Perhaps best known simply as “Cleopatra”, the official name of the Ancient Egyptian Queen was Cleopatra VII Philopator; she was the last active Pharaoh of ancient Egypt and was of Macedonian-Greek origin, member of the Ptolemaic dynasty.
In the beginning, she did not rule over Egypt alone but did so jointly with her father and her brothers which she later married as per Egyptian customs. Here are some facts about Cleopatra that you might not have known:
- Cleopatra did not speak Egyptian at first, she actually spoke Greek.
- She represented herself as the incarnation of the goddess Isis.
- Cleopatra called herself Nea Isis.
- She ruled over ancient Egypt as a co-regent, with her father, brothers and their son for nearly three decades.
- She had a romantic and both political relationship with the Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
- Cleopatra was only twenty-one years old when she became a lover of Caeser who was fifty-two years old.
- In 47 B.C. Cleopatra bore Caesar a son, whom she named Caesarion, but Caesar never acknowledges the child.
- Historical debate continues until today whether Caeser was his father, scholars have mixed opinions.
- Caesar erected a golden statue of Cleopatra where she was represented as Isis in the temple of Venus Genetrix.
- There are very few to none contemporary accounts of Cleopatra’s life, most of what is known about her life comes from Greco-Roman Scholars.
- She was eighteen years old when the Egyptian throne was passed onto her and her ten-year-old brother Ptolemy XIII.
- Her mother was Cleopatra V Tryphanea.
- She was forced to flee into Syria in 49 B.C. after Ptolemy’s advisers acted against her.
- The name “Cleopatra” derives from ancient Greek meaning: “she who comes from glorious father” or “glory of the father”.
- Cleopatra’s father Auletes is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great’s general Ptolemy I Soter.
- In 40 B.C. Cleopatra gave birth to twins whose father was Marc Anthony; named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II. She also gave birth to a third child Ptolemy Philadelphus.
- Alexander Helios was crowned ruler of Armenia, Media, and Parthia.
- Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene II was crowned ruler of Cyrenaica and Libya.
- Cleopatra’s third child, Ptolemy Philadelphus was crowned ruler of Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia.
- Marc Anthony married Cleopatra even though he was already married to Octavia Minor.
- The cause of her death remains a wide debate among historians; but according to ancient Roman sources, Cleopatra killed herself with an Egyptian cobra.
- According to Strabo, a Greek philosopher there are two stories about the death of Cleopatra; she applied a toxic ointment, or she was bitten by an asp on her breast.
- Some believe that Cleopatra was killed, but there are no written texts to support this claim.
- Cleopatra’s and Caesar’s son, Caesarion was proclaimed ruler of Egypt after Alexandria had fallen to Octavian, but he was shortly after captured and killed.
- The tomb of Antony and Cleopatra remains a mystery even though it is believed to be somewhere near Alexandria, Egypt.
For more, see ten strange facts about Cleopatra from Bright Side:
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