Cleopatra eBook

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

Caesar, however, finally determined to set out on his return to the capital.  Leaving Cleopatra, accordingly, a sufficient force to secure the continuance of her power, he embarked the remainder of his forces in his transports and galleys, and sailed away.  He took the unhappy Arsinoe with him, intending to exhibit her as a trophy of his Egyptian victories on his arrival at Rome.

CHAPTER VIII.

CLEOPATRA A QUEEN.

The Alexandrine war very short.—­Its extent.—­Revenues of Egypt.—­The city repaired.—­The library rebuilt.—­A new collection of manuscripts.—­ Luxury and splendor.—­Deterioration of Cleopatra’s character.—­The young Ptolemy.—­Cleopatra assassinates him.—­Career of Caesar.—­His rapid course of conquest.—­Cleopatra determines to go to Rome.—­Feelings of the Romans.—­Caesar’s four triumphs.—­Nature of triumphal processions.—­Arsinoe.—­Sympathy of the Roman people.—­Caesar overacts his part.—­Feasts and festivals.—­Riot and debauchery.—­Public combats.—­The artificial lake.—­Combat upon it.—­Land combats.—­The people shocked.—­Cleopatra’s visit.—­Caesar’s plans for making himself king.—­Conspiracy against Caesar.—­He is assassinated.—­Arsinoe released.—­Calpurnia mourns her husband’s death.—­Calpurnia looks to Mark Antony as her protector.

The war by which Caesar reinstated Cleopatra upon the throne was not one of very long duration.  Caesar arrived in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey about the first of August; the war was ended and Cleopatra established in secure possession by the end of January; so that the conflict, violent as it was while it continued, was very brief, the peaceful and commercial pursuits of the Alexandrians having been interrupted by it only for a few months.

Nor did either the war itself, or the derangements consequent upon it, extend very far into the interior of the country.  The city of Alexandria itself and the neighboring coasts were the chief scenes of the contest until Mithradates arrived at Pelusium.  He, it is true, marched across the Delta, and the final battle was fought in the interior of the country.  It was, however, after all, but a very small portion of the Egyptian territory that was directly affected by the war.  The great mass of the people, occupying the rich and fertile tracts which bordered the various branches of the Nile, and the long and verdant valley which extended so far into the heart of the continent, knew nothing of the conflict but by vague and distant rumors.  The pursuits of the agricultural population went on, all the time, as steadily and prosperously as ever; so that when the conflict was ended, and Cleopatra entered upon the quiet and peaceful possession of her power, she found that the resources of her empire were very little impaired.

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Cleopatra from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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