Ptolemaic pharaohs were crowned by the Egyptian High Priest of Ptah at Memphis, Egypt, but resided in the multicultural and largely Greek city of Alexandria, established by Alexander the Great of Macedon.
She also spoke Ethiopian, Trogodyte, Hebrew (or Aramaic), Arabic, the Syrian language (perhaps Syriac), Median, Parthian, and Latin, although her Roman contemporaries would have preferred to speak with her in her native Koine Greek.
In 58 BC Cleopatra presumably accompanied her father Ptolemy XII during his exile to Rome, after a revolt in Egypt allowed his eldest daughter Berenice IV to claim the throne.
The latter was killed in 55 BC when Ptolemy XII returned to Egypt with Roman military assistance.
Octavian's forces invaded Egypt in 30 BC and defeated those of Antony, leading to his suicide.
When Cleopatra learned that Octavian planned to bring her to Rome for his triumphal procession, she committed suicide by poisoning, the popular belief being that she was bitten by an asp.
The latter produced a generally polemic and negative view of the queen that pervaded later Medieval and Renaissance literature.
Ptolemy XII responded to the threat of possible annexation by offering remuneration and lavish gifts to powerful Roman statesmen, such as Pompey during his campaign against Mithridates VI of Pontus, and eventually Julius Caesar after he became Roman consul in 59 BC.
After engaging in a war of propaganda, Octavian forced Antony's allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC and declared war on Cleopatra.
The naval fleet of Antony and Cleopatra was defeated at the 31 BC Battle of Actium by Octavian's general Agrippa.
When Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC Cleopatra attempted to have Caesarion named as his heir, but this fell instead to Caesar's grandnephew Octavian (known as Augustus by 27 BC, when he became the first Roman emperor).
Cleopatra then had Ptolemy XIV killed and elevated her son Caesarion as co-ruler.