Cleopatra: A Sourcebook (Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture)

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Straight lines extended from its inner edge to form the shape of a cloak, just like the lines that extend from the hem of a cloak when the top is gathered, narrowing its area symmetrically. As the king was appreciating the plan, suddenly a vast multitude of birds of every size and variety from the river and the lagoon alighted upon the place like clouds and left no trace of the barley, an omen that worried even Alexander. Nevertheless, the prophets advised him to take courage, saying that the city he founded would be extremely productive and would nurture all sorts of men.

Strabo, Geography He visited Egypt after the death of Cleopatra and thus had firsthand knowledge of the topography. The site has many advantageous features. The region is bor- dered by two seas: the so-called Egyptian Sea to the north and to the south the Mareian Lake, which is also called Mareotis and into which many canals from the Nile empty from above and from both sides; these canals can accommodate larger import ships than the canals leading to the sea and, as a result, the harbor of the lake sur- passes that of the sea in wealth; the place also has more exports from Alexandria than it has imports; one can determine in Alexandria and in Dichaearchia,10 when one sees the merchant ships as they arrive In addition to the wealth generated by com- merce from both directions for the lake harbor and the sea harbor, the air quality is worth mentioning.

Indeed, this too is thanks to water on both sides and the well-timed risings of the Nile. Other cities located on lakes have heavy and stifling air during the heat of summer, because the edges of the lakes grow marshy from evaporation caused by the sun. This moisture draws up noxious substances and the air is unhealthy for breathing and causes contagious diseases. In Alexandria, however, when summer begins, the Nile is full and it fills the lake and thus does not allow any marsh to produce harmful exhalations.

Then, too, the Etesian winds blow from the north and from the entire sea and, as a result, the Alexandrians have pleasant summer weather. The city is shaped like a cloak: its long sides are along the two coasts; it is approximately thirty stades11 at its longest and its short sides are the isthmuses, which are each seven or eight stades long and bordered on one side by the sea and on the other by the lake. Streets good for horseback riding and chariot driving cut through the whole city; two of the streets are particularly broad, as they are more than one hundred feet wide, and they intersect one another at right angles.

The city has exceedingly beautiful public parks and palaces covering a quarter or a third of its area, since each of the kings, just as he contributed some enhancement to the public monu- ments, so too he added to the existing buildings a private residence, so that now, as the poet says, They are one on top of the other.

One part of the palaces is the Museum, which has a path for walking, an exedra,13 and a large house in which is the common dining room of the learned men who are members of the Museum. These members not only own common property, but also have a priest devoted to the Museum, at one time an official appointed by the kings, but now appointed by Augustus. A stade is approximately six hundred feet. Homer, Odyssey An exedra is a hall furnished with seats, used for lecturing and conversing. The Ptolemies 9 The Monument, as they call it, also is part of the palaces. It is an enclosure in which are the burials of the kings and of Alexander.

Indeed, Perdiccas died, killed by his soldiers when Ptolemy attacked and blockaded him on a deserted island. Thus, Perdiccas died, run through by the javelins of his men as they attacked him. The current one is glass, whereas Ptolemy placed him in one made of gold. The Ptolemy known as Cocces and Pareisactus16 despoiled it. He had come from Syria, but was killed right away, so he never saw any profit from his plundering. On the right-hand side of the great harbor near the entrance are the island and tower known as Pharos; on the other side are reefs and the headland called Lochias, on which a palace is located.

On the left as one sails into the harbor are the inner palaces, which are adjacent to those on Lochias and have many multicolored dwellings and groves. Beneath these is the man-made harbor, hidden from view and for the private use of the kings; there is also Antirrhodos, an island located just outside the man-made harbor, that has a palace and small harbor. It is called Antirrhodos because it rivals Rhodes. To this promontory, Antony added a causeway, extending it even further into the middle of the harbor, and, at its end, he constructed a royal residence that he named the Timonium.

Perdiccas was a close associate of Alexander the Great. The island of Rhodes was known for its five harbors, which made it well suited to commerce; it was also a cultural center that attracted philosophers, artists, and writers. Timon was an Athenian whose friends deserted him when he lost his money; when he became rich again, they returned, but he drove them away.

Next comes the Caesarium, the Emporium, and the storehouses. After these come the shipyards, which go all the way to the Heptastadium. These are the things around the great harbor. Some of the finest literature of the period was written at Alexandria by poets such as Theocritus and Callimachus. These poets, who were scholars as well, oversaw the collection of the greatest works of Greek literature in the Library of Alexandria.

The Ptolemies, as monarchs, took on the role of patrons. Theocritus, Idyll 17 — B. He founded the literary genre of bucolic poetry, which takes as its theme shepherds, their songs, and their loves. Theocritus was a contem- porary of Callimachus and, like Callimachus, valued highly refined, pol- ished poems.

In the selection that follows, Theocritus crafts an encomium of the Ptolemies as he asks Ptolemy II Philadelphus for his patronage. Let us begin from Zeus and let us end with him also, Muses. The ancient heroes were born from demigods 5 and after accomplishing noble deeds, found wise poets to memorialize them, but since I know how to praise, let me sing of Ptolemy poems are a prize of the gods too.

The woodcutter who comes to densely forested Mt. Ida peers about, surrounded by abundance, to see where to begin 10 the task. What shall I mention first?

The gods have honored It was evident from his ancestry that Ptolemy, son of Lagus, was the sort of man to accomplish a great deed, when he had a plan in mind such as no other man could have imagined. Across from these sits the chair of centaur slaying 20 Heracles, which is made of unyielding adamant. How conspicuous was legendary Berenice among wise women, and what a boon to her parents. But she loved him much more. Thus, a man 40 having confidence in his children, might turn over to them his whole estate, since he went to bed with his loving wife. But if a woman is heartless, she is always thinking of another, In Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and Dione.

Aphrodite, revered goddess, surpassingly beautiful, 45 Berenice was your care; because of you, graceful Berenice did not cross pitiable Acheron, but you snatched her up before she approached the dark ship and the gloomy ferryman of the dead, you took her away to your temple, giving her some of your honors. Dark-browed woman of Argos,22 you bore savage Diomedes by your union with Tydeus, a Calydonian man; deep-bosomed Thetis bore spear-throwing Achilles 55 to Peleus, son of Aeacus; and you, spearman Ptolemy,23 illustrious Berenice bore to Ptolemy the spearman.

Cos24 raised you, having received you as a newborn from your mother, when first you looked upon the light. There, the daughter of Antigone,25 heavy with labor, 60 called upon girdle-loosening Eleithuia;26 and she propitiously stood beside her and soothed the pain in all her limbs. The beloved child was born and he resembled his father. From above, a great eagle cried out three times from the clouds, a bird of prophecy. Deipyle was the daughter of the king of Argos and the wife of Tydeus. Ptolemy II Philadelphus. An island in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

Berenice was the daughter of Antigone. The goddess of childbirth.


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There was a temple to Triopian Apollo on a promontory in southwest Asia Minor. Rhenaea: an island near Delos. But preeminent is he whom Zeus loves from the moment of his birth; great good fortune will be his and 75 he will rule many lands and many seas. Egypt has three hundred cities, plus three thousand, plus three times ten thousand, plus two times three, plus three times nine, and king Ptolemy rules them all.

Every sea, every land, all the rushing rivers are subject to Ptolemy; many horsemen, many shield-bearers equipped with gleaming bronze, gather around him. He could outweigh all kings in wealth, 95 so much comes daily to his rich palace from everywhere. Such a man holds sway over these wide plains, fair-haired Ptolemy, skilled in casting the spear, to whom it is a care to guard his inheritance, as is fitting for a good king, and he also wishes to add to it. See Peissel No man skilled in singing a clear-toned song comes to the sacred contests of Dionysus without receiving a prize commensurate with his talent.

Those who speak for the Muses celebrate Ptolemy in song for these benefactions. After all, what is more noble for a wealthy man than to have a good reputation among men? Farewell, King Ptolemy, and I will sing of you and the other demigods equally and I will speak words that will not, I think, be lost to those who come after. But for the glory itself, you must ask Zeus. Agamemnon and Menelaus. The occasion of these poems was a dedi- cation by Berenice of a lock of her hair at the temple of Arsinoe Aphrodite at Zephyrium. The lock mysteriously disappeared from the temple, and Conon, the court astronomer, identified it with a group of stars, the constellation Coma Berenices.

Callimachus, Aetia frag. His highly polished verses constitute a polemic against epic bombast. As Callimachus himself said, epic is a broad, muddy river, while his poetry is a pure spring Hymn 2. In this passage, the lock speaks. Having looked over the whole charted sky and where [the stars] go 1 Conon saw me too in the air, the lock 7 of Berenice, which she dedicated to all the gods And I swore by your35 head and your life 40 The shining descendant of Theia36 is carried over the spit 44 See Ferguson , Pfeiffer Would that the race of the Chalybes39 might perish, since they brought it forth from the earth like an evil plant, they who first revealed it and devised the workmanship of hammers.

And so that not only the. The Persian general Xerxes made a canal through the Chalcidian promontory where Mt. Athos is located, — B. A Scythian people credited with inventing ironwork. The deified Arsinoe. Ariadne; see note The Ptolemies 17 1. Catullus, Poem 66 59—58 B. Catullus was one of a number of writers in the Roman Republic known as poetae novi new poets , who preferred to write short poems on personal themes rather than epics. In that poem Catullus says that although he is still mourning the death of his brother, he is enclosing the translation Hortalus had asked for: But nevertheless, amid such sorrows, Hortalus, I am sending you these translated verses of Callimachus lest you think that your words, entrusted to the wandering winds, by chance slipped away from my mind.

Catullus, Poem Quinn , Hutchinson , The moon goddess; a reference to the myth of Selene and Endymion. Latmus: a mountain in Caria. Berenice, stretching out her smooth arms, had promised me to many of the goddesses, 10 in the season when the king, newly married to my mistress, had gone to plunder the Assyrian territories,48 taking with him the sweet traces of a nighttime scuffle waged over maidenly spoils.

Is Venus hateful to new brides? Or are happy parents 15 deceived by insincere tears that flow copiously in the bedroom? Those tears are false, I swear. My queen taught me this through her many laments, when her new husband went off to war. I say a profound grief has eaten away your melancholy heart!

Why, you were out of your mind with worry then, when you swooned with fear! But I at least 25 recognized your courage even when you were a child. Or have you forgotten the noble crime one a stronger man did not dare commit , by which you won a royal marriage? By Jupiter, how often you wiped your eyes with your hand! In — B. A prayer to a god for the safe return of a loved one might be accompanied by a vow to dedicate some gift here, a lock of hair to that god upon fulfillment of the prayer.

In this instance the sacrifice of a bull also accompanied the prayer. The Ptolemies 19 a captive Asia to Egyptian borders. I, in exchange for a prayer fulfilled, was handed over to the celestial assembly, an innovative offering to fulfill a classic vow. Unwilling, my queen, I left your head, unwilling: I swear by you and your head 40 may anyone who swears by it in vain get what he deserves. But who could claim to be equal to a steel blade? Jupiter, would that the whole race of the Chalybes53 might perish as well as the man who first decided to seek veins of metal under the ground and to cast iron!

Helios, the sun. In his attack on Greece, the Persian king Xerxes — B. Athos is located.

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The Chalybes lived in the region of the Black Sea and were famous for mining and metalwork. Catullus imagines the Wind taking the form of a winged horse. Quinn notes that attributing to Zephyr the transport of the lock to heaven is a pun on Aphrodite Zephyritis, with whom Arsinoe was identified after her death. Venus also refers to Aphrodite Zephyritis.

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The crown had been a gift from Dionysus when he found Ariadne abandoned by Theseus. I have come from the waves to the precincts of the gods, as a new star among the ancient ones. Once, while my mistress was a girl, I was deprived of all perfumes; since then, I have drunk many thousands with her.

You, women, now bound by the marriage torch, do not cast aside your clothing, bare your breasts 80 and hand over your bodies to kindred-spirited husbands until you have poured me pleasant libations from an onyx jar59— your jar; you obey the laws of marriage and keep a virtuous bed. But anyone who has given herself to impure adultery, may her evil gifts—ah!

Rather, brides, may harmony and constant love always inhabit your dwellings. You, truly, my queen who watches over the stars, when you please divine Venus on holy days, 90 do not allow me, since I am yours, to be deprived of perfume, Tethys is the wife of Oceanus. Nemesis, a goddess of vengeance. A liquid offering is to be poured to the lock, as to a god. They accomplished much through iconog- raphy: we see Ptolemaic rulers depicted as pharaohs in consciously Egyptianizing style e. We also find bilingual inscriptions. One of these, the Rosetta Stone, proved invaluable to the deciphering of hieroglyphics.

The Rosetta Stone March 25, B. The different languages and scripts reflect the need for the decree to be read by various groups of people. Hieroglyphics were the Egyptian characters used for religious documents and were read by priests, demotic was the common script for the Egyptian language, and Greek was the language of the Ptolemies. The inscription records a decree written by a group of Egyptian priests honoring the current Pharaoh, Ptolemy V.

Numbers in parenthesis are line numbers of the inscription. Relief from the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, before 30 B. Adkins Archaeology. Hephaestus was the Greek god of the forge. He was associated with Ptah, the Egyptian god who created the world and was the patron god of craftsmen and artisans. Helios was the Greek sun god, equated with the Egyptian sun god Ra. Alexander the Great. Ptolemy I Soter and Berenice I. March The Rosetta Stone, B. The double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.

There is a gap in the text. He also had two nicknames that betray more personal attributes: Nothos Bastard 78 and Auletes Flute Player. In the following passage, Strabo summarizes the reign of the Ptolemies, with an emphasis on the ancestry of Cleopatra V was dead by early 68 B. Ptolemy,80 son of Lagus succeeded Alexander; Philadelphus81 succeeded him; then came Euergetes;82 then Philopator,83 son of Agathocleia; then Epiphanes;84 then Philometor,85 the son always succeeding the father.

Philometor, however, was succeeded by his brother, the second Euergetes,86 also known as Physcon; then came the Ptolemy referred to as Lathyrus;87 then came Auletes,88 our con- temporary, who was the father of Cleopatra. All the Ptolemies after the third, led astray by luxury, ruled rather poorly, but the worst were the fourth, the seventh, and the last, Auletes. In addition to his other extravagances, he was trained to accompany choruses with the flute and he took such pride in this activity that he did not hesitate to hold competitions in the palace, where he would enter himself to compete against the other competitors.

The Alexandrians exiled him, but since there were three daughters, the oldest of whom was legitimate, they appointed her queen. Once she had been placed on the throne, they sent her a husband from Syria named Cybiosactes, who had passed himself off as an heir to the Syrian throne.

His replacement was a man who pretended to be the son of Mithradates Eupator. He was Archelaus, son of the Archelaus who fought against Sulla, was honored afterwards by the Romans, was the grandfather of the last king of the Cappadocians in our time, and was a priest of the Comanae in Pontus. He had, at that time, been spending time with Gabinius, in order to fight with him against the Parthians, but, in secret from Gabinius, some men escorted him to the queen and appointed him king. At the same in 69 B. Grant argues that if there had been any rumor that Cleopatra was illegitimate, Octavian would have used it against her in his propaganda , 3—4.

Berenice IV Cassius Dio His reign did not last much longer, however, as he died from a disease, leaving two sons and two daughters, the eldest of whom was Cleopatra. He fought at her side in the Battle of Actium and fled with her too. Then, Augustus Caesar, after pursuing them, brought about both their deaths and ended the drunken abuse of Egypt. Ptolemy XII plotted to have many of the ambassadors murdered; a number of Romans, including Pompey, were implicated as well Grant , Cassius Dio Pompey was fleeing from Julius Caesar after being defeated in the Battle of Pharsalus during the civil war.

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Pompey hoped to form an alliance with the Egyptians, but they considered Caesar more likely to emerge victorious and felt they could not afford to back the loser. She inherited in Alexandria a thriving and diverse city, and she soon showed her interest in increasing relations with the native people of Egypt. Plutarch refers to her as beautiful Life of Antony Figures 1, 3, and 4 show several ancient portraits. Stylistic differences contribute to the many faces of Cleopatra that we have from the ancient world.

She might appear as an Egyptian pharaoh in a portrait intended for an audience of native Egyptians, or in the style of the classical period in a Hell- enizing portrait bust, or looking very much like Mark Antony in a coin portrait. Goudchaux disputes the perception, based on some of these portraits, that Cleopa- tra was ugly , — Plutarch, Life of Antony He was active in public life during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian and authored a number of works, including a number of comparative biographies, the Parallel Lives.

Each pair of lives juxtaposes a Greek and a Roman whose careers had something in common. Following the extension of the Roman Empire into many Greek-speaking areas, a demand arose for books on Roman subjects written in Greek. In his writings Plutarch advocates a partnership between Greece, the intellectual power, and Rome, the political power. Perhaps, under Antony and Cleopatra, the world would have seen the Greek and Roman parts of the empire as relatively equal partners rather than Rome as the undisputed ruler of the Mediterranean.

Plutarch pairs Antony with Demetrius I of Macedonia, who attempted to reunite the empire of Alexan- der the Great against the will of the Macedonians. In the final reckoning, Plutarch finds them both lacking the morals essential to a great man. For indeed her own beauty, as they say, was not, in and of itself, completely incomparable, nor was it the sort that would astound those who saw her; but interaction with her was captivating, and her 2. Grant , — Cleopatra VII, marble bust, before 31 B. Photo: Johannes Laurentius. There was only one Buchis bull at a time, chosen based on its markings.

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When the bull died, it was given a formal burial and replaced with a new bull. In 51 B. This was the year in which 4. Note that Latin is not included in the list. It is possible that Latin was one of the many other languages with which Plutarch credits Cleopatra, but Julius Caesar and Mark Antony spoke Greek, so communication would not have been a problem.

See Grant , 42 n. The trip was probably the first opportunity her Egyptian subjects had to see their new ruler; thus, it afforded Cleopatra an important oppor- tunity to present herself to the people of Egypt. The Buchis Stela5 51 B. Fairman6 The consecration of a new Buchis bull was commemorated with an inscribed stela.

The translation that follows is of the stela in honor of the bull consecrated in 51 B. The relief on the stela shows the pharaoh offer- ing the fields. The Buchis bull is depicted with the headdress typical of the god Apis see fig. Utterance by the Osiris Buchis, living Ba of Re,7 manifestation of Re, who was born of the great cow. Mayest thou settle down on thy image,12 3 and may it make excellent thy condition. May Amun13 breathe forth sweet breath into thy nostrils, may thy nostrils inhale the goodly north wind, without ever being separated from thee.

Mayest thou be glorious; mayest thou be powerful; 4 may thy Ba14 be stable; mayest thou grow young like the moon. Mayest thou pass through the holy cities, mayest thou traverse the 5. Inscription 13 in Mond and Myers Mond and Myers , vol. Ba: the soul after death, also the animal form of a god; Re: the sun god.

It makes most sense to take Caesar here as referring to Augustus. Thus, the dates in the inscription indicate that the bull was born in 53 B. Atum was an Egyptian god associated with the sun and creation. The sixteenth day of the lunar month. Amun was another Egyptian god associated with the creative force.

The soul after death. Buchis Stela, 51 B. New Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Thy mother is Nut,16 she places thee within her, and is not devoid of thee for ever. Mayest thou see Re when he shines forth by day, and Dt when he enters by night. The house of 6 Atum, mayest thou live therein, and not per- ish within it for ever. He is the image of Onnophris,22 the justified, the sacred image of the Ba of Re, the bik n nb 9 in.

He came to Hermonthis in the goodly festival of the twentieth day of Pakhons, the festival of Mentu, Lord of Hermonthis, his seat of eternity. He reached Thebes, his place of installation, 10 which came into existence aforetime, beside his father, Nun the Old. The Queen, the Lady of the Two Lands , the goddess who loves her father, 11 rowed him in the barque of Amun, together with the boats of the king, all the inhabitants of Thebes and Hermonthis and priests being with him. His Ba went up to heaven as Re. He was buried therein in one day. Ceremonies were performed Shu: Egyptian god of the air.

Nut: the Egyptian sky goddess. The cartouches are left blank in this inscription. Tenen: Egyptian god who personified the fertile silt of the Nile. A group of primordial gods worshipped at Hermopolis. Mentu: Egyptian war and sun god.


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The nine most important gods of the Egyptian pantheon. Nun: Egyptian god personifying swampy water chaos. As Fairman notes, this date may be in error; it is more likely that the bull arrived on Phamenoth 22, four days after his departure Mond and Myers , vol. In 48 B. Appian, Civil War 2. Born in Alexandria in the late first century A. He has a favorable view of the Roman character, although he sees the breakdown of that character as a cause of the civil wars.

Because of his Alexandrian background, events concerning Egypt receive particular emphasis.


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  • In addition to the Greeks, almost all of the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean aided Pompey, including the Thracians, the Helle- spontines, the Bithynians, the Phrygians, the Ionians, the Lydians, the Pamphylians, the Pisidians, the Paphlygonians, Cilicia, Syria, Phoenicia, the Hebrew people, the Arabs who live next to them, the Cyprians, the Rhodians, the Cretan slingers, and all the other islanders. Kings and dynasts were present, each with his own army: Deiotarus, the tetrarch of the eastern Galatians, and Ariarathes, the king of the Cappadocians. Taxiles the general led the Armenians from this side of the Euphrates; Megabates, the lieutenant for King Artapates led the Armenians from beyond the Euphrates; other minor dynasts shared in the campaign.

    Sixty ships are said to have Ka: the protective divine spirit of a person. A combination of the god Re with the god Horus, the falcon god who was also associated with light. A priest of Buchis. These ships did not par- ticipate in the battle, however, nor did any other navy. Rather, they sat idly in Corcyra. In this respect, it seems that Pompey acted very foolishly by ignoring the ships, with which he was so capable that he could have deprived the enemy of supplies from every side, and by engaging in a land battle with men celebrating their recent achieve- ments and being savagely eager for battle.

    The Ptolemies, however, could not afford to ally themselves with the losing side, as they needed the protection Rome could provide. Judging that Caesar was more likely to emerge successful from the civil war, they wished to make their support for him evident. For these reasons, Pompey sailed to Egypt. By some chance, the wind brought Pompey to Casium.

    When Pompey saw a great army on the shore, he stopped his ship and inferred, as The king was around thirteen years old; Achillas managed his army and Pothinus the eunuch his treasury. The two of them discussed what to do about Pompey. They adopted this proposal and sent an inexpensive boat for him, allegedly because the sea was shallow and not fit for large ships. He offered his right hand, extending greetings from the king to Pompey and suggested he sail to the young man as if going to meet a friend. Pompey was suspicious of everything: the array of soldiers, the cheapness of the boat, and the failure of the king to meet him in person or send any of his officers.

    Then they quickly sailed away from those who were clearly enemies. Sophocles, fragment , Pearson. Casius, were all dishonored and moved to the innermost room of the temple. In my time, the Roman emperor Hadrian looked for them and found them when he traveled there. He was never defeated before his final conflict,31 but had been undefeated and very fortunate from his youth.

    From the time he was twenty-three until he was fifty-eight, he was continuously in power and had as much power as a king, but, in comparison with Caesar, he appeared democratic in the way he exercised it.

    Beautiful and useful?

    Cassius Dio, Roman History He wrote a history of Rome in eighty books, covering events from the founding of the city to A. Cassius Dio was a proponent of the Roman Empire, believing that only an emperor could effectively rule the Roman world. Pompey hastened away to Egypt, for the reasons given above,32 and, having followed the coast to Cilicia, from there he crossed open water to Pelusium, where Ptolemy was camped while fighting his sister Cleopatra.

    Pompey anchored his ships offshore and sent some men to remind Ptolemy of the ancestral relationship between them and to request a landing on certain firm conditions, for he did not dare leave his ship before receiving some promise of safety. Ptolemy made no reply he was still utterly a child , but some of the Egyptians, along with Lucius Septimius, a Roman who had at one time served in Appian is incorrect; Sertorius defeated Pompey in Spain.

    Pompey had been a friend of Ptolemy XII. Although Pompey had thought of asking the Parthians for help, they were at that time particularly hostile to the Romans; therefore, the Egyptians represented a better choice. They were, however, wickedly plotting against Pompey and, as a result, they brought a curse upon themselves and all of Egypt: they themselves died not long afterward and the Egyptians first were enslaved to Cleopatra, which they did not want, and then were declared subject to Rome. At this time, Septimius and Achillas, the army commander, along with others who were with them, said that they would happily receive Pompey so that he might easily be entrapped and caught.

    They sent his representatives back first, telling them to have confi- dence, and then they embarked on small boats and sailed out to him. After they offered many greetings, they invited Pompey to come aboard their boat, claiming that his ship was not able, because of its size and the shallow water, to approach the shore and that Ptolemy was very eager to see him quickly. Pompey said nothing and did not even cry out: as soon as he perceived the plot and realized that he could not defend himself against them or escape, he covered his face. Such was the death of Pompey the Great; it was an event that demonstrated the weakness and strangeness of the human race.

    Although Pompey was not lacking in foresight, but had always been very secure against any harmful force, he was tricked. Although he had won many unexpected victories in Africa, Asia, and Europe on land and on the sea ever since he was a young man, he was inexplicably beaten at age fifty-eight. Although he had tamed the whole sea of the Romans, he was ruined on that same body of water. Although, as the story goes, he commanded a thousand ships, he was destroyed in a Indeed, Pompey, previously thought to be the most powerful of the Romans he was even called Agamemnon , was slaughtered like some lowly Egyptian, not only near Mt.

    Casius, but on the anniversary of the day he had led a triumph over Mithradates and the pirates. Thus, even in this there was a reversal, for on that day previously he had attained the greatest success, but subsequently he suffered the most terrible fate; based on an oracle, he had suspected all citizens named Cassius, and he died and was buried near a mountain of the same name. Predictions might be obtained by visiting an oracle and posing a question or by consulting a collection of written predictions. All types of prophecies tend to be cryptic and open to interpretation; thus, the analysis can be as important as the content of the prediction.

    Sibylline Oracles 3. The Romans turned to these prophecies for guidance in times of need, believing that the predictions had been made by Sibyls, semimythical prophetesses. Book 3 of the Sibylline Oracles, from which these selections come, was written in Egypt. It is likely that the lady referred to is Cleopatra. In this passage, however, she has not conquered the world but has brought it to ruin. Charlesworth , vol.

    Horus name 1 : Wer et -neb et -neferu-achet-seh Wr. Horus name 2 : Weret-tut-en-it-es Wr. After her reign, Egypt became a province of the recently established Roman Empire. Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty , a family of Macedonian Greek [3] origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great 's death during the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies spoke Greek [4] throughout their dynasty, and refused to speak Egyptian , which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone.

    As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated Caesarion, her son with Caesar, to co-ruler in name. Antony committed suicide after losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, and Cleopatra followed suit. Egypt then became the Roman province of Aegyptus. Centralization of power and corruption led to uprisings in and the losses of Cyprus and Cyrenaica , making Ptolemy XII's reign one of the most calamitous of the dynasty.

    Ptolemy went to Rome with Cleopatra; Cleopatra VI Tryphaena seized the crown but died shortly afterwards in suspicious circumstances. It is believed though not proven by historical sources that Berenice IV poisoned her so that she could assume sole rulership. Berenice was imprisoned and executed shortly afterwards, her head allegedly being sent to the royal court on the decree of her father, the king.

    Cleopatra now became joint regent and deputy to her father at age 14, although her power would have been severely limited. The first three years of their reign were difficult due to economic failures, famine, deficient floods of the Nile , and political conflicts. Cleopatra was married to her young brother, but she quickly made it clear that she had no intention of sharing power with him.

    Cleopatra dropped Ptolemy's name from official documents and her face alone appeared on coins, which went against Ptolemaic tradition of female rulers being subordinate to male co-rulers. The Gabiniani killed the sons of the Roman governor of Syria Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus when they came to ask the Gabiniani to assist their father against the Parthians. Cleopatra handed the murderers over to Bibulus in chains, whereupon the Gabiniani became bitter enemies of the queen. The sole reign of Cleopatra was finally ended by a cabal of courtiers led by the eunuch Pothinus , in connection with half-Greek general Achillas , and Theodotus of Chios.

    While Cleopatra was in exile, Pompey became embroiled in the Roman civil war. Ptolemy was thirteen years old at that time, and had set up a throne for himself on the harbor. He was beheaded in front of his wife and children, who were on the ship from which he had just disembarked. Ptolemy is thought to have ordered the death to ingratiate himself with Caesar, thus becoming an ally of Rome, to which Egypt was in debt at the time. This act proved a miscalculation on Ptolemy's part. Caesar arrived in Egypt two days later, and Ptolemy presented him with Pompey's severed head.

    Caesar was enraged. Pompey was Caesar's political enemy, but he was a Roman consul and the widower of Caesar's only legitimate daughter Julia , who died during childbirth. Caesar seized the Egyptian capital and imposed himself as arbiter between the rival claims of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. Cleopatra was eager to take advantage of Julius Caesar 's anger toward Ptolemy and had herself secretly smuggled into his palace to meet with Caesar.

    He was nicknamed Caesarion , which means "little Caesar. At this point, Caesar abandoned his plans to annex Egypt, instead backing Cleopatra's claim to the throne. Mithridates raised the siege of Alexandria , and Caesar defeated Ptolemy's army at the Battle of the Nile. Cleopatra claimed that Caesar was the father of her son and wished him to name the boy his heir; but Caesar refused, choosing his grandnephew Octavian instead. During this relationship, it was also rumored that Cleopatra introduced Caesar to her astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria , who proposed the idea of leap days and leap years.

    This was not new; they were proclaimed in BC but the reform never took effect. Caesar made this the basis of his reform of the Roman calendar in 45 BC, and the Egyptian calendar was reformed along these lines in 26 BC. The Egyptian queen resided in one of Caesar's country houses, which included the Horti Caesaris just outside Rome. As a foreign head of state, she was not allowed inside Rome's pomerium. But Caesar even erected a golden statue of Cleopatra represented as Isis in the temple of Venus Genetrix the mythical ancestress of Caesar's family , which was situated at the Forum Julium.

    When Ptolemy XIV died, allegedly poisoned by his older sister, Cleopatra made Caesarion her co-regent and successor and gave him the epithets Theos Philopator Philometor Father-loving and mother-loving God. Cleopatra sided with the Caesarian party in the Roman civil war between the Caesarian faction, led by Mark Antony and Octavian, and the faction including the assassins of Caesar led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus , because of her past.

    Brutus and Cassius left Italy and sailed to the east of the Roman Empire, where they conquered large areas and established military bases. Cassius wanted to invade Egypt to seize the treasures of that country and punish Cleopatra for her support for Dolabella. Egypt seemed an easy target because it did not have strong land forces and there was famine and an epidemic. Cassius also wanted to prevent Cleopatra from bringing reinforcements for Antony and Octavian.

    For this purpose, Lucius Staius Murcus moved with 60 ships and a legion of elite troops into position at Cape Matapan in the south of the Peloponnese. Nevertheless, Cleopatra sailed with her fleet from Alexandria to the west along the Libyan coast to join the Caesarian leaders, but she was forced to return to Egypt because her ships were damaged by a violent storm and she became ill. Staius Murcus learned of the queen's misfortune and saw wreckage from her ships on the coast of Greece. He then sailed with his ships into the Adriatic Sea.

    Mark Antony was one of the triumvirs who ruled Rome in the power vacuum following Caesar's death. During the Roman civil war, she allegedly had paid much money to Cassius. To safeguard herself and Caesarion, she had Antony order the death of her sister Arsinoe , who had been banished to the Temple of Artemis in Roman-controlled Ephesus for her role in leading the Siege of Alexandria.

    Four years later, Antony visited Alexandria again en route to make war with the Parthians. He renewed his relationship with Cleopatra and, from this point on, Alexandria was his home. He married Cleopatra according to the Egyptian rite a letter quoted in Suetonius suggests this , although he was married at the time to Octavia Minor , sister of his fellow triumvir Octavian.