Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
This edition of Biography, the long-running documentary series from A&E explores the life and times of Cleopatra. Cleopatra was of Greek heritage and culture. She was of the Ptolemy lineage who ruled Egypt after the conquests of Alexander the Great. A woman of great intelligence, she made the most of her physical charms to strengthen her own position within Egypt, and to save the country from annexation by Rome. After the death of her father Ptolemy XII, she was named joint ruler along with her brother Ptolemy. Wanting the throne for herself, she had Julius Caesar, to whom she bore a son Caesarion, support her claim to the throne against her brother in 47 BC. Not done yet, Antony, by whom she had three children, restored to her several portions of the old Ptolemaic empire, and even gave to their joint offspring substantial areas of the Roman East. The two were later married which did not please Octavian (later known as Augustus Caesar) as Antony was already married to his sister Octavia. Octavian declared war on Antony and Cleopatra and the two were defated in battle at Actium. Cleopatra preferred suicide to being captured and exhibited at Rome in Octavian's victory parade. She used the deadly snake the asp to take her life.