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About this text

  • Title: Life of Caesar
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Caesar

    49

    XLIX.She, only taking Apollodorus Sicilian of all her friends,

    Cleopatra came to Caesar.

    took a little boat, and went away with him in it in the night, and came and landed hard by the foot of the castle. Then having no other mean to come into the court without being known,

    Cleopatra trussed up in a mattress, and so brought to Caesar, upon Apollodorus' back.

    she laid herself down upon a mattress or flockbed, which Apollodorus her friend tied and bound up together like a bundle with a great leather thong, and so took her upon his back and brought her thus hampered in this fardel unto Caesar in at the castle gate. This was the first occasion (as it is reported) that made Caesar to love her: but afterwards, when he saw her sweet conversation and pleasant entertainment, he fell then in further liking with her, and did reconcile her again unto her brother the king, with condition that they two jointly should reign together. Upon this new reconciliation, a great feast being prepared, a slave of Caesar's that was his barber, the fearfullest wretch that lived, still busily prying and listening abroad in every corner, being mistrustful by nature, found that Pothinus and Achillas did lie in wait to kill his master Caesar. This being proved unto Caesar, he did set such sure watch about the hall, where the feast was made, that in fine he slew the eunuch Pothinus himself. Achillas on the other side saved himself, and fled unto the king's camp, where he raised a marvelous dangerous and difficult war for Caesar: because he, having then but a few men about him, was to fight against a great and strong city. The first danger he fell into was the want of water: for that his enemies had stopped the mouth of the pipes, the which conveyed the water into the castle. The second danger he had was, that seeing his enemies came to take his ships from him, he was driven to repulse that danger with fire, the which burnt the arsenal where the ships lay, and

    The great library of Alexandria burnt.

    that notable library of Alexandria withal. The third danger was in the battle by sea, that was fought by the tower of Phars : where meaning to help his men that fought by sea, he leapt from the pier into a boat. Then the Egyptians made towards him with their oars on every side: but he, leaping into the sea, with great hazard saved himself by swimming. It is said,

    Caesar's swimming with books in his hands.

    that then, holding divers books in his hand, he did never let them go, but kept them always upon his head above water, and swam with the other hand, notwithstanding that they shot marvelously at him, and was driven sometime to duck into the water: howbeit the boat was drowned presently. In fine, the king coming to his men that made war with Caesar, he went against him and gave him battle, and wan it with great slaughter and effusion of blood. But for the king, no man could ever tell what became of him after.

    Caesar made Cleopatra queen of Egypt.

    Thereupon Caesar made Cleopatra his sister queen of Egypt, who, being great with child by him, was

    Caesarion, Caesar's son, begotten of Cleopatra.

    shortly brought to bed of a son, whom the Alexandrians named Caesarion.