Cleopatra
A Brief Biography

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Several queens of Egypt in the Ptolemaic line of rule, which started around 323 B.C. by Ptolemy I Soter (a general of Alexander the Great), were named Cleopatra. The one most people are familiar with, and the center of movies such as 1963's Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor (the highest grossing film that year) is the daughter of Ptolemy XIII. Her full name is Cleopatra VII Philopator and she was born in January of 69 B.C.

Cleopatra assumed the throne at the age of seventeen, ruling jointly with her father and then with her two brothers. She holds the distinction of being the last Ptolemaic (and Hellenistic) ruler of Egypt's empire. She is also the empire's only Hellenistic ruler who took the time to learn the Egyptian language.

Around 48 B.C. Cleopatra lost her royal authority to her brother. Soon afterward Rome's Julius Caesar took control of Egypt's capital. Eager to take advantage of the situation, she had herself smuggled into Caesar's palace by hiding in a rolled up carpet. She became his mistress and was restored to her throne.

It is believed Caesar's only known son, Caesarion, was produced through his liaison with the queen.

Cleopatra continued to be Caesar's mistress until his assassination in 44 B.C. She then became the ally and mistress of Mark Antony. The couple eventually married and had three children. After Antony lost his battle with Augustus' Roman forces at Actium he committed suicide.

Unable to ingratiate herself with Augustus, Cleopatra committed suicide in August of 30 B.C. The Roman empire which Egypt succumbed to became the backdrop against which the savior of the world, Jesus Christ, would be born as a flesh and blood human in the fall of 5 B.C. It was a Roman appointed King named Herod the Great who ordered the death of all children two years old or younger in an attempt to kill baby Jesus.

 
Statue of Cleopatra
Basalt statuette
circa 50 B.C.
 
 
 
 
Map of the
Egyptian Empire
 
 
Map of Alexander
the Great's Empire
 
 
Why was the
New Testament
written in Greek?
 
 
Did the Egyptians
have the greatest
empire in the
ancient world?
 
 
How did
Alexander the Great
fulfill prophecy?
 
 
Visit our section on
the Roman Empire!

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