Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt

Being told that i had no general knowledge (though i could recognise the word Cleopatra but not the history) had spurred me to Yahoo it. So, here are the basic things that i have learnt about who Cleopatra really is.


Cleopatra is a queen of Egypt. And a famous one at that. She was born in 69 B.C. in Alexandria, during the reign of the Ptolemy family to Ptolemy XII. And Cleopatra came to reign in 51B.C. while she was of 17 years of age.


(4) Years after that, she had met, or seduced as some sources went, Julius Caesar and became his mistress. Caesarion was born soon after. It has been said that Cleopatra had loved Caesar. However, on March 15  44 BC, a crowd of conspirators surrounded Caesar at a Senate meeting and stabbed him to death.

Cleopatra met Mark Anthony.a few years later, and had an affair, which led to the birth of his twins. Anthony was very much in love with her, putting her name and face on the Roman coin and divorcing Octavia, his wife. (However, there has been suggestions that relations between Antony and Octavian had begun disintegrating for several years.) Octavian then formally declared war against Cleopatra.
 Antony committed suicide by falling on his own sword in 30 BC when his troops were defeated.
Cleopatra, afraid of being humiliated, decided to take her life. She had an asp, which was a poisonous Egyptian cobra, brought to her hidden in a basket of figs. When the guards entered to see Cleopatra, they found the 39-year old queen dead on her golden bed. Yet, other source states that it was hidden in a vase, and that she poked it with a spindle until it got angry enough to bite her on the arm.


In one source, Cleopatra was seen as a remarkable person, she had great brilliance and her devotion to her country was utmost. She had a charismatic personality, was a born leader and an ambitious monarch who deserved better than suicide.

In another source, Queen Cleopatra was thought to be a murdering, adulterous seductress who conspired in the demise of her own family, countrymen, and powerful Romans. Her death at her own hand was said to be the last desperate attempt of an immoral woman to at least control her own end, having lost all accumulated wealth, power, and lovers.

Cleopatra was regarded as a great beauty, even in the ancient world. In his Pensées, philosopher Blaise Pascal contends that Cleopatra's classically beautiful profile changed world history: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.''
Cassius Dio also spoke of Cleopatra's allure: "For she was a woman of surpassing beauty, and at that time, when she was in the prime of her youth, she was most striking; she also possessed a most charming voice and knowledge of how to make herself agreeable to every one. Being brilliant to look upon and to listen to, with the power to subjugate every one, even a love-sated man already past his prime, she thought that it would be in keeping with her role to meet Caesar, and she reposed in her beauty all her claims to the throne."

However, some people have felt that though Cleopatra was very intelligent and a shrewd politician with an extraordinary charisma, she was not beautiful and had a much masculine features.

Which would you believe?
This is the watered down version (and not that accurate) but you get the gist of it.
So now you know the history of Cleopatra. I feel that if a book was dedicated to the whole life of her, it would be as thick as the length of my palm!


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