in full (born —died , ), Egyptian queen, famous in and drama as the lover of and later the wife of . She became queen on the death of her father, , in 51 and ruled successively with her two brothers (51–47) and (47–44) and her son (44–30). After the armies of Octavian (the future emperor ) defeated their combined forces, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, and Egypt fell under Roman domination. actively influenced Roman politics at a crucial period, and she came to represent, as did no other woman of antiquity, the prototype of the romantic femme fatale.
Life And ReignCleopatra realized that she needed Roman support, or, more specifically, Caesar’s support, if she was to regain her throne. Each was determined to use the other. Caesar sought money for repayment of the debts incurred by Cleopatra’s father, Auletes, as he struggled to retain his throne. Cleopatra was determined to keep her throne and, if possible, to restore the glories of the first Ptolemies and recover as much as possible of their dominions, which had included southern Syria and Palestine. became lovers and spent the winter besieged in Alexandria. Roman reinforcements arrived the following spring, and Ptolemy XIII fled and drowned in the . Cleopatra, now married to her brother Ptolemy XIV, was restored to her throne. In June 47 she gave birth to (known to the people of Alexandria as Caesarion, or “little Caesar”). Whether Caesar was the father of Caesarion, as his name implies, cannot now be known.
It took Caesar two years to extinguish the last flames of Pompeian opposition. As soon as he returned to Rome, in 46 , he celebrated a four-day triumph—the ceremonial in honour of a general after his victory over a foreign enemy—in which , Cleopatra’s younger and hostile sister, was paraded. Cleopatra paid at least one visit to Rome, accompanied by her husband-brother and son. She was accommodated in Caesar’s private villa beyond the and may have been present to witness the dedication of a golden statue of herself in the temple of Venus Genetrix, the ancestress of the Julian family to which Caesar belonged. Cleopatra was in Rome when Caesar was murdered in 44 .
Soon after her return to Alexandria, in 44 , Cleopatra’s coruler, Ptolemy XIV, died. Cleopatra now ruled with her infant son, Ptolemy XV Caesar. When, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 , Caesar’s assassins were routed, became the heir apparent of Caesar’s authority—or so it seemed, for Caesar’s great-nephew and personal heir, , was but a sickly boy. Antony, now controller of Rome’s eastern territories, sent for Cleopatra so that she might explain her role in the aftermath of Caesar’s assassination. She set out for Tarsus in loaded with gifts, having delayed her departure to heighten Antony’s expectation. She entered the city by sailing up the Cydnus River in a barge while dressed in the robes of the new Isis. Antony, who equated himself with the god , was captivated. Forgetting his wife, , who in Italy was doing her best to maintain her husband’s interests against the growing menace of young Octavian, Antony returned to Alexandria, where he treated Cleopatra not as a “protected” sovereign but as an independent