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sending an armed force into Egypt under leaders of their own. _That_ 

they could certainly do; and then, when the rebellion was suppressed, 

and Berenice's government overthrown, they could invite Ptolemy to 

return to his kingdom and resume his crown in a peaceful manner. This, 

they alleged, would not be "furnishing him with troops," and, of course 

would not be disobeying the oracle. 


These attempts to evade the direction of the oracle on the part of 

Ptolemy's friends, only made the debates and dissensions between them 

and his enemies more violent than ever. Pompey made every effort in his 

power to aid Ptolemy's cause; but Lentulus, after long hesitation and 

delay, decided that it would not be safe for him to embark in it. At 

length, however, Gabinius, the lieutenant who commanded in Syria, was 

induced to undertake the enterprise. On certain promises which he 

received from Ptolemy, to be performed in case he succeeded, and with a 

certain encouragement, not very legal or regular, which Pompey gave him, 

in respect to the employment of the Roman troops under his command, he 

resolved to march to Egypt. His route, of course, would lie along the 

shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and through the desert, to Pelusium, 

which has already been mentioned as the frontier town on this side of 

Egypt. From Pelusium he was to march through the heart of the Delta to 

Alexandria, and, if successful in his invasion, overthrow the government 

of Berenice and Archelaus, and then, inviting Ptolemy to return, 

reinstate him on the throne. 


In the prosecution of this dangerous enterprise, Gabinius relied 

strongly on the assistance of a very remarkable man, then his second in 

command, who afterward acted a very important part in the subsequent 

history of Cleopatra. His name was Mark Antony. Antony was born in Rome, 

of a very distinguished family, but his father died when he was very 

young, and being left subsequently much to himself, he became a very 

wild and dissolute young man. He wasted the property which his father 

had left him in folly and vice; and then going on desperately in the 

same career, he soon incurred enormous debts, and involved himself, in 

consequence, in inextricable difficulties. His creditors continually 

harassed him with importunities for money, and with suits at law to 

compel payments which he had no means of making. He was likewise 

incessantly pursued by the hostility of the many enemies that he had 

made in the city by his violence and his crimes. At length he absconded, 

and went to Greece. 


Here Gabinius, when on his way to Syria, met him, and invited him to 

join his army rather than to remain where he was in idleness and 

destitution. Antony, who was as proud and lofty in spirit as he was 

degraded in morals and condition, refused to do this unless Gabinius 

would give him a command. Gabinius saw in the daring and reckless energy 

which Antony manifested the indications of the class of qualities which 

in those days made a successful soldier, and acceded to his terms. He 

gave him the command of his cavalry. Antony distinguished himself in the 

Syrian campaigns that followed, and was now full of eagerness to engage 

in this Egyptian enterprise. In fact, it was mainly his zeal and 

enthusiasm to embark in the undertaking which was the means of deciding 

Gabinius to consent to Ptolemy's proposals. 


The danger and difficulty which they considered as most to be 

apprehended in the whole expedition was the getting across the desert to 

Pelusium. In fact, the great protection of Egypt had always been her 

isolation. The trackless and desolate sands, being wholly destitute of 

water, and utterly void, could be traversed, even by a caravan of 

peaceful travelers, only with great difficulty and danger. For an army 

to attempt to cross them, exposed, as the troops would necessarily be, 

to the assaults of enemies who might advance to meet them on the way, 

and sure of encountering a terrible opposition from fresh and vigorous 

bands when they should arrive--wayworn and exhausted by the physical 

hardships of the way--at the borders of the inhabited country, was a 

desperate undertaking. Many instances occurred in ancient times in which 

vast bodies of troops, in attempting marches over the deserts by which 

Egypt was surrounded, were wholly destroyed by famine or thirst, or 

overwhelmed by storms of sand. 


These difficulties and dangers, however, did not at all intimidate Mark 

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