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Table of contents
THE VALLEY OF THE NILE.
THE PTOLEMIES.
ALEXANDRIA.
CLEOPATRA'S FATHER.
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.
CLEOPATRA AND Caesar.
THE ALEXANDRINE WAR.
CLEOPATRA A QUEEN.
THE BATTLE OF PHILIPPI.
CLEOPATRA AND ANTONY.
THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM.
THE END OF CLEOPATRA.

most unbounded wealth procure. 

 

There seemed, in fact, to be no bounds to the extravagance and 

infatuation which Antony displayed during the winter in Alexandria. 

Cleopatra devoted herself to him incessantly, day and night, filling up 

every moment of time with some new form of pleasure, in order that he 

might have no time to think of his absent wife, or to listen to the 

reproaches of his conscience. Antony, on his part, surrendered himself a 

willing victim to these wiles, and entered with all his heart into the 

thousand plans of gayety and merry-making which Cleopatra devised. They 

had each a separate establishment in the city, which was maintained at 

an enormous cost, and they made a arrangement by which each was the 

guest of the other on alternate days. These visits were spent in games, 

sports, spectacles, feasting, drinking, and in every species of riot, 

irregularity, and excess. 

 

A curious instance is afforded of the accidental manner in which 

intelligence in respect to the scenes and incidents of private life in 

those ancient days is sometimes obtained, in a circumstance which 

occurred at this time at Antony's court. It seems that there was a young 

medical student at Alexandria that winter, named Philotas, who happened, 

in some way or other, to have formed an acquaintance with one of 

Antony's domestics, a cook. Under the guidance of this cook, Philotas 

went one day into the palace to see what was to be seen. The cook took 

his friend into the kitchens, where, to Philotas's great surprise, he 

saw, among an infinite number and variety of other preparations, eight 

wild boars roasting before the fires, some being more and some less 

advanced in the process. Philotas asked what great company was to dine 

there that day. The cook smiled at this question, and replied that there 

was to be no company at all, other than Antony's ordinary party. "But," 

said the cook, in explanation, "we are obliged always to prepare several 

suppers, and to have them ready in succession at different hours, for no 

one can tell at what time they will order the entertainment to be 

served. Sometimes, when the supper has been actually carried in, Antony 

and Cleopatra will get engaged in some new turn of their diversions, and 

conclude not to sit down just then to the table, and so we have to take 

the supper away, and presently bring in another." 

 

Antony had a son with him at Alexandria at this time, the child of his 

wife Fulvia. The name of the son, as well as that of the father, was 

Antony. He was old enough to feel some sense of shame at his father's 

dereliction from duty, and to manifest some respectful regard for the 

rights and the honor of his mother. Instead of this, however, he 

imitated his father's example, and, in his own way, was as reckless and 

extravagant as he. The same Philotas who is above referred to was, after 

a time, appointed to some office or other in the young Antony's 

household, so that he was accustomed to sit at his table and share in 

his convivial enjoyments. He relates that once, while they were feasting 

together, there was a guest present, a physician, who was a very vain 

and conceited man, and so talkative that no one else had any opportunity 

to speak. All the pleasure of conversation was spoiled by his excessive 

garrulity. Philotas, however, at length puzzled him so completely with a 

question of logic,--of a kind similar to those often discussed with 

great interest in ancient days,--as to silence him for a time; and young 

Antony was so much delighted with this feat, that he gave Philotas all 

the gold and silver plate that there was upon the table, and sent all 

the articles home to him, after the entertainment was over, telling him. 

to put his mark and stamp upon them, and lock them up. 

 

The question with which Philotas puzzled the self-conceited physician 

was this. It must be premised, however, that in those days it was 

considered that cold water in an intermittent fever was extremely 

dangerous, except in some peculiar cases, and in those the effect was 

good. Philotas then argued as follows: "In cases of a certain kind it is 

best to give water to a patient in an ague. All cases of ague are cases 

of a certain kind. Therefore it is best in all cases to give the patient 

water." Philotas having propounded his argument in this way, challenged 

the physician to point out the fallacy of it; and while the physician 

sat perplexed and puzzled in his attempts to unravel the intricacy of 


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