"Story of Queen Cleopatra, ancient Egypt, Caesar and Rome"

Through her passion and skill as a lover, Queen Cleopatra now had the General Mark Antony as her slave.

She proceeded to manipulate him into an attempt to take over control of the mighty Roman empire and murder Julius Caesar’s chosen heir, Octavian.

The Most Wicked Women of The Old World...Season 1 ..Episode 5

Through her passion and skill as a lover, Queen Cleopatra now had the General Mark Antony as her slave.

She proceeded to manipulate him like a puppet but first, she fed his ego richly just like she fed his endless sexual appetite. As a first step, she made him announce a state visit to Alexandria – and there she laid on such a reception for him even more dazzling than that much-dazzled city had ever seen.

Th e main objective, of course, was to conclude an alliance between Rome and Egypt, which would guarantee Antony the rich treasury of Cleopatra to draw on plus the support of her Army and fleet in his campaigns and in his bid to sweep, Julius Caesar’s heir, Octavian, out of his path. Then when he was ruler of the Roman world, he would move towards the long-term objective; he would proclaim himself King-emperor with Cleopatra as his queen, and together =, they would found a dynasty which would hold the world thrall into the distant future.

This grand plan was so much of a carbon copy to the Julius Caesar’s secret ambitions that there is little room for doubt who the real architect of it was – the seductive schemer of a queen whose favors both men had received in full measure.

There was, however, one fatal flaw in this tremendous design: with Julius Caesar, it was possible, with Antony, hopeless.  

Mark Antony’s personal ambassador at the court of Cleopatra soon wrote to Fulvia, Antony’s wife in Rome. Parts of that letter which serviced long enough for historians and intellectuals like Willian Shakespeare to get their hands on it reads as follows….

“It is quite clear that the queen is out to conquer Antony. Every seduction is displayed and his inclination to be a playboy exploited to the full. At the palace, the revels go on night and day and this city of Alexandra offers every incentive to laxity in morals. 
“Antony has taken to going about in Greek dress, wearing white shoes, and the queen acts the part of a Bacchante…... she never leaves his side day or night; she sits up until dawn at interminable banquets and in the daytime, she rides with him to the hunt, goes fishing with him and goes camel riding with him at edge of the desert, never tiring or waring, always ready for anything. In this respect, she is certainly a most remarkable woman for, in the morning, while he sleeps out his wine, she works with her ministers and looks after the education of her young son.”

Plutarch also elaborated on the lush detail of their riotous living and Shakespeare drew heavily from the historian’s descriptions for his work, Antony, and Cleopatra.

It is hardly surprising that Cleopatra found herself pregnant again, and this time, the result was twins, a boy and a girl who were, with typical lack of modesty, named Alexander the Sun and Cleopatra the moon, another indication of the way their ambition were headed.

In Rome, Fulvia had died, and at a meeting between Antony and his rival Octavian, it was agreed that Antony should marry Octavian’s half-sister, Octavia. Now there is no clear record of how Antony broke this new to Cleopatra and her reaction to it. This subject is an area of conjecture for historians and poets of later age. William Shakespeare held the view that Cleopatra stormed and raged but later he modified this himself with a description of Octavia physical appearance and personality; ‘dull, aloof – a statue rather than a breather’ – you got to hand it to Shakespeare and his skill with words.

Some historians took the simple view that Cleopatra understood that the betrothal was a mere formality for reasons of state. What is certain is that she took advantage of the situation by raising the price of her partnership with Antony. She now wanted him to marry her under Egyptian law and as part of the marriage settlement, she demanded several slices of the Near East be transferred to Egypt from Rome. – this included chunks of Syria, Judea, the Lebanon, and Phoenicia. She got her way and Antony became her husband but not her king –  that title was reserved solely for her son, Caesarion.

In one beautiful stroke, Egypt regained much of its old domain under the Pharaohs and the country was great again. All that was required by Cleopatra in return was to support Antony’s next adventure with men and money.

To Be Continued.....

READ: Part 6 Here

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