“Be it known that we, the greatest, are often misthought” Cleopatra VII is one of the most controversial leaders of all time. She was the last pharaoh of Egypt before it became a Roman province. She was the lover of two of Rome’s greatest leaders. She committed suicide and her legacy still remains through numerous dramatizations including William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. She is considered to be the stuff of myth and legend. Yet what is it that makes her so remarkable?
Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BC to the Egyptian Pharaoh, Ptolemy XII. We are unsure of who her mother is but it is believed to be Cleopatra V Tryphaena. She had 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Their family wasn’t Egyptian but actually Macedonian. Infact, Cleopatra was the only Ptolemy ruler to actually speak Egyptian. Ptolemy XII was overthrown by his daughter Berenice but reclaimed it in 55 BC. When he died in 51 BC Cleopatra VII and her brother Ptolemy XIII inherited the throne.
The queen's formative years were filled with conflict and intrigue as her family tried to come to terms with Roman aggression and she learned many ruthless lessons regarding power and alliance during this period. Through a series of schemes, Cleopatra ultimately became victorious and took her place as sole ruler of Egypt. Part of why this was possible is that she came to power during the Roman Civil War. Caesar went to Egypt to plunder its riches in order to support Roman military exploits, and it was at this time that one of the famous "myths" of Cleopatra occurred. She slipped through enemy lines, persuaded a friend to wrap her in a carpet and deliver her to Caesar's private quarters, where she apparently used seduction, intelligence and charm to win him over. This verifies one of her most well-known adventures, and clearly demonstrates a great deal of audacity and creativity on her part.
Her connection with Caesar is also shown by their close relationship, her travelling to Rome and staying in his house,...
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