How Did Cleopatra Come to Power

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About this sample


Words: 740 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Words: 740|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Context of Cleopatra's Life
  3. Cleopatra's Father and the Opportunity for Power
  4. Alliance and Exile
  5. Refuge and Meeting Julius Caesar
  6. Cleopatra's Daring Move
  7. Caesar and Cleopatra's Alliance
  8. The Alliance with Rome
  9. The Battle of Actium and Cleopatra's Demise
  10. Cleopatra's Legacy
  11. Conclusion


The story of Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, is one that has captivated the imagination of people for centuries. Her rise to power was a remarkable feat, considering the patriarchal society she lived in and the challenges she faced from within her own family. Cleopatra's journey to becoming the Queen of Egypt is a tale of political maneuvering, strategic alliances, and sheer determination.

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The Context of Cleopatra's Life

To understand how Cleopatra came to power, we must first look at the context in which she lived. Cleopatra was born in 69 BCE into the Ptolemaic dynasty, a Greek-speaking dynasty that ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. The Ptolemies had a complex and often tumultuous relationship with the Egyptian people, who saw them as foreign rulers. Cleopatra's family had a long history of infighting and power struggles, which would ultimately shape her own path to the throne.

Cleopatra's Father and the Opportunity for Power

Cleopatra's father, Ptolemy XII, was a weak and ineffective ruler who faced numerous challenges during his reign. He was forced into exile multiple times and relied heavily on Rome for support. It was during one of these exiles that Cleopatra's opportunity to seize power presented itself. In 58 BCE, Ptolemy XII died, leaving the throne to his eldest daughter, Berenice IV. However, Cleopatra, who was only 18 years old at the time, was determined to assert her claim.

Alliance and Exile

Cleopatra's first move was to form an alliance with her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII, who was just 10 years old at the time. By marrying him, Cleopatra secured a powerful ally and positioned herself as co-ruler. However, this alliance was short-lived, as Ptolemy XIII's advisors, led by the eunuch Pothinus, saw Cleopatra as a threat to their power. They successfully convinced Ptolemy XIII to exile Cleopatra from Alexandria.

Refuge and Meeting Julius Caesar

Undeterred, Cleopatra sought refuge in the city of Thebes, where she began to assemble an army in order to challenge her brother's rule. It was during this time that she met Julius Caesar, the Roman general who would play a pivotal role in her ascent to power. Cleopatra saw an opportunity to align herself with Rome, a powerful empire that could provide her with the military support she needed.

Cleopatra's Daring Move

In 48 BCE, Cleopatra famously smuggled herself into Caesar's palace in Alexandria, wrapped in a carpet. This daring move not only caught Caesar's attention but also showcased Cleopatra's resourcefulness and determination. Caesar, impressed by her audacity, saw the potential in aligning himself with Cleopatra to secure his own interests in Egypt.

Caesar and Cleopatra's Alliance

Caesar and Cleopatra formed a romantic and political alliance, with Cleopatra giving birth to their son, Caesarion, in 47 BCE. This union solidified Cleopatra's claim to the throne and ensured Roman support for her rule. With Caesar's backing, Cleopatra successfully ousted her brother from power and became the sole ruler of Egypt in 47 BCE.

The Alliance with Rome

However, Cleopatra's alliance with Rome would ultimately prove to be both a blessing and a curse. After Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE, Cleopatra found herself embroiled in a power struggle between Caesar's heir, Octavian, and his former ally Mark Antony. Cleopatra sided with Antony, forming a romantic and political alliance that would shape the final years of her reign.

The Battle of Actium and Cleopatra's Demise

The Battle of Actium in 31 BCE marked the beginning of the end for Cleopatra's rule. Despite Cleopatra's efforts to support Antony's cause, they were ultimately defeated by Octavian's forces. Faced with the prospect of capture and humiliation, Cleopatra chose to end her own life, famously taking her own life by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp.

Cleopatra's Legacy

Cleopatra's rise to power was a testament to her intelligence, charisma, and political acumen. In a male-dominated world, she navigated treacherous waters to assert her claim and secure her position as Queen of Egypt. Her alliances with powerful men, such as Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, showcased her ability to leverage her resources to achieve her goals.

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In conclusion, Cleopatra's journey to power was a remarkable one, filled with political intrigue, strategic alliances, and personal sacrifice. Despite the challenges she faced as a woman in a patriarchal society, Cleopatra's determination and resourcefulness allowed her to overcome the odds and become one of the most iconic figures in history. Her story serves as a reminder of the power of ambition and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to dream big.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

How Did Cleopatra Come To Power. (2024, March 19). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from
“How Did Cleopatra Come To Power.” GradesFixer, 19 Mar. 2024,
How Did Cleopatra Come To Power. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 May 2024].
How Did Cleopatra Come To Power [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 19 [cited 2024 May 20]. Available from:
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