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Unformatted text preview: Cassius Dio’s Roman History, written in Greek c. 200 AD, gives a rather different account than Plutarch of what Antony and Cleopatra did after their defeat at Actium. In particular Cleopatra’s motivations as a “master of power” paint a different picture of the women compared to Plutarch and Shakespeare. Then, because it was winter, Caesar (Octavian) carried his ships across the isthmus of the Peloponnesus and got back to Asia so quietly that Antony and Cleopatra learned at one and the same time both of his departure and of his return. 3 They, it appears, when they had made their escape from the naval battle at Actium, had gone as far as the p17Peloponnesus together; from there, after they had first dismissed a number of their associates whom they suspected,— many, too, withdrew against their wishes,— Cleopatra had hastened to Egypt, for fear that her subjects would begin a revolt if they heard of the disaster before her arrival. 4 And in order to make her approach, too, safe she crowned her prows with garlands as if she had actually won a victory, and had songs of triumph chanted to the accompaniment of flute-players. But as soon as she had reached safety, she slew many of the foremost men, inasmuch as they had always been displeased with her and were now elated over her disaster; 5 and she proceeded to gather vast wealth from their estates and from various other sources both profane and sacred, sparing not even the most holy shrines, and also to fit out her forces and to look about for allies. She put to death the Armenian king and sent his head to the Mede, who might be induced thereby, she thought, to aid them. 6 Antony, for his part, had sailed to Pinarius Scarpus in Africa and to the army under Scarpus' command previously assembled there for the protection of Egypt. But when this general not only refused to receive him but furthermore slew the men sent ahead by Antony, besides executing some of the soldiers under his command who showed displeasure at this act, then Antony, too, proceeded to Alexandria without having accomplished anything. 6 Now among the other preparations made for speedy warfare, they enrolled among the youths of military age, Cleopatra her son Caesarion and Antony his son Antyllus, who had been born to him by Fulvia and was then with him. Their purpose was p19to arouse the enthusiasm of the Egyptians, who would feel that they had at last a man for their king, and to cause the rest to continue the struggle with these boys as their leaders, in case anything untoward should happen to the parents. 2 Now as for the lads, this proved one of the causes of their undoing; for Caesar spared neither of them, claiming that they were men and were clothed with a sort of leadership....
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- Spring '07
- Antony and Cleopatra, Cleopatra VII, Mark Antony, Caesarion, Pelusium Antony