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Cleopatra VII Philopator


Bust of Cleopatra, Altes Museum, Berlin (Germany). Photo Jona Lendering.
Cleopatra (Altes Museum, Berlin)
Cleopatra VII Philopator ('father-loving'): queen of the Ptolemaic Empire, ruled from 51 to 30.

Relatives:

  • Father: Ptolemy XII Auletes
  • Mother: An Egyptian lady from a Memphite priestly family
  • First husband: Gaius Julius Caesar
    • Son: Caesarion
  • Second husband: Marc Antony
    • Children: the twins Alexander Helius and Cleopatra Selene (married to king Juba II of Mauretania), Ptolemy Philadelphus

Main deeds:

  • December 70 / January 69: Born
  • February/March 51: Death of Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII Auletes.
  • Summer 50: Cleopatra accepts her brother Ptolemy XIII as co-ruler
  • Summer 49: Sole rule of Ptolemy XIII, recognized by both Gaius Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, and his opponent, Pompey the Great
  • Cleopatra remains queen in the Thebaid, and accepts another brother, Ptolemy XIV, as co-ruler
  • 48: Cleopatra tries to return, but her army is defeated near Pelusium.
  • 48: Caesar defeats Pompey (battle of Pharsalus); Pompey flees to Egypt and is killed by courtiers of Ptolemy XIII
  • Caesar arrives in Egypt and orders Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra VII to disband their armies, but instead, war breaks out (text)
  • January 47: Ptolemy XIII is killed in action
  • Ptolemy XIV and his sister Arsinoe IV are made rulers of Cyprus
  • Spring 47: Cleopatra VII is sole ruler of Egypt; she presents herself as the goddess Isis
  • 23 June 47: Birth of a son, named Caesarion; Caesar is said to be the father
  • 46: Ptolemy XIV is recognized as Cleopatra's co-ruler again; the two are in Rome
  • March 44: Julius Caesar is killed (text); Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIV return to Egypt, where Ptolemy is soon killed and Caesarion recognized as king; first of a series of bad harvests
  • Summer 43: Cleopatra has achieved control of Cyprus; she supports the faction of Caesar, led by the Second Triumvirate (Marc Antony, Octavian, Lepidus), in its war against the assassins, led by Brutus and Cassius
  • 42: Battle of Philippi: the triumvirs defeat Brutus and Cassius; Marc Antony will visit the east
  • 41: Cleopatra meets Marc Antony in Tarsus. The Roman needs the Egyptian queen in his war against the Parthian Empire, and returns the rule of old Ptolemaic territories to her
  • 39: Birth of the twins Alexander Helius and Cleopatra Selene
  • 38: Marc Antony gives Chalkis (the Bekaa valley) and parts of Cilicia and Chalkis to Cleopatra; later, she is allowed to govern, as vassal, parts of Phoenicia, Judaea (cordial relations with king Herod), Cyrenaica, and Crete
  • 37: Marc Antony and his wife Octavia are separated
  • 36: Marc Antony's Parthian War
  • 34: Marc Antony celebrates the conquest of Armenia; Cleopatra is called 'new Isis' and 'queen of kings',
  • 32: Marc Antony divorces his wive Octavia; outbreak of war between Octavian and Marc Antony
  • 31: Marc Antony and Cleopatra move to Greece, where they are isolated by Octavian's admiral Agrippa; although they are able to win a tactical victory and break out of their isolated position at Actium, the campaign is a distaster and Octavian is able to achieve control of the east
  • Cleopatra flees to Alexandria and opens negotiations with Octavian; her purpose is to save her children and keep the Ptolemaic kingdom intact
  • 12 August 30: After Octavian has declined to negotiate, Cleopatra reportedly commits suicide; Marc Antony does the same. Their children survive, but Caesarion is killed.
Egyptian title: Nejeret-merites ('Father-loving goddess')
Succeeded by: Annexation by the Roman empire

Information on the web:

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

This page was prepared to offer background information to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, it will be improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.
Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2006
Revision: 31 July 2012
Livius.Org Anatolia Carthage Egypt Germ. Inf. Greece Judaea Mesopotamia Persia Rome Other