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Cleopatra

What 9 languages could Cleopatra speak?

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01/12/2011

Cleopatra spoke anywhere from 6 to 9 languages, depending on your source. They are Greek, Egyptian, Ethiopian, Trogladytes (cave dwellers) Syriac, Arabian, Parthian, and Aramaic. However, don't become too amazed by this fact. Cleopatra had a facilities for languages, that is true, but all the languages that she supposedly spoke were based on the Egyptian language and some were mere dialects of Egyptian. Remember that for thousands of years Egypt was an empire and the dominate country in the area. Along with their laws, they also imported their language to the conquered people. By the time of Cleopatra, all the native languages in the area were closely related to Egyptian. So it would have been no big deal for someone who knew Egyptian to pick up several other local languages. Businessmen and ships captains were often multilingual. It is said that Cleopatra had difficulty in speaking Latin, which has a different base than the Semitic Egyptian.