August 28th, 2015
At the time when the unnatural quarrel between Cleopatra’s father and her sister was working its way toward its dreadful termination, as related in the last chapter, she herself was residing at the royal palace in Alexandria, a blooming and beautiful girl of about fifteen. Fortunately for her, she was too young to take any active part personally in the contention. Her two brothers were still younger than herself. They all three remained, therefore, in the royal palaces, quiet spectators of the revolution, without being either benefited or injured by it. It is singular that the name of both the boys was Ptolemy.
The excitement in the city of Alexandria was intense and universal when the Roman army entered it to reinstate Cleopatra’s father upon his throne. A very large portion of the inhabitants were pleased with having the former king restored. In fact, it appears, by a retrospect of the history of kings that when a legitimate hereditary sovereign or dynasty is deposed and expelled by a rebellious population, no matter how intolerable may have been the tyranny, or how atrocious the crimes by which the patience of the subject was exhausted, the lapse of a very few years is ordinarily sufficient to produce a very general readiness to acquiesce in a restoration; and in this particular instance there had been no such superiority in the government of Berenice, during the period while her power continued, over that of her father, which she had displaced, as to make this case an exception to the general rule. The mass of the people, therefore–all those, especially, who had taken no active part in Berenice’s government–were ready to welcome Ptolemy back to his capital. Those who had taken such a part were all summarily executed by Ptolemy’s orders.
There was, of course, a great excitement throughout the city on the arrival of the Roman army. All the foreign influence and power which had been exercised in Egypt thus far, and almost all the officers, whether civil or military, had been Greek. The coming of the Romans was the introduction of a new element of interest to add to the endless variety of excitements which animated the capital.