Cleopatra’s wealth made her the First Female Tycoon in Human History. Emperor Octavian of Rome called her the “Queen of Whores.” But what would you expect from someone who hates you?
Before we talk about Cleopatra’ wealth, let’s clear up some myths that have circulated about her for thousands of years. For starters, she wasn’t the only Cleopatra. And she wasn’t even the first one either.
She carried the name Cleopatra that was given to many women in her family, making her Cleopatra VII.
Cloeopatra’s hair was not black; it was more likely a color similar to that of honey or what was known as mead. She has been portrayed as a legendary beauty by Hollywood. Elizabeth Taylor is most recognized for playing Cleopatra in the movie Cleopatra. However, recent scientific reconstructions of her face show she was more average looking than drop dead gorgeous.
She wasn’t Egyptian – she was of Greek decent. She was the oldest surviving daughter of Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos and Cleopatra VI. Her father was the son of Ptolemy IX and a Greek concubine.
Cleopatra and Julius Caesar were lovers and she gave birth to his son, Caesarion who would likely become King. But Caesar was killed in March on the floor of the Roman Senate.
After his death, Cleopatra became Marc Antony’s lover. In 36 B.C. she presented Marc Antony with another son, Ptolemy Philadelphus. The two remained together until their deaths. Marc Antony was killed in battle by Octavian’s forces during the Battle of Actium.
Rumors persist that Cleopatra committed suicide allowing herself to be bitten by a poisonous snake. However, newer theories strongly suggest, it was Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son and heir to the throne who had her poisoned so that she no longer posed a threat to his rein. She died at 39.
As for her wealth, by age 20, Cleopatra was the richest woman in the Mediterranean. Under her rule, Egypt’s economy was robust and thriving. Egypt’s industries — wheat, glass, papyrus, linen, oils, and unguents — essentially made up the monarchy’s wealth, which she controlled.
Historians estimate Cleopatra’s wealth at $95.8 billion, making her the first female tycoon in all of history.