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Women's Role in Egyptian Religion and the Power of Women Ruler's. Cleopatra.
Collette Wilfongon 5 November 2012
Transcript of Women's Role in Egyptian Religion and the Power of Women Ruler's. Cleopatra.
Women's Power in Ancient Egypt A Brief Timeline of Ancient Egypt Women in the Ptolemy Empire Cleopatra VII About Her Reign In the Egyptian culture, religion was the center point in which every aspect of life revolved around. In the Egyptian religion each God and Goddess were in pairs, such that each member of the pair had a role similar to the other.
The most powerful and most worshiped couple were Isis and Osiris. Cleopatra was born in Alexandria, (then was the capitol of Egypt Empire) during the Winter of 69-68 B.C. An exact date of her birth is not known. Cleopatra was not considered to be pretty during her time. She did make up for it by being able to translate many languages and having an aggressive personality. She inherited the throne at age 17 however he father had made her promise that she would share the throne with her brother by marring him. Incest was common during ancient Egypt to keep royalty within the family. Her brother that she was to marry, Ptolemy XIII, was 10 years old at the time and hated by Cleopatra VII.
She denied him any part of the throne and . he staged a revolt against her, because it was not custom for a woman to rule alone, and in 49 B.C. she was expelled from Alexandria. New Kingdom 1334 B.C. - Tutankhamen's Regin 1100B.C. Various Kings and Families Rule Due to no strong ruler, Egypt is attacked and conquered by many different cultures Upper and Lower Egypt split due to
tensions in government and
right to rule. 800 B.C. 400 B.C. 600 B.C. In 525 B.C. Egypt
was ruled by the
Persians 300 B.C. In 325, Alexander the Great conquered Egypt, which was why the capitol at the time was named Alexandria. Alexander the Great dies in 322 B.C., Ptolemy I was one of Alexander the Greats generals and was named his successor. Meaning he was to rule the land the Alexander the Great once had, meaning Ptolemy ruled Egypt. The Ptolemy family would rule for 300 years, the last Ptolemy to rule would be Cleopatra VII. 0 Ptolemy Family Rules 31 B.C. Romans
take over Egypt Cleopatra VII 69 B.C. to 30 B.C. ROMAN PERIOD 300 A.D. Isis and Osiris She, Isis, was the Mother of all God's, and Mother of all on Earth. In almost all documents Isis is said to be the head figure of the religion. Followed by her husband and brother Osiris. Osiris was the God of the afterlife. Isis Isis was more famous then any
other Egyptian God or Goddess. Being the mother of all, Isis, was thought of as an immortal mother. Bring life to those who deserved it and taking it from those who did not. There are also many myths in which she commands her husband into battle or forces him into doing her will. Cleopatra was the 7th Cleopatra in her family line. Her father was Ptolemy XII, and her mother is unknown. She inherited the Egyptian Empire when she was 17 years old and her father died. At this point in time her family, the Ptolemies, had been ruling Egypt for 300+ years and many Egyptians felt that the family was after wealth and self status and didn't really care about Egypt. Cleopatra VII was different, she had a love for the land and the people. She became a living Isis, meaning she took on the role of a mortal Goddess. Ptolemy XII In 48 B.C. she called in Julius Caesar from Rome to assist her in taking the throne back. In order for Cleopatra and Caesar to meet she had to be smuggled while traveling so Ptolemy's secret army wouldn't catch and kill her. To be smuggled for travel, she rolled her self into a carpet and was delivered to where Caesar was staying.
He was charmed by her personality, wealth, and plan for power. Caesar In 47 B.C. Cleopatra becomes Caesar's mistress and convinces him to use his army to overthrow her brother's power in Egypt. Ptolemy XIII drowns while trying to escape Roman forces. Cleopatra returns to rule, and appoints her other brother Ptolemy XIV as a co-ruler. Caesar thus returns to Rome.
A year later Cleopatra gives birth to her and Caesar's son, Caesarion. After Caesar returned to Rome he paraded Cleopatra's younger sister,Arsinoe, who had supported Ptolemy VIII, through the streets of Rome. It was tradition to show off the defeated enemy to the Roman public. Caesar was appointed to dictator back in Rome for his victory. He then declared himself a God.
Enemies of Caesar in the Roman senate saw him as power hungry and murdered him in 44 B.C. With the news of Caesar's death Cleopatra poisons her brother and co- ruler so she can make her son, Caesarion, ruler. In 42 B.C. a new Roman ruler emerges. Mark Antony. Who decides to attack the Persian Empire but need the military and financial assistance from Cleopatra, he requests a meeting. Mark Antony In Antony's efforts to befriend Cleopatra they became lovers and he promised her that she would not only rule Egypt but co-rule the Roman Empire. He named her, "The Queen of Kings".
Cleopatra loved the idea of Roman power. She visited, touring the streets of Rome and she converted many Roman women to follow Isis. The idea of following a religion who worshiped a woman appealed to the Roman women.
Antony felt so deeply for Cleopatra that he left his quest to fight the Persians and went back with her to Alexandria.
Mark Antony is set to marry Octavia, the sister of Octavian.
However in that same year, 40 B.C., Cleopatra gives birth to her and Antony's children. Twins, the girl named Cleopatra Selene and the boy Alexander Helios. Even though Antony is married his loyalty and love still lies with Cleopatra and 3 years later he breaks Roman law, angers Octavian, and shocks Rome when he marries Cleopatra. With this marriage he also gives her territory in Syria and Lebanon, which at that time belonged to Rome. In 34 B.C. Mark Antony's will is published by Octavian. It outrages the Roman citizens that in his will Mark Antony gives large portions of the Roman Empire to Cleopatra, as well he says the capitol will be moved from Rome to Alexandria.
Some women in the Roman Empire were pleased with the changes. They saw it as an opportunity for a women to lead them. Things were looking great for Cleopatra until 31 B.C. when Octavian sent his armies to kill both Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Fearing capture Cleopatra takes her troops out of the battle and Octavian's forces easily over through Antony. The battle took place at Actium. Both manage to flee the battle without being murdered, however Antony admits his defeat to Octavian. Cleopatra sees that Antony is no the most powerful Roman and decides that she needs to ally her self with Octavian.
The two of them work out a deal that if Cleopatra kills Antony he will accept her as a friend and leader. Cleopatra knows that she could never Antony so she has a servant give him a message that Cleopatra has been killed. With the love of his life dead he falls on his own sword. Cleopatra then discovers that Octavian just wanted to use her to kill Antony and plans on holding Cleopatra prisoner and parading her through Rome as a defeated Egyptian Queen. Before Cleopatra can escape she is surrounded by roman troops and taken captive in the mausoleum. Determined not to die by a Roman sword or be shown off as a defeated enemy she has one of her maids bring her a basket of figs, with an asp snake hidden in it. Cleopatra commits suicide by asp bite in 31 B.C. She was 39 years old and the last Ptolemy ruler. Her son Caesarion was also murdered. Cleopatra gave everything to protect her land and people from invasion, and at the end she was too proud to live without her people. Bibliography Arsinoe - Pinch, G. (2002). Handbook of egyptian mythology. Santa Barbara : - Remler, P. (2010). Egyptian mythology a to z. (pp. 39-4, 117, 172, 48). New York: Chelsea House. - Watkins, T. (n.d.). Timeline of cleopatra vii. Retrieved from http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cleopatra.htm - Alexandria: The ptolemaic dynasty. (2011, June 20). Retrieved from http://www.touregypt.net/alexhis1.htm - Grochowski, J. (2008, January 03). Cleopatra vii. Retrieved from http://departments.kings.edu/womens_history/cleop7.html -Smith, W. (n.d.). Isis. Retrieved from http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0104:entry=isis-bio-1 - Cleopatra vii ptolemaic dynasty. (2011, August 28). Retrieved from http://www.touregypt.net/cleopatr.htm