EVEN DEATH WON'T
PART US NOW
Cleopatra's impact on Rome was much greater after her death than during her life. Even though she had been Octavian's principal foreign enemy and his propagandists had made much of his enmity toward her, she insinuated herself into his life and into many of the works of art he commissioned. In some instances, he appears to have been enticed quite willingly. In others, he surrendered unawares.
At first it seemed as if it was Octavian who adopted the strategy of seduction. Once he realized he was close to vanquishing Cleopatra and Antony, Octavian remained concerned that they might turn the tide militarily or, once they realized all was lost, decide to destroy their accumulated wealth. Rumor had it that Cleopatra was storing her riches in a tomb she was building in the Alexandrian royal cemetery and that she would not hesitate to torch it if her demands were not met. Since, from Octavian's vantage point, it seemed as if Cleopatra had already succumbed to the potency of Caesar and Antony and their shared vision of a united Rome and Egypt, Octavian conjectured that a profession of love from him might captivate her once again. Dio Cassius reports in bis Roman Historythat Octavian “sent Thyrsus, a freedman of his, to say many kind things to her and in particular to tell her that he was in love with her. He hoped that by this means at least, since she thought it her due to be loved by all mankind, she would make away with Antony and keep herself and her money unharmed. And so it proved. In the meantime