Hellenic Heroines

A brief collection of some notable and eclectic women throughout Hellenic history with diverse contributions who left their mark on either the ancient or modern world (or both!).

Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse, 1887.

Cleopatra VII (69 BCE - 30 BCE)

The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt and the intellectual equal of the men around her, she is often depicted as a powerful seductress. Cleopatra spoke as many as twelve languages and was in fact the only Ptolemaic ruler who actually learned Egyptian - the rest spoke only Greek. She was also educated in philosophy, oratory, mathematics, and astronomy.

Cleopatra ruled Egypt as co-regent for almost three decades. She was part of a dynasty of Macedonian rulers, founded by Ptolemy, one of Alexander the Great’s most trusted generals. The Ptolemies ruled over Egypt for three centuries.

She took Julius Caesar as a lover and gave birth to his child. After Caesar’s death she found comfort in his close friend and loyal supporter Marc Antony; their famed love affair was later immortalised by Shakespeare.