Cleopatra's Kidnappers DANDO-COLLINS, Stephen How Caesars Sixth Legion Gave Egypt to Rome and Rome to Caesar

They were as good as dead. When nine hundred battle-hardened veterans of Pompey the Great's Sixth Legion were surrounded by thousands of Caesar's troops at the culmination of the Battle of Pharsalus, each was prepared to fight on until the last of them perished. Shrewdly, Caesar promised to spare their lives in return for surrender, then he made them an offer they couldn't refuse: be sent back to Italy penniless and disgraced, or accompany Caesar in pursuit of Pompey and regain both honor and wealth.

Cleopatra's Kidnappers tells the gripping true story of the momentous events of 48–47 bc, during which, according to most history books, Caesar "dallied in Egypt." What those books don't mention is that his "dalliance" was a bitter seven-month life-or-death struggle; that Caesar was opposed by a well-equipped and determined Egyptian army that had just murdered Pompey and was now after him; and that without the Sixth Legion, Caesar never would have made it out of Egypt alive.

This third volume in Stephen Dando-Collins's widely celebrated history of the Roman legions focuses on how these few captured but undefeated soldiers became the invincible force that allowed Caesar to come, to see, and to conquer. From a front-line view, it re-creates the fierce battles in which this tiny band led Caesar's very small army to stunning victories against much larger and better-equipped forces. It takes you through months of vicious street fighting, which culminated in an all-out confrontation on the banks of the Nile and into the short but bloody Battle of Zela in Turkey immediately after.

Dando-Collins also investigates Caesar's kidnapping of the Egyptian royal family, which included the fifteen-year-old King Ptolemy and his elder sister Cleopatra. He examines Caesar's romantic involvement with a girl young enough to be his daughter—a girl to whom it was soon clear that the only way she could hope to survive was by attaching herself to a Roman strongman and hoping she picked the toughest.

Based on the author's thirty-year study of classical texts and inscriptions, primary sources and ancient commentaries, Cleopatra's Kidnappers takes you deep into the heart of the epic struggle to control an empire. There, you'll meet a host of fascinating characters—some famous, some long forgotten—whose real lives and extraordinary deeds have become the stuff of fiction, legend, and myth.


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