Continued from the Part I.

…“So Cleopatra, taking only Apollodorus the Sicilian from among her friends, embarked in a little skiff and landed at the palace when it was already getting dark; and as it was impossible to escape notice otherwise, she stretched herself at full length inside a bed-sack, while Apollodorus tied the bed-sack up with a cord and carried it indoors to Caesar. It was by this device of Cleopatra’s, it is said, that Caesar was first captivated, for she showed herself to be a bold coquette.”

Cleopatra remains somewhat enigmatic, despite her many appearances in ancient histories. Some historians describe her as a ravishing beauty. Others claim that she was attractive, yet not stunningly gorgeous; rather it was her confidence, intelligence, and personality that captivated the Roman men who visited Egypt. Cleopatra was fluent in at least nine languages, giving her the advantage of entertaining ambassadors and communicating with her people without using an interpreter. She was the only Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty to learn the native Egyptian language. Her charismatic wit and charm impressed all who met her, and particularly attracted the attention of the Romans, whose usual ideal for woman was something altogether more quiet and demure.

Siege of Alexandria

Thanks to her dramatic appearance before Caesar, the Roman general agreed to take up her cause, and initially worked to reconcile her with her brother and husband, Ptolemy. It seemed successful, but the general Achillas escaped to his camp and kicked off a war with Caesar, besieging Caesar and Cleopatra, who remained in the palace of Alexandria with Ptolemy held as captive. Cleopatra’s younger sister, Arsinoe, soon arranged for the assassination of Achillas and took command of the Egyptian forces.

Outnumbered and surrounded in the city, the war was a difficult one for Cleopatra, Caesar, and his men. Arsinoe ordered the water canals filled with seawater, causing panic among Caesar’s soldier