Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cleopatra VII


On August 30, 30 B.C. Cleopatra VII Queen of Egypt . Took her own Life following her defeat by Octavian.


Cleopatra VII Philopator (in Greek, Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; January 69 BC – 30 BC) was an Hellenistic ruler of Egypt, originally sharing power with her father Ptolemy XII and later with her brothers/husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV; eventually gaining sole rule of Egypt. As Pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Gaius Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. After Caesar's assassination, she aligned with Mark Antony, with whom she produced a pair of twins and a son. In all, Cleopatra had four children, a first born son by Caesar (Ptolemy Caesar nicknamed Caesarion) and three by Mark Antony (the pair of twins, Cleopatra Selene II & Alexander Helios, and last a son Ptolemy Philadelphus). Her successive unions with her brothers produced no children. It is quite certain that they were never consummated; in any case, they were not close or rarely ever anywhere closer than polite terms. Her reign marks the end of the Hellenistic Era and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion, co-ruled in name with his mother only a very few years before Octavian, later on renamed Caesar Augustus, had him executed. Most probably by strangulation, which in Antiquity was the execution method reserved for infants & pre pubescent, thus adding humiliation to his execution.

Though she bore the ancient Egyptian title Pharaoh, her primary language was Greek; for several centuries preceding her rule, Egyptian kings had been of Macedonian (i.e.Hellenistic) origin rather than Egyptian origin. The establishment of a Greek-speaking aristocracy in Egypt had come with Alexander the Great nearly 300 years before. Cleopatra is reputed to have been the first member of her family in their 300-year reign in Egypt to have learned the Egyptian language. Cleopatra adopted common Egyptian beliefs and deities. Her patron goddess was Isis, and thus during her reign, it was believed that she was the re-incarnation and embodiment of the goddess of wisdom.

After Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at Actium by their rival and Caesar's legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian (who later became the first Roman Emperor, Augustus), Cleopatra committed suicide, the traditional date being 12 August 30 BC,allegedly by means of an asp bite. To this day she remains popular in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and the many dramatizations of her story in literature, (e.g. Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and George Bernard Shaw's Caesar & Cleopatra) film, and television. (e.g. Elizabeth Taylor's depiction in Cleopatra, and the BBC/HBO co-production Rome)

In most depictions, Cleopatra is put forward as a great beauty and her successive conquests of the world's most powerful men is taken to be proof of her aesthetic and sexual appeal. In his Pensées, philosopher Blaise Pascal contends that Cleopatra's classically beautiful profile changed world history: "Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed."


Cleopatra's mother was Cleopatra V of Egypt and Cleopatra, who was borne of her union with Ptolemy XII Auletes, was a direct descendant of Alexander the Great's general, Ptolemy I Soter, son of Arsinoe and Lacus, both of Macedon.

Centralization of power and corruption led to uprising in and loss of Cyprus and of Cyrenaica, making Ptolemy's reign one of the most calamitous of the dynasty. When Ptolemy made a journey to Rome with Cleopatra, Cleopatra VI Tryphaena took the crown, but died shortly afterwards under suspicious circumstances. Some believe Berenice IV poisoned her so she could rule Egypt. She did until Auletes returned and had her executed.

Ptolemy XII died in March 51 BC, making the 18-year-old Cleopatra and her brother, the 12-year-old Ptolemy XIII joint monarchs. The first three years of their reign were difficult, due to economic difficulties, famine, deficient floods of the Nile, and political conflicts. Although Cleopatra was married to her young brother, she quickly showed indications that she had no intentions of sharing power with him.

In August 51 BC, relations between the sovereigns completely broke down. Cleopatra dropped Ptolemy's name from official documents and her face appeared alone on coins, which went against Ptolemaic tradition of female rulers being subordinate to male co-rulers. This resulted in a cabal of courtiers, led by the eunuch Pothinus, removing Cleopatra from power and making Ptolemy sole ruler in circa 48 BC (or possibly earlier, as a decree exists from 51 BC with Ptolemy's name alone). She tried to raise a rebellion around Pelusium, but she was soon forced to flee Egypt with her only surviving sister, Arsinoë.


While Cleopatra was in exile, Pompey became embroiled in the Roman civil war. In the autumn of 48 BC, Pompey fled from the forces of Julius Caesar to Alexandria, seeking sanctuary. Ptolemy, only fifteen years old at that time, had set up a throne for himself on the harbour from where he watched as on September 28 48 BC Pompey was murdered by one of his former officers, now in Ptolemaic service. He was beheaded in front of his wife and children, who were on the ship from which he had just disembarked. Ptolemy is thought to have ordered the death as a way of pleasing Julius Caesar and thus become an ally of Rome, to which Egypt was in debt. This was a catastrophic miscalculation on Ptolemy's part. When Caesar arrived in Egypt two days later, Ptolemy presented him with Pompey's severed head. Caesar was enraged. Although he was Caesar's political enemy, Pompey was a Consul of Rome and the widower of Caesar's only legitimate daughter, Julia (who died in childbirth with their son). Caesar seized the Egyptian capital and imposed himself as arbiter between the rival claims of Ptolemy and Cleopatra.


Eager to take advantage of Julius Caesar's anger with Ptolemy, Queen Cleopatra returned to the palace rolled into a Persian carpet and had it presented to Caesar by her servants: when it was unrolled, Cleopatra tumbled out. It is believed that Caesar was charmed by the gesture, and she became his mistress. Nine months after their first meeting, Cleopatra gave birth to their baby. It was at this point that Caesar abandoned his plans to annex Egypt, instead backing Cleopatra's claim to the throne. After a short civil war, Ptolemy XIII was drowned in the Nile and Caesar restored Cleopatra to her throne, with another younger brother Ptolemy XIV as new co-ruler.


Despite a more than thirty year age difference, Cleopatra and Caesar became lovers during his stay in Egypt between 48 BC and 47 BC. They met when they were 21 (Cleopatra) and 52 (Caesar). On 23 June 47 BC Cleopatra gave birth to a child, Ptolemy Caesar (nicknamed "Caesarion" which means "little Caesar"). Cleopatra claimed Caesar was the father and wished him to name the boy his heir, but Caesar refused, choosing his grand-nephew Octavian instead. Caesarion was the intended inheritor of Egypt and Rome, uniting the East and the West.

Cleopatra and Caesarion visited Rome between 47 BC and 44 BC and may have been present when Caesar was assassinated on 15 March, 44 BC. Before or just after the assassination she returned to Egypt. When Ptolemy XIV died due to deteriorating health, Cleopatra made Caesarion her co-regent and successor. To safeguard herself and Caesarion she also had her sister Arsinoe killed, a common practice of the times.


In 42 BC, Mark Antony, one of the triumvirs who ruled Rome in the power vacuum following Caesar's death, summoned Cleopatra to meet him in Tarsus to answer questions about her loyalty. Cleopatra arrived in great state, and so charmed Antony that he chose to spend the winter of 41 BC–40 BC with her in Alexandria. On 25 December 40 BC she gave birth to two children Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene II.


Four years later in 37 BC, Antony visited Alexandria again en route to make war with the Parthians. He renewed his relationship with Cleopatra, and from this point on Alexandria would be his home. He married Cleopatra according to the Egyptian rite (a letter quoted in Suetonius suggests this), although he was at the time married to Octavia Minor, sister of his fellow triumvir Octavian. He and Cleopatra had another child, Ptolemy Philadelphus.


At the Donations of Alexandria in late 34 BC, following Antony's conquest of Armenia, Cleopatra and Caesarion were crowned co-rulers of Egypt and Cyprus; Alexander Helios was crowned ruler of Armenia, Media, and Parthia; Cleopatra Selene II was crowned ruler of Cyrenaica and Libya; and Ptolemy Philadelphus was crowned ruler of Phoenicia, Syria, and Cilicia. Cleopatra also took the title of Queen of Kings. Cleopatra "was planning a war of revenge that was to array all the East against Rome, establish herself as empress of the world at Rome and inaugurate a new universal kingdom."


Antony's behavior was considered outrageous by the Romans, and Octavian convinced the Senate to levy war against Egypt. In 31 BC Antony's forces faced the Romans in a naval action off the coast of Actium. Cleopatra was present with a fleet of her own. Popular legend states that when she saw that Antony's poorly equipped and manned ships were losing to the Romans' superior vessels, she took flight and that Antony abandoned the battle to follow her, but no contemporary evidence states this was the case.

There are a number of unverifiable stories about Cleopatra, of which one of the best known is that, at one of the lavish dinners she shared with Antony, she playfully bet him that she could spend ten million sesterces on a dinner. He accepted the bet. The next night, she had a conventional, unspectacular meal served; he was ridiculing this, when she ordered the second course — only a cup of strong vinegar. She then removed one of her priceless pearl earrings, dropped it into the vinegar, allowed it to dissolve, and drank the mixture. The earliest report of this story comes from Pliny the Elder and dates to about 100 years after the banquet described would have happened. The calcium carbonate in pearls does dissolve in vinegar, but slowly unless the pearl is first crushed.


The ancient sources, particularly the Roman ones, are in general agreement that Cleopatra poisoned herself by inducing an asp to bite her. The oldest source is Strabo, who was alive at the time of the event, and might even have been in Alexandria. He says that there are two stories: that she applied a toxic ointment, or that she was bitten by an asp.Several Roman poets, writing within ten years of the event, all mention bites by two asps, as does Florus, a historian, some 150 years later. Velleius, sixty years after the event, also refers to an asp.


Plutarch, writing about 130 years after the event, provides the main source of Cleopatra's death. He states that she was found dead, her handmaiden Iras dying at her feet, and another handmaiden, Charmion, adjusting her crown before she herself falls. He then goes on to state that an asp was concealed in a basket of figs that was brought to her by a rustic, and finding it after eating a few figs, she holds out her arm for it to bite. Others stories state that it was hidden in a vase, and that she poked it with a spindle until it got angry enough to bite her on the arm. Finally, he eventually writes, in Octavian's triumphal march back in Rome, an effigy of Cleopatra that has an asp clinging to it is part of the parade.


Suetonius, writing about the same time as Plutarch, also says Cleopatra died from an asp bite.

Shakespeare gave us the final part of the image that has come down to us, Cleopatra clutching the snake to her breast.Before him, it was generally agreed that she was bitten on the arm.

Plutarch tells us of the death of Antony. When his armies desert him and join with Octavian, he cries out that Cleopatra has betrayed him. She, fearing his wrath, locks herself in her monument with only her two handmaidens and sends messengers to Antony that she is dead. Believing them, Antony stabs himself in the belly with his sword, and lies on his couch to die. Instead, the blood flow stops, and he begs any and all to finish him off.

Another messenger comes from Cleopatra with instructions to bear him to her, and he, rejoicing that Cleopatra is still alive, consents. She won't open the door, but tosses ropes out of a window. After Antony is securely trussed up, she and her handmaidens haul him up into the monument. This nearly finishes him off. After dragging him in through the window, they lay him on a couch. Cleopatra tears off her clothes and covers him with them. She raves and cries, beats her breasts and engages in self-mutilation. Antony tells her to calm down, asks for a glass of wine, and dies upon finishing it.

Cleopatra's son by Caesar, Caesarion, was proclaimed pharaoh by the Egyptians, but Octavian had already won. Caesarion was captured and executed, his fate reportedly sealed by Octavian's phrase: "Two Caesars are one too many." This ended not just the Hellenistic line of Egyptian pharaohs, but the line of all Egyptian pharaohs. The three children of Cleopatra and Antony were spared and taken back to Rome where they were taken care of by Antony's wife, Octavia Minor. The daughter, Cleopatra Selene, was married by arrangements by Octavian to Juba II of Mauretania.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unrequited Love

This is what my life is about right now. Unrequited love sucks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 1911

On August 21, 1911 in perhaps one of the most brazen art thefts of all time, Vincenzo Peruggia walks into the Louvre in Paris, France, heads straight for the Mona Lisa, removes it from the wall, hides it beneth his clothes, and escapes. Peruggia was arrested in November 1913, when he attempted to retrieve a hefty ransom. The painting was unharmed.


Mona Lisa (also known as La Gioconda) is a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The work is owned by the French government and hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo.


The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose expression is often described as enigmatic.The ambiguity of the sitter's expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting's continuing fascination. Few other works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing and parody.

Les Miserable


Life here in Dallas is so Droll. I don't care for it. Everyone in this big town is so focused on themselves and promoting their own agendas they don't respect one another unless it helps them achieve their agendas.

I am thinking of moving to another place. I love being near my niece and nephew, and family but the rest of my life is miserable. and there comes a time in life when you have to weigh your prospects.

I have achieved nothing in my life. I am 34 years old and still live at home with my father footing the majority of my support. I work as nurse's aide taking orders from upstart people that are 5-10 years younger then me. At one point I thought I wanted to be a nurse but I am not so sure of that any more.
I have no education. what I achieved in high school I have forgotten due to laps of time. I have had a almost phobia of school since high school so I have not tried to advance my formal education. I don't think I'm stupid. I read and keep up on current events, but when it comes to arithmetic, biology, and grammar. I am greatly lacking.

Because I am lacking in those skills I have not been able to achieve or even establish goals that require higher education. Until then I continue to work at menial labor and because of the economy am a burden to my father.


Because of all this I have resolved to further my education. I want to start slowly perhaps 2-3 classes in the spring semester. Just basic classes Probably remedial things to bring me up to date on my stupidity. But I think I have searched my soul and found what I think I would be good at.


I think I would be a good History teacher. History is one of my major interests and I can see myself teaching history at a middle sized college. To achieve this goal seems daunting to me. The amount of education it requires is staggering Most colleges require their teachers to have a masters degree. that could take up to 10 years to achieve. I would be 44 by the time I could start teaching.

BUT it is a goal and in my life I have not had many dreams or goals to work toward. It is time that I start working toward something.

I don't know how I will do it. Go to school and support myself. I imagine I will still have to sponge off my father but hopefully that will put me in a position that I can take care of him one day. and be happy with myself while doing it. I am tired of feeling like my life is empty and has no meaning.

Please tell me what you think I value your input.

May you always know peace and love in your heart and in your mind All the days of your life.

Christopher McLaughlin

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy 60th Dad!


Happy 60th Dad!


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Good Lesson


Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs.... who arranged a running competition.
The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.

A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants....

The race began....


No one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
You heard statements such as:

'Oh, WAY too difficult!!'

'They will NEVER make it to the top.'


'Not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!'

The tiny frogs began collapsing. One by one...

Except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher...

The crowd continued to yell, 'It is too difficult!!! No one will make it!'

More tiny frogs got tired and gave up...

But ONE continued higher and higher and higher... This one wouldn't give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower. Except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top!

THEN all of the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it?

A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?

It turned out... That the winner was DEAF!!!!

The wisdom of this story is:

Never listen to other people's tendencies to be
negative or pessimistic.... because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you -- the ones you have in your heart!

Always think of the power words have. (There's life and death in the power of the tongue - Proverbs 18:21.)

Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!



And above all:

Be DEAF when people tell YOU that you cannot fulfill your dreams!

Always think:

God and I can do this!

Pass this message on to 5 'tiny frogs' you care about.

Give them some motivation!!!

Most people walk in and out of your life......but FRIENDS leave footprints in your heart.

Friday, August 15, 2008


People with good sense restrain their anger; they earn esteem by overlooking wrongs.

Proverbs 19:11

OK This is a good piece of advice to follow. And I have started my day off wrong by getting angry. I woke up at 3:30 am an was at the gym by 4:15 only to find that my little card Delly that is supposed to open the door didn't work. I know my dues are paid up and I have had a problem with this before where the gym people had to reset my card. But for some reason this morning it just really pissed me off. I need to get into Yoga so I can learn how to meditate and center myself and not let things like this get to me. Everyone says I am being overly sensitive now adays. Anyhow

I needed to write this to vent my anger and annoyance at not getting to work out. So I will now sit here for an hour and wait to get ready for work. of which working out I have found helps relieve the stress of.

"God give me strength today to hold my temper send your grace down on me and calm my soul as not to effect others around me. I ask this in Christ name. Amen"

Heres some interesting sayings about Anger:

~Anger is one letter short of Danger.~

~ Hot words never result in cool judgment.~

~ Those who control their anger have great understanding; those with hasty tempers will make mistakes. Solomon, Proverbs 14:29 ~

~ He who has a sharp tongue soon cuts his own throat.~

~If you speak when you are angry you will make the best speach you will ever regret.~

~ When Angry count to 10 before you speak; if very angry, count to a hundred. Thomas Jefferson ~

~ Anger is momentary madness, so control your passion or it will control you. Horace ~

~ Anger makes your mouth work faster then your mind. ~

Anger does not pay

Anger is red danger
But a familiar stranger

So It came as no surprise
At the times I have paid the price
More than the usual thrice
Before becoming very wise

The judge said
I should have been put in a cage
If one considers all the damage
I brought on with my rage

I knew
My anger was unreasonable
My anger was invincible
My anger was uncontrollable
But still very reversible

You see
In anger I always surrender
To the pressure I am under

In anger, I ungraciously lose
To the one I righteously accuse

In anger, I immoderately protest
Instead of letting things rest
Then trying responsibly to digest
And deal with issues best

So I say, So I say
Anger does not pay
Anger does not stay
Delay it from display
In time it will only go away

Now I know that
Anger does not pay
Anger does not stay
Calmness you should play
Before you begin to fall astray

Copyright 2006 - Sylvia Chidi

Sylvia Chidi