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Cleopatra

antony, ptolemy, bc and alexandria

CLEOPA'TRA, the daughter of the Egyptian king, Ptolemy Auletes, was b. 69 B.C., and, according to the will of her father, should have inherited the throne along with her brother, Ptolemy Dionysus, who was also her husband. Her claim. however, being opposed, Julius Cmsar came to Alexandria, 48 B.C., to interpose in the quarrel, and in the Alexandrian war, Ptolemy Dionysus fell, and C., who was now married to her younger brother, Ptolemy, a boy of eleven years, was established upon the throne of Egypt. She bore a son to Cmsar, who was named Cmsarion. On her visiting Rome, Caesar received her with great magnificence, and placed her statue in the temple which he had built to Venus Genitrix. In the civil war, after Cmsar's assassinatin, C. at first hesitated which side to take. After the battle of Philippi, Antony sumffoned her to appear before him at Tarsus, in Cilicia, to give account of her conduct. C., who had in the mean time got quit of the youthful Ptolemy by poison, appeared in the character of Venus Anadyomene, and so fascinated Antony, that lie ever afterwards remained devoted to her. They spent the winter, 41-40 B.C., in Alexandria, in revelry; and Antony, although lie had in the mean time married Octavia, the sister of Octavianus, returned to the embraces of C., who met him at Laodicen, in Syria, 36 B.C., and accom panied him to the Euphrates. His general residence from this time was with her at Alexandria. Ile bestowed upon her and upon her children great estates, which, how

ever, lie had no right so to dispose of. Upon this and other accounts, he became the object of great detestation at Rome, and war was declared against C., Antony being now regarded as her general. At her instigation, he risked the great naval battle of Actium (q.v.); and when she fled with 60 ships, he forgot everything else, and hastened atter her. When Octavianus appeared before Alexandria, C. entered into private negotiations with him for her own security, which treachery becoming known to Antony, he vowed revenge; but a report coming to him that she had committed suicide, he thought it impossible to survive her, and fell upon his sword. Mortally wounded, and learning that the report which he had heard was false, he caused himself to be carried into her presence, and died in her arms. Octavianus, by artifice, succeeded in making her his prisoner. Failing to make any impression upon him, and finding that lie spared her life only that she might grace his triumph at Rome, she took poison, or, as is said, killed herself by causing an asp to bite her arm. Her death took place in Aug., 30 B.C. Her body was buried beside that of Antony, and Octavia brought up the children whom she had born to Antony as if they had been her own.