Queen of the Nile

Egypt and all of its aspects has been something that has interested me ever since I was a little girl, especially clothing. Which is why when I started thinking about Halloween costumes this year I decided that I wanted to go as Cleopatra. But come to think of it, what do people really know of Cleopatra? Either it’s very little knowledge or what they do know comes from the 1963 movie about her.

By the those who do not know much about her she is generally painted in the Roman view “as a dangerous harlot who employed sex, witchcraft and cunning as she grasped for power beyond what was proper for a woman.” But really, she was much loved by her people and did everything in her power to be seen as a true Egyptian (she was ethnically Greek descended from an Alexandrian general).

She was a very ambitious woman. Originally a co-ruler with her husband/ brother, she devised and played out an excellent plan that gained her the help of Julius Caeser in defeating her husband. After becoming sole pharaoh, “Cleopatra set about the business of ruling Egypt, the richest nation in the Mediterranean world, and the last to remain independent of Rome.”

Even though she is another aspect of ancient Egyptian history that has been dramatized by Hollywood it is said that she shared many qualities of the actresses that have portrayed her like Elizabeth Taylor. She was a queen whole loved costume and pageantry and “could reinvent herself to suit the occasion.” She was a bold yet mysterious woman that kept the people fascinated with her.

During her lifetime she may have seen in a not so positive light for many of her actions but it seems pretty incredible that she could do all of this while being the mother of not only Julius Caeser’s son but 3 of Mark Antony’s children as well. Two words: major multitasking.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/biography/cleopatra.html?c=y&page=1

3 thoughts on “Queen of the Nile

  1. I learned about Cleopatra when I took an Ancient Roman History class here at Michigan State University. Before that class I was unaware of anything about here. Your post opened my eyes to the non-roman view about her.

    My roman history class portrayed her as a smart cunning woman who used herself to control the rulers of Italy and the surrounding regions. I never knew about her being a co-ruler of Egypt with her husband, or that Julius Caesar was the one who defeated him. All we really focused on involving Cleopatra in that class was that she seduced the men that visited from ancient Rome.

    The only reason I was aware of her love of costume and pageantry was because the Hollywood movie about her and the research behind her character. She obviously had a sense of mystery about her because of all the men including Julius Caesar and Mark Antony that adored her.

    I remembering learning about her having a child with Mark Antony, but not that she had three of his children and one of Julius Caesar’s sons. I completely agree that she was amazing at multitasking. She managed to rule a massive empire all while raising four children.

  2. I have to agree that Cleopatra is someone that I have idolized since I can remember. For five years, my parents could not convince me to be anyone else but Cleopatra for Halloween. She is someone that I idolized as a little girl, being a woman Pharaoh (also, the last Pharaoh) and powerful leader in ancient times. Cleopatra is considered the real “Queen of the Nile”. She came from a Greek family, spoke Greek, and came from a family who refused to speak Egyptian. Cleopatra, though, learned to speak Egyptian and portrayed herself as the reincarnation of the Egyptian God, Isis. Because of her Greek background and her family’s refusal to learn Egyptian, official documents (such as the Rosetta Stone) were written in the three most prominent languages used in Egypt at that time.

    It was a surprising find to see that Cleopatra had pair up with Julius Caesar, so ensure that her spot in the throne was solidified (though she still ruled alone). She bore Caesar’s son (while he was already married) so she married her brother, while Caesar was assassinated soon after. She is portrayed as a woman of great beauty and power, and still has a large significance in the world we live in today.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/biography/cleopatra.html

  3. I have honestly never looked too much into Cleopatra’s story other than the Hollywood schema I have been exposed to for most of my life. Your blog sort of exposed me to a lot of things regarding her upbringing and accomplishments. Like tons of children, especially us girls, I thought of Cleopatra as a powerhouse. It was always awesome to see a woman in a place of power, but I never knew much about her other than the fact that she is well known for ruling Egypt as the only woman pharaoh.

    Her rise to power is what has interested me most. Cleopatra grew up in Greece, among parents who refused to learn Egyptian and a brother who fought her for power in Egypt. After the war she imposed on the ruling pharaoh of the time failed, Cleopatra fled to a neighboring country and put together an army of her own. Then, clever as she was, Cleopatra went seeking an ally abroad and found Julius Caesar. Of course, Caesar was taken by her youth and tendencies to make a statement in whatever situation she was placed. The duo created a fame for themselves and when Caesar overthrew the ruling party of Egypt, Cleopatra was rewarded with her biggest dream. Now the sole ruler of Egypt, she assumed great power and furthering that with embodiment of the Goddess Isis. And for over 20 years, Cleopatra ruled Egypt as the only woman, and last pharaoh.

    I am honestly just amazed by the way she played to her own strengths to reach her impossible goals. Her beauty was a tool to fuel her reincarnation of the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite, which brought her respect and natural power. Then, she used her youth and wit to strike up a relationship with the most powerful Roman of the time. Her hunger for power aided her last leap for power when Caesar took Alexandria. The final straw- marrying her brother. A woman so set on the throne she is willing to marry her own kin then ‘cheat’ on him with a married man. Although her moral compass might not have pointed due north, her ambition and success was unmatchable. Cleopatra was a powerhouse of a woman, it is no wonder everyone idolizes her despite her flaws.

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