Everybody loves a great love story, right? Once truth is applied to the “great love story”, often the sizzles of passion and desire become the distant memories that keep us holding on, though relationships sometimes can become a personal hell. It’s never fair to judge from the outside what certain alignments and bonds are to someone’s soul. Attraction itself is a mystifying, biological, almost involuntary thing. But we as women must learn to love and be loved is not all there is to life, and the decisions we make as Queens today illustrate what we become.
We all know and love Queen Cleopatra. This Greek Egyptian Pharaoh was the laaast reigning monarch of the Egyptian throne. This wasn’t because she sold the kingdom and rode off into the sunset with Mark Anthony either. Cleopatra was a beautiful and infinitely resourceful woman. Her and her brothers fought tooth and nail with each other over who would be the sole ruler of Egypt. This was a tumultious time for Cleopatra. She felt as if she played her last card, and every enemy she had was eventually coming for her. The once great country was descending into peril. She and her two brothers knew the eventual Pharaoh would have to look to the north for assistance in the quest of the throne. One of her brutish brothers offered his other brother’s head to Julius Caesar while Cleopatra was exiled. Cleopatra cooked up her own offering to Julius Caesar. Herself, a Queen, rolled up in a Persian Carpet at his feet. Really. She rolled herself in a Persian carpet, had herself delivered to him, and tumbled out of the carpet to his feet. Nine months later, Cleopatra gave birth to their son. She was 21, he was 52. They carried on their affair, and the affair brought civility (in Cleopatra’s favor, of course) back to Egypt, and great scandal in Rome. It didnt matter that Cleopatra gave Julius Caesar a baby, he still named his great nephew Octavian the heir to his kingdom of Rome and Egypt. It’s not like any man in good conscience could name the child of his mistress his heir, like what would his wife say about that? March 15th, Queen Cleopatra was jet setting off in Rome when Julius Caesar was murdered. She aligned herself with another strong man, Mark Antony, in defense of her kingdom. Their great love affair is what love stories are made of, spawning lovers from all generations to marvel at their union. She had his babies, but all the wit, charm, sweet talk, and sex didn’t stop Octavian, Julius Caesar’s original heir and Mark Antony’s partner in triumph from dethroning her from her kingdom. Cleopatra’s fate was death by her own hands, and her children being raised by Mark Antony’s wife after his suicide was her final legacy. She was the last ruler of famine ridden, chaotic crazy Egypt. One could just as easily say that the first day Cleopatra decided to sell herself short by focusing her worth on her beauty, using her body as a bargaining chip, and compromising her status as a Queen to become another mistress was when she began to kill herself.
The story of Hatshepsut is less juicy and glamorous. Though her reign was many, many years before Cleopatra’s, it’s ironic how forgotten she is from common knowledge. All she was was the longest tenured female Pharaoh that led her country into establishing trade, while making her country super wealthy. Hatshepsut was one of the greatest Egyptian builders- so much so that future Pharaohs would attribute her work to them. Hatshepsut had so many statues built that each of the major museums in the world TODAY carry her pieces. She was able to have so many statues and temples built because of her business savvy. Her trade deals and other projects and innovations allowed her to finance whatever kind of creations she wished. She brought Egypt back from the brink, and erected monuments all over the place to show the world what her keen business and financial sense was able to manifest during her reign. Hatshepsut was a formidable ruler and her reign was mostly peaceful and certainly prosperous for all of Egypt. It’s such a shame that her contributions to Egyptian civilization made her male counterparts so jealous they literally attempted to erase her from history after her death of old age. Hatshepsut was a wife, and a mother, yet she was Hatshepsut first. A woman of peace, means, and foresight. She knew what her personal contribution would mean for the greater good of society. She was conscious of her femininity by literally cementing her achievements proving that her attributes of a ruler were comparable to any mans, without flaunting her sexuality and having sex in order to do so. Ironically history made Cleopatra more famous than Hatshepsut and Nefertiti, though as a ruler Cleopatra’s greatness was tiny in comparison
Reflecting on these two Queens taught me alot about myself and what kind of woman I am destined to become. A woman that places her value in her sex appeal and the bounty of attention and affection usually gets nowhere fast. Cleopatra was almost an archetype of Marilyn Monroe, a gorgeous, talented woman who simply gets used as a pawn for powerful men in a big game of conquest, ultimately becoming collateral damage. Hatshepsut was an innovator, ushering in new business and cultural standards and ideas. Her drive was her personal promise that she and hers would dwell in greatness, and her actions as Queen would dictate such. Her reign wasn’t marked by steamy love affairs and broken promises. Her life wasn’t defined by “getting the guy”. Hatshepsut saw a bigger picture, Cleopatra just wanted to be in love. Which Queen are you?? Hopefully not one that rolls herself up in a carpet to get thrown at a somebody’s feet!! Balance is key!!