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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.

compassion restrained their hands. At any rate, though both the men were 

desperately wounded, one only died. The other lived and recovered. 

 

Achillas continued to advance toward the city. Caesar, finding that the 

crisis which was approaching was becoming very serious in its character, 

took, himself, the whole command within the capital, and began to make 

the best arrangements possible under the circumstances of the case to 

defend himself there. His numbers were altogether too small to defend 

the whole city against the overwhelming force which was advancing to 

assail it. He accordingly intrenched his troops in the palaces and in 

the citadel, and in such other parts of the city as it seemed 

practicable to defend. He barricaded all the streets and avenues leading 

to these points, and fortified the gates. Nor did he, while thus doing 

all in his power to employ the insufficient means of defense already in 

his hands to the best advantage, neglect the proper exertions for 

obtaining succor from abroad. He sent off galleys to Syria, to Cyprus, 

to Rhodes, and to every other point accessible from Alexandria where 

Roman troops might be expected to be found, urging the authorities there 

to forward re-enforcements to him with the utmost possible dispatch. 

 

During all this time Cleopatra and Ptolemy remained in the palace with 

Caesar, both ostensibly co-operating with him in his councils and 

measures for defending the city from Achillas. Cleopatra, of course, was 

sincere and in earnest in this co-operation; but Ptolemy's adhesion to 

the common cause was very little to be relied upon. Although, situated 

as he was, he was compelled to seem to be on Caesar's side, he must have 

secretly desired that Achillas should succeed and Caesar's plans be 

overthrown. Pothinus was more active, though not less cautious in his 

hostility to them. He opened secret communication with Achillas, sending 

him information, from time to time, of what took place within the walls, 

and of the arrangements made there for the defense of the city against 

him, and gave him also directions how to proceed. He was very wary and 

sagacious in all these movements, feigning all the time to be on Caesar's 

side. He pretended to be very zealously employed in aiding Caesar to 

secure more effectually the various points where attacks were to be 

expected, and in maturing and completing the arrangements for defense. 

 

But, notwithstanding all his cunning, he was detected in his double 

dealing, and his career was suddenly brought to a close, before the 

great final conflict came on. There was a barber in Caesar's household, 

who, for some cause or other, began to suspect Pothinus; and, having 

little else to do, he employed himself in watching the eunuch's 

movements and reporting them to Caesar. Caesar directed the barber to 

continue his observations. He did so; his suspicions were soon 

confirmed, and at length a letter, which Pothinus had written to 

Achillas, was intercepted and brought to Caesar. This furnished the 

necessary proof of what they called his guilt, and Caesar ordered him to 

be beheaded. 

 

This circumstance produced, of course, a great excitement within the 

palace, for Pothinus had been for many years the great ruling minister 

of state,--the king, in fact, in all but in name. His execution alarmed 

a great many others, who, though in Caesar's power, were secretly wishing 

that Achillas might prevail. Among those most disturbed by these fears 

was a man named Ganymede. He was the officer who had charge of ArsinoŽ, 

Cleopatra's sister. The arrangement which Caesar had proposed for 

establishing her in conjunction with her brother Ptolemy over the island 

of Cyprus had not gone into effect; for, immediately after the decision 

of Caesar, the attention of all concerned had been wholly engrossed by 

the tidings of the advance of the army, and by the busy preparations 

which were required on all hands for the impending contest. ArsinoŽ, 

therefore, with her governor Ganymede, remained in the palace. Ganymede 

had joined Pothinus in his plots; and when Pothinus was beheaded, he 

concluded that it would be safest for him to fly. 

 

He accordingly resolved to make his escape from the city, taking ArsinoŽ 

with him. It was a very hazardous attempt but he succeeded in 

accomplishing it. ArsinoŽ was very willing to go, for she was now 

beginning to be old enough to feel the impulse of that insatiable and 

reckless ambition which seemed to form such an essential element in the 


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