Cleopatra is one of the well-known women in history. She was especially famed for her intellect and beauty. She was also popular for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
Cleopatra believed she was a goddess amongst men. She always staged a clever entrance to entice and woo potential allies. She would make an entrance in the most dramatic way, needless to say – they were all enchanted by the young queen.
Facts You Didn’t Know About the Young Queen
While she was known for her wit and beauty, there are other things history lessons didn’t tell us about Cleopatra.
Cleopatra was not an Egyptian.
She was born in Egypt but her family originated from Greece. Ptolemy I Soter, a general of Alexander the Great, took over Egypt after Alexander’s passing in 323 B.C. Cleopatra’s father, Ptolemy XII, is a direct descendant of the great general. (Source: History)
Cleopatra was the product of incest.
Back in those times, incest was not really a cause for concern. Like many royalties, the members of the Ptolemaic dynastic would often marry within the family to preserve their bloodline.
It is most likely that her parents were siblings. To keep up with tradition, Cleopatra also married her brothers. Each of whom served as her co-reagent during her reign as queen. (Source: History)
There was more to Cleopatra than just her beauty.
The Roman empire painted Cleopatra to be a temptress who used her beauty and appeal as a weapon against her enemies. But aside from being beautiful, Cleopatra was incredibly intelligent. She spoke a dozen languages, was well educated in mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy.
The young queen elevated the ranks of scholars during her reign as she enjoyed their company. Though there was no evidence that she was as striking as they put her to be, everyone knew about her irresistible charm. (Source: History)
She is indirectly responsible for three of her siblings’ deaths.
During her reign, murder plots were as much of a tradition as incest. Her first brother-husband, Ptolemy XIII and her started at civil war. Cleopatra teamed up with Julius Caesar and won the war. Ptolemy drowned in the Nile River after losing.
Cleopatra married her younger brother Ptolemy XIV after the civil war. Historians believed that she had him murdered in a bid to make her son her co-reagent. By 41 B.C., she had her sister, Arsinoe, executed. (Source: History)
Cleopatra always made an entrance.
She was well-known for her dramatic flair. On her encounter with Mark Antony, she arrived in a golden barge with purple sails and silver oars. She was dressed up like the goddess Aphrodite sitting beneath a canopy as servants fanned her. Antony was completely enchanted. (Source: History)
Cleopatra was at Rome when Caesar was assassinated.
In 46 B.C. Cleopatra went to Rome with Julius Caesar and their lovechild, Caesarion. As a mistress, she caused a quite a ruckus in the empire when Caesar erected a statue of her in the temple of Venus Genetrix. He was stabbed to death in the senate by 44 B.C., this forced Cleopatra to flee the city. (Source: History)
Cleopatra did not die of an asp bite.
Cleopatra and Antony took their own lives when Octavian’s forces were closing in on them in Alexandria. Antony stabbed himself in the stomach, while Cleopatra was said to have enticed a snake to bite her arm.
An ancient chronicler by the name of Plutarch says that the queen was known to conceal poison in her belongings. Many scholars believe that she used a pin dipped in snake venom to end her life. (Source: History)