Main  Contacts  
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 IV.

 

 

CLEOPATRA'S FATHER.

 

 

Rome the rival of Alexandria.--Extent of their rule.--Extension of the 

Roman empire.--Cleopatra's father.--Ptolemy's ignoble birth.--Caesar and 

Pompey.--Ptolemy purchases the alliance of Rome.--Taxes to raise the 

money.--Revolt at Alexandria.--Ptolemy's flight.--Berenice.--Her 

marriage with Seleucus.--Cleopatra's early life.--Ptolemy an object of 

contempt.--Ptolemy's interview with Cato.--Character of 

Cato.--Ptolemy's reception.--Cato's advice to him.--Ptolemy arrives at 

Rome.--His application to Pompey.--Action of the Roman senate.--Plans 

for restoring Ptolemy.--Measures of Berenice.--Her embassage to 

Rome.--Ptolemy's treachery.--Its consequences.--Opposition to 

Ptolemy.--The prophecy.--Attempts to evade the oracle.--Gabinius 

undertakes the cause.--Mark Antony.--His history and character.--Antony 

in Greece.--He joins Gabinius.--Danger of crossing the deserts.--Armies 

destroyed.--Mark Antony's character.--His personal appearance.--March 

across the desert.--Pelusium taken.--March across the Delta.--Success 

of the Romans.--Berenice a prisoner.--Fate of Archelaus.--Grief of 

Antony.--Unnatural joy of Ptolemy. 

 

When the time was approaching in which Cleopatra appeared upon the 

stage, Rome was perhaps the only city that could be considered as the 

rival of Alexandria, in the estimation of mankind, in respect to 

interest and attractiveness as a capital. In one respect, Rome was 

vastly superior to the Egyptian metropolis, and that was in the 

magnitude and extent of the military power which it wielded among the 

nations of the earth. Alexandria ruled over Egypt, and over a few of the 

neighboring coasts and islands; but in the course of the three centuries 

during which she had been acquiring her greatness and fame, the Roman 

empire had extended itself over almost the whole civilized world. Egypt 

had been, thus far, too remote to be directly reached; but the affairs 

of Egypt itself became involved at length with the operations of the 

Roman power, about the time of Cleopatra's birth, in a very striking and 

peculiar manner; and as the consequences of the transaction were the 

means of turning the whole course of the queen's subsequent history, a 

narration of it is necessary to a proper understanding of the 

circumstances under which she commenced her career. In fact, it was the 

extension of the Roman empire to the limits of Egypt, and the 

connections which thence arose between the leading Roman generals and 

the Egyptian sovereign, which have made the story of this particular 

queen so much more conspicuous, as an object of interest and attention 

to mankind, than that of any other one of the ten Cleopatras who rose 

successively in the same royal line. 

 

Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra's father, was perhaps, in personal character, 

the most dissipated, degraded, and corrupt of all the sovereigns in the 

dynasty. He spent his whole time in vice and debauchery. The only honest 

accomplishment that he seemed to possess was his skill in playing upon 

the flute; of this he was very vain. He instituted musical contests, in 

which the musical performers of Alexandria played for prizes and crowns; 

and he himself was accustomed to enter the lists with the rest as a 

competitor. The people of Alexandria, and the world in general, 

considered such pursuits as these wholly unworthy the attention of the 

representative of so illustrious a line of sovereigns, and the 

abhorrence which they felt for the monarch's vices and crimes was 

mingled with a feeling of contempt for the meanness of his ambition. 

 

There was a doubt in respect to his title to the crown, for his birth, 

on the mother's side, was irregular and ignoble. Instead, however, of 

attempting to confirm and secure his possession of power by a vigorous 

and prosperous administration of the government, he wholly abandoned all 

concern in respect to the course of public affairs; and then, to guard 

against the danger of being deposed, he conceived the plan of getting 

himself recognized at Rome as one of the allies of the Roman people. If 

this were once done, he supposed that the Roman government would feel 

under an obligation to sustain him on his throne in the event of any 

threatened danger. 

 

The Roman government was a sort of republic, and the two most powerful 

men in the state at this time were Pompey and Caesar. Caesar was in the 

ascendency at Rome at the time that Ptolemy made his application for an 


Page 1 from 7: [1]  2   3   4   5   6   7   Forward