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Cleopatra 871 words FK 9.1 Eng.

I - 9th GRADE Informational Passage 1 The last pharaoh to rule in Ancient Egypt was a woman. Her unusual personality and her voice were enchanting, a demeanor that people found irresistible. During her reign over their kingdom, the Egyptian people began to worship her as a goddess. They believed that she was Daughter of the Sun and Sister of the Moon. Her name was Cleopatra. 2 The first words that Cleopatra spoke were in Greek. Her royal ancestors had lived in northern Greece before expanding their empire into Egypt. As an Egyptian princess, she grew up in the capital city of Alexandria. Cleopatra was a curious child, interested in her surroundings and her city. Impatient to understand others and discover ideas, she also was eager to communicate her commands. She soon learned to speak Egyptian and eventually she mastered ten languages. 3 Cleopatras family had ruled Egypt for 300 years. The little daughter of wealthy rulers, Cleopatra lived and played in palaces full of gold. Her enormous homes along the Nile River were more magnificent than any buildings in modern America so it is difficult to imagine the luxury she experienced. Cleopatra was not merely spoiled, however. She stepped fully into her role as royal pharaoh and living goddess. Crafty and ambitious, she was also a serious person. As a teenager, Cleopatra read voraciously and absorbed information. She became more educated than most of her Egyptian subjects and more cunning than many of her advisors. 4 Cleopatra was the descendant of generals who had served in the army of Alexander the Great. Inheriting their traits, she was brave and also fiercely proud. Surviving many intrigues against her rule, Cleopatra plotted to protect her throne and expand her Egyptian empire. At the young age of twenty, she determined to go visit the most powerful ruler in the world. He was Julius Caesar, emperor of Rome. Cleopatra had used her strange beauty to enchant others and now she threw her net to catch Caesar. 5 The fantastic legend of how she met Julius Caesar is part dream, part fact. The true story of their love may never be known. Historians recorded that in 47 B.C., Cleopatra met Caesar. The circumstances are not clear but this is the most interesting version: 6 Cleopatra arranged for a merchant to approach the gate of Caesars palace. The merchant asked to see the emperor Julius Caesar. When guards led him to Caesars throne, the merchant declared, From the Egyptian queen, I bring to you a gift of rugs. Servants unrolled the rugs, revealing a woman who lay wrapped in the center of the carpets. Young, age twenty-one and beautiful, she lifted herself from the rugs, unveiled a robe from her shoulders, and stepped forward to meet Julius Caesar. It was she: Cleopatra, the goddess queen of Egypt. 7 The facts include a son, born nine month later. Cleopatra named him Ptolemy Caesar and called him Caesarion which means little Caesar. Julius Caesar and Cleopatra began to share

their passion for power as well as their passion for art and music and gold treasure. Together they expanded their empires through war and power-grabbing. Their visions of empire led these rulers to establish great city centers of learning and art, yet their greed and their ruthless behavior left a stain on everyone in their path. 8 In Rome, friends of Julius Caesar finally could not bear his arrogance. When they began to fear the growth of his power over the citizens, they formed a secret pact to assassinate him. Cleopatra had loved Caesar but after he was gone, she immediately threw her net toward Caesars friend Mark Antony. Four years later she married Antony. 9 New fantastic legends began to spread about Antony and Cleopatra. Here is one exotic version: 10 As Cleopatra sat beside Mark Antony on a lazy afternoon, she bet him that she could prepare a dinner for him that would be the most expensive meal in historyat a cost of ten million coins. The next evening, her servants brought food to the table. Mark Antony laughed at the ordinary menu but suddenly Cleopatra called for the second course. It was a cup of vinegar. She wore pearl earrings worth twenty million coins. Without a word to Mark Antony, she reached her fingers to one ear, removed an earring, and dropped it into the cup of strong vinegar. When the pearl dissolved, Cleopatra drank her cup. 11 This legend, along with others, fits into the astonishing portrait of Cleopatra that historians have provided. It sounds possible because her royal reign2,000 years agowas more extravagant than the rule of kings and queens in more recent centuries. The pharaohs of Egypt were harsh rulers of an extravagant empire. When the pharaohs conquered other populations, they forced the people into slavery. For many Egyptian slaves, life consisted entirely of laboring to build the burial pyramids for the pharaohs or laboring to serve the pharaohs as gods. 12 Born into the royal household of Ancient Egypt, the young princess Cleopatra became queen of that empire. Today, biography and legend overlap when readers try to explore the true identity of the girl who became Daughter of the Sun and Sister of the Moon.