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    The Legendary Lovers - Cleopatra and Antony

    Marc Antony and Cleopatra VII of Egypt, rulers of the East (37-30 BC). AR denarius (18mm, 3.74 gm, 12h). NGC XF 3/5 - 4/5. Alexandria, 34-32 BC. ANTONI•ARMENIA•DEVICTA, bare head of Marc Antony right; Armenian tiara behind / CLEOPATR-REGINAE•REGVM•FILIORVM•REGVM•, diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra right, seen from front; stem of galley prow below. Crawford 543/1. Sydenham 1210. Antonia 95.

    From the Bacchus Collection

    The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra VII was born in 69 BC and succeeded her father Ptolemy XII Auletes in 51 BC. She soon faced a succession crisis: Her weak-willed younger brother and co-ruler, Ptolemy XIII, was dominated by a circle of courtiers who feared Cleopatra's keen intellect and resolute will. Consequently, they ousted and exiled her in 48 BC, shortly before the Roman general Pompey the Great arrived in Alexandria fresh from his defeat by Julius Caesar at the battle of Pharsalus. Ptolemy ordered Pompey's murder, but this only outraged Caesar, who showed up days later and occupied the royal palace. Cleopatra had herself smuggled in to Caesar wrapped in a carpet, and this display of spunk by the nubile 20-year-old enchanted the dictator. The two likely became lovers that night, and Caesar's bitter Alexandrine War, which ended in the defeat and death of Ptolemy XIII, was fought on her behalf. Caesar tarried a while longer in Egypt while Cleopatra conceived and bore him a son. Caesar returned to Rome in 47 BC and summoned Cleopatra to join him the following year. She was thus in Rome when Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 BC. Returning to Alexandria, she was summoned to meet the Triumvir Marc Antony at Tarsus in 41 BC. Once again, a powerful Roman succumbed to Cleopatra's charms, and within a year she had borne Antony twins, a boy and a girl. In 37 BC, Cleopatra provided money and supplies in support of Antony's abortive invasion of Parthia and a punitive raid on Armenia the following year. Antony's adoption of "barbaric" Egyptian customs, his increasing dependence on Cleopatra and his promise to bestow most of Rome's eastern possessions upon her and her children led his partner in power, Octavian, to declare war in 32 BC. Antony fought a lethargic campaign and suffered a heavy naval defeat at Actium in September, 31 BC, after which he and Cleopatra fled to Egypt. On Octavian's approach in 30 BC, Antony committed suicide and Cleopatra followed suit days later, utilizing the poisonous bite of the sacred asp.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2020
    25th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 12
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