Home FEATURES On this day 30 B.C: Cleopatra committed suicide.

On this day 30 B.C: Cleopatra committed suicide.

On this day 30 B.C:
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony committed suicide after the defeat of her forces against Octavian.
Cleopatra, born in 69 B.C., was made Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt, upon the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, in 51 B.C. Her brother was made King Ptolemy XIII at the same time, and the siblings ruled Egypt under the formal title of husband and wife.
But Cleopatra soon had a dispute with her brother, and a civil war erupted in 48 B.C. Just as Cleopatra was preparing to attack her brother with a large army the Roman civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great spread to Egypt.
Pompey fled to Egypt after his defeat but was immediately murdered by agents of Ptolemy XIII. Caesar later arrived in Alexandria to restore order in Egypt. To win him over so Cleopatra travelled to Alexandria and was offered as a packaged gift to Caesar.
The powerful Roman leader fell for the alluring Egyptian Queen and interceded in the Egyptian civil war on her behalf. In 47 B.C., Ptolemy XIII was killed after a defeat against Caesar’s forces, and Cleopatra was made dual ruler with another brother, Ptolemy XIV.
Caesar and Cleopatra then frolicked for several weeks together before Caesar departed for Asia Minor. In June 47 B.C., Cleopatra bore a son and named him Caesarion “little Caesar” claiming he was Caesar’s. She later joined Caesar in Rome with her son.
Cleopatra lived discretely in Caesar’s villa outside Rome. She returned to Egypt after Caesar was assassinated in March 44 B.C. And soon after, her brother Ptolemy XIV died, likely poisoned by her. She then made her son co-ruler with her as Ptolemy XV Caesar.
With Julius Caesar’s murder, Rome again fell into civil war, which was temporarily resolved in 43 B.C. with the formation of the second triumvirate, made up of Octavian, Caesar’s great-nephew and chosen heir; Mark Antony, a powerful general; and Lepidus, a Roman statesman.
Antony took up the administration of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire, and he summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus, in Asia Minor, to answer charges that she had aided his enemies. Cleopatra arrived in Tarsus on a magnificent river barge, dressed as Venus the Roman god of love.
She seduced Antony, as she had Caesar before him and returned with him to Alexandria, where they spent the winter in debauchery. In 40 B.C., Antony returned to Rome and married Octavian’s sister Octavia in an effort to mend his strained alliance with Octavian.
But the triumvirate continued to deteriorate. In 37 B.C., Antony separated from Octavia and travelled east, arranging for Cleopatra to join him in Syria. In their time apart, Cleopatra had borne him twins, a son and a daughter.
According to Octavian’s propagandists, the lovers were then married, which violated Roman law restricting Romans from marrying foreigners. As Anthony’s image suffered because of failed military campaigns in the east he managed some successful against Armenia.
To shore up his image he staged a victory march through the streets of Alexandria alongside Cleopatra on golden thrones. Again Octavian propagandists interpreted the spectacle as a sign that Antony intended to deliver the Roman Empire to foreigners.
Following more years of tension and propaganda attacks, Octavian declared war against Cleopatra, and therefore Antony, in 31 B.C. Octavian’s brilliant military commanders gained early success. On September 2, 31 B.C their fleets clashed at Actium in Greece.
After heavy fighting, Cleopatra fled and set course for Egypt with 60 of her ships. Antony then broke through the enemy line and followed her. The disheartened fleet that remained surrendered to Octavian. One week later, Antony’s land forces surrendered.
Octavian reached Alexandria and again defeated Antony. In the aftermath of the battle, Cleopatra took refuge in the mausoleum she built for herself. Antony believing that Cleopatra was dead, stabbed himself but a messenger arrived, saying Cleopatra was still alive.
Antony had himself carried to the mausoleum and begged Cleopatra to surrender to Octavian before he died. When the Octavian arrived, Cleopatra tried to seduce him, but knowing her antecedents with Caesar and Anthony Octavian rejected her entreaties.
On August 12, 30 B.C. rather than surrender to Octavian, Cleopatra decided to commit suicide. She brought a poisonous Egyptian serpent to bite her on the breast alongside two handmaids who died too. Octavian then executed her son Caesarion, and annexed Egypt into the Roman Empire.
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