Did Cleopatra commit suicide or was she murdered?
A new book has cast doubt on the long held theory that Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Egypt, committed suicide along with her two handmaidens soon after the conquering of her country by Rome.india Updated: Feb 20, 2013 17:29 IST
A new book has cast doubt on the long held theory that Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Egypt, committed suicide along with her two handmaidens soon after the conquering of her country by Rome.
For 2000 years, historians and Egyptologists have assumed that Cleopatra took her life to prevent the victorious Roman general Octavian from carrying her back to Rome in chains and humiliating her by displaying her in his triumph. But Pat Brown, author of the book 'The Murder of Cleopatra', believes that Cleopatra was murdered and that the events leading up to her death are not the ones that have been reported for centuries.
Every book of Cleopatra's life and death tells the same story; a rendition of a "history" written by the Greek-turned-Roman historian, Plutarch. But, writing on the Huffington Post, Brown has raised questions about how and from where Plutarch, who wrote his account of the queen some hundred years after she died, got his information.
She noted that if Cleopatra was determined to kill herself, surely she would have used poison, rather than a cobra, because poison is 10 times more efficient and manageable than dealing with a snake. The right poison can achieve a quicker and more pleasant death than the Naja Haje, the Egyptian cobra, which is believed to be the snake Cleopatra used in her death, she said.
According to Plutarch, the physician examined the women and with nary a sign of being killed by any snake, he pronounced the women's cause of death to be that of viper venom. This testimony of Plutarch, given so many years later, lacks logic, science, and evidence of any believable sort, she said.
Her book The Murder of Cleopatra (20 dollars, Prometheus) is a full examination of the history of Cleopatra, her life and death.