Cleopatra

Cleopatra

[klee-uh-pa-truh, -pah-, -pey-]
Cleopatra, 69 B.C.-30 B.C., queen of Egypt, one of the great romantic heroines of all time. Her name was widely used in the Ptolemaic family; there were many earlier Cleopatras. The daughter of Ptolemy XI, she was married at the age of 17 (as was the family custom) to her younger brother Ptolemy XII. The force and character of the royal pair was, however, concentrated in the alluring (though apparently not beautiful) and ambitious queen. She led a revolt against her brother, and, obtaining the aid of Julius Caesar, she won the kingdom, although it remained a vassal of Rome. Her young brother-husband was accidentally drowned in the Nile. She then married her still younger brother Ptolemy XIII, but she was the mistress of Caesar and followed him to Rome; there she bore a son, Caesarion (later Ptolemy XIV), who was said to be his. Returning to Egypt after the murder of Caesar and the battle of Philippi, she was visited (42 B.C.) by Marc Antony, who had come to demand an account of her actions. He fell hopelessly in love with her, and Cleopatra, conscious of her royalty and even her claims to divinity as the pharaoh's daughter, seems to have hoped to use Antony to reestablish the real power of the Egyptian throne. They were married in 36 B.C. Most of the Romans feared and hated Cleopatra, and Octavian (later Augustus) undertook to destroy the two lovers. Antony and Cleopatra were defeated off Actium in 31 B.C., and, returning to Alexandria, they tried to defend themselves in Egypt. When they failed, Antony committed suicide by falling on his sword. Cleopatra, faced by the cold and unmoved Octavian, also killed herself. Her schemes failed, but her ambition, capability, and remarkable charm have left a great impression on history. Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, based on Plutarch, describes the tragic end of the queen's career, and Dryden's All for Love: or, The World Well Lost is a reworking of Shakespeare. Caesar and Cleopatra, the comedy by G. B. Shaw, deals with the early years of her story.

See biographies by J. Lindsay (1971) and M. Grant (1973); J. Samson, Nefertiti and Cleopatra: Queen-Monarchs of Ancient Egypt (1987).

in full Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator

Cleopatra, detail of a bas relief, circa 69–30 BC; in the Temple of Hathor, Dandarah, elipsis

(born 69—died Aug. 30, 30 BC, Alexandria) Egyptian queen (of Macedonian descent), last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. Daughter of Ptolemy XII (b. 112?—d. 51 BC), she ruled with her two brother-husbands, Ptolemy XIII (r. 51–47) and Ptolemy XIV (r. 47–44), both of whom she had killed, and with her son, Ptolemy XV, or Caesarion (r. 44–30). She claimed the latter was fathered by Julius Caesar, who had become her lover after entering Egypt in 48 BC in pursuit of Pompey. She was with Caesar in Rome when he was assassinated (44), after which she returned to Egypt to install her son on the throne. She lured Mark Antony, Caesar's heir apparent, into marriage (36), inviting the wrath of Octavian (later Augustus), whose sister Antony had earlier wed. She schemed against and antagonized Antony's friend Herod the Great, thereby losing his support. At a magnificent celebration in Alexandria after Antony's Parthian campaign (36–34), he bestowed Roman lands on his foreign wife and family. Octavian declared war on Cleopatra and Antony and defeated their joint forces at the Battle of Actium (31). Antony committed suicide and, after a failed attempt to beguile Octavian, so, too, did Cleopatra, possibly by means of an asp.

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Ptolemy Philadelphus (ο Πτολεμαίος Φιλάδελφος), August/September 36 BC - 29 BC) was a Ptolemaic Prince and was the youngest child of Greek Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman Triumvir Mark Antony. Ptolemy was of Greek and Roman heritage. He was born in Antioch, Syria (this part of ancient Syria, is now apart of modern Turkey). Ptolemy was named after the original Ptolemy II Philadelphus (the second Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty) and Cleopatra’s intention was recreating the former Ptolemaic Kingdom. In late 34 BC, at the Donations of Alexandria, Ptolemy was made ruler of Syria, Phoenicia and Cilicia.

His parents were defeated by Octavian (future Roman Emperor Augustus) during the naval battle at Actium, Greece in 31 BC. The next year, his parents committed suicide as Octavian and his army invaded Egypt.

Octavian took him and elder siblings Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II from Egypt to Italy. The three children became orphans. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome, by parading the three orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets of Rome. The chains were so heavy, they could not walk. The three siblings were taken by Octavian and given to Octavia Minor to be raised in her house in Rome. Octavia Minor became their guardian, was Octavian’s second elder sister and was their father’s former wife.

The fate of Ptolemy Philadelphus is unknown. Plutarch states that the only child that Octavian killed out of Antony’s children was Marcus Antonius Antyllus. The ancient sources do not mention any military service, political career, if he was involved in any scandals, any marriage plans or any descendants and if he survived to adulthood, it would have been mentioned. Ptolemy probably died from illness in the Winter of 29 BC, but this is not sure.

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