Cleopatra eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 181 pages of information about Cleopatra.
to dress in a very plain and careless manner, and he assumed an air of the utmost familiarity and freedom in his intercourse with his soldiers.  He would join them in their sports, joke with them, and good-naturedly receive their jokes in return; and take his meals, standing with them around their rude tables, in the open field.  Such habits of intercourse with his men in a commander of ordinary character would have been fatal to his ascendency over them; but in Mark Antony’s case, these frank and familiar manners seemed only to make the military genius and the intellectual power which he possessed the more conspicuous and the more universally admired.

Antony conducted his troop of horsemen across the desert in a very safe and speedy manner, and arrived before Pelusium.  The city was not prepared to resist him.  It surrendered at once, and the whole garrison fell into his hands as prisoners of war.  Ptolemy demanded that they should all be immediately killed.  They were rebels, he said, and, as such, ought to be put to death.  Antony, however, as might have been expected from his character, absolutely refused to allow of any such barbarity.  Ptolemy, since the power was not yet in his hands, was compelled to submit, and to postpone gratifying the spirit of vengeance which had so long been slumbering in his breast to a future day.  He could the more patiently submit to this necessity, since it appeared that the day of his complete and final triumph over his daughter and all her adherents was now very nigh at hand.

In fact, Berenice and her government, when they heard of the arrival of Antony and Ptolemy at Pelusium, of the fall of that city, and of the approach of Gabinius with an overwhelming force of Roman soldiers, were struck with dismay.  Archelaus, the husband of Berenice, had been, in former years, a personal friend of Antony’s.  Antony considered, in fact, that they were friends still, though required by what the historian calls their duty to fight each other for the possession of the kingdom.  The government of Berenice raised an army.  Archelaus took command of it, and advanced to meet the enemy.  In the mean time, Gabinius arrived with the main body of the Roman troops, and commenced his march, in conjunction with Antony, toward the capital.  As they were obliged to make a circuit to the southward, in order to avoid the inlets and lagoons which, on the northern coast of Egypt, penetrate for some distance into the land, their course led them through the heart of the Delta.  Many battles were fought, the Romans every where gaining the victory.  The Egyptian soldiers were, in fact, discontented and mutinous, perhaps, in part, because they considered the government on the side of which they were compelled to engage as, after all a usurpation.  At length a great final battle was fought, which settled the controversy.  Archelaus was slain upon the field, and Berenice was taken prisoner; their government was wholly overthrown, and the way was opened for the march of the Roman armies to Alexandria.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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