From eBook; Octavian Chronicle #6, Battle of Perusia-41 BC
In the Spring of 41 BC, Cleopatra sailed to Tarsus on her luxurious barge to meet with Mark Antony. She planned to develop a personal relationship with him in order to maintain Egypt’s alliance with Rome and her position as queen of Egypt.
Antony and his men stepped into the small boats to be rowed out to the barge. They were in awe of the size of it, its gilded stern, and its large purple sails. As soon as Antony was on board, he and his men were escorted to the center of the deck. The music picked up, and another burst of sweet perfumes was released. Antony stood there unable to take his eyes off of all the beautiful women. A large number of candles were being lit under a canopy that had a sheer gold curtain drawn around it. Antony could barely make out the figure of a woman through the curtains. He could see that she was reclining on a couch, dressed in gold and wearing a headdress of some type. It didn’t look like a crown. He took a step toward the canopy but stopped as the sheer curtain began to rise. Cleopatra came into view. She was helped to her feet by two of her handmaidens. Antony gasped when he saw her in a tight, shimmering gold dress, sparkling with jewels. Two other maids laid down a red carpet all the way to Antony’s feet. She started walking toward him.
Plancus leaned over to Antony and asked, “What was that accusation you were going to make against her?”
“What accusation?” Antony smiled.
As she came closer, Plancus saw that Cleopatra knew how to use makeup. He thought, She is an exotic beauty!
When Cleopatra reached Antony, she extended her hand and said with a smile, “I’m pleased to have you here as my dinner guest, Dionysus.”
He took her hand in his, raised it, and gave it a light kiss. “Thank you for inviting me, Venus, or would I be more correct to address you as Aphrodite?”
Cleopatra said with a sparkle of laughter in her voice, “I’ll leave it to you to decide whether I’m the Roman goddess of love or the Greek goddess of love.”
“You must know that I have a weakness for all things Greek.”
“You’re charming me, Marcus Antonius, when it is I who’s supposed to be charming you. You’ll cause me to lose my reputation.”
Antony laughed heartily. “Your reputation will be safe with me.”
Cleopatra laughed enchantingly. “I hope it doesn’t remain too safe!” Then she hooked her arm in his and led him along the red carpet back toward the front of the barge.