THE FALL OF EGYPT


In 30 BC, ancient Egypt fell. Everything came to an almighty end. And it ended with the suicide of one of the histories most famous women. Cleopatra.

In the years leading up to her death, Cleopatra had been reigning Egypt with her illustrious Roman husband, Marc Antony. Their love affair and political marriage sprouted after Cleopatra became a widow when Julius Caesar was assassinated.

Around this time, Rome was a powerhouse in Europe and was being governed by three men; Lepidus, Octavian and Marc Antony. Political relations with Egypt and Rome were strained at best.

When Marc Antony married Cleopatra it scandalised Rome as he was already married to Octavia Minor. This insult (along with a long list of other things) pushed a wedge between Octavian and Marc Antony.

Octavian convinced the senate to go to war with Egypt and in 31 BC Antony was soundly defeated in a decisive naval battle at Actium.

It is said that in the months after the battle and its repercussions, Cleopatra had started to see Antony as a liability. His misanthropy and pessimistic attitude clouded his judgment and put Egypt at further risk.

Cleopatra then sent a message to Antony that she had killed herself. He reacted in despair and stabbed himself in the stomach - ending his own life.

Octavian negotiated with Cleopatra about her fate. In a rare recording of her exact words, she told him “I will not be led in a triumph”. Octavian promised he would keep her alive but wasn’t clear what he had planned for Egypt and her future.

When a spy told Cleopatra that Octavian planned to move her to Rome she committed suicide. It is not known how she took her own life. A snake bite, a needle dipped in venom or some sort of toxic ointment are all suggested methods.

When Cleopatra died in 30 BC Egypt officially became a Roman province. Her death marked the end of over 3000 years of history.

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