|• Main||• Contacts|
to judge between Cleopatra and Ptolemy as their superior, but only in
the performance of the duty solemnly assigned by Ptolemy Auletes, the
father, to the Roman people, whose representative he was. Other than
this he claimed no jurisdiction in the case; and his only wish, in the
discharge of the duty which devolved upon him to consider the cause, was
to settle the question in a manner just and equitable to all the parties
concerned, and thus arrest the progress of the civil war, which, if not
arrested, threatened to involve the country in the most terrible
calamities. He counseled them, therefore, to disperse, and no longer
disturb the peace of the city. He would immediately take measures for
trying the question between Cleopatra and Ptolemy, and he did not doubt,
but that they would all be satisfied with his decision.
This speech, made, as it was, in the eloquent and persuasive, and yet
dignified and imposing manner for which Caesar's harangues to turbulent
assemblies like these were so famed, produced a great effect. Some were
convinced, others were silenced; and those whose resentment and anger
were not appeased, found themselves deprived of their power by the
pacification of the rest. The mob was dispersed, and Ptolemy remained
with Cleopatra in Caesar's custody.
The next day, Caesar, according to his promise, convened an assembly of
the principal people of Alexandria and officers of state, and then
brought out Ptolemy and Cleopatra, that he might decide their cause. The
original will which Ptolemy Auletes had executed had been deposited in
the public archives of Alexandria, and carefully preserved there. An
authentic copy of it had been sent to Rome. Caesar caused the original
will to be brought out and read to the assembly. The provisions of it
were perfectly explicit and clear. It required that Cleopatra and
Ptolemy should be married, and then settled the sovereign power upon
them jointly, as king and queen. It recognized the Roman commonwealth as
the ally of Egypt, and constituted the Roman government the executor of
the will, and the guardian of the king and queen. In fact, so clear and
explicit was this document, that the simple reading of it seemed to be
of itself a decision of the question. When, therefore, Caesar announced
that, in his judgment, Cleopatra was entitled to share the supreme power
with Ptolemy, and that it was his duty, as the representative of the
Roman power and the executor of the will, to protect both the king and
the queen in their respective rights, there seemed to be nothing that
could be said against his decision.
Besides Cleopatra and Ptolemy, there were two other children of Ptolemy
Auletes in the royal family at this time. One was a girl, named ArsinoŽ.
The other, a boy, was, singularly enough, named, like his brother,
Ptolemy. These children were quite young, but Caesar thought that it
would perhaps gratify the Alexandrians, and lead them to acquiesce more
readily in his decision, if he were to make some royal provision for
them. He accordingly proposed to assign the island of Cyprus as a realm
for them. This was literally a gift, for Cyprus was at this time a Roman
The whole assembly seemed satisfied with this decision except Pothinus.
He had been so determined and inveterate an enemy to Cleopatra, that, as
he was well aware, her restoration must end in his downfall and ruin. He
went away from the assembly moodily determining that he would not submit
to the decision, but would immediately adopt efficient measures to
prevent its being carried into effect.
Caesar made arrangements for a series of festivals and celebrations, to
commemorate and confirm the reestablishment of a good understanding
between the king and the queen, and the consequent termination of the
war. Such celebrations, he judged, would have great influence in
removing any remaining animosities from the minds of the people, and
restore the dominion of a kind and friendly feeling throughout the city.
The people fell in with these measures, and cordially co-operated to
give them effect; but Pothinus and Achillas, though they suppressed all
outward expressions of discontent, made incessant efforts in secret to
organize a party, and to form plans for overthrowing the influence of
Caesar, and making Ptolemy again the sole and exclusive sovereign.
Pothinus represented to all whom he could induce to listen to him that
Page 4 from 7: Back 1 2 3  5 6 7 Forward