Copyright 2023 by Ezra Azra
Theda Bara as Cleopatra and Fritz Leiber as Caesar
in the lost film Cleopatra (1917)..Public domain.
(46 anno domini - 119 anno domini) was a Greek man who lived
seventy-three years in the Roman Empire. He was, by every standard in
his time and in ours here in the twenty-first century, a highly
educated person. A highest formally educated person nowadays is not
especially noteworthy because of the millions of others equally
Plutarch's time, his high education made him, practically, a
veritable miracle inasmuch as there were so few persons who could
read or write. In has been estimated that up until the nineteenth
century, over ninety percent of persons in the world could not read
or write. In that percent was included every king and queen,
his life, Plutarch was Biographer, Historian, Orator, Philosopher,
Poet. In his time, Plutarch was truly a giant in superior education
capacity and qualities.
yet, sadly, so sadly, he was slave to a prejudice, common to a most
ignorant and unwashed barbarian in any Civilization anywhere, and at
any time in History, namely, the treatment of women as inferior to
Olympic Games began in Ancient highly civilized Greek approximately
twenty-five hundred years ago; women were not allowed to participate
or to watch. In the Roman Empire in Plutarch's day, by law, women
were regarded as inferior to men.
Roman Empire Civilization being the highest, every man and woman was
permitted to discretely disobey that law, unless legally openly
challenged by somebody.
is evidence that Plutarch could have easily known of the women in the
Empire who demonstrated they were, at the very least, equal to the
most powerful men in the Empire.
yet, his twenty-eight lengthy biographies published, are about men
yet, there were women, who, despite it being blatantly and
insultingly condescendingly, a man's world, distinguished themselves
as equal, at least, to the greatest of men.
Drusilla, (59 b.c.- 29 a.d.), was the wife of Octavius Caesar, the
first and greatest Emperor of the Empire. They were married for
fifty-one years. She was so admired for her involvement in
partnership with her husband in the Politics of the Empire, that
after her death, she was proclaimed a goddess, and worshipped
throughout the Empire.
(52 b.c. - 40 b.c.) was the only women soldier to lead troops that
occupied the City of Rome, against Octavius Caesar, before he became
Emperor. She was, probably, the last woman leader to have her face on
a Roman coin.
(40 b.c. - 10 b.c.) queen of the Kushites in Nubia in North Africa,
south of and contiguous with Egypt. The only opponent of Rome who
defeated Roman soldiers in more than one battle, and whose armies
eventually brought Rome to its knees. Rome sued for peace.
demanded and received from Octavius Caesar the promise that Rome
would not ever try again to conquer Nubia. Rome kept that promise.
Nubia was the first and only country to remain independent throughout
the time of the Roman Empire.
Agrippina, (15 a.d. - 59 a.d.), wife of Emperor Claudius. She brought
into the marriage a son, Nero. She murdered her Emperor husband in
order to make her son Emperor. When Nero became Emperor, he had his
mother, Agrippina, murdered. When the assassins arrived, she asked
them to focus their stabbings on her womb that had created a thing as
depraved as her son, Emperor Nero.
(30 a.d. - 61 a.d.) Queen of Celts in England. She led her army to a
few victories against the Romans, before she was defeated. She killed
herself, rather than being taken prisoner.
(70 b.c.- 31 b.c.) Queen of Egypt. She became queen in 53 b.c., and
ruled Egypt for 22 years. For 22 years she kept Egypt an independent
country in the Roman Empire. In all those years, her Political
maneuverings avoided war with Rome. Eventually, by circumstances
beyond her control, she had to go to war with Rome, for the first
time. She lost. She killed herself, rather than being taken prisoner.
was the only female Plutarch included in his biographies, albeit
within a biography of a male, who was the principle topic of the
prejudice against women was at its most shameful in his writing about
Cleopatra, the magnificent Macedonian Queen of Egypt.
was the last, the fourteenth, of the Macedonian Ptolemy family
dynasty that had ruled Egypt for about 293 years after Macedonian
Alexander the Great bequeathed Egypt to his General, Ptolemy.
her death, Egypt ceased forever being an independent country within
the Roman Empire. Egypt became merely another Province, governed by a
her reign, Cleopatra claimed to be an incarnation of the Egyptian
Antony, a renowned Roman General, claimed to be descended from the
Roman demi-god, Hercules. Antony, with Cleopatra's consent, became
joint ruler of Egypt alongside her. They never were married. They had
was the supreme commander in his last battle against Roman legions
led by Octavius Caesar. He was defeated. He fled back to Cleopatra in
Egypt. He killed himself. According to Plutarch, Antony's defeat was
signaled by the demi-god Hercules being heard overhead by Antony's
soldiers in Egypt:
selfsame night within little of midnight, when all the city was
quiet, full of fear and sorrow, thinking what would be the issue and
end of this war; it is said that suddenly they heard a marvelous
sweet harmony of sundry sorts of instruments of music, with the cry
of a multitude of people, as they had been dancing. And it seemed
that this dance went through the city unto the gate that opened to
the enemies. Now, such as in reason sought the depth of the
interpretation of this wonder, thought that it was the god unto whom
Antonius bare singular devotion to, that did forsake him."
accepted, without hesitation, that the god of Antony was physically
present in revealing his participation in Antony's ending destiny.
yet when Cleopatra's goddess, Isis, later on shewed her presence at
Cleopatra's death, Plutarch is silent 'in reason to seek the depth of
the interpretation of the wonder of the evidence.'
observes about the manner of Cleopatra's death, "Few can tell
the truth." And, about the tomb which was alleged to contain the
body of the deceased queen, he observes, "There were seen
certain fresh steps or tracks on the tomb side toward the sea, and
specially by the door's side."
reason, why not interpret those inexplicable "fresh steps"
as the intervention of the goddess Isis, to continue the excellence
of Queen Cleopatra's life through all eternity? Cleopatra as Queen,
had identified completely with Isis. She dressed as Isis. She was the
only Ptolemy who cared to learn to speak Egyptian in order to speak
to and with Isis in her own tongue.
Plutarch does not hesitate to take the leap in interpretation in the
man's case, he chooses to be silent in the woman's.
was over two-thousand years ago. Plutarch's embarrassing prejudice is
alive and well in present-day U.S.A. in that in its 247 years of
existence, there isn't a woman among the 46 democratically elected
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Story list and biography
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