Cleopatra VII

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Cleopatra VII


Born 69 B.C. in Alexandria; died there 30 B.C. Last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes; sister and wife of Ptolemy XIII, with whom she was, beginning in 51 B.C., coruler and with whom she engaged in a power struggle.

Cleopatra VII was exiled to Syria in 48 B.C.; however, in 47, after the Alexandrine War, she returned to Egypt through the help of Julius Caesar, who had been enthralled by the intelligent and educated queen and who fathered her son Caesarion. After 41 B.C. she was the ally and mistress of Mark Antony, who in 37 married her in spite of Roman custom; she supported him in his struggle with Octavian (Augustus). After the defeat at Actium in 31 and the invasion of Egypt by Octavian’s army, Antony and then Cleopatra committed suicide. Legend has it that she was brought a poisonous snake whose bite was held by the Egyptians to confer immortality. Cleopatra has figured prominently in literature ( Shakespeare, Shaw) and art (G. Tiepolo, P. Rubens).


Franzero, C. M. The Life and Times of Cleopatra. London [1957].


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Roller, The World of Juba II and Kleopatra Selene: Royal Scholarship on Rome's African Frontier (London 2003) 170-71.