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Though she bore the ancient Egyptian title Pharaoh, her main language was Greek; for several centuries preceding her rule, Egyptian kings had been of Macedonian (i.e. Hellenistic) origin rather than Egyptian origin. The establishment of a Greek-speaking aristocracy in Egypt had come with Alexander the Great nearly 300 years before. Cleopatra is reputed to have been the first member of her family in their 300-year reign in Egypt to have learned the Egyptian language. Cleopatra adopted common Egyptian beliefs and deities. Her patron goddess was Isis, and thus during her reign it was believed that she was the re-incarnation and embodiment of the goddess of wisdom.
After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at Actium by their rival and Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian (who later became the first Roman Emperor, Augustus), Cleopatra committed suicide, the traditional date being 12 August 30 BC, allegedly by means of an asp bite. To this day she remains popular in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature (e.g. Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and George Bernard Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra), film, and television.
In most depictions, Cleopatra is put forward as a great beauty and her successive conquests of the world's most powerful men is taken to be proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. In his Pensées, philosopher Blaise Pascal contends that Cleopatra's classically beautiful profile changed world history: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.
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