Cleopatra’s Alexandria

I’m still not feeling great, so I wasn’t able to manage the kind of sustained concentration needed to do much writing today. Instead, I spent the greater part of the day trying doing research. In particular, I’m trying to build as complete a picture as I can of Cleopatra’s Alexandria. Not only is this good background data (a good chunk of Four Shards of Heaven takes place there), but it will be instrumental in the composition of a particular upcoming chase scene.

Many great things found: a Discovery Channel special on the city, with a few tantalizing renderings; a discussion of Alexandrian-Nabatean trade links; a copy of Strabo’s account of Alexandria; and — best of all — an interesting notice from Archaeology about a possible snippet of writing from the hand of the queen herself:

A single Greek word, ginesthoi, or “make it so,” written at the bottom of a Ptolemaic papyrus may have been written by the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII herself, says Dutch papyrologist Peter van Minnen of the University of Groningen. Received in Alexandria on Mecheir 26 (February 23, 33 B.C.), the papyrus text, recycled for use in the construction of a cartonnage mummy case found by a German expedition at Abusir in 1904, appears to be a royal ordinance granting tax exemption to one Publius Canidius, an associate of Mark Antony’s who would command his land army during the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.

I simply must try to work Publius Canidius into the story now.

Make it so!

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