Cleopatra was the queen of Egypt and the last of the dynasty of Macedonian rulers, but she is best known for her romantic relationships and military alliances with Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Cleopatra not only ruled Egypt but also influenced Roman politics during a crucial period. Her legend also consists of tales of her exotic beauty and powers of seduction, although these are unverified and likely romanticized.Continue Reading
During her lifetime, Egypt was controlled by Rome. Julius Caesar arrived at Alexandria in the summer of 48 B.C. and took up residence at Alexandria's royal palace. Cleopatra charmed her way into Caesar’s good graces and gained his help in a power struggle against her brother. She entered into a short relationship with Caesar, who returned to Rome, although Cleopatra gave birth to his son. She visited Caesar in Rome, but he was assassinated soon after. Mark Antony became the heir to Caesar’s position. When he met Cleopatra, he was reportedly captivated by her. They entered into a relationship that was politically beneficial to both of them. After Antony died, Cleopatra apparently committed suicide, although the means of her death are uncertain.
Cleopatra’s royal lineage began during the age of Alexander the Great. After he died in 332 B.C., Alexander's general Ptolemy, an ancestor of Cleopatra, took over as ruler of Egypt. Cleopatra became the queen of Egypt in 51 B.C. upon the death of her father, Ptolemy XII. She ruled along with her two brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV and then her son Ptolemy XV Caesar. She reigned as queen for three decades.Learn more about Ancient Egypt