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alliance. Pompey was absent in Asia Minor, being engaged in prosecuting 

a war with Mithradates, a very powerful monarch, who was at that time 

resisting the Roman power. Caesar was very deeply involved in debt, and 

was, moreover, very much in need of money, not only for relief from 

existing embarrassments, but as a means of subsequent expenditure, to 

enable him to accomplish certain great political schemes which he was 

entertaining. After many negotiations and delays, it was agreed that 

Caesar would exert his influence to secure an alliance between the Roman 

people and Ptolemy, on condition that Ptolemy paid him the sum of six 

thousand talents, equal to about six millions of dollars. A part of the 

money, Caesar said, was for Pompey. 


The title of ally was conferred, and Ptolemy undertook to raise the 

money which he had promised by increasing the taxes of his kingdom. The 

measures, however, which he thus adopted for the purpose of making 

himself the more secure in his possession of the throne, proved to be 

the means of overthrowing him. The discontent and disaffection of his 

people, which had been strong and universal before, though suppressed 

and concealed, broke out now into open violence. That there should be 

laid upon them, in addition to all their other burdens, these new 

oppressions, heavier than those which they had endured before, and 

exacted for such a purpose too, was not to be endured. To be compelled 

to see their country sold on any terms to the Roman people was 

sufficiently hard to bear; but to be forced to raise, themselves, and 

pay the price of the transfer, was absolutely intolerable. Alexandria 

commenced a revolt. Ptolemy was not a man to act decidedly against such 

a demonstration, or, in fact, to evince either calmness or courage in 

any emergency whatever. His first thought was to escape from Alexandria 

to save his life. His second, to make the best of his way to Rome, to 

call upon the Roman people to come to the succor of their ally! 


Ptolemy left five children behind him in his flight The eldest was the 

Princess Berenice, who had already reached maturity. The second was the 

great Cleopatra, the subject of this history. Cleopatra was, at this 

time, about eleven years old. There were also two sons, but they were 

very young. One of them was named Ptolemy. 


The Alexandrians determined on raising Berenice to the throne in her 

father's place, as soon as his flight was known. They thought that the 

sons were too young to attempt to reign in such an emergency, as it was 

very probable that Auletes, the father, would attempt to recover his 

kingdom. Berenice very readily accepted the honor and power which were 

offered to her. She established herself in her father's palace, and 

began her reign in great magnificence and splendor. In process of time 

she thought that her position would be strengthened by a marriage with a 

royal prince from some neighboring realm. She first sent embassadors to 

make proposals to a prince of Syria named Antiochus. The embassadors 

came back, bringing word that Antiochus was dead, but that he had a 

brother named Seleucus, upon whom the succession fell. Berenice then 

sent them back to make the same offers to him. He accepted the 

proposals, came to Egypt, and he and Berenice were married. After trying 

him for a while, Berenice found that, for some reason or other, she did 

not like him as a husband, and, accordingly she caused him to be 



At length, after various other intrigues and much secret management, 

Berenice succeeded in a second negotiation, and married a prince, or a 

pretended prince, from some country of Asia Minor, whose name was 

Archelaus. She was better pleased with this second husband than she had 

been with the first, and she began, at last, to feel somewhat settled 

and established on her throne, and to be prepared, as she thought, to 

offer effectual resistance to her father in case he should ever attempt 

to return. 


It was in the midst of the scenes, and surrounded by the influences 

which might be expected to prevail in the families of such a father and 

such a sister, that Cleopatra spent those years of life in which the 

character is formed. During all these revolutions, and exposed to all 

these exhibitions of licentious wickedness, and of unnatural cruelty and 

crime, she was growing up in the royal palaces a spirited and beautiful, 

but indulged and neglected child. 


In the mean time, Auletes, the father, went on toward Rome. So far as 

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