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Cleopatra June 20, 2016

Posted by anagasto in history.
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Cleopatra lived at the same time as Caesar, and she was brought to Caesar as a gift rolled up in a carpet. She was 18 at the time.

The painting by Jean Leon Gerome shows her just stepping out of the carpet.

She looks as if she were sizing up the world’s most powerful ruler.
He is sitting at his desk and seems surprised. —

Beside her, crouching on the floor, is one of the servants that carried her in.

tn Cleopatra before Caesar

This painting is from http://hoocher.com/Jean_Leon_Gerome/jean_leon_gerome.htm.

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Some contemporary sources say she was not all that pretty, but astute and endlessly resourceful and as playful as a kitten.
She was the sole ruler of Egypt, and she was fabulously rich.

Cicero, who was famous as a writer and orator, said that she was intelligent, but impertinent. And he made fun of her :

chatting  in Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Greek of course, Parthian, Median, Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Troglodyte.

As to her beauty, he says:

She is, by the way, a beauty in no way, shape, manner, or form.  Her figure is anything other than voluptuous, and her face is marred not merely by the inbred Ptolemy hooked nose, but by a strong chin and hard features. —

 From imagined Letters to W H Worthy  http://www.lettersfromthedustbowl.com/Page160.html

702cleopatra

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The picture below is  porcelain art from Lladró, Spain.

Caesar was assassinated by a gang of senators in 44bC.  So, in that resplendent barge, accompanied by beautiful boys and girls, perfumes and music, Cleopatra sails down the river to meet Anthony.

You would remember Anthony from the speech he gave on Caesar’s assassination in Shakespeare’s play:

Friends, Romans, countrymen

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

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He was a high-ranking Roman and a former sweetheart of hers, and there she arrives evidently prepared to capture his attention:

(c) Lladró, Valencia, Spain

They were married, had children, but following Caesar’s assassination  civil war broke out, and she sided with Anthony.
Anthony lost and was ordered to kill himself, and so she killed herself too by allowing a snake to bite her.

She was only 39 when she died. It had not been a happy life.

The source of the Cleopatra story is Plutarch who lived about 100 years later.

Cleopatra’s barge, photographed above, is a porcelain sculpture by Lladró, Valencia, Spain http://www.highporcelain.com/

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a short timeline

Cleopatra

69 bC ……..  Cleopatra is born in Egypt
48 bC …. ….  Cleopatra meets Caesar in Alexandria
46 bC  …….. She gives birth to Caesar’s child, called Caesarion
45 bC  …….. Cleopatra joins Caesar in Rome
44 bC …. ….  Caesar is assassinated, and Cleopatra leaves Rome
There is war between Caesar’s followers and his enemies
42 bC …. ….  Mark Anthony wins and joins Cleopatra in Alexandria.
40 bC  ……..  Cleopatra gives birth to Anthony’s twin children
37 bC  ……..  Cleopatra gets married to Mark Anthony who is also married to Octavian’s sister
31 bC  ……..  Octavian brings the Roman fleet against Mark Anthony. Mark Anthony loses and kills himself by falling on his sword.
Cleopatra kills herself by letting an asp bite her.

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Kleopatra-VII.-Altes-Museum-Berlin1

Plutarch says that Cleopatra’s charm was in her wit and in the sweetness of her voice.

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Comments»

1. 100falcons - March 4, 2012

It’s a shame that this kind of imaginative writing is taken for the real thing. It is not by Cicero, as anyone who has read his letters recognizes at once.

Cicero does make a few short mentions of Cleopatra (about her leaving Rome as soon as Caesar was assassinated, about the rumor of her being pregnant with a son of his) but none long or descriptive. In Letter XV to Atticus he says he hates her, that he can’t recall without indignation her “insolence when she was living in Caesar’s house in the gardens beyond the Tiber” and that he wants nothing to do with her and “that lot”.

All the now famous descriptions of Cleopatra (Plutarch, Cassio Dion, Suetonius) were written long after her death and, if they had been Wikipedia articles, would have been peppered with “citation needed”.

2. cantueso - March 11, 2012

You are right, but I did not at first see that it was invented. And afterwards I forgot about it.
I don’t know a thing about Rome.

Added November 2012
I did notice “Trogodyte” and for a moment wondered whether that was actually an antique language. I think I saw it mentioned once as an artificial language.
:-(

Google:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/troglodyte
1. a. A member of a fabulous or prehistoric race of people that lived in caves, dens, or holes. b. A person considered to be reclusive, …

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=troglodyte
A person considered to be reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish.

3. Mosta - September 4, 2014

this seems wrong as Cleopatra visited Rome in a big ceremonies and had great welcome from Rome people and had statue in Rome she married ceasar and ran away after he was killed and then Anthony followed her and fought Octavius and both of them lost the war and suicided
She was highly educated by the priests of Amun , she is originally Batlamic/ Greek

4. cantueso - September 8, 2014

To Mosta

What part of this story is wrong? Or where do you get the truth about her?
I thought she was largely a legend created throughout the centuries by all kinds of people. Of ourse, she would have existed, but the stories would have taken time to start circulating.


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