Cleopatra

Cleopatra was queen of Egypt, last ruler of the dynasty founded by Ptolemy, a

Macedonian general of Alexander the Great, who took Egypt as his share in dividing

Alexander’s empire. Her capital, Alexander, founded by Alexander the Great, was
the center of Hellenistic Greek culture of the world at that time, as well as a great
commercial center. Although she imagined as a "beautiful and glamorous woman
today, she was not very attractively depicted on ancient coins, having a long hook
nose, and masculine features" (Flamarion 181). She deemed to be a strong-willed

Macedonian queen who was brilliant and dreamed of a greater world empire. Highly
intelligent, this shrewd politician almost achieved this goal. Her contributions as the
last of the Ptolemaic Greek rulers of independent Egypt, were the endless expansion
of the Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean, and at her death left behind "a
rich, imperial province which continued to flourish as the center of commerce,
science, and learning under Roman rule" (Newman 554). This natural born leader
was the oldest living daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes and of his sister and wife

Cleopatra Tryphaena. Such brother-sister marriages were common among members
of the Egyptian ruling house. Her father, who died in 51 BC, requested the

Cleopatra and his oldest son, Ptolemy XIII, become joint rulers, and made Rome the
guardian of the Egyptian state. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the life of a
prominent Egyptian figure, who through her determination and strong will,
established herself as a pharaoh and queen of Egypt.

Problems arose when the young Ptolemy began to serve as a puppet for
power-hungry advisers, who much have found him far more easy to command and
dictate than Cleopatra who was older and more intelligent. Cleopatra and her
brother started a civil war between themselves, which resulted in her being forced
into exile to Syria. In Syria, she raised an army and started back to Egypt to regain
her throne. In 48 BC, this ambitious monarch was in Pelusium, on the eastern
frontier of Egypt, with her newly acquired army preparing to attack her brother and
his associates. This battle was never fought, however, because Julius Caesar, who
had arrived at Alexandria in pursuit of Pompey, "claimed the right to arbitrate the
quarrel" as the representative of Rome (Hoobler 28). Both Ptolemy and Cleopatra
were to dismiss their armies and meet with Caesar, who would settle their dispute.

Meanwhile, there was also a civil war going on between Caesar and Pompey.

Pothinus, knowing that Caesar would win, convinced Ptolemy XIII that it would be
best to have Pompey beheaded and have his head presented to Caesar, as a way to
convince him to join their side in the their civil dispute. Caesar had not been"enchanted, and being friends with Pompey, did not desire to have him treated so
disrespectfully" (Foreman 61). Determined to present her case, Cleopatra sailed to

Alexandria in a small boat with only a few assistants. There she had herself rolled up
in to a carpet and carried to Caesar’s palace by one of her attendants who told the
guards it was a present for Caesar. She did this because it would have been
impossible to gain access to the palace without Ptolemy XIII discovering and killing
her. Cleopatra realized that in order to gain power she would have to remain on
good terms with Rome and its leaders so she successfully set out to captivate him.

Both Caesar and Cleopatra used each other to gain something, because he wanted to
obtain money, and her main concern was gaining power.

What had begun as a war between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII evolved into a
war between Ptolemy XIII allied with Arsine, his sister, against Caesar, and became
known as the Alexandrian War. Caesar read Aulete’s will to Ptolemy and forced
him to restore her to the throne. When Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile, Caesar
declared that "Cleopatra should marry her younger brother, then eleven years old,
and rule as queen" (Newman 556) in order to please the Alexanderians and the

Egyptian priests. He remained in Egypt, ignoring his affairs in Rome and in the East,

"out of arrogance and his desire to get his hands on Egypt’s vast resources"
(Foreman 99). On his return to Rome, Caesar asks the tribune of the people, Helvius

Cinna, to introduce into the Roman Senate a law permitting Caesar to marry

Cleopatra and make their son, Caesarion, his heir. Many were upset that he was
planning to marry Cleopatra regardless of the laws against bigamy and marriage to
foreigners. It took Caesar