In 41 BC, Mark Antony, at that time in dispute with Caesar's adopted son Octavian over the succession to the Roman leadership, began both a political and romantic alliance with Cleopatra. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, in 34 bce Antony celebrated a triumphal return to Alexandria. Scholars are not certain of Cleopatra's appearance, and the question of whether she was black is an open one. Rather than some sort of sex kitten, they tell of an intelligent, multilingual, female ruler who affirmed her right to rule Egypt and other territories. Their Cleopatra was first and foremost a scholar and a scientist, a gifted philosopher and a chemist. The identity of Cleopatra's mother and paternal grandmother is uncertain. Cleopatra, now married to her brother Ptolemy XIV, was restored to her throne. Antony, who equated himself with the god Dionysus , was captivated.
Cleopatra said that she had assembled a fleet to attack the assassins but it could not reach the battlefield in time. The Ptolemies were descended from a Macedonian general who had served under Alexander the Great. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt , and Cleopatra retired to her mausoleum as Antony went off to fight his last battle. Each was determined to use the other. Three years later Antony was convinced that he and Octavian could never come to terms. Ancient writers say that she was in Rome when the assassination occurred and she quickly returned to Egypt. The year-old Cleopatra, older than her brother by about eight years, became the dominant ruler. Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire. The means of her death is uncertain, though Classical writers came to believe that she had killed herself by means of an asp , symbol of divine royalty. Cleopatra dressed as a pharaoh and presenting offerings to the goddess Isis , on a limestone stele dedicated by a Greek man named Onnophris, dated 51 BC, and located in the Louvre , Paris Right: Although Cleopatra is often considered to be the last of the Egyptian pharaohs, we know from ancient inscriptions and art that the priests of Egypt did not believe this. She is celebrated for her beauty and her love affairs with the Roman warlords Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Theda Bara in the film Cleopatra, Whether she was as beautiful as was claimed, she was a highly intelligent woman and an astute politician, who brought prosperity and peace to a country that was bankrupt and split by civil war. It was clear to Octavian, watching from Rome, that Antony intended his extended family to rule the civilized world. Cleopatra was hailed as queen of kings, Caesarion as king of kings. As Cleopatra had played a key role in his struggle to power, her story was preserved as an integral part of his. Whether this is true or not is unknown. These included famine caused by drought and a low level of the annual flooding of the Nile , and lawless behavior instigated by the Gabiniani, the now unemployed and assimilated Roman soldiers left by Gabinius to garrison Egypt. It's a love story so epic that Shakespeare saw it fit to be the subject of one of his tragedies. They met in 41 B. Octavian the future emperor Augustus was determined that Roman history should be recorded in a way that confirmed his right to rule. It took Caesar two years to extinguish the last flames of Pompeian opposition. They were married, in keeping with Egyptian tradition. The Roman Senate deprived Antony of his prospective consulate for the following year, and it then declared war against Cleopatra. The two became intimate and had a son known as Caesarion although Caesar was said to have been hesitant to acknowledge that the child was his. Future Roman emperors such as Claudius would also be depicted as pharaohs in Egypt.
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