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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.

CHAPTER II.

 

 

THE PTOLEMIES.

 

 

The dynasty of the Ptolemies.--The founder.--Philip of 

Macedon.--Alexander.--The intrigue discovered.--Ptolemy 

banished.--Accession of Alexander.--Ptolemy's elevation.--Death of 

Alexander.--Ptolemy becomes King of Egypt.--Character of Ptolemy's 

reign.--The Alexandrian library.--Abdication of Ptolemy.--Ptolemy 

Philadelphus.--Death of Ptolemy.--Subsequent degeneracy of the 

Ptolemies.--Incestuous marriages of the Ptolemy family.--Ptolemy 

Physcon.--Origin of his name.--Circumstances of Physcon's 

accession.--Cleopatra.--Physcon's brutal perfidity.--He marries his 

wife's daughter.--Atrocities of Physcon.--His flight.--Cleopatra assumes 

the government.--Her birth-day.--Barbarity of Physcon.--Grief of 

Cleopatra.--General character of the Ptolemy family.--Lathyrus. 

--Terrible quarrels with his mother.--Cruelties of Cleopatra. 

--Alexander kills her.--Cleopatra a type of the family.--Her 

two daughters.--Unnatural war.--Tryphena's hatred of her sister.--Taking 

of Antioch.--Cleopatra flees to a temple.--Jealousy of Tryphena.--Her 

resentment increases.--Cruel and sacrilegious murder.--The moral 

condition of mankind not degenerating. 

 

 

The founder of the dynasty of the Ptolemies--the ruler into whose hands 

the kingdom of Egypt fell, as has already been stated, at the death of 

Alexander the Great--was a Macedonian general in Alexander's army. The 

circumstances of his birth, and the events which led to his entering 

into the service of Alexander, were somewhat peculiar. His mother, whose 

name was ArsinoŽ, was a personal favorite and companion of Philip, king 

of Macedon, the father of Alexander. Philip at length gave ArsinoŽ in 

marriage to a certain man of his court named Lagus. A very short time 

after the marriage, Ptolemy was born. Philip treated the child with the 

same consideration and favor that he had evinced toward the mother. The 

boy was called the son of Lagus, but his position in the royal court of 

Macedon was as high and honorable, and the attentions which he received 

were as great, as he could have expected to enjoy if he had been in 

reality a son of the king. As he grew up, he attained to official 

stations of considerable responsibility and power. 

 

In the course of time, a certain transaction occurred by means of which 

Ptolemy involved himself in serious difficulty with Philip, though by 

the same means he made Alexander very strongly his friend. There was a 

province of the Persian empire called Caria, situated in the 

southwestern part of Asia Minor. The governor of this province had 

offered his daughter to Philip as the wife of one of his sons named 

Aridaeus, the half brother of Alexander. Alexander's mother, who was not 

the mother of Aridaeus, was jealous of this proposed marriage. She 

thought that it was part of a scheme for bringing Aridaeus forward into 

public notice, and finally making him the heir to Philip's throne; 

whereas she was very earnest that this splendid inheritance should be 

reserved for her own son. Accordingly, she proposed to Alexander that 

they should send a secret embassage to the Persian governor, and 

represent to him that it would be much better, both for him and for his 

daughter, that she should have Alexander instead of Aridaeus for a 

husband, and induce him, if possible, to demand of Philip that he should 

make the change. 

 

Alexander entered readily into this scheme, and various courtiers, 

Ptolemy among the rest, undertook to aid him in the accomplishment of 

it. The embassy was sent. The governor of Caria was very much pleased 

with the change which they proposed to him. In fact, the whole plan 

seemed to be going on very successfully toward its accomplishment, when, 

by some means or other, Philip discovered the intrigue. He went 

immediately into Alexander's apartment, highly excited with resentment 

and anger. He had never intended to make Aridaeus, whose birth on the 

mother's side was obscure and ignoble, the heir to his throne, and he 

reproached Alexander in the bitterest terms for being of so debased and 

degenerate a spirit as to desire to marry the daughter of a Persian 

governor; a man who was, in fact, the mere slave, as he said, of a 

barbarian king. 

 

Alexander's scheme was thus totally defeated; and so displeased was his 

father with the officers who had undertaken to aid him in the execution 

of it, that he banished them all from the kingdom. Ptolemy, in 

consequence of this decree, wandered about an exile from his country for 


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