10: Queen Cleopatra
Queen Cleopatra is one of the world’s most influential female ruler whose life story motivated historians, common people and storytellers, including William Shakespeare who wrote the play, Antony and Cleopatra.

Cleopatra was born to a royal family around 69 B.C to King Ptolemy XII. The throne was left to her and her brother after her father died when she was 18-years-old. Their relationship became distorted and strained after they assumed power, resulting in Cleopatra amassing an army to overthrow her brother. She would come to meet Julius Caesar of Rome when Caesar followed his rival Pompey into Egypt when he was seeking refuge from Rome’s civil war. Caesar helped Cleopatra defeat her brother in the Battle of the Nile, and it is believed that together they had a son named Caesarion.

Following Caesar’s assassination, Cleopatra met Marc Antony {Marcus Antonius} who was also a Roman politician and general who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic from an oligarchy into the autocratic Roman Empire, with whom she had 3 children. After a tumultuous love affair, Antony died after committing suicide, being falsely led to believe that Cleopatra had died in the battle at Actium. She, in fact, died much later after being bitten by an Egyptian cobra in 30 B.C. The two were buried together, as they had wished, and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire.

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