There are not many powerful women that occupy stories of antiquity. For those that do, their tales are brief and sorrowful at best. One of the few exceptions to this rule is Cleopatra. Not only was she engaged in a long time relationship with Mark Anthony, but she also bore a son to Julius Caesar. She didn’t need to seduce these men to get into power. She was powerful all on her own.
1. Cleopatra Was Actually the Seventh
There are actually quite a few Cleopatra’s that have been important figures throughout history. The very first Cleopatra was the sister of Alexander the Great. The Cleopatra that we generally discuss is Cleopatra VII and she was a ruler in Egypt. It wasn’t her best interest to form relationships with the ruling powers in the region so that her empire would be protected. Maybe love had something to do with her relationships, but so did politics.
2. Murder Was Necessary
The ancient world was full of brutality. In order to ascend to power, murder was often necessary. It wasn’t just friends or close acquaintances that were required to be removed for this power to be achieved either. Direct family members were often murdered so that a power source to be secured. Cleopatra was no different. To make sure that she could stay in power, Cleopatra definitely murdered two of her siblings. She was also at war with a third sibling when he was killed in battle.
3. Rome Hated Her
The Roman empire was growing at the time of Cleopatra and they had their vision set on conquering the entire world. There ruler, Julius Caesar, had just consolidated his power so that he was in full control of the entire Empire. Needless to say, Cleopatra wasn’t one of the general public’s favorite people at the time. She was actually in Rome at the time of teaser’s assassination. It is very possible that the Roman Senate acted to kill off Julius Caesar when they did because of her presence within the city.
4. The Enemy of My Enemy
If there was one person that Cleopatra hated about any other, it was King Herod of Judea. The same king who was willing to kill every male newborn in order to flush out the newly born Jesus was just as interested in taking over Cleopatra’s kingdom. The two of them were in a constant power struggle with each other and the only thing that kept them from destroying each other was a mutual relationship with Rome.
5. That Nasty Snake
According to tradition, Cleopatra was killed from the bite of an asp. Although throwing poisonous snakes at someone who needed to be dispatched wasn’t uncommon because it would eliminate the threat of being accused of poisoning, there’s a good chance that Cleopatra wasn’t actually bitten by a snake. A more likely event is that someone close to Cleopatra making an attempt at consolidating power for themselves. She got in the way. Poison in a drink or through a needle would be just as effective as the bite of a snake.