The young princess Cleopatra VII, known today as simply Cleopatra, became the queen of Egypt in the year 51 B.C. Thrust onto the world stage by her father, Ptolemy XII, she ruled a country in tumult, one on the verge of crumbling under the mighty Roman Empire.
Only 17 years old when she took the throne, Cleopatra quickly became one of the most powerful rulers Egypt had ever known. She bonded personally and politically with two of ancient Rome’s most powerful leaders, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Then, barely two decades after coming to power, this queen took her own life in a climactic act of defiance against the Romans, still hungry for her kingdom. Fashion is all about drama and Cleopatra’s life was full of it, from her legendary affairs with some of the most powerful men of their time to her struggles to maintain influence as ruler of Egypt.
Cleopatra was by all accounts an exceptionally charming woman, one who intuited how to present herself in the most strategic manner. Similar to stars of today, Cleopatra carefully controlled her public image. When she traveled to Tarsus by barge to meet Mark Antony for the first time, she created quite a spectacle, dressed as the Egyptian goddess Isis with handsome boys fanning her as she reclined on her perch. Clearly the lady had a taste for pageantry—something a star like Lady Gaga would no doubt appreciate.
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