C L E O P A T R A  VII  -  Q U E E N  OF  E G Y P T



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Ancient Egyptian royal funeral barge, or solar boat





Cleopatra VII Philopator (Ancient Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; Late 69 B.C.E. – August 12, 30 B.C.E.), known to history as Cleopatra, was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, to die in a mausoleum in Alexandria, August 30 BC. But where is her tomb, and is there a real curse?


The other burning question is, what did she really look like? To be able to answer that question, renowned archaeologists like Zahi Hawass and Kathleen Martinez, suggest that we need to identify the Egyptian Queen's mother. The dream would be to find her remains, to once as for all resolve the riddle. Meanwhile, we wonder if a computer algorithm might help at all. Perhaps with variables, to calculate the odds?



كليوباترا السابعة فيلوباتور (باليونانية، Κlectεοπάτρα Φιοπάτωρ؛ يناير 69 قبل الميلاد - 12 أغسطس 30 قبل الميلاد) كانت آخر فرعون فعال من الأسرة البطلمية في مصر. تقاسمت السلطة في الأصل مع والدها بطليموس الثاني عشر، ثم لاحقًا مع شقيقيها بطليموس الثالث عشر وبطليموس الرابع عشر، اللذين تزوجتهما أيضًا، لكنها حصلت في النهاية على الحكم المنفرد. بصفتها فرعون، أقامت اتصالاً مع جايوس يوليوس قيصر مما عزز قبضتها على العرش. قامت فيما بعد برفع ابنها إلى قيصر، قيصريون، ليكون حاكمًا مشاركًا بالاسم.

تعد كليوباترا واحدة من أشهر الملكات على الإطلاق في مصر القديمة. قصتها عن الحب والموت مشهورة جدًا وحكمت مصر وجعلتها قوية جدًا في ذلك الوقت. كانت متعلمة تعليمًا عاليًا وتمتلك ذكاءً مثيرًا للإعجاب، وكانت طالبة في الفلسفة والعلاقات الدولية.

ولدت كليوباترا عام 69 قبل الميلاد. في الإسكندرية. كانت الابنة الثالثة في ترتيب والدها بطليموس الثاني عشر؛ وفي وقت لاحق أنجبت أخت أخرى وشقيقين أصغر منها. وحكم معها فيما بعد شقيقها الأصغر بطليموس الثالث عشر.

تعتبر قصة كليوباترا من أشهر القصص على الإطلاق. ليس فقط بسبب حبها الكبير، بل لأنها صنفتها المؤرخون على أنها آخر فرعون مصر. اعتلت كليوباترا العرش بعد وفاة شقيقتيها الكبيرتين وبعد وفاة والدها الذي كان يكرهه المصريون كثيرًا وكان قد فر إلى روما قبل عدة سنوات.

خلال القرنين اللذين سبقا وفاة بطليموس الثاني عشر، تحالف البطالمة مع الرومان. وكانت قوة البطالمة تضعف وكانت الإمبراطورية الرومانية في صعود. وفي عهد البطالمة اللاحق، اكتسب الرومان المزيد والمزيد من السيطرة على مصر. كان لا بد من دفع الجزية للرومان لإبعادهم عن مصر.

لقد تولت الحكم عام 51 قبل الميلاد وكان عمرها 17 عامًا. وكانت الفرعون البطلمي الوحيد الذي يتحدث اللغة المصرية. كما اعتنقت الديانة المصرية. لقد كانت ذكية للغاية وكانت سياسية داهية تتمتع بجاذبية غير عادية. ومع ذلك، لم تكن جميلة.








Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that 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. By contrast, Cleopatra did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of an Egyptian goddess, Isis.




Cleopatra in Rome, cased quite a stir    Julius Caesar introduced Cleopatra to Roman society






Daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes (80-52BC), Pharaoh of Egypt and (thought to be) Cleopatra V Tryphaena.


Wife of Ptolemy XIII (her brother), Pharaoh of Egypt; Ptolemy XIV, Pharaoh of Egypt 

Partner of Julius Caesar, Roman Dictator, and then Marcus Antonius "Mark Antony"

Sister of Arsinoë IV of Egypt; Ptolemy XIII, Pharaoh of Egypt; Ptolemy XIV, Pharaoh of Egypt; Berenice IV; Philadelphus of Egypt and Ptolemy of Egypt.

Mother of Ptolemy XV 'Caesarion', Pharaoh of Egypt; Alexander Helios; Cleopatra Selene II, Queen of Mauretania and Ptolemy Philadelphus.







Cleopatra originally ruled jointly with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes and later with her brothers, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she married as per Egyptian custom, but eventually she became sole ruler. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated her son with Caesar, Caesarion, to co-ruler in name.





After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C.E., she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus). With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. Her unions with her brothers produced no children. After losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra followed suit, according to tradition killing herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 B.C.E.. She was briefly outlived by Caesarion, who was declared pharaoh by his supporters, but he was soon killed on Octavian's orders. Egypt became the Roman province of Aegyptus.



To this day, Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature and other media, including William Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, Jules Massenet's opera Cléopâtre and the film Cleopatra (1963). Cleopatra is known to have written books on medicine and cosmetics, though destroyed in the fire that consumed the Library at Aleandria.










Cleopatra with red hair and dark eyes from a Roman sculpture







In most depictions, Cleopatra is portrayed as a great beauty, and her successive conquests of the world's most powerful men are taken as proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. In his Pensées, philosopher Blaise Pascal contends, evidently speaking ironically because a large nose has symbolized dominance in different periods of history, that Cleopatra's classically beautiful profile changed world history: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed."








Queen Cleopatra's royal barge, last of the Pharoahs       Egyptian royal barge, sails and oars for propulsion



Cleopatra's royal barge, last of the Pharaoh queens





The Valley of the Kings (Arabic: وادي الملوك‎ Wādī al Mulūk), the Valley of the Gates of the Kings (Arabic: وادي ابواب الملوك‎ Wādī Abwāb al Mulūk), is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley.


With the 2005 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of two further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from KV54, a simple pit, to KV5, a complex tomb with over 120 chambers).


It was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the Pharaohs.


This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the eighteenth century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumours of the Curse of the Pharaohs), and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. In 1979, it became a World Heritage Site, along with the rest of the Theban Necropolis. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley, and a new tourist centre has recently been opened.





Cleopatra VII Philopator (in Greek, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; January 69 BC – August 12, 30 BC) was the last effective pharaoh of Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty. She originally shared power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she also married, but eventually gained sole rule. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Gaius Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated her son with Caesar, Caesarion, to co-ruler in name.

Cleopatra is by far one of the most ever famous queens of all times in ancient Egypt. Her story of love and death is very famous and she ruled Egypt and made it quite powerful at the time. She was highly educated and possessed an impressive intellect, being a student of philosophy and international relations.

Cleopatra was born in 69 B.C. in Alexandria. She was the third daughter in line to her father Ptolemy XII; she later had another sister and two younger brothers. Her younger brother Ptolemy XIII later reigned with her.

Cleopatra’s story is one of the most famous ever. Not only because of her great love, but because she is classified by historians to be the last Pharoah of Egypt. Cleopatra came to the throne after death of her two elder sisters and after death of her father whom was much hated by the Egyptian and had fled to Rome several years before.

During the two centuries that preceded Ptolemy XII death, the Ptolemies were allied with the Romans. The Ptolemies' strength was failing and the Roman Empire was rising. During the later rule of the Ptolemies, the Romans gained more and more control over Egypt. Tributes had to be paid to the Romans to keep them away from Egypt.

She came to reign in 51B.C.and was of 17 years of age. She was the only Ptolemic Pharoah to speak the Egyptian language. She also took on the Egyptian religion. She was very intelligent and was a shrewd politician with an extraordinary charisma. However, she was not beautiful.

She had amazing will-power; her struggle began after being exiled to Syria with her sister by her brother, husband and Co-regent Ptolemy XIII. When Cleopatra became co-regent, her world was crumbling down around her. Cyprus, Syria and other capitals were gone. There was anarchy abroad and famine at home.





Map on Ancient Macedonia, Thrace and Persian Empires



Map showing Macedonia, Persian Empire and Thrace 365BC




Between 51 and 49 BC, Egypt was suffering from bad harvests and famine because of a drought which stopped the much needed Nile flooding. Regardless, she started an army from the Arab tribes which were east of Pelusium. During this time, she and her sister Arsinoe moved to Syria. They returned by way of Ascalon which may have been Cleopatra's temporary base.

In the meantime, Pompey had been defeated at Pharsalus in August of 48 BC. He headed for Alexandria hoping to find refuge with Ptolemy XIII, of whom Pompey was a senate-appointed guardian. Pompey did not realize how much his reputation had been destroyed by Pharsalus until it was too late.

She started to go to war with her brother. This occurred after the death of Pompey, who had sought refuge from Caesar to Egypt but was stabbed to death once he came ashore to Alexandria by Ptolemy’s advisors.

Caesar who was on Pompey’s tail, arrived in Alexandria 4 days later. There he acclaimed to be the ruler of Egypt bringing with him thirty-two hundred legionaries and eight hundred cavalry. He also brought twelve other soldiers who bore the insignia of the Roman government who carried a bundle of rods with an axe with a blade that projected out. This was considered a badge of authority that gave a clear hint of his intentions.




Cleopatra Mummy mask portrait



MAKEUP - Over five thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians used eye shadow, not only for cosmetic but practical purposes as well. Dark pigment painted around the eye helped protect the eye from the bright midday sun glaring off the desert sands. The earliest eye paint in ancient Egypt was a thick, bright green paste made from the mineral malachite.

By the time Queen Cleopatra came to power in the 1st century BC, Egyptian women had at their disposal a whole rainbow pallete of cosmetics, all of which were made from rocks, minerals, and plants in the region. Cleopatra used the bright green malachite paste of the ancient Egyptians on her lower eyelids.





There were riots that followed in Alexandria. Ptolemy XIII was gone to Pelusium and Julius Caesar placed himself in the royal palace and started giving out orders to make Ptolemy XIII return again.

Cleopatra’s cleverly let herself be invited to Caesar’s palace. Wrapped up in a carpet she was delivered to him and as the carpet was unwrapped she appeared to him.

Being powerfully seductive, she lured Ceasar before Ptolemy's arrival who upon seeing that they were in love, screamed out "Betrayal to all the Alexandrians".

The Alexandrian War was started when Pothinus called for Ptolemy XIII's soldiers in November and surrounded Caesar in Alexandria with twenty thousand men. During the war, parts of the Alexandrian Library and some of the warehouses were burned. However, Caesar did manage to capture the Pharos lighthouse, which kept his control of the harbor. Cleopatra's sister, Arsinoe, escaped from the palace and ran to Achillas. She was proclaimed the queen by the Macedonian mob and the army.

During the fighting, Caesar executed Pothinus and Achillas was murdered by Ganymede. Ptolemy XIII drowned in the Nile while he was trying to flee.

Alexandria surrendered to Caesar, who captured Arsinoe and restored Cleopatra on the throne.

Egyptian law did not allow a queen to rule without a king, so Cleopatra married another brother, Ptolemy XIV, but she was in love with Caesar. Caesar and Cleopatra spent the next several months traveling along the Nile, where Caesar saw how the Egyptian people worshipped Cleopatra.

It was at that time that Cleopatra became pregnant with Caesars son. She later gave birth to a son, Ptolemy XV, called Caesarion or "Little Caesar."

Caesar returned to Rome in 46 BCE with Cleopatra and their newborn son, Caesarion. Caesar had only one other child.









Caesar was very popular with the Roman people. They named him dictator. Cleopatra was less popular with the Romans. She had called herself the "new Isis." Many Romans were unhappy that Caesar was marrying a foreigner.

On March 15, 44 BC a crowd of conspirators surrounded Caesar at a Senate meeting and stabbed him to death (beware the Ides of March). Knowing that she too was in danger, Cleopatra quickly left Rome. Later her brother died and Cleopatra made her four-year-old son rule as the new king. She found Egypt suffering from plagues and famine. The Nile canals had been neglected during her absence which caused the harvests to be bad and the inundations low. The bad harvests continued from 43 until 41 BC.

Rome was in turmoil after Caesar's murder. Several armies competed for control. The two greatest were those of Mark Antony and Octavian. Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, but Mark Antony was believed to have led a larger army. When Antony asked Cleopatra to meet with him, Cleopatra decided that she had another opportunity to return to power both in Egypt, and in Rome.

Another episode of Cleopatra’s story of love is revealed in her story with Mark Anthony. Their story began when mark Antony asked Cleopatra to come to see him in Turkey. She knew that he could be easily dazzled by her glamour and drama.

He became immediately infatuated, had an affair that led to the birth of his twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios. Four years later, Mark Antony came back to Cleopatra on his way to invade Parthia. He stayed in Alexandria.

Cleopatra then gave birth to another son; Ptolemy Philadelphus Mark Anthony gave her control of land which was very essential to Egypt. He gave her Cyprus, the Siciliian coast, Phoenicia, Coele-Syria, Judea and Arabia. This allowed Egypt to be able to build ships from the lumber. Egypt then built a large fleet. Antony had planned a campaign against the Parthians. He obviously needed Cleopatra's support for this and in 36 BC, he was defeated. He became more indebted to her than ever.

However, tragedy was now being plotted in Rome. Mark Antony’s wife, Octavia was frustrated, angry and humiliated, especially after Mark Antony starting to give his illegitimate children royal titles.





QUEEN OF THE NILE - A superb depiction of Cleopatra enjoying a ride on the great river Nile that she loved so much, along with leopards and crocodiles. She lived at a time built on much achieved by her forbears, coming to power at a time of change, thus needing to use her wiles to seduce successive Roman leaders. On wonders then at her intellectual and bedroom skills, for seducing Julius Caesar was no easy task, but then to succeed again with Mark Antony, must surely rank her as one of the greatest seducers of men of power, of all time. And, that sets her apart from other female rulers, past and present. For, she managed to pull off such alliances, despite not being facially beautiful. She must then have possessed the body of a temptress. Which as we know, she presented rather well. Better than all the lacey undergarments and modern attire, may achieve today.




Ptolemy XV (Caesarion) was made the co-ruler with his mother and was called the King of Kings. Cleopatra was called the Queen of Kings, which was a higher position than that of Caesarion's. Alexander Helios, which meant the sun, was named Great King of the Seleucid Empire when it was at its highest. Cleopatra Selene, which meant the moon, was called Queen of Cyrenaica and Crete. Cleopatra and Antony's son, Ptolemy Philadelphos was named King of Syria and Asia Minor at the age of two. Cleopatra had dreams of becoming the Empress of the world.

In 32 to 31 BC, Antony finally divorced Octavia. This forced the Western part of the world to recognize his relationship with Cleopatra. He had already put her name and face on a Roman coin, the silver denarii. The denarii was widely circulated throughout the Mediterranean. By doing this, Antony's relationship with the Roman allegiance was ended and Octavian decided to publish Antony's will. Octavian then formally declared war against Cleopatra.

Octavian's navy severely defeated Antony in Actium, which is in Greece, on September 2, 31 BC. Octavian's admiral, Agrippa, planned and carried out the defeat. In less than a year, Antony half-heartedly defended Alexandria against the advancing army of Octavian. After the defeat, Antony committed suicide by falling on his own sword in 30 BC.







Cleopatra VII in popular culture - a Scooby-Doo animated feature film




CLEOPATRA’S death is one of the most poignant ever. After arranging Antony’s funeral, she and her children were taken prisoners and Cleopatra afraid of being humiliated (like her sister) decided to take her life.

She would not live degraded, so she had an asp, which was an Egyptian cobra, brought to her hidden in a basket of figs. She arranged a big delicious meal and asked for figs.

When the guards entered to see Cleopatra she was already dead. They found the 39-year old queen dead on her golden bed, with her maid Iras dying at her feet. Her other maid, Charmion, was adjusting Cleopatra's crown, and she too fell over dead. Two pricks were found on Cleopatra's arm, and it was believed that she had allowed herself to be bitten by an asp (a kind of poisonous snake). As she had wished, she was buried beside Antony. Though that is a subject for conjecture.

She died on August 12, 30 BC at the age of 39. The Egyptian religion declared that death by snakebite would secure immortality. With this, she achieved her dying wish, to not be forgotten - and some.

The only other ruler to cast a shadow on the fascination with Cleopatra was Alexander who was another Macedonian. After Cleopatra's death, Caesarion was strangled and the other children of Cleopatra were raised by Antony's wife, Octavia.









Her death was the mark of the end of the Egyptian Monarchs. The Roman Emperors came in to rule in Egypt.

Though Cleopatra bore the ancient Egyptian title of pharaoh, the Ptolemaic dynasty was Hellenistic, having been founded 300 years before by Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general of Alexander the Great. As such Cleopatra's language was the Greek spoken by the Hellenic aristocracy, though she was reputed to be the first ruler of the dynasty to learn Egyptian. She also adopted common Egyptian beliefs and deities. Her patron goddess was Isis, and thus during her reign it was believed that she was the re-incarnation and embodiment of the goddess of wisdom. Her death marks the end of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Hellenistic period and the beginning of the Roman era in the eastern Mediterranean.

To this day Cleopatra remains a popular figure in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature and other media, including William Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, Jules Massenet's opera Cléopâtre and the 1963 film Cleopatra. In most depictions, Cleopatra is put forward as a great beauty and her successive conquests of the world's most powerful men is taken to be proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. In his Pensées, philosopher Blaise Pascal contends that Cleopatra's classically beautiful profile changed world history: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed."



TIMELINE OF THE EGYPTIAN PHARAOH QUEEN 69 - 30 BC - See our A to Z of Cleopatra's life, beginning with her birth in Alexandria as a princess in the Ptolemaic court, and ending with her suicide in Alexandria a brief 39 years later. And many, many years later, her prophecy fulfilled. Maybe!







CLEOPATRA REBORN into the 21st Century, using her smart tablet computer to continue her researches into her past life as the Pharaoh Queen of the Nile





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