When Cleo met Julius ... by rolling herself up in a carpet

From the #HistoryOfUs series

By Altes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

The Green Caesar (-100) by UnknownAltes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Picture the scene. 48 BC. You’re Julius Caesar and have just arrived in Cairo to settle a vicious family feud for the crown of Egypt. After a long journey, you’re getting ready for bed when a recently delivered rug unrolls itself across the floor ...

Cleopatra the beauty (-40/-30) by UnknownAltes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

A young woman falls out of it: It is Cleopatra, queen of Egypt! – This moment will change history. At least that is what the legend says.

Cleopatra was (despite what you might have seen in the movies) no supermodel. But even her enemies agreed that there was something extraordinary about her. Charm, charisma, confidence or intelligence – whatever it was, Caesar saw it too, and fell hard. He was 52, she was 21.

The Green Caesar (-100) by UnknownAltes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Shortly after, old man Julius installed her as Egyptian co-regent. Her rebellious brother, husband, and Egyptian regent died and Cleopatra married another brother to legitimize her rule. At this time she was already carrying out Caesar's child.

Cesar and CleopatraAltes Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Together with their son, Caesarion, Cleopatra later moved to Rome to live in Caesar’s magnificent second villa. He made no attempt to hide his obsession with her, installing gold statues of Cleopatra and allowing her to host lavish parties. Did we mention Caesar was already married?

Cleopatra left Rome after Caesar’s assassination, whereupon she transfered her affections to Mark Antony ... But that’s another love story.

more about the bust of Caesar

more about the portrait of Cleopatra

Credits: Story

#HistoryOfUs series

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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