Cleopatra’s Life and Political Impact


Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XII. Ptolemy XII was the king of Egypt who died in the year 51 BC (Bevington, 45). Upon her birth, her mother was the Queen of Egypt. Cleopatra’s mother was the second wife of King Ptolemy (Bevington, 45). During her father’s death, Cleopatra was just at the tender age of 18years. Life was very difficult because she was a daughter of a second wife. She had to fight it out in the courts of law for her fate. His father had left a will that upon his death the kingdom will be ruled jointly with his son Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra (Bevington, 60). Also, Ptolemy XIII was forced to marry her older sister.

This was contrary to Egyptian customs. However, Cleopatra was very courageous and determined that she turned what seemed to be a disadvantage into an advantage. Cleopatra was very successful when he lived in Rome. She was married to Julius Caesar and together they had a baby boy. Julius Caesar was so pleased with Cleopatra that he molded an idol for her and placed it in his palace. This idol was a small god to Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar’s love for Cleopatra made her imagine that she had rescued the Egyptians from the Romans’ authority. His lover was then assassinated. Cleopatra was forced to rebuild her relationship with the roman empire. She decided to start an affair with Mark Anthony to cover for the assassination of Julius Caesar. This relationship is what led to the death of Cleopatra and the loss of Egypt’s independence (Bevington, 60).

Cleopatra’s life

After the assassination of Julius, Caesar Cleopatra returned to Egypt. Mark Anthony gave her support to resist the fight from his younger brother. Her relationship with Caesar and Mark Anthony shows the power of a woman. She managed to use her good relationship with the two roman leaders to change the roman dominance in Egypt and subsequently lose power in the Mediterranean region. During that time most of the countries in the Mediterranean region had started engaging with Roman politics. Cleopatra then decided to engage with the great men of the roman empire to free her country. Mark Anthony was a commander of the Roman army. Her relationship with Anthony led to the birth of twins (Kennedy, 160). Anthony was then forced to marry her in a well-organized marriage ceremony in Syria. They joined power to fight the Octavian power which was the rival of Anthony in Rome. According to their customs, upon successful wedding ceremony, they become divine gods both in Egypt and Rome. The major reason for the Romans’ invasion of Egypt was its strategic location for trade. Therefore, it was important to have a strong leader who would rule over Egypt to ensure that it does not become a threat to Rome.

Cleopatra’s wedding was planned according to Roman traditions. Very many people came to witness the wedding of the two great people. The wedding took place in Alexandria in Egypt. All the children attended the wedding including Cleopatra’s eldest son who was Julius Caesar’s son. Mark Anthony was very happy with this wedding that he decides to give Cleopatra a donation. This donation was to give his new family part of the eastern Mediterranean kingdom (Kennedy, 167). Thus, Cleopatra became the new queen while her eldest son became the king of kings to lead both Egypt and Rome. His son Alexander was allowed to rule the regions east of the Euphrates.
The relationship between Cleopatra and Anthony led to a fierce battle with Octavian. Both men had strong kingdoms but the war in Rome determined its fate.

Anthony together with Cleopatra had a greater advantage because they led a comparably stronger region than Octavian. The war at Actium was so tough that at one point Anthony had to escape with Cleopatra despite their large backing. On the way to Alexandria, they lose direction but they later navigate back to Alexandria. Octavian was very upset with Anthony especially when he married Cleopatra. He decided to move to Alexandria and fight it out with Anthony. When he reached Alexandria, both Cleopatra and Anthony committed suicide just on realizing that Octavian had arrived with his army (Kennedy, 167). Later, Octavian kills Caearion and departs Anthony’s children back to Rome in a revenge mission.

Cleopatra’s political impact

Cleopatra initiated the urge for resistance to colonialism and the imperialism of the western countries (Janet, 97). At first, she started a battle with his brother over the leadership of Egypt. This was contrary to the customs in the Mediterranean regions. Her intelligence and determination saw her take the matter to the courts. Most of what was seen as her misfortune turned out to be her success. This changed politics in Egypt where people did not believe in feminism. She got huge admiration and support from the political class in Egypt. When she started a war with the Romans all Egyptians supported him. People saw the need to resist Roman rule over Egypt. Cleopatra could not defeat the Romans and so, she decided to use the roman leaders to reduce their influence over Egypt.

The Romans took full control of Egypt after Cleopatra’s death. Cleopatra’s political impact on Egypt saw Egypt lose its independence. The marriage to Anthony was aimed to strengthen Egyptians autonomy but this was not the case. Octavian Caesar was determined to win the fight with Anthony something that lead to the death of Cleopatra and his husband. When the war ended, Octavian took over the leadership of both Rome and Egypt. The Egyptian kingdom was left in the hands of the Romans due to Cleopatra’s association with Octavian’s rival.
Through Cleopatra, the Egyptian kingdom is seen as a dictator state. Cleopatra’s father writes a will that the kingdom will be ruled jointly between Cleopatra and his younger brother (Janet, 107. Most people object to this but later Cleopatra rules Egypt. Even the court would not change the queen’s appointment. Ptolemy XIII tries to fight Cleopatra but mark Anthony gives her full support to win. Everything that was initiated in Egypt to stop Cleopatra’s rule failed. No law was followed to make Cleopatra a queen. Since all the progress to stop Cleopatra failed then her political impact displays Egypt as a country where there is no justice.

Continuity of leadership style is another Cleopatra’s political impact. Most of the monarchies have developed up since Cleopatra’s death. This is a direct emulation of the Egyptian kingdom. For example, Queen Elizabeth I reined in the united kingdom like Cleopatra (Janet, 107. Her role in Egypt displayed to the world how a woman could be determined to rescue her own life and that of his people. This lead to people’s faith in women’s leadership. Queen Elizabeth, I followed in Cleopatra’s footsteps to become the first queen of England. The dictatorship style of leadership has also grown after Cleopatra’s death. King Alexander took over Egypt and continued with the monarchial leadership that could not allow the people free will to choose things.

Cleopatra led to the development of the roman empire. Her relationship with the roman leaders started a rivalry between them. For example, the fight between Mark Anthony and Octavian was fuelled by Cleopatra (McCombe,87). The Mediterranean region was not happy with Cleopatra’s association with the roman empire. Most of them saw this as an act of betrayal. Therefore they started developing rebellion against the Romans. The Romans on realizing this started a fightback through Octavian to capture back its territories. He managed to win against Mark Anthony who had distributed some of the territories to the Egyptians. Octavian won the war at Actium and took full control of Egypt and the Mediterranean region that formed the roman empire.

Cleopatra also depicts the woman’s position in politics. Her determination at first was taken positively by many people who never believed in women’s leadership. His brother did not have the support like Cleopatra despite being a man. However, the unfolding of Cleopatra’s life simply shows how women can use sexual relationships to destroy a state. Cleopatra caused the assassination of Julius Caesar after it was discovered they were dating (McCombe,87). Before then Cleopatra managed to trick Julius to have his child get hold of him. She did the same to Mark Anthony who they had twins. The idea behind Cleopatra’s relationships was that he gets hold of the leaders to reduce their power. In the end, Cleopatra commits suicide. This is an indication of failed leadership. Most people regard her as a coward. Generally, Cleopatra has displayed a woman as a weak leader in politics. Many countries have since believed this from Cleopatra’s deeds. The woman has been associated with the rise of conflicts. Cleopatra was the source of conflict with his younger brother in Egypt. The rivalry between Octavian and Mark Anthony was fuelled by Cleopatra. Therefore, the political implication is that women are the sources of conflicts of power (McCombe, 87).

The last impact of Cleopatra’s political impact is the effects of power. Most powerful states will always use the power they have to deny the less powerful their rights. Cleopatra used her power and association with Mark Anthony to fight her brother. This was because she had the backing of Anthony that made her stronger. She was able to defeat her brother. Octavian was more powerful than Mark Anthony despite him being consular in the army. This enabled him to take over both Rome and Egypt. The Egyptians and the whole of the Mediterranean region had resisted the Roman rule but they had no power to fight (McCombe, 87). The Romans comfortably ruled over them. When Cleopatra was married to Mark Anthony she was rewarded with very big donations. She was made queen of queens while her children were given territories to rule over. Some of the children were less than ten years but had control of a territory. Therefore politicians have resolved to absolute power to rule their constituents.

Works Cited

Bevington, David. Antony and Cleopatra. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Janet, Adelman. Tradition as Source in Antony and Cleopatrafrom The Common Liar. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003. Print.

Kennedy, Dennis. Shakespeare Worldwide. In de Grazia, Margreta; Wells, Stanley.The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

McCombe, John. Cleopatra and Her Problems: T.S. Eliot and the Fetishization of Shakespeare’s Queen of the Nile. New Haven: Yale University Press,2008. Print.

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