The famous ruler held on to her power by charming men. But when she chose the wrong man, her decision cost her life


Artwork by Stephen Case


Quick Facts

Full name: Cleopatra Thea Philopator, meaning a, goddess who loves her father

Profession: Queen of Egypt

Famous for: ruling Egypt

Born: January, 69BC, Alexandria, Egypt

Died: August 30, 30BC, Alexandria, Egypt

Married: her brother Ptolemy XIII, her brother Ptolemy XIV, and Mark Antony


Clever, scheming, tragic queen

Choose the correct alternative

When she was 18 years old, Cleopatra's father died. Cleopatra and her brother-husband Ptolemy XIII became single/joint rulers of Egypt.

Cleopatra and Ptolemy hated each other so much they started a civilised/civil war.When Cleopatra lost, she decided to ask Roman general Julius Caesar for help.

Caesar defeated Ptolemy XIII and put Cleopatra back on the throne. Cleopatra rewarded the Roman with expensive gifts and gave birth to their son Caesarion.

Cleopatra's relationship with Caesar made her powerful again. But when Caesar was abducted/assassinated, Cleopatra needed a new Roman protector.

After Caesar's death, three men ruled the Roman Empire: Mark Antony, Octavian and Lepidus. Cleopatra decided to approach Antony.

Antony was handsome, charismatic and brave, but not clever. First, he divorced his wife Octavia who was Octavian's sister. Then he married Cleopatra and told everyone they would rule a new empire. Octavian said/declared war.

When Antony lost, he killed himself. Cleopatra tried to seduce/reduce Octavian but failed. She died after letting herself be bitten by an asp, a sort of snake.

Octavian buried Cleopatra and Antony together. He killed Caesarion but adopted/adapted Cleopatra's and Antony's three children. He took them back to Rome with him, and ruled the Roman Empire for the rest of his life.

Queen in a carpet

Choose the right option

When Cleopatra lost the civil war against Ptolemy, she hid in the countryside. Julius Caesar was also there, chasing his enemy, the Roman general Pompey.

King Ptolemy caught Pompey and killed him. The Egyptian king thought this would make Caesar.

But Caesar didn't want Pompey dead. He was with Ptolemy.

Cleopatra quickly took of Caesar's mood. Caesar was at the royal palace with Ptolemy. Cleopatra knew her brother would kill her if he saw her.So the young queen hid inside a Persian carpet and asked her servants to carry it to Caesar's room.

When the servants unrolled the carpet, Cleopatra tumbled out and landed at Caesar's feet. The general was so that he made Cleopatra queen again.

Divine pharaohs

Find words that mean the opposite: allowed, divorced, stupidity, distant

In Ancient Egypt, kings and queens were called pharaohs. Although they were human, the pharaohs were treated like gods.

For example, it was forbidden for ordinary people to touch the pharaohs. Also, pharaohs married their brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and other close relatives - something ordinary Egyptians didn't usually do.

Cleopatra was a pharaoh and she was married to her brothers. But she wasn't really Egyptian. Cleopatra's family were Greek. Although Cleopatra's family had ruled Egypt for 300 years, she was the first to learn Egyptian.

She was also the first of her family to worship the Egyptian gods. Her favourite goddess was Isis, the Egyptian goddess of wisdom.

True or false?

To test your memory, try answering without referring to the text. If you can't remember the details, read the piece again.

1 Cleopatra became queen of Egypt when she 18 years old.
2 Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy were very good friends.
3 Cleopatra and Julius Caesar had a son called Caesarion.
4 Cleopatra and Antony had no children together.
5 All of Cleopatra's children died before she did.



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