Cleopatra is one of the most famous Egyptian Pharaoh’s in history. She is considered to be the last ruler of ancient Egypt. She was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 69 B.C. (which is where she appears on the Bible Timeline Chart with World History.) She was the daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes. The Ptolemy Dynasty was founded in Egypt by one of Alexander the Greats generals over three centuries earlier. Before she ruled Egypt as a sole monarch she was a co-regent with her father and two brothers. As a matter of fact Cleopatra had to marry her brothers in order to maintain her status as queen. Cleopatra used the aid of the Roman rulers to gain complete control of Egypt and she did this by having an affair with Julius Caesar and then with Mark Antony.
Cleopatra Gains Power
During his reign, Ptolemy XII went to Rome with Cleopatra in order to get assistance with keeping his empire intact. When he left a female usurper tried to take the throne but was quickly disposed of by Ptolemy XII once he returned with Roman help. After this event, Cleopatra became a co-ruler of Egypt with her father Ptolemy XII. She was 14 at the time. Eventually, Ptolemy XII had died and his 10 year old son Ptolemy XIII was married to Cleopatra. She didn’t want to share power with him. She quickly eliminated his image and name from official documents and usurped his authority. She tried to consolidate power all throughout the kingdom but she started to make enemies.
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Cleopatra Loses her Throne
Cleopatra was power hungry and she ended up clashing with the Roman troops (Gabiniani) who were left behind to assist Ptolemy XII when he was alive. The Gabiniani killed the sons of the Roman governor of Syria, Marcus Calpurnius Biblulus when they arrived in Egypt for aid against their enemies. Cleopatra turned the guilty Gabiniani assassins over to the Bibulus and once she did the remaining Gabiniani became her sworn enemies. The Gabiniani and some of her court members rebelled against her rule and finally forced to the queen leave the throne in 48 B.C. This is when Ptolemy XIII became the sole ruler. Cleopatra tried to start a rebellion but it failed and she had to leave Egypt with her sister Arsinoe.
Cleopatra Seduces Caesar
An important event had taken place when Cleopatra was ousted from the throne. Julius Caesar and his son in law General Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus) were fighting for control of Rome. Pompey had escaped to Egypt during this conflict because he was on the run from Caesar. Once he arrived in Egypt he was assassinated by one of his officers and Ptolemy XIII watched this event as it unfolded. He then took Pompey’s head and presented it to Caesar once he arrived in Alexandria. When Caesar realized what had happened he was outraged and decided to seize Alexandria for himself. He then set himself up as the arbiter between the claims of Ptolemy and Cleopatra.
Cleopatra decided to use this situation to her advantage and used her feminine charms to seduce Caesar. About nine months later she bore him a son named Ptolemy Caesar. Julius Caesar was going to annex or take Egypt for Rome, but he decided to champion the cause of Cleopatra. He then defeated Ptolemy’s army and restored Cleopatra to the throne. Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile during this battle and Ptolemy XIV was the new co-ruler with Cleopatra.
The Last Days of Cleopatra’s Reign
Ptolemy XIV had died from poisoning in 44 B.C. and Cleopatra now ruled throne with her son. She even wanted to make Caesarion an heir to Rome but Caesar refused her offer. Caesar had been assassinated shortly before Ptolemy XIV was poisoned. Cleopatra managed to rule Egypt up until 30 B.C. the year of her death. Cleopatra had to constantly maintain her alliances with Rome in order to keep her power especially after Caesar had passed away. Before she had died the Egyptian kingdom was defeated at Alexandria by Octavian and the Romans killed off Caesarion. The rest of her Cleopatra’s children with Mark Antony were taken back to Rome and Egypt was officially a Roman territory.
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