- Cleopatra became queen on the death of her father, Ptolemy XII, in 51 BC, ruling with her brother (to whom she was also married, as was the custom in the royal house), Ptolemy XIII (51-47).
- Ptolemy XII was succeeded by his brother Ptolemy XIV (47-44) as co-ruler and husband.
- When Julius Caesar, arrived in Egypt in October 48, in pursuit of Pompey (who had recently been defeated at Pharsalus), Cleopatra set out to captivate him.
- She wanted his help in recovering Ptolemaic possessions in Syria and Palestine and against her brother, Ptolemy XIII.
- After a civil war, Caesar was eventually able to defeat the opposition and reestablish the joint rule of brother and sister.
- Caesar left Eygpt on 27th March, 47BC, leaving behind a son whom Cleopatra called Caesarion, who co-ruled as Ptolemy XV Caesar (44-30).
- Cleopatra's plans went awry when Caesar was murdered 44 BC.
- Afterwards, Mark Antony's funeral speech turned the Roman people against the conspirators, leaving Antony virtually supreme in Rome.
- His rival was Gaius Octavius, grandnephew of Caesar and his designated heir. For a time the two were reconciled, and together with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate, dividing the Roman Empire between themselves.
- In 42 BC, at the battle of Philippi, the triumvirate crushed the forces of two of Caesar's assassins, Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
- Later in 42 BC, Antony met the Cleopatra in the city of Tarsus, in Cilicia (now in Turkey), and fell in love with her, returning with her to Egypt in 41 BC.
- In 40 BC, back in Rome the triumvirate split up the Roman world, with Antony receiving the eastern portion.
- To cement his relations with Octavius he married the latter's sister, Octavia.
- Nevertheless, Antony soon returned to Egypt and Cleopatra.
- In 36 BC, he was defeated in a military expedition against the Parthians, causing popular disapproval of his conduct in Rome.
- In 34 BC Octavius declared Caesarion as Caesar's heir in Octavian's place and divided the east amongst Cleopatra and her children.
- With Octavius stirring up emnity, war was inevitable.
- In 31 BC the forces of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by those of Octavius at the naval Battle of Actium, off the coast of Greece.
- Cleopatra fled the battle scene, followed by Antony.
- In 30 BC, besieged by the troops of Octavius in Alexandria and deceived by a false report of Cleopatra's suicide, Antony killed himself by falling on his sword.
- Cleopatra then famously killed herself with an asp.