Continued from "The Restored Cleopatra", page 15 - Antony has just proclaimed Caesarion King of Egypt, and the scene dissolves to Octavian's villa in Rome. Octavian is seated with Agrippa and a few Senators. He rises as he speaks...
Rome's greatness lies in what she
gives, he says, then calmly gives
what is not his. And Cleopatra
takes, and will take more - and
war will come. She knows - and I
know - that war will come. But
I will not speak for it - nor will
I speak against Antony. I must
be forced into war, the people of
Rome must force this war upon me -
they must storm the doors of the
Senate crying for it! To begin
with, let it be known everywhere
what Antony has said - and that
I have remained silent...
Images of the scenes described by Octavian are seen superimposed with him.
Scene one - the Forum at day - in a secluded spot. Envoys, some mounted, some on foot - are being handed scrolls by Agrippa. They hurry away with them.
Let secret envoys be sent to all
the lands he has ceded to her -
with word that Rome will not
oppose revolt against Egypt...
Scene two - The countryside. Mounted couriers riding through various terrains...
Send couriers to every garrison
under Antony's command. Offer
promotion to his officers, if
they will come to me...the
men will follow...
Scene three - Roman streets. Officials tack up proclamations on walls and doors. Angry reactions are seen from citizens of all stations...
Proclamations are to be posted
throughout Rome. In ceding these
lands to Egypt, Antony has deprived
Rome of necessary tribute. Taxes
must therefore be increased for
Scene four - a room in Octavia's house. She is at a writing desk, writing on wax tablets...
At my request, Octavia will write
once more to Antony. Of her love,
her loneliness and humiliation -
she will beg for his return to
her, and for peace with Rome.
Her message will be taken to
him by the most noble and
respected citizens of Rome.
Let Antony turn his back on her -
and on them - if he will...
Octavian's face fades from the scene. Only Octavia's remains, tearfully doing as she has been told. The scene dissolves to the forecourt of the Palace in Alexandria. About a half dozen distinguished and venerable Romans wait. About them, and on the steps, Antony's officers. Among them, Rufio. Sosigenes, standing to one side between the pillars, watches. Antony, alone, comes out of the palace, carrying a scroll. The leader of the group approaches the platform respectfully. Antony, dressed in full military regalia, looks down at him. Antony seems remote, deliberately aloof and cold...
Mark Antony, do you have an answer
to the message we have brought
from the Lady Octavia?
Antony hands the scroll to rufio, who brings it to the venerable old man...
By the laws of Rome, bear witness,
all of you, to what I say. You
are to tell the Lady Octavia that
I divorce her...
Reactions from the group. Antony continues, as if by rote, looking not at them but over their heads...
According to Roman law, therefore,
in my name say to her: Octavia,
take what belongs to you and
leave my house. Take what
belongs to you and leave my
house. Take what belongs to
you and leave my house. It
He turns away abruptly and re-enters the palace. The group of senators, saddened and shocked, turn to depart. The eyes of their leader meet those of Rufio. Rufio is the first to look away. Sosigenes has observed the scene with great concern. Thoughtfully, he enters the palace. The scene switches to Cleopatra's sitting room, with Cleopatra, Ramos, Apollodorus, and other Egyptian military personnel. Maps, charts, and particularly, models of ships are seen about the room. Cleopatra is ordering her armies to Greece by ship. Antony is not sure the move should be made - his troops, "... fight on land, they move on land." She answers, "They will do as they are told! As mine will!" He counters, "My men will do as they are told - by me! However, since I do as I am told...". Cleopatra, becoming conscious of the other men waiting, changes her directness by saying the final decision, "...of course, will be Lord Antony's". They leave and she continues with her attempt to convince Antony that with the number of troops at his command, Octavian will not fight. Antony thinks otherwise - Octavian will start the fight immediately - on the spot where they land. Cleopatra is convinced that Rome will not declare war against him. Sosigenes enters hearing the conversation and disagrees. Cleopatra snaps at him and he begs to be heard, saying, "Have three hundred warships ever been built for war - without war?" She answers, "We shall have what we want without it!" Sosigenes convinces Cleopatra that "strings are being pulled, and not by us". That Egypt is being maneuvered, that the message from Octavia, delivered by such highly revered men is a ploy to turn Rome against Egypt. She starts to see what he is saying is the truth and asks what he proposes. He offers to go to Rome and talk to Octavian, to insure him and the Roman people Egypt wants peace. She agrees and sends him to Rome.
He's very dear to you, that old
man. Concern and worry are
written all over you - forgive me,
but it's a kind of love you're
Let them talk. Let them negotiate
all they want. Time is on our side,
we can only grow stronger -
(in sudden concern)
A man like Sosigenes. A man who
has made the world better for
his having lived in it - would
anyone hurt him?
Cleopatra goes to him and he takes her in his arms.
If war will come, why then it
will come. But to decide upon
war - to choose it as one might
an entertainment for the night -
this is no longer possible for
Until we have what we want. Until
we can hold it secure -
I have what I want. I hold it
secure this minute. And I no
longer even dream of wanting
Be quiet, we're alone now. I'm
speaking. For the first time, I
cannot wait to wake from sleep
into life - my dreams have
become pitiful and dull. For
the first time, it seems to me,
I want terribly to be alive...
The scene dissolves to the Roman Senate. A shouting mob of Romans covers the steps of the Senate, and spills down into the Forum, crying out for war against Egypt. At the bottom of the Senate steps are groups of litters. In one of them, Sosigenes waits patiently. From out of the crowd surrounding the litters, comes a hooded Archesilaus, the sculptor. He moves close to Sosigenes and removes part of his hood. He is wet with fear...
There is no one more stubborn
than a Roman Greek - except perhaps
an Egyptian Greek...
My learned friend, once more I
beg of you. The crowd is beyond
reason, believe me -
- and so is Octavian. If he
would not see you at his home -
He bid me wait for him outside
the Senate House...
And for more than two weeks he has
passed you by every day -
He knows I am here. If I should
wait each day for two more years,
and he pass me by each day for
two more years - at least for
that time there will be no war...
...but there is no need for you
to wait with me that long. Nor
even any longer. Thank you for
It's just that - violence - and
mobs frighten me...
As the center of the earth is
raging fire - so the center of
man is anger, covered by a
thin crust of humanity.
He leans back on his cushioned seat. Archesilaus hesitates, then goes and is lost in the crowd. The scene switches to the interior of the Senate. The great nose from the mob outside, the pounding on the doors, can be heard. Octavian, standing in the corridor leading to the Senate entrance, speaks as he makes his way to his chair.
Hear them, Noble Fathers! They
are less patient than you, their
patience has come to an end - the
Roman people now cry out - 'enough'!
We can wait no longer while Egypt
plots our destruction! Enough!
Cleopatra's fleet, launched by
her decision, has sailed for
Greece - scores of Egyptian
ships, packed with Roman legions
bribed and seduced into treason
against Rome! Just as Antony
was drugged and deluded - by
whatever poisons and powers this
witch can call upon - into
surrendering Roman territories,
nullifying Roman laws, desecrating
the memory of our Divine Caesar
and the honor of Mark Antony
himself - as well as that of
Octavia, my sister.
(he pauses before the
golden spear or war,
in its place)
The golden spear of war. The people
of Rome have caused it to be brought
here - by their Tribunes - from the
Temple of Mars, and placed before us.
They ask that, by the will and
command of the Senate, I carry it
out to them. As a sign that Rome
is at war with Egypt.
He pauses. There is complete silence from the Senators. Agrippa is obviously under orders to keep quiet. Germanicus and those about him watch apprehensively. Octavian smiles grimly...
These walls must not believe their
ears, to hear such silence. From
the right - from the left. The
call of the Roman people can be
clearly heard: yet the Roman
senate has no answer...
(he returns to his
Shall we, then, just sit - and
He sits calmly. A pause. A Senator rises, somberly - from the right - one of Octavian's supporters...
There is not one of us, August
Caesar, who would not willingly
make war upon Cleopatra. But how?
Without also making war upon Mark
Antony - loved by Rome, and loving
Octavian nods, as if in agreement...
Love by Rome. And loving Rome...
Swiftly, he draws from his toga an ornamental scroll...
I have here - the last will and
testament of this Antony who so
A murmur spreads among the Senators, as they react and comment to each other. Germanicus rises slowly to his feet...
Antony's will and testament - was
it not entrusted to the safekeeping
of the Vestal Virgins? Then to
have it, you must have taken it
by force from the holy temple!
The shocked murmur increases among the Senators. Octavian nods...
A grievous sin for which I pray the
Gods will forgive me, but which I
admit freely. I, too, love Rome.
More, perhaps, as you will see, than
even Antony. For I have sinned in
the name of Rome, whereas he -
He rises suddenly to his feet, dramatically unfurling the scroll. It unwinds on the Senate floor, stopping at the feet of Germanicus...
Read for yourselves how dearly
Antony loves you, loves Rome! In
this, his last will - under his
seal! Only lately brought from
Egypt and deposited in our Holy
Temple - at Antony's request - by
the distinguished Sosigenes. An
extraordinary mission for an
extraordinary man - so wise, so
close to Cleopatra, so trusted by
her. He has come - he says in
gentle tones - to plead for peace,
for understanding, for time! His
pockets sagging with Egyptian gold
to bribe and corrupt and degrade
even more the glory and honor of
(he yells at Germanicus)
Read in Antony's will! At the
end! Commit to memory the last
request of your beloved Antony -
it bears witness to his love for
Germanicus picks up the will and starts to read the end of the scroll. Octavian continues to the other...
When he is dead, it says - after
Mark Antony has died - it is his
wish that he be buried in - his
(a sensation - the
Senate to its feet,
expressions of disbelief
Can such treason be charged to any
Roman in recorded history? When
was there a Roman who fell for Rome
on whatever foreign battlefield but
that his dying prayer was for some
part of him to be returned to Roman
soil? But Mark Antony - so beloved
by his legions and loving them, so
beloved by Rome and loving Rome -
where would he lie for all of
eternity? In Egypt, among
Egyptians, beside his Egyptian
Is what I say the truth? Do I
speak the truth!
Slowly, lifelessly, Germanicus nods. He lets the scroll slip from his fingers and sinks to his seat. The rumble in the Senate becomes an angry one...
And still, my countrymen, I do not
put the blame upon Antony - for this
request is not his but Cleopatra's!
Not Antony's last testament - but
Cleopatra's ultimate humiliation
of him and of us! Will you now
command me to take up this golden
spear - ? Will you now direct me,
according to our custom, to hurl
it toward our enemy to the death -
not Antony of rome, but Cleopatra
(a sudden, savage
The shout is taken up. Octavian grabs the golden spear of war and leads the Senators outside to the top of the steps of the Senate. Before the Roman people, he asks them to show him, "... where is the enemy. Where is Egypt?" As the people point in the direction of Egypt, Sosigenes leaves his litter and approaches Octavian for one last attempt to speak. Octavian, seeing Sosigenes, speaks over the crowd and screams, "No! No! There! There is Egypt!" He hurls the spear at Sosigenes, striking him. Sosigenes dies at the foot of the Senate steps. The scene dissolves to Actium, in Greece.