The mysterious and unexplained death of Cleopatra, the Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, is a story that dates back more than a thousand years, with no clarity whatsoever.
Let’s delve into what the beliefs and things were back then.
Cleopatra and Her Affairs
Cleopatra was born into a powerful family in Egypt. She used her smartness, ambition, and charm to become a ruler. She spoke many languages, led strong armies, and had relationships with two important Roman leaders, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
As time passed, this amazing woman, Cleopatra, got caught up in varied problems with the Roman Empire. One of Caesar’s sons, Octavian, became her enemy. In the end, Octavian and his army were close to capturing her.
Cleopatra’s armies were defeated, and Mark Antony died by suicide. With nowhere to go and fearing Octavian’s capture, Cleopatra committed suicide. While the story often mentions a snake, an Egyptian cobra, some historians think differently about how she died.
The Story of the Mysterious Death of the Egyptian Queen
Even though Cleopatra was born into a royal family, she had to fight for power. When her father died, she shared the throne with her brother. The family had ruled Egypt for a long time, but Roman politics played a big role.
Cleopatra saw a chance to gain power when Julius Caesar visited. Legend has it that she used a clever trick to meet him and convinced him to help her. With Caesar’s support, Cleopatra defeated her brother and took control.
After Caesar’s death, Cleopatra fled and allied with Roman general Mark Antony. However, the Romans didn’t trust her, and a war broke out. After a battle, Cleopatra and Antony retreated to Alexandria, where they faced defeat.
In the end, Cleopatra, feeling trapped and fearing capture, decides to end her life. Some say she planned Antony’s death, too, hoping to seduce Octavian to stay in power. She met with Octavian but failed to change his mind. Fearing humiliation in Rome, Queen Cleopatra died by suicide with a snake, as the story goes. She was 39 years old.
After Cleopatra’s Death: The Unexplained Death of Cleopatra!
After Cleopatra died, Octavian had mixed feelings of amazement and anger. Plutarch, a Greek philosopher and historian, said he was upset about her death but admired her strong spirit. Cassius Dio, a Roman historian and senator, also mentioned that Octavian was saddened but impressed upon hearing the news.
Cleopatra’s death, according to Roman standards, was honorable. Octavian saw her final act as her best, and he was content with it. He saw her as a worthy opponent, and her glory became his glory.
Octavian took over Egypt on August 31st after winning, putting an end to centuries of Ptolemaic rule. Octavian’s men found and killed Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son.
Roman historians quickly portrayed Cleopatra as one of history’s most evil women. Propertius called her “the whore queen,” Cassius Dio described her as a woman with insatiable desires, and Lucan, a Roman poet, labeled her as the shame of Egypt and a threat to Rome.
Cleopatra’s achievements were overshadowed by her negative reputation. Her language skills and political intelligence took a back seat to her image as a “whore.” Octavian presented his victory over Cleopatra as the beginning of a new, golden era, restoring validity to laws, authority to courts, and dignity to the senate, according to historian Velleius.
As time passed, Octavian, later known as Augustus, became the hero in history, while Cleopatra was painted as the villain.
Dio expressed that Cleopatra, by trying to win the title of Queen of the Romans through love, failed and lost her status as Queen of the Egyptians as well. Dio concluded that she captivated the two greatest Romans of her time but destroyed herself because of the third.
The Testing of the Story
But can we really believe this story? It seems unlikely. Not knowing what the note said, the guard would have taken just a few minutes to go to Octavian and come back, covering a long distance.
However, medical experts say it would take a couple of hours for asp venom to work if it were even deadly enough to kill Cleopatra. Additionally, research suggests that only about half of the venom is usually injected in one bite, giving her a good chance of surviving.
Some people think Cleopatra might have taken her own life because of information found in the temple file. In the temple, there’s a carving showing the goddess Isis with a snake.
Since Cleopatra was believed to be the living form of Isis, this carving hints that her death might be connected to the snake in the famous story about her death.
Was it Really a Suicide?
One idea is that Octavian planned to have Cleopatra killed to strengthen his rule over the Roman Empire. Octavian ruled the western parts, and Mark Antony looked after the east. Octavian wanted more power, so he used Cleopatra in his political game.
This led to a war, and some think Octavian deliberately plotted to get rid of Cleopatra to control the entire empire.
A few experts say Octavian may have sent his guards to kill Cleopatra after he already killed her son, giving him control over everything. The dead Cleopatra was found with two of her maids, suggesting it wasn’t suicide but something more sinister.
Who Killed Cleopatra?
Since the story goes back to ancient Egyptian times, there is no clear evidence if Cleopatra poisoned herself, if it was a snake bite, or if the snake could really kill Cleopatra. Based on the stories of the Roman province, it is believed that it was the queen’s final desperate attempt.
It is among the most tragic mysteries, and there are many more oddly fascinating conspiracy theories about Cleopatra’s life and how Cleopatra retreated.
Experts still argue about how Cleopatra died, and it’s unclear. Only stories passed down remain about her last moments, so we might never really know what happened.
Many doubt the accuracy of the commonly believed story about the end of this significant historical figure. Figuring out the truth about Cleopatra’s death, which occurred more than two thousand years ago, becomes more and more difficult.