Monday, March 24, 2014

Cleopatra - Murder or Suicide? (An essay by WillowUnicorn)

Cleopatra- Murder or Suicide?
 Most of us have heard the story of the beautiful Egyptian Pharaoh, Cleopatra, and how she committed Suicide instead of letting Octavian Caesar march her through the streets of Rome in his triumph. The story is so amazing, even Shakespear took the story and wrote it into a play.
 But recently, in 2013, a book was published saying that Cleopatra was not bitten by a snake, but murdered by Octavian, who didn't want her, but her royal treasure. Now, with two different theories on how the Pharaoh died, history has gotten confusing. Which one is more likely to be right?
 Lets have a step back in history.
 Several thousand years ago, Antony and Cleopatra lived in the great city Alexandra. Times were leading into troubled waters. The couple had already lost a few of their battles, and had retreated into the city.
 Antony watched some of his ships go out to battle. As they reached the enemy, each boat saluted each other and joined forces. Antony ran back through the streets, saying that Cleopatra and betrayed him. Cleopatra, in fright, hid in a temple/tomb, and told her guard to tell Antony that she was dead.
 When Antony heard this, he asked his slave Eros to kill him. Eros went to strike, but turned around and stabbed himself instead. Antony marveled at the slaves courage, picked up his sword and stabbed himself.  When Cleopatra heard, she ordered for him to  be taken to her. So, bleeding to death, Antony was given to Cleopatra, where he died in her arms.
 Cleopatra sent Octavian messages over and over, begging for mercy. Octavian, however, ignored them, but let her have some comforts. So, thus taking advantage of that, the Pharaoh gave orders for a deadly snake to be put in a basket of figs. Once they were in her hands, she made the snake bite her on the arm.
 Octavian was told, and he came as fast as he could. But he arrived too late - the great Pharaoh Cleopatra was dead. Now he was deprived of his greatest treasure.

 Now, lets look at the other version.
 A criminal filer, Pat Brown, heard this version, and she doubted it. If a snake was hidden in a basket (and probably a fairly small one too) wouldn't the guards have noticed? And Cleopatra, in theory, should have still been alive when Octavian came.
 So, now suspicious, she went researching, and came up with this theory:
 Antony, with some of his soldiers, looked at Octavian's camp. wheeling his horse around, he made his way to escort Cleopatra and their children from the temple they were in to a hidden harbor. The plan was that when Octavian and Antony's ships were busy, Cleopatra and her fleet could escape up the Nile and down a canal to reach the Red Sea and then continue on to India.
 When he dismounted one of his warriors stabbed him in the side, took the General's sword and covered it in blood, then took it to Octavian to tell him that Antony was dead.
 But Cleopatra had seen what had happened, and had requested that his body be taken into the temple. However, there was nothing she could do, and he died. Antyllus hid somewhere in the temple, fearing for his life.
 Octavian battled to the temple (or at least his army did) and requested to know where the royal treasure was. Both Cleopatra and her Treasurer flatly refused to tell, and both were tortured.
 Antyllus was found and killed.
 Cleopatra was visited by her Treasurer, who, seeing the cut and scarred Pharaoh, gave in and told Octavian where the treasure was.
 Octavian then gave the order for Cleopatra to be strangled.

Now, which one sounds more likely?
 I think there could be truth in both. It wouldn't be surprising for the proud Queen to commit suicide. But if she had a Cobra in the room, it would seem to be obvious to check it over for the big, dirty, snake. Unless the Queen had somewhere to hide it once it had bitten her, or someone had hidden in the room, then stole out with the snake once everyone had left.
 For now, I'm staying half-and-half. The Case still isn't solved.

WillowUnicorn (AKA Lucy_Fu)

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