Cleopatra is one of the famous figures in Egyptian history and regarded as a seductress who had relationships with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius. However, there is more to the Egyptian Pharaoh than just being a temptress. Here are some facts not everybody knows about Cleopatra VII.
1. There Were Other Six Cleopatras Before Her.
Although most people only know her as Cleopatra, her name was actually Cleopatra VII Philopator since there were other not-so famous relatives with her name. The first Cleopatra is said to be the sister of Alexander the Great.
2. Cleopatra VII Was Not An Egyptian. Her Family Was Of Greek Descent.
Cleopatra was born a princess, her father being Pharaoh Ptolemy XII. She was born around 60 BC and at that time, her family has already been ruling Egypt for more than a hundred years. She descended from a long line of Egyptian rulers but was of Greek descent. Alexander the Great was said to be the one who established the dynasty.
3. She Was Cunning And Intelligent.
Being the favorite of her father, Cleopatra VII was always with him and learned how to rule over the kingdom. Growing up, she was able to learn, write and speak multi-languages, including Greek, Latin and Egyptian. She also wrote a pharmacological and medical treatise known as Cosmetics. It was about medical remedies which included hair loss and dandruff treatment.
4. She Was a Power And Influential Woman Who Became The Last Pharaoh Of Egypt.
When her father, the Pharaoh, died when she was 18 years old, she and her brother, Ptolemy XIII and XIV became co-rulers of Egypt. She also married her brothers as part of the Egyptian custom. Being the older sibling, she was able to take most of the power over the land. Cleopatra VII was a wealthy and powerful royalty who was able to convince Caesar and Marcus Antonius to expand her kingdom, extending her control to other local areas.
5. She Had Her Siblings Murdered To Regain Her Throne.
With her other siblings conspiring to overthrow her, she made sure they will not succeed despite her brother, who was already grown up, was able to take over. She had Marcus Antonius plot and execute the killing of her younger sister, Arsinoe IV. Meanwhile, Ptolemy XIII already died in a battle which left her with only one sibling to murder, Ptolemy XIV. It was said that she got her brother out of the way by poisoning him.
6. She Was Married Several Times And Had Children.
Aside from marrying her brothers, she also became the lover of Julius Caesar and the wife of Marcus Antonius. She had a son with Caesar, whom she named Caesarion and other children with Marcus Antonius. They were the twins, Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, and a third son, Ptolemy Philadelphus.
7. The Egyptian Eye Makeup Which Is The Trademark Of Cleopatra Has a Scientific Explanation Behind It.
Images of Cleopatra often show a seductive woman with those tempting eyes. Experts say that cosmetics were not only for aesthetics. It was believed that the eye makeup worn by Cleopatra was purposely applied to ward off eye infection which was rampant at that time. It was said that cosmetics have healing components.
8. She Might Not Have Really Died From a Snake Bite.
After the defeat from Octavian forces, Marcus Antonius committed suicide and so did Cleopatra VII. However, a controversy about the real cause of her death remains to be debatable. According to a researcher who studied ancient texts, Cleopatra VII did not die in pain, as what could have happened if she was bitten by an asp. There are stories surfacing that with her knowledge in medicine and pharmacology, she actually injected herself with a lethal dose of poison.
Despite the centuries that have passed, Cleopatra still remains to be an influential figure in Egypt and in the world. This is evident with her trademark eye makeup Egyptians are known for as well as the numerous books and plays about her and her life.