Caesar and Cleopatra - The Late Republic - Ancient Rome
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Caesar and Cleopatra


February 2017 - When Julius Caesar got to Egypt, he was happy to find out that Pompey was dead. Julius Caesar spent the winter in Egypt, where he met Egypt's pharaoh, Cleopatra. When he went back to Rome in the spring he took Cleopatra back to Rome with him as his girlfriend. They had a child. But when Caesar declared himself dictator for life, this was too much for the Senators, and they murdered him at a meeting of the Senate in 44 BC.

A younger group of men then formed another power group. This time the men in the group were Caesar's friend Mark Anthony, Lepidus (who was very rich), and Octavian (Caesar's nephew and adopted son). It worked out just the same way - the leaders could not get along.

a coin with a man's head on it
Mark Anthony

Cleopatra soon became Mark Anthony's girlfriend, and she and Mark Anthony had three more children. Eventually Anthony and Cleopatra forced Lepidus out of power. Then Anthony and Cleopatra and Octavian got into a civil war. In 31 BC Octavian defeated Anthony and Cleopatra in battle at Actium, and Anthony and Cleopatra killed themselves (or that's what Octavian said, anyway - it's also possible that Octavian ordered his own soldiers to kill Anthony and Cleopatra).

Learn by doing: a day in ancient Rome
More on the Late Republic
More about Cleopatra
More about Octavian Augustus

Bibliography and further reading about Julius Caesar and Cleopatra:

The Julio-Claudians
More Roman history
Ancient Rome home

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 28 April, 2017