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69 - 30 BC

With the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, one of his closest generals, Ptolemy, was put in charge of one third of the land Alexander had captured. Ptolemy was in control of parts of Libya, Lebanon, Greece and Egypt, where he made Alexandria his capital city. In 305 BC, Ptolemy broke off his ties with Macedonia then declared himself King of Egypt, this begining the Ptolemy Dynasty in Egypt.

Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII. The death of her father in 51 BC saw Cleopatra ascend the throne. In accordance with Egyptian law, she had to have a consort who was either a brother or son, thus she was forced to marry her twelve year old brother Ptolemy XIII.

At that time, the Egyptian economy was in decline. They had lost control of other countries and Egypt had been suffering droughts. This led to a Civil War between Cleopatra and her brother. Cleopatra soon looked like loosing everything as her brother took control of the country.

Cleopatra image


In 48 BC, the Roman Pompey had fled to Egypt to evade Caesar. When he stepped ashore at Alexandria, the young king Ptolemy had Pompey killed. Caesar's arrived in Alexandria soon after, saw him presented with Pompey’s head.

Caesar arranged a meeting with Ptolemy at that time, but the night before, Cleopatra was smuggled into Alexandria rolled in a carpet to meet Caesar. That night, she seduced Caesar. When the young king arrived the following morning, he realised Caesar was going to help his sister. The battle that followed saw the young kings army defeated. It is thought Ptolemy drowned in the Nile when fleeing. Cleopatra was then the sole ruler of Egypt.

To keep the Egyptian priests happy, Cleopatra married her eleven year old brother Ptolemy XIV, even though she was expecting Caesar's child at that time. Caesar returned to Rome soon after where he was appointed Dictator for ten years.

In the autumn of 46 BC, Cleopatra and Caesar's son, Ptolemy Caesarion, travelled to Rome to be with Caesar. They stayed with Caesar until he was assassinated in 44 BC. Cleopatra and her son then fled from Rome to Alexandria. On her return, she had her brother assassinated so her son could be appointed Co-Regent.

With the death of Caesar, two soldiers who faithfully served under him, Mark Antony and Lepidus, along with Caesars adopted son Octavian, persuaded the senate to hunt down the assassins led by Brutus. By 42 BC, the last of the assassins had been defeated, this leading to the Roman world being divided into three parts to be run by Antony, Lepidus and Octavian.

41 BC, Antony arranged a meeting with Cleopatra at Tarsus in Turkey. That meeting saw the pair fall in love then travell to Alexandria to be together.

Mark Antony was then torn between his Roman wife and Cleopatra. He made attempts to carry on with his Roman duties, but in 34 BC, he returned to Cleopatra and their two sons in Alexandria.

Mark Antony image

Mark Antony

Octavian saw that as his chance to gain control of the Roman Empire for himself. He persuaded Lepidus to retire then met the combined forces of Cleopatra and Mark Antony at Actium in Western Greece for a decisive battle, 2nd September 31 BC. That battle ended with Mark Antony and Cleopatra defeated and Antony’s army deserting him. After the battle, an inaccurate report that Cleopatra had died, lead to Mark Antony committing suicide.

After Cleopatra was captured, she soon realised Octavian was going to keep her prisoner and parade her through the streets of Rome. Cleopatra is thought to have committed suicide by the bite of a cobra, she died 12th August 30 BC.

After her death, Caesarion was murdered and her two sons by Antony were raised by his Roman wife. From that time, Egypt was governed by Romans, Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh. Octavian then became the first Emperor of Rome.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_VII People List