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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.

CHAPTER VIII.

 

 

CLEOPATRA A QUEEN.

 

 

The Alexandrine war very short.--Its extent.--Revenues of Egypt.--The 

city repaired.--The library rebuilt.--A new collection of manuscripts.-- 

Luxury and splendor.--Deterioration of Cleopatra's character.--The young 

Ptolemy.--Cleopatra assassinates him.--Career of Caesar.--His rapid 

course of conquest.--Cleopatra determines to go to Rome.--Feelings of 

the Romans.--Caesar's four triumphs.--Nature of triumphal 

processions.--ArsinoŽ.--Sympathy of the Roman people.--Caesar overacts 

his part.--Feasts and festivals.--Riot and debauchery.--Public 

combats.--The artificial lake.--Combat upon it.--Land combats.--The 

people shocked.--Cleopatra's visit.--Caesar's plans for making himself 

king.--Conspiracy against Caesar.--He is assassinated.--ArsinoŽ 

released.--Calpurnia mourns her husband's death.--Calpurnia looks to 

Mark Antony as her protector. 

 

The war by which Caesar reinstated Cleopatra upon the throne was not one 

of very long duration. Caesar arrived in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey about 

the first of August; the war was ended and Cleopatra established in 

secure possession by the end of January; so that the conflict, violent 

as it was while it continued, was very brief, the peaceful and 

commercial pursuits of the Alexandrians having been interrupted by it 

only for a few months. 

 

Nor did either the war itself, or the derangements consequent upon it, 

extend very far into the interior of the country. The city of Alexandria 

itself and the neighboring coasts were the chief scenes of the contest 

until Mithradates arrived at Pelusium. He, it is true, marched across 

the Delta, and the final battle was fought in the interior of the 

country. It was, however, after all, but a very small portion of the 

Egyptian territory that was directly affected by the war. The great mass 

of the people, occupying the rich and fertile tracts which bordered the 

various branches of the Nile, and the long and verdant valley which 

extended so far into the heart of the continent, knew nothing of the 

conflict but by vague and distant rumors. The pursuits of the 

agricultural population went on, all the time, as steadily and 

prosperously as ever; so that when the conflict was ended, and Cleopatra 

entered upon the quiet and peaceful possession of her power, she found 

that the resources of her empire were very little impaired. 

 

She availed herself, accordingly, of the revenues which poured in very 

abundantly upon her, to enter upon a career of the greatest luxury, 

magnificence, and splendor. The injuries which had been done to the 

palaces and other public edifices of Alexandria the fire, and by the 

military operations of the siege, were repaired. The bridges which had 

been down were rebuilt. The canals which had been obstructed were opened 

again. The sea-water was shut off from the palace cisterns; the rubbish 

of demolished houses was removed; the barricades were cleared from the 

streets; and the injuries which the palaces had suffered either from the 

violence of military engines or the rough occupation of the Roman 

soldiery, were repaired. In a word, the city was speedily restored once 

more, so far as was possible, to its former order and beauty. The five 

hundred, thousand manuscripts of the Alexandrian library, which had been 

burned, could not, indeed, be restored; but, in all other respects, the 

city soon resumed in appearance all its former splendor. Even in respect 

to the library, Cleopatra made an effort to retrieve the loss. She 

repaired the ruined buildings, and afterward, in the course of her life, 

she brought together, it was said, in a manner hereafter to be 

described, one or two hundred thousand rolls of manuscripts, as the 

commencement of a new collection. The new library, however, never 

acquired the fame and distinction that had pertained to the old. 

 

The former sovereigns of Egypt, Cleopatra's ancestors, had generally, as 

has already been shown, devoted the immense revenues which they extorted 

from the agriculturalists of the valley of the Nile to purposes of 

ambition. Cleopatra seemed now disposed to expend them in luxury and 

pleasure. They, the Ptolemies, had employed their resources in erecting 

vast structures, or founding magnificent institutions at Alexandria, to 

add to the glory of the city, and to widen and extend their own fame. 

Cleopatra, on the other hand, as was, perhaps, naturally to be expected 

of a young, beautiful, and impulsive woman suddenly raised to so 


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