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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.

after this he expired. 

 

In the mean time, Octavius had heard of the mortal wound which Antony 

had given himself; for one of the by-standers had seized the sword the 

moment that the deed was done, and had hastened to carry it to Octavius, 

and to announce to him the death of his enemy. Octavius immediately 

desired to get Cleopatra into his power. He sent a messenger, therefore, 

to the tomb, who attempted to open a parley there with her. Cleopatra 

talked with the messenger through the keyholes or crevices, but could 

not be induced to open the door. The messenger reported these facts to 

Octavius. Octavius then sent another man with the messenger, and while 

one was engaging the attention of Cleopatra and her women at the door 

below, the other obtained ladders, and succeeded in gaining admission 

into the window above. Cleopatra was warned of the success of this 

stratagem by the shrieks of her women, who saw the officer coming down 

the stairs. She looked around, and observing at a glance that she was 

betrayed, and that the officer was coming to seize her, she drew a 

little dagger from her robe, and was about to plunge it into her breast, 

when the officer grasped her arm just in time to prevent the blow. He 

took the dagger from her, and then examined her clothes to see that 

there were no other secret weapons concealed there. 

 

The capture of the queen being reported to Octavius, he appointed an 

officer to take her into close custody. This officer was charged to 

treat her with all possible courtesy, but to keep a close and constant 

watch over her, and particularly to guard against allowing her any 

possible means or opportunity for self-destruction. 

 

In the mean time, Octavius took formal possession of the city, marching 

in at the head of his troops with the most imposing pomp and parade. A 

chair of state, magnificently decorated, was set up for him on a high 

elevation in a public square; and here he sat, with circles of guards 

around him, while the people of the city, assembled before him in the 

dress of suppliants, and kneeling upon the pavement, begged his 

forgiveness, and implore him to spare the city. These petitions the 

great conqueror graciously condescended to grant. 

 

Many of the princes and generals who had served under Antony came next 

to beg the body of their commander, that they might give it an honorable 

burial. These requests, however, Octavius would not accede to, saying 

that he could not take the body away from Cleopatra. He, however, gave 

Cleopatra leave to make such arrangements for the obsequies as she 

thought fit, and allowed her to appropriate such sums of money from her 

treasures for this purpose as she desired. Cleopatra accordingly made 

the necessary arrangements, and superintended the execution of them; 

not, however, with any degree of calmness and composure, but in a state, 

on the contrary, of extreme agitation and distress. In fact, she had 

been living now so long under the unlimited and unrestrained dominion of 

caprice and passion, that reason was pretty effectually dethroned, and 

all self-control was gone. She was now nearly forty years of age, and, 

though traces of her inexpressible beauty remained, her bloom was faded, 

and her countenance was wan with the effects of weeping, anxiety, and 

despair. She was, in a word, both in body and mind, only the wreck and 

ruin of what she once had been. 

 

When the burial ceremonies were performed, and she found that all was 

over--that Antony was forever gone, and she herself hopelessly and 

irremediably ruined--she gave herself up to a perfect frensy of grief. 

She beat her breast, and scratched and tore her flesh so dreadfully, in 

the vain efforts which she made to kill herself, in the paroxysms of her 

despair, that she was soon covered with contusions and wounds, which, 

becoming inflamed and swelled, made her a shocking spectacle to see, and 

threw her into a fever. She then conceived the idea of pretending to be 

more sick than she was, and so refusing food and starving herself to 

death. She attempted to execute this design. She rejected every medical 

remedy that was offered her, and would not eat, and lived thus some days 

without food. Octavius, to whom every thing relating to his captive was 

minutely reported by her attendants, suspected her design. He was very 

unwilling that she should die, having set his heart on exhibiting her to 

the Roman people, on his return to the capital, in his triumphal 


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