Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC – August 12, 30 BC) was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She was the queen of Lust where she watched over the lustful shades in her Tower with her lover, Marc Antony.
History[edit | edit source]
The last ruler of Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra was born in 69 B.C.
Her ancestors had ruled Egypt since the death of Alexander the Great when his general, Ptolemy I Soter, was crowned Pharaoh. Cleopatra was the third child of Ptolemy's descendant, Pharaoh Ptolemy XII Auletes, and therefore was of Macedonian Greek descent. A charming and intelligent girl with a gift for learning foreign languages (reported to have been able to speak seven including Egyptian, Latin, Greek and Hebrew), Cleopatra was sometimes said to have been her father's favorite child. He may have relied on her help during diplomatic meetings with the Roman Empire.
While still young, Cleopatra's two elder sisters, Cleopatra VI Tryphaena and Berenice IV, attempted to seize the throne from their father when he fled to Rome for support against his enemies. Both women were brutally killed for their efforts, leaving Cleopatra as the eldest of her father's remaining offspring. It was possible that while with her father in Rome to gather troops the teenage Cleopatra first met Marc Antony. After her father's death, though she was 6 years older Cleopatra was married to her younger brother, Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII, as per Egyptian royal tradition. However, despite their marriage Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII began vying for power over Egypt, and this sibling rivalry quickly turned into a bloody civil war.
In 48 B.C., Cleopatra heard of the arrival of the greatest hero of her time: Julius Caesar. Caesar came to Egypt in pursuit of his old rival and former son-in-law Pompey Magnus. He was enraged to learn that Pompey died before they could meet, having been murdered by Ptolemy XIII in an attempt to win Caesar's support against Cleopatra. After this Cleopatra was secretly transported to Caesar's lodgings in Alexandria, becoming Caesar's lover and successfully winning his support against her brother. After Caesar's forces defeated Ptolemy XIII and the pharaoh himself died in exile, Cleopatra became the new Pharaoh of Egypt: Cleopatra VII Philopator. A year later she gave birth to Caesar's son, Prince Ptolemy XV Caesarion ("Little Caesar"). To eliminate any further threats to her power Cleopatra and Caesar exiled her remaining sibling, Princess Arsinoë, to the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus when she attempted to overthrow Cleopatra. Arsinoë would meet her death there years later on Cleopatra's orders. Cleopatra continued to rule Egypt first as wife of her second brother, Ptolemy XIV, and then as regent for her son upon Ptolemy XIV's untimely death.
When Caesar returned to Rome as a hero in 46 B.C., Cleopatra and Caesarion accompanied him. Caesar's return was celebrated by ordinary people, but the Roman Senate was far less enthusiastic, fearing that Caesar might try to make himself king. Rome's last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was a corrupt tyrant, and since his overthrow the Roman Republic resisted having kings to avoid the repetition of Tarquinius's horrific rule, hence the tension of Caesar's growing power. Caesar had previously shown himself a formidable threat when he defeated the Senate in the Roman Civil War of 49 B.C., and persisted in small but significant demonstrations of disrespect towards them.
On March 15, 44 B.C. Caesar was assassinated, prompting Cleopatra to return to Egypt with Caesarion. A few years later Caesar's official heir and grand-nephew, Octavian, was elected Consul. He declared the masterminds of Caesar's death, Brutus and Cassius, Enemies of Rome for their part in his uncle's murder. After their executions, Octavian established a Triumvirate among himself, Leppidus and Marc Antony (now one of Caesar's former generals) to governed the fractured Roman Empire in the wake of Caesar's death. Rome did not acknowledge Caesarion as Caesar's heir in any capacity in spite of his paternity, and Octavian had no concern for Egypt or Cleopatra at the time, but that would soon change.
After the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C., Marc Antony arrived as governor of Syria due to the Triumvirate established by Octavian. Antony's intention was to protect Roman territory from the threat of the Persian Empire, but he ultimately became Cleopatra's next lover when he sought her support in governing Syria. Back in Rome, Octavian took Antony's actions as a betrayal, as Antony's liaison with the Egyptian queen caused him to repudiate his marriage to Octavian's sister. Octavian declared war on Egypt, and the Romans defeated the Egyptians in the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.
In the confusion following the battle, the lovers were separated. Antony, fearing that Cleopatra was dead due to a false report, committed suicide, learning too late that his lover had survived. Not wanting to be captured by the Romans, Cleopatra then killed herself, presumably by letting an asp (a poisonous Egyptian snake) bite her. Caesarion was killed by Octavian to prevent the boy from challenging his power as he declared himself Emperor of Rome. Cleopatra's sons by Marc Antony were adopted by Octavian's family, and her daughter, Cleopatra Selene, was married off to one of Octavian's supporters, thus ending the Ptolemy lineage.
Dante's Inferno[edit | edit source]
Following their deaths, Cleopatra and Antony are condemned to Hell's Circle of Lust for their actions in life. At some point, they met Lucifer and struck a deal with him, becoming rulers of the circle in exchange for serving him faithfully. Due to this, Cleopatra assisted Lucifer in his plans when he captured the soul of Beatrice.
When Dante arrived in the Circle of Lust in pursuit of Beatrice's soul, a giant Cleopatra raised the Carnal Tower from the ground, summoning the Lust Storm to protect it. While Dante managed to breach the storm and began ascending the tower, Cleopatra climbed up the exterior, summoning demons and taunting Dante as he fought his way up. Later on, she will hold back the elevator Dante is using to get to the top. Dante will have to attack any body parts Cleopatra leaves within reach, such as her gigantic hands, in order to stop her tactics and progress, in addition to fighting the creatures she will periodically unleash on him.
Following Dante's confrontation with Lucifer at the top of the tower, Cleopatra appeared and mocked his predicament, noting that Dante's lust in the deserts of Jerusalem damned him and his beloved Beatrice. She promptly summoned Marc Antony to slay him, allowing him a chance to fight Dante, assisting her lover with magic. To stop her, once again Dante will have to attack Cleopatra when she does this in order to prevent Marc Anthony from recovering health.
After Antony was defeated by Dante, Cleopatra shrank down to human-size and knelt at Anthony's side, mourning his death. In a last gambit to survive, she tried to seduce Dante but the former Crusader stabbed her in the heart, ending her domain over Lust.
Powers[edit | edit source]
As the queen and personification of Lust, Cleopatra possessed powerful abilities involving wind and electricity such as the Lust Storm. She could release electricity and mini-tornadoes from her hands which she could use to surround anything that she desired. She could freely shift between her normal state and a gigantic form. In her larger form, she could release Unbaptized Babies from her breasts to attack Dante.
Being a giant, she also had superhuman strength which she used to hold back the elevator in the Carnal Tower. She also apparently stored Marc Antony inside her enormous body, as she expelled him from her mouth to allow him to fight Dante.
Cleopatra had total control over all of the demons in the circle of Lust. She could also control others through a kiss. If one kissed her, they will forever serve her and are forced to do as she commanded.
Cleopatra did not appear as a ruler in the animated film, but as her regular self flying in the Lust Storm. Lucifer also mentioned that he once considered her to be his queen, but her soul was not as pure as Beatrice's.
Dante's Journal[edit | edit source]
- Although she and Antony both committed suicide, Dante placed their souls in the second circle, not the seventh.
- It is plausible that both were originally damned to the seventh circle after their deaths, but were freed by Lucifer and given reign over the second circle as part of his bargain to serve him, as mentioned by Cleopatra.
- Another possibility is that, despite both being suicides the ultimate motive to do so was their lust, which was the primary ruling force of their sins. Another example of a suicide being placed in the second Circle is Queen Dido of Carthage.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
|Death · King Minos · Cleopatra · Marc Antony · Cerberus · Alighiero · Phlegyas · Francesco · Lucifer|