Many will agree that there is no more famous woman in history than Cleopatra. The world knew many great rulers, wise and cruel, fatal beauties, famous actresses, legendary sportswomen and representatives of the art world. But the queen of Ancient Egypt Cleopatra eclipsed all. She was exceptional - the last of the rulers of a great country, located along the banks of the Nile, a woman of amazing beauty and charm.
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt (short biography and description of appearance) is the focus of this article.
The great ruler belonged to the Ptolemaic dynasty, founded by one of the generals of Alexander the Great. About the birth and childhood Cleopatra information is extremely small. It is known that she was one of the daughters of the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy XII Avlet. Sources of those years say that the king had only one legitimate daughter, Berenika. Most likely, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt in the future, was born in 69 BC. e. from the concubine of Ptolemy. However, the king himself was also illegitimate.
The rule of the dynasty was never calm because of the constant struggle for power. Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, whose biography holds many secrets, as a child, witnessed the expulsion of her father from the country. The ruler of Egypt is her sister Berenika. When, with the help of the Roman consul Gabinius, Ptolemy returned to his homeland, he began repressing those who contributed to his removal from power. The first victim of his anger was Berenika.
Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt, took out her lesson from the incident. In the future, she tried to eliminate all the obstacles on her way in the face of possible rivals. Her blood ties did not stop her: the death of one of the brothers-co-rulers of the queen, according to the researchers, is the work of her hands.
The beginning of government
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, came to power legally in 51 BC. e. She, together with her younger brother Ptolemy XIII, was proclaimed the heir of Ptolemy Avlet, according to the will of the latter. She was about 17-18 years old, and the boy even less - about 9. The young tsarina had to learn alone the basics of government and diplomacy. At first she managed to remove the younger brother from the state leadership, but he managed to neutralize his older sister. Cleopatra was removed from the throne and expelled from the country. The power in the palace was concentrated in the hands of the eunuch Potin, the commander-in-chief of Achilles and the teacher of the young king Teodata.
The young queen did not resign herself and began to gather troops against her brother. Ptolemy, learning about this, went out with the army to meet him, to block Cleopatra's road to the country.
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, and Caesar: the history of relations
While brother and sister fought for power in Egypt, in Rome there was a bloody civil war, led by Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey. The latter fled to Egypt, where he intended to enlist the help of Ptolemy, whose father owed the throne to the Roman senator. The advisors of the young king decided that helping Pompey would aggravate the situation of Egypt. He was sent a friendly letter with a promise of support. In fact, it was decided after the landing of Pompey to kill him. In this act of terrible perfidy took part people from the inner circle of the young king, and he looked at the murder of a Roman, standing on the shore. In carrying out this atrocity, Ptolemy wanted to show his devotion to Caesar with his timepieces. The head of the Roman senator and his ring Teodat presented Gaius Julius, when he arrived in Alexandria in a few days. According to ancient historians, the great commander did not approve of what was done to his enemy.
Caesar ordered Cleopatra and Ptolemy to dissolve his armies and come to him for trial. For the queen to get into the palace without fear of being killed by enemies was not possible. Then she went to the trick. A faithful man carried her to Caesar's chambers in a linen bag. Later meeting Cleopatra and the great commander will embellish, and a non-romantic bag will be replaced with a carpet.
Caesar was fascinated by the young queen, and soon a relationship was established between them. Despite Ptolemy's resistance, he declared him and Cleopatra co-rulers, reminding the Alexandrians of the will of their father. Eunuch Potin was not going to just let the power out of his hands. From the time of Caesar's arrival in Alexandria, he set up the people against the Romans. He managed to raise the uprising. The Egyptian army, numbering 20 thousand soldiers, moved to the palace of Caesar. This war was called Alexandria. The Roman commander had to fight at the head of a small army in the narrow streets of the city. Return to the ships, he could not - there was no way to tear himself away from the Alexandrians who were squandering against the Romans. Then Caesar ordered the enemy's fleet to be burned to open its way to the army by sea. He could only hope for his legions, hurrying to help from Syria. When they finally arrived, in the battle that took place, Ptolemy died. How exactly it happened is unknown. The battle participants saw that the boat on which the young king tried to escape was overloaded and overturned.
So Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, whose biography is extraordinarily fascinating, became an autocratic ruler. She married with her second brother, Ptolemy XIV, because, under the Ptolemaic dynasty, a woman could not rule. But in fact, all power in the country was concentrated in her hands.
After the departure of Caesar to Rome, she bore him a son, Ptolemy Caesar. The great commander did not forget the charming queen and after a while summoned her with his brother to the capital. Settled Cleopatra in one of the villas Caesar. Their relationship was irritating to the Romans. Rumors that he is going to marry an Egyptian and move the capital to Alexandria, accelerated the preparation of a conspiracy against him.
A month after the murder of Caesar, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, returned to her homeland. Soon after, her co-ruler dies, Ptolemy XIV. Most likely, he was sent on her orders, after the birth of her son, who did not want to share power with anyone. The queen remembered well what had happened to her father.
Mark Antony. A ten-year affair with the Roman consul
With the death of Caesar in Rome, again began the struggle for power. Cleopatra, as the sovereignty queen of Egypt, in this confrontation used all her cunning and resourcefulness. Consul Mark Antony, who undertook a campaign against the Parthians in the East, was in dire need of money. He sends for the Egyptian queen, intending to accuse her of helping the murderers of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra, having found out from the arrived Roman officer about the habits and nature of the consul, carefully prepared for the meeting. Knowing his craving for luxury and vanity, she went to Antonia on a richly decorated ship. The queen was dressed in Aphrodite, and the maidens were represented by nymphs.
Inviting the consul to her dinner, she rejected all charges of treason. Antony easily believed in it, fascinated by the beauty and charm of the queen. Thus began one of the most famous novels in history. The relationship between Antony and Cleopatra lasted ten years. Now it's hard to judge whether this was really a big love. It is precisely known that the union was beneficial to both of them: the Consul needed money, and Cleopatra was a mighty patron. She gave birth to three children Antonia, which speaks, at least, of the duration and stability of their relationship.
The War with Octavian
Acquaintance with Cleopatra cost Antony at first a political career, and then life. Love for her was for the Roman consul fatal. After meeting the queen, he was fascinated by it so much that he went with Cleopatra to Alexandria. Here Antony spent the winter in entertainment and feasts. While he idly spent time, Rome lost Syria and parts of Asia Minor as a result of the Parthians' offensive. Only then did Antony leave the queen.
Over the next years he fought with the Parthians, and Cleopatra, thanks to his victories, practically restored the Ptolemaic empire. In Rome there was a discontent with the fact that Antony was moving farther from the Roman traditions. Many saw the threat to Rome in the strong influence of Cleopatra on the consul. This was used by Octavian, the adopted son of Caesar. Antony was his rival in the struggle for power. Having learned from the defectors about the will of the consul, Octavian publicly announced it. In it, Antony declares the Egyptian queen his legitimate wife and recognizes her children as her own. This news finally discredited the consul in the eyes of his compatriots. The war between Rome and Egypt began. In the year 31 BC. e. in the sea battle under the Axium of Cleopatra, unable to bear the tension, fled, abandoning the fleet of Antony without support. He followed his beloved, and the land forces, left without command, surrendered.
The death of the queen
All year after that, Cleopatra and Antony spent time at feasts, doing nothing against Octavian. He was in the spring of 30 BC. e. already was under the walls of Alexandria. On August 1, Antonia was informed that the queen committed suicide. The Consul, desperate for this news, tried to stab himself with a sword, but only dealt himself a deep wound. A few hours later, bleeding and dying, he was taken to the barricaded chambers of Cleopatra. In the evening of the same day, he died in her arms.
The Tsarina tried to charm Octavian, as in his time Caesar and Antony. The future emperor of Rome came to her quarters, and she rushed to his feet in a chiton, begging for mercy. However, the words of Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, like her feminine charms, did not impress Oktavian. He only reassured her and left. Later, the queen learned from the Roman officer that in a few days she was waiting for the fate to be transported around Rome during the triumph of Octavian. Cleopatra wrote a letter and told to give it to the winner Antonia. In it, she bequeathed to bury her with her husband. The queen of Egypt and two servants Octavian's people were found dead on August 12, 30 BC. e. There is a legend that for suicide Cleopatra used a poisonous snake that was carried into her chambers in a basket with figs. This version seems dubious, because a bite of three people at once the snake is not able to. According to the second, more plausible legend, the queen poisoned herself and servants with poison stored in a hollow hairpin.
Octavian fulfilled the will of Cleopatra - they were embalmed with Antony and buried in one grave.
Legends of the appearance of the famous ruler: historical truth or fiction?
Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, whose photo, of course, does not exist, for many centuries was considered an amazing beauty. How else could explain the ease with which she won the hearts of the great generals, Caesar and Antony? But if you study the information about her Plutarch, you can be surprised to learn that her contemporaries did not consider beauty at all. But at the same time her charm was noted, a very beautiful voice and mind. Cleopatra, no doubt, possessed charm and attracted to her men, even without being a bright charmer.
Few surviving images of the queen on coins and the marble bust of Sherzhelle show a woman with wavy hair and a nose with a hump. By modern standards, this appearance is not considered incredibly beautiful, rather - ordinary.
Scientists have made attempts to reconstruct the image of the queen on the basis of existing images, but their reliability is highly doubtful.
Egyptian ruler in art
The history of Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, inspired artists for thousands of years. In fiction she devoted a lot of works, the most famous of which - the tragedy of Shakespeare and the play by Bernard Shaw. But most of all, the image of the great ruler is represented in the visual arts.
A woman of amazing beauty and intelligence - this was Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt. Pictures dedicated to this amazing woman were written by many famous painters. On each canvas the queen is represented in the image, as it was drawn by the artists in their imagination.
In Michelangelo, it is depicted not with European, but, rather, with negroid features. Eugene Delacroix pictured her sitting in a reverie.
In the picture of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo "The Feast of Cleopatra" the queen appears dressed in a dress of European cut (photo above). In a similar outfit, you can see it on another artist's canvas - "The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra."
But the most favorite motif in the painting was the death of Cleopatra.
Actresses who played the role of great ruler
Cinematography made a romantic contribution to the romanticization of the image of Cleopatra. She devoted more than 20 paintings in which the famous Queen played the most beautiful actresses in the world. Among them were Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Monica Bellucci.
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt - biography for children and junior schoolchildren
The history of the last ruler of a great country on the banks of the Nile will be of interest to small history lovers. For them, a small story about Cleopatra is suitable - to what dynasty she belonged, who patronized the queen and where her burial is now. The mystery of the tomb of the great ruler of the ancient world will be of interest to children who love all the unknown and unusual. Scientists do not know where they buried Cleopatra and Antony. If their burial is ever found, in importance this discovery can only be compared with the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun.