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Cleopatra VII, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV and Ptolemy XV Caesarion
(51-30 BC)

In 51 BC, Cleopatra assumed power at the age of 17. She was required to marry so she took her brother, Ptolemy XIII, as her husband. He was only 12 by that time. Cleopatra soon dropped him from official documents and regarded herself as the sole ruler.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

Few years later, Ptolemy XIII challenged his sister-wife in order to oust her. Two court officials, Pothinus and Achilles, helped him.
Cleopatra was alarmed in time so she fled to Syria, then she returned at Pelusium and was on standby.

Meanwhile, Julius Caesar was fighting Pompey, a Roman leader, and he finally defeated his army at Parsalus in 48 BC. Pompey headed Alexandria, seeking the help of Ptolemy XIII. He was killed on his arrival. Julius Caesar arrived 4 days later to Alexandria with big forces that in one way or another was considered provocative to Alexandrians.
Cleopatra was smuggled in a carpet to the royal palace where Caesar was placed. She then became Caesar's lover and he wanted to make her the sole ruler of Egypt.

Ptolemy XIII realized what was happening between them and he called out for help from the Alexandrians.
So the Alexandrian war erupted between the forces of Ptolemy XIII and those of Caesar's. During the war Ptolemy drowned in the Nile while he was escaping.

Consequently Cleopatra was made the queen of Egypt and the sole ruler. Her relation with Caesar was strengthened. But she once again had to marry her other brother Ptolemy XIV.
Meantime, she bore Caesar a child, Ptolemy XV Caesarion. Caesar left Egypt to Syria before the birth of his child. He then returned to Rome where he was received as a hero and celebrations were kicked off to mark his victories.

Caesar then brought Cleopatra to Rome and treated her gracefully enough to incite his foes.
In 44 BC, Caesar was killed by senate members while Cleopatra was still in Rome. She went back in Egypt in panic and killed her brother-husband, Ptolemy XIV. Cleopatra appointed Ptolemy XV Caesarion, her son, as her coregent when he was only 4 years old.
She had to observe events at Rome to know who would rise to be powerful after Caesar's death.


Octavian (later to be called Augustus) and Mark Antony appeared in the Roman arena. She found Mark Antony as her goal and wanted to attract him. So she did. She met him in Egypt, and he felt in love with her and they spent winters of 41 and 40 BC together.

When Antony left Egypt in 40 BC to Rome, he married Octavian's sister, Octavia. Meanwhile Cleopatra bore him twins.
Antony went to Antioch and called for Cleopatra. He honored her by giving her more land to annex to the Egyptian Empire, and furthermore he recognized her sons as his, and gave them royal names. They got another child and he finally divorced Octavia.

Cleopatra commits suicide
Cleopatra commits suicide
The special relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra provoked Romans as they feared that Antony might take over the eastern part of the Roman Empire. Octavian exploited this feeling and convinced the Roman senate to finally declare the war against Cleopatra. This was to avoid direct enmity with Antony, prominent Roman who still got allies among the senate members.

In 31 BC Octavian marched to Alexandria and in the battle of Actium his navy defeated Antony's. Antony had to commit suicide in 30 BC.
Octavian made some contacts with Cleopatra but he rejected any possible reconciliation with her. Fearing humiliation, Cleopatra also committed suicide by a cobra snakebite on August 12, 30 BC, to end the story of a legend.
This marked the fall of Egypt under the Roman Empire and a start of the new era in Egypt and a new culture, i.e. the Roman Egypt.

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