Cleopatra eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about Cleopatra.

The Alexandrine war.—­Forces of Caesar.—­The Egyptian army.—­Fugitive slaves.—­Dangerous situation of Caesar.—­Presence of Caesar.—­Influence of Cleopatra.—­First measures of Caesar.—­Caesar’s stores.—­Military engines.—­The mole.—­View of Alexandria.—­Necessity of taking possession of the mole.—­Egyptian fleet.—­Caesar burns the shipping.—­The fort taken.—­Burning of Alexandria.—­Achillas beheaded.—­Plans of Ganymede.—­His vigorous measures.—­Messengers of Ganymede.—­Their instructions.—­Ganymede cuts off Caesar’s supply of water.—­Panic of the soldiers.—­Caesar’s wells.—­Arrival of the transports.—­The transports in distress.—­Lowness of the coast.—­A combat.—­Caesar successful.  —­Ganymede equips a fleet.—­A naval conflict.—­Caesar in danger.  —­Another victory.—­The Egyptians discouraged.—­Secret messengers.  —­Dissimulation of Ptolemy—­Arrival of Mithradates.—­Defeat of Ptolemy.  —­Terror and confusion.—­Death of Ptolemy.—­Cleopatra queen.—­General disapprobation of Caesar’s course.—­Cleopatra’s son Caesarion.—­Public opinion of her conduct.—­Caesar departs for Rome.—­He takes Arsinoe with him.

The war which ensued as the result of the intrigues and maneuvers described in the last chapter is known in the history of Rome and Julius Caesar as the Alexandrine war.  The events which occurred during the progress of it, and its termination at last in the triumph of Caesar and Cleopatra, will form the subject of this chapter.

Achillas had greatly the advantage over Caesar at the outset of the contest, in respect to the strength of the forces under his command.  Caesar, in fact, had with him only a detachment of three or four thousand men, a small body of troops which he had hastily put on board a little squadron of Rhodian galleys for pursuing Pompey across the Mediterranean.  When he set sail from the European shores with this inconsiderable fleet, it is probable that he had no expectation even of landing in Egypt at all, and much less of being involved in great military undertakings there.  Achillas, on the other hand, was at the head of a force of twenty-thousand effective men.  His troops were, it is true, of a somewhat miscellaneous character, but they were all veteran soldiers, inured to the climate of Egypt, and skilled in all the modes of warfare which were suited to the character of the country.  Some of them were Roman soldiers, men who had come with the army of Mark Antony from Syria when Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra’s father, was reinstated on the throne, and had been left in Egypt, in Ptolemy’s service, when Antony returned to Rome.  Some were native Egyptians.  There was also in the army of Achillas a large number of fugitive slaves,—­refugees who had made their escape from various points along the shores of the Mediterranean, at different periods, and had been from time to time incorporated into the Egyptian army.  These fugitives were all men of the most determined and desperate character.

Achillas had also in his command a force of two thousand horse.  Such a body of cavalry made him, of course, perfect master of all the open country outside the city walls.  At the head of these troops Achillas gradually advanced to the very gates of Alexandria, invested the city on every side, and shut Caesar closely in.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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