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Who was Cleopatra?

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who-was-cleopatra

Cleopatra (69-30 B.C.) was Queen of Egypt. Two great Roman leaders fell in love with her, and her story has inspired plays such as William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra.

Cleopatra was 17 when her father the Pharaoh (king) of Egypt died, leaving her and her 10-year-old brother to rule together over his kingdom. Her brother's guardians seized power and drove her from the throne.

Soon afterwards, Julius Caesar, ruler of Rome, went to Egypt. Cleopatra was brought to him secretly and he fell in love with her. With his help, she organized a revolt against her brother. She then went to Rome with Caesar. But she returned to Egypt when he was assassinated. Two years later, Mark Antony, a follower of Caesars, came to visit her. He, too, fell in love with her. Although he was one of the three men who ruled Rome, he decided to remain in Egypt. Octavian, another of the three, and brother of Antony's wife, determined to destroy the lovers.

A great sea battle took place near Actium on the west coast of Greece. Octavian won, and Antony and Cleopatra were forced to retreat to Alexandria, the capital of Egypt. Oct avian' s forces surrounded the city.

Knowing she was defeated, Cleopatra lay in the tomb built for her burial, and sent word to Antony that she had killed herself. Thinking her dead, he ran himself through with his sword. According to legend, Cleopatra killed herself by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp, a poisonous snake.

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