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Cleopatras Mark On History History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Of all the Pharaohs of Egypt, none is more widely known then Cleopatra. Cleopatra was the one and only queen of Egypt, never before and never after did Egypt have a queen. Well known for being the lover of Julius Ceaser and mark Antony, she forged these alliances with the ever expanding Roman Empire in order to save her country from domination. Arguably the greatest pharaoh of all time, she was able to overcome the tradition of a male ruler, stopped the Roman empire from taking her country, and went from being shunned by her people to being one of the most popular leaders Egypt ever had.

As the only queen ever to rule Egypt Cleopatra’s path to the throne was already blocked by a major obstacle, Egyptian law stated that a male, brother or son, must consort the queen and rule. The queen was not to be making decisions and had little to no real power. Not to be dissuaded Cleopatra had her brother killed, and her son became a puppet ruler, she controlled him and her appeared to be the one ruling, though people knew this was going on, there was nothing they could do about it. Cleopatra had truly gained the power of a pharaoh, and she was the first and only woman to do so. (Gill, N.S.. “Queen Cleopatra VII – Last Pharaoh of Egypt.”) The Egyptian world was not very happy with this however, tradition was being violated, albeit legally, the people of Egypt did not want to accept this woman as their leader. Nowhere in the world did women have the rights to have any authority, much less ruling a country. Cleopatra lived long before there was the modern day equality between men and women, so it was not just her own country, but rather the entire world that believed she should not rule. Cleopatra’s sudden ruling in Egypt went against her own country’s laws, and yet, she still became a successful and popular ruler.

Cleopatra faced another massive problem, the Roman Empire. Julius Ceaser was keen on taking Egypt for his own, as the farmland of the Nile could supply food the Roman army needed, though Rome had so much land already they still needed more usable farmland and Egypt was a bread basket. The roman army still had yet to be defeated, and they ruled most of Europe and Asia Minor. Cleopatra did not have the military might to oppose Julius, but Cleopatra was a very intelligent woman. Her plan was to roll herself up in a carpet and present herself, supposedly naked to Julius as a peace gift. (“Who Was Cleopatra? | Biography | Smithsonian Magazine.”) Her plan succeeded and Rome made peace with Egypt and Cleopatra was married to Julius Ceaser. They had children who would become the leaders of both Rome and Egypt at the same time. The implications of this were immense for both Rome and Egypt, Rome now had access to Egypt’s resources of grain and precious metals. And Egypt was under Rome’s protection, making them safe from invasion from other factions, not only this, but Rome allowed Egypt to retain Egyptian culture, thus saving her peoples way of life. Cleopatra’s intelligence saved her people, and their way of life, at the same time forming a strong alliance with the leading world power, the Roman Empire. (“Cleopatra – Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts.”)

While in life Cleopatra was able to do great things, even long after death those great things were remembered. In the time after her death many Roman poets and writers wrote about her love for Julius Ceaser and Mark Antony. Virgil, Shakespeare, modern filmmakers and more writers then can be accounted for were inspired to tell her story. (“Cleopatra commits suicide – This Day in History – 8/30/30 B.C..”) Many of the earlier Roman poets cast Cleopatra in a much less glorified role then we do today. Quite often portrayed as a seductress who used her beauty to gain power, these stories were used by Rome as propaganda to unite the Romans against her. (“Who Was Cleopatra? | Biography | Smithsonian Magazine.”) Contrary to these stories Cleopatra did not seduce Julius Ceaser with her beauty, in fact it’s believed from ancient coins that she wasn’t as attractive as people thought. Instead she used her intelligence, very well educated and on top of that very quick witted Cleopatra impressed Julius with her ability for conversation. (“BBC – History – Cleopatra.”) Cleopatra inspired writers and poets for a long time, she still does today even more then Alexander the Great, the one who began her bloodline with Ptolemy. She did great things in life, and she is very well remembered for it.

Not everything known about Cleopatra is so certain, there is great controversy over her death which the stories say was caused by an asp (Egyptian cobra). Some historians now believe she poisoned herself without a snake. (“Cleopatra VII Biography – life, family, children, death, history, wife, son, old, information, born, house.”) The arguments against the snake bite are that the snake is too big and aggressive to smuggle in a basket of fruit as the story goes. Instead it’s argued that she used a mixture of opium and hemlock to poison herself painlessly. The asps bite would be just as quick and painless as the opium and hemlock mixture, but the Egyptian cobra was revered by Egyptians, as the snake of the pharaohs, and that a bite by snake would guarantee that you would travel to the afterlife. (“Cleopatra – Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts.”) It’s quite possible that Cleopatra would choose to die by snake bite despite the difficulties involved in order to go to paradise when she died. But also, her intelligence would mean she likely was aware of the differences between the snakebite and poison, knowing the similarities and possibly choosing the more practical solution, since we’ve not found any evidence to prove or disprove either, it’s just another mystery. The mythological image of her dying by snake bite however has been around for a very long time, and she is well remembered for her dramatic death. (“Cleopatra VII Biography – life, family, children, death, history, wife, son, old, information, born, house.”)

Cleopatra is the most well-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt, Cleopatra rose from an unpopular change in normality, to a great and loved queen that all the world remembered even long after her death. She was the only woman to rule Egypt, first and last of her kind. She alone was able to halt the Roman conquest of Africa by marrying Julius Ceaser himself. And to this day, she is remembered for what she did on her life, to her death that myth says was by the revered Egyptian cobra. Arguably the greatest of all the pharaohs and maybe even greatest of all queens, few people have led as memorable a life as the great Cleopatra.

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