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THE ALEXANDRINE WAR.
The Alexandrine war.--Forces of Caesar.--The Egyptian army.--Fugitive
slaves.--Dangerous situation of Caesar.--Presence of Caesar.--Influence of
Cleopatra.--First measures of Caesar.--Caesar's stores.--Military
engines.--The mole.--View of Alexandria.--Necessity of taking possession
of the mole.--Egyptian fleet.--Caesar burns the shipping.--The fort
taken.--Burning of Alexandria.--Achillas beheaded.--Plans of
Ganymede.--His vigorous measures.--Messengers of Ganymede.--Their
instructions.--Ganymede cuts off Caesar's supply of water.--Panic of the
soldiers.--Caesar's wells.--Arrival of the transports.--The transports in
distress.--Lowness of the coast.--A combat.--Caesar successful.
--Ganymede equips a fleet.--A naval conflict.--Caesar in danger.
--Another victory.--The Egyptians discouraged.--Secret messengers.
--Dissimulation of Ptolemy--Arrival of Mithradates.--Defeat of Ptolemy.
--Terror and confusion.--Death of Ptolemy.--Cleopatra queen.--General
disapprobation of Caesar's course.--Cleopatra's son Caesarion.--Public
opinion of her conduct.--Caesar departs for Rome.--He takes ArsinoŽ with
The war which ensued as the result of the intrigues and maneuvers
described in the last chapter is known in the history of Rome and Julius
Caesar as the Alexandrine war. The events which occurred during the
progress of it, and its termination at last in the triumph of Caesar and
Cleopatra, will form the subject of this chapter.
Achillas had greatly the advantage over Caesar at the outset of the
contest, in respect to the strength of the forces under his command.
Caesar, in fact, had with him only a detachment of three or four thousand
men, a small body of troops which he had hastily put on board a little
squadron of Rhodian galleys for pursuing Pompey across the
Mediterranean. When he set sail from the European shores with this
inconsiderable fleet, it is probable that he had no expectation even of
landing in Egypt at all, and much less of being involved in great
military undertakings there. Achillas, on the other hand, was at the
head of a force of twenty-thousand effective men. His troops were, it is
true, of a somewhat miscellaneous character, but they were all veteran
soldiers, inured to the climate of Egypt, and skilled in all the modes
of warfare which were suited to the character of the country. Some of
them were Roman soldiers, men who had come with the army of Mark Antony
from Syria when Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra's father, was reinstated on
the throne, and had been left in Egypt, in Ptolemy's service, when
Antony returned to Rome. Some were native Egyptians. There was also in
the army of Achillas a large number of fugitive slaves,--refugees who
had made their escape from various points along the shores of the
Mediterranean, at different periods, and had been from time to time
incorporated into the Egyptian army. These fugitives were all men of the
most determined and desperate character.
Achillas had also in his command a force of two thousand horse. Such a
body of cavalry made him, of course, perfect master of all the open
country outside the city walls. At the head of these troops Achillas
gradually advanced to the very gates of Alexandria, invested the city on
every side, and shut Caesar closely in.
The danger of the situation in which Caesar was placed was extreme; but
he had been so accustomed to succeed in extricating himself from the
most imminent perils, that neither he himself nor his army seem to have
experienced any concern in respect to the result. Caesar personally felt
a special pride and pleasure in encountering the difficulties and
dangers which now beset him, because Cleopatra was with him to witness
his demeanor, to admire his energy and courage, and to reward by her
love the efforts and sacrifices which he was making in espousing her
cause. She confided every thing to him, but she watched all the
proceedings with the most eager interest, elated with hope in respect to
the result, and proud of the champion who had thus volunteered to defend
her. In a word, her heart was full of gratitude, admiration, and love.
The immediate effect, too, of the emotions which she felt so strongly
was greatly to heighten her natural charms. The native force and energy
of her character were softened and subdued. Her voice, which always
possessed a certain inexpressible charm, was endued with new sweetness
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