When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, Ptolemy I Soter established a dynasty in 305 BC named Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt. He became Pharaoh of Egypt and set up this kingdom which is also known as Hellenistic Kingdom. The period that followed after Alexander’s death and continued until the death of Cleopatra is known as Hellenistic Period. After the rule of 275 years, Hellenistic Kingdom eventually came to an end on 30 BC when Romans invaded Egypt. The last ruler of this dynasty was Cleopatra VII. The rulers of this kingdom were the Greeks. They did not speak Egyptian language rather they preferred Greek language. The word ‘Cleopatra’ comes from the Greek term called ‘Kleopatra’ meaning ‘glory of the father’. She was the last Egyptian pharaoh. She was a Greek but she learnt Egyptian language.
Real Name: Cleopatra VII Philopator
Date of Birth: 69 BC
Place of Birth: Alexandria, Egypt
Number of Children: 4
Date of Death: August 12, 30 BC
- The name of her father was Ptolemy VII. But he was popularly known by the name ‘Auletes’.
- The name of her mother was Cleopatra V Tryphaena.
- She became deputy of Ptolemy VII (father) at the age of 19 years.
- When her father passed away in March 51 BC, Cleopatra became a queen of Egypt along with her brother Ptolemy XIII, who was only 10 years of age. Cleopatra too was only 18 years old at the time. This was their father’s wish.
- Cleopatra got married to her brother Ptolemy XIII who was younger than her. This was the tradition at the time.
- Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII got separated in August 51 BC.
- It was a tradition of Ptolemaic dynasty that a female monarch cannot appear alone on official papers or coins but her male co-ruler must also be seen. The reason for this belief was because females were considered inferior to males. However, Cleopatra broke this tradition and removed Ptolemy’s name.
- Cleopatra was involved in a severe clash with 2,000 Romans under General Aulus Gabinius, widely known as Gabiniani.
- In 48 BC, her brother Ptolemy XIII became a king and Cleopatra’s reign came to an end. She ran off with her half-sister named Arsinoë IV.
- Cleopatra fell in love with Julius Caesar in around 47 BC. At the time, Caesar was 52 years old while Cleopatra was a 21-year-old young girl.
- Cleopatra turned herself into a mistress of Julius Caesar. A son of Caesar and Cleopatra was born in 47 BC. They gave him the name Ptolemy Caesar. He is also known by pet name ‘Caesarion’.
- In the Battle of Nile, Caesar won the battle and Ptolemy XIII was lost. Ptolemy XIII died in the River Nile while Cleopatra again became queen along with another brother Ptolemy XIV.
- In 46 BC, Cleopatra went to Rome along with her co-ruler and Caesarion.
- Julius Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC. At the time, Cleopatra was still in Rome. The sister of Ptolemy XIV killed him and Cleopatra picked up Caesarion as her co-ruler.
- Cleopatra again fell in love with a Roman general named Mark Antony in around 40 BC.
- The twins were born to Cleopatra and Antony on December 25, 40 BC. The names of these two children were Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios. Both of them got married afterwards.
- Cleopatra gave birth to yet another child of Antony named Ptolemy Philadelphus.
- In 34 BC, Cleopatra and her son Caesarion became co-rulers of Cyprus and Egypt.
- According to one of the oldest Roman sources, Cleopatra committed suicide by allowing cobra to attack at her.
- According to a research by a German historian named Christoph Schaefer, Cleopatra was killed because she drunk poison.
- Antony was furious at Cleopatra because she let her down. His troops left him alone and went to Octavian. Meanwhile, Cleopatra got scared of Antony’s fury and sent a message to him that she was dead. On hearing this, Antony committed suicide by stabbing himself.
- When Octavian took control of Alexandria, the Egyptians made Caesarion the new Pharaoh of Egypt. However he was murdered soon after.