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 Cleopatra VI, Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV (51‑30

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MensajeTema: Cleopatra VI, Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV (51‑30    Vie Ene 01, 2016 12:39 am

Cleopatra VI, Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV (51‑30 B.C.)

On the death of Ptolemy in 51 B.C. his eldest surviving daughter, Cleopatra VI, began her reign as queen of Egypt. In Cleopatra VI the dynasty founded by the shrewd Macedonian marshal in Egypt, nearly three hundred years before, was destined to come to its end. When she came to the throne it seemed on the point of extinction. The dependencies, Coele-Syria, Cyrene, Cyprus, were gone; the dignity of the royal house had never been brought so low — the king a lackey of the Romans, Egypt almost a Roman province. The Ptolemaic dynasty, it seemed, was going to peter out, in a few years, like the Seleucid. But destiny had determined that the fortune of the house of Ptolemy, before going out, should blaze up in a manner dramatic and astonishing. The reign of the last sovereign would be the reign which men afterwards would remember more than any other. When everything seemed lost, the heirs of the house of Ptolemy would suddenly have almost put within their grasp a dominion stretching not only over the lost ancestral lands, but over wider territories than Ptolemy I or Ptolemy II or Ptolemy III had ever dreamed of. Those kings, being men, had based their dominion on the power of their arms; but now, when the military power of Egypt had become contemptible beside that of Rome, the sovereign of Egypt would bring to the contest power of a wholly different kind — the power of a fascinating woman. The strength of Rome was so great that no king of Egypt could hope to save the falling kingdom by any power a king could command, but a queen of Egypt, with this power of a different order, might actually convert the very strength of Rome to be the instrument of her purposes. At no other moment of history do we see the attraction exercised by woman upon man made so definitely a determining force in the political and military field, used p360so deliberately by a woman amid the clash of great armies to achieve the ends of her own imperialist ambition. And Cleopatra came very near ultimate success.
The last of a whole series of Cleopatras, Berenices, Arsinoes, presented in this history, she shows a family resemblance to those other queens and princesses of Macedonian blood — the same precocious masculine purpose, passion for power, ruthlessness in killing. But we have to remember that Cleopatra VI perhaps had added qualities which those others did not have. She was probably only half-Macedonian; the other half of her blood was probably drawn from her grandmother, the mistress of Ptolemy Soter II, who, as we saw, is likely to have been some beautiful and accomplished Greek demi-mondaine.1 If Cleopatra's Macedonian blood gave her her masculine energy and hard cruelty, the blood of her Greek grandmother may have given her not only a physical seductiveness which fired men's blood, but a wit which captivated their minds. She had the versatile cleverness which might be expected in a courtesan chosen to be a king's mistress, and astonished her contemporaries, we are told, by her ability to pick up other languages (a thing which Greeks very seldom did) — not only Egyptian, the language of her native subjects, but Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Ethiopian, Somali. She was not, Plutarch says, exceptionally beautiful, but extraordinarily amusing, vital, and attractive, not above quickening her talk with lubricity, when it was a case of ensnaring the coarse, masterful Roman.
Cleopatra found herself queen of Egypt at the age of seventeen or eighteen. By the custom of the house, and according to the will and testament of Ptolemy Auletes, the elder of her two brothers, then only nine or ten, was associated with her, as king (Ptolemy XII). They probably had, as a pair, the style of "Father-loving Gods" (Theoi Philopatores), though neither during the reign of Cleopatra with Ptolemy XII, nor during her reign, later on, with the younger brother, Ptolemy XIII, do the coins bear any head or name but that of the queen, Κλεοπάτρας Βασιλίσσης, and in p361Egyptian sepulchral inscriptions put up during the reign of Cleopatra with her younger brother (regnal years 5, 6, and 7 of Cleopatra) the regnal year of the boy-king is ignored.2 The chief power at court was engrossed by the eunuch Pothinus,3 by the tropheus of the young king, the Greek Theodotus of Chios, responsible for teaching him rhetoric, and by the commander-in‑chief, Achillas, called an "Egyptian,"4 that is, probably, a man of native, or mixed Greek and native, blood. The army of occupation left by Gabinius, composed mainly of Gauls and Germans, was still encamped near Alexandria. These foreign troops showed a disposition to settle permanently upon the soil of Egypt, marrying with the inhabitants of the country, whether native Egyptians or descendants of the earlier bands of settlers — Macedonians, Greeks, Thracians, Asiatics — a new class of katoikoi. When the proconsul of Syria, Marcus Bibulus, sent two of his sons to Egypt to summon the "Gabinian" army to return to Syria, the troops incontinently murdered them. The Mediterranean world generally was on the eve of a new convulsion — the civil war between Pompey and Julius Caesar. In 49 B.C. Pompey's son, the younger Gnaeus Pompeius, appeared at Alexander, to procure ships, troops, and money from Egypt. The eastern princes and peoples held as a whole by the great Pompey in the coming struggle, and the children of Ptolemy Auletes, who had been restored by Pompey's man, Gabinius, were under special obligations to Pompey. The young Pompeius succeeded in getting from Egypt a squadron of some fifty ships, a supply of cornº and five hundred men of the "Gabinians." The son of Pompey was the Roman of highest standing upon whom the young queen of Egypt had yet tried the power of her eyes. It was afterwards said that more than diplomatic intercourse had passed between them, and that the woman who could put the names of Caesar and Antonius in the roll of her lovers could also put the great name Pompeius. We cannot hope now to separate fact from scandal.
In Egypt itself there was probably, after the death of Auletes, a recrudescence of native revolts. Caesar mentions, amongst the wars in which the royal troops who confronted p362his legions in 49 had seen active service, "wars against the Egyptians."5 The wars may, of course, have occurred still earlier, when Auletes was still alive, but Caesar mentions them after the murder of the sons of Bibulus, and it is likely that his enumeration follows chronological sequence. No troubles in Upper Egypt are mentioned during the reign of Auletes, and if things were quiet there, we may conjecture that it was due to the government there being in the hands of some one whom, by our broken records, we may conjecture to have been a man of great consideration and influence, Callimachus the epistrategos. Our first record of him in this office belongs to July 786 (year 3, Epiph 1), and our last to February 51,7 so that he must have ruled the Thebaid practically through the whole of Auletes' reign. He combines with his other titles that of "Commander of the Red Sea and the Indian Sea" — that is, the Arabian and Indian trade and the stations on the coast away to the south would have been under his authority. If he is identical (as seems likely) with the father of Callimachus the epistates, then he must at the beginning of the reign of Cleopatra have been raised to the post of epistolographos at Alexandria.*.html
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MensajeTema: Re: Cleopatra VI, Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII, Ptolemy XIV (51‑30    Dom Feb 28, 2016 12:27 am

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