”I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is a perfectly normal way to bury someone: standing on their dogs, with their means of death on prominent display.”
[SETTING: Grove of Tragic Lovers]
MARC ANTONY, ROMAN GENERAL AND NOTORIOUS POOR-LIFE-CHOICE-MAKER: Darling, did you see we made the mortal news again?
CLEOPATRA, QUEEN OF EGYPT AND NOTORIOUS LIFE-CHOICE-MAXIMIZER: We? What in the world would anyone write about you? The mortals are throwing all this money and effort at learning about my life down to recreating my perfume, meanwhile most mortals think you’re a pop singer.
MARC ANTONY: Echo says I should tell you when you’re hurtful. That was hurtful. As I was saying, the news reports that they found a remarkable tunnel underneath a Temple to Isis in Egypt. It’s 6.5 ft tall and 4,300 ft long! They’re calling it an incredible feat of engineering.
CLEOPATRA: Speaking of Echo, if you mention that sappy boy-crazy nymph as if she is our relationship counselor one more time, I’ll…well, you’re already dead, but I’ll think of something. Why don’t you ask Echo which man I should be more interested in, Julius Caesar, who brought me the throne of Egypt, or you, who brought me the latest engineering factoid. Why would I care about a stupid tunnel? Do I look like Frontinus to you?
MARC ANTONY: Well, that was really hurtful. What I was trying to say was that they say the tunnel leads to your tomb. Our tomb! I meant our tomb. The tomb you had built for yourself but then had both of us buried in.
CLEOPATRA: Does it?
MARC ANTONY: Does it what?
CLEOPATRA: Does it lead to a tomb?
MARC ANTONY: Um, they’re not sure. It currently leads underwater.
CLEOPATRA: So they’re saying I built a tomb underwater. Like Atlantis?
MARC ANTONY: No, the coast line has shifted. It wasn’t underwater originally. But it is now. Although come to think of it, they did call it an exact replica of the Eupalinos Aqueduct Tunnel in Greece.
CLEOPATRA: So they have no idea where this thing leads. But what they do know is that it looks like a water tunnel, and ran at least towards the vicinity of water. And they think this is my tomb, and not a water feature, because…?
MARC ANTONY: Well, Darling, it runs to the ocean. It can’t be for drinking water.
CLEOPATRA: But couldn’t it be for waste water running the opposite direction? Don’t mansplain to me, you drunken idiot. I’d think you of all people would be very aware of the needs to wash away trash and bodily fluids. Regardless, my point is it’s a tunnel. It could go anywhere for any purpose. Except to our tomb, because that doesn’t exist. We weren’t buried together.
MARC ANTONY: But we were some of the most famous lovers of all time! You took your own life when you heard I was dead!
CLEOPATRA: You think that’s what did it? That it was because I couldn’t live without you, and not that I heard I was about to be paraded through Rome as a prize of that psychopath Augustus who stole the Roman Empire from you? No thank you. And what in the world would make you think Augustus would let us be buried together? Our bodies were at the mercy of a man who reacted to his daughter’s sassing back by permanently exiling her. I’m sure he let his enemies set up a nice martyr shrine to us as a tourist attraction.
MARC ANTONY: (gritting teeth) All of that was hurtful. And speaking of tourist attractions, the only reason scholars splash your name on everything is because you’re associated with exotic sexuality. “How can we make the AP care about whatever archaeology we found? Let’s have Cleopatra vamp as Vanna White for this tunnel.”
CLEOPATRA: (purring) Would you like to see me do that?
MARC ANTONY: Yes please. I love you.
CLEOPATRA: God you’re pathetic.
To learn more about how Romans interacted, invaded, and (to some extents) invented Egypt, enroll in CLAS-C 387 Roman History, coming up Fall 2023, with no pre-reqs! Or to learn more about Cleopatra and her notorious death, look for our 1-credit “appetizer” course CLAS-B 313 Extraordinary Ancient Women, coming up Fall 2023, also with no pre-reqs. While you’re waiting, make sure to check back for more adventures of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. Can’t get enough of Ancient Greece and Rome? Earn a Classics Minor in just 15 credits!