i love this story
first you have to know that antony and cleopatra had known each other at this point for like…. shit almost 15 years? and had had a correspondence on and off throughout that time. they’d known each other through her exile, through his campaigns, through her first child, through his (failed) interim consulship. it’s conjectural to say they were on good terms but… i don’t know why they wouldn’t be.
so when antony found out that cleopatra had funded cassius and brutus during the civil war? he was like, what the fuck. what theFUCK! (yells out window) OCTAVIAN DID YOU HEAR THIS! WHAT THE FUCK!
so antony issues a summons: cleopatra is to come to him so she can Explain Her Self. to this cleopatra replies: what the fuck did you just say to me?
(and you might be like, wait, why is that an issue? and i’ll tell you why, it’s because cleopatra, despite essentially being a (very tenuous) client king to rome at this point, vulnerable to invasion and just barely out of the woods re her connection with caesar, was a macedonian through and through: from language to looks to, you guessed it, ego. and she was fucking. insulted. HOW DARE HE! she probably yelled to charmian. I AM BLOOD! OF! PTOLEMY! NOBODY SUMMONS ME! charmian: i understand that your majesty can you please eat your dinner now)
antony summons her twice more. finally cleopatra, personification of the upside down smile emoji, says, okay! i’ll come. see you soon!! (:
now. cleopatra knew two things:
One: that she was richer than antony, and antony wouldn’t be able to afford a reciprocal feast if she went all out, which would be hugely embarrassing for him
and Two: that a lot of people liked to say antony was a dumb hoe, impressed only by material goods and lavishness, and that he didn’t like when people said this.
so naturally cleopatra proceeds to sail up the river to tarsus in an huge fuck-off ship, plus her entire waitstaff, 12 dining tables, a feast that was lavish beyond belief, entertainment, probably some peacocks or whatever, all decked out in pearls and jewels.
antony: wtf! why are you being so mean rn!
cleopatra: mocking baby voice: why are you being so mean rn??? (normal voice) FUCK you
antony didn’t ask her why she had supported cassius ever again. and that was the beginning of the most famous love affair in history