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Cleopatra

Georg Ebers

Book Overview: 

The world knows the fate of the classic lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony, so there is no need to announce a spoiler alert. Georg Ebers was a German Egyptologist who deftly applied his comprehensive knowledge of Rome and Egypt into a fictionalized account of the ill-fated romance between the Egyptian Queen and her Roman lover Mark Antony.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Queen they must all love her. True, she began with the tongue of the conquerors, not the conquered. So it happened that we first learned Lucretius, who reproduces in verse the doctrines of Epicurus. My father was our teacher, and the second year she read Lucretius as if it were a Greek book. She had only half known Egyptian; now she speedily acquired it. During our stay at Philae she found a troglodyte who was induced to teach her his language. There were Jews enough here in Alexandria to instruct her in theirs, and she also learned its kindred tongue, Arabic.

"When, many years later, she visited Antony at Tarsus, the warriors imagined that some piece of Egyptian magic was at work, for she addressed each commander in his own tongue, and talked with him as if she were a native of the same country.

"It was the same with everything. She outstripped us in every branch of study. To her burning ambition it would have been unbearable to lag behind.

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