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The Tragedy of Antony and Cleopatra Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

You may have noticed most folks in the play got around a lot. Out of the ashes (in the real story), Octavia was left, and she got to take care of everybody’s kids. After Antony and Cleopatra died, Octavia became the caretaker of: Julius Antony, from Antony’s marriage to Fulvia; Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, Antony’s three children with Cleopatra. This was in addition to her three children from her marriage to Marcellus before Antony, and the two children she had with Antony. (Source)

One child was conspicuously missing for Octavia to raise, though, as her brother had had him brutally murdered. Ptolemy Caesar, more commonly known as Caesarion, was Cleopatra’s oldest son and generally believed to be the child of Julius Caesar. He reigned over Egypt, jointly with his mother, until she sent him away to safety when Octavius Caesar invaded Egypt. He was lured back to Alexandria by some unsavory means, where Caesar had him murdered, ending the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, and leading the way for Romans to rule there. (Source)

There is some suggestion that in Egyptian mythology, a snakebite would secure immortality, perhaps explaining Cleopatra’s choice to die by an asp. (Source: Horton, Rosalind, and Sally Simmons. Women Who Changed the World. London : Quercus, 2007. 9.)

The real Cleopatra’s looks were of little relevance to her success with Rome’s leading men. According to the Guardian, she was very charismatic, but not so physically attractive. (Source)

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