"She looked like a tiny Cleopatra on an imperial litter"


A 'litter' was a type of human-powered vehicle that transported imperial rulers in ancient nations including Egypt, often as part of a public procession. Queen Cleopatra VII  (69 BC - 30 BC) was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. At 18 Cleopatra became co-ruler with her younger brother (Ptolemy VIII) after her father's death. Cleopatra was exiled after her refusal to subordinate herself to her brother. Ptolemy VIII ordered the death of Caesar’s rival Pompey, in order to become his ally, but this backfired because Pompey had still been the father of Caesar’s grandson. After Caesar seized the capital, Cleopatra is supposed to have smuggled herself into his palace. They conducted an affair, but Caesar refused to name the illegitimate son Cleopatra had by him, Caesarion, as his heir. Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC and after Cleopatra’s brother died, supposedly poisoned by her, Cleopatra made her son co-ruler. She formed a union with Mark Antony against Caesar’s legal heir, his grandnephew Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Antony killed himself after defeat to Octavianus at the Battle of Actium and according to legend Cleopatra committed suicide through an asp bite on 12th August, 30 BC. Caesarion was declared pharoah but was soon killed and Egypt fell to Roman rule. In popular culture Cleopatra is known as a beautiful seductress with significant sexual appeal, but she was also a shrewd political leader.