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conspicuous a position, and to the possession of such unbounded wealth 

and power, expended her royal revenues in plans of personal display, and 

in scenes of festivity, gayety, and enjoyment. She adorned her palaces, 

built magnificent barges for pleasure excursions on the Nile, and 

expended enormous sums for dress, for equipages, and for sumptuous 

entertainments. In fact, so lavish were her expenditures for these and 

similar purposes during the early years of her reign, that she is 

considered as having carried the extravagance of sensual luxury, and 

personal display, and splendor, beyond the limits that had ever before 

or have ever since been attained. 


Whatever of simplicity of character, and of gentleness and kindness of 

spirit she might have possessed in her earlier years, of course 

gradually disappeared under the influences of such a course of life as 

she now was leading. She was beautiful and fascinating still, but she 

began to grow selfish, heartless, and designing. Her little brother,--he 

was but eleven years of age, it will be recollected, when Caesar arranged 

the marriage between them,--was an object of jealousy to her. He was 

now, of course, too young to take any actual share in the exercise of 

the royal power, or to interfere at all in his sister's plans or 

pleasures. But then he was growing older. In a few years he would be 

fifteen,--which was the period of life fixed upon by Caesar's 

arrangements, and, in fact, by the laws and usages of the Egyptian 

kingdom,--when he was to come into possession of power as king, and as 

the husband of Cleopatra. Cleopatra was extremely unwilling that the 

change in her relations to him and to the government, which this period 

was to bring, should take place. Accordingly, just before the time 

arrived, she caused him to be poisoned. His death released her, as she 

had intended, from all restraints, and thereafter she continued to reign 

alone. During the remainder of her life, so far as the enjoyment of 

wealth and power, and of all other elements of external prosperity could 

go, Cleopatra's career was one of uninterrupted success. She had no 

conscientious scruples to interfere with the most full and unrestrained 

indulgence of every propensity of her heart, and the means of indulgence 

were before her in the most unlimited profusion. The only bar to her 

happiness was the impossibility of satisfying the impulses and passions 

of the human soul, when they once break over the bounds which the laws 

both of God and of nature ordain for restraining them. 


In the mean time, while Cleopatra was spending the early years of her 

reign in all this luxury and splendor, Caesar was pursuing his career, as 

the conqueror of the world, in the most successful manner. On the death 

of Pompey, he would naturally have succeeded at once to the enjoyment of 

the supreme power; but his delay in Egypt, and the extent to which it 

was known that he was entangled with Cleopatra, encouraged and 

strengthened his enemies in various parts of the world. In fact, a 

revolt which broke out in Asia Minor, and which it was absolutely 

necessary that he should proceed at once to quell, was the immediate 

cause of his leaving Egypt at last. Other plans for making head against 

Caesar's power were formed in Spain, in Africa, and in Italy. His 

military skill and energy, however, were so great, and the ascendency 

which he exercised over the minds of men by his personal presence was so 

unbounded, and so astonishing, moreover, was the celerity with which he 

moved from continent to continent, and from kingdom to kingdom, that in 

a very short period from the time of his leaving Egypt, he had conducted 

most brilliant and successful campaigns in all the three quarters of the 

world then known, had put down effectually all opposition to his power, 

and then had returned to Rome the acknowledged master of the world. 

Cleopatra, who had, of course, watched his career during all this time 

with great pride and pleasure, concluded, at last, to go to Rome and 

make a visit to him there. 


The people of Rome were, however, not prepared to receive her very 

cordially. It was an age in which vice of every kind was regarded with 

great indulgence, but the moral instincts of mankind were too strong to 

be wholly blinded to the true character of so conspicuous an example of 

wickedness as this. ArsinoŽ was at Rome, too, during this period of 

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