Cleopatra VII: Mark Antony
|one of the most famous love stories of all time|
Well, that was about to change.
In the end, Mark and Octavius won the battle without Cleo's help. It was agreed that Octavius (now called Octavian) would rule the western half of the empire and Mark the eastern part. That was good news to Cleo because it meant that she would be able to just deal with Mark, since Octavian wasn't very happy with Cleo for being the mother of his uncle's only son/living child. Nevertheless, Mark was not pleased that Cleo hadn't sent any warships. Of course, he didn't know that her fleet was destroyed in a storm so he decided to pay her a visit.
Now that Mark had fallen right under Cleo's spell, the Romans accused Cleo as a loose woman. The truth is, Cleo only had two boyfriends in her entire life time, it was just that they both happened to be very powerful Romans and she wasn't married to either one of them. Should he still be what he was when Cleo was a teenager, Cleo wouldn't even give him a second look. Was it true love?
Whatever Cleo's intentions were from the start-- and it really does look as if she had set out to make Mark fall for her-- by the end they both seem to have really loved each other.
|the young Cleopatra|
The Romans liked to think that Mark was a very good Roman who was led astray by the wicked Egyptian Queen. There was indeed one major problem in their relationship-- Mark was married.
His wife name was Fulvia, and Mark didn't like this woman at all. Then news came from Rome that Fulvia had started a civil war against Octavian, Mark's co-ruler. Thus, Mark had to leave Cleo to sort it out. By the time he got back to Rome, Octavian had defeated Fulvia and driven her out of Italy. Not long afterwards, she died in Greece. This meant that Mark was free to marry. Coincidentally though, Octavian's sister became a widow. Octavian soon planned a marriage that would turn Mark into an ally and get rid of the evil Egyptian Queen-- he wanted Mark to marry his sister.
Mark agreed, of course, because he knew that he would never be able to marry Cleo (Romans can only marry Romans). After dating for more than a year, Mark left Cleo when she was expecting his baby.
|Octavian's sister, Octavia|
However hurt or angry Cleo was, she still had a country to run. She read a lot, studied science, and looked after her children. Some books which she wrote during the 3 years were:-
|Cleopatra in a TV series|
1. A book about make up
2. A book on gynaecology
3. A book on designs and measures
4. The design and building of a monument which would be her tomb
She also studied the secrets of the ancient Egyptians.
These are all part of being the Queen of Egypt, and that's what mattered to Cleo most-- far more important than the loss of Mark. From what she heard, Mark was getting fed up of Octavia.
Finally, Mark had enough of the good but boring Octavia. He left his marriage and took off for Antioch and sent a letter to Cleo asking her to join him. She came, bringing with her the twins he had never seen. All wasn't forgiven though, and Mark had to prove to Cleo that he wanted her back. Instead of roses and whatnot, all Cleo wanted was to strengthen Egypt and so, Mark gave her more land to rule. Here's what a Jewish historian said about her:
At this time there were revolutions and troubles in Syria; for Cleopatra constantly poisoned Antony's mind against the local rulers. She persuaded him to remove them from government, and give their lands and titles to herself. And Antony loved her extremely. He thought the world of her.
In this way, she begged Antony to give her the kingdom of Judaea, and to expel the kings of Arabia from their lands. He was so bewitched by this woman that he obeyed whatever she asked of him.
He wasn't giving everything for free though. In exchange Cleo agreed to build a fleet of ships and so, the Egyptian navy would guard the Mediterranean sea for Mark. Aside from this, she would keep his army supplied with food and clothing.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra versus Rome
When Mark lost the battle in Parthia (if he had won, he would've conquered as much as Alexander the Great once did), Cleopatra just had her fourth child, Ptolemy. While Mark had been losing campaigns and men, Octavian was doing rather well. Octavian was a strong and efficient ruler. He had modelled himself as the Greek God Apollo who was the god of reason and order. Mark's coins, on the other hand, showed Dionysus, the wild god of wine.
|Mark's wife, Octavia|
In the end, Octavian stole Mark's will and read every bit of it to the senate. Parts of his will includes him being buried next to Cleopatra in the Egyptian style. Now it was only a matter of time before the battle between Mark and Octavian. Octavian wasn't too worried because he knew that the Romans wouldn't attack Italy/Rome in the name of the Egyptian Queen, albeit on Mark's side.
The Egyptians have always been good sailors, and Cleo planned to attack on sea. Some people had accused Mark for doing so too because he was following everything Cleo said. Mark was also very sad when he found out that good men were leaving him. The battle of Actium had started.
|Gaius Octavius/Octavian/Augustus Caesar|
The following day, when Octavian's soldiers couldn't find Mark, they went to report it to Octavian. Misunderstanding the situation, Mark assumed that the Queen was in league with Octavian to have him killed. When Cleo found out about Mark's rage and accusation, she told the messenger to lie that she was dead. Not doubting this message for a moment, Mark stabbed himself.
Someone must have told Cleo what had happened, because she had ordered someone to bring him to the monument where she was hiding. Octavian's troops were entering the city, so she hoisted Mark up through the windows. When they got him to the monument, Cleopatra was crazy with grief. He was dead by the time Octavian got there, and that very first day of the month is now called August, in the name of Augustus Caesar (Octavian would later change his name to Augustus when he became the first emperor of Rome).
when all the people burst through the doors they found Cleopatra dead upon a golden couch, dressed in her royal robes. One of her women was dead at her feet while the other, hardly able to stand , was trying to put straighten the diadem on Cleo's head. 'Very well done, and fitting for a princess descended from many kings.' Uttering these words, she fell down dead by the side of the couch.
Cleo's children were then walked as prisoners in Octavian's victory march. Octavian also had Julius Caesar's son killed whereas the rest of Cleo's children stayed with Octavia. Egypt became a part of Roman's province and Octavian became the first Roman Emperor, who renamed himself Augustus Caesar. In his life, Augustus had never forgotten Cleo as his biggest threat, and even named the month August as the month he had defeated Cleopatra.
That's the story of the young girl who had came to the throne when Egypt was bankrupt and managed to stay Queen against all odds-- she had made Egypt rich again, and unlike her ancestors, she was popular with the people. After all these years, her name still means power, wealth, glamour, sex appeal, fame, and fascination.