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Last Question: Cleopatra

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Bob G

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The last of my three questions is about ancient history. This is not a hard question. I have just been surprised how many people do not know the right answer, let alone the implications.

Give me both, please, the right answer and some implications. This question comes from my reading, not education.

What is Cleopatra’s nationality?

It would be nice if you could give me her full name, and her background, what did she do that was different than her processors, etc.

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Steve, I think you're mistaking ethnicity for nationality. To my mind, nationality-proper is more mind-set than it is ethnicity (or even geographical location of birth).

The real means of sorting out the "depends" would then be of how strongly she bought into the whole Pharaohess thing. Given that she killed herself partly because of it I'd be inclined to say Egyptian, though a proper scholar would have a better understanding of what she actually believed way down in her subconscious.


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They never became Egyptians. Oh, there were probably some illigetamate children, maybe even in the royal line, but the Ptolemies did keep things simple by usually having the oldest son marry one of his sisters. The last Cleopatra, Cleopatra VII, is reported to be the first in the royal family to even learn the Egyptian language.

After Alexander died, his generals fought over the territores he had conquored. There was also a great exodus from Greece to the cities he founded, especially Alexandria in Egypt. In most of these places the Greeks maintained sort of separate, Greek cities from the rest of the populations. This is true in Egypt. There was little intermingling, comparitively speaking. When the Romans came to Egypt, they were dealing with Greeks, a civilization the Romans knew and respected. Most educated, upper class Romans could speak Greek.

If you look at the famous Greeks after Alexander's death, the Hellenistic period, you will find many names who lived in Alexandria in Egypt. Alexandria had one of the greatest libraries in the world. Although much of it was destroyed in the conflict with Rome, the remains fell into the hands of the Muslims and was a significant part of the legacy that was finally passed on to the West via Spain in the 12C.

I haven't been able to determine Ptolemies birthplace. But it is a little misleading to call the conquorer of Egypt and the Eastern world Macedonian. Alexander took soldiers from all over Greece. it was the Greek civilization that he took with him. Alexander was a pupil of Aristotle. Alexander sent samples of plants and wildlife back to his teacher from his travels. I am sure that the influence of the Greeks was important in all of those areas. I would like to find a history of what those areas were like after the Romans left.

That is the end of my little favorite set of questions. I hope that you found them interesting.


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