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Women in History

Egyptian History

Cleopatra VII
Ptolemaic Dynasty

 

After Antony's death, Cleopatra was taken to Octavian where her role in Octavian's triumph was carefully explained to her. He had no interest in any relationship, negotiation or reconciliation with the Queen of Egypt. She would be displayed as a slave in the cities she had ruled over. She must have had memories of her sister, Arsinoe, being humiliated in this way. She would not live this way, so she had an asp, which was an Egyptian cobra, brought to her hidden in a basket of figs. She died on August 12, 30 BC at the age of 39. The Egyptian religion declared that death by snakebite would secure immortality. With this, she achieved her dying wish, to not be forgotten. The only other ruler to cast a shadow on the fascination with Cleopatra was Alexander who was another Macedonian. After Cleopatra's death, Caesarion was strangled and the other children of Cleopatra were raised by Antony's wife, Octavia.

Her death was the mark of the end of the Egyptian Monarchs. The Roman Emperors came into to rule in Egypt. The Ptolemies were Macedonian in decent, but ruled as Egyptians, as Pharaohs. Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of Egypt.

What is often not associated with Cleopatra was her brilliance and her devotion to her country. She was a quick-witted woman who was fluent in nine languages, however, Latin was not one of them. She was a mathematician and a very good businesswoman. She had a genuine respect for Caesar, whose intelligence and wit matched her own. Antony on the other hand almost drove her insane with his lack of intelligence and his excesses. She dealt with him and made the most of what she had to do. She fought for her country. She had a charismatic personality, was a born leader and an ambitious monarch who deserved better than suicide.

 


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