CLEOPATRA: THE SAGA OF MYSTERY

Sana Nadeem Khan
Sana Nadeem Khan

Cleopatra has been famed even after centuries of the primaeval history of never-ending secrets and facts. She has been a memorial for lots of beauty innovators, as a lot of beauty products and perfumes have been named after her. She has been one of the favourite characters to be performed on various television and movie series, paintings, and numerous artwork. People call her ” a gem of beauty”. But in actual fact, she was “a woman of femme fatale”. She was in fact not “beautiful” but was an eager beaver towards her skin, her looks. Historians write about her as having ” a captivating appearance with persuasiveness in discussion and a symbol of seduction “. Yes, this was Cleopatra. Also known as “Cleopatra VII the last pharaoh of Egypt”.

Cleopatra was not from Egypt , she traced her family origins to Macedonian Greece and Ptolemy I Soter , one of Alexander the great’s generals. Cleopatra was born in Egypt. Considered by the critic Harold Bloom who called her as the world’s first celebrity , Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator was the VII amongst the queens of Egypt , there were VI more queens named Cleopatra before her. But she gained the fame. Cloepatra’s reign brought 22 years of prosperity to Egypt. Remembered as one of the most alluring figures of antiquity , Cleopatra was a product of incest. In addition to speaking Greek and Egyptian , Cleopatra was fluent in at least six other languages . As an educated woman she published two known texts , one on the care of the body , other on the weighs and measures of medicine and trade.  Cleopatra claimed to be the reincarnation of the Egyptian god Isis.

Dendera temple
Cleopatra and her first son Hathor’s temple, Dendera temple

Cleopatra had two romantic partners , other than her marital life . In her 39 years of short life , Cleopatra took the Egyptian throne at 18 after her father’s , Ptolemy XII , death. Cleopatra shared the throne  with her younger brother of 10 years , also his husband , as co-regent. Being older and wittier than her brother , Cleopatra took control as the main ruler of Egypt. With the growing age , her brother wanted to have more power . Eventually , he took over the palace as the pharaoh and forced Cleopatra out of palace. But at the arrival of Julius Caesar in Egypt , Cleopatra met him secretly and seduced him and convinced him to help her get back the throne. Caesar defeated the army of Cleopatra’s brother. Cleopatra than ruled the Egypt again alongside her another younger brother  and husband. After the demise of her brother , she than ruled Egypt with her son Ptolemy Caesarion , the son from Julius Caesar.

The love stories of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar has been portrayed beautifully by various poets and writers at different eras. Despite Cleopatra’s love for Caesar , she wanted Egypt to be independent of Rome , the state and empire of Julius Caesar. After the assassination of Julius Caesar , Cleopatra returned to Egypt . The leader for Rome after Caesar became Marc Antony.

Though Cleopatra and Antony met and formed a military alliance against another Rome’s leader Octavian , at the time when Julius Caesar was alive and in relationship with Cleopatra. During that even , Cleopatra fell in love with Marc Antony. Octavian was the legal heir to Julius Caesar. But Cleopatra wanted her son Caesarion to be Caesar’s heir and the ruler of Rome. Cleopatra hoped Marc Antony could help her achieving this goal. The combined armies of Cleopatra and Marc Antony fought Octavian . The fight was at the battle of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian and Rome came under Octavian’s authority.

Cleopatra and Antony flee back to Egypt after the defeat in Rome. But Marc Antony returned back to the battlefield in the hope of defeating Octavian.  But he soon realized that he could not defeat Octavian and would get captured. During the battlefield , Antony heard a false news of the death of Cleopatra. Marc Antony killed himself. Cleopatra was shocked when he heard the death of Antony. She killed herself by allowing a poisonous cobra to bite her. Cleopatra was only 39 when she did suicide. With her death as the last pharaoh , Octavian took over Egypt and it became part of the Roman empire. Octavian later changed his own name to Augustus.

From right to left: Marc Antony, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra

The long-lost tombs of these two historically loved ones Cleopatra and Antony has not been unearthed yet. Though Augustus permitted their bodies to be buried together , Augustus sent their surviving children back to Rome to be raised there by the sister of Marc Antony. The archeologists are still digging the history to find out more about this famous and powerful woman of the world. Let’s see what history has to reveal more about Cleopatra.

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