Cleopatra was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She is very well-known for not only having been the lover of the great Roman general, Julius Caesar, but also the lover of one of his successors, Mark Anthony, after Caesar had died.
She was the last of the rulers of Ptolemaic Egypt. The Ptolemaic Dynasty were a family of Greek rulers, the founder of which family, Ptolemy, claimed Egypt as his own dominion after the death of the Macedonian general, Alexander the Great, in the late fourth century BC. Therefore, Cleopatra was a Greek or Hellenic ruler of Egypt.
Cleopatra’s family ruled the country for three centuries, but by the time she was born in 69 BC the Roman Republic had expanded all over the Mediterranean world. As a result, Egypt was effectively a client state of Rome during her lifetime.
By the 30s BC, her lover, Mark Anthony, and Julius Caesar’s adoptive nephew, Octavian, were engaged in a tussle for control of the Roman Republic. Anthony based himself out of Egypt during this time, but when he was defeated at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC by Octavian, he fled back to Egypt and killed himself. Cleopatra also committed suicide shortly afterwards by drinking poison, and not by as is commonly thought by being bitten by a type of snake called an asp.
As a result, Egypt was turned into a Roman province and Octavian made himself the first emperor of Rome in the years that followed, calling himself ‘Emperor Caesar Augustus’.