Cleopatra (69-39 B.C.) was not only a real, live person, she was an extrradordinary person who beguiled Julius Caesar, and after his death taking as her lover the successor to Caesar, Mark Antony. The famous story begins in mighty Alexandria, at that time the grandest city in the knownn world, surpassing Athens and Rome at that time. At this time the Roman Empire did not control Egypt, who was an equal power in the areas around Egypt, to the east. But Roman rulers were allowed full free access, and it was on his resting after another victorious foe, that Julius Caesar first met Cleopatra.
Rug merchants entered the Palace of the Pharaos at Alexandria that rug merchants came in with some rugs for Caesar. As the merchants unrolled one carpet, out stepped a beautiful, yjoung charming Cleopara. Caesar was astounded and as the hours progressed he became under her spell with her broad knowledge of many topics. Cleopatra was eloquent, lively, full of energy and youth. The battle weary Caesar, old enough to be Cleopatra's father, became lovers. They feasted on Cleopatra's golden barge and Caesar was embarassed that his biggest war vessel in the harbour was no match.
In fact the splendid supply caused Caesar to be humbled as his feasts were far less splendid than those of Cleopatra, who astonished Caesar with so many foods he had never seen before; fruits, nuts and a vast array of foods. This became not only a relationship of convenience between the leader of the three who ruled Rome after the death of Caesar, but one of true mutual admiration and love. Cleopatra admired the dashing youthful energy and fable name and powerful position. She thought of herself as the wife of Caesar, evern though he had a wife in Rome. Caesar took Cleopatra back to Rome.
Caesar put her up in his villa. But the mood of Rome was becoming angry with Caesar's imperious ways, and upon his murder by other senators Cleopatra fled Rome, knowing her life would be in danger. Life assumed a peaceful periiod, until the arrival of Mark Antony. Rome had send their leader of the ruling three to nake demands on Egypt. But again Cleopatra also worked her charms on Mark Antony, and they were soon lovers. She admired the youthful energy, the fearless wasys of him, and his youth. She again came to think of Mark Antony as her husband.
But after several losses in battle, each time he returned to Alexandria he seemed more a beaten man, and quarrels began between them. This may have been part of what went so badly wrong at the battle of Actium, where after six hours of Egyptian ships fighting against Roman ships, Cleopatra, at the height of the battle, backed her ship away from the battle and began to sail away. Mark Antony, furious had his ship follow her, and the Roman general Octavian had an easy victory over a leaderless navy.
It evolved that Octavian, having become the first of the ruling three, became Augustus Caersar and found the Roman Empire.
But before this happened the return of Cleopatra to Alexandria she had her tomb hastily built, awaiting her fate. When Mark Antony arrived, knowing all was lost, their previous bad tempers between each other was forgotten, and Mark Antony had to be hoisted over a high wall because Cleopatra's aides had bolted the doors so firmly they could not unlock them. Mark Antony died in Cleopatra's arms. She is said to have then inflicted a variety of poisons on her slaves to see which would be least unpleasant. She enjoyed a luxury bath, and when completed, haid out and had a slave bring in a small basket of figs.
She pulled the small poisonous snake the asp and gently held if to her breast and gently died. One of the greatest names in history, Cleopatra was one who had arisen to great heights of honor and power, and died a legendarily fabled way. In her fleeing from the battle at its height, she guaranteed her doom, having betrayed her ally Mark Antony against her mortal enemy Rome.
Derek Dashwood finds history fascinating and how enemies at one time are friends another time