"Just as quietly she raised the bar, enough to make the initial banquet look spartan. Antony returned on his fourth evening to a knee-deep expanse of roses. The florist's bill alone was a talent, or what six doctors earned in a year. In the rippling Cilician heat the perfume must have been intoxicating. At evening's end the trampled roses alone remained behind. Again Cleopatra divided the furnishings among her guests; by the end of the week, Antony's men carted home couches, sideboards and tapestries. ... To facilitate their returns, Cleopatra sent each man off as well with a torch-carrying Ethiopian slave."

  • From "Cleopatra: A Life," by Stacy Schiff