What did Cleopatra think about Julius Caesar?

Expert Answers
jstussy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cleopatra VII Philopator, known simply as Cleopatra, was the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt prior to its acquisition as a territory of Rome.  She is known throughout history as a legendary seductress with a calculating mind, who used her supposed great beauty to obtain and keep power.  Additionally, history remembers her for her high-profile relationships with two great Roman leaders, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.

In terms of Cleopatra and Caesar, the relationship between the two is romantic, but with serious political undertones.  Cleopatra had been thrown out of power by her brother-husband Ptolemy XIII, and was desperately seeking a means of retaking the throne of Egypt.  At this same time, Julius Caesar had traveled to Egypt in pursuit of his political rival Pompey, who had already been assassinated by the Egyptians.  Cleopatra was a firsthand witness to the power of Rome, having seen Roman legions aid in restoring her father to the throne, and likely viewed Caesar, as well as his fleets and armies, as a way to regain the power she had lost.  This turned out to be very true, as Caesar disposed of Ptolemy XIII, installing Cleopatra as the sole ruler of Egypt and leaving legions of troops behind to ensure her reign went unchallenged.

With regards to Caesar’s perspective on the matter, while he may have been smitten by the young Cleopatra (he considered her his mistress), there was also a political advantage for him to gain.  Egypt had vast resources of both wealth and food (specifically wheat), and Caesar likely felt that a relationship with Cleopatra would lead to a union between the two great empires of Egypt and Rome.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question