Cleopatra Vii Essay
Isabella Reber, 10/14/12, p - Cleopatra Vii Essay introduction. 6 Cleopatra “I will not be triumphed over. ” – Cleopatra VII Born in the year 69 B. C. E, she belonged to a family that ruled Egypt 100 years prior to her even being born. She was raised and born in Alexandria to her father, King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra’s mother, but some speculation presumes she may have been her father’s sister, Cleopatra V Tryphaena. She was trained in science, literature, philosophy, and had access to much Greek Theater.
She had the best of Hellenistic education and was being groomed to be the next pharaoh of Egypt. Unlike her other brothers and sisters, she took an unusual interest in Egyptian culture. She learned Egyptian and added it to the other eight languages she already knew. From her servants she mastered the fine art of social grace and beauty Egyptian women were known for. She respected and studied ancient Egyptian religions and culture. These qualities gained would later earn her the loyalty of her future subjects. In one papyrus dated 35 B. C.
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Cleopatra is called Philopatris, “she who loves her country. ” By showing that she is a truly Egyptian pharaoh, Cleopatra used patriotism to assure her position as Queen. In 49 B. C. E she and her brother Pharaoh Ptolemy, also her husband, who were to rule together as decreed by their father’s will. After Cleopatra had attempted to become the sole ruler of Egypt, her brother caste her out of Alexandria. The queen, then in her early twenties, fled to Syria and returned with a mercenary army, were they set up camp on the outskirts of Alexandria. During the summer of 48 B. C.
E Julius Caesar came to Alexandria to attempt to make peace between the brother and sister. The reason for him going out of his way to help them was that it was in Rome’s best economic interest that their ally Egypt preserves the peace. Ptolemy XII still refused for his sister Cleopatra to return to Alexandria, so she decided to sneak back in to get a private session with Julius Caesar himself at his palace. It is said she wrapped herself in a carpet and was presented to Roman general. With the use of her seductive charms she was able to get Caesar’s help in making her the sole ruler of Egypt.
Ptolemy XIII rebelled against the fact that Caesar allowed this but in the ensuing civil war he drowned in the Nile, leaving Cleopatra safely in power and came to power in Egypt at the age of 17. She later had a son by Caesar who was assassinated in 44 B. C. E. Left without an ally she could charm, she had Ptolemy XIV killed, her then husband, to ensure that her son would have no problem rising to the throne. She made sure all threats to her or her son’s succession was out of the way before going about ruling Egypt.
As a pharaoh she was adored by her people and made sure that her image was forever burned in ancient Egyptian history by commissioning portraits of herself. Later in to her rule she allied with the Roman General Mark Anthony to ensure that Egypt would remain independent from Rome and out of Octavian’s hands. She was then summoned by Mark Antony to the city of Tarsus to talk of Caesar’s assassination and what role she played. He became under her spell and agreed to protect Egypt and her throne, saying that he would help get rid of her then rival Arsinoe, also her sister, who was then in exile.
Cleopatra later went back to Egypt and Mark Anthony soon accompanied her. He left behind his third wife, and two children in Rome to be with her. He spent the winter of 41-40 B. C. in Alexandria. In 40 B. C. Mark Anthony was back in Rome and Cleopatra gave birth to twins, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene. How Egyptians viewed Cleopatra and how Romans viewed Cleopatra were two very different views. Octavian set up Roman propaganda about her declaring her a harlot and a woman getting more power than women deserve to have.
Roman poets like Horace Lucan told her off as “a shame to Egypt” and “A crazy queen… plotting… to demolish the Capitol and topple the [Roman] Empire. ” She later killed herself on August 12th, 30 B. C. E to escape capture from Octavian. It is not known if it was the famous asp bee that killed her or was it a vial of poison she drank? The details of her death are still unclear to this day. The legend of her dying by the asp however has become famous and has caused a sort of immortality to Cleopatra even after death.
As I’m sure it is known she was depicted as being a beautiful woman who could charm the socks off any guy and have anything she ever wanted. While the last part is true, she was a great charmer; she wasn’t exactly all that beautiful. In his A. D. 75 Life of Antony, Plutarch tells us, “Her actual beauty… was not so remarkable that none could be compared with her, or that no one could see her without being struck by it, but the contact of her presence… was irresistible…. The character that attended all she said or did was something bewitching. It didn’t matter that she wasn’t the prettiest girl in the world; it was just the fact that she could leave an impression on you that would last a lifetime. She was a brilliant leader, a seductress to men, a great charmer, and much more. Most of the hype surrounded about her gorgeous beauty was actually spread by her because she knew image was everything to a woman, especially the ruler of Egypt. As a ruler of Egypt she did everything she had to do to ensure her throne and make sure Egypt maintained to be independent from Rome. She formed relationships with very influential Roman men like Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony.
She turned them into her allies by using her charms and womanly advances so that Egypt would remain independent. She even bore their children so that she would have allies in Rome to protect her. She also used her relationship with Julius Caesar to ensure that she would be sole ruler of Egypt and not her brother/husband Ptolemy XII’s co-ruler. She had her next husband/brother Ptolemy XIV killed to ensure her son would have no troubles succeeding to the throne. She even exiled her own sister for fear she would cause a problem with her son succeeding to the throne as well.
Cleopatra had much impact on the then declining Empire of Egypt and made it quite clear that she would all along from the moment she was born. Works Cited “Cleopatra VII Biography. ” Bio. com. A&E Networks Television, n. d. Web. 14 Oct. 2012. <http://www. biography. com/people/cleopatra-vii-9250984>. Horace, and David Ferry. The Odes of Horace. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1997. Print. Lucan, Nicholas Rowe, and James Welwood. Lucan’s Pharsalia. London: Printed at the Stanhope, by Whittingham and Rowland, 1812. Print. Plutarch. Life of Anthony. N. p. : n. p. , A. D. 75. Print.