Cleopatra led a life of splendid sin, and, of course, of splendid misery. She visited Caesar in Rome after his return thither. Caesar received her magnificently, and paid her all possible honors; but the people of Rome regarded her with strong reprobation. When her young brother, whom Caesar had made her partner on the throne, was old enough to claim his share, she poisoned him. After Caesar’s death, she went from Alexandria to Syria to meet Antony, one of Caesar’s successors, in a galley or barge, which was so rich, so splendid, so magnificently furnished and adorned, that it was famed throughout the world as Cleopatra’s barge. A great many beautiful vessels have since been called by the same name. Cleopatra connected herself with Antony, who became infatuated with her beauty and her various charms as Caesar had been. After a great variety of romantic adventures, Antony was defeated in battle by his great rival Octavius, and, supposing that he had been betrayed by Cleopatra, he pursued her to Egypt, intending to kill her. She hid herself in a sepulcher, spreading a report that she had committed suicide, and then Antony stabbed himself in a fit of remorse and despair. Before he died, he learned that Cleopatra was alive, and he caused himself to be carried into her presence and died in her arms. Cleopatra then fell into the hands of Octavius, who intended to carry her to Rome to grace his triumph. To save herself from this humiliation, and weary with a life which, full of sin as it had been, was a constant series of sufferings, she determined to die. A servant brought in an asp for her, concealed in a vase of flowers, at a great banquet. She laid the poisonous reptile on her naked arm, and died immediately of the bite which it inflicted.
[Sidenote: Caesar again at Rome.] [Sidenote: Combinations against him.] [Sidenote: Veni, vidi, vici.]
Although Pompey himself had been killed, and the army under his immediate command entirely annihilated, Caesar did not find that the empire was yet completely submissive to his sway. As the tidings of his conquests spread over the vast and distant regions which were under the Roman rule—although the story itself of his exploits might have been exaggerated—the impression produced by his power lost something of its strength, as men generally have little dread of remote danger. While he was in Egypt, there were three great concentrations of power formed against him in other quarters of the globe: in Asia Minor, in Africa, and in Spain. In putting down these three great and formidable arrays of opposition, Caesar made an exhibition to the world of that astonishing promptness and celerity of military action on which his fame as a general so much depends. He went first to Asia Minor, and fought a great and decisive battle there, in a manner so sudden and unexpected to the forces that opposed him that they found themselves defeated almost before they suspected that their enemy was near. It was in reference to this battle that he wrote the inscription for the banner, “Veni, vidi, vici” The words may be rendered in English, “I came, looked, and conquered,” though the peculiar force of the expression, as well as the alliteration, is lost in any attempt to translate it.