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ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.
Cleopatra.--Excitement in Alexandria.--Ptolemy restored.--Acquiescence
of the people.--Festivities.--Popularity of Antony.--Antony's
generosity.--Anecdote.--Antony and Cleopatra.--Antony returns to
Rome.--Ptolemy's murders.--Pompey and Caesar.--Close of Ptolemy's
reign.--Settlement of the succession.--Accession of Cleopatra.--She is
married to her brother.--Pothinus, the eunuch.--His character and
government.--Machinations of Pothinus.--Cleopatra is expelled.
--Cleopatra's army.--Approaching contest.--Caesar and Pompey.
--Battle of Pharsalia.--Pompey at Pelusium.--Treachery of
Pothinus.--Caesar's pursuit of Pompey.--His danger.--Caesar at
Alexandria.--Astonishment of the Egyptians.--Caesar presented with
Pompey's head.--Pompey's seal.--Situation of Caesar.--His
demands.--Conduct of Pothinus.--Quarrels--Policy of Pothinus.
--Contentions.--Caesar sends to Syria for additional troops.
At the time when the unnatural quarrel between Cleopatra's father and
her sister was working its way toward its dreadful termination, as
related in the last chapter, she herself was residing at the royal
palace in Alexandria, a blooming and beautiful girl of about fifteen.
Fortunately for her, she was too young to take any active part
personally in the contention. Her two brothers were still younger than
herself. They all three remained, therefore, in the royal palaces, quiet
spectators of the revolution, without being either benefited or injured
by it. It is singular that the name of both the boys was Ptolemy.
The excitement in the city of Alexandria was intense and universal when
the Roman army entered it to reinstate Cleopatra's father upon his
throne. A very large portion of the inhabitants were pleased with having
the former king restored. In fact, it appears, by a retrospect of the
history of kings that when a legitimate hereditary sovereign or dynasty
is deposed and expelled by a rebellious population, no matter how
intolerable may have been the tyranny, or how atrocious the crimes by
which the patience of the subject was exhausted, the lapse of a very few
years is ordinarily sufficient to produce a very general readiness to
acquiesce in a restoration; and in this particular instance there had
been no such superiority in the government of Berenice, during the
period while her power continued, over that of her father, which she had
displaced, as to make this case an exception to the general rule. The
mass of the people, therefore--all those, especially, who had taken no
active part in Berenice's government--were ready to welcome Ptolemy back
to his capital. Those who had taken such a part were all summarily
executed by Ptolemy's orders.
There was, of course, a great excitement throughout the city on the
arrival of the Roman army. All the foreign influence and power which had
been exercised in Egypt thus far, and almost all the officers, whether
civil or military, had been Greek. The coming of the Romans was the
introduction of a new element of interest to add to the endless variety
of excitements which animated the capital.
The restoration of Ptolemy was celebrated with games, spectacles, and
festivities of every kind, and, of course, next to the king himself, the
chief center of interest and attraction in all these public rejoicings
would be the distinguished foreign generals by whose instrumentality the
end had been gained.
Mark Antony was a special object of public regard and admiration at the
time. His eccentric manners, his frank and honest air, his Roman
simplicity of dress and demeanor, made him conspicuous; and his
interposition to save the lives of the captured garrison of Pelusium,
and the interest which he took in rendering such distinguished funeral
honors to the enemy whom his army had slain in battle, impressed the
people with the idea of a certain nobleness and magnanimity in his
character, which, in spite of his faults, made him an object of general
admiration and applause. The very faults of such a man assume often, in
the eyes of the world, the guise and semblance of virtues. For example,
it is related of Antony that, at one time in the course of his life,
having a desire to make a present of some kind to a certain person, in
requital for a favor which he had received from him, he ordered his
treasurer to send a sum of money to his friend--and named for the sum to
be sent an amount considerably greater than was really required under
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