Baiting Mark Antony

from Plutarch’s Life of Marcus Antonius, 29
“It would be really silly to report many of the pranks he played. But when he was fishing once and was catching nothing and was annoyed because Kleopatra was there, he ordered the fishermen to dive under water and attach fish that had already been caught to his hook secretly. He didn’t trick the Egyptian woman when he hauled two or three of them up.  But she pretended to be surprised and told the story to her friends and told them to come watch them the next day.

When many came in fishing boats and Antonios had set out his line, she ordered one of her attendants to beat him at the game and to swim down and attach a preserved Pontic fish to his hook.  Then, because he believed he had caught something, Antonius reeled it in and when people laughed, as one might expect, Kleopatra said, “General, surrender your rod to masters Pharos and Kanobis. Your hunt is for cities, kingdoms, and lands.”

τὰ μὲν οὖν πολλὰ τῶν τόθ’ ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ παιζομένων διηγεῖσθαι πολὺς ἂν εἴη φλύαρος· ἐπεὶ δ’ ἁλιεύων ποτὲ καὶ δυσαγρῶν ἤχθετο παρούσης τῆς Κλεοπάτρας, ἐκέλευσε τοὺς ἁλιεῖς ὑπονηξαμένους κρύφα τῷ ἀγκίστρῳ περικαθάπτειν ἰχθῦς τῶν προεαλωκότων, καὶ δὶς ἢ τρὶς ἀνασπάσας οὐκ ἔλαθε τὴν Αἰγυπτίαν. προσποιουμένη δὲ θαυμάζειν τοῖς φίλοις διηγεῖτο, καὶ παρεκάλει τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ γενέσθαι θεατάς. ἐμβάντων δὲ πολλῶν εἰς τὰς ἁλιάδας καὶ τοῦ ᾿Αντωνίου τὴν ὁρμιὰν καθέντος, ἐκέλευσέ τινα τῶν αὑτῆς ὑποφθάσαντα καὶ προσνηξάμενον τῷ ἀγκίστρῳ περιπεῖραι Ποντικὸν τάριχος. ὡς δ’ ἔχειν πεισθεὶς ὁ ᾿Αντώνιος ἀνεῖλκε, γέλωτος οἷον εἰκὸς γενομένου, „παράδος ἡμῖν” ἔφη „τὸν κάλαμον αὐτόκρατορ τοῖς Φαρίταις καὶ Κανωβίταις βασιλεῦσιν· ἡ δὲ σὴ θήρα πόλεις εἰσὶ καὶ βασιλεῖαι καὶ ἤπειροι.”

 

fishing

“Antony and Cleopatra Fishing Scene”, by Giovani Scajaro

Antony and Cleopatra. Fishing Scene , by Giovanni Scajaro

 

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