The Roman Start
Most of what the world knows about Cleopatra comes from the Romans. As political rivals, it’s safe to assume the Romans’ perception of the Egyptian queen may have a tinge of bias. She was a wily seductress, ruthless queen, and all-around “loose” woman. A unidimensional narrative sums up Cleopatra’s portrayal in mainstream history thus far. Flip the script a little, and history reveals a more compelling narrative. Cleopatra became queen at just 18 years old. Not many people know that she wasn’t even Egyptian. Cleopatra was a descendant of the Ptolemies, a people of Macedonian origins.
A Beautiful Woman
History remembers her as “beautiful.” Very few accounts mention how she was a polyglot, fluent in nine languages. Cleopatra also studied mathematics, politics, and economics – pathbreaking for women and queens at the time. At just 21, Cleopatra was rallying an army in the Sinai desert and strategizing her return to the throne. Her sharp political acumen secured alliances with Antony and Caesar – alliances that would alter the course of history. Why Cleopatra chose to remain so carefully hidden comes from this fierce independence. She eventually became a Roman prisoner but managed to escape. Cleopatra died by taking her own life following Antony’s defeat and the subsequent same act.
Her Tragic End
Before taking her life, she ensured that the Romans would never find her mortal remains. Cleopatra took it further. She kept her beloved Antony’s body well hidden, too. The Romans may have plundered her legacy and twisted her story. But they never had the satisfaction of unearthing Cleopatra’s final resting place. Since then, archaeologists and historians have looked for her for centuries. Cleopatra continues to stay several steps ahead of everyone.
So Where is Her Tomb?
Many people believe her tomb lies in Alexandria, the place of her birth and the seat of her empire. Recent archaeological discoveries suggest that her final resting place could be in the ancient temple of Taposiris Magna just outside of Alexandria.