Cleopatra Essay

878 words - 4 pages


Cleopatra

     Many countries have had important rulers who were well-known throughout the world. One country whose leaders particularly stand out is Egypt. The leaders of ancient Egypt were extremely essential in history. Cleopatra was a key example of these significant rulers of Egypt. The Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII was an extraordinary woman who used her knowledge and ambition to fulfill Egypt’s political goals.

     Cleopatra VII, more commonly known as Cleopatra, was born to Ptolemy XII and his sister Cleopatra Tryphaina in 69 B.C. (Nardo 9). Although she lacked beauty, Cleopatra was regarded as a fascinating woman who was known for her intelligence and charm. Egyptian coins picture her with “a countenance alive rather than beautiful, with a sensitive mouth, firm chin liquid eyes, broad forehead, and prominent nose” (“Cleopatra VII” 377). After her father’s death in 51 B.C., Cleopatra became queen. She ruled Egypt with her eldest brother and husband Ptolemy XIII. Marriage between siblings was a “common practice” in ancient Egyptian royal families (Sinnigen 662). She was the last ruler of the dynasty established by Ptolemy I. Cleopatra was of Macedonian descent but took it upon herself to learn the Egyptian language and referred to herself as the daughter of the sun god (“Cleopatra VII” 377). Her capital was Alexandria, discovered by Alexander the Great, and was an excellent center of Hellenistic Greek culture and commercial activity (Krapp 615).

     Three years after Cleopatra gained rule over Egypt she was driven into exile by the supporters of her brother Ptolemy XIII (“Cleopatra” 489). Caesar arrived in Egypt in search of his rival Pompey. A civil war occurred between the two Roman men. Cleopatra soon realized the need to cooperate with Rome to gain beneficial aid in regaining her throne (Nardo 24). After a long power conflict, Caesar defeated his opponent Pompey in a major battle. When Cleopatra discovered that Caesar was in her capital, she had one of her attendants take her to him rolled up in a rug and offered as a gift (Krapp 615). Caesar was overcome by Cleopatra’s charm, and the two quickly became lovers. She was twenty-one, and he was fifty-two at the time. Cleopatra and Caesar both intended to use one another. Caesar needed money to pay for his campaigns and claimed that Cleopatra owed it to him “ for the expenses of her father’s restoration” (“Cleopatra VII” 377). Cleopatra sought power and wanted to restore the glories of the first Ptolemie’s dominions. Caesar later demanded that Cleopatra marry her younger brother Ptolemy XIV and rule Egypt with him (Nardo 29). Cleopatra gave birth to Caesar’s son, Caesarion in 47 B.C. Throughout Cleopatra’s marriage with Ptolemy IV, she lived...

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