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Who was Cleopatra VII?
Born in Alexandria, then capital of Egypt in 69
Parents: Father Pharaoh, Ptolemy XII, aka
Auletes or “Flute Player” and her mother was
probably Auletes’s sister Cleopatra V
Tryphaena (it was common place for members
of the Ptolemaic dynasty to marry their
Cleopatra had several siblings: elder sister,
Cleopatra VI; elder sister Berenice; younger
sister, Arsinoe and two younger brothers both
called Ptolemy.
Cleopatra’s family was not truly Egyptian, they
were Macedonian which is Greek.
Cleopatra’s Early Life
Cleopatra’s father dies in 51 BC
Cleopatra and her brother Ptolmey XIII
are left the throne.
Cleopatra was not particularly beautiful
but was very intelligent.
She spoke 9 languages including
Egyptian. She was the first Ptolemy
Pharoh every to speak Egyptian.
Cleopatra rules for 3 years on her own
until her brothers advisers exile her to
Syria .
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
While Cleopatra was in exile Julius Caesar was vying against Pompey for
control of the Roman Empire. Pompey went to Alexandria to seek
protection from Ptolemy, but his advisers found it safer to side with Caesar.
Pompey arrived in Alexandria ahead of Caesar he was stabbed to death
while Ptolemy watched.
When Caesar arrived, Ptolemy thought it would please him to present him
with Pompey’s head.
Caesar was not amused and immediately took control of the Palace.
He called for Ptolemy and Cleopatra to come together and he would settle
their dispute and restores Cleopatra to the Egyptian Throne.
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar
Immediately upon meeting her Caesar was
bewitched by her and they became lovers that
Even though Caesar and Cleopatra were lovers,
she married her brother Ptolemy. She was
about 17 he was 12.
She later gave birth to a son Caesarion or
“Little Caesar”
In 44 BC Caesar was killed, Rome was in
turmoil and Cleopatra returned to Egypt with
her son. Her brother/husband died shortly after
their arrival, it is believed by poisoned at her
Mark Antony
Born Marcus Antonius in 83 BC in
Father died at an early age, leaving him
and his brothers with his mother Julia.
He was 2nd cousin of Julius Caesar.
With very little guidance, they were
considered rebels for their time.
By the age of 20 he was heavily in debt
and fled to Greece
After a short time studying in Athens he
became a member of Caesar’s army.
Mark Antony
Mark Antony ultimately became
Caesar’s “Master of the Horse”, his right
hand man.
After Caesar’s death Mark Antony set
out for Egypt.
He wanted Cleopatra for Egypt’s wealth
and she wanted him for the Roman
Armies under his control.
Mark Antony was married 4 times.
His last marriage was to Octavia, sister
of Octavian who later Ruled Rome and
was known as Augustus
Antony and Cleopatra
They meet nearly 3 years after Julius Caesar’s death.
Antony Summons Cleopatra to Tarsus to discuss her possibly funding his enemies.
She arrives on a lavishly gilded barge with Purple sails and dressed as Venus. Antony is so
enthralled that he spends the winter in Alexandria and forgets about his responsibilities.
6 months after Antony returns to Rome, Cleopatra gives birth to twins.
Antony and Cleopatra
They do not see each other for 4 years,
once they reunite they remain together
and marry even though Antony is still
married to Octavia..
Cleopatra and Antony live a lavish
lifestyle and name themselves as gods.
The people Rome are outraged by their
behavior and war is called on Egypt.
When Octavian arrives the Egyptian
army joins forces with him.
Mark Antony’s Death
After being defeated and felt of being betrayed by his consuming love for
Cleopatra, he falls on his sword and eventually dies on her bed.
After a royal burial for Mark Antony, Cleopatra was determined to die.
Cleopatra’s Death
Because she no longer wanted
to live, Octavian had guards
watching over her. Being very
clever she had an Asp placed
into a basket of figs that was
being delivered.
She wrote a note to Octavian
begging to be buried in Mark
Antony’s tomb.
By the time he received the
note and arrived she was
already gone
As she wished, she was buried
beside Mark Antony and last
Pharoh of Egypt had reigned
Probably the most
Widely recognized
Portrayal of Cleopatra
Was by Elizabeth Taylor
In 1963.
Shakespeare’s take on History
Antony and Cleopatra was very
historically correct concerning most
of the political battles that occurred
during the 10 year period this was
meant to portray.
Shakespeare’s primary source for
information was from Plutarch’s
Lives of the Noble Grecians and
Romans, which was translated by Sir
Thomas North in 1579.
Many passages were quoted directly
from this text without change.
Shakespeare’s Embellishments
Cleopatra was portrayed as very strong, extremely
beautiful and irresistible.
Octavius Caesar views the Pharaoh and Queen of
Egypt as little more than a dramatic whore.
Antony, while a Roman Hero was portrayed as totally
blinded by love .
Octavia is portrayed as a healer of sorts between the
two men, Antony and Octavius Caesar.