Cleopatra and Empress Wu

842 WordsJun 6, 20164 Pages
Comparative Essay: Cleopatra and Empress Wu Zetian Silke Karla Vinyard Strayer University Professor Mayhall HUM111346SC034-1164-001 (World Cultures 1) May 24, 2016 Cleopatra and Empress Wu Zetian Cleopatra and Empress Wu Zetian were two very powerful women of their time. Cleopatra, Last Pharaoh of Egypt. As queen of Egypt, Cleopatra is one of the most famous female rulers in history. Cleopatra’s family ruled Eygpt for more than 100 years before she was born around 69 BC. Empress Wu Zetian of Tang Dynasty. She was one of the concubines of Emperor Taizong; she was the empress of Emperor Gaozong; she was the mother of Emperor Zhongzong and Emperor Ruizong; she was once a nun in the temple. But her most glorious title was that…show more content…
Cleopatra’s father was King Ptolemy XII. Little is known about Cleopatra’s mother, but some speculation presumes she may have been her father’s sister, Cleopatra V Tryphaena. Debate also surrounds Cleopatra’s ethnicity. While it was believed for a long time that she was of Greek descent, some speculate that her lineage may have been black African. In 51 B.C., Ptolemy XII died, leaving the throne to 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 10-year-old Ptolemy XIII. It is likely that the two siblings married, as was customary at the time. Over the next few years Egypt struggled to face down a number of issues, from an unhealthy economy to floods to famine. Political turmoil also shaped this period. Soon after they assumed power, complications arose between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII. Eventually Cleopatra fled to Syria, where she assembled an army to defeat her rival in order to declare the throne for herself. In 48, she returned to Egypt with her military might and faced her brother at Pelusium, located on the empire’s eastern edge. Most of what we know about Cleopatra was written after her death when it was politically expedient to portray her as a threat to Rome and its stability. Thus, some of what we know about Cleopatra may have been exaggerated or misrepresented by those sources. Cassius Dio, one of the ancient sources that tells her story, summarizes her story as “She captivated the two greatest Romans of her day, and
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