Anthony and Cleopatra - A Great Love Story

Anthony and Cleopatra

The last Pharaoh of Egypt and the dashing Roman general

One of the most famous love stories by William Shakespeare, the love story of Antony and Cleopatra is a true test of love. Read on to know about the famous Anthony & Cleopatra love affair.

Some love stories are immortal. And the true love story of Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most memorable, intriguing and moving of all times. The true story of these two historical characters had later been dramatized by the maestro William Shakespeare and is still staged all over the world. The relationship of Antony and Cleopatra is a true test of love.

One of the most famous women in history, Cleopatra VII was the brilliant and beautiful last Pharaoh of Egypt. The woman was legendary, not only for her breathtaking beauty but also for her great intellect. She was proficient in nine languages and was also a skilled mathematician. She is often considered to be a stunning seductress though she was studying to be a nun. She became the mistress of the famous emperor Julius Caesar. After he was slain, she was accused of having been a party to Ceaser's assassination, for there was a rumor in Rome that Cleopatra had given help to Cassius, one of the assassins of Caesar.

Matters came to such a head that Caesar's successor and best friend Mark Anthony, the present emperor of Rome, summoned Cleopatra to explain herself at his headquarters in Anatolia. In the spring of the year 41 BC. she crossed the Mediterranean to see him.

But as she saw Marc Antony, she fell in love with him, and he with her, almost instantly. Sometime later the emperor accepted her invitation to visit her in Egypt and arrived in Alexandria in time to spend a winter of pleasure.

The relationship between these two powerful people put the country of Egypt in a powerful position. But their love affair outraged the Romans who were wary of the growing powers of the Egyptians. Despite all the threats, Anthony and Cleopatra got married at Antioch(in Syria) in 36 BC.

Together, Antony and Cleopatra, formed a formidable ruling power. They were now openly together; and openly a team against Octavian, Antony's rival for power in Rome. As a Roman general, with a powerful army in the eastern provinces, Antony gave his new wife a spectacular wedding present - much of the Middle East. In 34 BC, he declared Cleopatra to be the Queen of Kings and Caesarion the King of Kings, jointly ruling over Egypt and Cyprus and joint overlords of the kingdoms of the other children.

In the tradition of many eastern monarchies, Cleopatra and Antony now began presenting themselves as divine. To Greeks they appeared as Dionysus and Aphrodite; to Egyptians as Osiris and Isis.

But Octavian, Antony's rival in power, had had enough of it. He was a blood-relative of Ceaser. how could he bear to see Antony taking his uncle's place? In 31 BC, he declared a war against Antony. The battle between the forces of Octavian and of Antony and Cleopatra took place at Actium, in Greece, on 2 September 31.

The exact course of the battle is not known, but it is said that while fighting a battle in Actium, Antony got false news of Cleopatra's death. Shattered, he fell on his sword. It is also said that Antony escaped to Egypt with Cleopatra when their fortunes in war turned against them. But the royal couple couldn't escape misfortune. The following year, when Octavian arrived in Egypt with his army, Antony had to commit suicide to escape imprisonment. When Cleopatra learned about Antony 's death, she was shocked. She was taken a prisoner of Octavian, restricted by his guards to part of her own palace. Shattered by her husband's death and her captivity, with the help of some loyal subjects, she arranged for a small poisonous snake, an asp, to be smuggled into her quarters in a basket of figs.

Then, Cleopatra ordered her chambermaids to leave her. She put on her royal robes, lied on a couch of gold, and applied the asp to her breast. A little later she was found dead.

Great love demands great sacrifices. The love of Antony and Cleopatra epitomize that love is another name for sacrifice.