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The early life of Cleopatra VII (r. 51 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) of Ptolemaic Egypt began with her birth in early 69 BC to reigning pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes and her unknown mother (possibly Cleopatra V), and lasted until her accession to the throne by March 51 BC. During her early childhood, Cleopatra was brought up in the palace of Alexandria in Egypt and received a primarily-Hellenistic Greek education from her tutor, Philostratos. By adulthood she was well-versed in many languages, including Egyptian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Arabic, Median, Parthian, Latin, and her native Koine Greek.

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  • The early life of Cleopatra VII (r. 51 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) of Ptolemaic Egypt began with her birth in early 69 BC to reigning pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes and her unknown mother (possibly Cleopatra V), and lasted until her accession to the throne by March 51 BC. During her early childhood, Cleopatra was brought up in the palace of Alexandria in Egypt and received a primarily-Hellenistic Greek education from her tutor, Philostratos. By adulthood she was well-versed in many languages, including Egyptian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Arabic, Median, Parthian, Latin, and her native Koine Greek. Cleopatra's father was a client ruler of the Roman Republic. When the Romans annexed Cyprus and drove Ptolemy XII's brother Ptolemy of Cyprus to commit suicide rather than go into exile, Ptolemy XII became unpopular with the masses in Egypt for remaining silent and offering no reaction to the events. He and a daughter, ostensibly Cleopatra and not Arsinoe IV, were exiled from Egypt during a revolt. This allowed Cleopatra's older sister Berenice IV to claim the throne in 58 BC, ruling jointly with Cleopatra VI Tryphaena. Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra traveled first to Roman Italy. In the Alban Hills (outside Rome), they stayed at the villa of their Roman patron, the triumvir Pompey the Great. After Ptolemy XII orchestrated the assassinations of Berenice IV's diplomats in Rome, seeking to gain Roman favor, he and Cleopatra left the city's hostile environment and settled at Ephesus in Anatolia. Pompey eventually convinced Aulus Gabinius, the Roman governor of Syria, to invade Egypt and restore Ptolemy XII to power. In the spring of 55 BC, Gabinius' invasion force arrived. His officer Mark Antony prevented Ptolemy XII from massacring the inhabitants of Pelousion for their defiance, and rescued the body of Archelaos (Berenice's husband) after he was killed in battle. Although Antony said years later that it was then that he fell in love with Cleopatra, their affair did not begin until 41 BC. Ptolemy XII made Cleopatra his regent and joint ruler in 52 BC, naming her and his son (Ptolemy XIII) joint successors in his will and testament. Ptolemy XII died by 22 March 51 BC, the date of Cleopatra's first known act as queen: restoring the sacred Buchis bull in Hermonthis, Egypt. She may have married her brother, Ptolemy XIII, but it is uncertain if they married before engaging in open hostilities against one another. (en)
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  • Another bust of Cleopatra, with the nose damaged (en)
  • Bust of Cleopatra, in good condition (en)
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  • ' Cleopatra VII bust in the Altes Museum, Antikensammlung Berlin, Roman artwork, mid-1st century BC; ' Bust of Cleopatra VII, dated 40–30 BC, Vatican Museums, showing her with a "melon" hairstyle and Hellenistic royal diadem (en)
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  • Berlín Cleopatra 01.JPG (en)
  • Cleopatra VII, Marble, 40-30 BC, Vatican Museums 002.jpg (en)
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  • The early life of Cleopatra VII (r. 51 – 10 or 12 August 30 BC) of Ptolemaic Egypt began with her birth in early 69 BC to reigning pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes and her unknown mother (possibly Cleopatra V), and lasted until her accession to the throne by March 51 BC. During her early childhood, Cleopatra was brought up in the palace of Alexandria in Egypt and received a primarily-Hellenistic Greek education from her tutor, Philostratos. By adulthood she was well-versed in many languages, including Egyptian, Ethiopian, Hebrew, Arabic, Median, Parthian, Latin, and her native Koine Greek. (en)
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  • Early life of Cleopatra (en)
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