Cleopatra eBook

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

The victory which Caesar obtained in this battle and the death of Ptolemy ended the war.  Nothing now remained but for him to place himself at the head of the combined forces and march back to Alexandria.  The Egyptian forces which had been left there made no resistance, and he entered the city in triumph.  He took Arsinoe prisoner.  He decreed that Cleopatra should reign as queen, and that she should marry her youngest brother, the other Ptolemy,—­a boy at this time about eleven years of age.  A marriage with one so young was, of course, a mere form.  Cleopatra remained, as before, the companion of Caesar.

Caesar had, in the mean time, incurred great censure at Rome, and throughout the whole Roman world, for having thus turned aside from his own proper duties as the Roman consul, and the commander-in-chief of the armies of the empire, to embroil himself in the quarrels of a remote and secluded kingdom with which the interests of the Roman commonwealth were so little connected.  His friends and the authorities at Rome were continually urging him to return.  They were especially indignant at his protracted neglect of his own proper duties, from knowing that he was held in Egypt by a guilty attachment to the queen,—­thus not only violating his obligations to the state, but likewise inflicting upon his wife Calpurnia, and his family at Rome, an intolerable wrong.  But Caesar was so fascinated by Cleopatra’s charms, and by the mysterious and unaccountable influence which she exercised over him, that he paid no heed to any of these remonstrances.  Even after the war was ended he remained some months in Egypt to enjoy his favorite’s society.  He would spend whole nights in her company, in feasting and revelry.  He made a splendid royal progress with her through Egypt after the war was over, attended by a numerous train of Roman guards.  He formed a plan for taking her to Rome, and marrying her there; and he took measures for having the laws of the city altered so as to enable him to do so, though he was already married.

All these things produced great discontent and disaffection among Caesar’s friends and throughout the Roman army.  The Egyptians, too, strongly censured the conduct of Cleopatra.  A son was born to her about this time, whom the Alexandrians named, from his father, Caesarion.  Cleopatra was regarded in the new relation of mother, which she now sustained, not with interest and sympathy, but with feelings of reproach and condemnation.

Cleopatra was all this time growing more and more accomplished, and more and more beautiful; but her vivacity and spirit, which had been so charming while it was simple and childlike, now began to appear more forward and bold.  It is the characteristic of pure and lawful love to soften and subdue the heart, and infuse a gentle and quiet spirit into all its action; while that which breaks over the barriers that God and nature have marked out for it, tends to make woman masculine and bold, to indurate all her sensibilities, and to destroy that gentleness and timidity of demeanor which have so great an influence in heightening her charms.  Cleopatra was beginning to experience these effects.  She was indifferent to the opinions of her subjects, and was only anxious to maintain as long as possible her guilty ascendency over Caesar.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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