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princess, is recorded. We are only told by Dion that, upon their final return to Alexandria, Antony and Cleopatra had his eldest son Antyllus (Antonius), and her eldest, Cæsarion, declared ephebi, that the populace might regard them as men, fit to rule if any casualty removed their parents. This, he adds, was the cause of both their deaths at Octavian's hands."
In the same way, modern Egypt knows nothing of Cleopatra. The traveller on the Nile never hears of her except when he is at Denderah, looking at the conventionalised relief, which stands for her portrait, on the back wall of the beautiful temple founded or restored by her liberality, of which Mahaffy sarcastically remarks:“ The artist had probably never seen the queen, and, if he had, it would not have produced the slightest alteration in his drawing."
But to picture to ourselves one of the acknowledged beauties of the world and of all time, we have to rely on the Denderah relief and on her coins.
While agreeing with Professor Mahaffy on the shortcomings of the Denderah relief as a portrait, it is worth while to analyse its features, which are those of the voluptuous, Semitic women who please the Arabs as courtesans, with long eyes, a well-formed hawk nose, and a curved smile.
The coin is more likely to be truthful because it is not beautiful, and the daughter of the Ptolemies would not have been lenient to an artist who exaggerated her defects. Here the head is of a masculine, athletic type, with a straight, rather turned-up nose, a large mouth with a confident smile, and a very firm chin.
Mahaffy considers that Shakespeare is responsible for our stereotyped idea of Cleopatra, and that, although the derivation was before the poet's mind, and he may simply have meant Egyptian when he wrote gipsy-still, the gipsy type must also have been before his mind, and made him write : " His goodly eyes now turn the office and devotion of their view upon a tawny front'; and again, “To cool a gipsy's lust'; and again, IV., xii., 28, Like a right gipsy.'”
" The Egyptian portrait,” says Mahaffy, "is likely to
confirm in the spectator's mind the impression derived from Shakespeare's play, that Cleopatra was a swarthy Egyptian, in strong contrast to the fair Roman ladies, and suggesting a wide difference of race. She was no more an Egyptian than she was an Indian, but a pure Macedonian, of a race akin to, and perhaps fairer than, the Greeks." And he reminds us that Plutarch expressly says " that it was not in peerless beauty that her fascination lay, but in the combination of more than average beauty with many other personal attractions."
In the Denderah portrait Cleopatra is represented as Isis. She has a slender figure, though this is conventionalised, and we should consider the way, in which it is displayed, wanting in all decency. The figure of Cæsarion hardly comes up to his mother's thigh.
It should be observed that the absence of beauty in Cleopatra's face is not due to any inability in the sculptor to express beauty; for, though the reliefs of Denderah belong to a late period, there is hardly any temple where the faces in the sculpture are more charming.
Who was Cleopatra ? She was Cleopatra VI., for she had five predecessors of the same name who shared the throne of Egypt. She was the daughter of Ptolemy Auletes, and born about 68 B.C. She married both her brothers, Ptolemy XIV., who was older, and Ptolemy XV., who was younger than herself. Ptolemy XIV. was drowned in an attack upon Julius Cæsar. She had her younger brother and her beautiful sister Arsinoe (whom she had already sent to Rome fettered, to grace Cæsar's triumph in her chains) put to death by Antony. All the world knows that she was the mistress of Mark Antony, but not every one remembers that she lived with Julius Cæsar as his mistress almost from the day that he landed in Egypt to the day of his death three years afterwards, and that she aspired to be the mistress of Octavian when he conquered Antony at Actium. She was taken prisoner by all three, and she had been the ward of Pompey; and, if fame be true, the mistress of his son.
And, finally, she was the last Queen of Egypt—the last of a succession of queens who had ruled or shared the ruler's throne for four thousand years. With her came to an end a kingdom in which the civilisation of the world had begun, and which bade fair to be eternal.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since then. But still there is no other kingdom whose years are more than a span in respect of the kingdom of the Pharaohs and the Ptolemies.
In 47 B.C., soon after the murder of Pompey, Julius Cæsar landed at Alexandria with 800 horse, 3,200 infantry, and 15 warships belonging to Rhodes and other ports of Asia Minor.
The famous papyrus has died right out in Egypt. There might come a time, not very distant, if the English withdrew, when not one kanto of cotton would find its way from all Egypt to the wharves of Alexandria and Port Said; but there has always been, and always will be, a plentiful crop of treachery ; and, as the last millenium before Christianity was drawing to its close, Egyptian treachery came within an ace of murdering Julius Cæsar as well as Pompey the Great.
It would have been the very climax of irony if the two great rivals, who had first shared the world between them, and then fought to see which should have the whole, had both been killed like dogs by traitors, with no force but treachery, at Alexandria,
These Alexandrians intended to serve Cæsar as they had served Pompey, when he was imprudent enough to dash down to Egypt after his defeated rival, relying on a force which was adequate only if the prestige of the Roman arms prevented the Egyptians from interfering.
But the Egyptians of that day were strangely like the Egyptians of to-day; they were too ignorant, too inflated with conceit to grasp the fact that the assassination of a few of the ruling race, stranded in Egypt without a sufficient bodyguard, could have no effect on the autonomy of Egypt, but could only lead to condign punishment and greater political restrictions.
They chanced not to succeed in the second assassination, and they chanced to be dealing with Cæsar, the most clement of the conquerors of antiquity. So they escaped, as they so often have escaped, the penalty. One cannot help wishing, as one reads the episode, that they had been dealing with Sylla, for the lesson which he would have taught them was needed in Egypt. He would have made even the Nile run red. As Cæsar had only brought about 4,000 men and 15 warships with him, the army of 20,000 desperadoes, which held Alexandria, and the 72 ships lying ready in the harbour constituted a sufficient force to overwhelm him. But Cæsar threw himself into the fortified palace of the Ptolemies, and waited for the arrival of another legion by sea and the army led by Mithridates on land. Assaults and treachery alternated; the one assault which succeeded was Cleopatra's. She and her brother husband both “appealed unto Cæsar." She imagined that her agent was betraying her. It is difficult to imagine him not betraying her. She made her way into the palace. According to tradition, she was carried in on the back of a slave, in a bundle of bedding. Once there her position, with a man so made for love as Cæsar, was secure. She became his mistress, and remained his mistress till the end of his life. From that time forward, even in the periods he passed at Rome, he was seldom without her. By her he had a son, Cæsarion. Against her, during this great epoch of her life, we have nothing recorded. Much has been written against Cleopatra ; she had the faults of her race and her time; but it may be that, like the mistress of the victor of the Nile, she was capable of rising above herself when living with a hero.
Mr. Phillip Sergeant, her latest biographer, in his “Cleopatra of Egypt,”ı dismisses as improbable the idea that she arrived in Rome in time for Cæsar's triumph over Gaul, Egypt, Pontus, and Numidia, which was in June B.C. 46. He thinks it more likely that she arrived in the summer of B.C. 45. She was certainly in Rome at the time with her boy-husband and brother, Ptolemy XV., and probably
| Hutchinson, 1909; 16s. net.
Cæsarion, her son by Julius Cæsar, whom his father might naturally want to see. She was lodged in a villa of Cæsar's on the Janiculum, near the modern Villa Doria. She was much courted by Cæsar's party; but Cicero, who tried to borrow some books from the library of Alexandria through her, was put off with fair words, and wrote of her in one of his letters to Atticus, as quoted by Mr. Sergeant :
"I detest the Queen; and the voucher for her promises, Hammonios, knows that I have good cause for saying so. What she promised, indeed, were all things of the learned sort and suitable to my character-such as I could avow even in a public meeting. As for Sara, besides finding him an unprincipled rascal, I also found him inclined to give himself airs toward me. I only saw him once at my house; and when I asked him politely what I could do for him, he said that he had come in hopes of seeing Atticus. The Queen's insolence, too, when she was living in Cæsar's transtiberine villa I cannot recall without a pang. So I won't have anything to do with that lot. They think not so much that I have no spirit as that I have scarcely any proper pride at all.”
Cæsar's living with her was resented, though the adulteries of the wives of Poinpey, Crassus, Lepidus, Hortensius, and others were notorious, and the austere Brutus himself was openly profligate without disgusting the public. An Egyptian woman was thought as contaminating at Rome then as a Jewess was in the Middle Ages. And Cæsar erected a statue to Cleopatra, beside the goddesses, in the temple he dedicated to his ancestress Venus.
When Cæsar was murdered Cleopatra for a moment entertained hopes that, as he had no other son, Cæsarion would be declared his heir. But when Cæsar's will was read it expressly named Octavian, and Cleopatra, fearing for their personal safety, smuggled herself and her son off to Egypt somehow.
The Palace of the Ptolemies stood almost in the centre of the shore of the eastern bay of Alexandria. The Pharos stood where the grand old fifteenth-century fort of Kait Bey juts out