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fine silver | 19 mm | 3 g
Denarius, mint moving with M. Antony 32
OBV: ANTONI·ARMENIA·[DEVICTA] Head of M. Antony r.; behind, Armenian tiara.
REV: CLEOPATRAE ·[REGINAE·REGVM·]FILIORVM·REGVM Draped and diademed bust of Cleopatra r.
Babelon Antonia 95. Sydenham 1210. Sear Imperators 345. C 1. Crawford 543/1.
As the struggle between Mark Antony and Octavian dragged on in the 30s B.C., the geographical and political lines became ever more defined. Antony had become entrenched in the Eastern Mediterranean, and in doing so had allied himself with Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt, whose original supporter in Rome, Julius Caesar, had been murdered years before. She had his son, Caesarion, at her side, but she needed an ally like Antony if she hoped to preserve Egypt from the ever-widening grasp of Rome. Importantly, Antony was easier to manipulate than Octavian, who had no sympathy for Cleopatra’s motives. Although this woman of blinding intellect may have found her marriage to Antony a degrading experience, personally, she was crafty enough to realise it was her only chance at survival. Hence, she was probably eager to issue dual-portrait coins, such as the denarius offered here. Little more indication is necessary to recognise that Cleopatra had effectively dominated her husband, the Roman warlord Antony.
Cleopatra (January 69 BC-November 30 30 BC) was a Hellenistic co-ruler of Egypt with her father (Ptolemy XII Auletes) and later with her brothers/husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. She later became the supreme ruler of Egypt consummated a liaison with Gaius Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne and after Caesar's assassination aligned with Mark Antony with whom she produced twins. In all Cleopatra had four children one by Caesar (Caesarion) and three by Antony (Cleopatra Selene Alexander Helios Ptolemy Philadelphus). Her unions with her brothers produced no children: it is possible that they were never consummated. In any case they were not close. Her reign marks the final end of the Hellenistic and the beginning of the Roman era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt (her son by Julius Caesar Caesarion ruled in name only before Augustus had him executed). After Antony's rival and Caesar's legal heir Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian (who later became the first Roman Emperor Augustus) brought the might of Rome against Egypt it is said that Cleopatra took her own life on August 12 30 BC allegedly by means of an asp. Cleopatra was a direct descendant of Alexander's general Ptolemy I Soter son of Arsinoe and Lacus both of Macedon. A Greek by language and culture Cleopatra is reputed to have been the first member of her family in their 300-year reign in Egypt to have learned the Egyptian language.