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The Tragically Romantic Love Story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony

Love Story of Cleopatra and Mark Antony
One of the most fascinating women in history, Cleopatra, was an Egyptian-born queen with Greek roots. She married Mark Antony after Julius Caesar's assassination in 44 BC. The love between Antony and Cleopatra has been depicted over the years by various interpretations, being an affair that will be remembered for ages to come.
Sourabh Gupta
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety; other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies;...
- William Shakespeare for Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra
A Play of Sorts
Antony and Cleopatra is a literary work of tragedy, romance, and comedy by William Shakespeare. It is about the relationship of Antony and Cleopatra from the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. She was born in 69 BC and was the only Ptolemaic ruler who learned Egyptian. She was not only charming but seductive when it came to getting what she wanted. She had relationships with two of the greatest Roman generals - Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, and was destined to be the last leader of the dynasty of Ptolemy I. She was not an Egyptian, but of Macedonian descent.
Cleopatra VII was not only known for her beauty, but for her intellect as well. This is something that truly makes her stand out as one of the most powerful, levelheaded, and shrewd rulers of her time. Consider this - she was fluent in almost a dozen languages and was a skilled mathematician. She was also a brilliant leader who captivated men and left no stone unturned while her rule lasted.
How It Began
She was Julius Caesar's mistress where they had a son together called Caesarion. After Caesar's assassination, Mark Antony had called for her presence to the city of Tarsus, to discuss Rome's alliance with Egypt (later swearing to protect both her crown and land). When Cleopatra did arrive (rather grandly), he was taken by her beauty and appeal, marrying her in spite of already being married to Fulvia.
When Fulvia discovered her husband's union with Cleopatra, she went forward to take down Octavian, doing so apparently on Antony's behalf. In an attempt to bind ties with him, Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia Minor, but later left her after doubting Octavian's loyalty, returning in the end to Cleopatra. Cleopatra doesn't react to Antony's infidel ways (in spite of discovering this two weeks before giving birth to twins), staying by his side as he fights against Octavian. While Octavian declared war, Antony affirms his love and complete sense of loyalty to Cleopatra amidst the chaos.
Octavian's Thirst for War
A common trait of Cleopatra and Mark Antony was that they were both loyal to Caesar. They'd met earlier during his reign. There is no doubt that until Caesar's death they were just good friends. Their marriage solidified relations between Rome and Egypt, where Antony went back to Cleopatra's land after their official union. Octavian, Antony's arch rival in taking over Rome, was wary of the power of Cleopatra and Antony. What infuriated him was the knowledge of Antony gifting her a good chunk of the Middle East - Egypt, Cyprus, Crete and Syria, as a wedding gift. She, together with Caesarion, were rulers of these countries. Octavian, the great-nephew of Julius Caesar, declared war against Antony in 31 BC that took place in Actium, Greece.
Tragic Ending
Antony and Cleopatra joined forces on the battle front, taking their infantry forward to fight it out with Octavian's men, but had to flee the battle grounds once they learned their chances of winning were dwindling. Antony returned to the battlefield shortly after, although the misleading news of Cleopatra's demise (upon hearing the news of Antony's death she did herself in, where historians claim it may have been an asp's bite that was part of the suicide) forced him to take his own life by stabbing himself with his own sword. Her son Caesarion was then made pharaoh by his supporters, but was later executed post Octavian's order.