Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cleopatra - Jacob Abbott (1902)


"...Cleopatra was by birth an Egyptian; by ancestry and descent she was a Greek. Thus, while Alexandria and the delta of the Nile formed the scene of the most important events and incidents of her history, it was the blood of Macedon which flowed in her veins..."

"...At last, about two hundred and fifty years before the time of Cleopatra, Alexander the Great, when he subverted the Persian empire, took possession of Egypt, and annexed it, among the other Persian provinces, to his own dominions. At the division of Alexander's empire, after his death, Egypt fell to one of his generals, named Ptolemy. Ptolemy made it his kingdom, and left it, at his death, to his heirs. A long line of sovereigns succeeded him, known in history as the dynasty of the Ptolemies—Greek princes, reigning over an Egyptian realm. Cleopatra was the daughter of the eleventh in the line..."


"... Ptolemy obtained Egypt for his share. He repaired immediately to Alexandria, with a great army, and a great number of Greek attendants and followers... The native Egyptians were reduced, of course, to subjection and bondage. All the offices in the army, and all stations of trust and responsibility in civil life, were filled by Greeks. Alexandria was a Greek city, and it became at once one of the most important commercial centers in all those seas. Greek and Roman travelers found now a language spoken in Egypt which they could understand... In a word, the organization of a Greek government over the ancient kingdom, and the establishment of the great commercial relations of the city of Alexandria..."


"...Ptolemy conceived the idea, also, of not only adding to his library a copy of these writings in the original Hebrew, but of causing a translation of them to be made into Greek..."

"...The Jewish government also, at Ptolemy's request, designated a company of Hebrew scholars, six from each tribe—men learned in both the Greek and Hebrew languages—to proceed to Alexandria, and there, at the Museum, to make a careful translation of the Hebrew books into Greek..."


"...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..."

[J. Abbott, Cleopatra, New York & London 1902]


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