Queen Cleopatra with Mark Antony: Denarius, 32 BC.
Obverse: Diademed bust of Queen Cleopatra VII.
Reverse: Bust of Mark Antony, ANTONI ARMENIA
During the campaign in Egypt, Antony first met Cleopatra, the 14 year old
daughter of Ptolemy XII. Roman historian Appian of Alexandria later recorded
Antony's desire for the Egyptian princess began at this meeting.
In October 41, Antony requested Rome's chief eastern vassal, the queen of
Ptolemaic Egypt Cleopatra, meet him at Tarsus in Cilicia. Arriving in Tarus
aboard of her magnificent ship, Cleopatra invited Antony to a grand banquet to
solidify their alliance. Antony and Cleopatra then spent the winter of 41 BC
together in Alexandria. Despite his marriage to Fulvia, Cleopatra bore Antony
twin children, Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II, in 40 BC.
Octavian started to attack Antony in order to raise himself to power. He argued
that Antony was a man of low morals to have left his faithful wife abandoned in
Rome with the children to be with the promiscuous queen of Egypt. Antony was
accused of everything, but most of all, of "going native", an unforgivable crime
to the proud Romans. Several times Antony was summoned to Rome, but remained in
Alexandria with Cleopatra.
Antony invaded Armenia, this time successfully. In the return, a mock Roman
Triumph was celebrated in the streets of Alexandria. For the finale, the whole
city was summoned to hear a very important political statement. Surrounded by
Cleopatra and her children, Antony ended his alliance with Octavian.
Cleopatra was proclaimed Queen of Kings and Queen of Egypt, King of Kings and
King of Egypt.
In 31 BC, the war started. On September 2, the naval battle of Actium took
place. Antony and Cleopatra's navy was destroyed, and they were forced to escape
to Egypt with 60 ships.
Octavian invaded Egypt. With no other refuge to escape to, Antony committed
suicide by stabbing himself with his sword in the mistaken belief that Cleopatra
had already done so. When he found out that Cleopatra was still alive, his
friends brought him to Cleopatra's monument in which she was hiding, and he died
in her arms.
Realising that she was destined for Octavian's triumph in Rome, Cleopatra made
several attempts to take her life and finally succeeded.