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Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BC in Alexandria which was at the time the capital of Egypt Her father was Egypts pharaoh Ptolemy XII he was nicknamed Auletes Cleopatras mother was traditionally Auletess sister who was named Cleopatra V Tryphaena Of these parents bore many children including Cleopatra VIIs elder sister who was named Cleopatra VI Cleopatra VII future pharaoh also had another sister the oldest named Bernice as well as younger sister named Arsinoe and two younger brothers both called Ptolemy Their family was not native to Egypt but Macedonian by nature Ptolemy XII Cleopatras father was a weak and cruel ruler and in 58 BC the people of Alexandria rebelled and overthrew him because of their hate for him During this time he fled to Rome while his eldest daughter Bernice took the throne At this time she married a cousin but soon had him strangled so that she could marry another man named Archelaus At some point during Bernices three-year reign Cleopatra VI died of unknown causes and in 55 BC Ptolemy XII Cleopatras father again reclaimed his throne with the help of the Roman general Pompey Bernice was then beheaded and her husband was executed Cleopatra VII was now the pharaohs oldest child so when her father passed in 51 BC leaving his children in Pompeys care Cleopatra and the eldest of her two brothers Ptolemy XIII inherited the throne In obedience with Egyptian tradition when Cleopatra was about seventeen years old she married her younger brother Ptolemy XIII who became co-ruler at the age of about twelve But this was a marriage of convenience only and Ptolemy was pharaoh only in name For three years he remained in the background while Cleopatra ruled alone it is said that despite the glamorous image she plays today she was far from beautiful She is depicted on ancient coins with a long hooked nose and masculine features yet she was clearly a
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