Know Your Goddess: Cleopatra
Cleopatra is an iconic figure of history, who’s name conjures images of romantic suicide, seduction for political gain, and splendor beyond imagination. She had numerous affairs with Roman officials before her death, and served as the last active pharaoh of the storied Egyptian kingdom which was eventually overthrown by Rome.
But Cleopatra was more than just a pretty girl swept up in the world of international politics and lovers. She was extremely well educated, said to have extraordinary wit and tact that was said to make men fall to their knees. At age 14 Cleopatra joined her father as a joint regent, and at 18 was named co-ruler with her little brother (whom she allegedly had killed a few years later - ruling a country with your little brother can be such a drag). Cleopatra was not ethnically Egyptian, and was the first of the Greek rulers of Egypt to learn the native tongue so she could better communicate and relate to the people she was ruling. Cleopatra wielded her power wisely, utilizing her infamous relationships with both Caesar and Marc Anthony to benefit her country. She is known for her ambition, intellect, and delightfully dramatic entrances.
Cleopatra represents what it means to be a powerful woman in a world run by men. She was portrayed incredibly unfavorably by Roman historians, who wrote her off as a figurehead and condemned her as a reckless woman with wild desires. She was said to be “manipulative,” but she was a politician, and a really successful one at that! She got people to do what she wanted, worked twice as hard as any man to prove herself a successful ruler.