Front Matter The First Settlers Escape from the Burning City The Clever Trick The Boards Are Eaten The Wolf and the Twins Romulus Builds Rome The Maidens Carried Off Union of Sabines and Romans Death of Romulus Strange Signs of the Romans The Quarrel with Alba The Horatii and Curiatii Tarquin and the Eagle The Roman Youths The King Outwitted The Murder of Tarquin The Ungrateful Children The Mysterious Books Tarquin's Poppies The Oracle of Delphi The Death of Lucretia The Stern Father A Roman Triumph A Roman Triumph (Cont.) Defense of the Bridge The Burnt Hand The Twin Gods The Wrongs of the Poor Fable of the Stomach The Story of Coriolanus The Farmer Hero The New Laws Death of Virginia Plans of a Traitor A School-Teacher Punished Invasion of the Gauls The Sacred Geese Two Heroes of Rome Disaster at Caudine Forks Pyrrhus and His Elephants The Elephants Routed Ancient Ships Regulus and the Snake Hannibal Crosses the Alps The Romans Defeated The Inventor Archimedes The Roman Conquests Destruction of Carthage Roman Amusements The Jewels of Cornelia Death of Tiberius Gracchus Caius Gracchus Jugurtha, King of Numidia The Barbarians The Social War The Flight of Marius The Proscription Lists Sertorius and His Doe Revolt of the Slaves Pompey's Conquests Conspiracy of Catiline Caesar's Conquests Crossing of the Rubicon Battle of Pharsalia The Death of Caesar The Second Triumvirate The Vision of Brutus Antony and Cleopatra The Poisonous Snake The Augustan Age Death of Augustus Varus Avenged Death of Germanicus Tiberius Smothered The Wild Caligula Wicked Wives of Claudius Nero's First Crimes Christians Persecuted Nero's Cruelty Two Short Reigns The Siege of Jerusalem The Buried Cities The Terrible Banquet The Emperor's Tablets The Good Trajan Trajan's Column The Great Wall Hadrian's Death Antoninus Pius The Model Pagan Another Cruel Emperor An Unnatural Son The Senate of Women The Gigantic Emperor Invasion of the Goths Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra A Prophecy Fulfulled First Christian Emperor Roman Empire Divided An Emperor's Penance Sieges of Rome End of the Western Empire

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber

Antony and Cleopatra

The victory at Philippi left Mark Antony, Lepidus, and Octavius masters of the Roman world. They soon made a new division of it, by which while Antony went to Asia, and Lepidus to Africa, Octavius staid in Rome.

Although these three men were apparently the best of friends, they really feared and hated one another, and their alliance could not last very long. Octavius, the most ambitious of the three, soon determined to become sole ruler. He knew that Lepidus was old and could easily be disposed of; but Mark Antony was so powerful that it was necessary to avoid open war for a long time.

On arriving in Asia, Antony's first care had been to summon Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, to appear before him and answer to the accusation of having helped Brutus. Cleopatra obeyed; but, instead of judging her, Antony fell deeply in love with her.

To please this proud queen, he left his post in Asia, and went with her to Egypt, where he spent month after month at her side. His wife sent for him many times; and, as he did not come back, she at last stirred up a rebellion in Italy.

Before Antony could join her, the revolt had been put down; and he treated her so badly that she soon died of grief. Then Antony married Octavia, the sister of Octavius, and the two triumvirs joined forces against Sextus Pompey, the son of Pompey the Great; for this man had taken possession of Sicily, and was collecting a large fleet.

After some fighting, the two colleagues made peace with Sextus Pompey, but this peace was soon broken, and the war was renewed. Sicily, in time, fell into the hands of the triumvirs, and Pompey fled to Syria, where he was put to death by order of Antony.

The aged Lepidus was now recalled to Italy, where his share of the government was taken away from him. Instead of a province, he was given the office of chief pontiff, or high priest, of Rome, which he retained until he died.

Antony, in the mean while, had wended his way eastward again; and, instead of attending to his business in Asia, he once more joined Cleopatra in Egypt. In spite of his wife's letters and of the threats of Octavius, Antony lingered there year after year. Such was the influence which Cleopatra won over him that he even divorced his wife Octavia, and married the Egyptian queen.

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra.

Octavius had been longing for a good excuse to make war against Antony; for, as you know, he wished to be the only head of the government. He therefore pretended to be very angry because Antony had divorced Octavia, and he made ready a large army.

While Octavius was gathering troops, and manning his fleet, Antony staid with Cleopatra, and thought of nothing but pleasure and feasting. He gave magnificent banquets in her honor, and it was at one of these feasts that the Egyptian queen once dissolved a priceless pearl in vinegar, and swallowed it, merely to be able to say that no one had ever quaffed so costly a drink as she.

Forced at last to meet Octavius, who was coming with a large fleet, Antony and Cleopatra sailed to Actium, where a great naval battle took place. The combined fleets of Antony and Cleopatra were very large indeed; but Octavius won a glorious victory.

Cleopatra had come in her gilded galley, with its sails of purple silk and a richly dressed crew. But as soon as the fighting began, she was so frightened that she turned and fled. When Antony saw her galley sailing away, he forgot honor and duty, and quickly followed her, leaving his people to end the battle as best they could.