Stuff You Should Know Cleopatra Ms Understood

Stuff You Should Know Cleopatra Ms Understood

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hey everybody want to talk to you about our old friends from Squarespace you need a website everyone it's like the future and if you don't have your own website then what are you doing in Squarespace is the best way to do it it's the all-in-one platform to build a beautiful online presence and run your business and right now everyone they have a new feature email campaigns say more and sell more with Squarespace email campaigns it's really great it's again the all-in-one platform that makes it easy to unify your brand and voice
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from your homepage to your emails pretty great everyone and right now check out squarespace.com slash short stuff for a free trial when you're ready to launch use the offer code short stuff to save 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain attention world if you can make it to America then come see us we are going out on the road for sys Kay live again and we are going to start the whole thing off in Chicago on July 24th
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that's right and if you can't make it to America maybe make it to Canada because we're gonna be in Toronto on the next night and fourth Music Hall then in august we're gonna do a couple of dates at the Wilbur in Boston on October 29th in Portland Maine's lovely State Theatre on August 30th yep and then we're going to be heading down to Florida we're gonna be at Plaza Live on October 9th and then the next night we're gonna be in New Orleans at the Civic Theatre that's right and then we're gonna round it out in Brooklyn October 23 24 and 25 at the Bell house yep so come see us you
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can get tickets and info at sy eske live.com welcome to step you should know a production of by heart radios how stuff works [Music] hey and welcome to the podcast I'm josh Clark there's Charles to beat Chuck Bryant there's Jerry Jerome Rowland over there sitting on Frank the chair is not very happy about that but still this is stuff we should know I thought Jerry's entrance today was unique oh yeah yeah man when they
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when Matt and Tyler brought her and rolled up in a carpet her out on the studio floor yes and she said fire me we said Jerry we don't have that kind of power but she just it was amazing was almost like playing the whole thing in Reverse she rolled herself back up in the carpet in one swift motion that's right and if you were a Cleo patch right then you had got a little chuckle out of that joke if not you're probably thinking that we're on
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drugs or something yeah I guess you could probably think both but neither is true what is true is that you're about to be confused for the next 45 to 55 minutes that's a great setup man we're gonna confuse everybody yeah boy this is good dense and there are a lot a lot a lot of names with numbers that follow and not remember it's and not even regular numbers numbers that are actually letters yeah Roman style you know so
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here we go this is gonna be good Chuck oh by the way if you live in Chicago or Toronto or Boston or Portland Maine or Orlando Florida or New Orleans or Brooklyn New York okay you should go to sys K live.com yeah and check out our tour dates we're going to those cities and you can buy tickets at sys K live.com and get information about things like is it a 21 and up show I don't think any of them are what time our doors probably seven but you better check that
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kind of stuff you can go find that info by visiting SOS K live and then following the hyperlinks out to other web sites on the Internet that's right if you've never seen us live come on out it's a lot of fun and if you have just come on back get a second helping of us yep second heaping helping of our hospitality now on to Cleopatra mmm good call by the way good call for for saying all that great so Cleopatra she's one of those historical figures
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that everybody knows about but if you stop and ask yourself what do you know about her and realize you know next to nothing about her you know she was amazingly beautiful she looked like Liz Taylor she she loved Julius Caesar and maybe Mark Anthony - and wait a minute how did she love both where what's going on here you just realized you get confused pretty quickly was she a feminist icon was she actually
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just kind of a wily woman who used sexuality to get what she wants who knows the problem is this she's one of those historical figures that we know very little about because historians know very little about her like she was not extensively document as famous as she is she was not extensively documented by her own people the Egyptians yeah which is a little strange because she was beloved by the Egyptians from what we can tell yeah and what we can tell but most of the
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information we have is very greco-roman mm-hmm especially this Plutarch chump well Plutarch actually he was the first to to show any sympathy whatsoever yeah the guys who came a little before him they were they were just all out meanies because the the Romans did not like Cleopatra in general they found her at the very least problematic in that she kept luring away some of their favorite
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sons and then usually to the detriment of Rome or Mumbai likely the idea if she was a great ruler as she seems to have been at least above average if not like one of the better better rulers around if there was this woman who was you know kind of in the public eye and basically in ancient old-timey Roman news all the time and she was a female who was really good at ruling that was a threat to Rome's established patriarchy
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that wasn't supposed to be able to happen and so Rome came up with all of these popular ideas for why she was able to do that and usually it came down to sex and/or magic and that that was how Cleopatra got through and so over the last couple thousand years it's kind of our idea our image of Cleopatra is kind of come up from this this brew seen through Roman eyes and it's only very recent that people have really kind of
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started to dig in and try to examine her academically and with what you know small meager first-hand sources and accounts they exist yeah I mean she ruled ancient Egypt she was the last Pharaoh she was the first woman sovereign to rule all by herself for more than a decade which was quite an accomplishment oh yeah and how she got there is a very long and sort of convoluted story yeah when you think of
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Egypt chuck could we think of like Pharaohs and Isis and Osiris and all of that sure and we think of Cleopatra - but Cleopatra was different she was different from all the Pharaohs that came before or she was different from most of the Pharaohs that came before and that she came from a family line that had been established only about 350 years before when Alexander the Great's general Ptolemy said Alexander died were dividing up his kingdom I'm taking Egypt
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and he said hey Egyptians you know you had this line of pharaohs that ruled the country well he got a new one and it's me and my descendants yeah and I'm not Egyptian I'm actually Macedonian but I'm in charge here and I'm naming myself Ptolemy the first Souter I believe it's su tío R which means savior of Egypt and he established the Ptolemaic line and from that point on all of the people who ruled as pharaohs over Egypt came from
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Ptolemy and his his children yeah I mean that was a few hundred years worth a pretty good run there mmm it was a pretty good run but you don't think like you know you think of Cleopatra is a pharaoh like any other Pharaoh she wasn't she was different she was probably of Macedonian descent because she was descended from Ptolemy but they also are not sure was she Egyptian to like ethnic Egyptian rhyme some people believe that she was sub-saharan African descent it's just totally up in the air of exactly what
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her ethnicity was but she was definitely not descended from the Pharaohs before but in establishing this line Ptolemy said well I get that you guys are really big into the idea that that kings or pharaohs and queens are divine so we're gonna say that that applies to my line - and what's this incest you guys are in - we'll give that a try - in a bit the Ptolemaic line carried on those customs as well yeah so that the ptolemies ptolemies ptolemies whatever you want to
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say man they were Greek speakers and observed Greek customs which if you're living in Egypt it seems like a bit of a contradiction because people in Egypt weren't Greek and that kind of caused a separation Cleopatra was was Cleopatra Cleopatra which sounds like Cleopatra sounds like a new comedy coming this fall on NBC it totally does oh boy who rules like her local you know Brooklyn
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apartment building or something and she comes in how they introduce her as a character as she comes in rolled up in a carpet sure in the pilot that she made herself man missing writes itself so Cleopatra distinguished herself by coming in and we'll get to all this in more detail but she was popular in Egypt because she came in and she was like hey what do you need Egypt I'm gonna speak your languages right I'm gonna I'm gonna be patriotic for Egypt and I'm gonna speak a lot of languages cuz I'm super smart and I don't in fact I speak so
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many languages when I go to meet with other leaders of other countries and kingdoms I'm not even gonna need my translators and I'm not even gonna need my advisors around I can make my own decisions because I'm speaking directly to them in their native tongue Egyptians love that but their her officials and her trained Wildcats our translators didn't really have a say but her officials were like uh this is upsetting well yeah because it diminished their power they said well you don't you know you're not consulting with us before you start speaking to
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these other foreign powers these other leaders and she's like well I don't need to I speak their language I can ask them and decide for myself whether they're telling the truth or what they actually need or what they what they should get so yeah the just the Ascension of Cleopatra was different two ways it diminished the power of the officials that had been established by the time her father died and left the place to her and she was known as basically a very patriotic Pharaoh and that she spoke Egyptian and followed Egyptian
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customs way more than any of the Ptolemies before her head so that was she was different in that respect big-time right out of the gate yeah so she assumed the throne as a I guess even for the time a young woman of 18 years old mhm along with her her bratty little ten-year-old brother told me 13 right that guy there was a tradition there that basically said if you're a woman you need a male consort to rule so and by the way Miriam say what and by the
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way marry him yeah like technically you have to get ceremony ceremonially married but you know that's kind of where it ends unless you don't want it to end there because we're pretty liberal on that front sure but the the Kingdom of Egypt that she inherited was not a healthy one it had floods and famine it had a bad economy and it was really up to her to forge alliances with other places and other men in power too
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to make Egypt what she thought it could be starting with Julius Caesar yeah so at the time so her father had kind of mortgaged Egypt over to Rome to help bail the economy out because things are it was hard times even before Cleopatra rose to power and that's what she inherited so Rome already had a pretty big interest in Egypt Egypt was a client state of Rome yeah rather than Rome officially ruling Egypt
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and saying like we install the governor all that stuff they they said you can exist and we're gonna trade with you but basically if we tell you to do something you do it yeah and that was kind of the the relationship between Rome and Egypt so it makes sense that she would say let me let me get even more cozy cozy with Rome but who's in power that was a really big question at the time because when she rose to power as co-ruler with her little brother who by the way she basically just wrote out of power
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immediately oh yeah she that was not an easy question to answer because at the time Rome was wracked by civil wars and specifically there was a triumvirate a kind of a shaky power sharing agreement between Julius Caesar Pompey and Crassus I believe right that's right and that is Pompey he pronounced it we can't say Pompey Excel get confusing yeah it's pump I always said Pompey it
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sounds so cute but he was a murderous general give me a little pump II all right stick that knife in somebody No and also by the way later on Octavian when did he become Augustus Oh that's the Big Finish man okay we'll get to that eventually spoiler yeah because I got a little confusing too all these different names yes but that you are correct Octavian is Augustus or one in the same right so they both Joaquin Phoenix the Roman
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Senate was on the side of Pompey mm-hmm so Julius Caesar like you said that there was this this this sort of deal that they had going on was a really kind of unsteady date on between civil wars and the Roman Senate supported Pompey and said Caesar you got to give up your army man he said I'm not doing it in fact not only that but I'm coming to Italy guys he leads his his people into Italy across the Rubicon yeah and declares war against Pompey and his
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forces and he wins he eventually won quite quite surprisingly because Pompey again had that Senate backing and so he had the senatorial forces which vastly outnumbered Caesars forces but they were just superior forces and Caesar eventually defeated Pompey well Pompey being closely aligned with Egypt fled to Egypt yeah which is pretty understandable you can also understand what he would have fled to Egypt he was
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the state designated guardian of Ptolemy the 12th kids which was Cleopatra and told me the 13th among others here we go so he went and thought okay this will be great I'll just sit around and eat grapes for the rest of my days in Egypt it's not a bad forced retirement sure it was a nice place but when he got there he found that Cleopatra and her sister are sinewy arsenate Hall had been had been forced into exile and that Pompey the thirteenth was was in or not I'm
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sorry Ptolemy the thirteenth like it's not confusing enough already was empowered this little boy King boy Pharaoh was in power yeah and and Ptolemy thought Caesar just won his his vanquished enemy just showed up at my doorstep I'm gonna get killed for harboring this guy so I'm gonna have Pompey killed and he did he had Pompey killed and decapitated in an effort to curry favor with Caesar didn't work though no it did not work because Caesar
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said hey hey I was gonna pardon that guy you [ __ ] and and like become beloved to the Roman citizens and you just cut his head off I'm coming for you and so Caesar crossed into Egypt to invade and basically depose Ptolemy the thirteen that's right so he gets to Egypt now Caesar does he declares martial law and basically moves in to the Royal Palace ins like this is my place now this is my place and so Cleopatra at this point is like alright here's the deal I need Caesar support here if I'm gonna
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get back on that throne right so I need to curry favor with him and this is the big carpet scene that we're talking about in every sort of pop-culture retelling of Cleopatra's story said which means this is probably true Cleopatra gets back in there by sneaking in hmm skirting the enemy lines and the Roman barricades coming in and under the under the dead of night rolled up in a carpet and is then presented to Caesar
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unrolled and he's like that was fantastic roller back up there and do it again I've never seen anything like it she begged Caesar for aid and it really did apparently win him over and he's like I like I like the cut of her jib right so they became friends with benefits pretty quickly out of the gate but but from from every account of this it was in
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again it was either Carper she was roll up in a carpet or in like a some sort of bag like that you carry bedding like beg clothes in or whatever it she got Caesar on her side like almost immediately and so all of a sudden Cleopatra who had been forced out of rule by Ptolemy xiii was now aligned with the guy who had just invaded Egypt and taken over and declared martial law which was bad news for Ptolemy it was also bad news for our
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sinawe who had who had left she had come back with Cleopatra and then left to go have Ptolemy proclaim her queen of Egypt so she traded sides and so Cleopatra said hey Julius just a couple of quick favors I want to get rid of Ptolemy the thirteenth also who actually they found out later that he drowned fleeing he drowned in the Nile so Ptolemy the 13th is taken care of the only person left out of all I think five or six kids in
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Cleopatra's family there's one left Arsen away her younger sister she's like I can't have her running around she's already shown that she's duplicitous get rid of her so Caesar to kind of show off that he is take over Egypt parades are sin away through the town through I expose Alexandria in Chains showing that he's vanquished her and he to his surprise found that this aroused the sympathy of the the people
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living in the town and so he ends up sparing our cinemas life which will come back into play later and he he vanquishes her in exile to the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus which we talked about in the the seven wonders of the ancient world episode but so just put a pin in that Chuck that our sin OE is alive she just lives in Turkey an exile now that's right and she's the only person who can challenge Cleopatra's claim to the Egyptian throne all right let's take a break okay
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let's get her ducks in a row all right come back talk more about that carpet trick [Music] Geico presents I witness interviews with inanimate objects this is Brian Bruno live on the scene of a recent windstorm here to describe the event a chest of drawers there's a storm howling outside so I thought I'd stay in and watch a rom-com five minutes into the flick a tree branch slams to the window were you hurt I just got a scratch on my chest your
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chest of drawers can't help you in a windstorm but the Geico insurance agency can help you get covered for personal property damage call Geico to see how affordable homeowners insurance can be [Music] okay so Ptolemies dead dead little brothers dead sisters vanquished yes Caesar at this point needs to he needs money he needs to fund his return to Rome and return to power and
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Cleopatra's dad incured a lot of debts via Egypt and he's like hey listen I gotta like get this money back and he said you're pretty cool that carpet trick was awesome it's just gangbusters so I need it's fine you can rule Egypt the two of us here were great we have the same you know I feel like we're on the same level which was a very big deal too for someone like Julius Caesar to say that about a female ruler and he stayed there for a while and they had a
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kid his name was told me Caesar he was you know later fully acknowledged from Caesar that he was his child but it was kind of like the lovechild thing right he said yeah that's my kid he's great good-looking kid but he's not my official heir no but his name like I said was told me Caesar they called him Cesare Ian or Little Caesar more pizza pizza right sure you saw that coming from a mile away yeah if you hadn't said it I would have said it myself so all of a sudden
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Cleopatra is there she's really sort of solidified her position on every front right right so she's got the backing of Julius Caesar who has named himself dictator for life by this time she got my brother out of the way and sister out of the way for now and and this is this is it's really tough to overstate this she has born an heir she's the only steel she's the Pharaoh she's the ruler of Egypt and she's now born an heir a male heir who is not only a male errand going to be the next pharaoh but he is
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the blood descendant of Julius Caesar himself yeah so Egypt is real happy with Cleopatra at this moment Rome is not so happy but it doesn't matter because Caesars like the top dog in charge of everything and things are going well for a little while so much so that Caesar that Cleopatra and Little Caesar go visit big Caesar in Rome for a little while and set up household right across the river from Caesars house yeah and it's Caesar's house if you had
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happened to go across the way and peek in one of the windows you'd find Oh Caesar has another family he's got a wife and kids and they're not super happy with him for having run around on them and had another kid with Cleopatra but what are you gonna do she's the ruler of Egypt and by the way she's spending the summer across the river from us that's right so as a ruler things are going pretty great for Cleopatra um like I mentioned earlier they really liked her she was
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she related to the the people they related to her like you said she lived the Egyptian lifestyle she whenever she had portraits drawn of herself she was like did the Egyptian thing right because it's great and the people will love it she was identified on a papyrus in 35 BC as she who loves her country yeah Phillip adder in Greek she who loves her country that's right but she was a fully Egyptian pharaoh and a very patriotic tand that just further like
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cemented her position as someone beloved by the Egyptians and it's at this point that it's like it's pretty obvious that it's a real shame that you didn't get any writings from the Egyptians mm-hmm you know yeah yeah there was there were some busts I believe of her possibly that may have been lost there was a coin that turned up but for the most part like they didn't really document her rule which again it's really really weird but there are some like like it
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was a massive bureaucracy that she operated it was not just Egypt but it was a huge chunk of North East Africa and South West Mediterranean that she ruled over and you know being in league with Caesar definitely didn't hurt things so Empire kept expanding she but on her own this is the thing like it's not lost on us everybody who's listening the we're telling this story through the fact that Caesar is a huge part of her
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life or that room whatever Rome's doing this is the the documentary evidence we have but there's also other evidence too very sparse evidence but there is evidence that like with or without Caesar like she was afforded like a bigger opportunity by being in league with Caesar but she took that in ran with it on her own without the the direct aid of Caesar so she expanded her empire she started trading to further in further areas like Arabia there's potential evidence that they were trading as far away as India
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at the time and she was really good from what we could tell at figuring out what somebody needed and making them dependent on her for it one of the way she would do that was like she identified people who could help her to like later on after Caesar died there would be a general who was really important he was stationed in Egypt so it would it was really good to fur her to be on good terms with him so she basically gave him a tax break that said
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hey you can bring in five thousand amphora of wine from rome every year tax-free you can export ten thousand bags of wheat tax-free that must have been an enormous amount of money that that this guy saved and the way that she would do this in her own style was found later on so on this royal decree saying that this is the case in her handwriting she wrote guinness toy which is greek
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for make it so and they found this there's like a document out there that has Cleopatra's handwriting on it but it was basically to make sure that this guy felt taken care of so he would remain our ally and that's how she operated she knew very clearly how to make people like her or how to make them dependent on her and then under that she signed her name and then put TCB with a lightning bolt through it you know what's cool is that document they found
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it accidentally it was used as lining for a sarcophagus that a mummy was found in and somehow they found this thing and figured out this is Cleopatra's handwriting amazing it is pretty amazing to have that that that relic you know exists in the world still so later on 46 BCE Caesar returned to Rome and then Cleopatra like you said went there at some point to visit and this is where this is where the big acknowledgment that little Caesar was
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was his son but not the heir where that finally happened yeah and Caesar was murdered very famously I don't know if you people have heard about that but he was staggered back today quite literally yeah on my birthday Cleopatra goes back to Egypt told me 14 dies soon after this and that means little Caesar is all of a sudden co-regent with mommy as Ptolemy's
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25 I'm sorry 15 right told of me 15 right so now little Caesar is officially the air I think by this time he was like 13 or 16 or something like that he was he was kidding up there in years no I'm sorry that was later on so yeah here's the little kids still he's three he was three okay so um look after Caesar dies like everything's kind of up in the air this is a pretty big surprise to everybody but Caesar had boys right he had people that loved him one of
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which was Octavian who was his grandnephew I think who's Caesar allegedly adopted there was also another one named Mark Antony who was Caesars kind of right-hand man and they said hey you know what this is not cool we're gonna get Brutus and Cassius who orchestrated this assassination and another civil war erupted in Rome yeah we can't leave out Lapidus because this was the official second triumvirate okay you're right and you can't be a
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triumvirate without Lapidus no gotta have that third guy in there it's just a do um for it no one likes those that's right so 42 BC there was the Battle of Philippi and the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian defeated Brutus and Cassius yeah and then that means Mark Antony can emerge as ruler of the east which included Egypt very importantly in Octavian held the West on the west side all right but both of them said we need the support of Egypt which is a very big deal
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Cleopatra basically you know was summoned by Mark Antony and she was like you know what summoned assist and she was like I'm gonna clean Cleopatra I'm gonna come when I want to come right which was sort of a bold move at the time yeah yeah because he was basically accusing her of potentially having given aid to Brutus and Kassius during the civil war and she and she's saying not only am i not even responding the allegation I'm not even gonna show up to
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talk to you until I want to but when she does show up apparently she made another very grand entrance and this one was memorialized by William Shakespeare in the play Mark Anthony and Cleopatra appropriately and she shows up in this this town called Tarsus in modern-day Turkey on a barge a royal barge and these barges by the way dude these are like this is not what you think of as like a barge you know I
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guess it is kind of what you think of as a barge but larger and more opulent how about that yeah I mean it was she came in to make a statement right there were she was dressed as Aphrodite there were purple purple sales there were lutes playing she basically had a band she was laying on a couch on clouds of incense mm-hmm and Mark Antony just like Julie Caesar was like whoa Wow we won't know how to make an entrance yeah and he said you know what I'd like
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to dine with you can you come here and dine with me and she said no why don't you come upon this ship and you dine with me he very famously said can you come here and dine with me and he did get aboard that ship and he did dine with her and he was very much taken with her and she you know ultimately I think she very much loved him in the end but she it early on it the very least knew what she needed from him yeah because again this guy's the
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the Roman ruler of Egypt basically and her job is to make it so Rome doesn't ever officially rule Egypt so at the very least it stays at arm's length enough so Egypt King can be a client state but she also needs to make sure that she doesn't go to war with them because they would probably crush Egypt so she's dancing this real fine line and again just like with Caesar she basically said hey guy I like the I like the cut of your jib let's figure out an alliance and let's also do it a lot too
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and with it's like you said though it's like you said that like whether whether it was because she needed something from him and he also was very much dazzled by her wealth as well or her display of wealth but there does seem to have been unless it's just totally fabricated a real love story between the two of them yeah I mean they had three kids together right she goes back to Egypt and he's not too far behind at this point he's like alright I got a kid over here to Egypt and see my lady
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and his wife phobia said uh wait a minute I'm your lady and we have kids together and he says yeah but you know what I'm gonna go over there anyway because you know that's just kind of how things worked back then sure there's before texts that's right he spent the winter of forty forty-one there in Alexandria they were getting along famously they formed a drinking group called the inimitable livers I already had these big huge parties and feasts and this is one of the very
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famous legends of Cleopatra came about when she took a pearl and dissolved it it was a very expensive pearl valued at 10 million samolians which was enough to maintain ten thousand Roman soldiers for a full year it's a lot of dough that's a lot of dough and just to prove her wealth she dissolves the sing in a cup of vinegar and drinks it and Mark Antony was like oh my gosh this lady is brewing amazing did you see what she just did she just drank a pearl
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just wasted so much money I'm so turned on right now so they have twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene and this is kind of the boom time for Cleopatra and Egypt she's really solidified her stronghold and everything is sort of going her way at this point yeah in part because Marc Anthony said I got to get back to Rome I'd like to show up really victorious you know one of those barges you got I'd love to have one of those I need some
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money from you and with Caesar before again Cleopatra's father Ptolemy the 12th had kind of our mortgaged Egypt to Rome this had not happened had grown had kind of gotten out of that economic funk when Cleopatra had had taken over and she had started to steer it even better or in better directions so now this was just straight-up Mark Anthony borrowing from Egypt which helped put him in her pocket and she said I would
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like to expand my empire he's had done so he gave to Cleopatra a lot of Roman Holdings that Egypt had formerly held and the Empire just expanded by a pretty decent proportion overnight just with the the sweep of Mark Antony's hand in exchange for her setting him up to go back to Roman style which he did all right so let's take a break okay and we're gonna come back and talk about the cracks that start to form right after this
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includes a four week trial plus free postage and a digital scale without any long-term commitment just go to stamps com click on that old microphone at the top of the homepage and type in stuff that stamps comm enter stuff [Music] so Chuck no good time can go on forever it turns out and Cleopatra story definitely brings that one home too that's right so you didn't like that
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setup no I thought it was great it was like I put the the ball on the the orange cone and it just kind of fell over so Mark Antony does a very controversial thing he declares Little Caesar rightful heir rather than Octavian right which is to Julius Caesar that's correct and he awarded land to each of his children with Cleopatra we mentioned the twins we did not mention total of me Philadelphus who's the third kid mm-hmm
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and this really upset Octavian as it probably should so he knew that that the Roman people were kind of sick of hearing about Cleopatra they were sick of hearing about all of these wars going on that these generals are carrying out and he knew that the he knew that it was sort of the perfect time to mount a propaganda campaign to turn everyone against them yeah because the Romans were like had another civil war between two powerful generals that are Co ruling come on and Octavian had a really good
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idea of saying okay okay I can't turn everybody against Mark Anthony directly but I can turn him against Cleopatra really easily so I'll just start this propaganda campaign that says Cleopatra is a threat to Rome she has using her her Wiles or her her magic or whatever convinced Marc Anthony to give up chunks of Rome and to declare her son Caesars rightful heir we got to get rid of Cleopatra poor Marc Anthony is just her
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her mesmerised puppet basically so he achieves the same in turning people on Marc Anthony but rather than doing it directly he uses Cleopatra and they're kind of suspicions of her being a foreign temptress as as the the crux through which she does it yeah and you know some of this was some of this stuff was true some of it was made up Octavian said hey listen I've got his will yeah and you know what he's done he's turned over Roman
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possessions to Cleopatra and you know what he's gonna make Alexandria in Egypt the capital of Rome you can just hear the gasp oh yeah and it was a big big deal so in 32 BC the Roman Senate got involved they stripped mark-anthony of his titles and Octavian says all right Cleopatra it's time for us to go at it we're going to war your charms will not work on me mm-hmm and they they had not worked and I think Cleopatra knew this all along so this all fed into the narrative that
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Cleopatra was from Egypt and from a different culture that they don't align with she lives there and she's super wealthy and she's doing these dealings with the Far East and India and at the time those places were I guess in Rome seeing is just very sort of controversial and weird and they thought they practiced in the occult and alchemy and all these strange things and she's doing business with them and she's a bad
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bad lady right right so yeah it was just foreign and weird this is basically how Rome viewed Egypt right so the idea that that was going to be their new seat of power did not sit very well with them whether that was true or not I don't know but it worked it got it got the Roman Senate and the people turned against Marc Anthony so much so that Octavian was able to launch an assault on Egypt and on Cleopatra and Mark Antony which was successful right and
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they this article makes it kind of sound like it happened almost overnight I think it took place over the course of a year so between when the when Rome turned on Marc Antony and when Octavian was at Egypt store but at some point Mark Antony during the siege during this this war between Egypt and Rome which is something Cleopatra had avoided the whole time basically her whole reign was about preventing this from happening Mark Antony decided that he had he had
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lost his place of honor in the world and that he should take his own life he also according to legend heard that Cleopatra had taken her life and so in response and because he had lost his place of honor he killed himself basically through Hari curry which is like stabbing yourself with your sword disemboweling yourself that's what he did with his own sword and and and I was at death's door I guess when he heard
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oh wait wait that was just a rumor Cleopatra didn't actually kill herself yeah and supposedly if you believe the the legend Octavian did allow him to be brought to Cleopatra and he died in her arms and she tore her clothes and smeared his blood all over her face and shrieked out he's my master and husband and commander and that's if you believe the legend of course yeah it sounds a little trumped-up to me but you never
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know so Octavian at this point is in a pretty good position he says he's got it right where he wants her and he knows it and she knows it and he said to listen I want you to come back to Rome and you're gonna be a captive and I'm gonna kind of parade you through the streets as a symbol of our victory mm-hm and she knew that this would be like just that the great humiliation of her life and in career so she said all right I need a little time to prepare myself which you
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know the writing's on the wall here that she is going to die a noble death by taking her own life but she didn't do it right away it took about a week because she was still trying to still trying to save things up until the very end which is pretty remarkable so on August 12 30 BC Antony is buried Cleopatra meets with Octavian she closes herself in a chamber with two of her servants and we're not exactly sure how
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she got it depends on the legend that you that you choose to believe but she got poison right and committed suicide along with her servants and apparently and this is from Plutarch's records one of the Roman officers burst in as was happening and yell defined heed this and one of the one of the servants was basically like yeah it is a fine thing because she went out on her own terms jerk yeah basically that's the I guess paraphrasing sure she said nothing could be finer for this lady the descendant of
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so many kings right that was char Mian and the other servant was iris IRAs and like you said like they're not quite sure how she got that poison and so a legend grew up that she had used an aspic Cobra and it allowed it to bite her so that she could die but if you kind of put two and two together supposedly she sent a note to Octavian to stall for time but was he figured out what she was doing fast enough that
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there was maybe a course of minutes that transpired between that she would have had to have taken this poison and died and it takes like an hour or something like that to die from a cobra bite so people say probably not Cobra but where would she have gotten that poison since she was under such close guard and one theory that's emerged is do you remember when Caesar paraded our sin OE through the streets and ended up generating sympathy for her unintentionally yes supposedly Octavian remembered that and
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according to this theory and didn't want to do the same thing by parading Cleopatra through the streets so he never had any intention of doing that and instead went ER and said look I can kill you or you can take your own life you seem like the kind of lady who'd want to take her own life if you do this we'll celebrate it that kind of thing and and that's that's why she or how she got the poison because she was kind of allowed to be given that option that's just a theory but no one knows all we know is that Cleopatra
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almost certainly did take her own life most likely through poison of some sort that's right so she was buried next to Mark Antony which was according to her wishes of course and you know because we don't have writings from Egyptians it's mainly like we said from the Roman perspective she's viewed through different lenses some people have portrayed her like we said earlier as super capable and dynamic and super smart and other people
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have portrayed her as just like leaning on her wiles as a woman and being more cunning than strategic I think you know somewhere in the middle is probably the truth she probably did what she had to do in certain occasions but that certainly doesn't mean she also wasn't like a brilliant leader on her own terms right and this article actually points out it's pretty ironic that were it not for the propagandists who were working for Octavian who were trying to basically disassemble any good memory of her and paint her as a terrible person
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who almost brought down Rome were it not for Octavian to save Rome itself she would have were worried not for those biographers she may have been lost to history like there's a lot of pharaohs and hopes history that we just don't know anything about and she could have ended up being one of them even though she was a successful Pharaoh for Egypt we may never have known about her were it not for these guys like Lucan and Plutarch who wrote about her and commemorated or and memorialized her
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yeah and I think I mean I don't think there's any disputing the fact that she was at the very least one of the more charming and intelligent rulers of the time she just had sort of a way about her um all the readings where like you couldn't help but be captivated by her when you're in her presence the with her speaking voice has always been written about and I think she just she had that that just certain indefinable quality
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there's been a lot of debate on her looks over the years but to me that's I don't even know why people still talk about that stuff it's funny because people do and both men and women do like whenever somebody like shows a picture of what she probably looked like in real life based on like like a coin came out and it came to light in 2007 and people really were she's not pretty how could she possibly have have you know achieved all this if she wasn't pretty there's just a bunch on with that but
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this one historian put it really really well the impact she made on the ancient world is overlooked because the world has this obsession when it comes to women people can only judge them on whether they were beautiful nobody ever said Mark Antony how handsome was he and this really just it just really drives the point home really well I think that that people are obsessed with this idea of that she was beautiful and it really does undermine like whatever she was capable of and when people think like that you're just carrying on a 2,000
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year old tradition that began in Rome around the time of Octavian I'm not gonna talk about it so you you asked about Octavian becoming Augustus right no I didn't ask I was just yes you were setting me up for it tell that story I want to tell this story you don't mind I don't so i Cleopatra killed herself on August 12th of 30 BCE and Octavian decided to commemorate this
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extraordinary triumph over Cleopatra in Egypt and over Mark Antony and his ascension to full ruler of Rome by taking the name Augustus so when we're marking the month of August the eighth month of the year were actually commemorating the defeat and the death of Cleopatra amazing it is amazing you knew that all along huh all I know is that we have four live shows in August to commemorate this event where would you get tickets if you are gonna go Chuck that's why I asked a live if you
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lived in one particular City that you had to pick to go get tickets as many people as possible what would that City be poor Chicago in Portland Maine okay great well you heard Chuck everybody do it for Cleopatra she wills it that's right if you wanna know more about Cleopatra just go start reading up there's apparently a whole slate of really good biographies that have come out recently so you got plenty of stuff to work with and since I said that it's time for a listener mail hey guys want to reach out and let you
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know that my stepson loves listening to your show we share custody with my husband's ex-wife and not to go into those complicated details but to be able to spend time spend as much time as I possibly can with him I Drive them to school and pick him up from school can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes mm-hmm zach is ADHD and on an IEP and the typical school environment can be challenging for him he's worked really hard this year building skills and has come quite a long way in the fourth grade where he goes that yeah man but when we
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find an alternative way to foster this love of learning that he enjoys we really embrace it he really loves listening to stuff you should know during the long car rides way to go Zack again he is a super smart kiddo and is especially engaged in the topics you guys cover his latest favorite was finish cases of really bad luck so his dad and I strive to model our values one of the great one of great importance is that time together and experiences Trump material goods with his 10-year milestone birthday approaching I've been thinking about
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this quite a bit when I thought maybe just maybe Josh and Chuck could give him a shout out oh wow it would be the highlight of his decade and a killer birthday present from a killer stepmom to her beloved kid oh that is for Mandy so Zach buddy the happiest happiest of birthdays to you as you turn 10 that is a very big deal because you are a double digit human being now and it sounds like you are doing great and sailing toward your teenage years with with confidence and intelligence yep
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congratulations on your big one Oh Zach it's a big one yes it is happy birthday wow that was a nice one Chuck well done thanks if you want to get in touch with us like Mandy did that's pretty rare that we do that kind of thing but you never know I guess you could take a shot right yes okay you can go on to stuff you should know calm and check out our social links that's probably not gonna help much so if you really want to get something like this done you should write us an email you can
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wrap it up spank it on the bottom and send it off to stuff podcasts i heart radio calm stuff you should know is production of I heart radios how stuff works for more podcasts from iHeartRadio visit the iHeartRadio app Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows [Music] the human television network decades of pioneering television broadcast once and never seen again there was nothing else like this on
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