Episode one ends with Queen Cleopatra getting rid of her husband-brother, Ptolemy XIII, and his advisor Pothinus, by killing them, and her sister being made captive by Julius Caesar, who took her back to Rome to put her behind bars. Cleopatra is now pregnant with Julius’s child, and she considers it good news. Meanwhile, she is on the verge of becoming an influential leader, and her affair with Julius Caesar, which resulted in pregnancy, would be the beginning of the merger between two ancient empires.
Cleopatra gives birth to a baby boy, and with the birth of a child, she cements her power over the Roman Empire as well as gives Julius an heir. She is sure Julius would consider her child one of his many heirs. The child Caesarion is a symbol of the bringing together of two powers, which are the Roman Republic and the Ptolemaic dynasty. This had never happened before, for the mighty Roman Republic to forge alliances with Egyptian queens and give them heirs. What Cleopatra struggles to understand is that Rome does not believe in a monarchical structure, they depend on the republican form of government wherein the statesman is decided by the Senate.
The kid is born, and Cleopatra’s role is cemented in Egypt in the hope that Arsinoe will be put behind bars so that she never rebels. But back in Rome, the scene was something else. People got carried away by seeing a young girl in chains and asked Caesar to exile her instead of putting her in a cell. Caesar would take the opinion of his public very seriously because he seeked their support most of the time, considering she sought to remain in power for the time being. The public and their opinion matter a lot in Rome, and that’s what made Julius decide to send Arsinoe into exile, which was directly against the orders of Cleopatra, who wanted to make sure Arsinoe did not gather support to rebel against Cleopatra’s kingdom and, as an extension of that, rebel against the mighty Roman Republic.
Cleopatra hears that her sister is not in a cell but in exile, and she turns livid for all the right reasons. She was sure her sister would raise an army against her just to make sure Cleopatra was killed, so Arsinoe could take over as co-ruler. To make sure Arsinoe can’t follow her, and in the wake of seeking support and alliances, Cleopatra heads to Rome with her son to be around Caesar, hoping it will protect her and her child, the heir.
While in Rome, Cleopatra actively became a part of the ruling government, which the Romans did not like because they did not have any women interfering in their affairs. They have never seen any women in positions of power making decisions. For them, what Cleopatra does is brand new, and they cannot seem to fathom what is happening to Caesar and why he is allowing such blasphemous activities. Cleopatra finds herself comfortable in Rome because of Julius Caesar. It is her way of ensuring her plan works, making Caesarion a legitimate heir of Julius and hoping he will also not disobey her.
Who Was The One Supporting Julius’s Assassins?
With Cleopatra in Rome, it has become hard for the Senate and the elite to understand why Julius is allowing a woman to be a part of the decision-making and discussing war and politics. They do not understand that she comes from a land where men and women are treated equally. They seem to forget that she is also the ruler of her land, and governance comes easily to her. The Roman elite is primitive, as they are not used to a woman being in a position of power and making decisions. They are also not used to men allowing women to assume power and make decisions. Julius Caesar was giving Cleopatra the space and time to understand politics and military strategies. Together, they also brought out the Julian calendar, which was followed in Egypt for 12 months and 365 days. A monumental task, but finally adopted by the Romans.
Caesar, though, had plans for himself. He requested the Senate make him dictator for life, which would mean he would remain in power till the end of his life. He had a lifelong hunger for power, and the Senate granted him the same. His idea was to serve the people until his last breath. And the people were excited to have a charismatic leader such as him on their side. Caesar was very much a people person, which is why he wanted to serve them. Meanwhile, the elite was not happy with Julius Caesar becoming dictator for life, which would give rise to kingly powers, which had never been the norm. The elite always had the power to choose the dictator for a brief period, and they enjoyed that power. Giving in to people’s choices does not sit well with the elites. That is exactly why Julius Caesar was killed by the conspirators; they thought he was becoming more ambitious than he should have been. Technically, Julius chewed off more than he could have bitten, and he paid for it with this life.
With his death, Cleopatra was the one who was in a frenzy because she wanted her son to be recognized, and with Julius gone, she was not sure if she could remain safe in Rome with her child. She runs off to Alexandria in the hope of finding solace in the fact that she survived the onslaught. When she realized Caesarion was not on the run to be his heir, she was the first one to flee with her son because that was the most logical thing to do. But all she wanted was public recognition of him as Julius’s son. With Julius gone, she lost a powerful ally and a friend with whom she could be herself. She and he shared a child, which shows the bond Julius and Cleopatra had. Nevertheless, the problems in Rome hardly got better with Caesar’s death. Arsinoe, sensing Cleopatra losing her ally, makes a strange alliance with the governor of Cyprus, hoping he can help her get the throne back from Cleopatra. Arsinoe is working hard to get what is rightfully hers, even though the will stated that Cleopatra and her brother would be the co-rulers. Arsinoe, just like Cleopatra, is ambitious.
In Rome, as the assassins of Caesar are chased out, Mark Antony, the commander of the Roman army, comes forward and asks Cleopatra if she is sheltering or assisting the assassins against the Romans. Meanwhile, Cleopatra’s second husband and brother, Ptolemy XIV, also dies mysteriously, and it is assumed it was probably Cleopatra who killed him to gain absolute power. Again, with her son being the co-regent, it was easy for her to assume power from here on. She meets with Mark Antony, who is in pursuit of the assassins who killed Caesar, and he also wants to know where she stands when it comes to the Roman Republic. She decides to side with Rome, ruled by Octavian Caesar, and Mark Antony, the number two guy. The assassins are sheltered by Arsinoe, and as a show of power, Mark Antony and Octavian Caesar execute her. With her last sibling gone, Cleopatra now becomes the absolute queen of Egypt. She has not only managed to defeat Mark Antony but has also been able to get back the absolute power she always wanted. There is nothing that can stop her from now on. The last scene of the episode of Queen Cleopatra has her making Octavian her next enemy because she is sure he would come after Caesarion, the last heir of Julius Caesar, who is a threat to Octavian’s claim to the throne of the Roman Empire.