Claire’s love of ancient history has been reinvigorated with a book sent to her recently by Noni. It is a National Geographic book called Secrets from the Past, and it used to be mine and Tim’s. Claire loves to read this book every night before bedtime. These stories of real things form far away and a long time ago seem to be more interesting to Claire right now than the fairytale worlds of the Disney princesses. This book has harrowing tales of lost cities, ice age hunters, sunken treasure, and of course, Egypt — still her favorite ancient empire by far. She loves the mummies, the weird wigs, the linen robes, the tombs, and the mighty pharos. I think it is the golden mummy masks which really won her over.
Recently, in another book which her mom gave Claire on last year’s trip to DC, we covered the sad story of Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. The whole thing was covered in a few short paragraphs with colorful illustrations. Long story short, this Roman guy named Octavian (aka, Augustus) invaded and ruined Egypt and caused Cleopatra to commit suicide. This was the end of the Egyptian pharos, and basically the end of of the classic Egypt that Claire loves so much. At this point in the story, Claire was really upset with Octavian. She was saying something along the lines, of “Boo! Go back home, Octavian! Leave Egypt alone!”
Previous to this, Claire may have had some sense that the Romans were trouble. She just did not like the looks of them, or at least she was not really into them. Now Octavian has confirmed Claire’s worst fears about the Romans. On the other hand, Mark Antony did represent the Romans well, and he even married Cleopatra! Claire asked us if the Romans were good guys or bad guys. We told her “it depends” — if you were Egyptian, they were not so good at this point in history. But we also told her that the Romans did a lot of good things, and their country Italy is a really great and beautiful place, and maybe we could take a trip there one day. Claire was not impressed. She would still rather go to Egypt. (Maybe the latest news footage would change her mind.)
Claire does not directly admit to loving Egypt. She says she like dolphins ten times better. But you should see how she reacted to that darn Octavian conquering Egypt!