All who were banished for their crimes or who went away to escape from trial, all runaway slaves, all ruined debtors, found a place of safety in Alexandria; and by enrolling themselves in the Egyptian army they joined in bonds of fellowship with thousands like themselves, who made it a point of honour to screen one another from being overtaken by justice or reclaimed by their masters. With such men as these, together with some bands of robbers from Syria and Cilicia, had the ranks of the Egyptian army latterly been recruited. These were now joined by a number of soldiers and officers from the army of Gabinius, who liked the Egyptian high pay and lawlessness better than the strict discipline of the Romans. As, in this mixed body of men, the more regular courage and greater skill in war was found among the Romans, they were chiefly chosen as officers, and the whole had something of the form of a Roman army. These soldiers in Alexandria were above all law and discipline.
The laws were everywhere badly enforced, crimes passed unpunished, and property became unsafe. Robberies were carried on openly, and the only hope of recovering what was stolen was by buying it back from the thief. In many cases, whole villages lived upon plunder, and for that purpose formed themselves into a society, and put themselves under the orders of a chief; and, when any merchant or husbandman was robbed, he applied to this chief, who usually restored to him the stolen property on payment of one-fourth of its value.
As the country fell off in wealth, power, and population, the schools of Alexandria fell off in learning, and we meet with few authors whose names can brighten the pages of this reign. Apollonius of Citium, indeed, who had studied surgery and anatomy at Alexandria under Zopyrus, when he returned to Cyprus, wrote a treatise on the joints of the body, and dedicated his work to Ptolemy, king of that island. The work is still remaining in manuscript.
[Illustration: 314b.jpg BEARERS OF EVIL TIDINGS]
Beside his name of Neus Dionysus, the king is in the hieroglyphics sometimes called Philopator and Philadelphus; and in a Greek inscription on a statue at Philae he is called by the three names, Neus Dionysus, Philopator, Philadelphus. The coins which are usually thought to be his are in a worse style of art than those of the kings before him. He died in B.C. 51, in the twenty-ninth year of his reign, leaving four children, namely, Cleopatra, Arsinoe, and two Ptolemies.
[Illustration: 315.jpg PAGE IMAGE]
CHAPTER VII—CLEOPATRA AND HER BROTHERS
Pompey, Caesar, and Antony in Egypt—Cleopatra’s extravagance and intrigues—Octavianus annexes Egypt—Retrospect.