CAIRO – 7 April 2022: Queen Cleopatra VII was the last Ptolemaic ruler in Egypt. The Ptolemies ruled Egypt after the division of Alexander's empire, and the first Ptolemaic ruler was Ptolemy I.
Cleopatra VII is also one of the greatest queens of Egypt throughout history. Although she was Greek, she took it upon herself to learn the ancient Egyptian language at the time. She also imitated the goddess Isis, and claimed that she embodies her life on earth. She even called herself the "New Isis", which reflects her intelligence, as Isis was an Egyptian deity loved by many.
Cleopatra VII, the daughter of Ptolemy XII, was born in 69 BC. She was not like any Greek girl, she turned to studying philosophy and mathematics in the city of Alexandria, the beacon of science at the time, and some of the famous scientists in that institute became her loyal friends.
When she was 14 years old, she was still a student, spoke several languages, and was fond of philosophy, mathematics and poetry. She was a girl who grew up in a city that worshiped the goddess Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and preferred to call her by her Egyptian name, Hathor. Hathor’s worshipping as a deity represented the fusion of ancient Egyptian and Greek beliefs.
When her father died in 51 BC, he had recommended that Cleopatra VII marry her older brother, Ptolemy XIII, and that they rule together. Thus, she became queen of Egypt in 51 BC, followed by Ptolemy XIV, and her son Ptolemy XV "Caesarion", son of Julius Caesar.
Cleopatra VII was a talented queen who led armies at the age of 21. She worked relentlessly to restore her family's glories, and was able to establish stability and peace in the country during her reign. She opened stores for her people during the period of famine, and dropped their taxes.
Eventually, Cleopatra VII entered into a conflict with her brother, Ptolemy XIII, who was tempted by his advisors to remove her from power in order to gain exclusive authority. She sought refuge in the Bedouins in eastern Egypt and was able to form an army from them to regain her power. Her brother confronted her at the current city of Port Said.
Meanwhile, the Roman leader Julius Caesar arrived in Alexandria on October 2, 48 BC. Caesar summoned both Ptolemy and Cleopatra to Alexandria, and announced his support for the monarchy. However, during that time, the people of Alexandria had another queen in mind. In November 48 BC, with Caesar and Cleopatra VII imprisoned in the royal palace, the Alexandrian people proclaimed the younger royal sister, Arsinoe IV, Queen of Egypt.
Both Cleopatra VII and Caesar spent a long winter confined to the palace of Alexandria. The matter ended when Roman reinforcements arrived in 47 BC. Ptolemy XIII fled and drowned in the Nile. Arsinoe IV was captured, Cleopatra VII returned to rule with Roman support and married her brother Ptolemy XIV.
Cleopatra then married Julius Caesar and gave birth to her son, Ptolemy XV, whom the people of Alexandria nicknamed Caesarion as a way of sarcasm. Caesar and Cleopatra VII shared the same interests and used each other to achieve their goals.
Cleopatra VII was determined to retain her throne, and if possible, restore the glories of the early Ptolemies and regain as much of their power as possible. After giving birth to her son, Cleopatra VII traveled to Rome, and stayed there for about a year.
Once Julius Caesar died, the Romans entered into a civil war that ended with the arrival of Marcus Antony to power with the participation of Octavius. The rule of the Roman Empire was divided between them. When Antony came to Egypt, he fell in love with Cleopatra VII, who gave birth to his twins, Alexander Helios, which means the sun, and Cleopatra Selene II, which means the moon.
When relations deteriorated between Antony and Octavius, Cleopatra joined Antony and the Battle of Actium broke out in Greece in 31 BC. Victory was Octavius' ally and Antony was forced to flee. Cleopatra VII returned to Alexandria and began to gather her forces, to be joined later by Antony in a desperate attempt to stand up against Octavius.
Antony committed suicide after his failure in the war against Octavius. In August 30 BC, Cleopatra VII apparently had no choice but to commit suicide with the bite of a cobra to avoid falling into captivity. Cleopatra VII chose to commit suicide instead of being taken as a captive in Rome.