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Interesting Facts about Cleopatra

Born in 69 BC, Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes and Cleopatra V, an Egyptian lady from a Memphite priestly family. She was a mistress of the powerful Roman military and political leader Julius Caesar but after his death, married his general Mark Antony. There have been many stories surrounding her – of her relation with Julius and Antony, marriage to her younger brother, her death, etc. She was intelligent, charming and could convince anyone. She saved her kingdom from the Romans, but after losing the battle of Actium in which Octavian invaded Egypt, she committed suicide.

Interesting Facts about Cleopatra

  • Her full name was Cleopatra Thea Philopator VII
  • After the death of her father, Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos, she became the Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, ruling for 21 years, from 51 BC to 30 BC
  • She was the last Pharaoh of Egypt. After her death, Egypt became a Roman territory
  • She wasn’t an Egyptian, but was of Macedonian Greek origin, descendant of Ptolemy I, a Greek general of Alexander the great, who, upon his death, became the king of Egypt
  • She was the only person in the whole of the Ptolemaic dynasty who could speak Egyptian; she was in fact a master of 9 languages
  • She had three sisters; two older and one younger. The eldest was named after her mother Cleopatra V Tryphaena, which means pleasure seeker. Hence, there were two Cleopatras in the family. They were distinguished by their middle names
  • There were around seven Cleopatras in the dynasty, which is why she is officially known as Cleopatra VII
  • She married her 12 year old brother Ptolemy XIII, when she was 18. They ruled together for 4 years before he was drowned
  • She had the oomph factor – charisma, quick thinking ability and amazing persuasive powers
  • She had herself rolled up in a carpet and ordered her soldiers to take her inside Ptolemy’s palace where Julius Caesar was staying. She did it because she wanted to seduce Caesar, so that he would make her queen of Egypt again
  • Was mistress of Julius Caesar, and she probably married him
  • Had 4 children – Caesarion also known as Ptolemy Caesar (son of Julius Caesar) and Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II and Ptolemy Philadelphus (children of Mark Antony)
  • After the death of Caesar, she and Mark Antony fell in love and got married.
  • Contrary to the popular belief that she was beautiful, historians say she wasn’t . They cite the proof from coins dating back to her time, which depict her with a hooked nose and masculine features
  • She had a eunuch friend named Mardian whom she befriended when she was a little girl. Mardian learned to read and write at her palace and they both remained friends for a lifetime
  • Mark Antony committed suicide on the battlefield after being misinformed about the death of Cleopatra
  • Shattered after hearing the news of the death of Mark Antony, she committed suicide by making an asp, an Egyptian cobra, bite her in the breast. One of the most famous love stories (Antony and Cleopatra, thus ended tragically. She was then only 39
  • She believed she was the daughter of Egyptian goddess Isis and the bite of an asp would take her to the gods

The word Cleopatra is in itself a mystery. Historians have been toiling hard for decades to uncover the hidden secrets, but have been unsuccessful always. Only time will tell, when the secrets are uncovered, whether she was beautiful, ugly, or Caesar’s wife but until then, she will be always be remembered as the mysterious Egyptian queen who mesmerized one and all.

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