In case you haven’t noticed, our previous blogs have documented the fascinating history of ancient Greece, which included the Classical and Hellenistic eras. One of the most fascinating figures in ancient Greek history is Alexander the Great, the conqueror who never experienced a single defeat in any of his battles. Additionally, we have discussed the lifetime of his close friend and advisor, Ptolemy I Soter. Upon the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE, Ptolemy assumed rule in Egypt, creating the Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted until the death of Cleopatra. When most people think of Cleopatra, they might envision the 1963 film in which Elizabeth Taylor played the famous ruler. What do we really know about Cleopatra? Here are some interesting facts about Cleopatra:
Cleopatra Was Not Considered A True Egyptian
Although Cleopatra was born in Egypt, her family origins are traced to Macedonia. Although she was not considered ethnically Egyptian, Cleopatra was the first member of the Ptolemy family to learn the Egyptian language.
Her Legendary Beauty?
Although ancient Romans depicted Cleopatra as a dangerously beautiful temptress, that might not have been the most accurate depiction of her appearance. In fact, some believe that she was known more for her intellect than for her appearance because she spoke over a dozen languages. Additionally, she was well educated in astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy. Some ancient depictions display Cleopatra with more masculine features, including a large, hooked nose. However, some people believe that she purposefully commissioned these works of art to make her appear more masculine to display her power.
Conspiring to murder each other in an effort to obtain power seemed to be the norm in the Ptolemaic family. Cleopatra married her brother, Ptolemy XIII, and he later ran her out of Egypt because she tried to take over the throne. Cleopatra teamed up with her famous lover, Julius Caesar, and battled her husband/brother. Ptolemy XIII was drowned in the Nile River after experiencing defeat.
As if marrying Ptolemy III hadn’t caused her enough trouble, Cleopatra married her other brother Ptolemy XIV after defeating her last brother. Many believe that she had her second brother/husband murdered so that she could rule the throne with her son. Clearly, the Ptolemy family included a plethora of mother/father/brother/sister issues that are hard to even imagine today.
Cleopatra And Mark Antony’s Drinking Club
In 41 BCE, the legendary love affair and political alliance between Mark Antony and Cleopatra began. Mark Anthony could help Cleopatra protect her crown and Antony needed access to Egypt’s money and resources. Legend has it that this couple indulged in a season of drunken debauchery during the winter of 41-40 BCE. During this time, they formed a drinking club called the “Inimitable Livers,” in which they regularly engaged in feasts, drinking binges, and elaborate games and contests.
Ancient Egyptian Coins
At Ancient Gold Coins, we feature a variety of unique ancient Egyptian coins spanning the Ptolemaic dynasty. The craft and detail in each of these antique Egyptian coins is truly fascinating to behold. Contact Ancient Gold Coins today to learn more about our selection of old Egyptian coins.