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was the object of universal obloquy, both on account of his previous
career of degrading vice, and now, still more, for this ignoble flight
from the difficulties in which his vices and crimes had involved him.

He stopped, on the way, at the island of Rhodes. It happened that Cato,
the great Roman philosopher and general, was at Rhodes at this time.
Cato was a man of stern, unbending virtue, and of great influence at
that period in public affairs. Ptolemy sent a messenger to inform Cato
of his arrival, supposing, of course, that the Roman general would
hasten, on hearing of the fact, to pay his respects to so great a
personage as he, a king of Egypt - a Ptolemy - though suffering under a
temporary reverse of fortune. Cato directed the messenger to reply that,
so far as he was aware, he had no particular business with Ptolemy.
"Say, however, to the king," he added, "that, if he has any business
with me, he may call and see me, if he pleases."

Ptolemy was obliged to suppress his resentment and submit. He thought it
very essential to the success of his plans that he should see Cato, and
secure, if possible, his interest and co-operation; and he consequently
made preparations for paying, instead of receiving, the visit, intending
to go in the greatest royal state that he could command. He accordingly
appeared at Cato's lodgings on the following day, magnificently dressed,
and accompanied by many attendants. Cato, who was dressed in the
plainest and most simple manner, and whose apartment was furnished in a
style corresponding with the severity of his character, did not even
rise when the king entered the room. He simply pointed with his hand,
and bade the visitor take a seat.

Ptolemy began to make a statement of his case, with a view to obtaining
Cato's influence with the Roman people to induce them to interpose in
his behalf. Cato, however, far from evincing any disposition to espouse
his visitor's cause, censured him, in the plainest terms, for having
abandoned his proper position in his own kingdom, to go and make himself
a victim and a prey for the insatiable avarice of the Roman leaders.
"You can do nothing at Rome," he said, "but by the influence of bribes;
and all the resources of Egypt will not be enough to satisfy the Roman
greediness for money." He concluded by recommending him to go back to
Alexandria, and rely for his hopes of extrication from the difficulties
which surrounded him on the exercise of his own energy and resolution
there.

Ptolemy was greatly abashed at this rebuff, but, on consultation with
his attendants and followers, it was decided to be too late now to
return. The whole party accordingly re-embarked on board their galleys,
and pursued their way to Rome.

Ptolemy found, on his arrival at the city, that Caesar was absent in
Gaul, while Pompey, on the other hand, who had returned victorious from
his campaigns against Mithradates, was now the great leader of influence
and power at the Capitol. This change of circumstances was not, however,
particularly unfavorable; for Ptolemy was on friendly terms with Pompey,
as he had been with Caesar. He had assisted him in his wars with
Mithradates by sending him a squadron of horse, in pursuance of his
policy of cultivating friendly relations with the Roman people by every
means in his power. Besides, Pompey had received a part of the money
which Ptolemy had paid to Caesar as the price of the Roman alliance, and
was to receive his share of the rest in case Ptolemy should ever be
restored. Pompey was accordingly interested in favoring the royal
fugitive's cause. He received him in his palace, entertained him in
magnificent style, and took immediate measures for bringing his cause
before the Roman Senate, urging upon that body the adoption of immediate
and vigorous measures for effecting his restoration, as an ally whom
they were bound to protect against his rebellious subjects. There was at
first some opposition in the Roman Senate against espousing the cause of
such a man, but it was soon put down, being overpowered in part by
Pompey's authority, and in part silenced by Ptolemy's promises and
bribes. The Senate determined to restore the king to his throne, and
began to make arrangements for carrying the measure into effect.

The Roman provinces nearest to Egypt were Cilicia and Syria, countries
situated on the eastern and northeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea,
north of Judea. The forces stationed in these provinces would be, of
course, the most convenient for furnishing the necessary troops for the
expedition. The province of Cilicia was under the command of the consul
Lentulus. Lentulus was at this time at Rome; he had repaired to the
capital for some temporary purpose, leaving his province and the troops
stationed there under the command, for the time, of a sort of lieutenant
general named Gabinius. It was concluded that this Lentulus, with his
Syrian forces, should undertake the task of reinstating Ptolemy on his
throne.

While these plans and arrangements were yet immature, a circumstance
occurred which threatened, for a time, wholly to defeat them. It seems
that when Cleopatra's father first left Egypt, he had caused a report to
be circulated there that he had been killed in the revolt. The object of
this stratagem was to cover and conceal his flight. The government of
Berenice soon discovered the truth, and learned that the fugitive had
gone in the direction of Rome. They immediately inferred that he was
going to appeal to the Roman people for aid, and they determined that,
if that were the case, the Roman people, before deciding in his favor,
should have the opportunity to hear their side of the story as well as
his. They accordingly made preparations at once for sending a very
imposing embassage to Rome. The deputation consisted of more than a
hundred persons. The object of Berenice's government in sending so large
a number was not only to evince their respect for the Roman people, and
their sense of the magnitude of the question at issue, but also to guard
against any efforts that Ptolemy might make to intercept the embassage
on the way, or to buy off the members of it by bribes. The number,
however large as it was, proved insufficient to accomplish this purpose.
The whole Roman world was at this time in such a condition of disorder
and violence, in the hands of the desperate and reckless military
leaders who then bore sway, that there were everywhere abundant
facilities for the commission of any conceivable crime. Ptolemy
contrived, with the assistance of the fierce partisans who had espoused
his cause, and who were deeply interested in his success on account of
the rewards which were promised them, to waylay and destroy a large
proportion of this company before they reached Rome. Some were
assassinated; some were poisoned; some were tampered with and bought off
by bribes. A small remnant reached Rome; but they were so intimidated by
the dangers which surrounded them, that they did not dare to take any
public action in respect to the business which had been committed to
their charge. Ptolemy began to congratulate himself on having completely
circumvented his daughter in her efforts to protect herself against his
designs.

Instead of that, however, it soon proved that the effect of this
atrocious treachery was exactly the contrary of what its perpetrators
had expected. The knowledge of the facts became gradually extended among
the people of Rome and it awakened a universal indignation. The party
who had been originally opposed to Ptolemy's cause seized the
opportunity to renew their opposition; and they gained so much strength
from the general odium which Ptolemy's crimes had awakened, that Pompey
found it almost impossible to sustain his cause.

At length the party opposed to Ptolemy found, or pretended to find, in
certain sacred books, called the Sibylline Oracles, which were kept in
the custody of the priests, and were supposed to contain prophetic
intimations of the will of Heaven in respect to the conduct of public
affairs, the following passage:

_"If a king of Egypt should apply to you for aid, treat him in a
friendly manner, but do not furnish him with troops; for if you
do, you will incur great danger."_

This made new difficulty for Ptolemy's friends. They attempted, at
first, to evade this inspired injunction by denying the reality of it.
There was no such passage to be found, they said. It was all an
invention of their enemies. This point seems to have been overruled, and
then they attempted to give the passage some other than the obvious
interpretation. Finally they maintained that, although it prohibited
their furnishing Ptolemy himself with troops, it did not forbid their
sending an armed force into Egypt under leaders of their own. _That_
they could certainly do; and then, when the rebellion was suppressed,
and Berenice's government overthrown, they could invite Ptolemy to
return to his kingdom and resume his crown in a peaceful manner. This,
they alleged, would not be "furnishing him with troops," and, of course
would not be disobeying the oracle.

These attempts to evade the direction of the oracle on the part of
Ptolemy's friends, only made the debates and dissensions between them
and his enemies more violent than ever. Pompey made every effort in his
power to aid Ptolemy's cause; but Lentulus, after long hesitation and
delay, decided that it would not be safe for him to embark in it. At
length, however, Gabinius, the lieutenant who commanded in Syria, was
induced to undertake the enterprise. On certain promises which he
received from Ptolemy, to be performed in case he succeeded, and with a
certain encouragement, not very legal or regular, which Pompey gave him,
in respect to the employment of the Roman troops under his command, he
resolved to march to Egypt. His route, of course, would lie along the
shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and through the desert, to Pelusium,
which has already been mentioned as the frontier town on this side of
Egypt. From Pelusium he was to march through the heart of the Delta to
Alexandria, and, if successful in his invasion, overthrow the government
of Berenice and Archelaus, and then, inviting Ptolemy to return,
reinstate him on the throne.

In the prosecution of this dangerous enterprise, Gabinius relied
strongly on the assistance of a very remarkable man, then his second in
command, who afterward acted a very important part in the subsequent
history of Cleopatra. His name was Mark Antony. Antony was born in Rome,
of a very distinguished family, but his father died when he was very
young, and being left subsequently much to himself, he became a very
wild and dissolute young man. He wasted the property which his father
had left him in folly and vice; and then going on desperately in the
same career, he soon incurred enormous debts, and involved himself, in
consequence, in inextricable difficulties. His creditors continually
harassed him with importunities for money, and with suits at law to
compel payments which he had no means of making. He was likewise
incessantly pursued by the hostility of the many enemies that he had
made in the city by his violence and his crimes. At length he absconded,
and went to Greece.

Here Gabinius, when on his way to Syria, met him, and invited him to
join his army rather than to remain where he was in idleness and
destitution. Antony, who was as proud and lofty in spirit as he was
degraded in morals and condition, refused to do this unless Gabinius
would give him a command. Gabinius saw in the daring and reckless energy
which Antony manifested the indications of the class of qualities which
in those days made a successful soldier, and acceded to his terms. He
gave him the command of his cavalry. Antony distinguished himself in the
Syrian campaigns that followed, and was now full of eagerness to engage
in this Egyptian enterprise. In fact, it was mainly his zeal and
enthusiasm to embark in the undertaking which was the means of deciding
Gabinius to consent to Ptolemy's proposals.

The danger and difficulty which they considered as most to be
apprehended in the whole expedition was the getting across the desert to
Pelusium. In fact, the great protection of Egypt had always been her
isolation. The trackless and desolate sands, being wholly destitute of
water, and utterly void, could be traversed, even by a caravan of
peaceful travelers, only with great difficulty and danger. For an army
to attempt to cross them, exposed, as the troops would necessarily be,
to the assaults of enemies who might advance to meet them on the way,
and sure of encountering a terrible opposition from fresh and vigorous
bands when they should arrive - wayworn and exhausted by the physical
hardships of the way - at the borders of the inhabited country, was a
desperate undertaking. Many instances occurred in ancient times in which
vast bodies of troops, in attempting marches over the deserts by which
Egypt was surrounded, were wholly destroyed by famine or thirst, or
overwhelmed by storms of sand.

These difficulties and dangers, however, did not at all intimidate Mark
Antony. The anticipation, in fact, of the glory of surmounting them was
one of the main inducements which led him to embark in the enterprise.
The perils of the desert constituted one of the charms which made the
expedition so attractive. He placed himself, therefore, at the head of
his troop of cavalry, and set off across the sands in advance of
Gabinius, to take Pelusium, in order thus to open a way for the main
body of the army into Egypt. Ptolemy accompanied Antony. Gabinius was to
follow.

With all his faults, to call them by no severer name, Mark Antony
possessed certain great excellences of character. He was ardent, but
then he was cool, collected, and sagacious; and there was a certain
frank and manly generosity continually evincing itself in his conduct
and character which made him a great favorite among his men. He was at
this time about twenty-eight years old, of a tall and manly form, and of
an expressive and intellectual cast of countenance. His forehead was
high, his nose aquiline, and his eyes full of vivacity and life. He was
accustomed to dress in a very plain and careless manner, and he assumed
an air of the utmost familiarity and freedom in his intercourse with his
soldiers. He would join them in their sports, joke with them, and
good-naturedly receive their jokes in return; and take his meals,
standing with them around their rude tables, in the open field. Such
habits of intercourse with his men in a commander of ordinary character
would have been fatal to his ascendency over them; but in Mark Antony's
case, these frank and familiar manners seemed only to make the military
genius and the intellectual power which he possessed the more
conspicuous and the more universally admired.

Antony conducted his troop of horsemen across the desert in a very safe
and speedy manner, and arrived before Pelusium. The city was not
prepared to resist him. It surrendered at once, and the whole garrison
fell into his hands as prisoners of war. Ptolemy demanded that they
should all be immediately killed. They were rebels, he said, and, as
such, ought to be put to death. Antony, however, as might have been
expected from his character, absolutely refused to allow of any such
barbarity. Ptolemy, since the power was not yet in his hands, was
compelled to submit, and to postpone gratifying the spirit of vengeance
which had so long been slumbering in his breast to a future day. He
could the more patiently submit to this necessity, since it appeared
that the day of his complete and final triumph over his daughter and all
her adherents was now very nigh at hand.

In fact, Berenice and her government, when they heard of the arrival of
Antony and Ptolemy at Pelusium, of the fall of that city, and of the
approach of Gabinius with an overwhelming force of Roman soldiers, were
struck with dismay. Archelaus, the husband of Berenice, had been, in
former years, a personal friend of Antony's. Antony considered, in fact,
that they were friends still, though required by what the historian
calls their duty to fight each other for the possession of the kingdom.
The government of Berenice raised an army. Archelaus took command of it,
and advanced to meet the enemy. In the mean time, Gabinius arrived with
the main body of the Roman troops, and commenced his march, in
conjunction with Antony, toward the capital. As they were obliged to
make a circuit to the southward, in order to avoid the inlets and
lagoons which, on the northern coast of Egypt, penetrate for some
distance into the land, their course led them through the heart of the
Delta. Many battles were fought, the Romans every where gaining the
victory. The Egyptian soldiers were, in fact, discontented and mutinous,
perhaps, in part, because they considered the government on the side of
which they were compelled to engage as, after all a usurpation. At
length a great final battle was fought, which settled the controversy.
Archelaus was slain upon the field, and Berenice was taken prisoner;
their government was wholly overthrown, and the way was opened for the
march of the Roman armies to Alexandria.

Mark Antony, when judged by our standards, was certainly, as well as
Ptolemy, a depraved and vicious man; but his depravity was of a very
different type from that of Cleopatra's father. The difference in the
men, in one respect, was very clearly evinced by the objects toward
which their interest and attention were respectively turned after this
great battle. While the contest had been going on, the king and queen of
Egypt, Archelaus and Berenice, were, of course, in the view both of
Antony and Ptolemy, the two most conspicuous personages in the army of
their enemies; and while Antony would naturally watch with the greatest
interest the fate of his friend, the king, Ptolemy, would as naturally
follow with the highest concern the destiny of his daughter.
Accordingly, when the battle was over, while the mind of Ptolemy might,
as we should naturally expect, be chiefly occupied by the fact that his
_daughter_ was made a captive, Antony's, we might suppose, would be
engrossed by the tidings that his _friend_ had been slain.

The one rejoiced and the other mourned. Antony sought for the body of
his friend on the field of battle, and when it was found, he gave
himself wholly to the work of providing for it a most magnificent
burial. He seemed, at the funeral, to lament the death of his ancient
comrade with real and unaffected grief. Ptolemy, on the other hand, was
overwhelmed with joy at finding his daughter his captive. The
long-wished-for hour for the gratification of his revenge had come at
last, and the first use which he made of his power when he was put in
possession of it at Alexandria was to order his daughter to be beheaded.


CHAPTER V.

ACCESSION TO THE THRONE.

Cleopatra. - Excitement in Alexandria. - Ptolemy restored. - Acquiescence
of the people. - Festivities. - Popularity of Antony. - Antony's
generosity. - Anecdote. - Antony and Cleopatra. - Antony returns to
Rome. - Ptolemy's murders. - Pompey and Caesar. - Close of Ptolemy's
reign. - Settlement of the succession. - Accession of Cleopatra. - She is
married to her brother. - Pothinus, the eunuch. - His character and
government. - Machinations of Pothinus. - Cleopatra is expelled.
- Cleopatra's army. - Approaching contest. - Caesar and Pompey.
- Battle of Pharsalia. - Pompey at Pelusium. - Treachery of
Pothinus. - Caesar's pursuit of Pompey. - His danger. - Caesar at
Alexandria. - Astonishment of the Egyptians. - Caesar presented with
Pompey's head. - Pompey's seal. - Situation of Caesar. - His
demands. - Conduct of Pothinus. - Quarrels - Policy of Pothinus.
- Contentions. - Caesar sends to Syria for additional troops.

At the time when the unnatural quarrel between Cleopatra's father and
her sister was working its way toward its dreadful termination, as
related in the last chapter, she herself was residing at the royal
palace in Alexandria, a blooming and beautiful girl of about fifteen.
Fortunately for her, she was too young to take any active part
personally in the contention. Her two brothers were still younger than
herself. They all three remained, therefore, in the royal palaces, quiet
spectators of the revolution, without being either benefited or injured
by it. It is singular that the name of both the boys was Ptolemy.

The excitement in the city of Alexandria was intense and universal when
the Roman army entered it to reinstate Cleopatra's father upon his
throne. A very large portion of the inhabitants were pleased with having
the former king restored. In fact, it appears, by a retrospect of the
history of kings, that when a legitimate hereditary sovereign or dynasty
is deposed and expelled by a rebellious population, no matter how
intolerable may have been the tyranny, or how atrocious the crimes by
which the patience of the subject was exhausted, the lapse of a very few
years is ordinarily sufficient to produce a very general readiness to
acquiesce in a restoration; and in this particular instance there had
been no such superiority in the government of Berenice, during the
period while her power continued, over that of her father, which she had
displaced, as to make this case an exception to the general rule. The
mass of the people, therefore - all those, especially, who had taken no
active part in Berenice's government - were ready to welcome Ptolemy back
to his capital. Those who had taken such a part were all summarily
executed by Ptolemy's orders.

There was, of course, a great excitement throughout the city on the
arrival of the Roman army. All the foreign influence and power which had
been exercised in Egypt thus far, and almost all the officers, whether
civil or military, had been Greek. The coming of the Romans was the
introduction of a new element of interest to add to the endless variety
of excitements which animated the capital.

The restoration of Ptolemy was celebrated with games, spectacles, and
festivities of every kind, and, of course, next to the king himself, the
chief center of interest and attraction in all these public rejoicings
would be the distinguished foreign generals by whose instrumentality the
end had been gained.

Mark Antony was a special object of public regard and admiration at the
time. His eccentric manners, his frank and honest air, his Roman
simplicity of dress and demeanor, made him conspicuous; and his
interposition to save the lives of the captured garrison of Pelusium,
and the interest which he took in rendering such distinguished funeral
honors to the enemy whom his army had slain in battle, impressed the
people with the idea of a certain nobleness and magnanimity in his
character, which, in spite of his faults, made him an object of general
admiration and applause. The very faults of such a man assume often, in
the eyes of the world, the guise and semblance of virtues. For example,
it is related of Antony that, at one time in the course of his life,
having a desire to make a present of some kind to a certain person, in
requital for a favor which he had received from him, he ordered his
treasurer to send a sum of money to his friend - and named for the sum to
be sent an amount considerably greater than was really required under
the circumstances of the case - acting thus, as he often did, under the
influence of a blind and uncalculating generosity. The treasurer, more
prudent than his master, wished to reduce the amount, but he did not
dare directly to propose a reduction; so he counted out the money, and
laid it in a pile in a place where Antony was to pass, thinking that
when Antony saw the amount, he would perceive that it was too great.
Antony, in passing by, asked what money that was. The treasurer said
that it was the sum that he had ordered to be sent as a present to such
a person, naming the individual intended. Antony was quick to perceive
the object of the treasurer's maneuver. He immediately replied, "Ah! is
that all? I thought the sum I named would make a better appearance than
that; send him double the amount."

To determine, under such circumstances as these, to double an
extravagance merely for the purpose of thwarting the honest attempt of a
faithful servant to diminish it, made, too, in so cautious and delicate
a way, is most certainly a fault. But it is one of those faults for
which the world, in all ages, will persist in admiring and praising the
perpetrator.

In a word, Antony became the object of general attention and favor


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