The Ptolemy family had been ruling Egypt since 305 B.C., Ptolemy I had gained control of Egypt after Alexander the Great’s land was divided after his death. The family was originally from Greece with no Egyptian blood in them. In 80 B.C. Ptolemy XII, also known as “Auletes” or flute player, began his rule of Egypt. “Auletes” was Cleopatra VII’s father. Cleopatra VII also had three sisters, two older: Cleopatra VI and Berenice IV, and one younger: Arisinoe IV. She also had two brothers, both younger, Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV.In 58 B.C. Berenice IV decided that she did not like the way that her father was running things so she decided to force him out of Egypt, causing him to retreat to Rome. In 55 B.C. Ptolemy XII returned to Egypt and regained the throne. Berenice IV’s punishment was to be beheaded, Cleopatra VI is also said to have been killed. Ptolemy XII then ruled until his death in 51 B.C., having named Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XIII as his successor.
In 51 B.C. Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII were married and were suppose to jointly rule Egypt. Though the rule was suppose to be shared Cleopatra, being the oldest, at 18 years old, left Ptolemy XIII, only 10 years, old out of many of the ruling decisions. Ptolemy XII’s advisors did not approve of Cleopatra making all of the decisions and influenced Ptolemy to have Cleopatra removed from rule and from Egypt. In 48 B.C. Cleopatra was removed from the palace and the city. Cleopatra was furious; she then began to build her own army to use against her brother. War was inevitable.A war was also in the process between Pompey and Julius Caesar in Rome. Pompey escaped to Egypt in the hopes that the Egyptian rulers would help him.Ptolemy XII’s advisor convinced Ptolemy XII that Caesar would win the war and that it would be in Egypt’s best interest to side with Caesar. In order for this to happen the advisor convinced Ptolemy XII to have Pompey beheaded and his head saved for Caesar as a gift, in the hopes that he would them join Ptolemy XII’s side in the war against Cleopatra. This plan, however, did not go over a well as planned. Caesar had once been friends with Pompey and was not pleased at how horribly his old friend had been treated.Cleopatra, hearing that Caesar was in the palace, knew that if she could get close enough to him, he would be sure to help her. Cleopatra then only faced one problem; Ptolemy XII had set guards on full alert, if Cleopatra was seen anywhere near the palace she was to be killed! The young queen then decided to have herself wrapped-up inside a rug and was delivered to Caesar’s room. Caesar was pleasantly surprised and immediately enchanted by her. Ptolemy XII was out raged when he found out about the ally between Cleopatra and Caesar. The war between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XII soon developed into a war between to allied groups: Cleopatra and Caesar versus Ptolemy XII and Arsinoe IV; the Alexandrian War.In hopes of bringing the war to and end Caesar awarded rule of Cyprus to both Arsinoe IV and Ptolemy XIV. Ptolemy XII is to be believed to have drowned while trying to leave the city after the war had ended. Arsinoe IV was bitter about not being named Queen of Egypt and was eventually taken prisoner by Caesar. She was paraded around the city or Rome for her punishment.
In 47 B.C. Cleopatra regained her rule of the thrown, however, this time she was married to her brother Ptolemy XIV. Cleopatra again ignored her brother as co-ruler because he was only 12 years old. Cleopatra also became ruler of Cyprus since Arsinoe IV had become a traitor.
Cleopatra is rumored to have become pregnant with Caesar’s child at this time. The child was named Ptolemy XV Caesar, but he was usually called “Caesarion” which means “little Caesar”. Caesar’s March of Triumph in 46 B.C. were Arsinoe IV was forced to march through the streets of Rome dressed in heavy chains. Arsinoe IV was then banished from Egypt and Rome forced to find a home elsewhere,