Thursday, December 1, 2011

Aimless Reading: The P's, Part 36 (Plutarch)

Lives of the Noble Romans
Lives of the Noble Romans

Purchased, I think, at Rust Belt Books. I think this was another potential candidate for my oral exam list. It did not make the cut, however. I think I may have read some of this book, but not a lot. I did make a note on the title page:

What are the texts that form the basis for the possibility of history?

Apparently I didn't think this was one of them. It also looks like I made a note to myself that became the first line of a future poem:

DFW told me I look like Greg Kinnear

I must have read this at around the time David Foster Wallace Came to town -- around 2000. I posted my memories of that visit, as well as the poem it produced here.

Finally, there are what look to be the name of an author and the titles of two works listed at the bottom of the same page:

Script to Print
The Emergence of Prose

I don't think I read any of them.

from Lives of the Noble Romans

Some relate that an asp was brought in amongst those figs and covered with the leaves, and that Cleopatra had arranged that it might settle on her before she knew, but, when she took away some of the figs and saw it, she said, " So here it is," and held out her bare arm to be bitten. Others say that it was kept in a vase, and that she vexed and pricked it with a golden spindle till it seized her arm. But what really took place is known to no one. Since it was also said that she carried poison in a hollow bodkin, about which she wound her hair; yet there was not so much as a spot found, or any symptom of poison upon her body, nor was the asp seen within the monument; only something like the trail of it was said to have been noticed on the sand by the sea, on the part towards which the building faced and where the windows were. 

Some relate that two faint puncture-marks were found on Cleopatra's arm, and to this account Caesar seems to have given credit; for in his triumph there was carried a figure of Cleopatra, with an asp clinging to her. Such are the various accounts. But Caesar, though much disappointed by her death, yet could not but admire the greatness of her spirit, and gave order that her body should be buried by Antony with royal splendor and magnificence. Her women, also, received honorable burial by his directions. Cleopatra had lived nine and thirty years, during twenty-two of which she had reigned as queen, and for fourteen had been Antony's partner in his empire. 

Antony, according to some authorities, was fifty-three, according to others, fifty-six years old. His statues were all thrown down, but those of Cleopatra were left untouched; for Archibius, one of her friends, gave Caesar two thousand talents to save them from the fate of Antony's.

Translated by John Dryden

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