My speech today is about one of the most iconic women to ever live – Cleopatra. Her reputation for beauty, manipulation and her ability to ultimately rule in what was then a man’s world, lives on over two and a half thousand years after her dramatic death. In fact, her life was so dramatic and timeless that Shakespeare wrote a famous play about her life titled “Antony and Cleopatra”. Her life has also been portrayed in many books, dramas, and films.
Cleopatra Philopator the sixth was born a princess in Alexandria, Egypt. She was described as smart and cunning growing up in a family that had been ruling Egypt for over 300 years! She had 4 siblings but none was as well known as her little brother: Ptolemy Theos Philopator, who just so happens to also be one of her three husbands. However, this was a very regular occurrence as the Egyptians believed marrying relatives preserved the quality of their bloodline. She also had one older sister and another younger sister. However, of all the children, Cleopatra was by far her father Ptolemy the 12th’s favourite. Nobody actually knows if Cleopatra was her mother’s favorite because, well nobody actually knows who Cleopatra’s mother was! But here’s the strange thing about Cleopatra’s family, although they had been ruling Egypt for centuries, they were actually of Greek descent!
When her father died in 51 BC, he left the throne to Cleopatra (aged 18) and her brother Ptolemy Theos who was only ten at the time. This significant age gap between the two meant that Cleopatra would take over as the main leader of Egypt. But as her brother got older and stronger, he decided he wanted more power resulting in Cleopatra being thrown out of Egypt. This is where she met Julius Caesar and they fell in love almost instantly. Together, they defeated Ptolemy’s army and he was eventually drowned in the Nile river. As you can see she wasn’t exactly the greatest big sister ever.