The life of Cleopatra.

Essay by floridagurl727College, UndergraduateA+, April 2006

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Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BC in Alexandria, which was at the time the capital of Egypt. Her father was Egypt's pharaoh, Ptolemy XII he was nicknamed Auletes. Cleopatra's mother was traditionally Auletes's sister, who was named Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Of these parents bore many children including, Cleopatra VII's elder sister, who was named Cleopatra VI. Cleopatra VII, future pharaoh, also had another sister, the oldest, named Bernice; as well as younger sister named Arsinoe; and two younger brothers, both called Ptolemy. Their family was not native to Egypt, but Macedonian by nature. Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra's father, was a weak and cruel ruler, and in 58 BC the people of Alexandria rebelled and overthrew him because of their hate for him. During this time he fled to Rome while his eldest daughter, Bernice, took the throne. At this time she married a cousin but soon had him strangled so that she could marry another man named Archelaus.

At some point during Bernice's three-year reign Cleopatra VI died of unknown causes and in 55 BC Ptolemy XII, Cleopatra's father, again reclaimed his throne with the help of the Roman general Pompey. Bernice was then beheaded and her husband was executed. Cleopatra VII was now the pharaoh's oldest child, so when her father passed in 51 BC, leaving his children in Pompey's care, Cleopatra and the eldest of her two brothers Ptolemy XIII inherited the throne.

In obedience with Egyptian tradition when Cleopatra was about seventeen years old she married her younger brother Ptolemy XIII, who became co-ruler, at the age of about twelve. But this was a marriage of convenience only, and Ptolemy was pharaoh only in name. For three years he remained in the background while Cleopatra ruled alone, it is said that despite the glamorous...