir to Caesar, that the Donations of Alexandria were legal, that Antony should be buried alongside Cleopatra in Egypt instead of Rome, and that Alexandria would be made the new capital of the Roman Republic.[287][283][272] In a show of loyalty to Rome, Octavian decided to begin construction of his own mausoleum at the Campus Martius.[283] Octavian's legal standing was also improved by being elected consul in 31 BC.[283] With Antony's will made public, Octavian had his casus belli, and Rome declared war on Cleopatra,[287][288][289] not Antony.[note 51] The legal argument for war was based less on Cleopatra's territorial acquisitions, with former Roman territories ruled by her children with Antony, and more on the fact that she was providing military support to a private citizen now that Antony's triumviral authority had expired.[290]

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