Mark Antony was a great Roman leader. He was a general for Julius Caesar and one of his closest friends. He thought that Cleopatra was partially responsible for Caesar’s death and wanted to meet with her. She ignored his summons twice. The third time she came to him on a boat dressed as the Goddess Venus. Mark Antony was charmed by Cleopatra, and they created a military partnership in 41 B.C. Cleopatra captured Mark Antony’s heart, just as she had Julius Caesar’s. He followed her to Alexandria and took her as his mistress. Cleopatra married Mark Antony in 37 B.C. Their marriage was not only for love. It was also a marriage of politics. Cleopatra was wealthy, and Mark Antony had power to protect her from an invasion by Rome.
While Antony was in Egypt with Cleopatra, his enemies began to invade Roman provinces. In Rome, Fulvia, Antony’s wife, hoped to get Antony to leave Cleopatra by attacking in his name against Octavius, his ally. Antony returned to Fulvia, but she soon died. He entered into a new alliance with Octavius by marrying Octavius’ sister, Octavia. Cleopatra heard about his new wife only weeks after having given birth to his twin children.
She began to focus on making alliances and trade agreements for Egypt. She became wealthier. She used the money to build ships and make her army bigger to prepare for war. When Antony’s army was failing, she gave some of her army’s supplies to him. In 37 B.C., Antony sailed to meet with Cleopatra in Alexandria, married her and publicly declared her children as his. But by leaving his wife in Rome, he lost his alliance with Octavius. Antony gave pieces of the empire to both Cleopatra and her three children by him, as well as Caesarion, her son by Julius Caesar. Some of this property was not even ruled by the Romans at that time. This was Antony’s way of declaring that he would soon be taking over the entire empire, as well as these other pieces of land. This caused Octavius to feel threatened.
Octavius declared war on Cleopatra and Antony. When it was clear to Antony that he was losing the war, he sent word to Cleopatra’s ship and they left the battle site and sailed towards the open ocean. Antony’s ships soon followed. Octavius made everyone believe that Cleopatra had left Antony and his ships to die, and that Antony had followed her because he was lovesick. Antony, trying to make up for his humiliation of the loss, went to try to work out an agreement with Octavius. Cleopatra locked herself and her treasures into a temple she had built for her burial tomb to hide from Octavius’ men. Rumors spread that Cleopatra was dead.
When Mark Antony thought that Cleopatra was dead, he committed suicide by throwing himself on his sword. Once Antony was dead, Cleopatra knew that the Romans would take over Egypt and either have her killed or made into a slave. In order to save herself from the Romans, Cleopatra then killed herself by purposely getting bitten by a cobra, a royal symbol, in the year of 30 B.C. She died at the age of 39, in her tomb with all her treasures. She had ruled Egypt for 22 years, and was considered their greatest queen. She was the last of the Ptolemies to rule. It also meant the end of Greek influence in Egypt.