Mark Antony, when judged by our standards, was certainly, as well as Ptolemy, a depraved and vicious man; but his depravity was of a very different type from that of Cleopatra’s father. The difference in the men, in one respect, was very clearly evinced by the objects toward which their interest and attention were respectively turned after this great battle. While the contest had been going on, the king and queen of Egypt, Archelaus and Berenice, were, of course, in the view both of Antony and Ptolemy, the two most conspicuous personages in the army of their enemies; and while Antony would naturally watch with the greatest interest the fate of his friend, the king, Ptolemy, would as naturally follow with the highest concern the destiny of his daughter. Accordingly, when the battle was over, while the mind of Ptolemy might, as we should naturally expect, be chiefly occupied by the fact that his daughter was made a captive, Antony’s, we might suppose, would be engrossed by the tidings that his friend had been slain.
The one rejoiced and the other mourned. Antony sought for the body of his friend on the field of battle, and when it was found, he gave himself wholly to the work of providing for it a most magnificent burial. He seemed, at the funeral, to lament the death of his ancient comrade with real and unaffected grief. Ptolemy, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with joy at finding his daughter his captive. The long-wished-for hour for the gratification of his revenge had come at last, and the first use which he made of his power when he was put in possession of it at Alexandria was to order his daughter to be beheaded.
Accession to the throne.
Cleopatra.—Excitement in Alexandria.—Ptolemy restored.—Acquiescence of the people.—Festivities.—Popularity of Antony.—Antony’s generosity.—Anecdote.—Antony and Cleopatra.—Antony returns to Rome.—Ptolemy’s murders.—Pompey and Caesar.—Close of Ptolemy’s reign.—Settlement of the succession.—Accession of Cleopatra.—She is married to her brother.—Pothinus, the eunuch.—His character and government.—Machinations of Pothinus.—Cleopatra is expelled. —Cleopatra’s army.—Approaching contest.—Caesar and Pompey. —Battle of Pharsalia.—Pompey at Pelusium.—Treachery of Pothinus.—Caesar’s pursuit of Pompey.—His danger.—Caesar at Alexandria.—Astonishment of the Egyptians.—Caesar presented with Pompey’s head.—Pompey’s seal.—Situation of Caesar.—His demands.—Conduct of Pothinus.—Quarrels—Policy of Pothinus. —Contentions.—Caesar sends to Syria for additional troops.
At the time when the unnatural quarrel between Cleopatra’s father and her sister was working its way toward its dreadful termination, as related in the last chapter, she herself was residing at the royal palace in Alexandria, a blooming and beautiful girl of about fifteen. Fortunately for her, she was too young to take any active part personally in the contention. Her two brothers were still younger than herself. They all three remained, therefore, in the royal palaces, quiet spectators of the revolution, without being either benefited or injured by it. It is singular that the name of both the boys was Ptolemy.