When people think of Cleopatra, the first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful and powerful Queen of Egypt. She is often associated with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony because of her romantic relationships with them however, there is much more to her than meets the eye. Cleopatra was an intelligent and multilingual woman who ended up becoming one of Egypt’s most successful rulers, even though it was during a time controlled by men. Cleopatra used her beauty, intelligence, sexuality, persuasiveness, and charm to gain her power and break the stereotype women had at the time.
I decided to choose The Queen of the Nile as my research topic because when I was younger, I used to love watching the films about Cleopatra. To this day, I still find everything about her interesting. She was put into power at a very young age and she had to find a way to fight for Egypt, which, at the time, Rome was trying to take over. To me, she symbolizes strength because she did what she needed to do to stay in power and did not go down without a fight. Even though she is well known for using her beauty and sexuality to build relationships with Caesar and Mark Antony to keep her throne, it is to be believed that she was not as beautiful as portrayed. In fact, “early coin portraits of Cleopatra show a countenance alive rather than beautiful, with a sensitive mouth, firm chin, liquid eyes, broad forehead, and prominent nose.”(1) So, in fact, she was no classic beauty at all. Could it apparently have been her intellect and charm that were actually the major factors that would persuade these men? It is hypothesized that Cleopatra used her sexuality to gain power but what more did she have to do to gain and keep her throne?
I am excited to learn more about what life was really like for the famous Queen and those she ruled over. I hope to find out why she was one of Egypt’s most successful Pharaoh’s and what was accomplished or destroyed during her reign. I’ll do more research on some of the possible myths that are following her, one in particular being how she died. Overall, I want to learn if there is more to Cleopatra than just her “beauty and sexuality” that everyone associates her with. What all did she have to do to gain her power? And more importantly, what all did she have to do to keep her power?
The primary research method for this study is going to be the internet and the school library. Luckily, even to this day, there is a lot of information on Cleopatra so I plan on watching as many documentaries, movies, and videos that I can find. I also, plan on reading a variety of articles and books, hoping to review different perspectives of the Queen. However, it is hard to tell what about her is actually valid and certain because there are no primary sources. Cleopatra lived from “69 B.C 30 B.C” (2) and unfortunately, there are no direct sources from that time. “Much of what is known about her life comes from the work of Greco-Roman scholars, Plutarch and Dio Cassius.” (3)Therefore, I plan to review their writings because they lived about 200 years after her death and both gave information about her. Nonetheless, they were Roman’s so it might be hard to tell how accurate what they wrote actually is.
In conclusion, Cleopatra captivates me because she held Egypt together when it was falling apart, proving she can be a powerful woman leader during a time dominated by men. This paper will not only dive deeper the history but also the myths of one of the most powerful Egyptian Pharaohs.