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The reign of Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt began with the death of her father, the ruling pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes, by March 51 BC. It ended with her death on 10 or 12 August 30 BC. Following the reign of Cleopatra, the country of Egypt was transformed into a province of the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic period came to an end. During her reign she ruled Egypt and other territories as an absolute monarch, in the tradition of the Ptolemaic dynasty's founder Ptolemy I Soter (r. 305–283 BC) as well as Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC) of Macedon, who captured Egypt from the Achaemenid Persian Empire.

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  • The reign of Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt began with the death of her father, the ruling pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes, by March 51 BC. It ended with her death on 10 or 12 August 30 BC. Following the reign of Cleopatra, the country of Egypt was transformed into a province of the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic period came to an end. During her reign she ruled Egypt and other territories as an absolute monarch, in the tradition of the Ptolemaic dynasty's founder Ptolemy I Soter (r. 305–283 BC) as well as Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC) of Macedon, who captured Egypt from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIII acceded to the throne as joint rulers, but a fallout between them led to open civil war. Cleopatra fled briefly to Roman Syria in 48 BC but returned later that year with an army to confront Ptolemy XIII. As a Roman client state, Roman statesman Pompey the Great planned Ptolemaic Egypt as a place of refuge after losing the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus in Greece against his rival Julius Caesar in Caesar's Civil War. However, Ptolemy XIII had Pompey killed at Pelousion and sent his severed head to Caesar, while the latter occupied Alexandria in pursuit of Pompey. With his authority as consul of the Roman Republic, Caesar attempted to reconcile Ptolemy XIII with Cleopatra. However, Ptolemy XIII's chief adviser Potheinos viewed Caesar's terms as favoring Cleopatra. So his forces, led first by Achillas and then Ganymedes under Arsinoe IV (Cleopatra's younger sister), besieged both Caesar and Cleopatra at the palace. Reinforcements lifted the siege in early 47 BC and Ptolemy XIII died shortly afterwards in the Battle of the Nile. Arsinoe IV was eventually exiled to Ephesus and Caesar, now an elected dictator, declared Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy XIV as joint rulers of Egypt. However, Caesar maintained a private affair with Cleopatra that produced a son, Caesarion (later Ptolemy XV), before he departed Alexandria for Rome. Cleopatra traveled to Rome as a client queen in 46 and 44 BC, staying at his villa. Following Caesar's assassination in 44 BC Cleopatra attempted to have Caesarion named as his heir. Caesar's grandnephew Octavian (known as Augustus by 27 BC, when he became the first Roman emperor) thwarted this. Cleopatra then had her brother Ptolemy XIV killed and elevated her son Caesarion as co-ruler. In the Liberators' civil war of 43–42 BC, Cleopatra sided with the Roman Second Triumvirate formed by Octavian, Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. She developed a personal relationship with Mark Antony that would eventually produce three children: the twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus. Antony used his authority as triumvir to carry out the execution of Arsinoe IV at Cleopatra's request. He became increasingly reliant on Cleopatra for both funding and military aid during his invasions of the Parthian Empire and the Kingdom of Armenia. Although his invasion of Parthia was unsuccessful, he managed to occupy Armenia. He brought King Artavasdes II back to Alexandria in 34 BC as a prisoner in his mock Roman triumph hosted by Cleopatra. This was followed by the Donations of Alexandria, in which Cleopatra's children with Antony received various territories under Antony's triumviral authority. Cleopatra was named the Queen of Kings and Caesarion the King of Kings. This event, along with Antony's marriage to Cleopatra and divorce of Octavia Minor, sister of Octavian, marked a turning point that led to the Final War of the Roman Republic. After engaging in a war of propaganda, Octavian forced Antony's allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC. He declared war on Cleopatra for unlawfully providing military support to Antony, now a private Roman citizen without public office. Antony and Cleopatra led a joint naval force at the 31 BC Battle of Actium against Octavian's general Agrippa, who won the battle after Cleopatra and Antony fled to the Peloponnese and eventually Egypt. Octavian's forces invaded Egypt in 30 BC. Although Antony and Cleopatra offered military resistance, Octavian defeated their forces, leading to Antony's suicide. When it became clear that Octavian planned to have Cleopatra brought to Rome as a prisoner for his triumphal procession, she also committed suicide, the cause of death reportedly by use of poison. The popular belief is that she was bitten by an asp. (en)
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  • A bronze Roman bust of Julius Caesar and the Berlin Cleopatra , a Roman bust of Cleopatra VII wearing a royal diadem, mid-1st century BC , discovered in a villa along the Via Appia; it is now located in the Altes Museum, Antikensammlung Berlin. (en)
  • Coin of Cleopatra VII struck in Alexandria, Egypt, the obverse showing her portrait bust, 51–31 BC (en)
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  • Right: a limestone stela of the High Priest of Ptah bearing the cartouches of Cleopatra and Caesarion, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London (en)
  • Ancient Roman fresco in the Pompeian Third Style possibly depicting Cleopatra, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii, Italy, mid-1st century AD (en)
  • Left: A Roman head of either Cleopatra or her daughter Cleopatra Selene II, Queen of Mauretania, from the late 1st century BC, located in the Archaeological Museum of Cherchell, AlgeriaRight: A likely depiction of Cleopatra Selene II, wearing an elephant skin cap, raised relief image on a gilded silver dish from the Boscoreale Treasure, dated to the early 1st century AD (en)
  • Right: the Vatican Cleopatra, a marble Roman bust of Cleopatra VII in the Vatican Museums, 40–30 BC (en)
  • Left image: an Egyptian statue of either Arsinoe II or Cleopatra VII as an Egyptian goddess in black basalt, second half of the 1st century BC; Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (en)
  • An ancient Roman sculpture of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt from the Archaeological Museum of Cherchel, Algeria (en)
  • Right: ruins of the Temple of Montu at Hermonthis (en)
  • Left: reliefs of Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarion at the Temple of Dendera (en)
  • A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus , a copy of an original bust from 70–60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy ; The Tusculum portrait, a contemporary Roman bust of Julius Caesar in the Archaeological Museum of Turin, Italy (en)
  • Right: Cleopatra dressed as a pharaoh presenting offerings to the goddess Isis, dated 51 BC; limestone stele dedicated by a Greek man named Onnophris; located in the Louvre, Paris (en)
  • Right image: the Esquiline Venus, a Roman or Hellenistic-Egyptian statue of Venus , which is most likely a depiction of Cleopatra, Capitoline Museums, Rome (en)
  • Left: a marble statue of Cleopatra with her cartouche inscribed on the upper right arm and wearing a diadem with a triple uraeus, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (en)
  • Left: a granite Egyptian bust of Cleopatra from the Royal Ontario Museum, mid-1st century BC (en)
  • Left: one of two statues of the falcon Horus behind a smaller depiction of Caesarion at the Temple of Edfu in Edfu, Upper Egypt (en)
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  • Bust of Cleopatra at the Royal Ontario Museum.jpg (en)
  • Limestone stela of a high priest of god Ptah. It bears the cartouches of Cleopatra and Caesarion. From Egypt. Ptolemaic Period. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London.jpg (en)
  • Dendera Cesarion.jpg (en)
  • Cleopatra Isis Louvre E27113.jpg (en)
  • Cleopatra Selene II bust, Cherchell, Algeria 4.jpg (en)
  • Fresco of a woman in profile, possible portrait bust of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii.jpg (en)
  • An ancient Roman bust of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt2.jpg (en)
  • Venus von Esquilin.jpg (en)
  • Fresco of a woman in profile, possibly Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt, from the House of the Orchard at Pompeii.jpg (en)
  • An ancient Roman bust of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt1.jpg (en)
  • Клеопатра VII.jpg (en)
  • Allégorie de la province romaine d'Afrique - Grand Palais, Paris 2014.jpg (en)
  • Retrato de Julio César .jpg (en)
  • Erment , Vue Générale des Ruines -Temple et Mammisi MET DP71387.jpg (en)
  • Altes Museum 9.JPG (en)
  • Pompey the Great, Augustean copy of a 70-60 BC original, Venice Museo Archeologico Nazionale .jpg (en)
  • Statue of a Ptolemaic Queen, perhaps Cleopatra VII MET 89.2.660 EGDP013678.jpg (en)
  • Cleopatra VII, Marble, 40-30 BC, Vatican Museums 004.jpg (en)
  • Statue of Horus in Edfu Temple.jpg (en)
  • Coin of Kleopatra VII, obverse, draped bust of Kleopatra VII, Alexandria, 51-31 BC, bronze - Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University - DSC01465.jpg (en)
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  • The reign of Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt began with the death of her father, the ruling pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes, by March 51 BC. It ended with her death on 10 or 12 August 30 BC. Following the reign of Cleopatra, the country of Egypt was transformed into a province of the Roman Empire and the Hellenistic period came to an end. During her reign she ruled Egypt and other territories as an absolute monarch, in the tradition of the Ptolemaic dynasty's founder Ptolemy I Soter (r. 305–283 BC) as well as Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC) of Macedon, who captured Egypt from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. (en)
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  • Reign of Cleopatra (en)
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