Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cleopatra, the name of several Ptolemaean princesses of Egypt, the most famous of them being the daughter of Ptolemy Auletes, born in 69 B.C. Her father dying when she was seventeen left the kingdom to her conjointly with her brother Ptolemy, whose wife she was to become according to the custom of the country. She was, however, excluded from her share, until Julius Ceesar, fascinated by her beauty, took up her quarrel, defeated and slew Ptolemy, and replaced her on the throne. She followed her lover to Rome and lived with him there, to the no little scandal of the citizens, until his assassination. On her return to Egypt she resolved to ensnare Antony, with whom she had already been acquainted in his earlier days. With that intention she went in full regal pomp to meet him in Cilicia, and so completely beguiled the ambitious Roman that he abandoned his great career to sink himself in sensual ease by the banks of the Nile. For a brief period he shook off the fatal spell, married Octavia, einel entered again into politics. But his infatuation was soon renewed, and Augustus made the wrong done to his sister a pretext for war. In the battle of Actium (31 B.C.) the fleet of Antony and Cleopatra was hopelessly defeated, and the pair fled to Alexandria. When it became evident that Antony's cause could never be revived, Cleopatra is said to have undertaken to compass his death. She proposed that they should both simultaneously commit suicide. Antony destroyed himself in the belief that she had already done so. Possibly she hoped to beguile Augustus as she had beguiled his predecessors, but in this she was disappointed. He resisted her blandishments and purposed to carry her a prisoner to Rome. Rather than suffer such a disgrace she exposed her bosom to the bite of an asp, and perished in the 39th year of her age. She was a woman of considerable intellectual ability. With her the dynasty of the Ptolemies ended. It is believed that she had three children by Antony, and perhaps one by Caesar.