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Cleopatra’s Secret Drinking Club

cleopatra mark antony drinking club
Cleopatra by Alexandre Cabanel. The Egyptian queen created her own secret drinking club with lover Mark Antony. Credit: Public Domain

Cleopatra was not just a famed Greek queen of Ancient Egypt but was also known for her love of parties. She even created her own secret drinking club.

The famous ancient ruler became well known during her time for her intellect and wit and was often described as incredibly seductive and persuasive. These qualities made her all the more mysterious throughout the centuries.

She is now a popular figure in media, literature, and art, and her enchanting qualities, romantic relationships, and beauty are of particular interest to people.

Perhaps the most surprising fact about Cleopatra, who was a strategic and often cutthroat ruler, is that she was quite the reveler.

Cleopatra maintained a relationship with Roman leader Mark Antony and even gave birth to his twins, Alexander Helios, which means sun, and Cleopatra Selene, which means moon, shortly after Antony returned to Rome in 40 BC.

While Antony was living in Egypt with Cleopatra, despite being married in Rome, the pair would throw parties and were known to appreciate a good drink.

Cleopatra formed a secret drinking club, played pranks

In fact, Cleopatra and Antony created their own secret drinking club called “The Inimitable Livers,” ostensibly as a group to honor the god Dionysus but likely to drink and revel.

In 41 BC, the couple formed the group, which included nightly feasts and debauchery, as well as the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol.

Along with these drinking parties, Antony and Cleopatra were known to roam around the streets of Alexandria, the urban center of ancient Egypt, wearing disguises and pulling pranks on locals.

Cleopatra generally loved joking around and even pranked her Roman lover. According to Pliny the Elder, Cleopatra once bet Antony that she could spend 10,000,000 sesterces, which is likely equivalent to over $10 million today on one dinner alone.

Antony balked at the preposterous idea and agreed to the bet, believing that spending such a massive sum on one dinner was impossible.

Cleopatra and Antony then went to dine together, and the couple was served a completely normal meal which definitely wasn’t worth such a sum.

As the meal was ending, Antony was beginning to believe he had won the bet. Cleopatra, however, called one of her servants over and asked for a cup filled with strong vinegar.

Once the servant brought the vinegar to the queen, Cleopatra removed one of her massive pearl earrings from her ear and dropped the precious earring into the cup.

The pearl, which was worth a huge amount of money, then began to dissolve in the vinegar solution. After it was fully dissolved, Cleopatra drank the solution.

Cleopatra VII Philopater ruled over Ancient Egypt from 51 to 30 BC and was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt. After her death, the Roman Empire took control of the country.

The Ptolemaic Dynasty was formed by Ptolemy I Soter, a Greek general in Alexander the Great’s army, in 305 BC. Although located in Egypt, the dynasty that Ptolemy established remained incredibly Greek.

Cleopatra, a direct descendant of Ptolemy, was the first Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language, as all those before her spoke only Greek. She was also believed to have spoken Ethiopian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Syriac, Median, Parthian, and Latin.

The name Cleopatra comes from the Ancient Greek words κλέος (kléos), meaning “glory,” and πατήρ (pater), meaning “father,” which means “glory of her father.”

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