c l e o p a t r a
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, which started with Ptolemy I following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE. In her time (50 - 30 BCE), Ptolemaic rule was tied with Rome, and a civil war was raging between Julius Caesar and his legions and the conservative Republican Senate, supported by Pompey. While in exile from Egypt, Cleopatra is said to have smuggled herself into Caesar's palace and pleaded her case as ruler. Her tactics worked, and Egypt was placed under her rule rather than annexed into the Roman Empire under Caesar. She had a son with Caesar and later children with Marc Antony, who stepped in as ruler of the region following Caesar's assassination and the division of Roman rule between Antony, Octavian and Marcus Lepidus. Cleopatra was considered to have great beauty, though historians wrote more of her wit, intelligence and charming manner than her outstanding appearance. Like her contemporaries, she was not shy about using power and assassinating her rivals; at various times, she had her siblings killed in order to secure her place on the throne. Her luck ran out when Octavian's forces defeated Antony's and Cleopatra's armies in the Battle of Actium and Octavian invaded Egypt. Whether she committed suicide by asp bite or drinking a mixture with hemlock is subject to debate, but she and Antony did die before they could be taken back to Rome as prisoners of war. She died in 30 BCE at approximately 40 years old. Cleopatra and Marc Antony are said to be lovers of opals; there's a story of Marc Antony banishing a Roman senator for refusing to sell an opal that was to be a gift for Cleopatra. The opal in this pendant is a thin Australian opal - likely a Boulder opal - extracted from an underlying matrix of brown ironstone. The faceted green tourmaline makes a striking contrast, and the distinctly Egyptian cartouche flair of the 1 1/2" pendant recalls the glamour and glory of the last of the ancient rulers. Cost: $164.00 USD
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