The Rise And Fall Of Cleopatra Vii

Essay, Research Paper

Cleopatra VII (referred to hereafter as Cleopatra) was the last Ptolemic ruler of Egypt. She ruled from 51-30 BC. Her family ruled Egypt beginning in 305 BC, when Ptolemy I declared himself King of Egypt. The Ptolemy family was not of Egyptian decent, but of Macedonian decent. The capital city in which they ruled from was Alexandria.Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos “Auletes” was Cleopatra’s father. He started ruling Egypt in 80 BC. He was not well respected and thought of as weak. Cleopatra’s mother may be Cleopatra V Tryphaena, who either died or disappeared in 70 BC, right after Cleopatra’s birth in 69 BC. Cleopatra had two older sisters, Cleopatra VI and Berenice IV, and one younger sister, Arsinoe IV. She also had two younger brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV both of whom she married. Who individually end up either going against Cleopatra s parents or her for the ruling of Egypt.In 58 BC, Berenice IV (and possibly Cleopatra) took over Egypt, and forced Ptolemy XII “Auletes” to go to Rome. Berenice IV ruled the kingdom until her father got the throne back in 55 BC. Berenice IV was beheaded, and Cleopatra disappeared between 58 and 55 BC. Ptolemy XII “Auletes” then ruled until his death in 51 BC. His will named Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII as heirs to the throne. Some leaders in Rome were named as guardians of the two. In the will their father made it mandatory for the two to marry in order to rule. This ritual began when Ptolemy II married his sister Arsinoe II. Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII ruled jointly and did marry, though it was a marriage only in law. She was about 18 years and Ptolemy XII was 10 years old, when they were named Queen and King of Egypt in 51 BC. Cleopatra did most of the ruling, and left Ptolemy XIII out of it. Ptolemy XIII, being so young, did not know much about ruling. He served as a puppet for power-hungry advisers (in particular a minister named Pothinus) and in 48 BC kicked Cleopatra out of the palace. She got back by building her own army outside the city. Civil war was close. In Rome, there was also a civil war between Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. Pompey had been an ally of the Egyptians and, in an attempt to gain help, he fled to Egypt. Pothinus knew that Caeser would win the Civil War. He told Ptolemy XIII that in order to get Caeser s support they should kill Pompey. Pothinus beheaded Pompey and gave it to Caeser when he arrived. Caesar came looking for Pompey in Egypt. Caeser was asked to be a guest in the palace for his stay in Egypt. When he arrived Ptolemy XIII gave him Pompey s head hoping that Caeser would be grateful and give Ptolemy XIII his full support. Caesar did not like Ptolemy s actions by Pompey’s head being presented to him. Caesar had been friends with Pompey and did not like to have him treated so disrespectfully. Cleopatra knew it was important that she talk to Caesar and have him hear her side of the story. She was unable to get into the palace because of the dispute between her and her brother/husband and knew if she tried and was discovered, she would be killed. So she wrapped herself in a rug and was smuggled in. Caesar was fascinated by Cleopatra and the two spent the night together. The next day, Ptolemy was called to a meeting and was shocked to find that Cleopatra was at his side. The war had switched hands now, it was between Ptolemy XIII with Cleopatra s younger sister, Arsinoe IV, on his side fighting against Caeser. In order to make peace, Caesar gave Cyprus back to Egypt, and Arsinoe IV and Ptolemy XIV were named rulers. Arsinoe was not happy with that, she wanted to be the Queen of Egypt. So she remained on good terms with Ptolemy XIII who was still against Caesar. Pothinus was killed. It is unsure if Caeser killed him because of what he did to Pompey or if he died in war. Ptolemy XIII was upset . Arsinoe IV was taken prisoner by Caesar to be displayed as a spoil of war in Rome . Due to Caeser, Cleopatra returned to being Queen of Egypt. Because of her fathers will she had to marry her next brother, Ptolemy XIV. It was then 47 BC, and Cleopatra was 22 years old, and Ptolemy XIV was 12. Cleopatra ruled Egypt mostly by herself, and kept Ptolemy silent in her ruling. Since Arsinoe IV was captured by Caeser, Cyprus was controlled by Cleopatra. Arsinoe IV was in Caesar’s March of Triumph in 46 BC. She was marched through the streets of Rome loaded down with chains. Caesar let Arsinoe IV leave Rome instead of being beheaded,. She went to Ephesus, in Asia Minor.Cleopatra took Caesar on a tour of her country with a cruise on the Nile. She became pregnant and claimed Caesar was the father. Caesar had one childfrom a different woman, a daughter named Julia, and was known to have many affairs with women. Caesar’s first child was born in 47 BC. Cleopatra’s names her son Ptolemy XV Caesar. His nickname was “Caesarion”, meaning “Little Caesar”. Caeser invited Cleopatra s family to Rome in 46BC. Cleopatra, Ptolemy XIV and Caesarion stayed a villa of his outside of Rome. Cleopatra stayed in Rome for 2 years. While Cleopatra was in Rome, Caesar was killed in 44 BC outside the Senate Building, by the senators. The senators did not care for him because they thought he was going to try to become King and ruin their form of government.After Caesar’s death, Cleopatra went home to Egypt. Ptolemy XIV is thought to have survived the voyage back to Egypt, but he died soon after. It is unsure if he died of natural causes, or if Cleopatra killed him. People think she killed him because of he was 15 and would try to be King.In 41 BC Antony invited Cleopatra to Tarsus. Mark Antony was a part of the Second Triumvirate. Mark Antony was in charge of the eastern provinces, Octavian was in charge of Rome and Gaul, and Lepidus was in charge of northern Africa. Mark Antony was in need of money to launch a campaign against the Parthians, and he hoped Cleopatra would give him the money he needed. Legend says, she met him dressed as Aphrodite, goddess of love. Mark Antony fell in love with her. He spent the winter with her.

Cleopatra agreed to give him the money on the condition that Arsinoe IV be killed. Cleopatra felt threatened by her, and convinced Mark Antony to get rid of her. He agreed and Arsinoe IV was executed. Mark Antony married Octavia, Octavian’s sister, in 40 B.C. He married Octavia to make a deal with Octavian. After the Triumvirate ended the two would both be rulers the Roman world, though Lepidus remained in northern Africa and governed the area. Octavian held all of Western Europe and Mark Antony held the eastern end of the Roman world. This same year Cleopatra gave birth to twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. She was very unhappy that Mark Antony had married Octavia, and very angry when Octavia became pregnant. In 37 BC Mark Antony sent Octavia back to Rome to her brother. He then went to Alexandria to be with Cleopatra. Antony gave her and her children a lot of land as gifts. In about 36 BC Cleopatra began ruling with her son, Ptolemy XV Caesar. She also gave birth to another child by Mark Antony, Ptolemy Philadelphus. When Mark Antony invaded Armenia in 34 BC, he held the triumph march in Alexandria. As part of the festivities, he gave money away. The Romans felt that they should be receiving the food and money and were upset with him. Also in 34 BC Cleopatra and her children received land from Mark Antony. Cleopatra Selene, Cleopatra’s six-year-old daughter, was made Queen of Crete and Cyrenaica (on the northern coast of Africa). Alexander Helios, also six-years-old, was made King of Armenia and overlord of Media. Media already had a king, and in fact Alexander Helios was bethrothed to his daughter, but now Alexander held a higher position than the King did. The youngest, Ptolemy Philadelphus (two-years-old), was named King of Syria and overlord of part of Asia Minor. Cleopatra’s was Queen of Kings and Ptolemy XV Caesar was named King of Kings. Now the Ptolemaic Empire covered a large portion of the eastern Mediterranean world. The donations were unpopular in Rome and did not help MarkAntony reputation in Rome. In 32 BC, Octavian declared war on Cleopatra, not Mark Antony. The Romans felt it was Cleopatra who was influencing Mark Anthony. The last battle took place at Actium, in Greece. The battle was in 31 BC and was not well planned on Antony’ and Cleopatra’s part. Cleopatra left and Mark Antony left soon thereafter. They went back to Egypt and Octavian waited a year to capture them. Cleopatra and Antony decked their ships out so it appeared that the battle had been successful. They wished to be greeted favorably in Egypt. Cleopatra planned to send Caesarion away to India so he could hide from Octavian and retain the throne of Egypt. . Cleopatra was arranging for ships to be moved from the Nile to the Red Sea, but this plan was unsuccessful. She stayed in Egypt. Both she and Mark Antony tried bribing Octavian asking him to leave them in peace, but none were successful. Cleopatra built a extravagant mausoleum. Octavian sent messages to Cleopatra claiming that she would not kill her when she was captured, Octavian did not want her to burn all of her riches.. When Octavian came in 30 BC, Cleopatra shut herself in her mausoleum with her two servants, Iras and Charmion. Mark Antony heard this, thought she was dead and, killed himself. He was brought to Cleopatra and then died.While Cleopatra was talking to a person outside the door (sent to distract her) members of Octavian’s staff climbed up to the opened window used to bring Mark Antony in. She was taken prisoner and moved to the palace, where she killed herself. Her servants Iras and Charmion also committed suicide, and when the three were found Cleopatra was dead. Legend says she poisoned herself with an asp bite. She could have used any of the many types of poisons known at the time, though the snake story has been the most popular. There were two pricks on her arm which might have been caused by a snake, but then they might have been caused by an armband she was wearing. No evidence of a snake or any poison was found. No one knows for sure how she died. Caesarion was strangled by his tutor, Rhodon, on their way out of Egypt. The rest of Cleopatra’s childern might have been rasied by Octavian’s wife. Cleopatra Selene married King Juba II of Mauretania. They had a son which they named Ptolemy who became King in 23 AD and ruled until he was killed by Caligula 40 years later. Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus were not killed; they may have gone to live with their sister in Mauretania but it is not known what happened to them.Cleopatra demonstrated tremendous strength and courage throughout her life. She made personal life decisions that benefited all of Egypt. Whether those decisions were intentional because of her love for Egypt rule or for her own love are unknown. In the beginning of her rule her decisions positively affected her power, but in the end of her time, killed her and her family s presence in Egypt. References Renaud Calvat, Chronology of Cleopatra, Microsoft Encarta, Cleopatra VII, Microsoft Corporation, Cleopatra, The Last Pharaoh, Hughes-Hallett, Lucy. Cleopatra, Histories, Dreams, and Distortions. Harper & Row, 1990.


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