Cleopatra VII Philopator was the Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51-30 BC and the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. She was born in early 69 BC and had siblings including Berenice IV, Arsinoe IV, Ptolemy XIII, and Ptolemy XIV. Notably, her mother, Cleopatra Tryphaena, vanished from official records shortly after Cleopatra’s birth. Cleopatra’s reign marked the end of the Hellenistic period and the beginning of Roman domination in Egypt. 

Egypt 50 Piastres Coin, 2007-2022 | Source: Banknote World

The obverse of the Egypt 50 Piastres Coin issued between 2007 and 2022 depicts Queen Cleopatra in profile. The 6.5-gram brass-plated steel coin also depicts the denomination and the country’s official name in Arabic.  

Cleopatra & Ceaser 1866 – Painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme | Source: Wikipedia

In her youth, Cleopatra was tutored by Philostratos, teaching her Greek oration and philosophy. Although her mother tongue was Koine Greek, she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to have spoken the Egyptian language. 

Egypt 10 Pounds Banknote, 2022 ND | Source: Banknote World

The Egypt 10 Pounds Banknote from 2022 shows the Library of Alexandria along with a pyramid and Queen Hatshepsut. Cleopatra presumably pursued her studies at the Museum, which included the renowned Library of Alexandria. The obverse of the polymer note is the Al-Fatah al-Aleem Mosque which is known to be the largest mosque in Egypt.  

Portrait of Ptolemy XIII Cleopatra’s Brother | Source: Wikipedia

Following their father’s death, Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII jointly took over the throne in 51 BC, but a feud between the siblings sparked a civil war. During the civil war, Cleopatra was driven out of Egypt. Cleopatra sought assistance from Julius Caesar who was in Alexandria at the time. With Caesar’s help, she reclaimed power and ruled Egypt with her brother Ptolemy XIV. Cleopatra joined Caesar in Rome and bore his son, but returned to Egypt after his assassination. She allied with Mark Antony and had children, but faced opposition from Caesar Augustus who was also known as Octavian. He was Julius Caesar’s great-nephew and heir. Along with Mark Anthony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat Julius Caesar’s assassins.  

Rome: World’s Greatest Empire Mini, w/ COA | Source: Banknote World

The Rome: World’s Greatest Empire Mini contains a bronze coin that circulated in Imperial Rome where Octavian was its first emperor. The coin was struck by hand and had imperfect surfaces. Coins of this kind featured portraits, iconographies, and legends. 

Painting of Battle of Actium | Source: Wikipedia

Defeated at the Battle of Actium, Cleopatra and Mark Antony fled to Egypt. Cleopatra died by suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp. Her death marked the end of the Hellenistic era as Egypt became a Roman province. 

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