The Allure of Cleopatra


Long, long before the famous 1960s movie starring Elizabeth based on Cleopatra's life came out, the Egyptian queen had been a powerhouse in people's imagination. She continues to attract attention today. She was powerful, alluring, and intelligent. She knew how to rule and fight. She spoke at least seven languages.

Known for her affairs with the great Roman emperor Julius Caesar as well as the politician and general Mark Antony, she's portrayed in film and stories as beautiful, dangerous, and shrewd. 

The truth, of course, is somewhere in between. 

What we do know is that Cleopatra lived from 69 BC to 30 BC. She was from the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egyptian rulers and the last queen of Egypt. She was highly intelligent. She may not have been as beautiful as portrayed in film and lore, but she apparently her voice was melodious and her manners charming, which we know can have much more of an impact on the opposite sex as beauty can. Plutarch certainly seemed to think she was of remarkable beauty.

Either way, Cleopatra VII had to work hard to maintain her status quo. She had a hand in murdering two of her siblings to keep her throne. It could be that these siblings would have done away with Cleopatra, too, if they had had the chance. 

Cleopatra's kingdom was based in the prosperous city of Alexandria. She was wealthy, powerful, and for these reasons alone, alluring to the power-hungry Julius Caesar. An alliance between Egypt and Rome would assure power and wealth. 

The famous queen of Egypt was also a mother. She had four children: a son with Julius Caesar, and three children with Mark Antony. Only one of these children survived to adulthood - Cleopatra Selene married the king of Juba and Mauretania.

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt made a grand entrance in Rome when she was Julius Caesar's mistress, which didn't sit well with many Romans. 

When Julius Caesar was murdered, Cleopatra tried to protect herself and her heirs with the help of Mark Antony. However, her son Caesarion was executed by Octavian, who came to power after his stepfather Caesar was assassinated. 

Cleopatra continues to live on in our imaginations as a powerful, enigmatic ruler.