Story of Queen Cleopatra, ancient Egypt, Caesar and Rome

And so the time for the war between Rome and Egypt came in the summer of 31 B.C. The armies gathered at Actium, a region on the western coast Greece.

In command of each army was a great Roman general.

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And so the time for the great war between Rome and Egypt came in the summer of 31 B.C. The armies gathered at Actium on the western coast Greece.

In command of each army was a great Roman general. Octavian, Julius Caesar’s chosen heir and nephew, the feature Augustus Caesar dictator of Rome, was leading his legions and opposing him was General Mark Antony, Julius Caesar’s old second-in-command, now Cleopatra’s husband and commander of all her forces plus his own Roman legions.

Antony was swollen with pride, conceit and luxurious living – his mantle as a seasoned soldier had been softened in the arms of his all demanding mistress. He made blunder after blunder in policy and strategy. The greatest of these mistakes was his decision to make his main thrust with his fleet – his Egyptian fleet – thus forfeiting the confident of his Roman soldiers.

It is said that Cleopatra insisted on a naval battle to give her fleet the chance to distinguish itself. The astonishing thing was that when the decisive stage of this sea engagement was reached, at the moment when she should have ordered her naval squadrons into action, she gave the order to retreat and sailed off with them on the following wind. So writes the great historian of ancient times, Plutarch – and this has left historians, throughout the centuries wondering why.
In any event, as history teachers tell today, Mark Antony lost the war that day and with it his delusions of grandeur. He barely managed to escape with his ship and later joined Cleopatra aboard her gallery.

It is reported that they didn’t speak to each other for three days and nights – so there were obviously gossip columnists, hungry bloggers and ‘keyhole peepers’ even in those days. In any case, all that was left to them were the reconciliation and consolation of lovers. After they were reconciled, they parted ways – Antony in search of another army to support him and Cleopatra returning to Alexandria to claim the huge defeat as major victory…sounds familiar, right? This is one trait that has not disappeared with the centuries.

Antony later rejoined Cleopatra in her capital to a cool welcome from the royal court and the public. But unlike her, he could actually taste the defeat in his mouth and so could bake in false glory.

Mark Antony built himself a hide-out in the sea by the Pharos Lighthouse (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), and there he lived alone and sulked. Meanwhile, Cleopatra was securing the continents of Asia and Africa for allies and armies.

At home Cleopatra put on a bold face on the situation before her people, celebrating the seventeenth birthday of her son, Caesarion, as the coming of age of a new Ptolemy and a new Caesar rolled up in one youth. She laid on a tremendous display for this event. It was magnificent but no substitute for a victorious war. However, it drew Antony out of his island hole and sulks and back to the gay life of Alexandria.

Nonetheless, celebration or not, the wrath of Rome and its new dictator, Octavian was coming and Cleopatra knew she- had to prepare.

To Be Continued.....

READ: Part 8 Here

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