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itself, to the Roman Senate. The Senate accepted the appointment, and 

appointed Pompey as the agent, on their part, to perform the duties of 

the trust. The attention of Pompey was, immediately after that time, too 

much engrossed by the civil war waged between himself, and Caesar, to 

take any active steps in respect to the duties of his appointment. It 

seemed, however, that none were necessary, for all parties in Alexandria 

appeared disposed, after the death of the king, to acquiesce in the 

arrangements which he had made, and to join in carrying them into 

effect. Cleopatra was married to her brother--yet, it is true, only a 

boy. He was about ten years old. She was herself about eighteen. They 

were both too young to govern; they could only reign. The affairs of the 

kingdom were, accordingly, conducted by two ministers whom their father 

had designated. These ministers were Pothinus, a eunuch, who was a sort 

of secretary of state, and Achillas, the commander-in-chief of the 



Thus, though Cleopatra, by these events, became nominally a queen, her 

real accession to the throne was not yet accomplished. There were still 

many difficulties and dangers to be passed through, before the period 

arrived when she became really a sovereign. She did not, herself, make 

any immediate attempt to hasten this period, but seems to have 

acquiesced, on the other hand, very quietly, for a time, in the 

arrangements which her father had made. 


Pothinus was a eunuch. He had been, for a long time, an officer of 

government under Ptolemy, the father. He was a proud, ambitious, and 

domineering man, determined to rule, and very unscrupulous in respect to 

the means which he adopted to accomplish his ends. He had been 

accustomed to regard Cleopatra as a mere child. Now that she was queen, 

he was very unwilling that the real power should pass into her hands. 

The jealousy and ill will which he felt toward her increased rapidly as 

he found, in the course of the first two or three years after her 

father's death, that she was advancing rapidly in strength of character, 

and in the influence and ascendency which she was acquiring over all 

around her. Her beauty, her accomplishments, and a certain indescribable 

charm which pervaded all her demeanor, combined to give her great 

personal power. But, while these things awakened in other minds feelings 

of interest in Cleopatra and attachment to her, they only increased the 

jealousy and envy of Pothinus. Cleopatra was becoming his rival. He 

endeavored to thwart and circumvent her. He acted toward her in a 

haughty and overbearing manner, in order to keep her down to what he 

considered her proper place as his ward; for he was yet the guardian 

both of Cleopatra and her husband, and the regent of the realm. 


Cleopatra had a great deal of what is sometimes called spirit, and her 

resentment was aroused by this treatment. Pothinus took pains to enlist 

her young husband, Ptolemy, on his side, as the quarrel advanced. 

Ptolemy was younger, and of a character much less marked and decided 

than Cleopatra. Pothinus saw that he could maintain control over him 

much more easily and for a much longer time than over Cleopatra. He 

contrived to awaken the young Ptolemy's jealousy of his wife's rising 

influence, and to induce him to join in efforts to thwart and counteract 

it. These attempts to turn her husband against her only aroused 

Cleopatra's resentment the more. Hers was not a spirit to be coerced. 

The palace was filled with the dissensions of the rivals. Pothinus and 

Ptolemy began to take measures for securing the army on their side. An 

open rupture finally ensued, and Cleopatra was expelled from the 



She went to Syria. Syria was the nearest place of refuge, and then, 

besides, it was the country from which the aid had been furnished by 

which her father had been restored to the throne when he had been 

expelled, in a similar manner, many years before. Her father, it is 

true, had gone first to Rome; but the succors which he had negotiated 

for had been sent from Syria. Cleopatra hoped to obtain the same 

assistance by going directly there. 


Nor was she disappointed. She obtained an army, and commenced her march 

toward Egypt, following the same track which Antony and Gabinius had 

pursued in coming to reinstate her father. Pothinus raised an army and 

went forth to meet her. He took Achillas as the commander of the troops, 

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