Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and lover of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, takes her life following the defeat of her forces against Octavian, the future first emperor of Rome. Cleopatra, born in 69 B.C., was made Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt, upon the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, in 51 B.C. Her brother was made King Ptolemy XIII at the same time, and the siblings ruled Egypt under the formal title of husband and wife. Cleopatra and Ptolemy were members of the Macedonian dynasty that governed Egypt since the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. Although Cleopatra had no Egyptian blood, she alone in her ruling house learned Egyptian. To further her influence over the Egyptian people, she was also proclaimed the daughter of Re, the Egyptian sun god. Cleopatra soon fell into dispute with her brother, and civil war erupted in 48 B.C. After Egypt was annexed by Octavian, it was renamed Aegyptus and became – thanks to its prodigious grain production – a key contributor to the Roman economy. The port of Alexandria grew to be the empire’s second-largest city. With Octavian’s troops marching towards Alexandria, Antony rejoined the battle. Cleopatra, meanwhile, hid herself away in her mausoleum, along with her treasure and two maidservants. Antony picked up information that Cleopatra was dead. Devastated, he fell upon his sword, saying, according to Ancient Greek biographer Plutarch: “I am not pained to be bereft of you, for at once I will be where you are, but it does pain me that I, as a commander, am revealed to be inferior to a woman in courage.” Antony then received word that Cleopatra was still alive. Fatally wounded, he was taken to her. The queen was distraught but, before he succumbed to death, Antony asked her to make peace with Octavian. Octavian, however, wasn’t doing any deals. He wanted Cleopatra as a trophy to parade in Rome but, rather than submit, she too committed suicide. Legend has it she did this by encouraging a snake to bite her, although her two handmaidens died at the same time, suggesting that some other form of poisoning saw her off. While Cleopatra’s demise might have taken the edge off of Octavian’s victory parade, he was greeted back in Rome as the conquering hero. He now had absolute power over the richest kingdom along the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt had become a mere province for Rome, one of the largest, most powerful empires of the ancient world, to plunder. It would remain under Roman rule until the 7th century.