Cleopatra VII

Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh (ruler) of Ancient Egypt – and is regarded by historians as being one of the greatest. Cleopatra was born in 69 BC. She was born a princess of Egypt, the daughter of Pharaoh Ptolemy XII. Cleopatra was a very intelligent child and showed promise as a ruler from a very early age. When she was 18 years old, her father died and left the throne to her and her ten-year-old brother, Ptolemy XIII.

Because she was the older sibling, Cleopatra became the main ruler of Egypt after a short time in power; but as her brother grew up, he began to want more power. Cleopatra was exiled from the palace and fled to Syria to seek aid. She built up an army of mercenaries (paid soldiers) and returned to Egypt in 48 BC with the intention of taking back the throne.

Cleopatra was famed for her beauty, intelligence, and charm. She used all three of these attributes to win support for her claim in Egypt.

Kente cloth patterns
However, at the same time, the Roman general Julius Caesar came to Egypt in hunt of a man named Pompey, a Roman general who fled there to escape from justice. After it turned out that Pompey had already been killed, Caesar became very angry and set himself up in the Egyptian Royal Palace at Alexandria to find the ones responsible.

Knowing that she needed support to win the throne, Cleopatra decided to meet with Caesar and ask for his help. The stories say that she snuck into the palace through enemy lines by hiding herself inside a carpet, and then emerging from inside it when she knew he was alone.

Caesar was so dazzled by the appearance of Cleopatra, dressed head-to-toe in her queen’s outfit, that he immediately agreed to help, and the two became lovers.

BaKongo masks from the Kongo Central region
Working together, Cleopatra and Caesar managed to defeat Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII’s army at the Battle of the Nile. Cleopatra then took back control of Egypt, now ruling with her other little brother, Ptolemy XIV. After returning to power, Cleopatra traveled through Egypt with Caesar and was hailed by her subjects as the true Pharaoh of Egypt.

After a while, she gave birth to a son who the people called Caesarion (little Caesar) in 47 BC. Though Cleopatra was an unpopular ruler at first (in part because she was a woman) Egypt prospered under her rule, and the Egyptian people soon came to regard her with great esteem.

They declared her as the “new Isis” and treated her with the same reverence they showed their gods. They declared her as the “new Isis” and treated her with the same reverence they showed their gods.

BaKongo masks from the Kongo Central region
However, shortly after taking the throne, Cleopatra went to Rome with Caesar and her son, Caesarion. As Caesar was already married to another woman, many members of the Senate and public were appalled by the fact that he’d brought a second woman back with him.

Cleopatra’s conduct was viewed as being outrageous, and she was particularly unpopular in the later years of Caesar’s rule. However, she remained with him in Rome for much of the next two years.

BaKongo masks from the Kongo Central region
When Caesar was killed in 44 BC, she returned to Egypt. Several years later, she started a relationship with Caesar’s right-hand man, Mark Antony, after he defeated Caesar’s assassins in a series of battles known as the Wars of the Triumvirate.

Cleopatra had three children with him: the twins, Cleopatra Selene II, and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. The two stayed together for the rest of their lives; however, this would turn out to be shorter than they had hoped.

BaKongo masks from the Kongo Central region
As the political situation in Roman grew more hostile, Caesar’s heir (Octavian, later known as Augustus) began to fight with Antony for control of Rome. After Mark Antony’s soldiers lost the Battle of Actium, Antony committed suicide, and according to the stories, Cleopatra killed herself soon after, by allowing a snake called an asp to bite her.

She died on the 12th August, 30 BC. She went down in history as one of the world’s most famous leaders, and her name is synonymous (strongly linked/associated) with power, grace, and intellect to this very day.

Cleopatra VII

Facts about Cleopatra VII:

  • She was born in 69 BC.
  • Died on the 12th August, 30 BC.
  • She was the very last Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • Though she came to rule at the age of 18, with her little brother beside her, she was later exiled and betrayed by him and forced to fight her way back to power.
  • After teaming up with Julius Caesar, an ambitious Roman general, she defeated her brother and regained control of the throne.
  • Egypt prospered under her rule, and she was a popular figure among the public of Egypt. They proclaimed her the “new Isis” (the name of an Egyptian goddess) and viewed her as a divine figure.
  • Cleopatra had a son named Caesarion with Caesar, and the three of them spent nearly two years in Rome together.
  • When Caesar was killed, Cleopatra started a relationship with another Roman general named Marc Antony. She attempted to help him win control of Rome, in the hope that her son would become the Emperor of Rome if they won.
  • When Antony’s forces lost the Battle of Actium, Marc Antony killed himself, and Cleopatra followed suit soon afterward. The stories say that she killed herself by letting a venomous snake bite her.

Sample of the Egyptian


What year was Cleopatra born?

– 69 BC.

What position did Cleopatra hold in Ancient Egypt?

– She was the (last) Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

Who did Cleopatra have to team up with to take control of Egypt back from her brother?

– The Roman general, Julius Caesar.

What goddess was Cleopatra compared to during her rule?

– Isis.
After Caesar died, who did Cleopatra enter into a relationship with?

– Marc Antony.

According to the stories, Cleopatra killed herself by…?

– Letting a poisonous snake bite her.