Cleopatra | Top 5 Facts


Jan van der Crabben
by History Answers
published on 10 March 2016

Scandalous lover, shrewd negotiator and owner of a lovely nose…, here are five facts on the Queen of the Nile, Cleopatra VII

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She wasn’t just a pretty face

Cleopatra’s beauty has been admired and debated for centuries after her death but this was not her only defining feature. She was fluent in her native Greek, Egyptian and as many as 7 other languages, which often meant she could converse with diplomats without a translator. She also possessed knowledge of mathematics, physics and philosophy. She’s got me there, I’m not even a pretty face…

She wasn’t Egyptian

Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Greats generals, set up his dynasty in Egypt. This means that the royal family Cleopatra claimed lineage from was of Greek and Macedonian heritage, not Egyptian. Although she was not ethnically Egyptian Cleopatra was the first of her line to learn the native tongue and followed many of the countries ancient customs.

The month of August is a celebration of her defeat

After Octavian defeated Anthony and Cleopatra in Egypt he was in a position to be the sole ruler of the Roman Republic, renamed himself Augustus and became the first emperor of Rome. In honour of this he renamed the 8th month of the year August in memory of his victories both in Egypt and abroad. The only other man to have a month named after him in this fashion was Juluis Caesar. The month is, unsurprisingly, July.

She ordered her sister to be murdered

After Caesars murder Cleopatra fled back to Alexandira and needed to safeguard herself and her son. To do this Cleopatra ordered that her sister, Arsinoe be put to death. Mark Anthony, who was now in a relationship with Cleopatra, ordered the execution in 41 BCE on the steps of the temple of Artemis and caused great scandal throughout the Roman world.

5. She knew how to make an entrance

When Julius Caesar landed in Egypt he was said to have been enraged by the murder of his rival Pompey by Cleopatra’s brother, Ptolemy XIII. He seized the Palace at Alexandria and set about securing the country. Sensing that Caesar would be her best way to return to power Cleopatra smuggled herself through hostile territory wrapped in a rug. When this was presented to Caesar as a gift she unrolled and introduced herself.

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APA Style

Answers, H. (2016, March 10). Cleopatra | Top 5 Facts. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

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Answers, History. "Cleopatra | Top 5 Facts." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified March 10, 2016.

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Answers, History. "Cleopatra | Top 5 Facts." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 10 Mar 2016. Web. 26 May 2024.