cleopatra a life

Cleopatra moreover came of age in a country that entertained a singular definition of women’s roles.  Well before her and centuries before the arrival of the Ptolemies, Egyptian women enjoyed the right to make their own marriages.  Over time their liberties had increased, to levels unprecedented in the ancient world.  They inherited equally and held property independently.  Married women did not submit to their husbands’ control.  They enjoyed the right to divorce and to be supported after a divorce.  Until the time an ex-wife’s dowry was returned, she was entitled to be lodged in the house of her choice.  Her property remained hers; it was not to be squandered by a wastrel husband.  The law sided with the wife and children if a husband acted against their interests.  Romans marveled that in Egypt female children were not left to die; a Roman was obligated to raise only his first-born daughter.  Egyptian women married later than did their neighbors as well, only about half of them by Cleopatra’s age.  They loaned money and operated barges.  They served as priests in the native temples.  They initiated lawsuits and hired flute players.  As wives, widows, or divorcees, they owned vineyards, wineries, papyrus marshes, ships, perfume businesses, milling equipment, slaves, homes, camels.  As much as one third of Ptolemaic Egypt may have been in female hands.
—  Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff

ancient history meme | women ( 2/7)

“A brave young woman who has always fought for what was right even when it was unpopular”. – Michelle Moran, ‘Cleopatra’s Daughter’

Kleopatra Selene II was born in late 40 BCE, the daughter of Kleopatra VII, the Macedonian Greek queen of Ptolemaic Egypt, and Mark Antony, triumvir of Rome. 

“For the first ten years of her life Selene had been raised in Egypt as an Egyptian princess at an Egyptian court; the fact that her father was a Roman citizen, former consul and triumvir was virtually irrelevant at this stage of her life. However, once both of her parents were dead and Egypt had ceased to exist as an independent kingdom, the question of  what to do with Selene and her brothers needed to be answered. In the absence of any surviving relatives, responsibility for them passed to Octavian and he in turn passed it to Octavia. The children lived in Octavia’s house on the Palatine Hill…Augustus had gradually accumulated a collection of royal children…one of the latter was Gaius Julius Juba, the son of King Juba of Numidia (modern-day Algeria, Tunisia and Libya), who had committed suicide in 46 BCE after being defeated by Caesar at the Battle of Thapsus. Only a baby at the time, Juba had been taken back to Rome by Caesar and exhibited in the African section of his quadruple triumph. He had subsequently been raised in Caesar’s household until the dictator’s assassination in 44 BCE when custody of the child seems to have passed to Octavian and Octavia. Juba was awarded Roman citizenship and spent his childhood and adolescence in Rome during which time he was given a Roman education and encouraged in intellectual pursuits, which led to him writing scholarly treatises on a range of subjects. Although Octavia had herself been unlucky in love,she was apparently something of a matchmaker. In 25 BCE she was instrumental in arranging a marriage between Selene and Juba.

The young couple had had their lives turned upside down as a result of the actions of their parents. Once they arrived in Mauretania they were free to make their own decisions, accountable to no one, except possibly Augustus. They had much to do: the new kingdom of Mauretania was a vast territory, encompassing modern-day Algeria and Morocco, rather than modern-day Mauritania… [Selene] possessed enough prestige to rule alongside her husband as a queen in her own right and consistently referred to her Greek and Ptolemaic heritage on the coins she issued in her own name as well as those she issued in conjunction with Juba. Their new kingdom was in serious need of modernisation, so they refounded [the capital] Iol as Caesarea in honour of their benefactor Augustus. They filled Caesarea with grandiose buildings inspired by those of Rome and also of Alexandria. These included a lighthouse in the style of the Alexandrian Pharos, set up on an island in the harbour, a royal palace situated on the seafront and numerous temples to Roman and Egyptian deities. Their royal court attracted scholars and artists from across the Roman Empire and became a cosmopolitan fusion of Greek, Roman and Egyptian culture. The couple ruled Mauretania for almost two decades, until Selene’s early death at the age of 35. Judging from a second commemorative epigram written by Crinagoras of Mytilene, her death seems to have coincided with a lunar eclipse, which would place it on or around March 23rd, 5 BCE.”  - Jane Draycoff

He had extravagant expenses and extravagant tastes, but Egypt had, Caesar knew, a treasury to match. The captivating young woman before him - who spoke so effectively, laughed so easily, hailed from an ancient, accomplished culture, moved amid an opulence that would set his countrymen’s teeth on edge, and had so artfully outfoxed an army  - was one of the two richest people in the world.

Cleopatra, A Life - Stacy Schiff

There is evidence in Cleopatra’s first year of her ambition as well.  Her brother’s name is absent from official documents, where he should have figured as Cleopatra’s superior.  Nor is he in evidence on her coins; Cleopatra’s commanding portrait appears alone.  Coinage qualifies as a kind of language, too.  It is the only one in which she speaks to us in her own voice, without Roman interpreters.
—  Cleopatra: a Life by Stacy Schiff

On this day in history, August 12th, two thousand and forty five years ago, Cleopatra VII, the last active ruler of Ancient Egypt, committed suicide.

Eleven days previously, her husband Marc Antony had already done the same. The couple had been engaged in a civil war against Octavian, the great nephew of Julius Caesar who had been declared his legal heir. During the final battle in Alexandria, Antony suffered serious desertions among his troops and lost the fight. Upon his return, he falsely heard Cleopatra had killed herself and fell on his sword.

After Antony’s death, Octavian arrived in Egypt and effectively took Cleopatra and her children by Antony prisoner. She had sent her eldest son Caesarion, her only living child with Caesar, away for his own safety. She knew that Octavian planned for her to march in chains behind his chariot during his triumph parade, and would very likely have her killed afterwards. Rather than suffer such humiliations and indignity, she chose to take her own life.

Popular history and mythology leads us to believe that she was killed by inducing an asp to bite her, after having locked herself in her mausoleum with her two handmaidens. However, many modern scholars believe that she instead took a mixture of poisons, since the venom of an asp does not cause a quick or painless death. Octavian and his men found her too late to do anything, Cleopatra was already dead and one handmaiden, Iras, was nearly dead on the floor. The second, Charmian, was straightening the Queen’s diadem. According to legend, one of the men asked if this was well done of her mistress, and she shot back “Very well done, as befitting the descendant of so many noble Kings.”

Upon her death, Octavian honoured her wish to be buried in her mausoleum at Antony’s side. He took her children with Antony, the twins Cleopatra Selene and Alexander Helios, along with their younger brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus, to Rome with him as prisoners of sorts. They were fated to march in his triumph parade in their mother’s place, the chains so heavy they could hardly walk. After this they were given to Octavian’s sister Octavia, who had been Antony’s third wife, to look after.

Cleopatra’s son with Caesar, Caesarion, was nominally sole ruler of Egypt after his mother’s death. Eleven days after her suicide, he was found after being lured back to Alexandria under false pretenses of being allowed to rule in his mother’s place. Octavian ordered his murder, on advice that “Two Caesar were too many.”

With Cleopatra’s death, and Caesarion’s subsequent murder, the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty came to an end and Egypt became a mere Roman Province.

anonymous asked:

im not trying to start anything but what's your position on factkin? i only understand it as "im currently this [other living person]" (bc otherkin incorporates reincarnations ig?) but i feel like im missing out on something?

Factkin are kin who identify as someone who currently lives or has previously lived in our universe (or in another universe for those who go by the multiverse theory).

For example, if someone thinks they were Cleopatra in a past life, that would be factkin. The same goes for those with someone who shares a spiritual link with someone, as well those who believe they are a specific person (but in an alternate universe).

As for my stance, I’m cool with them! They’re just as valid as other kins (in my opinion).

For her beauty, as we are told, was in itself not altogether incomparable, nor such as to strike those who saw her; but converse with her had an irresistible charm, and her presence, combined with the persuasiveness of her discourse and the character which was somehow diffused about her behaviour towards others, had something stimulating about it.
—  Plutarch on Cleopatra. The Life of Antony 27.2