The Roman challenge
Rome presented Egypt with a much tougher challenge than had Greece and Macedonia. Rome was a republic and controlled by agreement amongst a relatively large group who exerted their power through the senate..
This group was sympathetic to lobbyists, especially when some remuneration was involved, and could be influence by passionate oratory. The net result was however that the mood of the senate was unpredictable, and swings in mood influenced policy.
The Republic allocated detailed control to two consuls whose powers were almost absolute but elected from and by the senate. Once elected they were given “projects’ by the senate. The projects could be anything ranging from improving water supplies to fighting a war. The problem for the Egyptians was that consuls only had the position for one year, and could not be re-elected for another ten years.
InfiltrationGetting control of the republic meant infiltration on a grand scale.
It was all achieved with considerable subtlety. The process was helped by the way roman names were changed through life and the fact that visiting dignitaries were allowed to adopt Roman names when in Rome. This period is liberally scattered with people who were not from either the patrician or upper plebian classes. It must be remembered that considerable wealth was the key to advancement through the Roman political system. For these people from unknown backgrounds, there is rarely an explanation as to where their wealth came from.
In this diagram the women who may have been members of the Egyptian royal family are shown with a green background whereas the male interlopers are shown in green text; only three of them,Sulla,Pompey and Agrippa. The yellow text shows those in roman society who were Egyptian, or at the very least owed allegiance to the Egyptian cause.
Lucius Cornelius SullaLucius Cornelius Sulla, who really masterminded the drive to convert Rome from a republic to a dictatorship, is a case in point. He is supposed to have been a member of the patrician gens Cornelia, however Sulla is said to have spent his youth amongst Rome’s comics, actors, lute-players, and dancers. He came from nowhere. The means by which Sulla attained the fortune which later would enable him to ascend the ladder of Roman politics, the Cursus Honorum, are not clear, although Plutarch refers to two inheritances; one from his stepmother and the other from a low-born, but rich, unmarried lady.
The diagram gives a comparison between the lives of Pharaoh Ptolemy IX and Sulla. As can been seen the two dovetail very well! This is a classic example of how what looked on the surface like Rome conquering Egypt was actually Egypt getting control of Rome and then moving the Egyptian aristocracy to Rome.
Romans or Egyptians??
The technique of inserting Egyptian Princesses into ruling families and then having children conceived by visiting uncles or brothers, continued. As incredible as it may seem the Egyptian royal family continued to practice line breeding and were unlikely to mate with someone with a foreign Gene pool, which might allow undesirable genetic deficiencies to be introduced. Therefore if Cleopatra VII willingly and openly mated with both Caesar and Mark Anthony it means the two famous “Romans” are in fact part of the Egyptian Royal Family!
In this diagram the women who were probably members of the Egyptian royal family are shown with a green background wheras the male interlopers ate shown in green text; only three of them,Sulla,Pompey and Aggrippa. The Yellow text shows those in roman society who were Egyptian, or at the very least owed allegiance to the Egyptian cause.