Cleopatra eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Cleopatra.

Notwithstanding the specimens that we have thus given of the character and action of this extraordinary family, the government of this dynasty, extending, as it did, through the reigns of thirteen sovereigns and over a period of nearly three hundred years, has always been considered one of the most liberal, enlightened, and prosperous of all the governments of ancient times.  We shall have something to say in the next chapter in respect to the internal condition of the country while these violent men were upon the throne.  In the mean time, we will here only add, that whoever is inclined, in observing the ambition, the selfishness, the party spirit, the unworthy intrigues, and the irregularities of moral conduct, which modern rulers and statesmen sometimes exhibit to mankind in their personal and political career, to believe in a retrogression and degeneracy of national character as the world advances in age, will be very effectually undeceived by reading attentively a full history of this celebrated dynasty, and reflecting, as he reads, that the narrative presents, on the whole, a fair and honest exhibition of the general character of the men by whom, in ancient times, the world was governed.

CHAPTER III.

Alexandria.

Internal administration of the Ptolemies.—­Industry of the people.—­Its happy effects.—­Idleness the parent of vice.—­An idle aristocracy generally vicious.—­Degradation and vice.—­Employment a cure for both.—­Greatness of Alexandria.—­Situation of its port.—­Warehouses and granaries.—­Business of the port.—­Scenes within the city.—­The natives protected in their industry.—­Public edifices.—­The light-house.—­Fame of the light-house.—­Its conspicuous position.—­Mode of lighting the tower.—­Modern method—­The architect of the Pharos.—­His ingenious stratagem.—­Ruins of the Pharos.—­The Alexandrian library.—­Immense magnitude of the library.—­The Serapion.—­The Serapis of Egypt.—­The Serapis of Greece.—­Ptolemy’s dream.—­Importance of the statue.—­Ptolemy’s proposal to the King of Sinope.—­His ultimate success.—­Mode of obtaining books.—­The Jewish Scriptures.—­Seclusion of the Jews.—­Interest felt in their Scriptures.—­Jewish slaves in Egypt.—­Ptolemy’s designs.—­Ptolemy liberates the slaves.—­Their ransom paid.—­Ptolemy’s success.—­The Septuagint.—­Early copies of the Septuagint.—­Present copies.—­Various other plans of the Ptolemies.—­Means of raising money.—­Heavy taxes.—­Poverty of the people.—­Ancient and modern capitals.—­Liberality of the Ptolemies.—­Splendor and renown of Alexandria.—­Her great rival.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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