Showing posts with label Mark Antony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Antony. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 May 2014

History - Cleopatra and the Romans

Cleopatra was a beautiful Queen or Pharaoe of Egypt who ruled until around 30 BC. At the time the Roman Empire was large and strong and was ruled by Julius Caesar. She got to meet him and after a few dinners and coffee they became great friends. Enough said.

After Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC the Roman Empire was ruled by three triumvirates, which means three rulers. These are different to the rulers you get in class or at home to measure things with and they are not made of wood or plastic.

These three rulers were strong generals and leaders of the Romans. They were Mark Antony, Lepidus and Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus the legal heir of Julius Caesar. This is heir like successor and has nothing to do with what grows on peoples' heads and on their bodies. It has nothing to do with rabbits running wild either.

Now there was a bald ruler in Mesopotamia who was distressed that although he was very rich he had no children to inherit. One day he cried out loud "Why is it that despite my riches I have no heir?" Someone bought him a wig which inherited the whole kingdom after his death. Eventually, the people got fed up being ruled by a wig so they deposed him (or it) and were ruled by a ruler instead - that's a real ruler, not one made of plastic or wood used for measuring things. But I've already said so, and you were not paying attention!

Back to Cleopatra and the three triumvirates - Mark Antony, Lepidus and Julius Caesar.

Although each of them ruled a part of the Empire in reality they were rivals and each wanted to be the top man ruling alone.

One day Caesar held a big party on his ship out at sea and had invited Mark Antony and Lepidus. As happens at parties, after a few vinos Mark Antony and Lepidus got rather drunk and no doubt started singing "O Sole Mio"; a well known Roman song at the time which was Number 1 in the POP music charts for weeks on end. This particular song had been made famous by a protégé of Julius Caesar, the singer Maximilius Tonsilitis the Fifth, also known as MTV.

Anyway, one of Caesar's helpers whispered in his ear: "Both of your rivals are drunk. If we were to throw them overboard by accident like, you'd be left to rule the Empire alone."

After cleaning his ear from the man's spit Caesar replied: "If you had done this without telling me, I would have rewarded you greatly afterwards. But now you told me, I cannot sanction such an act."

Which goes to show that opportunity spits in your ear every now and then; and if you fail to take it you just end up with the spit.

So from then on, Cleopatra sided with Mark Antony instead of the rightful heir Caesar.

Their first meeting was in Egypt when Cleopatra sailed down the Nile in her royal barge and Mark Antony was on the shore and was astounded by her great beauty. His knees trembled at the sight.

Antony's lieutenant Enobarbus, once described Cleopatra's charms by saying: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety. Other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies."

Which loosely translated means she's for ever young with no wrinkles except the one she sits on.

Historians believe that the reason Cleopatra had such smooth skin is because she bathed in asses milk. I tried doing the same to help my complexion but the supermarket did not have asses milk. They had buffalo milk, goat milk, chocolate and strawberry flavored milk; but they'd just ran out of asses milk. Try bathing in chocolate milkshake and see what happens!

Well, as I said, Mark Antony felt his knees tremble at the sight of Cleopatra and invited her out for coffee. One  thing led to another and enough said about that too. They had smiles on their faces for ever after.

One day after a heavy defeat in battle, Mark Antony committed suicide.

Cleopatra was so distraught by it all that she put an asp to her breast. An asp ... not an ass or a donkey which is altogether a different creature too heavy to lift to one's breast.

An asp is another word for snake. Why did the snake not bite her hand and waited until he was at her breast, we'll never know. Maybe it was an amourous snake with trembling knees too. Enough said once again.

And sadly, that's how Cleopatra died.

Years later Shakespeare wrote a play about it all and then a film was made with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. I had to study the Shakespeare version at school and memorise many lines; why I'll never know. They've never served me in life until now that I have to give these History Lessons.