The war by which Caesar reinstated Cleopatra upon the throne was not one
of very long duration. Caesar arrived in Egypt in pursuit of Pompey about
the first of August; the war was ended and Cleopatra established in
secure possession by the end of January; so that the conflict, violent
as it was while it continued, was very brief, the peaceful and
commercial pursuits of the Alexandrians having been interrupted by it
only for a few months.

Nor did either the war itself, or the derangements consequent upon it,
extend very far into the interior of the country. The city of Alexandria
itself and the neighboring coasts were the chief scenes of the contest
until Mithradates arrived at Pelusium. He, it is true, marched across
the Delta, and the final battle was fought in the interior of the
country. It was, however, after all, but a very small portion of the
Egyptian territory that was directly affected by the war. The great mass
of the people, occupying the rich and fertile tracts which bordered the
various branches of the Nile, and the long and verdant valley which
extended so far into the heart of the continent, knew nothing of the
conflict but by vague and distant rumors. The pursuits of the
agricultural population went on, all the time, as steadily and
prosperously as ever; so that when the conflict was ended, and Cleopatra
entered upon the quiet and peaceful possession of her power, she found
that the resources of her empire were very little impaired.

She availed herself, accordingly, of the revenues which poured in very
abundantly upon her, to enter upon a career of the greatest luxury,
magnificence, and splendor. The injuries which had been done to the
palaces and other public edifices of Alexandria the fire, and by the
military operations of the siege, were repaired. The bridges which had
been down were rebuilt. The canals which had been obstructed were opened
again. The sea-water was shut off from the palace cisterns; the rubbish
of demolished houses was removed; the barricades were cleared from the
streets; and the injuries which the palaces had suffered either from the
violence of military engines or the rough occupation of the Roman
soldiery, were repaired. In a word, the city was speedily restored once
more, so far as was possible, to its former order and beauty. The five
hundred, thousand manuscripts of the Alexandrian library, which had been
burned, could not, indeed, be restored; but, in all other respects, the
city soon resumed in appearance all its former splendor. Even in respect
to the library, Cleopatra made an effort to retrieve the loss. She
repaired the ruined buildings, and afterward, in the course of her life,
she brought together, it was said, in a manner hereafter to be
described, one or two hundred thousand rolls of manuscripts, as the
commencement of a new collection. The new library, however, never
acquired the fame and distinction that had pertained to the old.

[...]
begin
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] [67] [68] [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] [80] [81] [82] [83] [84] [85] [86] [87] [88] [89] [90] [91] [92] [93] [94] [95] [96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] [102] [103] [104] [105] [106] [107] [108] [109] [110] [111] [112] [113] [114] [115] [116] [117] [118] [119] [120] [121] [122] [123] [124] [125] [126] [127] [128] [129] [130] [131] [132] [133] [134] [135] [136] [137] [138] [139] [140] [141] [142] [143] [144] [145] [146] [147] [148] [149] [150] [151] [152] [153] [154] [155] [156] [157] [158] [159] [160] [161] [162] [163] [164] [165]