A great metropolis, Alexandria was home to malicious wit, dubious morals, grand larceny. Its residents talked fast, in many languages and at once; theirs was an excitable city of short tempers and taut, vibrating minds.
He had long before grasped that “all men work more zealously against their enemies than they cooperate with their friends.”
Romans marveled that in Egypt female children were not left to die; a Roman was obligated to raise only his first-born daughter. Egyptian women married later than did their neighbors as well, only about half of them by Cleopatra’s age. They loaned money and operated barges. They served as priests in the native temples. They initiated lawsuits and hired flute players. As wives, widows, or divorcées, they owned vineyards, wineries, papyrus marshes, ships, perfume businesses, milling equipment, slaves, homes, camels. As much as one third of Ptolemaic Egypt may have been in female hands.
She played with terra-cotta dolls and dollhouses and tea sets and miniature furniture, with dice and rocking horses and knucklebones and pet mice, though we will never know what she did with her dolls and whether, like Indira Gandhi, she engaged them in insurrections and battles.