Cleopatra VII: Egypt's Last Pharaoh
The Legendary Women of World History 9
Laurel A. Rockefeller
Laurel A. Rockefeller
The exciting true story of Egypt's most famous queen!
Cleopatra Thea Philopator refused to do what she was told. In an age where patriarchy denied full citizenship to even the most elite of Roman women, Cleopatra ruled her Egypt determined to keep it independent and free from Roman control -- at any price necessary. Demonized as a simple seductress by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (the future Caesar Augustus) and his political allies, Cleopatra VII proved herself the equal to three of the most powerful men of the Roman world: Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius, and Octavian Caesar.
Includes a detailed timeline, suggested reading list/bibliography, and a special Easter egg for Doctor Who fans.
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Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.
With her lyrical writing style, Laurel's books are as beautiful to read as they are informative.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series.
Five Myths about Cleopatra VII
By Laurel A. Rockefeller
Cleopatra VII is easily the most famous woman of the ancient western world. Sly and sexy, beautiful beyond compare, we celebrate her as much for her passionate love affairs as we do her devotion to husband Marcus Antonius (Marc Antony). But are these images of her true? In my latest biography, “Cleopatra VII: Egypt’s Last Pharaoh” I sort fact from fiction to reveal the real woman you thought knew. Here are five “facts” about her you will discover are actually myths.
She was a sexy vixen.
Probably our most potent image of Cleopatra is of a seductress who lured first Gaius Julius Caesar, then his friend Marc Antony into her bed. The image is historical, but not true. In this case we are the victim of a politically-motivated public relations campaign started by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (the future Caesar Augustus) designed to justify entering into yet another civil war, this time with Antony.
Octavian wanted to rule the Roman Empire as emperor. Cleopatra VII and an independent Egypt stood in the way of those plans. Just as politicians have continued to do in the over 2000 years since, he accomplished his goals by attacking Cleopatra’s character and painting her as a one-dimensional, sex-craven vixen, a threat to everything good, moral, and decent. That she was a woman daring to wield political power instead of staying house-bound and pregnant made it all too easy.
She was the most beautiful woman of her age.
Going hand-in-hand with the sexy seductress image, Octavian and his allies projected an image that Cleopatra was the most beautiful woman in the world. With such beauty, it would be easy to seduce any man she wanted. However, this image too is not accurate—at least not if one is measuring beauty according to the physical standards of the day.
Coinage from her reign and statuary indicate that she was modesty attractive, but hardly a model beauty. Just like Anne Boleyn 1600 years later, Cleopatra’s beauty was grounded in her intelligence, her wit, and her charm. She was beautiful first and foremost because she was a beautiful person. Her physical attractiveness (which was above average) came secondary.
She was in love with Marc Antony.
Hollywood has made a lot of money off this image that Cleopatra and Marc Antony were madly in love with each other. However, if one is to judge a person based on actions and not the words of a political enemy, it becomes very clear that Cleopatra was far less interested in Marc Antony than he was with her. Did she care for him? Certainly. But she loved Egypt more—much more. In this, Cleopatra was very much like Queen Elizabeth of Tudor: married to her kingdom.
She died for love.
Dying for love makes a great Hollywood ending for her life. However, for Cleopatra it simply was not the case—nor was it for Marc Antony. Enemies of the Roman Republic and later Roman Empire were taken alive if possible and paraded as part of a victorious general’s Triumph celebrations before being executed according to the whims of the victor. Knowing this well, neither Antony nor Cleopatra wished to be used and tortured in this fashion. They committed suicide to avoid the disgrace and agony they both knew Octavian planned for them, diminishing his victory.
She had only one child – Caesarion.
Both Marc Antony and Cleopatra were married several times and had several love-affairs. Marc Antony had a son by his first wife Fulvia who was executed along with Cleopatra’s eldest son Ptolemy Caesar (nicknamed Caesarion), her bastard child with General Gaius Julius Caesar. Antony and Cleopatra together had fraternal twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene followed by their younger son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. After their suicide, Octavian brought the three children to Rome where they were raised with Antony’s two daughters by wife Octavia.
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