Cleopatra VII

February 29, 2008
By Katie Givens, Cape May Court House, NJ

Among all the other women and men in history, Cleopatra definitely stands out. She was daughter to Ptolemy XII, and amongst the favorite of his children. She learned at an early age how to govern a country by watching her father. Eventually, he passed away and Cleopatra’s brother, Ptolemy XIII, took over the throne. She was married to her brother and became queen of Egypt at the age of eighteen. The union between her and her brother allowed Cleopatra to share some power over the Two Lands. She stayed Queen for only three years. Then, her brother and his advisors forced her to flee Egypt and seek refuge in Syria. Ptolemy XIII took sole control over Egypt. But, Cleopatra wasn’t about to give up so easily. Cleopatra VII soon learned, in Syria, that Julius Caesar, a Roman general, was in Alexandria trying to seize power of the city. Soon, the raging fire of determination had entered the soul of Cleopatra. The woman devised a plan to enter Alexandria and plea for Julius Caesar’s pity. In order for her to stay incognito from her sinister brother, Cleopatra decided to have herself rolled up in a rug. She would be packaged and shipped off to Caesar’s headquarters as a gift. There she would meet with the general.

Once Cleopatra was delivered to Julius, the rug was unrolled and out jumped the former queen like a Jack-In-The-Box. In modern times Cleopatra is considered a dazzling, radiant beauty. Wrong! Actually, she wasn’t all that good looking. She did, however have the arts of charm and wit were on her side. The woman could speak nine different languages for goodness sake! An educated woman was quite rare way back then. Anyway, once the carpet was rolled out Julius Caesar’s and Cleopatra’s eyes met. Her intelligence, and not looks, won the Roman’s heart. It was instant fireworks! BOOM! BANG! POW!

Her brother felt betrayed once he learned about the infatuation between his sister and arch rival. Ptolemy declared war on Caesar and his army. During the bloody battle, Ptolemy lost his life to the point of Julius Caesar’s sword. Caesar was victorious and restored the throne to Cleopatra. Thus becoming the Pharaoh of Egypt and worshipped as a god. Caesar and Cleopatra had a son together. However, her relationship with Julius was a short one, not to mention he was about thirty years older than her. Caesar was stabbed to death by his “comrades” and his best friend, Brutus. What a way to die.

After the death of Julius Caesar, Rome began to divide. Cleopatra knew she had to stay in favor with Rome. She supported Marc Antony in his quest for the throne of Rome. The two fell in love, of course. The Romans were not very fond of the affair. They thought Marc Antony was against them because he allowed Cleopatra to possess total control over Egypt. In the year 30 B.C. Octavian, an adopted nephew of Julius, became emperor over Rome. He loathed Cleopatra and Marc Antony, so he decided to declare war on Egypt. Wow, I guess if you’re king of a country, and don’t like somebody; you can use your own army to murder that person. It’s good to be king. Octavian gained control over most of Egypt, and conquered Marc Antony in battle. As for Cleopatra, legend says she had her servants bring her a basket with a snake enclosed inside. The Pharaoh of Egypt allowed the venomous snake to bite her, injecting poison into her bloodstream. Therefore, she committed suicide so she wouldn’t have to die at the hands of Octavian. And that is the story of the last Pharaoh of Egypt, a woman.

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