waited for a year before he attacked Egypt as a Roman province.
He arrived in Alexandria and easily defeated Mark Antony outside
the city, near present day Camp Cosar. Both she and Antony
sent bribes to Octavian asking him to leave them in peace,
but none were successful.
Cleopatra took refuge in the mausoleum she had built for
herself. Cleopatra built a mausoleum where she amassed her
wealth and planned to spend eternity.
On the approach of Octavian, Antony, deceived by a false
report of the death of the queen, committed suicide. Antony,
informed that Cleopatra was dead he, in true Roman fashion,
fell upon his sword in 30 BC.
Soon another messenger arrived, saying Cleopatra still
lived. Antony insisted on being carried to her and died in
Octavian was nearing Egypt and on hearing this sent messages
claiming she would be treated well when captured because
he feared that she would set fire to her valuable, collected
When Octavian finally came in 30 B.C., Cleopatra shut herself
in her mausoleum with her two servants, Iras and Charmion.
When Octavian and his men reached her monument Cleopatra
refused to let them in. She negotiated with them through
the barred door, demanding that her kingdom be given to her
children. Octavian ordered one man to keep her talking while
others set up ladders and climbed through the window. When
Cleopatra saw the men she pulled out a dagger and tried to
stab herself, but she was disarmed and taken prisoner. Her
children were also taken prisoner and were treated well.
Octavian allowed Cleopatra to arrange Antony's funeral.
She buried him with royal splendor. After the funeral she
took to her bed, sick with grief. She wanted to kill herself,
but Octavian kept her under close guard. One day he visited
her and she flung herself at his feet, nearly naked, and
told him she wanted to live. Octavian was lulled into a false
sense of security.
Cleopatra was determined to die - perhaps because she had
lost Mark Antony, perhaps because she knew Octavian intended
to humiliate her, as her sister Arsinoe had been humiliated,
by marching her through Rome in chains. With Octavian's permission
she visited Antony's tomb. Then she returned to her mausoleum,
took a bath, and ordered a feast. While the meal was being
prepared a man arrived at her monument with a basket of figs.
The guards checked the basket and found nothing suspicious,
so they allowed the man to deliver it to Cleopatra.
After she had eaten, Cleopatra wrote a letter, sealed it,
and sent it to Octavian. He opened it and found Cleopatra's
plea that he would allow her to be buried in Antony's tomb.
Alarmed, Octavian sent messengers to alert her guards that
Cleopatra planned to commit suicide. But it was too late.
They found the 39-year old queen dead on her golden bed,
with her maid Iras dying at her feet. Her other maid, Charmion,
was weakly adjusting Cleopatra's crown. "Was this well
done of your lady, Charmion?" one of the guards demanded.
"Extremely well," said Charmion, "as became
the descendent of so many kings.” And she too fell
Two pricks were found on Cleopatra's arm, and it was believed
that she had allowed herself to be bitten by an asp (a kind
of poisonous snake) that was smuggled in with the figs. As
she had wished, she was buried beside Antony.
Cleopatra was the last pharaoh; after her death Egypt became
a Roman province. Because Caesarion was Julius Caesar's son
and might pose a threat to Octavian's power, Octavian had
the boy strangled by his tutor. Cleopatra's other children
were sent to Rome to be raised by Octavia. Cleopatra Selene
married King Juba II of Mauretania and had two children,
Ptolemy and Drusilla. No one knows what happened to Alexander
Helios and Ptolemy Philadelphus.