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Cleopatra Essay

1826 words - 7 pages

Emma McCulloch Year 11Cleopatra was a woman who never let herself get swept away by events but instead used them to her full advantage. She was seen as a seductress whose determination and allure elevated her kingdom's prestige and it is due to this that she is known as being one of the most powerful female leaders in all of history. The determined queen was of Macedonian descent, worshipped as a god and had a keen ambition to become an independent and influential leader for Egypt. In doing this, she went to many great lengths to obtain and retain sources of power. Alongside this vaulting ambition and vision, Cleopatra wanted Egypt to become a strong nation in order to demonstrate her capabilities and control. She used events such as her banishment to Syria, alliance with Julius Caesar and her relationship with Mark Antony, all to advance in her political status. Alexandria was a kingdom soon to be great, however it was constantly subjected to instability and turmoil, due to the royal family members' rivalry against one another for control… rather than actually governing the province. After Ptolemy XII's death, Cleopatra was next to the throne and followed customs by marrying her brother, Ptolemy XIII. For the first four years of their joint reign, it proved to be disorderly. Egypt was subjected to mass flooding, resulting in an immense loss of crops. This severely damaged Egypt's economy and generated a famine, which increased the countries political instability. It was not long before Cleopatra decided that she wanted to reign independently and dissolved her partnership with Ptolemy XIII. Plutarch stated, "She soon dropped Ptolemy XIII's name from any official documents, regardless of the Ptolemaic insistence, stating that the male presence be first among co-rules. She also had her own portrait and name on coins at the time, ignoring her brother." Due to her refusal to act in accordance with tradition and be submissive to the king, Cleopatra's actions were too revolutionary for Ptolemy XIII and as a result, he decided to send her to exile in Syria, also allowing him to once again gain control over Egypt. Charveau states "In 48 B.C. they removed Cleopatra from power and she was forced into exile in Syria… She would not give up on the throne easily." Cleopatra used her banishment as an opportunity to regain her lost power and so she remained in Egypt where she was still regarded as the leader. Due to this, she was able to utilise various strategies to form an army and declare civil war on her brother. She had used her exile to seek out political alliance and a strategic relationship with the Romans. [1: Plutarch's Life of Mark Antony 75 A.D.E][2: Charveau, Michel (1997) Beyond the Myth, Cornell University Press ]Cleopatra knew that with her inferior status, there was little chance of having any discussion or exchanges in foreign policy, without any form of sexual appeal being initiated. It was through applying this strategy that she...

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