Cleopatra Study Guide
1) Who’s website is this?
It was organized by the British Museum in Collaboration with the Fondazione Memmo, Rome.
2) Write a short description of Cleopatra’s Life.
Cleopatra lived from 69-30 B.C.E. She was Macedonian Greek and came from a family of rulers starting with Ptolemy 1, a man who was once a general serving for Alexander the Great. Cleopatra took the throne as queen of Egypt when she was 18, despite the fact that she had no Egyptian background. During much of her reign the Roman Empire threatened to invade. Due to Cleopatra’s connections with Marc Antony and Julius Caesar, she was able to keep Egypt independent for 20 years. At the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra and Marc Antony were defeated by Julius Caesar’s heir, Octavian. With this, Cleopatra gave in to a self-inflicted demise, and ended her reign.
Check your Cleopatra Knowledge
1) Was she beautiful?
Cleopatra’s self portrait was displayed on a coin, in today’s society her image may not have been seen as beautiful, but many artists, playwrights, and others have portrayed her in a more appealing way. Although she may have truly been a beautiful woman, her attractiveness may have been enhanced by her power and allure.
2) Was she buried in a pyramid?
The age of pyramids 2650-1700 B.C.E. were long before the time of Cleopatra, 69-30 B.C.E. It is not known where Cleopatra is buried, but it is said that she rests in Egypt with her Roman husband, Mark Antony.
3) Was she a goddess?
Cleopatra was technically just a pharaoh, the last of Egypt, and pharaoh’s were thought to be gods and goddesses. Cleopatra took advantage of the fact that her people thought her to be a goddess, and increased her power and control over them. She said that she was Isis, the mother goddess of Ancient Egypt. When she went to seduce Marc Antony, she claimed to be Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
4) Where did she live?
For much of the time that she reigned, Cleopatra lived in Alexandria, her home city on the Meditteranean that was famous for its culture and learning. It was home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, a lighthouse and library. However, for two years Cleopatra lived in Rome with her lover, Julius Caesar, this was in part to take more control over Egypt and to increase it’s independence.
5) What language did she speak?
Although Cleopatra knew many different languages, her first language was Greek. She also spoke Egyptian, being the queen of Egypt, and was said to be the first in her family to do so.
6) Was she related to King Tut?
Cleopatra was not related to King Tut but they were both pharaoh’s of Egypt, though at very different times; King Tut died thirteen centuries before Cleopatra’s time.
7) Was she rich?
Cleopatra was very wealthy, as she owned all of Egypt, it’s people, land, and material goods. She received much of the crops that were grown, as well as products and trades. Anything she wanted to have built, could be built. When Egypt was conquered, all of the riches were brought back to Italy. Cleopatra was so wealthy that retrieved fortune caused Rome’s interest rate to go from 12 to 4.
8) Did she really die from the bite of a snake?
Myth has it that she asked for a snake to be brought to her a in basket of figs. The snake bit and killed her, as well as two of her maids. However, since snakebite is a painful way to go, many believe that she poisoned herself, as Egyptians were skilled at makings potions and concoctions.
9) Was she a seductress?
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