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his character and his story were known among the surrounding nations, he 

was the object of universal obloquy, both on account of his previous 

career of degrading vice, and now, still more, for this ignoble flight 

from the difficulties in which his vices and crimes had involved him. 


He stopped, on the way, at the island of Rhodes. It happened that Cato, 

the great Roman philosopher and general, was at Rhodes at this time. 

Cato was a man of stern, unbending virtue, and of great influence at 

that period in public affairs. Ptolemy sent a messenger to inform Cato 

of his arrival, supposing, of course, that the Roman general would 

hasten, on hearing of the fact, to pay his respects to so great a 

personage as he, a king of Egypt--a Ptolemy--though suffering under a 

temporary reverse of fortune. Cato directed the messenger to reply that, 

so far as he was aware, he had no particular business with Ptolemy. 

"Say, however, to the king," he added, "that, if he has any business 

with me, he may call and see me, if he pleases." 


Ptolemy was obliged to suppress his resentment and submit. He thought it 

very essential to the success of his plans that he should see Cato, and 

secure, if possible, his interest and co-operation; and he consequently 

made preparations for paying, instead of receiving, the visit, intending 

to go in the greatest royal state that he could command. He accordingly 

appeared at Cato's lodgings on the following day, magnificently dressed, 

and accompanied by many attendants. Cato, who was dressed in the 

plainest and most simple manner, and whose apartment was furnished in a 

style corresponding with the severity of his character, did not even 

rise when the king entered the room. He simply pointed with his hand, 

and bade the visitor take a seat. 


Ptolemy began to make a statement of his case, with a view to obtaining 

Cato's influence with the Roman people to induce them to interpose in 

his behalf. Cato, however, far from evincing any disposition to espouse 

his visitor's cause, censured him, in the plainest terms, for having 

abandoned his proper position in his own kingdom, to go and make himself 

a victim and a prey for the insatiable avarice of the Roman leaders. 

"You can do nothing at Rome," he said, "but by the influence of bribes; 

and all the resources of Egypt will not be enough to satisfy the Roman 

greediness for money." He concluded by recommending him to go back to 

Alexandria, and rely for his hopes of extrication from the difficulties 

which surrounded him on the exercise of his own energy and resolution 



Ptolemy was greatly abashed at this rebuff, but, on consultation with 

his attendants and followers, it was decided to be too late now to 

return. The whole party accordingly re-embarked on board their galleys, 

and pursued their way to Rome. 


Ptolemy found, on his arrival at the city, that Caesar was absent in 

Gaul, while Pompey, on the other hand, who had returned victorious from 

his campaigns against Mithradates, was now the great leader of influence 

and power at the Capitol. This change of circumstances was not, however, 

particularly unfavorable; for Ptolemy was on friendly terms with Pompey, 

as he had been with Caesar. He had assisted him in his wars with 

Mithradates by sending him a squadron of horse, in pursuance of his 

policy of cultivating friendly relations with the Roman people by every 

means in his power. Besides, Pompey had received a part of the money 

which Ptolemy had paid to Caesar as the price of the Roman alliance, and 

was to receive his share of the rest in case Ptolemy should ever be 

restored. Pompey was accordingly interested in favoring the royal 

fugitive's cause. He received him in his palace, entertained him in 

magnificent style, and took immediate measures for bringing his cause 

before the Roman Senate, urging upon that body the adoption of immediate 

and vigorous measures for effecting his restoration, as an ally whom 

they were bound to protect against his rebellious subjects. There was at 

first some opposition in the Roman Senate against espousing the cause of 

such a man, but it was soon put down, being overpowered in part by 

Pompey's authority, and in part silenced by Ptolemy's promises and 

bribes. The Senate determined to restore the king to his throne, and 

began to make arrangements for carrying the measure into effect. 


The Roman provinces nearest to Egypt were Cilicia and Syria, countries 

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