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Statue of Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra VII Material: Black basalt


This statue is very rare. It is one of seven in the world identified as the most famous queen of Egypt: Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra VII was born in Macedonian family called the Ptolemies, who were famous for their vicious infighting. Matricide, patricide and fratricide were common in many generations, including Cleopatra VII's. She had several relatives killed so she might survive.


For generations the Romans coveted Egypt, a bountiful source of grain they could use to feed their army. They used the fighting in Cleopatra's family as an excuse to send an envoy to Egypt: Julius Caesar. The Romans expected Caesar to choose someone who would be friendly towards the Roman Empire to be Egypt's new pharaoh. However, Julius Caesar was charmed by Cleopatra's wit and intelligence and brought her back to Rome as his lover. He supported Cleopatra as she struggled against her sister Arsinoe for the throne of Egypt.


Unfortunately Caesar was murdered on the Senate steps, and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt. The next envoy to Egypt was Mark Anthony, a friend of Caesar's. Anthony also fell in love with Cleopatra, and together they fought against Rome until they were defeated and Cleopatra was captured. She committed suicide, probably so she could not be dragged through the Roman streets in shame. Many of Cleopatra's statues were destroyed by the Romans after she died.


After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the Hellenistic period that had lasted since the reign of Alexander (336–323 BC). Her native language was Koine Greek, and she was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.


Cleopatra VII was:

- The Daughter of Ptolemy XII Auletes (117- 51 BCE) , probably by Cleopatra V Tryphaena (ca 70-69 BCE)


-Succeeded her father Ptolemy XII with her brother Ptolemy XIII in 51 BCE


- Was expelled from Egypt in mid 48 BCE.


- Restored to power in August 48 BCE by Julius Caesar. With her brother Ptolemy XIV as co-ruler.


- Associated as senior ruler with her son Ptolemy XV probably 4 th September 44 BCE


- Died in 30 BCE


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