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Cleopatra's Two Most Notable Characterisitcs

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Two aspects of Cleopatra (not her death) that you find captivating or thought-provoking, based on your readings in Schiff. What do they say about her character?

The two most captivating traits that I found in Cleopatra were her leadership and seductive abilities. As the queen of Egypt, she took many opportunities to connect with her people. For one, even though she was a Ptolemy, who were natively Macedonians, she learned to speak and write in Egyptian. Although she did not need to learn Egyptian, she decided to learn the difficult language to better connect with the people that looked up to her. This makes her unparalleled to leaders at the time in that she wanted to assimilate herself with the people she led, rather than solely be their ruler. The second aspect that made Cleopatra a good leader was her autonomy. Even other leaders of the time had great respect for Cleopatra as an independent ruler. As noted from the text, “Antony returned to Alexandria, where he treated Cleopatra not as ‘protected’ sovereign, but as an independent sovereign”. Cleopatra showed the world she could rule Egypt and be a great woman leader. As for her seductive abilities, Cleopatra was very adroit at manipulating men to gain their favors. The first was her manipulation of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra was in a power-struggle with her brother before Caesar had arrived. Cleopatra cleverly disguised herself in a carpet and was delivered directly to Caesar’s room. She charmed him and would be in power shortly after. She used Caesar to get rid of her rivals, including her: half-brother, half-sister, husband, and many of the Ptolemies, eliminating her competition and ensuring her power.  Similarly, after the death of Caesar, Cleopatra seduced Mark Antony for similar reasons. Antony helped Cleopatra keep Egypt powerful and independent of Rome’s influence, ensuring her control over Egypt. Although Cleopatra had many great qualities about her, the two that I felt were the most captivating were her leadership and seductive abilities. Both characteristics led Cleopatra to achieve and maintain control over Egypt for an extensive duration.

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