Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures

WOMEN IN HISTORY

by Ruth Elizabeth Stiff about a month ago in history

CLEOPATRA VII

WOMEN IN HISTORY

Cleopatra VII is a well-known Queen of Egypt. We know her name and watch the films about her, but how much do we really know about this woman? Her name is printed in the pages of history so Cleopatra VII must have been a remarkable woman.

From research, we learn that Cleopatra really saw herself as divine. From the day she was born, Cleopatra was declared a goddess. She identified with the goddess Isis and the goddess Aphrodite. And was highly conscious of her image and the way in which she was presented before the people. There are many ‘pictures’ which show Cleopatra dressed as one or the other goddess. In Egypt, back then, the Pharaohs really believed that they were gods in human form and they were worshipped. This applied completely to Cleopatra. As a person, this queen showed that she really cared about the Egyptian people and they loved their queen / goddess.

Cleopatra VII reigned over Egypt during the 1st Century B.E. During this reign, she forged political alliances and was romantically involved with the two Roman Leaders, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. She was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty. The throne was passed to Cleopatra when she was 18 years of age and her brother who was 10 years of age. As was the custom back then, the two married each other. Political turmoil shaped this period and tensions rose between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII (her brother). Cleopatra fled to Syria. She wanted the throne to herself. Over the course of time, Caesar restored Cleopatra to the throne and dethroned her brother. The two ‘fell in love.’

Cleopatra followed Caesar to Rome, but after he was assassinated, she went back home to Egypt. They had a son together, Caesarion, who went back to Egypt with his mother.

After the death of her beloved Caesar, Cleopatra and Marc Antony, a general with ambitions, fell in love. Antony became embroiled in a battle over the control of Rome with Octavian, Caesar’s nephew. Antony saw in his affair with the queen of Egypt, the chance for financial and military support (this was to support his ambitions). Cleopatra, at the same time, had her own motivations. We wonder who was using who? They had twins together, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene.

Over the course of time, Octavian won ‘the war’ over Antony and Egypt. Antony attempted suicide and was taken to Cleopatra, who was hiding in her Egyptian tomb. Antony died, and now Cleopatra did not want to live: “Without you, Antony, this is not a world I want to live in.” (Elizabeth Taylor in the film Cleopatra). Cleopatra died by poison (possibly a venomous “asp”) and the two lovers were found by Octavian, dead and side by side. Thus ended the life of a unique queen of Egypt.

Unique Cleopatra VII definitely was!

She was a woman who was ahead of her time. Speaking at least 5 languages fluently, this queen knew how to negotiate and not just politically. This queen cared about her country and her people and made Egypt one of the richest nations of the time. Cleopatra was also a very proud woman and refused to be captures by Octavian and dragged back to Rome. She preferred to die by her own hand and live forever in the house of the gods.

At a time when these Pharaohs were worshipped as gods, Cleopatra proved her worth as a queen and a woman.

I personally put Cleopatra VII in the same ‘class’ as Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. All 3 Queens ruled in a world of men and all 3 Queens were so successful that we still know their names and how they ruled, hundreds of years later.

3 Fact about Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra VII reigned over Egypt 51-30B.C.E. She was a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty and was actually Greek.

To enhance her appearance, Cleopatra would wear golden-flecked bright blue eye shadow on her top eyelids and green paste on her lower eyelids. She used deep black Kohl to make her eyelashes longer, darken her eyebrows and accentuate her eyes.

During her reign, this queen endeavoured to keep Egypt independent and built-up the Egyptian economy, establishing trade with many Arab nations. She embraced the Egyptian culture and made the country prosperous during her rule, this made Cleopatra VII very popular amongst the Egyptian people, over whom she ruled.

history
Ruth Elizabeth Stiff
Ruth Elizabeth Stiff
Read next: The State
Ruth Elizabeth Stiff

I love all things Earthy and Self-Help

History is one of my favourite subjects and I love to write short fiction

Research is so interesting for me too

See all posts by Ruth Elizabeth Stiff