Famous Rulers in History Cleopatra Part 7

About the famous Egyptian ruler Cleopatra, history of her reign and life, little known facts and quotes.

Famous and Infamous Rulers in History

CLEOPATRA

Cleopatra had sought the near impossible--to prevent Rome from subjugating Egypt, and to make Alexandria capital of the East, equal in power with Rome, even through an alliance gained by marriage with a Roman. She was doomed to lose, because Rome would never accept an Eastern queen. Had she and Antony won the Battle of Actium, and had they by some miracle achieved domination over Rome, non-Romans would probably have had more rights, while the notion of liberty and republican institutions would have died. A far as possible, considering she was in a sense a ruler of foreign descent taking all she could from Egypt, Cleopatra was a fair and good administrator. Certainly, much of the citizenry liked her. After her death, she became a legend, a symbol which kept Egyptian nationalism alive under the Romans.

Little-Known Facts: Cleopatra was not an Egyptian, but mostly Macedonian in ancestry.

She was the first of the Ptolemies to learn to speak Egyptian. Cleopatra was the first woman since Queen Artemisia of Halicarnassus (who invaded Greece with Xerxes) to take a fleet to sea.

She went everywhere with Antony on horseback and litter, even into the battlefield.

She reputedly wrote a pamphlet on cosmetics, another on Egyptian weights and measures, and still another on alchemy.

Quotes By: When asked about the truth of a statement: "It is as sure as the fact that I shall one day administer justice from the Capitol [Rome]."

When she tricked Antony by having divers put fish on his hooks when he was fishing at the harbor in Alexandria: "Autokrator, hand over your rod to the fishermen of Pharos and Kanopos. Your bag is one of cities, realms, continents."

When a certain Geminius burst out at a banquet with: "However, there's one thing I'll tell you ... and that is that everything will be all right if only Cleopatra will pack her bags and go back to Egypt," Cleopatra responded, "Well done, Geminius. You have told your secret without having to be tortured."

Quotes About: By Plutarch: "Her beauty was not in itself quite incomparable, we are told...but converse with her had an irresistible charm. Her presence, combined with the persuasiveness of her discourse and the character which was somehow diffused about her behavior towards others, had something stimulating about it. There was a sweetness also in the tones of voice; and her tongue, like an instrument of many strings, she could readily turn to whatever language she pleased, so that in her interviews with barbarians she seldom had need of an interpreter, but mostly made her replies unaided, whether the men were Ethiopians, Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians, Medes, or Persians."

Canidius, a friend of Antony, in defense of Cleopatra: "Also, she is in no way inferior in intelligence to any of the kings who have joined us. She has long been the ruler of a great country and she has had considerable experience of statecraft in your own company."

When the Romans discovered Cleopatra dead and said to Charmian, her companion, "A fine deed, Charmian," Charmian replied: "Yes, it is, most fine indeed, and befitting the descendant of so many kings."

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