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Table of contents
THE VALLEY OF THE NILE.
THE PTOLEMIES.
ALEXANDRIA.
CLEOPATRA'S FATHER.
ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.
CLEOPATRA AND Caesar.
THE ALEXANDRINE WAR.
CLEOPATRA A QUEEN.
THE BATTLE OF PHILIPPI.
CLEOPATRA AND ANTONY.
THE BATTLE OF ACTIUM.
THE END OF CLEOPATRA.

himself in the city. These two events, the assassination of one of the 

great Roman generals on the eastern extremity of the coast, and the 

arrival of the other, at the same moment, at Alexandria, on the western, 

burst suddenly upon Egypt together, like simultaneous claps of thunder. 

The tidings struck the whole country with astonishment, and immediately 

engrossed universal attention. At the camps both of Cleopatra and 

Ptolemy, at Pelusium, all was excitement and wonder. Instead of thinking 

of a battle, both parties were wholly occupied in speculating on the 

results which were likely to accrue, to one side or to the other, under 

the totally new and unexpected aspect which public affairs had assumed. 

 

Of course the thoughts of all were turned toward Alexandria. Pothinus 

immediately proceeded to the city, taking with him the young king. 

Achillas, too, either accompanied them, or followed soon afterward. They 

carried with them the head of Pompey, which they had cut off on the 

shore where they had killed him, and also a seal which they took from 

his finger. When they arrived at Alexandria, they sent the head, wrapped 

up in a cloth, and also the seal, as presents to Caesar. Accustomed as 

they were to the brutal deeds and heartless cruelties of the Ptolemies, 

they supposed that Caesar would exult at the spectacle of the dissevered 

and ghastly head of his great rival and enemy. Instead of this, he was 

shocked and displeased, and ordered the head to be buried with the most 

solemn and imposing funeral ceremonies. He, however, accepted and kept 

the seal. The device engraved upon it was a lion holding a sword in his 

paw--a fit emblem of the characters of the men, who, though in many 

respects magnanimous and just, had filled the whole world with the 

terror of their quarrels. 

 

The army of Ptolemy, while he himself and his immediate counselors went 

to Alexandria, was left at Pelusium, under the command of other 

officers, to watch Cleopatra. Cleopatra herself would have been pleased, 

also, to repair to Alexandria and appeal to Caesar, if it had been in her 

power to do so; but she was beyond the confines of the country, with a 

powerful army of her enemies ready to intercept her on any attempt to 

enter or pass through it. She remained, therefore, at Pelusium, 

uncertain what to do. 

 

In the mean time, Caesar soon found himself in a somewhat embarrassing 

situation at Alexandria. He had been accustomed, for many years, to the 

possession and the exercise of the most absolute and despotic power, 

wherever he might be; and now that Pompey, his great rival, was dead, he 

considered himself the monarch and master of the world. He had not, 

however, at Alexandria, any means sufficient to maintain and enforce 

such pretensions, and yet he was not of a spirit to abate, on that 

account, in the slightest degree, the advancing of them. He established 

himself in the palaces of Alexandria as if he were himself the king. He 

moved, in state, through the streets of the city, at the head of his 

guards, and displaying the customary emblems of supreme authority used 

at Rome. He claimed the six thousand talents which Ptolemy Auletes had 

formerly promised him for procuring a treaty of alliance with Rome, and 

he called upon Pothinus to pay the balance due. He said, moreover, that 

by the will of Auletes the Roman people had been made the executor; and 

that it devolved upon him as the Roman consul, and, consequently, the 

representative of the Roman people, to assume that trust, and in the 

discharge of it to settle the dispute between Ptolemy and Cleopatra, and 

he called upon Ptolemy to prepare and lay before him a statement of his 

claims, and the grounds on which he maintained his right to the throne 

to the exclusion of Cleopatra. 

 

On the other hand, Pothinus, who had been as little accustomed to 

acknowledge a superior as Caesar, though his supremacy and domination had 

been exercised on a somewhat humbler scale, was obstinate and 

pertinacious in resisting all these demands, though the means and 

methods which he resorted to were of a character corresponding to his 

weak and ignoble mind. He fomented quarrels in the streets between the 

Alexandrian populace and Caesar's soldiers. He thought that, as the 

number of troops under Caesar's command in the city, and of vessels in 

the port, was small, he could tease and worry the Romans with impunity, 

though he had not the courage openly to attack them. He pretended to be 


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