Light blogging recently. The pace of work has picked up recently, taking up not only more of my time, but more of my mental energy (never at a high level to begin with). There has also been some time and effort spent taking care of the Storm Queen, who came down with one of her periodic colds last Sunday; the Bride and I each spent a night sitting up with her. Finally, I'm trying to pull together into postable form some thoughts on God and time; the task of translating my thoughts into coherent and logical English is, and has always been, difficult and daunting.
Meanwhile, should you happen to stop by, could you please say a prayer or two for my youngest brother and his wife? She is an immigrant from Peru and has run afoul of the arcane rules of the INS, which is trying to send her back, which would mean, among other things, separating her from her two older children from a previous marriage, because their father has joint custody. One would think that being married to an American citizen, and being the mother of American citizens, would shield her; but apparently not.
Other than that, things are going pretty smoothly. The lawn is getting mowed. The new mower has a 42" cutting deck instead of the 38" deck on the old one; you would not believe the difference that an extra 4" makes when you have about 3/4 of an acre to mow. The Equestrienne successfully completed her second year of homeschooling with an excellent evaluation and moved up to the 7th grade; the Storm Queen successfully completed her first year - an evaluation is not required at here level - and moved up to the 2nd grade, which thrilled her amazingly. Things will be a little slower at home for a few weeks; then the Equestrienne starts drama camp. Two years ago she joined the Bride in a local production of Bye Bye Birdie
; she was a member of the chorus, while the Bride fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing Mrs. Peterson (and, in my not entirely biased opinion, joined with the actor playing Conrad Birdie to give the two best performances in the show); she acquired a taste for acting and is really looking forward to trying it again. They will be working on a production of Cinderella
and the Equestrienne is hoping to land the role of one of the stepsisters.
This will have to be it for now; I have much to do today. God bless anyone who reads this.
It is with some reluctance that I venture to disagree with the formidable Elinor Dashwood
; yet Apes rush in where fools fear to tread. Miss Dashwood has laid down some severe strictures on the character and conduct of the late Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra VII
, which strictures are, I think, overly harsh. I would like to present a brief for the defense. Please note that I shall speak only of the Cleopatra of history; concerning the Cleopatras of Shakespeare or Hollywood I have nothing to say.
The first charge:She started out sleeping with a man old enough to be her grandfather
In fact, Julius Caesar was 31 years older than Cleopatra. While it is certainly biologically possible to have three generations within such a span, the difference in age is really not great enough to justify such a bald assertion.
Furthermore, the alternative was to sleep with her own younger brother Ptolemy XIII, then about 15 years old, to whom she was married. Given the conduct of the Ptolemaic rulers of Egypt, sleeping with someone not
a close relative may almost count as a positive accomplishment.
The next:[she] had only one child
While she indeed had only one child with Julius Caesar - Ptolemy XV Caesarion - she had three others with Mark Antony.
I confess that I do not understand the implied reproof. I do not know of any evidence that Cleopatra could have had more children but chose not to do so.
The next:[this child] was afterward murdered in a power struggle like the one she engaged in with her brother
Without taking sides in the dispute between Cleopatra and Ptolemy XIII, I would point out that they were declared co-rulers of Egypt by the will of their father Ptolemy XII, and that it was Ptolemy XIII who drove Cleopatra into exile; her liaison with Caesar was made to obtain his help in regaining her throne. An appeal to Caesar would have been defensible not only for expediency's sake, but also because Ptolemy XII had named Rome as the guardian of his children. Caesar, representing and wielding the power of Rome, had an obligation to intervene.
Caesarion was indeed eventually murdered - by Octavian, after Cleopatra's defeat and death, and because he was Julius Caesar's son and so a potential rival to Octavian. Lives of royal offspring are always a poor risk when power politics is involved. Blaming Cleopatra for Caesarion's death makes no more sense than blaming Henry VI for the fate of the Princes in the Tower.
The power struggle, moreover, was primarily a struggle between Antony and Octavian, and likely would have occurred, in some form, regardless of Cleopatra.
The next:[she] made a fool of herself over yet another man
It is at least as plausible that Antony was the fool. Plutarch certainly gives that impression.
It seems likely that that their relationship was primarily a political alliance: Antony needed the resources of Egypt to further his ambitions, and Cleopatra needed Antony's power and authority to further hers; though it may have been strengthened by mutual attraction or even love.
In fact, it is almost impossible to find a monarch - anywhere, anytime - who was destroyed, or even seriously inconvenienced, by "romance". The list pretty much begins and ends with the unimpressive lightweight, Edward VIII.
Finally,and ended up killing herself
She had lost the war with Rome. Had she not killed herself, she would have been led in Octavian's triumph and almost certainly executed. Others - notably Mithridates of Pontus and Hannibal - preferred suicide to falling into the hands of Rome, without incurring much in the way of historical obloquy; surely the same lenience could be extended to Cleopatra.Those who value a quiet life will do well to avoid becoming mixed up with people who admire the Cleopatras of this world. They tend to be the sort of people who think that what makes a woman interesting is her capacity to make trouble.
Cleopatra was, for the most part, a typical Hellenistic monarch. The game of Hellenistic monarchy was a no-holds-barred affair in which the goal was to extend your sway by any means possible, alliances were made and unmade at will, war was always an option, murder was the preferred way to deal with the politically inconvenient, and many a bargain was paid in the coin of a sister or daughter. She was atypical in that she was the only woman who was a Hellenistic monarch in her own right, and so could exploit her sex on her own behalf instead of being exploited on someone else's. Her misfortune, shared by many, was that she ran up against Rome.
To conclude: Cleopatra was a monarch who happened to be a woman, not a woman who happened to be a monarch. Judge her accordingly.