Tuesday in Alexandria

A week goes by.

I read of Nefertiti Hatshepsut and Cleopatra - oh my.

With my morning coffee I dig beneath the sand to find stone temples.

I come home late from drudgeday and eagerly snatch open the mailbox.

And trudge to the house disappointed that it hasn't arrived.

Ordered from someone in Miami or Phoenix or Seattle a book they no longer want but now I must have. A book that will unlock the secrets of the long dead language I seek.

Cleo was a Ptolemy anyway and NOT a pharaoh nor even really Egyptian, but notwithstanding all that, I wonder: did she really commit suicide?

Surely not a woman of her talent, ambition, determination, political savvy, willingness to commit murder for her own political survival?

Isn't it just possible that Octavian being a brilliant strategist saw that a queen of Egypt being paraded as a POW through the streets of Rome would not be the same coup d'etat as dragging a captive conquered king? Surely he knew that there would be no policital advantage in it? Political advantage, on the other hand, would indeed be manifest in a trapped queen romantically taking her own life as she saw the walls of the Roman Empire closing around her. Consider what a hugely symbolic gesture Cleopatra's suicide indicated: that Egypt in all Her feminine decadence had reached the end of Her power and knew there was no other way out than to be poisoned by the 3,000 year old symbol of Her own royal power, the cobra.

Cleo dead, she would no longer be around to connive against him- which he HAD to know she would do if she lived, even as a captive. She had seduced both Julius Caesar AND Antony - that is a sure sign of a political survivor, if ever there was one (Lady DeWinter comes to mind). But, Octavian couldn't just have her openly murdered either- this would not be politically circumspect. Octavian had her trapped in her own quarters, indeed had control over all Alexandria. Therefore, he had control of the 'crime scene.' He could have orchestrated events any way he saw fit.

There are no first hand accounts of Cleo's death, so it's all speculation, but what a tantalizing "What if?" it is. At least to me- this is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at all hours.

Here's what sparked my mind in the first place:

Mysterious Death of Cleopatra


Blogger andi said...

Have you read this yet?


I thought it was a good read. I seem to remember one of the motivations for her suicide (in this historical fiction, anyway) was the future of her child by Caesar. I can't remember much beyond that.

Definitely one of those mysteries that keeps you up nights.

11:26 AM  

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