Friday, February 26, 2016

March for Life 2016

The March for Life is an annual pro-life rally of different associations and groups that is held in the month of January or February. The first rally was led by Nellie Gray on January 22, 1973 in Washington D.C., USA in response to the US Supreme Court decision on Roe versus Wade on January 22, 1972 decriminalizing abortion.  Since then, succeeding annual rally has been held by different pro-life advocacy groups to support the culture of life and protest on abortion. Those groups have also been reaching out to some lawmakers for the overturn of the SC decision.
Religious organizations such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church and the evangelicals have been active participants in the annual rally. The Knight of Columbus a fraternal service organization of the Catholic Church is the agent of the Catholic Church to carry out its support to the multi-sectoral March for Life rally. The organization is committed to reverse the trend toward the culture of death and to build a culture that values human life at the every stage.  Since Knight of Columbus has councils and assemblies in different parts of the world, it follows that the March for Life rally has taken a world stage.

In the Philippines the March for Life rally is exclusively carried out by the members of Knight of Columbus all over the country with the support of the Catholic Church. Unlike in the United States where a woman’s right to an abortion is protected, abortion is a crime in the Philippines. The participation of the Filipino Knight of Columbus members of the rally is their expression of solidarity with other groups the world over for pro-life promotion. 

In Cagayan de Oro the annual March for Life rally was held on February 27, 2016. Participants from different councils and assemblies gathered at the provincial capitol ground of Misamis Oriental. The march to the Gaston Park at Saint Augustine Cathedral started at about 7:30 am. The 30-minute march culminated in a simple program at the park that included prayer and short speeches from speakers.  The highlight of the program was a speech of Fr. Juliano Retiquez who discussed on certain moral issues with emphasis on the church advocacy on the culture of life and abortion.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Illegal Drugs, a Scourge of Philippine Society

Methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and marijuana are the most used illegal drugs in the Philippines. The reason for this is that they are the most available and affordable. Since shabu is the preferred drug of 90% to users, I am referring to it whenever I use the term illegal drug or drug in this article.   
The immediate effect of shabu to the body is similar to anti-depressant drugs that are sold in the local drugstore. It relieves depression. Shabu users have the feeling of euphoria and vitality when they get high. However, excessive and chronic used of it can make it addictive. A drug overdose can be fatal. The drug hampers the normal functioning of the body’s cells and organs such as the brain. In the long run it destroys one’s health, and may lead to an early death.                                                                                                                         
Drug abuse can result to adverse behavioral change to a person like being irritable, irrational or moody. It can make him neglect his personal hygiene and sanitation. A person addicted to drug prioritizes his vices over more important things in life such as his education or his career. As a result, he underachieves in classes or in his job. This situation has a dire consequence in him because he will fail in school or get fired from his job. Failures and disappointment set in, and he will soon develop a low self esteem and inferiority complex. His destructive habit will cause disharmony between himself and his loved ones. Since drugs are not for free, a user needs a constant inflow of money in his pocket to have it, and as a result the family’s financial condition is affected. When there is no more money to spend on drug he might do bad things such as selling personal or family belongings in order to buy drug. It will be even worse if he steals from his family or other persons to satisfy his cravings. Needing money for his addiction, the user may eventually progress from a mere user to a pusher. His illegal acts will then surely put him either in the drug rehabilitation center or in prison in the near future.  The sad fact is that pushing drug is a non bailable offense that carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. For being into drugs a young person virtually destroys his life and his future.  

Illegal drugs are a menace to the well being of society because it can cause people to commit murder, theft, prostitution and other crimes. Drug abusers are oblivious to their moral or spiritual obligations resulting to the decay of the fabric of society when many people are hooked in drugs. Since young persons who are into drugs are neglectful of their future, they reduce their chance of being gainfully employed or live a decent life. This will also deprive the country of having more young people who will help drive it towards social and economic progress. Moreover, drug abusers are a drain to the nation’s coffers since money that is better spent for government social services is instead diverted  to drug related expenditures such as law enforcement and penology, the construction of drug rehabilitation centers , the treatment of drug users and the prevention of drug addiction.

It is worthy to note that people who are into drugs either as s user or a pusher usually end up in prison. About 50% of cases filed and tried in courts are related to illegal drugs. The reason why people are into drug is primarily because of economic reason such as poverty and lack of employment opportunity. Other people use drug for the sake of curiosity and still others try drugs because of peer pressure. To put food on the table, people take the risk of selling drugs because there is a big money in it. Price of shabu per gram in 2007 was ($100) or 5,000 pesos.  In 2008 the street value per gram increased twofold which was ($212) or 10,000 pesos with a street value of 10 million pesos to 12 million pesos per kilogram.

Government deals with the drug problem by arresting and imprisoning drug offenders. However, these actions have not stopped the proliferation of illegal drugs because of the social and economic factors prevailing in the society or in some cases due to the corruption of few people in the government agencies tasked to combat the use of illegal drugs. While it is easier to raid drug dens and laboratories in the cities and municipalities, it is not the case if drugs are manufactured in conflict and rebel infested areas that are controlled by organized and well armed groups such as the Abu Sayyaff, BIFF and other groups. Those groups need support for their operations, and it is not far-fetched that they will collaborate with the drug syndicates to get funds for their cause. This kind of scenario will further complicate the problem because it involves threat to national security, and that those groups aided by illegal drug money may be able to launch terroristic acts on targets that include innocent civilians. The illegal drug operators in the Philippines are connected to international drug syndicates in Africa and Mexico.  Precursor chemicals in the manufacture of drugs come from such countries as China, India and Thailand. A PNP Illegal Drug Operation Task Force report in 2013 said that international drug cartel such as Sinaloa of Mexico had already operated in the country.

It is almost a daily fare in local TV, radio and other news media to report incident on people using or selling drugs who are caught in buy bust operations by law enforcement operatives such as the PDEA and police agents. This gives the impression to the public that drug problem has already reached at an alarming proportion and need to be effectively contained by the government. Arresting and imprisoning people who are into drugs are only a cosmetic solution to the problem if its root causes are not addressed.  What is a society that has many people hooked into drugs or many of its people are unproductive or imprisoned because of it. The problems are perhaps a symptom of a failed or dysfunctional society. Penitentiaries should not be solely aimed to punish individuals for their crimes, but also to reform and rehabilitate them so that they will become productive and acceptable to their community once they are released from prison. The government too has an obligation to eliminate poverty and other main factors that cause the proliferation of illegal drugs. This includes providing opportunities for people to earn income through jobs or business activities so that they will not resort to committing crimes to support their families.

The magnitude of illegal drug problem in the country is manifested in electoral campaigns of candidates in the upcoming national election in May 2016. Presidential candidates make the eradication of illegal drugs as one of their agenda once elected into office. Indeed, illegal drug is an evil that the Philippine society must overcome. Illegal drug problem is not only the concern of law enforcement agencies such as the PDEA and the PNP, but also of the government, the churches, the schools, the NGOs, civic organization and most importantly, the family, the basic unit of the society. People from all walks of life must work hand in hand so that the present scourge of the Philippine society can be defeated. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Love, the Strongest Feeling

Love as defined in the Webster Dictionary means “(1) Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties,( 2) attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers, (3.)affection based on admiration, benevolence or common interest.” That definition of love is in the context of affectionate relationship between one person to another which is interpersonal love. A love that is directed other than a person is impersonal love.  A person may also love an inanimate object, goal or endeavor and other things for his own gratification. Interpersonal love may be a mutual feeling between persons, but a feeling of one person may not be reciprocated by another person. This is unrequited love.

Ancient Greeks categorized love into four types which are eros, philios, estorge and agape. Eros is a romantic relationship between a man and a woman. Philios is a dispassionate love such as loyalty to a friend, family or community. Estorge is natural affection such as that felt by parents to offspring, and Agape is a divine love or love of the soul.

Erotic or romantic love is the most widely talked about type of love because it concerns about the relationship between two persons of opposite sex. There are instances though that a romance may involve same sex persons. A situation may arise when a man is instantly attracted to a woman or he feels in love at her at first sight. And there is love that develops overtime through interaction or communication between two persons. A feeling of attraction or affection may diminish or lost because of several reasons or intervening factors. A relationship that just starts with friendship may develop into a full blown romance in the long run.
A man’s carnal desire to a woman that is not accompanied with an intention to commit to her is not love but lust. Love is a positive feeling while lust is not. But lust can also be a component of love. A man might just be sexually attracted with a woman at first, but a frequent exposure to her might later evolve into a genuine feeling of affection and commitment for both of them. 
Since time immemorial, people have recognized love’s contribution to our societies. Love is an instrument for the perpetuation of life in this world. In connection with it, societies have come up with the institution of marriage to cement the bond of relationship between a man and a woman, to give that relationship a legal or religious recognition and to protect it under existing laws.                                                                                                                     
Love has many forms and extends beyond romantic relationship. Philios is a dispassionate love to a friend, family or community. It requires virtue, equality and familiarity. The act of charity is an example of an expression of this love. People driven by their benevolent desire unselfishly use their own resources to help other people in need. Other people help still others because it delights them to see their fellowmen or friends become successful and happy.

Parents and their offspring have natural instinct to feel affection and attachment to each other. A mother’s love to her child drives her to protect it from disease, hunger and danger that may imperil its life. Love is the mutual feeling of parents and children to motivate them in the building of a better and a harmonious family.                                                                                                                                                                    
It is a fact of life that all living creatures to include humans will die. Since ancient times people have created the notion that life continues even after death. They also created the belief in a god to complement such an idea. The love of god or agape is a feeling or act that would cleanse one’s soul in this world and the hereafter. Christians believe that agape is mutual feeling of love between God and man. God loves his people and, therefore, they should also love Him in return.

Christian theologians said that God is the source of love and that God is love. This statement is supported by Bible verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believed in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Jesus said in Mathew 5:43-44: “You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”  In that statement Jesus told us to even go beyond the frailties of our human nature to do good to other people whether they are our friends or not.

In the Bible, a certain lawyer in order to tempt Jesus asked what he should do to inherit an eternal life. Jesus has this answer in Luke 10:27:”Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, with all of your strength and with all of your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” So the key to an eternal life according to Jesus is LOVE.                                                                                                                                                                 
Some people believe in God others do not because they think that believing in an unseen, imaginary all-powerful being is absurd. But in our short stay as temporary resident of this world, what would we lose if we believe in Him?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

History's Great Love Story: Dr. Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken

Dr. Jose Rizal
Jose Rizal was born on June 19, 1861 to a landed family of Chinese ancestry in Calamba, Laguna. Motivated with the desire to cure his mother of her eye disease, he studied medicine specializing in ophthalmology in University of Santo Tomas in Manila. In 1882 he went to Spain to further his study of medicine at the Universidad de Central Madrid. There, he finished his studies with flying colors, and visited several European cities to include London and Berlin. He completed his specialization in ophthalmology in 1887 at Heidelberg at age 25 under the renowned Otto Becker. To support himself, he practiced his profession and was able to develop a circle of friends such as Ferdinand Blumentritt and others. While in Europe, he wrote his first novel entitled Noli Mi Tangere.

The novel which was published in 1887 in Berlin was highly critical to the abuses of the Spanish friars who were a very powerful and influential group during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. Although a fiction, the novel’s characters were drawn from real life persons and episodes that represented events in lives of Filipinos in typical Philippine society during Rizal’s time. Its story served as an inspiration to those who aspired for reformed or an independent Philippines either through peaceful means or armed struggle. The novel angered the friars, the elites and the educated Filipinos because of its symbolism. Rizal’s writings and his association with Filipino nationalists caused for him a blacklist as a subversive by the Spanish authorities. 

Leonor Rivera
The works of Jose Rizal did not bring him in good standing with some people. Others wanted to distance themselves from him to avoid trouble with the authorities. In his return to the Philippines in 1887, Jose’s own father, Francisco, even advised him not to see or visit his long time girlfriend Leonor Rivera whose family had moved from Manila to Pangasinan because it might endanger her family considering his status with the authorities. It was believed that Leonor was the inspiration behind Jose’s portrayal of Maria Clara, one of the main characters in Noli Mi Tangere. While Jose was in Manila, he and Leonor were constantly communicating with each other through letters. But later, he did not receive letters from her anymore although he always sent his to her. Rizal found out later that Leonor was engaged to be married to a British railway engineer Henry Kipping who was the one favored by her parents to be her husband.

Greatly devastated with the loss of his beloved Leonor to another man, Rizal returned to Europe in 1890 and visited several cities such as Madrid, Paris and Brussels in the furtherance of his career. In 1891 he published his second novel “El Filibusterismo” in Ghent. It was a sequel to the “Noli Mi Tangere”. In December 1891, he moved to Hong Kong and lived with his family. He established a clinic at D’Aguilar Street, Central District and worked from 2 pm to 6 pm. In Hong Kong he had a fling with several ladies such as Gertrude Becket, Nelly Boustead and O-Sei-San. It was also there where he first met Josephine Bracken who was then a 16 year old woman. She and her adoptive father George Taufer was in his clinic to have the failing eyesight of her father checked up.

In 1892 Rizal returned to the Philippines and formed La Liga Filipina which was quickly disbanded by the government because it saw it a seditious organization and that Rizal was considered as a subversive. Rizal was also implicated in the nascent rebellion waged by the group called Katipunan. For that reason Rizal was deported to Dapitan in Mindanao in July 1892. 

In Dapitan, Rizal won a lottery together with Spanish Provincial Governor Ricardo Carnicero and a Spaniard from nearby Dipolog. Rizal used his winnings to buy several hectares of land. To make use of his time in Dapitan he practiced his profession as an ophthalmologist and did other activities such as teaching children Spanish and other subjects. He also engaged in construction projects such as the building of school, hospital and water system. These small infrastructures helped the local community during Rizal’s stay in Dapitan.
Rizal’s reputation as a respected ophthalmologist was already widely known even outside the Philippines. Josephine Bracken recommended to her adopted father Mr. George Taufer to have an appointment with Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan for the treatment of his deteriorating eyesight. Josephine, Mr. Taufer and a certain Manuela Orlac, who was said to be a mistress of a friar set sail for Dapitan, and arrived in late February 1895.

Josephine Bracken
Josephine Leopoldine Bracken who was born on October 3, 1876 in Hong Kong was the daughter of a British infantry corporal. Her mother died shortly after her birth so that she was given up for adoption to George Taufer, an American engineer. But shortly thereafter, Mr. Taufer’s wife died. He married a Portuguese woman as his second wife whom he had a daughter.  But then again his second wife died in 1891, and he married for the third time. Josephine found the third Mrs. Taufer difficult to get along with so that she had to run away to Canossan sisters’convent where she had attended her early studies.  She returned to Taufer’s house only after he begged her to be with him again. 

In Dapitan, Rizal was attracted to Josephine and courted her. She was petite, and her blue eyes and brown hair indicated her Irish ancestry. She was not a woman of remarkable beauty, but her charm nevertheless captivated him. She also fell for him. And the romance between Rizal who was 34 and Josephine who was just 18 started.

When Taufer knew of the relationship, he was vehemently furious, and he tried to slash his wrist with a blade. However, Rizal and Josephine were able to stop him. After being calmed down by Rizal, Taufer listened to reason and finally accepted the relationship between her and the doctor although it upset him. Taufer’s eye condition was beyond treatment. This reason plus his daughter’s relationship with Rizal prompted him to go back to Hong Kong.

Josephine accompanied her father back to Hong Kong. While in Manila Josephine brought with her Rizal’s letter to his family, and she introduced herself to them. His parents and his siblings however were not viewing her with favor. In Manila, Josephine had to stay in the house of Rizal’s sister Narcisa, who was the one closest to her in the Rizal family. After a while Josephine returned to Dapitan to continue her life with Rizal.

In Talisay, Dapitan Rizal and Josephine’s love had grown as days went by so that they decided to cement their relationship in ecclesiastical marriage. But being an excommunicated Catholic, Rizal was advised by Fr. Obach, the would-be officiating priest, that he should first get the approval of the bishop of Cebu. However, there was no positive reply of his request from the bishop. Nevertheless, Rizal and Josephine continued to live as man and wife.

Living with Rizal, Josephine learned how to sew, cook food, and do other tasks to help him in their household routines. She attended to him. The octagonal bamboo and nipa house that they occupied was a love nest, and in time she became pregnant. While he played prank with her, she got startled and she fell to an iron stand. The accident resulted to the premature birth of a son. Rizal was deeply saddened with the incident. He named the still born child Francisco in honor of his father and buried it.

At the height of the revolution in Cuba Rizal volunteered his services as doctor to attend to the victims of yellow fever. Philippine Spanish Governor General Ramon Blanco, who was sympathetic to his plight granted his leave to that country. On July 3, 1896, Rizal and Josephine together with Narcisa  left Dapitan and boarded the “Espana” for Manila. While in Manila he was not allowed to disembark from the ship that would take him to his next destination. Josephine was however allowed to visit him in the ship. In Manila she stayed in Narcisa’s house. 

The political situation that was brewing meanwhile would somehow affect Rizal’s final destiny. Governor General Ramon Blanco who was sympathetic to Rizal was disliked by the friars because of his soft and reconciliatory stance towards the Filipino dissidents. Friars led by Archbishop of Manila Bernardo Nozaleda had worked for Blanco’s removal to Spain’s regent Queen Maria Cristina. They succeeded in their effort and on December 13, 1896 Blanco was replaced by Governor-General Camilo Polavieja who had a hardline stand against dissidents. The situation did not bode well for Rizal since he had angered the friars who wielded much political clout and that the new Governor General had an uncompromising attitude to those who were considered enemies of the state.

On August 1, 1896, the ship that Rizal boarded left the port of Manila. In route to Spain, there was an order for his arrest, and in October 6, 1896, he was detained in Barcelona, he was interrogated, and was inspected of his belongings. There were masonry papers confiscated from his possession. Implicated in the rebellion through his association with the Katipunan, Rizal was sent back to Manila to face trial.

Rizal faced a five-day preliminary investigation on November 26, 1896. Two days before his replacement as governor general on December 13, 1896, Blanco endorsed Rizal’s case to Polavieja who decided that it would be finally settled by a court martial. On December 26, 1896, Rizal faced a court martial in the building Cuartel de EspaƱa in Fort Santiago. He was charged with rebellion, sedition and illegal association. Despite the dedicated and selfless effort of defense counsel Lt. Luis Taviel de Andrade to present convincing refutation on charges against Rizal, the court found the accused guilty of all the charges, and Rizal was sentenced to die by firing squad.   
A day before his execution Rizal gave a stove to his sister Trinidad and whispered to her that there was something in it. He also summoned Josephine and the two had their last time together. It was said that before his execution Rizal renounced masonry and reverted to Catholicism. It was also reported that two or one hour before the execution, he and Josephine Bracken were married in a Catholic ceremony officiated by Fr. Vicente Balaguer.  

Mi Ultimo Adios
The cooking stove given by Rizal to Trinidad was later found out to contain a piece of paper with a poem entitled “Mi Ultimo Adios” or “My Last Farewell”. On the last line of the poem were the words “Adios mi dulce stranjera, mi amiga, mi alegria” or “Farewell my sweet stranger, my darling, my delight”. That line is believed to be dedicated to Josephine Bracken.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
On December 30, 1896, Rizal was escorted by the guards to the execution site in Bagumbayan. Filipino squad backed up by Spanish squad behind it had to do the shooting. Before the shots, a military doctor checked Rizal’s pulse and was amazed to find it to be normal. At about 7 am an order to fire accompanied with beats of the drums was then given to the executioners. As he fell to the ground Rizal uttered his last words “consumatum est” or “it is completed!”. He also mustered his last remaining strength to turn his body around so that he would die facing the sky. Rizal was only 35 years old when he died.

Dr. Jose Rizal's execution
On that day a martyr shed his blood on his country’s soil. It was a blood that would later nurture the seed of his countrymen’s aspirations for an independent country and a better tomorrow. In his Noli Mi Tangere Rizal wrote foretelling words said by the dying Elias to the child Basilio who are two of his characters in that novel: “I shall die without the dawn breaking upon my homeland. You shall see it, salute it! Do not forget those who have fallen before the night.” Jose Rizal was later buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery in Paco, Manila. 
After the death of Rizal, Josephine joined the revolutionaries. She was reported to have witnessed the Tejeros Convention. For her activities she was summoned by Governor General Polavieja who ordered her to leave the Philippines. But she being the daughter of an American citizen could not be forcibly deported from the country. But after receiving advises from the American consul, she voluntarily left for Hong Kong to join her father who died shortly after their reunion.

In Hong Kong Josephine met Vicente Abad, a Filipino-Spanish mestizo. He married her on December 15, 1898. They later went to Cebu where he set up a bicycle store while she spent her spare time tutoring English. On April 17, 1900, she gave birth to a daughter which the couple named Dolores. After a few years Josephine returned to Hong-Kong where she died of tuberculosis on March 15, 1902. She was only 25 years old.

Monday, February 1, 2016

History's Great Love Story: Cleopatra and Mark Antony

Alexander the Great (356 BC-323 BC) king of Macedonia conquered the Persian Empire. His victorious military campaigns created the biggest empire known to the ancient world. His untimely death in 323 BC made his generals fight among themselves for the piece of the empire that he had left behind. Ptolemy (367 BC-283 BC) one of his generals whom he made governor of Egypt, secured for himself Egypt and made himself its king or Pharaoh.

Ptolemy made Alexandria, a city founded by Alexander, as his capital. He and his descendants created a dynasty of Macedonian/Greek kings and queens that ruled Egypt for about three centuries. Under the Ptolemaic dynasty Alexandria was a cosmopolitan city that had Greek, Jewish and indigenous Egyptian population with Greek as the lingua franca. In its heyday the city rivaled Athens as the intellectual and cultural capital of the ancient world.

Like Alexander the Great, the Macedonian Ptolemaic kings adopted the native Egyptian costume, traditions and observation of religious holidays to gain the native Egyptians’ loyalty. They also followed Egyptian royal practices such as marriage between siblings to confine power within the ruling family. Although the Ptolemies attained a measure of success in dealing with their native Egyptian subjects, rebellion was not uncommon. During the Hellenistic Ptolemaic era a growing power, the Roman, loomed in the horizon and was set to replace the Hellenistic kingdoms as the leading power of the ancient world.

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in a movie
Cleopatra VII (69 BC-30 BC), a queen from the Ptolemaic dynasty, was the daughter of Ptolemy XI I (112 BC-51 BC). When he died in 51 BC she became a queen or pharaoh of Egypt. But following Egyptian royal tradition she would co-rule with her younger brother Ptolemy XIII. Also in line with royal tradition Cleopatra should marry him.

The shaky arrangement of sharing power with another member of a family created problem in unity of leadership since Ptolemy XIII wanted to exercise power all by himself and drove his sister into exile in Syria. She gathered an army of men to reclaim her share of the Egyptian throne, but her effort and her strength were not enough to overcome Ptolemy XIII.

Roman consul Julius Caesar, who was in a military campaign, and Cleopatra came across each other in Syria. Eventually, they became lovers. Caesar sympathized with her cause and pledged to help her. In 47 BC Caesar launched a campaign in Egypt against Ptolemy XIII and killed him in battle. Caesar then reinstated Cleopatra as the queen or pharaoh of Egypt.

Again, following tradition, Cleopatra had to marry another younger brother Ptolemy XIV (59 BC-44 BC) as her co-ruler. After stabilizing the situation in Egypt she went to Rome to live as mistress of Caesar. She then bore him a child named Caesarion who would later become Ptolemy XV.

Mark Antony
In 44 BC Julius Caesar was assassinated. The vacancy in leadership and power had to be filled up with the three of the most powerful personalities in the Roman world namely Mark Antony (83 BC-30 BC), Gaius Octavius or Octavian (67 BC-14 AD) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (89 BC-12 BC); thus, the second triumvirate emerged. Mark Antony used the assassination of Caesar to turn the Romans against the conspirators which gave him a time for power in Rome. His greatest rival was Octavian, the grand nephew of Caesar and his designated heir. In 42 BC the triumvirate crushed the forces led by two assassins of Caesar, the Roman statesman Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, who sought the restoration of the Roman republic. 

After defeating the assassins of Caesar, the triumvirate met in Italy in 40 BC to arrange for the division of the Roman territories that they would control and govern and to avoid conflict with each other. Antony was given the Eastern portion which extended from the Adriatic Sea to the Euphrates River.

In the midst of the turmoil in Rome Cleopatra returned to Egypt with her child Caesarion. She did not involve herself in the war to help the triumvirate. To have a sole power in Egypt she caused the poisoning of Ptolemy XIV. 
Mark Antony who now controlled the Eastern part of the Roman territories summoned Cleopatra to Tarsus in Cilicia to explain her conduct during the civil war. However, in their meeting Mark Antony was captivated with her charm and beauty so that he felt in love with her. And they become lovers. His love absolved her of the shortcomings that she had made. He later accompanied her in her return to Egypt.

To secure his position in the east, Mark Antony must have goodwill with his strongest rival in the triumvirate, Octavian, the heir designate of Julius Caesar. Lepidus, the other triumvir was the weakest and the most submissive. To cement his political relation with Octavian, Mark Antony married the latter’s sister Octavia. After his marriage Mark Antony returned to Egypt to continue his life with Cleopatra. She gave birth to two children by him.

Mark Antony’s affairs with Cleopatra came to Octavian’s notice. This together with the former’s defeat in his campaign against the Parthians in 36 BC was used by him to excite the Romans against Mark Antony. Octavian’s rhetoric against his arch rival deepened Romans’ dissatisfaction to Mark Anthony. And it’s only a matter of time that the forces of the two triumvirs would clash for supremacy and another civil war would ensue. A victory against Mark Antony would give Octavian the opportunity to eliminate his closest and strongest rival. Octavian declared a war against Mark Antony in 32 BC. Upon knowing it, Mark Antony divorced Octavia.

The battle line was drawn. Octavian’s forces were pitted against those of Mark Antony and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. They finally met in 31 BC in Actium. Mark Antony fared badly against the forces of Octavian in the naval battle. Cleopatra, realizing the futility of further engagement withdrew her Egyptian fleet. Mark Antony followed her, and they fled to Alexandria.

The death of Cleopatra
The following year, as the troops of Octavian was marching toward Alexandria, Antony was deceived with a false report that Cleopatra had died. The information devastated Mark Antony. He reacted by killing himself with his sword. The unfortunate turn of events was a big blow to the Egyptian queen. This was aggravated by rumors that Octavian would display her body in Rome. Realizing that her end was now inevitable Cleopatra decided to end her life by poisoning herself. Traditions had it that she had her hand bitten by an asp.  

Caesarion or Ptolemy XV the son of Cleopatra by Julius Caesar and the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty was put to death by Octavian. That act effectively put an end to Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty.  Octavian later became first Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. He annexed Egypt as a Roman Province.