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- 51 BC
- 12 BC
The life and death of Cleopatra:
She was the last active pharaoh of ancient Egypt, member of a dynasty with roots in Greece and a liaison of some of the most famous names of the Roman Empire. But her reign ended in suicide, poisoned by a snake bite.
Cleopatra was a member of the dynasty of Macedonian Greek origin that ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. Unlike her dynastic predecessors she learned to speak Egyptian in addition to Greek and presented herself as Isis, the Egyptian goddess of health, marriage and wisdom.
She originally ruled with her father and later with her two brothers – whom she married according to custom. (She had no children with either of them.)
She later became the sole ruler and, as pharaoh, had a relationship with none other than Julius Caesar. She later elevated their son, Caeserion, to her co-ruler.
But after Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, she allied with Mark Antony against Caesar's rightful heir Octavius – eventually known as Augustus Caesar. Antony and Cleopatra had three children, twins (boy and girl) and another son.
When Mark Antony lost the Battle of Actium to Augustus Caesar's force, he committed suicide. And Cleopatra followed suit – according to the tradition of dying by the bite of an asp, a poisonous snake.
Her son Caeserion outlived her briefly, before being put to death on Augustus Caesar's orders.
Cleopatra remains famous to this day, thanks to dramatizations about her life from William Shakespeare….
…to Hollywood productions starring the likes of Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.
What did Cleopatra really look like?
Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton believes this computer generated 3D image is the best likeness of the legendary Queen of the Nile.
Cleopatra's remains have never been located, although they are believed to be somewhere in Egypt.