Presentation on theme: "EGYPT’S GREATEST QUEEN CLEOPATRA VII. INTRODUCTION Cleopatra's family ruled Egypt for more than 100 years before she was born around 69 B.C. The stories."— Presentation transcript:
INTRODUCTION Cleopatra's family ruled Egypt for more than 100 years before she was born around 69 B.C. The stories and myths surrounding Cleopatra's tragic life inspired a number of books, movies and plays, including Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare, Carry on Cleo, and Antony and Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Cleopatra has become one of the most well-known ancient Egyptians.
BACKGROUND Cleopatra VII was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She was a member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty, a family descended from the Greek who ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great’s death during the Hellenistic Period. The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone. Cleopatra, however did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of Isis, the Ancient Egyptian goddess of nature and magic. Rosetta Stone Isis
CLEOPATRA’S RULE In 51 B.C., Cleopatra’s father, Ptolemy XII (Who she had previously shared the Egyptian throne with) died, leaving the throne to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 10-year- old Ptolemy XIII. Soon, complications arose between the two siblings. Although Cleopatra was married to her young brother, she quickly made it clear that she had no intention of sharing power with him. In August 51 BC, relations between Cleopatra and Ptolemy completely broke down. Cleopatra dropped Ptolemy's name from official documents and her face appeared alone on coins, which went against Ptolemaic tradition of female rulers being subordinate to male co-rulers. P
CLEOPATRA’S ABRUPT FALL FROM POWER In 50 BC Cleopatra came into conflict with the Gabiniani, powerful Roman troops of Aulus Gabinius who had left the Gabiniani in Egypt to protect Ptolemy XII (Cleopatra’s father) after his restoration to the throne in 55 BC. The Gabiniani killed the sons of the Roman governor of Syria, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus when they came to ask for the help of the Gabiniani for their father against the Parthians. Cleopatra handed the murderers over in chains to Bibulus, whereupon the Gabiniani turned into bitter enemies of the queen. This conflict was one of the main causes of Cleopatra's fall from power shortly afterward. The sole reign of Cleopatra was finally ended by a cabal of courtiers, led by the Pothinus, in connection with a half- Greek general, Achillas, and Theodotus of Chios. In 48 BC, Cleopatra's younger brother Ptolemy XIII became sole ruler. Cleopatra attempted to raise a rebellion around Pelusium, but she was defeated and forced to flee with her only remaining sister, Arsinoë.
PTOLEMY XIII, POMPEY AND JULIUS CAESAR Emperor Julius Caesar of Rome was, at this time, embroiled in the civil war between him and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, usually known in English as Pompey. Ptolemy XIII wanted an alliance with Rome, and in order to earn Caesar’s favour, murdered Pompey in front of his wife and children. When Julius Caesar went to Alexandria, Ptolemy presented him with Pompey’s head as a gift. Caesar was enraged. Although he was Caesar's political enemy, Pompey was a Roman consul and the widower of Caesar's only legitimate daughter, Julia (who died in childbirth with Pompey's son).
CLEOPATRA MEETS CAESAR E ag er to take advantage of Julius Caesar’s anger at her brother, Cleopatra made her way back to her palace in Alexandria. She snuck past the guards rolled up in a carpet, which was carried by Apollodorus the Cicilian. When Caesar was alone, Cleopatra revealed herself. Struck by her beauty, Cleopatra soon became Caesar’s mistress and Caesar backed up her claim to the throne. Nearly a year after their first meeting, Cleopatra gave birth to a boy named Ptolemy Caesar, nicknamed Caesarion (meaning “Little Caesar.” Cleopatra wanted Julius Caesar to name Caesarion his heir, but he refused, choosing his grandnephew Octavian instead. Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile after Caesar’s forces defeated his, and Caesar restored Cleopatra to her throne, with another younger brother Ptolemy XIV as her new co-ruler.
CAESAR’S DEATH Caesar was killed coming out of a Senate meeting, not as many guidebooks suggested, emerging from the Theatre of Marcellus. He was murdered by a small group of co-conspirators, knifed a total of 23 times, so stab wounds did kill him. But when his body was later examined, doctors concluded that only one of the 23 stab-wounds was fatal. Had he been stabbed only 22 times, he would have been badly wounded but likely have survived. How might history have been different had he survived the assault, or had he listened to the numerous warnings from his wife, his friends, and a soothsayer, to stay at home on his last day? He had even dismissed his loyal bodyguards that day, as if tempting fate. He was about to embark on a campaign to the East, attempting to subdue a barbarian army that had battled the last two Roman generals and their legions. It seems Caesar did try to defend himself, but he was one against a mob. He certainly seems to have accepted his fate, refusing to heed so many warnings from those close to him, dismissing all his bodyguards, and ultimately succumbing to a fate that he must have known awaited him.
MARK ANTONY In 41 BC, Mark Antony, one of the triumvirs who ruled Rome after Caesar's death, sent friend Quintus Dellius to Egypt to summon Cleopatra to Tarsus to meet Antony and answer questions about her loyalty. It seems that in reality Antony wanted Cleopatra’s promise to support his intended war against the Parthians. Cleopatra arrived, and so charmed Antony that he chose to spend the winter of 41 BC–40 BC with her at her palace Alexandria. To ensure the safety of herself and Caesarion, she had Antony order the death of her sister Arsinoe, who was living at the temple of Artemis in Ephesus which was under Roman control. The execution was carried out in 41 BC on the steps of the temple. Cleopatra had 3 children with Antony, Cleopatra Selene II, Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus.
CLEOPATRA’S DEATH There are many theories about Cleopatra’s death, but nobody really knows how she died. One story is that Octavian, now enemy of Mark Antony, captured her. She was watched carefully so that she was not allowed to commit suicide. However, Cleopatra managed to get a basket of figs smuggled into her bedroom. She ate a couple, and then stuck her hand into the basket, where a poisonous asp was nestled. She poked the snake until it got angry, and then it bit her. By the time Octavian got there, she was already dead, with two of her maids dying at her feet. There has been a general agreement between historians that she was bitten by an asp, but in 2010, the German historian Christoph Schaefer declared that Cleopatra had actually been poisoned and died from drinking a mixture of poisons. He concluded that the asp could not have caused a slow and pain-free death (that the queen no doubt would have wanted), since the asp venom paralyses parts of the body, starting with the eyes, before causing death. Schaefer and his toxicologist Dietrich Mebs decided Cleopatra used a mixture of hemlock, wolfsbane and opium.
STORIES SURROUNDING CLEOPATRA There are a number of stories about Cleopatra, and one of the best known is that at one of the lavish dinners she shared with Antony, she playfully bet him that she could spend ten million sesterces on a dinner. He accepted the bet. The next night, she had an unspectacular meal served; he was ridiculing this, when she ordered the second course — only a cup of strong vinegar. She then removed one of her priceless pearl earrings, dropped it into the vinegar, allowed it to dissolve, and drank the mixture. The earliest report of this story comes from Pliny the Elder and dates to about 100 years after the banquet described would have happened. The calcium carbonate in pearls does dissolve in vinegar, but slowly unless the pearl is first crushed.