There are few people who haven’t heard of Cleopatra. The almighty and ruthless queen of Egypt, that’s how people remember her.
But do you know the Egyptian queen, who is still relevant in this day and age, was actually not an Egyptian at all?
Yes, Cleopatra was not Egyptian but the last descendant of the Macedonian Greek dynasty, who ruled Egypt.
Birth Of Cleopatra VII
When Alexander the great passed away in 323 BCE in Babylon, his entire empire was divided between his generals. Ptolemy I Soter, a pure Macedonian Greek, companion and historian of Alexander, received Egypt. Ptolemy I Soter was the founder of the Ptolemy Dynasty.
Cleopatra was born in 69 BCE, to Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra V (members of the Ptolemy dynasty preferred incest to preserve the purity of their bloodline) in Alexandria, Egypt. She was the 2nd daughter of Ptolemy XII. She was the 7th descendant of the Ptolemy dynasty, inheriting the name Cleopatra VII, simply known as Cleopatra. So, it’s clear that Cleopatra was not an Egyptian but a Macedonian Greek.
She was the last descendant of the Macedonians to rule Egypt. She ruled Egypt for 21 years. Although she wasn’t an Egyptian, she was the only one in her family who learned the Egyptian language. Apart from Egyptian, she also knew many other languages and she was also a naval commander.
She was known for her administrative skills and intellectual personality which made her even more desirable. She was highly accomplished as a human being and garnered the respect of all her subjects. She was even worshipped by Egyptians for over 400 years.
But as you know, the ethnic background and racial identity of an individual has been a topic of concern in every society for ages.
In our society, the value of an individual highly depends on their ethnicity and race. These variables are ingrained in the mindset of society, to the point that they can easily overshadow one’s achievements which is unfair.
Even though it’s been more than thousands of years since Cleopatra’s death but questions about her origin still remains a fresh topic for arguments. Different historians, scholars and scientists each have a different say about Cleopatra’s origin, based on their theories and speculations.
Many people raise questions on her origin based on the speculation that Cleopatra’s grandfather had two wives but both of them had a traditional Macedonian background. But he also had one concubine of unknown origin. If she was not Macedonian then she might have been an Egyptian, because relationships between Macedonian and Egyptian elites were common back then. It’s said that she might be Cleopatra’s grandmother and if this is true then it won’t be wrong to say that Cleopatra was neither a pure Macedonian Greek nor a pure Egyptian.
Many people even say that Cleopatra might have been black because Egypt is in Africa. In movies, Cleopatra’s character has been played by white actresses, which is also a questionable choice because although we’re unsure of her ethnicity, one thing has always been clear – she wasn’t white. In a nutshell, there are many other such theories and speculations brought forward questioning Cleopatra’s ethnic origin, but all these are just a possibility, not a certainty.
Cleopatra was the almighty and ruthless queen of Egypt, who ruled for 21 years. Although she was born in Egypt and ruled as the queen she wasn’t an Egyptian. She was actually a descendant of the Ptolemy Dynasty, founded by Ptolemy I Soter, who originally belonged from Macedonia but started ruling Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra was born in 69 BCE in Alexandria, Egypt to Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra V. She was his 2nd daughter and 7th descendant of the Ptolemy Dynasty inheriting the name Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra was the last Macedonian ruler to rule Egypt.