Who doesn't know her? The famous Cleopatra! But did you know, that she has famous namesakes? Here I'll present 5 out of 10 famous Cleopatras
1. Cleopatra, Queen of Macedon
Probably one of the oldest known women to wear the name Cleopatra, this one was Queen of Macedon by her marriage to Perdiccas II. in the 5th century BC. She had a son by him, who was quite young when he became king when Perdiccas died. Cleopatra didn't stay single for long, marrying Archelaos, who was her husband's illigitimate son thus being her stepson. Archelaos was meant to be regent for his younger brother and stepson until he was old enought, but Cleopatra's husband had different plans. Her son was killed by Archelaos, who became the new king. Being queen for another time she had three children with Archelaos: Two daughters and a son named Orestes. One daughter was married of to Amyntas, who was Archelaos' son by a concubine. We don't know much about her later life or when she died. But she was the first if many Cleopatras being involved with incest and family-murder
2. Cleopatra, Sister of Alexander
Cleopatra was quite famous, as she was the sister of Alexander the Great. She was his full-sister, being born to Philipp II. and Olympias. Her mother originated from Epirus, where Alexander II. of Epirus (Olympias' brother) ruled and to whom Cleoptatra was married in 336 BC. The wedding celebrations will be forever be known in history, as there her father Philipp II. was murdered. By marrying her uncle, Cleopatra became Queen of Epirus and soon it's regent, as Alexander II. was on a war campaign in Italy since 334 BC. Three years later he died there fighting, makeing Cleopatra a widow and their young son the new king. Cleopatra ruled for her son, proving to be a quite good at it. She was on good terms with her brother Alexander, who send her and their mother half of his plunder from Egypt. It is speculated, that they kept in contact until his death by writing to each other. When her brother died in 323 BC Cleopatra became a key figure in the power struggles between Alexander's generals.
Many of them wanted to marry her, thus hoping to legitimate their claim for Alexander's kingdom and conquered empire. But Cleopatra was not lucky with her suitors, being stuck in the City of Sardes (in modern Turkey), when she attempted to reach one of her suitors. Her suitor died in battle and she could not go back, as her mother's enemy Antigonos was now ruling over Sardes and wanted to keep her there, seeing her a potential threat. Cleopatra stayed in Sardes for 10 years. Most of her family (except for her children and one sister) were already dead, when she tried to escape to Egypt. Her escape wasn't successful and when she was brought back to Sardes, she was murdered by slaves shortly after. Although Anitgonos held a great funeral for her, he was probably the one who ordered her death.
3. Cleopatra, the Alchemist
Not much is known about Cleopatra the Alchemist, except some of her writings. Historians aren't even sure during what time she exactly lived, ranking from the 1st century until the 3rd. We do know that she was from Egypt and her name was probably a pseudonym. It is said that she is one of four women to know how to create the philosopher's stone. In her known paper "Chrysopoeia" she describes recipes for elixirs and also writes about philosophy.
4. Cleopatra I., the Syrian
Kleopatra I, also called Cleopatra the Syrian, as she was the daughter of Antiochos the Great of the Seleucid Empire, was married to Ptolemaios V. of Egypt in 195 BC. Her marriage to him should secure peace between the two empires. After the wedding she was included into the King Cult in Egypt, being called Adelphe (Sister), in old egyptian tradition. With her husband she had three children: Ptolemaios (VI.), Cleopatra (II.) and Ptolemaios (VIII.). 180 BC her husband died, making her Queen regent to her young son. She is the first ptolemaic queen to rule without her husband. She had her face put on coins before her son, underlining her power. Cleopatra made peace with the Seleucid Kingdom, as her husband had waged war against her brohter Seleukos shortly before his death. In 176 BC she died and her son and daughter of the same name would follow on the throne.
5. Kleopatra II., die Dreimalige Königin
This Cleopatra has quite a long story, so I will put down the most important points. As said before she is the daughter of Cleopatra I. and Ptolemaios V. In 175 BC, one year after her mother's death, she married her brother Ptolemaios VI. and together they ruled Egypt. 170 BC the 6th Syrian War against the Seleucids broke out and the young pair made their brother, Ptolemaios, their co-ruler. After peace was made with their uncle Antiochus IV., the two co-ruling brothers began to quarrel (once more), forcing the older Ptolemaios to flee. Cleopatra probably went with her brother-husband into exile, with whom she had at least four children, all named Ptolemaios or Cleopatra. 163 BC exiled Ptolemaios accomplished to reinstall himself as king of Egypt with Cleopatra as his queen. They ruled until his death in 145 BC. Shortly after her hand in marriage and the rule over Egypt was offered to her younger exiled brother Ptolemaios VIII., who had ruled over Cyrene the last years. Cleopatra was not happy about that, but a few weeks later her brother took the throne and married her. In 143 BC her new husband had Cleopatra's son and heir to the throne killed. Still she had another son with her brother, who was also called Ptolemaios. A few years later the king took a second wife: Cleopatra (III.), being his own niece as his sister-wife's daughter.
143 v.Chr. ließ ihr neuer Brudergemahl ihren Sohn Ptolemaios aus erster Ehe ermorden. Kleopatra hatte mit Ptolemaios VIII. einen Sohn, der ebenfalls Ptolemaios genannt wurde. Wenige Jahre nach der Heirat, nahm sich ihr Gemahl eine zweite Frau: Kleopatra III., ihre eigene Tochter und somit seine Nichte. Es kam bald zu Spannungen zwischen Mutter und Tochter. Ein Plan ihren Brudergemahl zu stürzen schlug fehl, es kam jedoch trotzdem zum Bürgerkrieg, wo sich Kleopatra am Ende als Siegerin erwies. Sie wurde zur Alleinherrscherin über Ägypten. Der gemeinsame Sohn mit Ptolemaios wurde von diesem umgebracht und ihr zerstückelt zugeschickt. 130 v.Chr. konnte ihr Bruder ein großes Heer aufstellen und gewann die ägyptische Lokalbevölkerung für sich, wogegen sich die vielen Griechen und Juden auf Kleopatras Seite schlugen. 128 v.Chr. war sie jedoch gezwungen zu fliehen, als Ptolemaios fast ganz Ägypten von ihr zurückerobert hatte. Zuflucht fand sie bei ihrem Schwiegersohn Demtrios II. im Seleukidenreich. Als dieser 126 v.Chr. auf Betreiben seiner Frau (Kleopatras zweiter Tochter) ermordet wurde, hätte das ihr Ende sein können. Aber sie söhnte sich mit ihrem Brudergemahl aus und kehrte nach Ägypten zurück, wo sie mit ihm und ihrer Tochter bis 116 v.Chr. zusammen herrschten. Nach dem Tod des Ptolemaios setzte sie sich für ihren älteren Enkel als Thronfolger ein, was ihre Tochter erzürnte, da diese ihren jüngeren Sohn bevorzugte. Zu dritt herrschten sie erneut, jedoch starb Kleopatra bereits ein Jahr später. Es wird gemunkelt, dass ihre Tochter sie ermorden ließ.