In ancient Egypt, there was more than one Cleopatra: in fact there were seven of them
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Few have not heard of Cleopatra, one of the most famous women in history. She is remembered not only as the mistress of Julius Caesar, but also the wife of Mark Antony, and her suicide marked the annexation of Egypt to the Roman Empire.
During the reign of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the last independent Egyptian dynasty, Cleopatra was a popular name among women of royal blood. All members of the dynasty were descendants of Ptolemy I Soter, one of the Macedonian commanders of Alexander the Great, who annexed Egypt to the Macedonian Empire in 332 BC. e., writes Ancient Origins.
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Like many royal families throughout history, they were so obsessed with the idea of purity that they tended to marry to keep their blood pure. A quick look at their family tree reveals that the Ptolemaic pharaohs frequently married their sisters. They also liked the names Ptolemy, which means “warlike”, and Cleopatra, which means “father's glory”.
In fact, there were seven Cleopatras. The one that almost everyone knows about was Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. A true expert in using propaganda to her advantage, Cleopatra VII followed trends and, to the horror of the Romans, when she had a son with Julius Caesar, she named him Ptolemy Caesar, nicknamed Caesarion or “little Caesar”.
Cleopatra I, known as Syria, was the daughter of Antiochus III, king of the Seleucid Empire. Having married Ptolemy V in 193 BC. e., after his death in 180 BC. e. she became the first queen to rule without a husband as co-ruler with her son, innovatively named (wait) Ptolemy VI. Her other two children were named Cleopatra II and Ptolemy VIII.
Despite the fact that many had the same name, the clan of Cleopatra and the Ptolemies was quite cruel, and their dynasty was distinguished by a continuous inter-family struggle for power. Ptolemy, and then sent the dismembered parts of his body to Cleopatra II as a birthday present. He also married Cleopatra III (his niece and daughter of his wife) in order to prevent anyone else from the throne.
The situation ended in a war in which Cleopatra II prevailed, forcing Ptolemy VIII to flee to Cyprus, and she then became the first woman and the only Ptolemaic queen to take the throne. When Ptolemy VIII returned in 126 B.C. BC, he carried out the so-called “bloody purge” of all those who supported his older sister in his absence.
Don't worry if you feel a little confused. Cleopatra VII's reign continued the barbaric trend, and she is said to have participated in the murder of three of her brothers and sisters: her brother-husband Ptolemy XIII, her younger brother Ptolemy XIV and her sister Arsina IV.