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                       kick-ass queens: cleopatra → 69 BC -- 30 BC

greek by blood, cleopatra ruled as queen of egypt for over two
decades. cleopatra was originally made queen after her father’s
death,   upon which she was wed to her ten-year-old brother-
king, ptolemy xiii. ptolemy exiled her to the desert immediately.
after she seduced julius caesar and bore his child,  caesarion,
ptolemy was advised by caesar to lead the egyptians into battle
– and did not survive. caesar and cleopatra’s love affair after this
scandalized rome entirely.

upon caesar’s untimely death, cleopatra turned her affections to
mark antony,   caesar’s right-hand man.   power struggles rose with
antony and julius gaius caesar octavinius (called octavian), who was
caesar’s grand-nephew (and the man who inherited the empire over
caeserion), and so cleopatra fled to egypt. antony left his wife,
octavian’s sister, and with cleopatra, had three children of his own.

not long after, octavian declared war on cleopatra and her lover.
antony stabbed himself to avoid capture, but cleopatra’s fate is,
as yet, unclear. most popular is the theory that she committed
suicide by asp poisoning, but the death would have taken too much
time; other historians tell us that she consumed a combination of
poisons in order to escape octavian’s utter cruelty. recent evidence
led some historians to believe that octavian had actually murdered
cleopatra and sold it as suicide. regardless, octavian did not spare
her son, caeserion, operating under the belief that he could very well
pose a threat to his claim to the empire.

in her death, cleopatra was the last pharoah of egypt, an intelligent
woman who used her wiles and cunning in order to take her rightful
place as head of one of the most powerful empires of the ancient
world.

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