The Historians #17: Cleopatra

Welcome class to another week of History! Cleopatra Ptolemy VII 69 BC-30BC

Cleopatra-Queen of Egypt the last pharoh took the throne at age 17. Cleopatra Ptolemy was a Macedonian Greek. The first of a long reign to speak egyptian. Cleopatra spoke 9 languages. She also wrote books on medicine and weights and measures. As a woman this was very rare. She was very powerful ruler, diplomat, naval commander and managed her kingdom at the end Hellenistic period as best she could to keep Alexandria for her people.

Cleopatra practiced Egyptian religion and considered herself the reincarnate goddess Isis.

Cleopatra had only two lovers Caesar and Antony. She had children with both men. After Caesar was assassinated and Antony took power she had children with him as well.

Antony was lied to about the death of Cleopatra and commited suicide with a sword. After hearing this Cleopatra was told she would then be made a slave by Octavia, Antony's wife. Cleopatra did not want to live with that kind of humiliation so she sent for a poisonous asp. The Egyptian religion declared that death by snakebite would secure immortality. After Cleopatras death August 12, 30 BC at the age of 39, her son with Julius Caesar, Caesarion was strangled to death and the children she had with Marc Antony were raised by his ex-wife Octavia.

Her death was the mark of the end of the Egyptian Monarchs. The Roman Emperors came into to rule in Egypt. The Ptolemies were Macedonian in decent, but ruled as Egyptians, as Pharaohs. Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of Egypt.

Cleopatra would have worn the traditional chiton a sleeveless garment worn to the ankles and pinned to the shoulders with brooches and tied at the waist with a belt. The cloth would then be pulled up slightly above the belt to allow walking. Egyptians in this period would have gone barefoot or worn a leather sandal.

The picture on the right is Cleopatra drawn by Michaelango 1533-1600. Left is a heiroglyph of Cleopatra.