The famous Egyptian queen Cleopatra had tires to the Roman Empire through relations with Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Augustus
Cleopatra was know for her theatrics and grand gestures towards men. In a desperate attempt to get to Julius Caesar, Cleopatra hid in a carpet.
This was the beginning of a long affair between Cleopatra and Caesar that would change the Roman Empire forever.
“Beside it would stand another, in gold, of Cleopatra queen of egypt. Ever since 48 BC. Cleopatra had been caesars principal mistress. When caesar had deported from Egypt a year later, after fighting and winning a particularly grueling war against the Egyptians that had made Egypt a province in all but name, Cleopatra was pregnant“(Dando-collins 19).
“No one disputed that cleopatra had a lengthy affair with Caesar, and there were those who were convinced that Caesar planned to divorce his current wife, Calpurnia, and marry Cleopatra. Under prevailing Roman law, caesar was prevented from making Cleopatra his wife. That law banned Romans from marrying foreigner”(Dando-Collins 54).
“ She not only brought her husband- brother and entourage of eunuchs with her with her, but also had on heir to her parade, a one year old prince. Caesar already married refused to acknowledge his bastard son, but Cleopatra, nothing daunted, had flaunted the obvious by naming the boy Caesarion naturally, Rome was scandalized” (Holland 311).
Cleopatra believed the child she had bared would be enough for her to be married into the Roman Empire and gain the luxury and riches that would come along with it.
“Inside the Janiculum villa on March 14, affairs would have been in a state of flux. Without doubt, Cleopatra, her brother king and their large entourage had plains to join Caesar’s column when it left Rome in the five day’s time as he set off for his much-anticipated gerae and parthian campaigns” (Dando-collins 56).
“Cleopatra who had won Caesar’s affection by hiding in a carpet, had wooed Antony with overblown spectacle from the start. She knew him of his old flamboyance, his love of pleasure, his dressing up a dionysos and had calculated accordingly how to best win his heart”(Holland 356).
The new found love between Cleopatra and Mark Antony effected the relationship between Antony and Caesar.
“In July 32 BC Octavian illegally gained possession of Antony's will and read it out in public; it promised large legacies to his children by cleopatra, and asked for his body to be returned to cleopatra for burial should he die in Italy” (Scarre 18).
After Mark Antony kills himself, the heartbroken Cleopatra follows the same fate.
August was Caesar's adopted son and was very close to the fallen ruler. The death of his father figure caused Augustus to want to seek revenge on whoever he saw responsible. Cleopatra was very high on his list.
Augustus had resentment towards Cleopatra for several reasons including the death of Caesar, the reason Mark Antony divorces his sister and the division in the Roman Empire.
“Octavian’s next highly questionable act was to put to death Cleopatra’s son, Caesarion. Caesarion in fact was the child of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar”(augustus’ Gaius Julius octavius par. 8).
“... Augustus gave up the consulship and instead was awarded tribunician powers for life by the senate. Tribunician powers give him the right call the senate to meetings, to propose legislation in the popular assembly, and to veto any enactments. Also his command over ‘his’ provinces was renewed”(Scarre 18).
“The treasure of Egypt's rulers, the Ptolemies fell to Octavian and Egypt itself became a new province” (Scarre 18).
Fun fact: Many believe Shakespeare based Romeo and Juliet off of Antony's and Cleopatra's relationship.
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