Skip to main content
Subscribe to our Beano comic! Click Here
Beano Comic

These Cleopatra Facts Will Inspire You To Be Your Own Queen

Click here to read this list of 15 fun facts about one of the ancient world's greatest leaders - Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile!

Beano Team
Last Updated:  May 1st 2024

Cleopatra was the Queen of Egypt between 70 BC and 30 BC. She was a smart leader and a fearsome warrior that has inspired historians, artists, writers and movie directors for the last 2000 years! But how many of the legends are true? Read on to find out more about her pet crocodile, what made her a strong leader, and what she was doing rolled up in a carpet!

For more inspiring history facts, check out these Julius Caesar facts, these Beatrix Potter facts, or even these amazing Anne Bolyen facts!

1. She was super smart

Cleopatra was a genius, and her smarts were very handy when it came to ruling Ancient Egypt. She was said to be a mathematician, a chemist, a philosopher, and could speak between 5 and 9 languages! They were definitely Greek, Egyptian, Arabic and Hebrew, but probably more!

2. She was a great politician

Cleopatra knew who to be tough with and who to charm. She became queen when she was just 18 years old, and she wasn't afraid to stand up to powerful leaders like Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. She used her skills to keep herself in power, protect her family and get a good deal for Egypt in the often dangerous Ancient world.

3. She cozied up to the Romans

Cleopatra wasn't just a queen; she was also a clever diplomat. She formed alliances with powerful leaders to keep Egypt safe and strong. She was as skilled in negotiations as she was in ruling, and always had an eye on the more powerful Roman Empire that neighboured Egypt. The Romans had a big army and loads of money - and we'll be hearing more about them later!

4. She knew how to get her point across

As well as making her popular with her subjects, Cleopatra used her image to impress other leaders and political allies. For example, she worked with Herod the Great—despite personally not liking him very much — which meant new trade routes between the two leaders. Lots of people thought she was like a God, and she let them believe that!

5. She wasn't actually Egyptian!

Woah! What? She was born in Egypt, but her family were actually from Macedonian Greek royalty called the Ptolemaic dynasty. She was descended from Ptolemy I, a friend of Alexander the Great. After her dad died Cleopatra took control of Egypt alongside her brother, Ptolemy XIII. Of all the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, she was the only one to actually learn Egyptian!

6. She once snuck into a party rolled up in a carpet

Well - so the legend goes, anyway. It's hard to prove anything that happened thousands of years ago! But the story goes that when Cleopatra visited Rome, she snuck into a party rolled up inside a big carpet. She fell out onto the ground, in front of Julius Caesar! And that's how they met!

7. She was glamorous

There are lots of records from the time saying how luxurious Cleoapatra's lifestyle was. She set trends and fashions, wore make up and always made sure she looked her best for public events. Cleopatra was a confident woman who held herself well when talking to powerful men, and she clearly made a big impression everywhere she went!

8. She was a very successful leader

During Cleopatra's rule, Egypt was the wealthiest country in the Mediterranean but she didn't let the big Roman Empire take over. She made Egypt's economy stronger by trading with Arab countries, and she helped Egypt stand on it's own when other places just got absorbed into the Roman Empire. This was no easy thing to do!

9. She had a baby with Julius Caesar

Cleopatra's first love was Julius Caesar, the most powerful man in the world at the time! They had a baby together, called Caesarion (or little Caesar). When Caesar was killed, Cleopatra and their sprog fled back to Egypt where she took tight control of power.

10. Marc Antony

Vatican Museums via Wikipedia Commons

After Caesar's death, Cleopatra fell in love with Marc Antony - maybe the 2nd most powerful Roman at the time. They had 3 kids together, and their romance was legendary. Antony was very popular in Egypt, and him and Cleopatra made a strong alliance. Unfortunately it was to end in tears!

11. Antony and Cleopatra were legendary

Antony and Cleopatra | William Shakespeare | Penguin

When two very powerful people fall in love, there's always going to be a political thing to it. But the two of them really did seem to love each other! Ther romance has inspired lots of paintings, poems and plays over the 2 thousand years that followed. Shakespeare wrote about them, and the Victorians were just as obsessed!

12. She has a pet crocodile

Nothing says don't mess with me than a pet crocodile! According to legend Cleopatra had a giant Nile crocodile as a pet, and would bring it out for big events. If there's one inspiring fact in this list, it's got to be this one!

13. She was a fierce warrior

Cleopatra wasn't afraid to fight for her kingdom. She led her armies into battle and defended Egypt against its enemies. Often she did this peacefully, but other times not so much. This is partly what made Cleopatra so famous - she was the opposite of what many leaders (especially the Romans) expected of women.

14. She met a sticky - but dignified - end

Over her long rule, Cleopatra challenged Rome and took part in wars and political dramas of the highest level. Ultimately, she lost out - and different Roman groups manage to beat her and her armies. Legend has it that she killed herself by letting a snake bite her, but that's argued about now. What is likely though is that she killed herself rather than let a Roman do it. So as sad and ugly as it is, she made her own decisions right up to the end.

15. She's had a long-lasting legacy

Royal Ontario Museum via Wikipedia Commons

2000 years later, and we're still talking about her! That has to be one of the most inspirational things about Cleopatra - that historians are still arguing about her, we're still making TV shows and movies about her, and there is something that is still amazing about this glamorous, powerful, ruthless Queen. Here's to the next 2,000 years, Cleo!

More Stuff