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Cleopatra: Egypt's Last Pharaoh


Part 3: In the End

She sat on her throne for another two years before another powerful Roman general came calling. This time, it was Marc Antony, a close friend of Caesar. Again, a power struggle was gripping Rome. And again, the powerful Roman general was no match for the charms of the Egyptian queen. Marc Antony fell in love with Cleopatra every bit as much as Caesar had. He was smitten so much that he stayed in Alexandria for several months and made it his home when he wasn't fighting battles.

The struggle for supremacy of Rome raged on, while at the same time Roman soldiers were fighting enemies from other civilizations. Through it all, Antony remained madly in love with Cleopatra—despite the fact that he, like Caesar before him, also had a wife back in Rome.

Antony spent so much time away from Rome that he very well could have lost any opportunity to defend himself (although his behavior was shocking to most Romans at the time, as it would be to many people today). His main rival, Octavian, eventually declared war on Antony. The two generals were popular with their soldiers, and they met in a great sea battle off the coast of Actium, Greece, in 31 B.C. Cleopatra was there as well, with ships of her own.

Antony's ships were no match for Octavian's, and the defeat was great. Antony, however, slipped away and returned to Egypt.

The following year, Octavian and his army reached Alexandria. Antony, who remarkably still had an army to command by this time, marched out to meet his bitter rival. Things went very badly for him, however, as first his navy and then his cavalry deserted him. Only the infantry was left, and they were no match for the better-trained soldiers of Octavian.

Seeing this, Cleopatra ran away and locked herself in a sacred building, ordering her servants to tell Antony that she was dead. Hearing this, Antony stabbed himself. Not long after, Cleopatra killed herself as well.

Octavian seized control of Egypt, making it a Roman province. Thus, Cleopatra was the last pharaoh.

First page > The Early Years > Page 1, 2, 3

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